HTC phone hopes to rival iPhone, Galaxy

HTC has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the HTC 10, which it hopes will rival the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S7 thanks to a new camera and the inclusion of high resolution audio features.

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The HTC 10 – the successor to the firm’s M9 that was released in 2015 – had been heavily rumoured online for some time, with the Taiwanese firm claiming it has been working on the phone “behind closed doors for 12 months”.

The new device comes with a 12-megapixel rear camera that includes optical image stabilisation (OIS) technology designed to take better photos even when the hand holding it is shaking. It can also record video in 4K resolution.

These are similar specifications to one of its perceived rivals, the iPhone 6s Plus, which launched in September.

The HTC 10 also has a larger aperture in the lens on the front-facing camera, which HTC says lets in more light and will take better “selfies”. The battery can also last for up to two days, the firm claims.

The HTC 10 arrives as the Taiwanese firm continues to struggle in the smartphone market – both its high profile launches last year, the M9 and A9, failed to sell as well as the company had hoped, leading to 15% staff cuts in August.

However, the firm’s other ventures, most notably the HTC Vive headset, have been met with early acclaim and positive sales.

The HTC 10 also supports high-resolution audio, which is clearer than standard sound, and the new phone will come with a set of high resolution audio earphones in the box, while the phone will also be capable of up-scaling a user’s existing songs into high resolution.

HTC says it has also worked with Google to “reboot” the Android operating system that runs on the device. The number of native apps has been reduced, while more have been integrated together to make the phone faster, creating what HTC is calling the “best of Google and HTC”.

Longer-lasting food gives scientists hope

Scientists in the UK have hailed the results of trials to prolong the life of fresh produce as “world-changing”, saying it could help tackle global hunger.

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Raw fruit and vegetables saw their shelf life increase by up to one day in a study which involved produce being sprayed with an electrically-charged solution that kills bacteria responsible for spoilage.

Testing carried out in cold storage revealed that use of the novel system, developed at the University of the West of England in Bristol, had no effect on the taste or appearance of the produce.

Darren Reynolds, professor of health and environment at the university, said the technology could be implemented commercially within a year if the food industry is convinced of its benefits.

He believes the approach could reduce waste, save millions of pounds and even play a role in helping resolve world hunger.

Tomatoes and cucumbers responded particularly well to treatment with the solution, which is produced by passing salty water through an electro-chemical cell.

The activated solution, which is inexpensive to make and can be created on demand, kills bacteria commonly found on the surface of fresh produce but is harmless to human skin.

The recent trials, which involved treating produce post-harvest, also saw carrots, peppers, potatoes and tropical fruit doused in the activated liquid.

Prof Reynolds, who pioneered the technology, said: “For some types of produce, we could make a significant impact.

“We could demonstrate scientifically it would impact on the quality of food in terms of how long it can be stored. It showed we could increase the shelf life by about a day.

“Ultimately, it will make the whole production, distribution and sale process more efficient. That’s where I have to head to – a more sustainable world where we are wasting a lot less.”

Federal Labor releases steel plan

Federal Labor will seek to maximise the use of Australian-produced steel in government-funded projects.

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The pledge is part of a six-point steel plan the opposition will take to an election.

“A Labor government led by myself will do everything we can to make sure that we keep making steel in Australia,” leader Bill Shorten told reporters during a visit to Bluescope Steel in the NSW Illawarra on Thursday.

The plan stops short of mandating the use of Australian steel on taxpayer-funded projects.

Other measures include maintaining quality standards, halving the threshold for companies to submit an Australian industry participation plan for projects, and strengthening anti-dumping provisions.

A Labor government would also set up a national steel supplier advocate.

“What we need is an advocate for the steel industry to make sure Australian steel is getting the best story told about it possible,” Mr Shorten said.

Industry Minister Christopher Pyne responded quickly to that part of Labor’s plan.

“I’m Australia’s Steel Advocate – that’s the job of the industry minister. Labor wants to downgrade that role to a public servant,” he tweeted.

Mr Shorten’s visit follows a decision last week by mining and steelmaking group Arrium to call in administrators.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has refused to say whether the issue of cheap Chinese steel will be on the agenda when he meets officials in Beijing during a two-day visit.

Greens industry spokesman Adam Bandt said the plan was “too weak”.

