Archive for September 5th, 2019

Facebook has launched its new dating service in the US. Sounds safe, right? – The Guardian

September 5th, 2019

Facebook announced on Thursday it is rolling out its newest service across the US, a platform for dating. What could go wrong? A lot, it turns out.

The new service, Facebook Dating, can be accessed in the Facebook app but requires users to create a separate dating-specific profile. It then links users with potential matches based on location, indicated preferences, events attended, groups, and other factors. Facebook Dating will integrate with Instagram and offer a feature called Secret Crush, which allows users to compile a list of friends they have an interest in, to be matched with if the crush lists them as well.

Facebook has touted new privacy and security features within the dating service, including the ability for users to share plans and location with select friends when going on a date and allowing users to hide dating profiles from friends of friends to avoid disclosing sensitive information like sexual orientation.

However, many are skeptical a company mired by numerous privacy scandals should be entrusted with helping users with the private journey of finding love.

“If you’re trying to avoid dating services that have red flags, you can’t really find one that has more red flags than Facebook,” Jason Kelley, a digital strategist at online privacy nonprofit the Electronic Frontier Foundation said. “They have a terrible track record of keeping user data safe.”

Social media giant entering the dating world brings up ‘red flags’

If Facebook can’t be trusted with your phone number, can it be trusted with safeguarding the name of your secret crush? Experts say no.

Facebook launched its new service, Facebook Dating, on Thursday.

Facebook launched its new service, Facebook Dating, on Thursday. Photograph: Associated Press

The announcement of Facebook Dating comes days after the company admitted to exposing more than 419m user IDs and phone numbers online, a glitch in June 2018 made private posts of 14 million users public, and another breach in September 2018 compromised the data of 50 million users. In a separate scandal it was revealed in 2018 the company improperly harvested the data of millions of users through a partnership with campaign firm Cambridge Analytica.

Facebook’s phone number breach underlies a concerning inability to determine whether privacy concerns have been effectively resolved, Kelley said. The numbers exposed were amassed using a tool Facebook disabled in April 2018 after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.

“Facebook says the dating service is secure, but how do we know it won’t realize a few years from now it was not as protected as it thought?” Kelley said. “It gives us pause when things they have changed years ago are still being shown to cause problems in terms of data privacy.”

Concerns of using dating data for advertising

Privacy advocates are concerned about Facebook entering the dating space and gleaning more information about users, given their history of using personal data to target users with advertising about everything from mental health services to depressed people to baby products for pregnant people.

Privacy advocates are concerned about Facebook’s dating service.

Privacy advocates are concerned about Facebook’s dating service. Photograph: Associated Press

The company may be able to build more sophisticated ad profiles based on what kinds of people users like, whom they match with, and even how dates go, Kelley said.

Facebook says users’ dating profiles will be separate from their Facebook activity and not used for ad targeting. But Facebook’s track record casts doubt on such promises, said Mark Weinstein, a privacy advocate and founder of social network MeWe.

“After so many years of countless privacy infractions, apologies, fines and pledges to do better, does anyone really believe a promise Facebook makes in regard to data privacy?” he said. “Facebook will use Facebook Dating as a new portal into users’ lives; collecting, targeting, and selling dating history, romantic preferences, emotions, sexual interests, fetishes, everything.”

Millions more opened up to online scams

Facebook is entering the online dating space at a time when the internet is more rife with fraud than ever. In 2018, more than 21,000 romance scams were reported to the FTC, up from 8,500 in 2015. People targeted by these scams reported a median loss of $2,600 or a collective loss of $143m in 2018. With an estimated 221 million US users, Facebook could potentially be exposing millions to fraud.

“If a service exists, people are going to find a way to use it for some kind of scam,” Kelley said. “It would be unsurprising, given how much data is available on users, it would be used for scams.”

The social media giant is already taking measures to prevent fraud, making users unable to send links, photos, or payments within Facebook Messages to prevent scams.

