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Sierra Leone ends Ebola crisis lockdown

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Some residents complained of food shortages as officials scrambled to contact nearly every resident and bury the dead before lockdown lifted

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Sierra Leone ends Ebola crisis lockdown

Giants 30, Texans 17: Giants Thrash Texans and Shake Off Gloom

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Giants played proficiently and resourcefully on both sides of the line of scrimmage, with the new-look offense running the ball more effectively and the defense forcing three turnovers.





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Giants 30, Texans 17: Giants Thrash Texans and Shake Off Gloom

After Rancor, Afghans Agree to Share Power

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

After eight months of enmity over the protracted presidential election, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah will have to confront the challenges of jointly governing their country.





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After Rancor, Afghans Agree to Share Power

Heirs to an Oil Fortune Join the Divestment Movement

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

The family whose legendary wealth flowed from Standard Oil plans to rid its $860 million Rockefeller Brothers Fund of investments in companies trading in nonrenewable energy.


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Heirs to an Oil Fortune Join the Divestment Movement

Yemen Rebels Gain Concessions From Government After Assault on Capital

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced that the rebels, known as the Houthis, had agreed to an immediate cease-fire and the formation of a new government, a process in which they were expected to hold sway.





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Yemen Rebels Gain Concessions From Government After Assault on Capital

Updated: Apple Watch release date, news and features

| September 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Apple Watch specs, release date and price

Update: We tested the Apple Watch here. Below are the official specs of the smartwatch for iPhone, including new battery life information and anti-theft features.

Tim Cook had a big “one more thing” announcement up his sleeve, and it was a small sapphire-coated smartwatch dubbed the Apple Watch, not the fabled iWatch.

This iPhone-compatible watch has been unveiled alongside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, fulfilling the Cupertino company’s “new product categories” promise for 2014.

It’s not a circular smartwatch like its fashionable rival, Moto 360, but it still features a premium rectangular design with rounded-off corners and works seamlessly with iOS 8 devices.

Cut to the chase
What is it? An iOS 8-friendly watch that plays nice with your iPhone
When is it out? Early 2015 release date
What will it cost? $349 (likely north of 217, AU$379)

What does Apple Watch do?

Apple’s first wearable gadget beams messages, Facebook updates, simplified apps and Siri to our wrists, eliminating the all-too-common need to take out our devices to constantly check notifications.

It’s going to become especially convenient to pocket the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus in your jeans, or to always stow the next 9.7-inch iPad Air 2 in a bag.

Other apps seen in the Apple Watch video include iMessages, Health, Calendar, Weather, Mail, Photos, Camera’s shutter button, Passbook that now include Apple Pay and even Apple Maps for navigation.

The smartwatch also takes cues from the Nike FuelBand SE and other fitness trackers with health sensors and apps, a must for any serious wearable gadget these days.

Sure there are fitness apps on your smartphone, but you’re not always carrying your iPhone while tracking your steps and activity. The Apple Watch is better suited for your everyday workout.

Design

The final Apple Watch design isn’t too far from the made-up renders that we’ve seen in recent weeks. It draws inspiration from the iPod Nano with a rectangular-shaped screen, one knob and a single button.

Apple Watch is more than iPod Nano meets the iPhone, though. The smartwatch display comes in two sizes measured by height: 38mm (1.5in) and 42mm (1.65in). Both are slightly smaller than the entire Pebble Steel watch height, which measures 46mm (1.8in).

Apple Watch’s screen is surrounded by casing made of custom alloys of stainless steel and aluminum that, according to the company, stands up physical demands of daily wear.

Beyond the “Apple Watch” and “Apple Watch Sport” versions, a special “Apple Watch Edition” mixes in 18-karat yellow or rose gold for a premium look. It goes well with that gold iPhone 5S for sure.

That brings the metal colors to six: stainless steel, silver aluminum, space black stainless steel, space gray aluminum, 18-karat yellow gold and 18-karat rose gold.