He welcomed moves to reduce the dumping of foreign-produced steel in Australia, but said Labor should add a seventh point: don’t sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“If Labor is serious about saving the Australian steel industry, it will commit to not signing Australia up to the TPP,” he said.

The Greens would also like to see government projects use at least 90 per cent local steel.

The Australian Workers’ Union welcomed Labor’s direction, but said more detail and hard targets are needed to ensure the industry’s future.

Price, Stricker named captains for 2017 Presidents Cup

Price, a three-times major champion who played on five Presidents Cup teams, is seeking his first win as captain after losing in the previous two editions, including in 2015 when his International team lost by one point in South Korea.

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“The close shave we had last year will motivate a lot,” Price, 59, told reporters, predicting he would have “eight or nine” of the same players on his 2017 team.

Stricker, meanwhile, will take over the United States leadership for the first time, after working as an assistant for previous captain Jay Haas last year.

The United States are 9-1-1 in the Ryder Cup-style competition with their only loss coming at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia in 1998.

The International team has traditionally been built around a core of world class Australian and South African players such as Greg Norman, Adam Scott, Jason Day and Ernie Els.

But they have struggled mostly to come up with 12-man teams that match the depth of the United States.

The current world rankings suggest the International team again will have a strong core, with six players inside the top 20, including Australians Jason Day and Adam Scott, South African Louis Oosthuizen, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and South Africans Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel.

Stricker, 49, who played on five Presidents Cup teams, is certainly expecting a strong challenge.

“It’s going to be tough … Even though we won (in 2015), it came down to the last match,” he said, adding that he would lead quietly but, hopefully, efficiently as well.

“I’m not one of those vocal kind of leaders probably. I’ve learned a lot over the years playing for different captains and I’ve seen things that work and things that haven’t worked.”

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)

Women ‘like candy’, says Thai PM

Thailand’s blunt-speaking prime minister has some advice for his country’s young women: Don’t dress too revealingly, or you will be shunned like a piece of toffee without its wrapper.

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha offered the observation to reporters on Tuesday as Thais prepared to kick off their traditional New Year celebration, known as Songkran.

The holiday comes at the hottest time of the year and is best known for the enthusiastic splashing of water upon friends and strangers alike, a practice that sometimes takes on a sexual edge, including the molestation of women.

Thailand’s military government already had announced that it would try to discourage lewd behavior and dress as inappropriate for the country’s culture.

“During Songkran, I ask that women wear proper clothes, Thai style, so they would look good and civilised,” said Prayuth, who has two daughters.

He said that in his opinion, women “are like toffee or candy,” which people would not like to eat if already unwrapped.

Prayuth went on to qualify his own advice, saying that some nicely wrapped candy will stay on the shelf for years no matter what.

The prime minister, a former army commander, is best known for blasting his political opponents, but has controversially commented before about what he thinks is appropriate attire for women.

Shortly after two young British tourists were murdered on a beach on the resort island of Koh Tao – the woman was also raped – Prayuth wondered aloud whether tourists wearing bikinis were courting danger.

“This has always been a problem … they think our country is beautiful and safe and they can do whatever they want, wear bikinis wherever they like,” he said in September 2014, after the deaths of David Miller and Hannah Witheridge.

I’m asking if they wear bikinis in Thailand, will they be safe? Only if they are not beautiful.”

He apologised shortly afterwards, saying he only meant to warn tourists to be careful.

Prayuth’s latest remarks drew criticism from Usa Lertsrisantat, director of the Foundation for Women, who said he should use his influential position to speak in a more helpful way.

“He should be sending a message to people who do not respect women’s rights as well,” she said. “He warns women not to wear revealing clothes, and he should warn men to respect women’s rights, too. Women are not toffees or candies, we are human beings.”

“When something bad happens, you can’t just say that it happened because of how women dress,” she said.

Turnbull in China advocates for open markets and the rule of law

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has urged China to stay the course on its “long journey” toward open markets and the rule of law.

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Addressing a lunch of almost 2,000 Australian and Chinese businesspeople in Shanghai, Mr Turnbull said the structural changes occurring in China’s economy were driving parallel changes in Australia’s economy.

China’s transition to a more consumption rather than production-driven economy presented extraordinary opportunities for Australia, some of which were already being delivered thanks to the free-trade agreement that came into force in December.