But with the number of privacy, security and scam concerns, privacy advocates say users are likely better off meeting potential love interests on other apps – or IRL.

“You would have to be pretty desperate with all of its history of privacy scandals to give Facebook any more insight into your life than you already have,” Kelley said.

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Demi Lovato Proudly Reveals Her Cellulite in Unedited Bikini Photo — ‘I’m Unashamed To Own’ My Body – Hollywood Life

September 5th, 2019

Demi Lovato conquered her ‘biggest fear’ by not editing her latest bikini photo, which she confessed to doing in the past. The ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ singer used to be ‘miserable’ on ‘depriving’ eating habits in the past, but not anymore!

Demi Lovato, 27, just coined a term that everyone needs to immediately adapt into their vocabularies: “CELLULIT.” That’s what the “Sober” singer labeled her beautiful bikini photo, which didn’t make the rounds through Photoshop or Facetune, on Sept. 5! Bold, sassy and proud, Demi looked back at the camera while showing off her derriere in a leopard print bikini. “This is my biggest fear. A photo of me in a bikini unedited. And guess what, it’s CELLULIT!!!!” Demi captioned the post, which has attracted reaffirming comments from stars like Bebe Rexha, Noah Cyrus, Ruby Rose, Jenna Dewan, and James Charles. The post even solicited a flirty remark from The Bachelorette’s Mike Johnson! The Disney alum then revealed why she decided to show the real her — cue “This Is Me” from Camp Rock.

“I’m just literally sooooo tired of being ashamed of my body, editing it (yes the other bikini pics were edited – and I hate that I did that but it’s the truth) so that others think I’m THEIR idea of what beautiful is, but it’s just not me. This is what I got,” Demi bravely announced in her caption. “I want this new chapter in my life to be about being authentic to who I am rather than trying to meet someone else’s standards.” Demi even hopes to be a future mother, stating that her body will continue to “amaze” her when she “hopefully give[s] birth one day.”

Demi wasn’t always riding on a wave of body positivity. “It’s such a great feeling to be back in tv/film while not stressing myself with a strenuous workout schedule before 14 hour days, or depriving myself from a real birthday cake rather than opting for watermelon & whip cream with candles because I was terrified of REAL cake and was miserable on some crazy diet sh**,” Demi admitted in the bikini post. You can read on below to find out how she’s “unashamed, unafraid and proud” to own her body now.

View this post on Instagram

This is my biggest fear. A photo of me in a bikini unedited. And guess what, it’s CELLULIT!!!! I’m just literally sooooo tired of being ashamed of my body, editing it (yes the other bikini pics were edited – and I hate that I did that but it’s the truth) so that others think I’m THEIR idea of what beautiful is, but it’s just not me. This is what I got. I want this new chapter in my life to be about being authentic to who I am rather than trying to meet someone else’s standards. So here’s me, unashamed, unafraid and proud to own a body that has fought through so much and will continue to amaze me when I hopefully give birth one day. It’s such a great feeling to be back in tv/film while not stressing myself with a strenuous workout schedule before 14 hour days, or depriving myself from a real birthday cake rather than opting for watermelon & whip cream with candles because I was terrified of REAL cake and was miserable on some crazy diet shit. Anyway, here’s me, RAW, REAL! And I love me. And you should love you too! Now back to the studio.. I’m working on an anthem.. 🙏🏼🙌🏼🤷🏻‍♀️ also. Just so everyone’s clear.. I’m not stoked on my appearance BUT I am appreciative of it and sometimes that’s the best I can do. I hope to inspire someone to appreciate their body today too. 💗 #nationalcelulliteday #celluLIT 🔥🔥🔥

A post shared by Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) on Sep 5, 2019 at 5:30pm PDT

Demi has previously battled eating disorders as a child — she admitted to “overeating” beginning at the age of eight, but body-shaming bullies led her to start “undereating” at the age of 12, the actress revealed in a 2012 interview with Daily Mail. After turning 18 years old, Demi checked into rehab in 2010 (she was also battling drug and alcohol addictions). The singer found herself on the road to betterment, and even shared before-and-after photos of her “recovery” from eating disorders in Oct. 2017.