Digital crown

Apple Watch doesn’t have a unique round display like Moto 360, but the casing does feature a circular knob known as the “digital crown.”

This input is unique among smartwatches, but a true classic derived from traditional watches. Apple has of course put a modern-day twist on its twist functionality.

The Apple Watch digital crown replaces the pinch-to-zoom touchscreen mechanic used on everything from iPhones to MacBooks. It’s too impractical on such a small display, according to Apple.

Rotating it allows you to zoom into your app selection, your location on Apple Maps and a photo from a gallery. Scrolling through dates and stopwatch times is handled by this knob too.

The digital crown also acts as the Apple Watch home button. There’s no Touch ID sensor here, but Apple is smartly locks the wristwatch with an anti-theft passcode whenever it’s taken off.

Conversation button

The button below the digital crown allows you to start a conversation with friends. Pushing it brings up a their contact info photos and zooming into a specific person with the digital crown gets things started.

Beyond calling and messaging them, you can get their attention with a gentle tap. It vibrates the “taptic” feedback on their smartwatch.

What’s intriguing about this taptic feedback system is that it’s said to be more precise and subtle than a vibration everyone can hear. Want to ditch a party? Your friends’ secret sign may be three taps on the Apple Watch before bailing. It’s an interesting way to get someone’s attention.

Apple Watch goes all Drawesome on us with a bizarre sketch function for light messaging on the wrist. You can also share your heartbeat with someone in real time.

Apple Watch bands

The variety of Apple Watch bands played better than U2 at the press conference, giving consumers a way to personalize their smartwatch.

Standard straps include Leather Loop that conceals magnets for easy fastening, the leather Modern Buckle and the leather Classic Buckle. There’s also a gym-friendly elastomer Sport Band.

Higher-end metal straps include the Milanese Loop with flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh and the stainless steel Link Bracelet.

The ability to swap the straps without having to use tooling or visit or jeweler is one of our favorite features in the Apple Watch vs Moto 360 comparison.

Apple Watch faces

Apple is promising customizable watch faces with “millions of different appearances.” It brings everything to its timepieces, from time lapse backgrounds to classic Mickey Mouse arms as dials.

However, just to be clear, the smartwatch comes with a base of 11 watch faces, according to the official Apple Watch press release. Most allow you to change the colors, design elements and add functionality.

The Apple Watch face gallery shows off an Astronomy design with an interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, moon and planets. Likewise, the Solar acts as a contemporary sundial.

If you want a moving background, there’s the Motion watch face, or still image, there’s the Photo face. Utility, Chronograph, Color, Modular and Simple exhibit more contemporary designs.

Apple Watch Battery Life

Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t go into great detail about the Apple Watch battery life, but he did hint that the smartwatch is designed to be “worn all day” and is “simple to charge at night.”

That had led us to believe that the Apple Watch will approximately have one day battery life, sort of like the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live we’ve reviewed.

An Apple spokesperson backs up our theory, more or less confirming that the smartwatch requires a daily charge. The person also reportedly said Apple is working on modifications to eek out more battery life.

Previously, when it was known as the Apple iWatch, it was rumored to have a 400mAh battery, but Cook is saving that announcement for a later date.

He did, however, call attention to the unique recharging method. The Apple Watch’s back crystal houses a magnetic inductive wireless charging solution similar to the MagSafe design. Again, it looks as if Apple bucks another trend – this time it’s the popular Qi wireless charging method – in favor of its own standard.

Release date

For a gadget that supposedly keeps the time, the Apple Watch release date speculation has been all over the place. It highlighted the fact that no one outside of Apple had the full scoop until today.

Just don’t expect that to be the iPhone-compatible watch’s release date this year. Tim Cook and company won’t deliver the the Apple Watch until early 2015, as we previously reported.

Today’s early Apple Watch unveiling makes sense. Google’s first smartwatches just released care of the Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch and newly launched Moto 360. None work with iPhones.

A sneak peek at the iPhone 6 event makes the watch right on time, enough to distract people from even prettier Android Wear watches to come, like the LG G Watch R.

Apple won’t start Apple Watch production until later this month, according to reports. That’s not enough time to manufacturer the targeted 10 million smartwatches it may want for the launch window.

The later-than-expected early 2015 release date would allow the company to avoid the limited supply problems that it faced when introducing the hot, but hard-to-find gold iPhone 5S last year.

Price

An even trickier question than “when will it come out?” has been “how much will the Apple Watch cost?” There’s really no precedent for a premium smartwatch price just yet.

The answer: More than we were hoping to pay.

That notorious Apple tax pushes the pricetag to $349 given components involved. That’s 217 in the UK and AU$379 in Australia, but expect those prices to be even higher, above the straight dollar conversion.

Before iWatch: the timely history of the smartwatch

It’s true that Apple has recruited high-profile people throughout the watch and biometrics industries who have wound up on its Apple Watch team. That talent comes at a price.

Then there’s a hidden cost. While a subsidized iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are cheaper upfront in the US, stores make up the difference with contract kickbacks. Not so with a smartwatch. Stores need a cut too.

For the sake of comparison, Android Wear’s cheaper options are the Samsung Gear Live at $200 (170, AU$250) and LG G Watch at $230 (160, AU$250).

But Apple’s biggest and most stylish competition is from Motorola, and the Moto 360 price is $249 (199, likely AU$275 given its rivals’ prices).

Apple is aiming for luxury given the sapphire glass-protected display, an imposing digital crown, two sizes and even the 18k gold colored edition. Expect prices for that version to climb even higher.

Previous rumors

Apple’s smartwatch remained firmly up Tim Cook’s sleeve until the very end. Plenty of iPhone 6 spy shots leaked, but so-called “iWatch” photos didn’t surfaced before the official announcement.

The final Apple Watch design isn’t too far from the renders that we’ve seen in recent weeks. The iPhone-compatible smartwatch features a rectangular-shaped design, one knob and a single button.

The Apple Watch screens features scratch-resistant protection thanks to sapphire glass. That’s really important for wearables that we bang and knock around all day.

Previous rumors indicated that the “iWatch” will end up with a 1.6-inch display, which is slightly larger than the square-shaped iPod Nano 6G, and a two bigger screen options at 1.8 inches.

For a real-world comparison, the now-launched Moto 360 has a circular 1.56-inch LCD touchscreen with an almost completely round 320 x 290 resolution.

It’s the 2.5-inch screen that has us collectively scratching our heads. Samsung Gear Live is a large at 1.63 in. and LG G Watch is even bigger at 1.65 inches. Samsung Gear S tips the scales at 2 in.

Apple already makes a device with a 2.5-inch display, the iPod Nano 7G, but it’s difficult to imagine the company crafting the same dimensions onto wrists without some of that Apple “magic.”

This could be why we’re hearing that the iWatch could come in two different sizes that conform to bigger and smaller wrist sizes.

There’s also a chance that Apple may compete directly with the Moto 360 smartwatch that features a stunning circular watch face. Could Motorola’s stylish smartwatch be why iWatch isn’t due until 2015?

The company could, alternatively, go with a more fitness-focused approach with an Apple iBand that’s modeled after the Nike FuelBand SE, but its smartwatch features would be limited.

Specs

That LG-made iWatch display may be locked behind sapphire glass to protect it from the sort of nicks and bumps that comes with a constantly worn wearable.

Sapphire glass is the same tough-as-nails material that’s supposedly being used in the iPhone 6 in an effort to replace Gorilla Glass 3.

The move, though expensive, would be much appreciated. We’ve brushed our Android Wear smartwatches against walls in just one week’s time and that’s too close for comfort.

