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7 ways Apple could improve the iPhone’s Shortcuts app

Macworld - 17 hours 26 min ago

Remember Shortcuts? A mere seven months ago it seemed transformational and game-changing; an app boasting the power to strengthen Siri so it could hold its own against Alexa and Google Assistant. Nay, it would be better. Shortcuts would allow us to mold Siri to our needs; we could create automated actions that Apple itself may never dream of.

It hasn’t quite worked out that way, even though the potential is still there. These days I struggle to find ordinary iPhone users who’ve even heard of Shortcuts. As for finding someone outside the Apple enthusiast press who uses a Shortcut on a daily basis? I might as well be looking for Amelia Earhart. The activity on forums focused on Shortcuts seems to dwindle by the day.

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China's 2018 economic growth sinks to 3-decade low

Top Stories - 17 hours 40 min ago

BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth hit a three-decade low in 2018, adding to pressure on Beijing to beef up stimulus measures and settle a tariff war with Washington.


Model who alleged Russian meddling in US election tells Moscow court she will not publish Deripaska recordings

Top Stories - 18 hours 2 min ago

Anastasia Vashukevich, the model who recorded a former employer of Paul Manafort allegedly discussing US relations with a Russian deputy prime minister during the 2016 election, has promised in a Moscow court not to release any further recordings.  Ms Vashukevich previously claimed to have evidence of Russian interference in the US election from a fling with Oleg Deripaska, the metals magnate to whom Donald Trump's campaign manager Manafort reportedly promised private briefings, something Deripaska always denied. Video she uploaded to Instagram showed Mr Deripaska speaking on a yacht in 2016 with Sergei Prikhodko, a deputy prime minister and long-time aide to Vladimir Putin. In a separate audio recording, Mr Deripaska is heard discussing Russia's “bad relations with America”. The pair talked about the “issue with America,” Ms Vashukevich had claimed. After her Instagram posts were discovered in February 2018, Ms Vashukevich was arrested while leading a sex training seminar in Thailand, and Mr Deripaska successfully sued Ms Vashukevich for violating his right to privacy with her photographs and recordings. A Russian court ordered her to delete the posts and pay him £5,800 in emotional damages. She and her partner from the sex training received a suspended sentence for soliciting and conspiracy last week and deported to Belarus, their native country. On her way there, they were arrested in a Moscow airport on Thursday. They face prostitution charges carrying up to six years in prison. After being led by bailiffs into a glass defendant's cage on Saturday, Ms Vashukevich asked Mr Deripaska's forgiveness and promised no more revelations. Ms Vashukevich was deported by Thailand and arrested at Moscow airport Credit: Vasily Maximov/AFP “There won't be any more audio recordings about Oleg Deripaska,” she told journalists from a glass defendant's cage. “I won't compromise him anymore, so he can relax, really, I've had enough." She claimed that she was now subject to "fabricated" criminal cases in Thailand, Russia and Belarus. Ms Vashukevich declined to comment when asked by The Telegraph if the prostitution charges against her were related to claims of Russian election interference. The court delayed a hearing on her confinement until Tuesday after investigators said they didn't have enough evidence to make their arguments. Mr Deripaska has denied interference and said he never received an offer of private briefings. He is under US sanctions, but sanctions against some of his companies are set to be lifted this week despite controversy in congress. Mr Deripaska is seen speaking to Mr Prikhodko in footage posted by Ms Vashukevich Credit: Instagram The meeting on the yacht took place in August 2016 off the coast of Norway, according to an investigation by opposition activist Alexei Navalny. A private jet linked to Mr Deripaska had flown between New York and Moscow and then to Norway in the previous days, Mr Navalny found. Manafort, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to cooperate with Robert Mueller's investigation into election interference, told a Russian acquaintance he could offer private briefings to Mr Deripaska the month before, according to emails seen by The Atlantic and other publications. Russia ordered YouTube to take down Mr Navalny's video investigation, but it is still available and has more than 8 million views. While in jail in Thailand, Ms Vashukevich claimed to have more than 16 hours of audio recordings and photographs providing evidence of Russian interference in the US election. She promised to provide the evidence if the United States gave her asylum. Miss Vashukevich in detention in Thailand  Credit:  JORGE SILVA/REUTERS Ms Vashukevich told CNN she witnessed Mr Deripaska meeting three Americans in 2016 and 2017 and said “they had a plan for the election”. She said she had photographs of one of the Americans with Mr Deripaska, but refused to name any of the men. CNN also reported FBI agents had unsuccessfully tried to see her in Thailand.


Ghosn awaits fate after vowing to stay in Japan if bailed

Top Stories - 18 hours 32 min ago

Carlos Ghosn awaits his fate as a Tokyo court prepares to rule on his bail request after the ousted Nissan boss vowed to remain in Japan if released and offered to provide more collateral. "As the court considers my bail application, I want to emphasise that I will reside in Japan and respect any and all bail conditions the Court concludes are warranted," Ghosn said in a statement released by his US-based representatives. A spokeswoman for Ghosn, Devon Spurgeon, said his family had already rented an apartment in Tokyo where he promised to reside while awaiting trial.


The Latest: 12 killed in Taliban attack in east Afghanistan

Top Stories - 22 hours 24 min ago

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on developments in Afghanistan (all times local):


Giuliani: 'So what' if Trump and Cohen discussed testimony

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 23:57

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani left open Sunday the possibility that Trump and former personal attorney Michael Cohen might have discussed Cohen's congressional testimony.


Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 23:22

BEIJING (AP) — A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce and rich in fish and potential oil and gas reserves:


The Latest: Amtrak plans to be back to full schedule Monday

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 20:58

BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on the winter storm moving across the country (all times local):


Flash freeze of melting snowstorm seen icing over U.S. Northeast

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 20:26

Plunging temperatures after a wet winter storm dumped more than a foot of snow on parts of the U.S. Northeast were expected to flash freeze much of the region on Sunday and make travel dicey during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. "Any water that remains on the road will freeze into a sheet of ice and make conditions quite hazardous," said Rich Otto, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS). Sub-zero temperatures tied to gusting winds prompted the NWS to issue wind chill advisories and warnings for more than 10 states, from North Dakota and other parts of the central United States to East Coast metropolitan centers including Washington, New York and Boston.


Nathan Phillips, veteran and Native American elder taunted by high schoolers, speaks out

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 19:44

"All that anger and wanting to have the freedom to rip me apart, that was scary," Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran Nathan Phillips said.


Ayesha Curry: Secret to long marriage to Stephen Curry is putting him first, not kids

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 19:44

Celebrity chef Ayesha Curry says she follows the unconventional advice of her parents and in-laws, who have each been married longer than 30 years.


Toddler mimics dad and puts hands up during shoplifting arrest in Florida

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 17:31

Police are reviewing body cam info after a toddler walked towards armed officers with her hands up.


After the storm: Dangerous stretch of subzero AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to grip northeastern US

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 16:54

A polar plunge of brutal cold is following this weekend’s blockbuster winter storm, which can threaten lives and complicate travel and cleanup efforts.


Erdogan: Turkey is ready to take over Syria's Manbij

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 16:32

Turkey is ready to take over security in Syria's Manbij, President Tayyip Erdogan told U.S. President Donald Trump in a telephone call on Sunday, the Turkish presidency said in a statement. Erdogan said an attack that left four Americans dead last week in Manbij was an act of provocation aimed at affecting Trump's decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. The attack occurred nearly a month after Trump confounded his own national security team with the surprise decision on Dec. 19 to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, declaring Islamic State had been defeated there.


Tornados inflict damage in Alabama town, Florida Panhandle

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 15:31

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — Homes, businesses, government offices and churches were among the buildings badly damaged or demolished when tornadoes struck central Alabama over the weekend.


Get Prepped for the Camping Days Ahead With REI's Clearance Sale

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 15:11

Hiking gear, backpacks, and campsite upgrades are all part of REI's clearance sale.


Prince Philip 'could be sent on driving awareness course' as police investigate crash

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 15:00

The Duke of Edinburgh could be sent on a drivers’ awareness course, it has emerged, as police continue to investigate a crash which left two women hospitalised. The Duke, 97, is understood to have no intention of giving up driving, having been photographed on public roads driving a new car less than 48 hours after the accident. He is understood to be complying with a Norfolk Police investigation, which will see him interviewed about what happened. Two women, aged 45 and 28, will also be asked for their recollections of the accident, after their Kia Carens collided with the Duke’s Land Rover Freelander on the A149 on Thursday. Both police and palace have emphasised that the investigation will be conducted in the same way as any other traffic accident, despite one of the involved parties being married to the Queen. That process would see him interviewed in the coming days, before police officers recommend whether to proceed with charging anyone involved. The scene of the crash, on the A149 at Sandringham The Duke has already passed an eye test as part of the investigation, celebrating by defiantly driving himself around the public roads near to Sandringham alone less than 48 hours after the accident. He was caught on camera driving in dark glasses without wearing a seatbelt, in a gesture that has been criticised by onlookers. A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “We are aware of the photograph. “Suitable words of advice have been given to the driver and this is in line with our standard response when being made aware of or receiving such images showing this type of offence.” The law states that drivers can be fined up to £500 if caught without a seatbelt. The Duke of Edinburgh drives the Queen and Barack and Michelle Obama during their visit to Windsor Credit: Geoff Pugh If the Duke was found to be at fault for the Sandringham accident, he could be charged with driving without due care and attention, which carries a maximum penalty of nine points on a driving record and a £5,000 fine. It is thought unlikely that a prosecution would come to court. A police source said yesterday that non-royal drivers involved in a similar collision would more likely be offered a drivers’ awareness course, with improving their motoring skills considered more in the public interest than a court case. The Duke reportedly said "I'm such a fool" after being pulled from his wrecked Land Rover Freelander on Thursday after it flipped on its side following the collision with a Kia close to Sandringham. Witnesses claim he had told police at the scene he had been “dazzled” by the low sun at 2.45pm. A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: “As is standard procedure with injury collisions, the incident will be investigated and any appropriate action taken.”


The Latest: Native American says he sought to quell tension

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 14:43

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Latest on videos showing Kentucky students mocking a Native American at a rally in Washington (all times local):


UN agency says not aware of plan to close east Jerusalem schools

Top Stories - Sun, 01/20/2019 - 14:10

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said Sunday it was not aware of a reported plan by Israel to close its schools in east Jerusalem. Israel's Hadashot television news reported on Saturday night that the country's national security council had taken a decision to close the schools starting next academic year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office did not confirm the report to AFP.


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