After celebrating years of sobriety and healthier eating habits, Demi confessed she relapsed to fans in her song “Sober,” released in June 2018. The following month, Demi was found unconscious in her Hollywood Hills home after a reported overdose. Following a scary hospitalization and reported return to rehab, Demi has bounced back, as you can see in the photo above! By June of 2019, Demi revealed she’s even working on a new album to follow up 2017’s Tell Me You Love Me.


Sheriff: Speed likely contributed to crash that killed Taos High teen, Texas singer – taosnews

September 5th, 2019

By Staci Matlock

Taos mourned the loss of a high school teenager and a rising Texas country singer who both died in a three-vehicle crash north of the town Wednesday night (Sept. 4).

The Taos High School student, 16-year-old Maria Cruz from San Cristóbal, was the daughter of Pedro Cruz, the deputy chief of the San Cristóbal Volunteer Fire Department, who responded to the crash. The singer-songwriter was Kylie Rae Harris, 30, of Wylie, Texas who was on her way to perform at the Big Barn Dance, a four-day music festival in Taos.  Both were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.

Investigators with the Taos County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday evening speed appeared to be a contributing factor to the crash. The Sheriff’s Office also said alcohol was suspected as a contributing factor as well, but investigators are awaiting a toxicology report from the Office of the Medical Investigator. 

The Sheriff’s Office determined Harris was driving south on State Road 522 toward Taos in a 2017 black Chevrolet Equinox. She clipped the back of a black Chevrolet Avalanche sending Harris’ vehicle into the northbound lane, causing her to hit the white 2008 Jeep driven by the teenage girl head on. Both of them died at the scene. The third driver was uninjured.

Students and faculty at Taos High School were in shock Thursday morning as news of the loss of one of their own spread, with many visibly shaken. Maria Cruz had grown up with them, attending Taos Public Schools. 

A dinner originally planned to raise funds for the San Cristóbal Community Center will now be a fundraiser to help the Cruz family with funeral costs. The dinner is from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 6) at the San Cristóbal Community Center in the village near the fire department. A Full Course Enchilada (Green, Red or Veggie) Dinner Plate $10 Adults, $5 Children.

Taos County Fire Manager Mike Cordova said donations to help the family can also be dropped off at the Taos County Fire and EMS office, 1397 Weimer Road in Taos. 

Harris had released her third album in the spring that was well received by her fans in Texas and elsewhere. She appeared in the syndicated show Troubadour, TX in 2013, a documentary series following the lives of singers and songwriters.

Sarah Hearne Naftis , who helps organize the Big Barn Dance with her father Michael Hearne, said they were “absolutely devastated.” She said Harris had been coming to the festival off and on for years, often invited by other musicians to jump up onstage and join in while they played. “This was the first year she was going to play her own set. She was a huge part of the Big Barn Dance family,”  Hearne Naftis said.

Harris leaves behind a 6-year-old daughter. 

In a Twitter post Wednesday, Harris wrote, “Fuel range is 46 miles and I’m 36 from the nearest gas station. Dear baby Jesus please don’t let me get stranded in NM.”

She also posted an emotional Instagram video made while she was driving at some point, talking about all the years she had come to New Mexico with family and how most of them were gone now. 

The crash shut down both lanes on State Road 522 for a few hours as investigators gathered evidence. The Office of the Medical Examiner was also called to the scene.

First Responders from Taos County Fire and EMS, Hondo-Seco Fire Department and Taos Fire Department assisted in the hours’ long investigation.

The Taos County Sheriff’s Office is analyzing the crash data recorders from both vehicles. “These CDR’s will provide pertinent information that will affirm the findings of the investigation,”  according to a press release issued Thursday evening. 


