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Dubai ruler hacked ex-wife’s phone, UK court finds

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The British High Court found the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum, hacked the phone of his ex-wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, during their high-profile custody battle.

The phones of Princess Haya’s lawyers, Baroness Fiona Shackleton QC and Nick Manners, were also targeted during the divorce custody case, according to the court.

The court findings are the latest in a series of allegations brought against the sheikh in recent years. Last year, he was charged with abducting his two daughters, Latifa and Shamsa, and was then accused this year of holding them against their will.

The sheikh denies all allegations of wrongdoing, claiming the courts findings were based on evidence not disclosed to him, and were “made in a manner which was unfair”.

“Hunted and and haunted”

The hacking took place in July and August 2020 “at a time of significant events” in the court proceedings when hearings were taking place over the welfare of the children.

Princess Haya told the court she is living in fear of her life after receiving threatening messages from agents of her former husband.

Now her legal team is accusing agents of the Emirate of Dubai of acting on the sheikh’s behalf in hacking the phones of her solicitors, Baroness Shackleton and Nick Manners, as well as her personal assistant and two members of her security staff.

It was also alleged the sheikh had attempted to buy property next door to Princess Haya’s estate near London. The court heard that “if anyone chose to use it, it is in prime position for direct or electronic surveillance”.

Significant amount of data “covertly extracted”

The surveillance software used to hack the phones of the Princess and her attorney’s can expose substantial amounts of data, from the person’s location to their texts and photographs.

The ‘Pegasus spyware’ is alleged to have been deployed by Saudi government agents working on the orders of the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, against dissidents living abroad, including associates of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It also allows the hacker to activate the target’s phone without their knowledge, recording their activity and even taking photographs and screenshots.

The court concluded that the hacking attempts resulted in more than 265 megabytes of data extracted from Princess Haya’s phone.

Although this is a serious blow to the sheikh’s international reputation, it is very unlikely it will result in police questioning.

As Dubai’s sovereign ruler and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates – he and the wider UAE government remain close allies of the UK.

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Boston Dynamics’ electric marvel or robot contortionist?

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Boston Dynamics has recently unveiled its latest creation, the electric Atlas robot, boasting enhanced agility and strength.

However, with its uncanny ability to contort and rise from the ground with an almost eerie grace, one might wonder if we’re witnessing the birth of the world’s first robot contortionist.

As this technological marvel flaunts its capabilities, one can’t help but ponder if we’re on the brink of a future where household chores will be effortlessly handled by robots moving like a fusion of ballet dancers and horror movie monsters.

With its cadaver-like movements and illuminated head, it’s hard not to speculate whether Atlas is destined to revolutionise robotics or simply rehearsing for a techno-horror rendition of The Nutcracker. As Boston Dynamics continues to push the boundaries of robotics, the line between science fiction and reality becomes increasingly blurred.

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The Coffee confusion causing health concerns

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As the morning sun peeks through the curtains, many reach for that familiar brew, kickstarting their day with a comforting cup of coffee.

It’s a ritual ingrained in cultures worldwide, offering a jolt of energy to combat the grogginess of dawn.

But when is the optimal time for that caffeine fix? According to registered dietitian Anthony DiMarino, RD, LD, the answer isn’t crystal clear.

Some experts suggest delaying that first sip until mid-morning or later. However, DiMarino reassures coffee lovers that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this dilemma.

Meanwhile, the science behind coffee production unveils fascinating insights into its instant variant. Whether produced through freeze-drying or spray-drying methods, instant coffee offers convenience without sacrificing flavor.

Yet, beyond convenience, recent studies delve deeper into coffee’s impact on our bodies. Research exploring the acute effects of decaffeinated versus caffeinated coffee reveals intriguing findings on reaction time, mood, and skeletal muscle strength.

Moreover, investigations into the gut microbiome shed light on coffee’s influence on liver cirrhosis patients. A study analyzing the duodenal microbiome in this population found correlations between coffee consumption and microbial richness and evenness.

So, as you sip your coffee and ponder the day ahead, consider not just the flavour in your cup but also the subtle impacts it may have on your body and mind.

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Laughing in limbo Canadian Just for Laughs cancelled

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The renowned Montreal-based Just for Laughs comedy festival, one of the world’s largest international comedy events, will not grace the calendar in 2024.

The Canadian company overseeing the festival announced its cancellation this year, citing efforts to steer clear of bankruptcy. Having marked its 40th anniversary in 2023, Just For Laughs has long been a beloved fixture on the city’s cultural landscape.

With its absence raising questions about which event will inherit the title of the biggest comedy festival, speculation arises whether Melbourne will seize the mantle, given its burgeoning comedy scene and the success of its own Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

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