At the heart of the iWatch needs to be a speedy, yet small processor along the lines of the 1.2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 that’s inside the Samsung Gear Live.

Apple has partnered with Samsung and ARM for its iPhone processors in the past, including the A7 CPU iPhone 5S, so the same could be true for the iWatch core.

It would also help if Apple could match its two Android Wear competitors’ the 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. Something tells us it won’t be user-replaceable.

Sensors

Apple isn’t all about cramming more megapixels into its smartphones vs the competition, but it may be inclined to add more sensors than any other smartwatch manufacturers.

The iWatch has been speculated to include more than 10 sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, compass, heart-rate monitor, pulse oximeter, among others.

This would pivot the iWatch from an iOS notification-reading wearable to a full-fledged fitness tracking devices, taking cues from the Nike FuelBand SE and expanding on that relationship.

Health-focused smartwatches and apps seem like the future of wearables given the biometric sensor-filled Samsung Simband prototype and Apple’s own iOS 8 Health app that’s just crying out for the iWatch.

Interface and apps

Like a Jetsons watch from the future, iWatch is likely to incorporate Siri on the wrist so that Apple’s personal assistant can head your every beck and and phone call.

iWatch could put iOS 8 at your dominant-hand’s fingertips at all times thanks to a streamlined interface and smaller versions of the apps that you use every day.

It’s expected to push both iMessages and SMS texts to the Apple smartwatch and alert you of upcoming calendar events and reminder tasks.

This would eliminate the all-too-common problems of “I left my phone in the other room,” “in the charger” or “in the car overnight.” On second, it may ruin some of your best excuses!

The benefit of iWatch apps

An iWatch would basically take the most important notifications from your iPhone and beam them to your wrist.

Care to dismiss a call without the pomp and circumstance of taking your phone out? Done. Or maybe you’re waiting by the iPhone for important news? Check.

The iWatch touchscreen may deliver the ability to more discretely dismiss calls and actively keep on top of the ones you want to answer.

Meanwhile, a built-in microphone could launch Shazam to identify a mystery song more quickly (like before the track ends five seconds too soon) or call up directions more safely.

With an iWatch literally on hand, there’d be no more dangerously fumbling with the iPhone on your dash while you wait for Apple CarPlay to be installed on your vehicle of choice.

iWatch apps in the making

We haven’t seen official iWatch apps just yet, but Apple’s iOS 8 Health app is almost certainly being readied for its first wearable due to metrics you just can’t track with a normal iPhone.

Apple’s HomeKit has also been previewed as a way to tie together smart home electronics. It could trigger smart light bulbs, door locks and thermostat setting.

Since Android Wear devices like Moto 360 can initiate commands and message replies via voice recognition technology, the same is likely a part of Apple’s iWatch roadmap too.

Just don’t expect a full iOS 8 experience on the wrist or a phone-call-cabale iWatch decked out with a SIM card like the rumored Samsung Solo. Your Dick Tracy wristwatch days aren’t here just yet.

Battery life

The biggest hurdle for the Apple iWatch and all smartwatches in general is battery life. No one wants to charge another gadget every day. We do that too much as it is.

Case in point, one of the major cons we mentioned in our Samsung Galaxy Gear review revolves around its pitiful one-day-per-charge battery cycle. It has a 300mAh battery.

The LG G Watch, which also runs Android Wear, is hardly better at a day-and-a-half average capacity running off of a still-tiny 400mAh battery. Moto 360 is in the middle with a 320mAh battery.

Apple has previously patented a curved battery design that could give it the extra space that it needs to boost the rumored iWatch beyond a day or two.

The smartwatch components need to be small, but the battery life does not, according to energy-drained consumers.

At the same time, they require more than the monochrome display of the Pebble Steel and the original Pebble watches, which eked out a respectable 3-4 and 5-7 day battery life.

This impossible task may be why Tim Cook and company reportedly faced battery woes early on with the iWatch and still hasn’t overcome them completely.