Parkcrest elementary in Kamloops appears to have been gutted by fire – Kamloops This Week

September 5th, 2019


Parkcrest elementary appears to have been gutted as a fire at the Brocklehurst school continues to burn at 7 p.m. on Thursday, almost two hours after it began.

While firefighters try to douse the flames at the Brocklehurst school, the fire appears to keep growing, with a portion of the building falling from the southwest side as flames leapt from inside. A woman watching, who has children attending the school, told KTW the primary wing appears to be seriously damaged as that is where a portion of the building collapsed at about 6:30 p.m.

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Kamloops Fire Rescue crews were called out to 2170 Parkcrest Ave. just after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon following reports of black smoke coming from the rooftop.

As of 7 p.m., at least six fire trucks remain on scene, along with two ambulances and Kamloops Mounties conducting traffic control on Parkcrest Avenue. A ladder truck could be seen pouring water from above while firefighters were standing away from the building.

Diana Skoglund, communication manager for School District 73, told KTW all senior staff are at the school district staff, working on a plan for the 350-plus students who attend Parkcrest.

She said it is “way too early” to know where the students will be attending class in the coming days and weeks.

“That’s exactly what tonight’s work is for,” she said, noting all superintendents and other staff are meeting to determine needs and plan for the next weeks.

“Everyone is on hand, ready to support parents, students and staff at this time,” Skoglund said.

As for the state of the Parkcrest building and any word on a cause, she replied: “We have had a little information from the fire department — and it’s not looking good.”

Whether the students are relocated to the former Happyvale elementary on Holt Street (now home to the Big Little Science Centre) or to available space in North Shore schools or to portables remains to be determined.

The fire initially appeared to be coming from the roof near the middle of the school, with a large plume of dark smoke visible from across the city.

The cause and origin of the fire is as yet unknown.

Another woman at the scene said she heard janitors were in the school when the fire ignited. She said she heard they had escaped without injury.

As the fire raged, more than 100 people gathered across from the school to watch firefighters try to douse the flames, with many staring in disbelief and shock. Children, men and women could be seen hugging each other.

Parkcrest elementary had an enrolment of approximately 360 students in 2018.

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This Weekend’s Smash Bros. Event Celebrates “The Ultimate Partnership” – Nintendo Life

September 5th, 2019

Father of B.C. murder suspect watches clip of video taken before son’s death – CityNews Vancouver

September 5th, 2019

VANCOUVER — The father of a Vancouver Island murder suspect has now watched a video that his son made before he died by suicide in the Manitoba wilderness.

Sarah Leamon, the lawyer representing Alan Schmegelsky, says the two were able to view the 30-second clip a “safe and sensitive” location.

After a week-long negotiation with RCMP the pair watched the clip in a private room at the Surrey RCMP headquarters.

“It was a very emotional day,” Leamon says.  “As you can expect, for my client, he reacted in the manner that you would expect any father to react. This is a difficult time for him.”

Leamon and Schmegelsky both signed an agreement prohibiting them from discussing any of the details of the video. Earlier reports from RCMP say it included details on what Bryer wanted done with his body after his death.

Leamon says she can’t comment on what Bryer’s wishes were or whether he has been laid to rest.

Other family members, including Bryer’s mother, were shown the video in August.

Leamon says only Alan Schmegelsky had to retain a lawyer in order to see the video his son made before he took his own life, and says there is still no clear explanation of why he was not given access immediately.

“It’s very unfortunate, and indeed regrettable, that my client had to go through these extreme measures in order to get access to what’s been widely described as his son’s last will and testament when he should have just been given access to it from the very beginning.”

Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and Kam McLeod, 19, were found dead of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the wilderness of northern Manitoba after a national manhunt for the pair.

The pair were wanted in connection with three murders in Northern B.C.

RELATED: A timeline of events in RCMP investigation of three homicides in northern B.C.

