​Google plans to penalise websites that feature intrusive pop-up adverts. It is updating the algorithms used to rank its search results so that offending pages are more likely to get lower placings.

The change is due to come into effect on 10 January. Google makes much of its money from placing ads on the mobile web. One expert said the company wanted to give users one less reason to use ad-blockers or search within apps instead.

“Google is one of the largest advertising companies in the world, but it’s in a very different position to Facebook, Snapchat and other global media consumption apps,” said Daniel Knapp, senior director of advertising research at the IHS consultancy. “Google is still very reliant on the desktop and mobile web to make money, and it’s much more difficult to clean up that experience than the native app environments. “That’s why it needs to tighten…

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Orlando club shooting: Survivors’ medical bills waived

The Muslim Times


Source: BBC

Hospitals in the US city of Orlando say they will not charge for treatment provided to survivors of the Pulse nightclub massacre in which 49 people were killed by a gunman in June.

They say they will write off about $5.5m (£4.2m) in medical care expenses.

After the attack by Omar Mateen on 12 June, 53 people needed immediate medical attention.

The so-called Islamic State group has said it was behind the attack, but the extent of its involvement is not clear.

Mateen, 29, was shot dead by police after what was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Of the 53 people injured, 44 were treated at the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), managed by Orlando Health. None will be charged for their medical expenses, the company said.

Seven-year-old Mekiha Thomas of Orlando signs one of the 49 crosses at a makeshift memorial outside Orlando Regional Medical Center (19 June 2016)Image copyrightAP
Image captionForty-nine crosses in honour of the victims were placed outside the Orlando Regional…

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China gears up for missile warfare with US

The Muslim Times

Source: AT

And one of China’s most secret missile programs is a revolutionary hypersonic strike vehicle that skims the upper atmosphere and can maneuver in a bid to defeat U.S. strategic defenses.China for years has denounced U.S. missile defenses as destabilizing. But for the first time last month, the Chinese Defense Ministry confirmed the military is developing a new long-range anti-missile system.Ministry spokesman Sr. Col. Yang Yujun, in what appeared to be part of a carefully choreographed disclosure, was asked at a briefing about Chinese state media publicizing a six-year-old flight test and intercept of a Chinese version of the U.S. ground-based, mid-course anti-missile defense system.


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New Jersey: Activist Sue Altman Gives Governor Christie a Lesson

Diane Ravitch's blog

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie went to an open meeting with parents and other concerned citizens where the topic was the impoverished district of Camden, which has been under state control for three years.

In the meeting, education activist and Camden resident Sue Altman debated Governor Christie and didn’t back down. This video is going viral.

All Christie knows about education is that 1) it costs too much, and, 2) charters do a better job for less.

Altman explained that the charters don’t enroll the same demographic as the public schools.

Public ed advocate/Camden resident Sue Altman stood up and held her ground against Gov. Christie for nearly 6 minutes – correcting him on how long the state’s run Camden schools, calling him out on the hypocrisy of planning far less for Camden than his own administration’s report says is needed, reminding him the kids there can’t even drink the…

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Ambitious Three Months Planned in Argentina

Expat Journal: Postcards from the Edge


San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

(File Photo)

Argentina will be the last (new) country we visit on the Latin American leg of our around-the-world odyssey. We arrived here in Mendoza on Monday evening (it’s now Wednesday afternoon as I write this) and we’ll be back on the road this coming Monday or Tuesday. I mentioned in the beginning of this paragraph that Argentina will be the last new country, because we will be returning to Yucatan, Mexico for three months before heading back to the United States for a short visit (we will have been on the road for five years at that point).

Mendoza is a beautiful little city at the foot of the eastern slopes of the snow-covered Andes Mountains (the second highest mountain range in the world). It’s nestled in Argentina’s premier wine country famous for its robust reds, and we plan on visiting some of those…

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Please Write and Tweet John Oliver to Thank Him for His Program Revealing Charter Fraud

We reblog to further make his role known.

Diane Ravitch's blog

As readers of this blog know, deregulation of charters leads to fraud, graft, and abuse. On this site, I have documented scores of examples of fraudsters and grifters who take advantage of weak (or no) oversight to enrich themselves and to strand children in bad schools.

A few days ago, John Oliver ran an excellent segment about charter schools and the fraud associated with them. He barely scratched the surface. Charter supporters are furious and are saying that he “hurt” children, he savaged children, etc. (This is a familiar tactic; when I criticized the improbable test scores in New York City almost a decade ago, I was told that I was “hurting children and their teachers” by questioning the validity of the dramatic rise in scores.)

Fraud is a feature of deregulation, not a bug. When no one is looking, some people steal. Not everyone steals, but many do. That…

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South Carolina Changes Scale, Shocked at Same Outcomes

The last is yet to be heard on this education challenge.

dr. p.l. (paul) thomas

Education reform in South Carolina—just like the rest of the U.S.—suffers from a tragic lack of imagination: SC has changed the standards and high-stakes tests during thirty years of accountability about seven times, but the outcomes continue to be disappointing.

This proves that even in the South we are immune to our own cleverness: You can weigh a pig, but it won’t make the pig fatter.

The education reform version of that is that you can keep changing the tests, but the scores are going to tell you the same thing.

Deanna Pan, as a consequence, offers this “sky is falling” of the moment about public schools in SC, Only 14 percent of S.C. graduates are ready for college, according to ACT [1]:

Results on the ACT college entrance exam show recent South Carolina high school graduates are woefully unprepared for college, despite their ambitions for postsecondary education.

Only 14…

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