Wireless battery charger

At least when the iWatch battery dies, there may be a cool way to recharge the device thanks to wireless charging technology.

Apple has reportedly called upon a wireless charging coil supplier in China to send samples of its technology so that it can implement it into the iWatch.

The iWatch could therefore wirelessly charge through magnetic induction, a method similar to the Qi-compatible Moto 360 smartwatch.

The Moto 360 wireless charging cradle is rather slick, perfect for a nightstand. It could even come with the iWatch, sort of like the first iPhone included a dock in the box initially.

Qi is quickly becoming the more popular wireless charging standard ahead of its rivals. That being said, Apple does like going with its own proprietary technology more often than not.

Waterproof

A lightning connector could also be an alternate way to charge the iWatch, but that may be a more difficult task if Apple is to make it waterproof or at least water resistant.

Smartwatches that can stand up to the elements are being demanded by consumers who want their “24/7 wearables” to be true to that term down to the second.

If the iWatch is like currently Android Wear watches, expect it to be splash proof up to IP67, which is rated for a depth of 1 meter (3.3 feet) for 30 minutes.

That’s good for the shower and accidental submersions, but not exactly fit for dunking the iWatch in the swimming pool or taking it in the ocean. Not this first generation at least.

Compatibility

iWatch is likely to loosely follow the iOS 8 compatibility chart by working with new iPhones and iPads that contain newer Bluetooth antennas.

The battery-saving Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy made its debut in the iPhone 4S, iPad 3 and iPad mini and can be found in all newer models.

It’s the exact same lineup that can wirelessly sync with the Fitbit Force, Jawbone Up24 and NikeFuelBand SE.

The iPad 2, which can be upgraded to iOS 8, is the one exception to the chart. It may be left off of the iWatch compatibility list.

It may mean it’s time to turn in that old iPhone 4 for an iPhone 6 or a price-reduced iPhone 5S when the new phones launch later this year.

Just don’t expect any Android phone, new or old, to work with the iWatch. Android Wear can’t connect to Apple’s devices, and we expect Apple to return the favor.






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Updated: Apple Watch release date, news and features

Marches around the world for climate action

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Protesters call for policies to reduce carbon emissions and to protect humanity from worsening climate change

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Marches around the world for climate action

See Vin Diesel’s Insane Beard From The Last Witch Hunter

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Terrifying.
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See Vin Diesel’s Insane Beard From The Last Witch Hunter

The Maze Runner 2 Is Happening, Here Are The Details

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Coming very, very soon!
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The Maze Runner 2 Is Happening, Here Are The Details

Doctor Who Season 8, Episode 5 Watch: Time Heist Feels Like A Throwback Episode

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Last week on Doctor Who, Steven Moffat gave us a perfect throwback to classic Moffat writing and scares. After the last two weeks of Doctor Who, the show seems to be on a roll in terms of creativity and adventure. Which makes this week’s episode, “Time Heist,” a little bit of a let down. It’s very stylish, but reminiscent of Doctor Who‘s past
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Doctor Who Season 8, Episode 5 Watch: Time Heist Feels Like A Throwback Episode

Giants 30, Texans 17: Giants Stabilize Season, Cruising Past Texans

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Giants played proficiently and resourcefully on both sides of the line of scrimmage, with the new-look offense running the ball more effectively and the defense forcing three turnovers.


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Giants 30, Texans 17: Giants Stabilize Season, Cruising Past Texans

Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars Footage Leaks Ahead Of Announcement

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

United Front Games has announced that they will be officially unveiling Triad Wars, the spinoff to Sleeping Dogs. It’s not just an announcement, it’s going to be a full unveil. We get a taste of the game with a teaser bit of video with leaked footage.
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Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars Footage Leaks Ahead Of Announcement

GTA 5 PS4, Xbox One, PC Versions Have First-Person Mode?

