Apple wants to know if you use protection

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New features on Apple’s pre-installed “Health” app will allow users to track their sexual activity, namely whether or not they used protection and the time of day they had sex.

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The new Health app, which already tracks other health information like fitness and nutrition data, will be available on iOS 9, which is set to come out later this year, and will also include the ability to track other reproductive health metrics like menstruation and ovulation cycles.

And all that is great, some users say — Apple notoriously ignored women’s health issues as it developed previous versions of Health — but also not so great, others say, since tracking how often people do the deed is perhaps a little too personal.

“Really think it through. Why do I need a computer to figure out this part of my life?” said Teresa Schoch, associate director of Berkeley Research Group.

You don’t, Schoch thinks, especially if the data you enter ends up on some kind of cloud or external server.

“Really think it through. Why do I need a computer to figure out this part of my life?” 

You can choose to store your data solely on your device without backing it up to the cloud. But Apple also let’s you choose to share your data with your doctor or anonymously with researchers.

Apple is also set to release “HealthKit,” which will pool data entered into various health and fitness apps. For example, if you use an app that tracks blood pressure and another that tracks caloric intake, those apps could share the information they gather with HealthKit to provide a comprehensive overview of your health data.

And that, in a Utopian world where all data is safe all the time and nothing bad ever happens on the Web, sounds like a fantastic way to track your health.

“It just might be the beginning of a health revolution,” Apple’s Website reads.

Or it could be a great way to put personal information at risk and provide hackers nuanced and specific information.

“It just might be the beginning of a health revolution.”

“Data about reproductive health is very sensitive, but there are situations where maybe you want someone to know that,” said Harlan Yu, principal at Upturn, a technology consulting firm. “You might want your doctor or researchers to know that. But in other situations you might not want drug companies or insurance companies to have that information.”

Think about this: Harvard professor Latanya Sweeney found in a 2000 study that 87 percent of Americans were uniquely identifiable based on their gender, birth date and zip code. Sweeney found all that information using Census data that at the time was 10 years old.

So now, imagine what nuanced health information could say, even if it’s collected in bulk or anonymously and even if it’s not obtained nefariously, Schoch says.

“They can pinpoint you if they wanted to,” she said.

That doesn’t mean health data collection is inherently dangerous, though. Collection of reproductive health data feels more creepy, but it can still be innocuous.

“The way I look at this stuff is I look at harm,” said University of Washington law professor Ryan Calo, who specializes in Internet privacy. “Could this information be used in a way that could disadvantage you?”

That’s a question to answer before using an app to track your bedroom behavior.

Shorten’s AWU received builder donations

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A building company gave Bill Shorten’s Australian Workers Union more than $211,000 shortly after he negotiated a controversial wages deal for Melbourne’s EastLink in 2005.

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Documents lodged with the Australian Electoral Commission show Thiess John Holland paid the money in donations and “other receipts” in 2006 and 2007.

Fairfax Media reports Mr Shorten, who was AWU national secretary at time, negotiated with the company over the deal, which the Institute of Public Affairs calculated saved the builders more than $100 million.

A Labor source said it’s common for companies to make payments for things like occupational health and safety training and trade training.

A spokesman for Mr Shorten directed questions about company donations to the companies and the AWU.

“Specific questions about individual contributions from individual companies to the union should be directed to the individual companies or the union,” he told AAP.

Fairfax Media reported that at the time Thiess John Holland regarded the payments as an acknowledgement of how flexible the AWU deal was.

An IPA analysis of the deal found it would save the company $58 million in probable additional costs, $31 million in spurious OHS claims, $12.3 million in bad weather delays, and $9.2 million in work disruptions.

The operator would also earn an extra $184 million because the toll road would be completed and open faster.

AWU returns lodged with the AEC show payments of $134,500, $39,875, $20,917, and $16,500 from Thiess John Holland in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Payments were also lodged from Huntsman Chemical, Toll Logistics, and Incolink.

IS car bombs kill or injure 50 in Yemeni capital

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The four blasts rocked the capital as Saudi-led forces conducted more air strikes against Houthi military bases across Yemen and delegates attending peace talks in Switzerland reported no progress on the second day of a UN-sponsored push for a Ramadan truce.

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A security official said at least 50 people were killed or wounded in the attacks on the Hashush mosque, the Kibsi mosque, the al-Qubah al-Khadra mosque and the political bureau of the Ansarullah movement of the Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi sect of Shi’ite Islam.

“The explosion was so loud I thought it was caused by an air strike,” said a man in his 70s named Ali, who had just left a mosque when a bomb went off.

“I returned and found cars burning, people screaming and wounded people all over.”

The Sunni Muslim Islamic State said in a statement posted online it carried out the attacks.

“The soldiers of the Islamic State in Yemen, in a wave of military operations as revenge for the Muslims against the Houthi apostates, (detonated) four car bombs near the centres of Houthi apostasy,” it said.

The attack is the most serious of its kind in Yemen since suicide bombers killed at least 137 worshippers and wounded hundreds during Friday prayers at two mosques in Sanaa on March 20, in attacks also claimed by Islamic State.

The Houthi-controlled state news agency quoted an official blaming Islamic State for the latest bombings. Supporters of Islamic State exchanged celebratory messages on social media.

Islamic State has recently stepped up its operations in Yemen, where Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), also Sunni Islamist, had long dominated the militant scene.

AQAP recently suffered a serious blow when a US drone strike killed its leader, Nasser al-Wuhayshi.

AQAP militants shot and killed two Saudis in public in the city of Mukalla on Wednesday, after accusing them of placing tracking devices that helped guide the attack that killed Wuhayshi, residents said.

House destroyed

Earlier on Wednesday Houthi fighters in central Yemen blew up the home of a senior politician, Abdel-Aziz Jubari, while he was attending the Geneva talks as a member of the exiled government’s delegation.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Reyad Yassin Abdulla told Reuters in Geneva the peace talks had “made no progress”.

Residents of Dhamar city said the Houthis, who had taken over Jubari’s house in April, dynamited the building early in the morning. Yemeni websites published pictures of its collapsed roof on a pile of rubble.

Jubari, who is deputy head of the delegation sent to Geneva by ousted President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, said he was shocked when he heard the news.

“This is regrettable that people’s manners and behaviours can reach this point,” Jubari told Reuters in Geneva.

“Of course my house is not the only house in Yemen … A lot of people’s homes and properties have been targeted in an unbelievable way.”

Abdulla, the head of the government delegation, said: “It is in this spirit of revenge that they are dealing with all the Yemeni people and we cannot remain silent on this.”

Houthi officials were not immediately available to comment.

The Houthis seized Sanaa in September and pressed into the country’s centre and south, forcing Hadi and his government into exile in Riyadh.

They say they are campaigning against corruption and years of political marginalisation.

A coalition of Arab states headed by Saudi Arabia has been bombing the Houthis and their Yemeni army allies since March 26.

Their aim is to restore Hadi to power and head off what they see as Shi’ite Iran’s expansion in the region. The Houthis deny receiving military backing from Iran.

More than 2,600 civilians and combatants have been killed since March and a humanitarian crisis is looming as supplies of food, medicine and other goods run short.

The latest air raids by the Saudi-led alliance focused on army bases in Sanaa and Houthi targets in Yemen’s central desert and the mountainous province of Mahweet.

Ceasefire chances dampened

In Geneva, the UN’s special envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, has been conducting shuttle diplomacy between the two sides.

Early on Wednesday Abdulla played down the prospects of a quick ceasefire deal, saying his team still wanted the implementation of a UN Security Council resolution demanding the Houthis quit cities they have seized since September. He said he did not want a truce merely “for the sake of publicity”.

UN envoy Ould Cheikh Ahmed, who has asked the Houthi party to pick 10 of their number to represent them at the talks, said he remained optimistic. But Abdulla said the Houthis had not formed their negotiating team by early evening.

In a speech on Tuesday, Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi held out hope for a resolution but accused his Yemeni opponents of seeking to advance Saudi Arabia’s agenda.

“There is nothing hindering a political solution in the country; the solution is available, but they (the Saudis) are the ones who ruin it with their aggression,” he said.

Captain Morgan propels England to seven-wicket win

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A battling 90 from Kane Williamson and half centuries from Grant Elliott and Martin Guptill had helped the tourists reach 349-7, but Alex Hales got England off to a flying start with a quickfire 67 before Morgan and Root took over.

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A remarkably high-scoring series will now be decided in Durham at Chester-le-Street on Saturday.

“It’s certainly up there with one of the best games of cricket I’ve ever played in. The boys showed that aggressive intent right from the get-go,” Morgan said on the BBC’s Test Match Special.

Brendon McCullum won the toss and chose to bat with New Zealand making steady progress before Williamson came to the crease at 88 for one.

He pushed New Zealand’s score past 200 with another century partnership with Ross Taylor (42), while also passing 3000 ODI runs.

He fell 10 runs short of a second consecutive century after he mistimed a drive and was caught by Adil Rashid.

Rashid was in the thick of the action at the end of the tourists’ innings, conceding 28 runs in his penultimate over as New Zealand sought to build an imposing total with some late hitting.

A new-look England side, however, enthused with a new aggressive outlook, swiftly set about chipping away at the total.

Hales got England off to a flying start, smashing 67 off 38 balls, before he dragged on trying to heave Matt Henry down the ground while fellow opener Jason Roy (38) followed soon after to leave the hosts on 111 for two.

Morgan and Root swiftly restored the momentum, however, with the captain racing to his eighth ODI hundred off 73 balls before he was eventually caught by Henry at fine leg with England closing in on victory on 309 for three.

Ben Stokes arrived at the crease to help Root reach three figures, before England swiftly wrapped up proceedings.

It was a dispiriting result for New Zealand captain McCullum, who was confident his side had done enough with their first innings total.

“It was an incredible run chase,” he said.

“We knew they were going to have to play well to beat us and play well they did. They blew us off the park again.”

(Reporting by Toby Davis in London; editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Aussie underdogs ready to thrive at Open

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Australian underdogs Marcus Fraser and Kurt Barnes are determined to make the most of the US Open after getting through international qualifying.

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Fraser booked his place in his third US Open after getting through the European qualifying while Barnes will make his US Open debut at Chambers Bay after finding his way through the Japanese qualifier.

While others have taken the limelight in the lead up the Aussie pair are quietly ready to surprise.

“I’m here this week at the US Open and everyone has got a chance,” says Barnes, whose previous major experience is two missed cuts at the British Open.

“I think I was a little overawed with the two British Opens (2010-11) and I like playing golf in America – I played a lot of amateur golf here and coming to a new course where not many (in the field) have played just gives you that extra bit of confidence and I’ve been playing well the past few weeks.

“The golf course suits me. The hitting areas are generous, I’m driving the ball well and it’s just going to be who holes the putts. Hopefully I can be there somewhere abouts on Sunday.”

The 34-year-old New South Welshman from Muswellbrook, who plies his trade on the Japan tour, says his first real custom set of clubs has helped him to some decent finishes in recent months.

For Fraser, 36, this represents major number nine as he continues to put neck and wrist injury struggles of the past behind him.

The New South Welshman from Corowa will concede length off the tee to the majority of the field but makes up for it with short game wizardry.

“I’ve been playing pretty steady all year and I’m one of 156 blokes with two arms, two legs and a set of golf clubs this week.

“I think everyone, especially around this course, thinks they’ve got a chance. I definitely feel that way,” Fraser said.

“I remember playing in my first major at St Andrews in 2005 and I could barely take the club back on the first tee.

“If you don’t feel that you probably shouldn’t be there. It’s a huge buzz to play in a tournament like this and from a kid that grew up playing in a small country town with about 5000 people and a whole heap of sheep and cows, to come and play in a third US Open, for me it’s pretty cool.”

Winter is coming for illegal downloaders

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The days of illegally downloading popular TV shows like Game of Thrones could soon be over for Australians.

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The House of Representatives passed amendments to the Copyright Act on Tuesday and if passed in the Senate, the controversial bill will mean websites that provide illegal content will be blocked.

Some see the bill as a threat to internet freedom, but the Abbott Government said it is a crucial step towards wiping out internet piracy.

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the changes will reduce internet copyright infringement.

“There is no silver bullet to deal with piracy, but this bill provides an important part of the solution to the problem of online copyright infringement,” he said.

“It’s vital that online copyright owners have an efficient mechanism to disrupt the steady supply of infringing content to Australian internet users from overseas-based websites.”

While Labor supported the bill and has promised to ensure it will pass the Senate, the Greens oppose it.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam told the ABC he believes that if passed, the law could encourage lobby groups to push for internet censorship. 

“We’ve already had the Australian Christian lobby out saying they want to use it to block pornography,” he said.

“Goodness knows what other interest groups are going to be out there seizing on the fact that the government’s just introduced a new site-blocking regime.”

David Vaile – co-convenor of the Cyber Space Law and Policy Community at the University of New South Wales – has voiced concerns that the potential law has grounds to discourage carriage services from challenging it.

“They become liable for costs,” he said.

“There’s a note that they’re not liable for costs unless they put in an appearance, so it gives the form of a hearing that basically says, ‘If you turn up, we will be trying to impose court costs upon you.'”

Earlier this year, contentious data-retention laws passed the Senate.

The legislation forces telecommunications providers to keep records of phone and internet use for two years, as well as allow security agencies to access the records.

Both major parties argued the laws are important in assisting counter-terrorism and serious crime investigations.

The Greens argued against it, saying it would entrench a system of passive, mass surveillance, but Mr Vaile said the latest bill poses more of a threat to internet freedom than the data-retention laws.

“The data-retention laws are part of the general push to get [internet service providers] to be working for interests which may be against your interests and may be before other third-party interests, like governments,” he said.

“In terms of content blocking or filtering or censorship, this one, at present, is probably the most successful of the four or five different attempts to impose various sorts of internet censorship or filtering in Australia so far.”

Hungary plan to fence off border with Serbia slammed

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0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;”>READ MORE – ‘Things will get worse’: UNHCR as refugees approach 60m worldwide

Hungary, a landlocked central European country of 10 million people, is in the EU’s visa-free Schengen zone and thus an attractive destination for tens of thousands of migrants entering Europe through the Balkans from the Middle East and Africa. Most of them then move on to wealthier western Europe.

“The EU’s countries seek a solution (for the problem of immigration) … but Hungary cannot afford to wait any longer,” Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a news conference.

“We are talking about a stretch of border 175 km (110 miles) long, whose physical closure can happen with a four-meter high fence,” he added.

The fence will evoke memories of the Cold War-era barriers — including the Berlin Wall — that separated communist eastern Europe, including Hungary, from the capitalist west.

Szijjarto said the fence would not violate any international agreements and that the government would hold a high-level meeting on July 1 with Serbia, which is not in the EU but wants to join, to discuss the plans.

According to the Hungarian Office of Immigration and Nationality (BAH) about 57,000 people have crossed into Hungary illegally so far this year, up sharply from 43,000 in all of 2014. Migration began to spike in the middle of last year.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, which is losing voters to the far-right Jobbik party, is under fire from the EU and human rights groups over its handling of immigration.

Orban has said an EU proposal to distribute migrants evenly across the 28-nation bloc “borders on insanity”.

The UN Refugee Agency’s regional spokesperson Kitty McKinsey condemned the fence plan.

“The right to seek asylum is an inalienable human right. So we are concerned that erecting a fence would place too many barriers to this right,” McKinsey told Reuters.

‘Safe countries’

Szijjarto said Budapest would designate all EU member states and EU candidates such as Serbia as “safe countries”, putting the onus on them to take responsibility for migrants crossing their territory. Of the seven countries bordering Hungary, only Ukraine is neither an EU member nor a candidate.

Hungarian government ministers have said they will block migrants arriving in the country from safe countries.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said he was surprised at the Hungarian decision and would make a detailed comment after Thursday’s cabinet meeting.

“Nobody builds walls in a modern world you know, and particularly not in a part of Europe,” Vucic told reporters during a visit to Oslo.

“We were very surprised, and also, we are not going to do the same to Macedonia as the Hungarians.”

Most illegal migrants arrive in Serbia from Bulgaria, which is an EU member, or from Macedonia, which is not.

Bulgaria has built its own fence along a section of its 240-kilometre border with Turkey with the same aim of keeping out migrants and it has plans to extend it.

(Additional reporting Stine Buch Jacobsen in Oslo,; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Neymar in fraud lawsuit linked to Barca transfer

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DIS, which owned 40 percent of Neymar’s rights when he was at Santos, alleges it was paid less than half the cash it was entitled to when the player agreed to join the Spanish and European champions in 2013.

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Barcelona, former president Sandro Rosell, incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu, who is standing for re-election, Neymar, his father, Santos and two of the Brazilian club’s executives were all named in the lawsuit, according to a court statement published on Wednesday.

Barca published a statement later on Wednesday in which it said the club had acted “fully within the law” and rejected the accusations contained in the suit.

The complaint is the latest twist to a saga that has resulted in Barcelona, Rosell and Bartomeu facing trial for tax fraud over the Neymar deal.

However, this is the first time that Neymar himself has been named as a defendant in a lawsuit linked to the transfer.

Bartomeu was a vice president under Rosell when Neymar was signed in 2013 in a complex deal involving multiple contracts with the player and his father.

Bartomeu, Rosell, who resigned over the allegations, and the club have been accused of defrauding the tax office of some 13 million euros (£9.29 million).

Prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of two years and three months for Bartomeu and 7-1/2 years for Rosell, plus fines and payments of outstanding taxes totalling more than 60 million euros.

The tax probe was launched after a club member questioned the figures given for the Neymar deal. Barca initially said they paid 57.1 million euros but later admitted the cost was nearer 100 million.

The court said on Wednesday that as part of the probe into the DIS complaint, English clubs Chelsea and Manchester City, Barca’s Spanish rivals Real Madrid and German side Bayern Munich had been asked for details of offers they made for Neymar when he was at Santos between 2009 and 2013.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Ed Osmomd and Pritha Sarkar)

NZ economic growth slows

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New Zealand’s economic growth has slowed to its weakest quarterly pace in two years, driven by a dairy-led contraction in agriculture and the impact on the mining sector of a drop in oil and gas activity.

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Gross domestic product grew 0.2 per cent in the first three months of the year, according to Statistics New Zealand.

That was a third of the growth forecast by the Reserve Bank and bank economists. The economy grew at an annual 3.2 per cent pace, just below expectations.

The kiwi dollar fell as low as 69.09 US cents, from 69.56 cents immediately before the 10.45am (0845 AEST) release.

Weak growth may stoke speculation the Reserve Bank will cut the official cash rate again in coming months after last week’s quarter-point reduction to 3.25 per cent.

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler cited the slump in global dairy prices and the impact on the terms of trade in last week’s monetary policy statement, estimating farmers’ incomes in the 2014/15 season would be down about $NZ7 billion ($A6.3 billion).

Agricultural industries contracted 2.3 per cent in the quarter, reflecting lower milk production that was driven by drought in some regions and lower dairy prices.

The mining sector shrank 7.8 per cent, due to decreased exploration activity, and oil and gas extraction, the government statistician said.

There was less extraction and exploration as international prices fell.

The combined 2.9 per cent decline in primary industries more than offset gains in business services, up 2.1 per cent, retail trade and accommodation, which rose 2.4 per cent on the back of tourist spending, and a 2.5 per cent increase for transport, postal and warehousing.

Retailing and accommodation recorded annual growth of 6.1 per cent, the fastest in almost a decade, helped in the quarter by international events such as the Cricket World Cup and Chinese New Year.

International tourist spending rose 2.3 per cent in the latest quarter.

Chile’s Vidal admits to drunk-driving, asks for forgiveness

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Vidal was charged with driving under the influence after crashing some 18 miles (30 km) south of Santiago on Tuesday night, with his wife in the passenger seat, following an afternoon off from training that he spent at a casino.

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“I had two drinks and had an accident, as everyone knows, and put the life of my wife and other people at risk. And for that I’m really sorry,” Vidal told reporters, his voice cracking.

“I’m really embarrassed and all I can do is ask for forgiveness … and show on the field that this opportunity I’ve been given is worth something,” said Vidal.

The accident put Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli in a tricky position, but he ultimately decided to keep Vidal on Chile’s active roster.

“He made a mistake that isn’t such a determining factor as to exclude him,” Sampaoli told a news conference at Chile’s training camp in Santiago. “What we need is to include him.”

Vidal is expected to start Chile’s final Group A match against Bolivia on Friday.

His teammates also offered their support. Writing on Twitter, Inter Milan midfielder Gary Medel said: “I love you a lot and I’m with you now more than ever. We’re a team and we’ll come out of this together.”

NIGHT SPENT IN CUSTODY

Hospital director Sergio Aguilera said three people were hurt in the accident including the player, who “had a lightly bruised neck.”

After the crash, Vidal spent the night in police custody and a judge suspended his driver’s licence on Wednesday. The judge opened a 120-day investigation into the accident and will require Vidal to check in with the Chilean consulate in Milan, where he plays for Juventus, while the investigation is ongoing.

Chilean state television showed pictures of Vidal’s badly damaged red Ferrari. It later showed Vidal, who has three goals in the tournament after scoring twice in Chile’s 3-3 draw with Mexico on Monday, leaving in a police patrol car from the hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and had his blood-alcohol level tested.

Local radio station BioBio on Wednesday released footage of the player interacting with police shortly after the crash.

“Stop talking stupid,” Vidal said to the officers. “Are you going to handcuff me? Handcuff me, but you’re screwing all of Chile.”

Hosts Chile are top of Group A in the 12-team tournament with four points from two matches, ahead of Bolivia on goal difference. Mexico have two points and Ecuador none.

(Additional reporting by Gideon Long; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Anthony Esposito and Cynthia Osterman)