That had caused Australia’s own economy to shift, from a focus on mining investment to services – services China’s growing middle class needed and wanted.

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But more hard work was needed to expand business links as both economies transitioned.

“I am here to help Australian exporters open doors which had been locked,” Mr Turnbull said.

“China’s own long journey towards open markets and rule of law will be worth the challenges along the way.

“Freedom, enterprise, open markets, embrace of the global community in all its diversity – those are the qualities that have delivered progress, rising living standards and growth.”

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Turnbull unveiled new measures to attract Chinese travellers to Australia, with 2017 having been declared the year of Australian/Chinese travel.

Australia will trial 10-year validity visas, streamlined visas for Chinese students and visa applications in Mandarin to entice travellers Down Under.

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Tourism Australia and Air China have signed a $6 million advertising and data sharing agreement.

Mr Turnbull said China was Australia’s most important tourism market, worth more than $8 billion and delivering more than one million tourists last year.

He also unveiled a plan to expand AFL in China, with a game to be played in Shanghai during the 2017 season.

Mr Turnbull said it was the first time an AFL game would be played outside Australasia for premiership points.

Port Adelaide will be one of the teams involved.

‘I just want to be really crystal clear’: Ryan rules out 2016 presidential run

House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan says he’ll reject any attempt to draft him as a presidential candidate, trying to silence speculation that he could surface as a unity choice should Donald Trump or Ted Cruz falter.

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“Let me be clear: I do not want nor will I accept the nomination of our party,” Ryan said in remarks at the Republican National Committee.

Ryan, the top elected Republican in Washington and the party’s 2012 vice-presidential candidate, has been the subject of persistent speculation that he could emerge as the nominee if an impasse over the party’s pick develops at the July 18-21 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

In an interview with Milwaukee’s WISN radio on Tuesday, Ryan said: “I am going to try again today to put this bed. The answer is ‘No’ and my strong opinion is, if it goes to an open convention … my answer is the delegates should pick among the people who actually ran for president this year …

“I made a really clear choice not to run for president. Therefore, I will not be nominated. I will not allow my name to be placed in nomination and it will not be me. …I just want to be really crystal clear,” he said.

Republicans who see a disaster looming in the November 8 presidential election if Trump or US Senator Cruz of Texas is the nominee, have harboured hopes of drafting a popular party figure like Ryan or 2012 candidate Mitt Romney.

For that to happen, no candidate would have garnered the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention, and delegates there would have to approve a consensus alternative on a second or subsequent ballot.

Ryan’s announcement came on a day when long-shot Republican presidential candidate John Kasich portrayed himself as an antidote to what he called the divisive politics of Trump and Cruz and criticised them as wanting to take the United States down a “path of darkness.”

Govt to scrap road tribunal immediately

The Turnbull government will move to scrap the road safety tribunal next week, after initially pledging to abolish it after the federal election.

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The government is now convinced owner-truck drivers need uncertainty over minimum pay rates fixed urgently.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Employment Minister Michaelia Cash will on Wednesday announce plans to introduce legislation to scrap the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal when parliament is recalled for a special session on Monday.

The government is labelling its move a test for Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s leadership.

“This is an opportunity for the Labor Party to fix the mess they created,” Senator Cash told AAP in a statement.

But Labor believes scrapping the tribunal will make roads less safe for all Australians.

Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said Mr Turnbull changed his position almost on a daily basis and was now “recklessly rushing” this decision through parliament.

“Safety on our roads must be paramount, and Malcolm Turnbull has no regard for this,” Mr O’Connor told AAP.

“It is now crystal clear what Malcolm Turnbull will do when he gets a decision from an independent umpire that he doesn’t like – he will just trash it.”

The abolition bill will be introduced into the House of Representatives along with separate legislation to delay a controversial tribunal decision to impose minimum pay rates on owner-truck drivers.

The government expects the delay bill to pass.

However, the coalition is not so confident it has the support in the Senate to push through tribunal’s abolition before an election – which could be as early as July 2.

Without Labor’s backing, the legislation needs six of eight crossbench votes in the upper house to pass.

Senator Cash was actively speaking with crossbenchers, a spokesman told AAP, however the numbers weren’t necessarily secured.

The move comes after independent senator Jacqui Lambie on Tuesday threw her support behind scrapping the tribunal, arguing a delay merely causes uncertainty for trucking families.

