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It's Been Reported
for the week ending 4 February 2018

 Syrian Rebels Down Russian Plane, Kill Pilot

AMMAN/MOSCOW (Reuters) — Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane on Saturday and killed its pilot on the ground after he ejected from the plane, Russia’s defense ministry and Syrian rebels said.

The SU-25 came down in an area of Syria’s northern Idlib province that has seen heavy air strikes and fighting on the ground between government forces backed by Russia and Iran, and rebels who oppose President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrians opposed to Assad see Russia as an invading force they blame for the deaths of thousands of civilians since Moscow joined the war on the side of the Syrian government in 2015.

The Russian plane was shot down over the town of Khan al-Subl near the city of Saraqeb, close to a major highway where the Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias are trying to advance, a rebel source said.
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FCC Criticizes Hawaii Over False Missile Alert;
Finds Human Errors And Poor Procedures

(UPI) — The false missile alert issued in Hawaii earlier this month resulted from a miscommunication between state supervisors announcing a drill and the employee who issued the alert, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

The employee who sent the false alert wasn't aware it was a drill, according to the statement issued Tuesday, which gives a breakdown of what the FCC believes went wrong.

The false alert happened during what was supposed to be a normal simulation exercise, beginning with a mock call from a warning officer and ending with a test alert to Federal Emergency Management Agency. But the exercise went awry when a supervisor's recorded message included the phrase "exercise, exercise, exercise" but also mistakenly included the phrase "this is not a drill," according to the preliminary report.
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 Google Yanks Gay Dating App
From Indonesia Online Store

JAKARTA (Channel News Asia) — Google has pulled one of the world's largest gay dating apps from the Indonesian version of its online store in response to government demands, Jakarta said on Wednesday (Jan 31), amid a crackdown on the LGBT community.

Officials had called for the tech giant to remove 73 LGBT-related applications, including dating services, from its Play Store and urged people to shun apps that broke with cultural norms in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.

Communications ministry spokesman Noor Iza confirmed on Wednesday that gay dating application Blued – which boasts more than 27 million users globally – no longer appeared in the Google Play Store available to Indonesian users.
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Leading Islamic Scholar In Custody Amid Rape Claims

PARIS (AP) — A French judicial official says a prominent Swiss Islamic scholar is in police custody over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

The Paris prosecutor's office is investigating the case against Tariq Ramadan, who has denied any wrongdoing so far.

Le Monde and Le Parisien newspapers reported last year that two women recently filed complaints in France against Ramadan for an alleged rape in 2009 and an assault in 2012. The judicial official confirmed that two lawsuits have been filed against Ramadan.

In the wake of the investigation, Ramadan took a leave of absence from Oxford University, where his website says he is professor of contemporary Islamic studies.
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 New Skeletal Remains Found In Planters; Related To Toronto Landscaper; Case Has Grisly Echoes Of Notorious Gay Serial Killer Jeffrey Dahmer

TORONTO (National Post) — A man who describes himself as a shy and helpless romantic at heart, a former mall Santa Claus, is now an accused serial killer Toronto police allege buried the skeletal remains of his victims' dismembered bodies in the bottom of outdoor planters and flower pots.

Parts of more human bodies may be hidden in planters or gardens at homes throughout Toronto. No one knows exactly which ones.

In an investigation unlike any before seen in the history of the nation's largest city, police have charged 66-year-old freelance landscaper Bruce McArthur with five-counts of first-degree murder, most of the victims men who had been reported missing from Toronto's gay village area.

The remains of at least three people were recovered from large planters at a midtown Toronto property linked to McArthur and where he may have previously landscaped.
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 Megyn Kelly 'Threw A Fit'
Over Katie Couric's Olympics Gig

(NY Post) — Megyn Kelly "threw an Olympic fit" when NBC offered the job of anchoring next month's Winter Olympics opening ceremony to Katie Couric, sources exclusively told Page Six.

Television insiders say that Kelly insisted, when signing her $23?million-a-year contract with NBC last spring, that she could not be forced to do special events such as the winter games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which start airing on the Peacock Network on Feb. 9.

But once "Today" vet Matt Lauer – who usually helmed special coverage, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade – was ousted in November over sexual misconduct allegations, Kelly assumed she was next in line for the plum assignments.

"She thought she had it all played out perfectly, by saying 'no' before the Matt Lauer scandal. [The network was] stupid enough to put in her contract that she could say 'yes' or 'no.'?"
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Fossil Of School Bus-Sized Dinosaur
Dug Up In Egyptian Desert

WASHINGTON (Channel NewsAsia) — Scientists have unearthed in a Sahara Desert oasis in Egypt fossils of a long-necked, four-legged, school bus-sized dinosaur that lived roughly 80 million years ago, a discovery that sheds light on a mysterious time period in the history of dinosaurs in Africa.

Researchers said on Monday the plant-eating Cretaceous Period dinosaur, named Mansourasaurus shahinae, was nearly 33 feet (10 metres) long and weighed 5.5 tons (5,000 kg) and was a member of a group called titanosaurs that included Earth's largest-ever land animals. Like many titanosaurs, Mansourasaurus boasted bony plates called osteoderms embedded in its skin.

Mansourasaurus, which lived near the shore of the ancient ocean that preceded the Mediterranean Sea, is one of the very few dinosaurs known from the last 15 million years of the Mesozoic Era, or age of dinosaurs, on mainland Africa. Madagascar had a separate geologic history.
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 Virgin Atlantic Offers 'Love Suites' On NY Flights

NEW YORK (FOX5NY) — Virgin Atlantic says it will feature "Love Suites" on some of its New York bound jets that are designed with couples in mind.

It will have three Love Suites in some Airbus A330-200 planes that are joining the fleet in March, along with other special seating arrangements.  The Love Suites are ideal for dual dining, watching movies together or catching up on "work", according to the airline.  The seats are located in the center of the cabin.

The revamped Upper Class seating arrangements include "freedom suites" and extra-private corner suites in the jet's upper cabin.

All three private corner suites will include free Wi-Fi messaging and a barista-style coffee menu. The planes will come with names such as Strawberry Fields, Honky Tonk Woman, Scarlett O’Hara, and Daydream Believer.

All 19 of the upper class seats turn into beds.
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