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Dallas Opera Cancels Gala Starring Plácido Domingo – The New York Times

September 5th, 2019

The Dallas Opera canceled its big-ticket March 2020 gala concert with the opera star Plácido Domingo on Thursday amid new accusations that he had sexually harassed multiple women.

The Dallas company, where the Spanish-born Mr. Domingo made his United States debut in 1961 on his way to opera stardom, became the third major American institution to cut ties with him over the recent allegations, joining the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera. Mr. Domingo is still scheduled to sing later this month at the Metropolitan Opera in New York; the Met has said it was awaiting the outcome of an investigation by the Los Angeles Opera into the allegations against Mr. Domingo, the company’s general director.

Dallas pulled the plug on its gala after The Associated Press, which reported the first round of mostly anonymous allegations against Mr. Domingo last month, published a new report Thursday in which a singer named Angela Turner Wilson went on the record and accused Mr. Domingo of reaching into her robe and grabbing her bare breast during a makeup call when they were appearing together in Massenet’s “Le Cid” at the Washington Opera in 1999.

“It hurt,” The A.P. quoted Ms. Wilson as saying. “It was not gentle. He groped me hard.”

Ms. Wilson won Washington’s Artist of the Year award that season but was not rehired, The A.P. reported, saying that she attributed that to her interactions with Mr. Domingo. The news service said that she had told her husband and parents of the groping contemporaneously and written about Mr. Domingo’s unwanted attentions in a journal she kept at the time, but that a makeup artist she believed had witnessed what happened said he did not recall it. Ms. Wilson went on to sing elsewhere, including at the Dallas Opera, and to teach. She is one of 11 women who shared their experiences with the news agency after its initial report of allegations against Mr. Domingo.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Domingo, Nancy Seltzer, disputed the allegations.

“The ongoing campaign by The A.P. to denigrate Plácido Domingo is not only inaccurate but unethical,” she said in a statement, which was sent to the news agency and then to The New York Times. “These new claims are riddled with inconsistencies and, as with the first story, in many ways, simply incorrect. Due to an ongoing investigation, we will not comment on specifics, but we strongly dispute the misleading picture that The A.P. is attempting to paint of Mr. Domingo.”

[Read about how the allegations against Mr. Domingo have divided the opera world.]

The Dallas Opera announced its cancellation on Twitter Thursday, posting a statement in which it said it had decided to cancel the gala “in light of ongoing developments regarding allegations made against Plácido Domingo.”

A spokeswoman for the company, Suzanne Calvin, declined to comment on the company’s financial expectations for the gala, which is an important fund-raiser, or to say whether it had to pay Mr. Domingo a fee for the canceled performance. ​His debut in Dallas was in a performance of “Lucia di Lammermoor” starring the great soprano Joan Sutherland.

The cancellation came on the same day that Mr. Domingo began rehearsals at the Met Opera in New York, where he is scheduled to sing the title role in Verdi’s “Macbeth” later this month opposite the star soprano Anna Netrebko. The Met said that it had no further comment on Mr. Domingo, and pointed to its statement about awaiting the results of the Los Angeles Opera’s inquiry.

The Los Angeles Opera, which Mr. Domingo was instrumental in founding, is the setting for several of the earlier accusations of sexual harassment. The company said last month that it had hired Debra Wong Yang, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and a former United States Attorney, to conduct what it said would be a “thorough and independent” investigation into the allegations about Mr. Domingo.


Father of suspected BC killer granted access to cellphone video – Alberni Valley News

September 5th, 2019

The father of a suspected B.C. killer has now seen a video his son made shortly before his death in August.

Alan Schmegelsky had hired a lawyer to help him gain access to a video his son, Bryer Schemegelsky of Port Alberni, reportedly made before he and his friend Kam McLeod died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the bush near Gillam, Man. Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, and McLeod, 19, led RCMP on a Canada-wide search for two weeks after they were charged with second-degree murder of a Vancouver university professor and suspected in the homicides of two international tourists—all occurring in northern B.C.