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Rockstar Games has revealed a feature for the new-gen versions of GTA 5 that should make shooter or racing fans happy.
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GTA 5 PS4, Xbox One, PC Versions Have First-Person Mode?

Star Trek Or Power Rangers? Roberto Orci Was Just Forced To Pick

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

A pretty easy decision…
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Star Trek Or Power Rangers? Roberto Orci Was Just Forced To Pick

Colin Farrell Confirms Role In True Detective Season 2

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

True Detective has worked extremely hard to keep its second season under wraps. HBO isn’t talking. Showrunner Nic Pizzolatto isn’t talking. But Colin Farrell is totally talking and over the weekend he confirmed his involvement in the second season of the detective series. That’s one casting down and a ton more to go.
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Colin Farrell Confirms Role In True Detective Season 2

Ahmadzai declared winner of Afghan presidential election

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates signed a power-sharing deal that makes one president and the other chief executive

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Ahmadzai declared winner of Afghan presidential election

Yemen’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Chaos and Another Cease-Fire

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Mohammed Salem Basindwa submitted his resignation to the Yemeni president as fighters from a Shiite rebel group seized official buildings in an assault on the capital that rocked the transitional government.





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Yemen’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Chaos and Another Cease-Fire

At Climate March in New York, a Clarion Call for Action

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

The People’s Climate March paraded through Manhattan on Sunday, taking frustration over stalled efforts to curb carbon emissions to the streets ahead of a climate summit meeting at the United Nations.





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At Climate March in New York, a Clarion Call for Action

At Climate Change March in New York, a Clarion Call for Action

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

The People’s Climate March paraded through Manhattan on Sunday, taking frustration over stalled efforts to curb carbon emissions to the streets ahead of a climate summit meeting at the United Nations.





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At Climate Change March in New York, a Clarion Call for Action

Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Hits A Very High Note

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Swords as big as a house, perfectly coiffed hair, giant yellow birds and airships. Ask any Final Fantasy fan what they remember most about the long-running series and it’s likely that one, if not all, of those things I just mentioned will make the list. Even more likely to spring to the lips of series diehards, though, is “the music.” The Final Fantasy series has always been known for its fantastic soundtracks, which finally take center stage in the newly released Nintendo 3DS rhythm game, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call.
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Review: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call Hits A Very High Note

Assassin’s Creed Unity Trailer Explores Black Box Missions

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

One promise Ubisoft keeps making over and over about Assassin’s Creed Unity is that it’s going to give players a lot of freedom. In a new gameplay trailer, they show off the open-ended nature of the Black Box missions.
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Assassin’s Creed Unity Trailer Explores Black Box Missions

Gotham Review: Beautiful Superhero Origin Is Too Busy But Very Promising

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Fox is one of several networks entering the small-screen superhero fray this fall but their comic-book adaptation stands apart from the rest by shifting the focus onto the supporting cast. Bruce Wayne’s tragic beginning is only the catalyst for Gotham to show how the DC Comics’ city known for criminality got its start. As for the show’s beginnings, the series premiere is a lot like Two-Face; it’s half-good and half-bad.
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Gotham Review: Beautiful Superhero Origin Is Too Busy But Very Promising

As Milan Fashion Week Ends, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Bottega Veneta and More

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Even at Versace, homeland of the Glamazon, it seemed as if sex had left the city.


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As Milan Fashion Week Ends, Giorgio Armani, Versace, Bottega Veneta and More

Well Water May Contain Earthquake Warning Signs

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

Geologists say well water spikes in sodium and hydrogen warned of mounting strain before two Iceland earthquakes. The results may someday lead to earthquake prediction.
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Well Water May Contain Earthquake Warning Signs

ArtsBeat: ‘Maze Runner’ Tops Box Office

| September 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

“The Maze Runner,” adapted from James Dashner’s dystopian novel, topped the North American box office with about $32.5 million in ticket sales.





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ArtsBeat: ‘Maze Runner’ Tops Box Office