May 8, 2019

We both now have hope – MS sisters

NHS backing of a new treatment for the disease means Zoe Bowman may get help just as her sister has.
May 8, 2019

‘Mulberry Bush’ nursery rhyme tree in new lease of life

A tree thought to have inspired Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush dies but plans are made to replace it.
May 8, 2019

Frozen eggs ‘are fastest fertility trend’

The procedure is becoming more successful, the UK's fertility regulator says.
May 8, 2019

How to reduce your carbon footprint when you fly

Aviation contributes to climate change, but there are ways to reduce your flight's impact on the planet.
May 8, 2019

New proposal might let debt collectors harass consumers via text message and email

Debt collectors are notoriously persistent and annoying, a fact which shouldn't come as much of a surprise given that calling people and asking for money is, well, exactly what their job description calls for. But imagine how much worse things would be if debt collectors were allowed to pester you via text, email, or even social media. Does it sound like a nightmare? Of course, but that's exactly what the future of debt collecting might look like in a world where people communicate more via computers and smartphones than the phone. This past Tuesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new proposal that, while giving consumers added protections, would also make them more accessible to debt collectors. As far as the protections go, deb collectors would only be able to call a specific individual about a specific debt seven times per week. What's more, if the debtor actually picks up the phone and engages with the debt collector, the collector would then need to wait at least a week before calling again. Another proposed rule states that a debt collector can't threaten to sue a debtor if the debt collector knows full well that the statue of limitations has expired. As to the worrisome part of the proposal, The Washington Post notes that it would enable debt collectors to send an "unlimited amounts of texts and emails." To this end, phone calls are limited to seven times a week but the published proposal makes no reference to a cap for digital communications. While emails are far less intrusive than phone calls, the idea of debt collectors harassing consumers via text message is certainly worrying.
But this digital-first approach has alarmed consumer advocates who worry that the CFPB could give an industry known for high pressure tactics a new way to violate consumers’ privacy. While many Americans understand how to deal with a pesky creditor calling their landline, their texts, emails and social media are new and more personal territory. “People are able to ignore phone calls, and that is the thing debt collectors don’t like,” said David Phillips, an Illinois attorney who has filed dozens of lawsuits against debt collectors. “It’s as if a debt collector is able to show up at your house and pound on the door. That is the effect of a text message.”
Notably, though, consumers would have the ability to limit communication to certain mediums or certain hours of the day. Hypothetically, for instance, consumers would be able to opt out of receiving text messages during the work day if they so choose. "The Bureau is taking the next step in the rulemaking process to ensure we have clear rules of the road where consumers know their rights and debt collectors know their limitations," CFPB Director Kathleen L. Kraninger said in a press release. "As the CFPB moves to modernize the legal regime for debt collection," Kraninger added, "we are keenly interested in hearing all views so that we can develop a final rule that takes into account the feedback received.” It's worth noting that all of the above are simply proposals and that the CFPB welcomes opinions from consumers before a final regulation is drawn up and issued. The CFPB proposal can be read in its entirety over here.
May 8, 2019

Newspaper headlines: ‘Adorable’ Archie meets the Queen

The front pages picture the newly-named royal baby, as he was unveiled to the world for the first time.
May 8, 2019

Huawei says extradition case against CFO is about politics

The chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei was back in a Canadian court Wednesday for what is shaping up to be a very long battle against extradition to the United States.
May 8, 2019

Hands-on photos of the OnePlus 7 Pro may have leaked for the first time

OnePlus next week will unveil the OnePlus 7 phones: A series of three devices that will hit several markets in the following weeks, including a 5G version — at least, that's what all the rumors say. And a bunch of OnePlus 7 rumors have popped up in the last few weeks telling us everything we needed to know about the phones. All the official announcements that OnePlus made about the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro further confirmed the previous leaks. But that doesn't mean the leaks have stopped, and thanks to one of the latest, we can show you what the OnePlus 7 Pro looks like in real life. Italian architect and blogger Andrea Galeazzi posted images on an Instagram Story that showed a device that looks a lot like the OnePlus 7 Pro (via Slashleaks). We already know the OnePlus 7 Pro will feature a Galaxy S-like curved display, with the screen occupying almost the entire front of the handset. There's no notch or punch-hole camera because the phone features a pop-up slider camera instead. That camera can be easily seen in the following image — just pay attention to his glasses: If you're still not convinced, then check out the following photo, which shows the phone in action during a video call. That means that, yes, the selfie camera is out and in use: There's no confirmation this is indeed the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it sure looks a lot like what we've seen before. There is one subtle difference, however. The selfie camera location doesn't match with the previous leaks. Here's an alleged press render of the phone that leaked earlier on Wednesday: https://twitter.com/ishanagarwal24/status/1126095561575190529 Flipping that second image gives us this result, which matches the previous leaks: Maybe the influencer mirrored the original photo trying to hide the identity of the phone? Maybe the leaked phone is not the OnePlus 7 Pro (although it sure looks a lot like it)? 
That said, OnePlus will reveal all of the OnePlus 7 Pro's remaining secrets next week on May 14th.
May 8, 2019

Tory MP Mercer withdraws support from PM over veterans

Johnny Mercer says he has withdrawn support for the PM over the historical prosecution of veterans.
May 8, 2019

Here are the first photos from the next-to-last episode ever of ‘Game of Thrones’

Only two more episodes of Game of Thrones to go, and HBO has just released the first batch of photos from the second-to-last episode of the landmark show which depict preparations being made for what looks to be an all-out fight for King's Landing. The nine just-released photos for this Sunday's episode 5, no surprise, don't really give anything away in terms of spoilers, but they do hint at where things are headed as we get closer to the end. The show's eighth and final season has already attracted a seemingly larger-than-ever share of critics, many of whom don't enjoy the direction the show is taking as it's moved farther and farther away from George R.R. Martin's source material -- in terms of both the actual story as well as in some of the dialogue. Teasing Brienne during the previous episode for being a virgin, for example, was pretty cringey. Hopefully, everything is not headed toward a thoroughly unfulfilling Lost-style ending to the series -- though you'd be forgiven for starting to worry about that, especially with the latest news on the Game of Thrones leak front. Along those lines, if you are trying to avoid *SPOILERS* then absolutely do not read our post from earlier today that rounds up some ominous leaks pointing to a dark and very violent end for many of the show's main characters. Having said that, as a reminder about the general scope of episode 5: The images below show forces on both sides (Cersei's and her opponents') massing for a battle to win control of the capital city. Among the wild cards, Cersei has brought tons of civilians into the Red Keep to make Daenerys think twice about using her sole remaining dragon to launch a firey attack. And without further ado, here are the other images from episode 5 that HBO also released today: