Linkin Park singer Bennington dead in apparent suicide

NEW YORK – Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, who overcame a troubled childhood to top the charts with an angry but melodic brand of metal, was found dead Thursday in an apparent suicide. He was 41.

“Shocked and heartbroken, but it’s true,” Linkin Park’s guitarist and main songwriter Mike Shinoda wrote on Twitter.

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, has died of a suspected suicide, TMZ reports. According to law enforcement officials, the 41-year-old hanged himself at a private residence in Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles. His body was found on July 20 just before 9 a.m.


Bennington had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years, and had said in the past that he had considered committing suicide before. He leaves behind his wife and six children.

xThe musician was extremely close to Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell, who also committed suicide in May. He even wrote an open letter to Cornell and spoke at his funeral. Today would have been Cornell’s 53rd birthday.

 Linkin Park was one of the best selling alternative rock bands of all time. Their debut album, Hybrid Theory, has been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America, and had other well known songs like “Faint,” “In the End,” and “Numb.”

In 2016, the CDC reported that 33,000 men die from suicide every year—meaning suicide is the 7th most common killer of men. If you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, we urge you to seek help immediately.

Thai general among officials jailed for human trafficking

A Thai general, police officers and local politicians were among dozens jailed for human trafficking on Wednesday, many handed decades-long sentences, at a mass trial exposing official complicity in the grim trade in Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants.

The junta launched a crackdown in May 2015 on a network of corrupt officials and gangmasters who made millions funnelling desperate migrants through southern Thailand and onto Malaysia, holding some for ransom in jungle camps.

It unspooled a crisis across Southeast Asia as traffickers abandoned their human cargo in the camps where hundreds died from starvation and malaria, and at sea in overcrowded boats which were then “ping ponged” between Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian waters.

The most senior government figure among the 62 people convicted on Wednesday was Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpan, who received 27 years for multiple human trafficking charges and other offences.

A judge at Bangkok Criminal Court said he was also guilty of complicity in a “transnational organised crime” network and “worked with others to facilitate human trafficking”.


It is extremely rare for senior military figures in Thailand to see the inside of a courtroom, let alone a jail.

Others received even more severe punishments. One Myanmar national who helped run the jungle camps got 94 years in jail, at least 17 others got terms more than seven decades long. Under Thai law, however, the maximum sentence a prisoner serves is 50 years.

Manas was a top figure in the security apparatus covering Thailand’s south — a key transit zone in a trafficking trail that stretched from Myanmar to Malaysia.

The court heard he received bank transfers from trafficking agents worth 14.8 million baht ($440,000).

But the police investigation found he also used his position to guide trafficking gangs around checkpoints after their arrival on remote beaches as they headed to the jungle camps.

In 2013 he was promoted to head the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) for the entire south. Current junta leader Prayut Chan-O-Cha was army chief at the time.

Before the crackdown rights groups had long accused officials of ignoring — and even conducting — the trade in humans through Thailand’s southern provinces.

The trial revealed a lattice of military, police, local political and mafia figures acting as traffickers, agents and logistics men, all soaking up cash from some of Asia’s poorest migrants.

Some reporting restrictions were placed by judges citing national security and Manas was allowed to give evidence behind closed doors.

Another well-connected kingpin convicted on Wednesday was Pajjuban Aungkachotephan, better known as Ko Tong or ‘Big Brother Tong’.

Police accused him of using private Andaman Sea islands, close to tourist spots such as Koh Lipe, to shift boatloads of migrants to the mainland, where they were packed into lorries and taken to the fetid camps straddling the Malaysia border.

He was found guilty of human trafficking and links to organised crime with judges giving him 75 years.

Throughout the marathon sentencing hearing dozens of people, including two police officers, were convicted of various offences, ranging from guarding the squalid migrant camps to trafficking and negligence.

Some 40 defendants were acquitted including an army captain and a senior police officer while one died awaiting trial.

Thailand’s role as a key trafficking route spilled into full view after officials found dozens of shallow graves in the hidden camps dotting the steep, forested hills of the Thai-Malaysian border in May 2015.

They revealed the horrors endured by some of the migrants, who were starved and held in bamboo pens by traffickers who demanded over $1,000 for their release.

The verdict is being closely-watched inside and outside Thailand. The government is desperate to dispel the kingdom’s notorious reputation for human trafficking.

Earlier on Wednesday Junta chief Prayut angrily denied the case reflected systemic corruption within the security services.

“Manas alone will not make the entire military collapse,” he told reporters.

Critics say the case was prematurely concluded and describe a trial marred by witness intimidation, secret evidence hearings and restrictions on media reporting.

“We expect there are many more perpetrators out there,” Amy Smith, from Fortify Rights, told AFP.

“This is a big business with big money.”

The senior policeman who initially headed the investigation, Major General Paween Pongsirin, fled Thailand under threats to his life.

Days before he left, he told AFP the case had been ordered closed before he could delve any further into the complicity of officials.


Facebook’s WhatsApp blocked in China amid censorship push

Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging service has been partially blocked in China, following a censorship crackdown by the government.

Multiple WhatsApp users in China reported experiencing intermittent outages from Monday night Beijing time. By Tuesday morning, users had taken to social networks such as Twitter to report that photos as well as audio clips — a favored format in the country — were not being delivered.

WhatsApp is not responsible for the blockage, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company declined to comment.

“The Chinese authorities want to be able to monitor all communication on the internet,” said Charlie Smith, a co-founder of, which tracks blockages. Smith uses a pseudonym for fear of reprisals by Chinese authorities. “By blocking WhatsApp, they limit the choices that Chinese have to send private and encrypted communications and force more and more users to adopt WeChat as their messaging app.”

While WhatsApp messages are encrypted, WeChat is unencrypted and highly censored, Smith said. On WeChat, a hugely popular messaging app run by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., people are asked to use their real names. “This is part of the censorship master plan,” Smith said.


Chinese authorities have been ramping up censorship of social media and messaging platforms as the government prepares for the 19th Communist Party Congress — a politically sensitive event that is likely to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s authority. Some users have begun relying on virtual private networks, a technology that allows users to route their data overseas, to get around the block — although China’s government has begun cracking down on these tools lately.

In China, WhatsApp is used by a relatively smaller number of people than Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat, but it’s preferred by some because it’s deemed to be less closely monitored than its Chinese rival.

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Liu Xiaobo’s recent death drew criticism from around the globe and silence at home because search terms and public discussion relating to the pro-democracy activist were heavily censored.

Read also: China cracks down on tools used to get around web filters

Research from the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab found that even photos relating to Liu were being deleted from messages sent via WeChat. It was the first time that image filtering was found in one-to-one chats, it Lab said.

Liu’s death is a sensitive event for the Chinese Communist Party, due in part to his involvement in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, according to Ronald Deibert, director of Citizen Lab. That uprising grew out of the mourning of the death of another person advocating for greater government transparency and reform in the country, Hu Yaobang, Deibert said.

“Concerned that martyrdom around Liu may spur similar collective action, as well as being concerned about saving face, the knee-jerk reaction of China’s authorities is to quash all public discussion of Liu, which in today’s world translates into censorship on social media,” Deibert wrote in a blog post on Monday.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Indonesia – Government to replant 30,000 hectares of oil palm plantation

The government has prepared 30,000 hectares of land for an oil palm replanting pilot project to increase productivity.

“As a pilot project, we will replant oil palm trees on 30,000 ha of land,” Agrarian and Spatial Planning Minister Sofyan Djalil said in Jakarta on Monday.

The replanting project would be in an area where cooperatives were running strongly, given that cooperatives were expected to become the main players in the project, Sofyan added.


“If the first phase of the project is successful, there will be more projects in the following years,” Sofjan said, as reported by news agency Antara.

Meanwhile, Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution explained that oil palm replanting was necessary to avoid increasingly complicated issues, including pressure from the buyers.

The replanting project would be jointly implemented by the Agriculture Ministry and the Plantation Fund Management Board for Palm Oil, said Darmin.

In addition to oil palm replanting, the government will also run a rubber rejuvenation program in 2018 on 15,000 ha of land.

Indonesia is the world’s largest palm oil producer. It has around 11.6 million hectares of oil palm plantations and produced some 35 million tons of palm oil in 2016. Around 16 million workers are employed in the palm oil industry.

Source – TheJakartaPost

John Legend, Chrissy Teigen on vacation in #Bali

Bali has always managed to attract plenty of famous people from all parts of the world to come to the island; Miss Universe Philippines 2017 Rachel Peters.

Adding one more to the list is famed American singer-songwriter John Legend who, alongside his model wife Chrissy Teigen and their daughter Luna, took a vacation in the midst of his Darkness and Light world tour.

The family stayed in Bali from July 8 to 16 at Como Shambhala village in Gianyar, located not far from the Ubud area.


Both Legend and Teigen shared their holiday photos on Instagram with one photo showing the couple dressed up in traditional Balinese attire.

“Thank you John Legend who has showed the world that Bali and Wonderful Indonesia are worthy of a visit by world-class celebrities,” said Tourism Minister Arief Yahya.

Read also: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen share Bali vacation photos

Source – TheJakartaPost

#Indonesia – Jepara to eliminate tourism retribution in 2019

Jepara is set to eliminate tourism retribution in several destinations run by the administration, such as Bandengan Beach, Kartini Beach and Portuguese Fort, in 2019.

“We are still discussing the plan; we’re currently working on the legal matter, which includes approval from the Regional Legislative Councils [DPRD],” said Jepara Cultural and Tourism Agency head Deni Hendarko. “This policy was initiated by our regent and deputy regent after much consideration. Of course it will lead to a decrease in our locally generated income [PAD], but we can get another income from other sectors.”


The policy is estimated to decrease the regency’s PAD by up to Rp 3.6 billion (US$270,352) per year.

“We want to push the number of tourist visit [to Jepara]. When there are more tourists coming, other sectors will improve as well. Sure the potential lost of PAD is there but it will be covered by the tax income from other sectors, such as restaurants and hotels,” he added.

Moreover, Deni says the increase of tourist visit will encourage economic equality in Jepara, especially related to UMKM (micro, small and medium enterprises) sector.

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya reportedly approved the new policy. “You can earn your [PAD] from food, drinks, tour packages and other facilities that are not hotel rooms or other services; it’s called non-operating income. A business always takes profit from operating and non-operating incomes,” he said.

Cycling tour takes you to hidden spots around Melbourne

Convenient and safe transportation is something most international tourists seek when travelling to a country, especially for recreation.

In the Australian city of Melbourne, travelers can explore the city freely and comfortably, as convenience and safety have become an integral part of the local government’s sustainable tourism management strategy.

Thanks to a well-managed transportation system, Melbourne affords visitors easy access to every tourist spot they could want to reach by taking advantage of trains, trams or shuttle buses.

But what if on the way to a particular destination, say by shuttle bus, you see such a wonderful sight as a bird sitting on a tree or a colorful butterfly perched on a yellow flower and you become eager to take a closer look?

You certainly cannot ask the bus driver to stop and make other passengers wait for you, right?

Therefore, the mode of travel that best allows you freedom to move as you wish is none other than cycling. As you whizz along with the wind in your hair and the warm sunshine on your skin, you will discover that cycling is an ideal way to see Melbourne.

Melbourne — a vibrant, elegant and multicultural city  — has become increasingly friendly for local and international cyclists, with well-marked bicycle lanes, paths and bike racks on hand. The city has a cycling network of approximately 135 kilometers of road and off-road routes.

Even though you can rent a bike and cycle alone, joining a bicycle tour is highly recommended. Accompanied by an experienced local guide, a bicycle tour takes around the city to visit many interesting sights, which will mean much to you, especially if it’s your first trip to the city.

A tour on two wheels, commonly lasting between three to five hours, covers about 12 kilometers (7 miles), with several regular stops for drinks and restroom breaks. This outdoor, relaxed and healthy activity will not only allow you to know the city better, as the tour guide will provide information about the tourist attractions and be ready to answer any questions you raise, but will also give you a chance to have fun and gain friendships with other bike tourists in a relaxed manner, making for an unforgettable and life-enriching experience.

Tourist spots on offer will entirely depend on the respective bike tour operators, but commonly the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), the Rod Laver Arena, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s Cottage are among the city’s landmarks that bike tourists visit.

If you have a passion for sports, then finding a bike tour operator that takes you to the MCG and Rod Laver Arena is a good decision.

The MCG, known by locals simply as “The ‘G,” is an Australian sports stadium located in Yarra Park, Melbourne. Three sets of bicycle racks are available at the MCG. You will be amazed by the stadium’s huge size, measuring 172.90 m long and 147.80 m wide, making it the largest cricket stadium on earth and the 11th largest stadium in the world. It has the capacity of over 100,000 people.

Built in 1853, the MCG played host to the 1956 Summer Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games and several FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Almost all bike tour operators in Melbourne also offer a tour of the city’s parks — healthy and green spaces, which put Australia on the international map. Some of the parks are known for being home to rare, century-old trees and diverse varieties of plants.

The 38-hectare Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, an internationally renowned botanical garden, is one example. The landscaped gardens comprise a mix of native and exotic vegetation including over 10,000 individual species. The gardens are located near the center of Melbourne, along the southern bank of the Yarra River.

These beautiful gardens are home to amazing and diverse plant collections such as camellias, rainforest flora, succulents and cacti, roses, Californian species, herbs, perennials, cycads and plants from southern China. The gardens are also a natural sanctuary for native wildlife.

Another natural landmark is the 26-hectare Fitzroy Gardens, located on the southeastern edge of the Melbourne Central Business District in East Melbourne.

The Gardens have a long history of over 150 years, visited by over 2 million local, interstate and international visitors each year, it is one of Melbourne’s major attractions.

The Fitzroy Gardens boast historical significance as one of a ring of public reserves around Melbourne established in the 19th century to provide respite and relaxation for the city’s residents.

The Fitzroy Gardens have been viewed as the flagship of this group of city gardens, which also includes Flagstaff, Treasury, Carlton and Alexandra Gardens and Kings Domain parklands.

The Fitzroy Gardens are an important remnant of the city’s 19th-century garden heritage.

At the Fitzroy Gardens, you will have an opportunity to see Captain Cook’s Cottage. Cooks’ Cottage, built in 1755, is the oldest building in Australia and a popular Melbourne tourist attraction.

Originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook, the cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934.

On a bike tour, you can also visit other notable landmarks in town such as the Parliament Theatre District and stately cathedrals and much more.

Aside from the city’s landmarks, Melbourne is also home to dozens of hidden spots, a popular name for restaurants, cafe and bars, which are commonly included on the bike tour program.


Each hidden spot has its own unique quality in terms of menu, flavor, interior, decor and ambiance to attract visitors. Having a drink or dining at a hidden spot after a half-day cycling is, indeed, an enjoyable and memorable experience.

So if you visit Melbourne for recreation or self-fulfillment, joining a bike tour is the right decision because Melbourne is currently Australia’s best cycling city.

ource – TheJakartaPost


900 tourists on the run for forest fires Sicily

Forest fires in the extreme northwest of Sicily forced nine hundred people into the sea today. They were evacuated from the tourist coastal town of Calampiso. Italian media reported that tourists drove by boat to the larger San Vito lo Capo and were taken to school buildings.

It is very hot with temperatures of 35 to 37 degrees and the last days are reported on many places on the island. Firefighters and other emergency services have not been called so many times for help in the past ten years, because of fire. Italian media reported that ‘Sicily is on fire’ with fireplaces in 125 different places.


Most fires are lit, said a local. “Often they arise on overgrown cornfields where the owners no longer look around. Then a small fire has been swept over to the neighbors. “According to the spokesman, Italians are supposed to provide so-called fire brigades, barriers that stop burning. “It’s an obligation, but not everyone loves it.”

Also on the Italian mainland in the vicinity of Naples, there are many forest fires. A veil of smog hangs over the city. The fires lie mainly around Mount Vesuvius.

In the last days, the fire in Sicily is no longer under control. © AFP

Source – AD

Trillion-tonne iceberg breaks off Antarctica

An iceberg the size of Delaware, one of the largest on record, was set adrift after snapping off a West Antarctic ice shelf that is now at increased risk of collapse, scientists said Wednesday.

A crack in the Larsen C ice shelf, a drifting extension of the land-based ice sheet, finally broke through after inching its way across the ice formation for years.

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process. Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The calving created an iceberg about 5,800 square kilometres (2,200 square miles) big, with a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the North American Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

“The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tonnes, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level,” said a team of researchers from the MIDAS Antarctic research project.

It will likely be named A68.

“The calving of this iceberg leaves the Larsen C Ice Shelf reduced in area by more than twelve percent, and the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula changed forever,” the team added.

Separation occurred somewhere between Monday and Wednesday, and was recorded by a NASA satellite.

Icebergs calving from Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its size, this behemoth will be closely watched for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

Source – TheJakartaPost

Design ‘Facebook Village Willow Campus’ in the hands of (Dutch) Rotterdam architect

Facebook, the world’s most popular social media and networking company, announced today that it has engaged OMA to design the masterplan for Willow Campus, a mixed-use neighborhood adjacent to their existing headquarters in Menlo Park. 

The Willow Campus masterplan design has been conceived by OMA’s New York office and Partner Shohei Shigematsu, who commented: “It’s exciting to collaborate with Facebook, whose innovation in networking and social media extends to urban ambitions for connectivity in the Bay Area. The Willow Campus masterplan creates a sense of place with diverse programming that responds to the needs of the Menlo Park community. The site has the potential to impact the future of regional transportation, housing, and environment.” 

Facebook’s full statement from John Tenanes, VP of Global Faculties and Real Estate below:

We found a home when we moved to Menlo Park in 2011.We are part of this community, and being here makes it possible for us to work on our mission to bring the world closer together.

That’s why we plan to keep investing in this community. When we first expanded beyond our original campus, we looked no further than across the street. Frank Gehry helped us design that building, which we call MPK20. Our presence has expanded further since then, and we are now planning to redevelop the former Menlo Science & Technology Park which we intend to call Willow Campus.


Working with the community, our goal for the Willow Campus is to create an integrated, mixed-use village that will provide much needed services, housing and transit solutions as well as office space. Part of our vision is to create a neighborhood center that provides long-needed community services. We plan to build 125,000 square feet of new retail space, including a grocery store, pharmacy and additional community-facing retail.

The first official step will be the filing of our plan with Menlo Park in July 2017. We will begin more formal conversations with local government officials and community organizations over the course of the review process, which we expect to last approximately two years. We envision construction will follow in phases, with the first to include the grocery, retail, housing and office completed in early 2021, and subsequent phases will take two years each to complete.

Housing is also critically important to these efforts. We hope to contribute significantly to the housing supply by building 1,500 units of housing on the campus, 15% of which will be offered at below market rates. This added on-site housing should also mitigate traffic impacts from growth. These efforts complement our ongoing work to address the issue, including the Catalyst Housing Fund for affordable housing we established in partnership with community groups to fund affordable housing for our local area. The fund was initiated last year with an initial investment of $18.5 million that we hope will grow.

The region’s failure to continue to invest in our transportation infrastructure alongside growth has led to congestion and delay. Willow Campus will be an opportunity to catalyze regional transit investment by providing planned density sufficient to support new east-west connections and a future transit center. We’re investing tens of millions of dollars to improve US101.

Construction will generate an array of jobs, and we’re planning to help local workers access those opportunities. The site will be developed in two phases designed to bring office, housing and retail online in tandem.

Our hope is to create a physical space that supports our community and builds on our existing programs. We’ve hosted tens of thousands of community members at farmers’ markets and events, and partnered with nonprofits like Rebuilding Together Peninsula to rehabilitate local homes. We’ve also enrolled local high school students from East Palo Alto, Belle Haven and Redwood City in our six-week summer internship program.

This is only the beginning. Going forward, we plan to continue to work closely with local leaders and community members to ensure Facebook’s presence is a benefit to the community. It’s one we’re lucky to call home.

Our design partner in imagining the campus is OMA New York. We have worked with them to prepare a video describing our vision and hope for integrating more closely with our community.

(Video by Brooklyn Digital Foundry) 

The Willow Campus Masterplan design was led by OMA Partner Shohei Shigematsu, Associate Jake Forster, and Project Architect Ted Lin in collaboration with Atelier 10 (Sustainability), CMG (Landscape), Fehr & Peers (Mobility and Transportation), Mobility in Chain (Mobility and Transportation), PAE (MEP Engineering).