Another independent senator, Glenn Lazarus, pledged to introduce his own abolition legislation if the government didn’t act prior to the election.

Fellow crossbenchers Bob Day, David Leyonhjelm and Nick Xenophon also want the tribunal gone.

Senator Xenophon admits he backed Labor in establishing the tribunal – a Gillard government creation – but says it has morphed into a mess.

The coalition accused Labor of setting up the tribunal in 2012 to stop the Transport Workers Union campaigning against the Gillard government’s carbon tax.

Mr Shorten has previously said Labor was willing to compromise over the new minimum rates, with the leader open to a longer implementation period for the tribunal’s decision.

The government had rejected bringing on a bill to abolish the tribunal prior to the election, saying the legislation didn’t have enough support to get through the parliament.

Now Senator Cash’s office says it had become obvious the situation was dire and the government was determined to fix the mess.

“The sweetheart deal to pacify the TWU has resulted in a payment order that will destroy tens of thousands of family businesses across Australia,” Senator Cash said.

“This government will not stand by and let that happen.”

The lower house is expected to sit for two days from Monday, while the Senate is scheduled to continue for up to three weeks – with the primary purpose of dealing with legislation to reinstate the construction industry watchdog.

3D films can ID kids with vision problems

Parents should keep an eye out for children who have problems viewing 3D films as it could be a sign of sight problems, leading UK optometrists say.

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Britain’s Association of Optometrists says children who have problems with their vision can often go undetected as they are unaware their sight is not normal.

As difficulty watching 3D films could be a sign of visual problems, parents should be on the lookout for any adverse effects.

Signs parents should look out for include dizziness, headaches or visual discomfort or not being able to see the 3D effect.

To get the full 3D effect a person needs good binocular vision, where both eyes see clearly and work together properly allowing good perception of depth.

“Difficulty watching 3D films comfortably can be an early sign of visual problems,” said AOP clinical and regulatory officer Henry Leonard.

“To be able to get the full 3D effect and view the film comfortably, you need good binocular vision.

“Children need a clear, sharp image in each eye in order for their vision to develop properly. If something upsets that balance, it can lead to reduced vision – known as amblyopia – in one or both eyes and poor 3D vision. If the problem only affects one eye it can easily go unnoticed, resulting in a ‘lazy eye’.

“If children struggle to watch 3D films or fail to appreciate the 3D effect, this could be an early sign that they may be suffering from these kinds of visual problems.”

The organisation has created a video for the public to help raise awareness of 3D warning signs which can be viewed at the 苏州美甲培训学校,aop长沙楼凤,.uk/patients website.

Veteran Swan McGlynn past injury issues

Veteran Sydney utility Ben McGlynn is getting older, but after an injury-plagued 12 months he’s confident his body will carry him through this AFL season.

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McGlynn made his comeback to the Swans’ senior ranks in Saturday’s 25-point derby win over Greater Western Sydney, having played two reserve-grade games to build up his fitness.

It was a difficult yet significant step forward for the 30-year-old, who made just nine appearances in an nightmare 2015 campaign plagued by calf and hamstring problems.

That “very frustrating” run followed an outstanding 2014 season, and McGlynn said it helped keep him motivated to get back in form.

“It’s a tough game, and I’m getting towards the end of my career as well so you need to be doing everything you can to stay out on the park,” McGlynn said.

“Unfortunately my pre-season last year was interrupted with calf injuries, so I was pretty much chasing my tail for the whole year to keep up with the pace of the game.

“But that’s in the past now, we’ve put in a new program that’s hopefully going to put me in good stead for the rest of this year.”

McGlynn focused on gym work this summer, increasing leg strength and starting running in February.

“I feel very confident in my body now and the strength in my legs is what I needed,” he said.

The Swans travel to Adelaide on Saturday, in the undefeated ladder-leaders’ sternest test yet.

Having beaten the Crows in the last four match-ups, there was a confidence in Sydney’s camp that they’d have the edge against the league’s highest-scoring side.

“They’re a very attacking team and their midfield is pretty strong,” McGlynn said.

“I know they lost (Patrick) Dangerfield, but they’ve still got a great midfield that have stepped up in his absence.

“We need to be aware of their midfield, and obviously their forward line speaks for itself … nothing against Adelaide, but we think we’ve got it over them.”