Schmegelsky and McLeod’s bodies were found nine kilometres away from where a stolen vehicle they had been driving was burned. They had reportedly been alive for some time after being spotted in Gillam.

News of the cellphone video was made public in late August.

READ: B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Star Vancouver reported that some family members were shown a 30-second clip of a video the two young men recorded before their deaths. The clip was apparently a “goodbye”, and a last will and testament detailing the young men’s wishes for their remains.

Alan Schmegelsky’s lawyer, Sarah Leamon, tweeted the news this afternoon that her client was able to view the video.

“I am pleased to have reached an agreement with the RCMP, through extensive negotiation, which balances the integrity of the on-going investigation with my clients rights as a father. Thank you for all the support,” she wrote.

READ: Father of suspected B.C. killer seeks access to video taken before son’s death

Alan Schmegelsky has reportedly had to sign a non-disclosure form and is not permitted to discuss the contents of the video. He was not given a copy of the video, Leamon told CBC.

RCMP confirmed in an e-mail to Leamon in late August that both Bryer Schemegelsky and McLeod had left a cellphone video before they died, but they refused to allow Alan Schmegelsky to watch the video.

“The video has to do with how Bryer wanted his body dealt with after death and that information was passed on to his mother, the next of kin, who is dealing with this as the body has been released to her,” the e-mail noted.

Leamon tweeted at the time that Alan Schmegelsky “is just like any other father. He has lost his son under unimaginable circumstances. He should be afforded with the opportunity to view his sons (sic) last will & testament in peace so that he may find some degree of closure in this very difficult time.”

The RCMP have not released the video nor acknowledged its existence publicly. More information on the investigation surrounding the three murders and the Canada-wide manhunt will be forthcoming, the RCMP have said, but they haven’t said when that will happen.

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Facebook wants to find you a soul mate. Will users trust the company with their secrets? – The Washington Post

September 5th, 2019

Kylie Rae Harris Reflects on Death in Video Posted Before Fatal Crash – E! NEWS

September 5th, 2019

Kylie Rae Harris‘ last upload to her Instagram account paints an emotional portrait of her final hours. 

The country music singer passed away at the age of 30 following a three-vehicle accident in New Mexico on Wednesday. Harris was road tripping to a scheduled performance at a music festival when she posted a series of videos reflecting on personal family memories and the loss of those closest to her. 

Struggling to hold back tears, Harris recalled visiting relatives in the area as a child, saying, “Literally everybody that was here has passed away except for my uncle and including my dad. I’m going to cry.” 

“I’ve been driving for almost 12 hours and you would think that’s so exhausting and boring but like, the last couple of hours driving through the mountains and remembering my place in the back seat as a little kid when my dad was making these treks here. Like, it was the f–king best,” she continued. 

Unaware of what her future held, Kylie then shared details from another accident that took place on the same roads that would ultimately take her life. 

The performer said seeing cows throughout her drive reminded of a time when her late father actually hit a cow on one of their annual visits. As she described in the video, “I know that’s very depressing. But just the fact that I started, when I was on my trek through the mountains, I had just started crying and I was sad and all of a sudden these cows appeared out of nowhere. And we grieve in different ways but like, I don’t know.”

Kylie Rae Harris

Kylie Rae Harris/Instagram

Four hours later, the Dallas native and another driver, 16-year-old female, would perish in an accident on State Road 522. According to reports, a third driver escaped injury and authorities suspect alcohol is a factor in the crash. 

Harris had released her latest EP in March of this year. One song, titled “Twenty Years From Now,” was written as a tribute to her young daughter Corbie

She told Billboard of the inspiration for the track, “It scared me thinking that it was totally possible I could be gone before my daughter reaches [adulthood.] I want to meet my kid’s kids. Getting to the age your parents were when you were a child brings a whole lot of perspective.” 

Plans for a memorial have not yet been announced.