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Haiti's former president René Préval died Friday, current President Jovenel Moise confirmed in a tweet.

Préval served as president during Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake.

 

He was the only Haitian president to serve two full terms, from 1996 to 2001 and from 2006-2011.

Préval was first elected by a landslide in 1995 as the chosen successor of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but his term was marked by political infighting.

 

Préval then withdrew from politics and then renewed his political career won a second term in 2006, marked by a dramatic spike in kidnappings, gang warfare, riots over soaring global food prices. 

The Miami Herald reports that Préval died at home in Laboule, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince.

He was 74. The cause of death has not been released.

 

 

ROD Stewart was blasted after his wife Penny Lancaster shared a video of him appearing to mock a beheading in the Abu Dhabi desert.

Penny shared – and quickly deleted – the video on her Instagram account where she has 28.4k followers.

In the clip, the couple can be seen larking around on the sand dunes in the desert, with a huge group of friends.

But Rod shocked fans when he forced his friend to his knees, grabbed him by the hair and seemed to run his hand across his throat.

After his wife deleted the video, the rocker has since apologised for his actions, explaining he was merely re-enacting the Game Of Thrones.

"From re-enacting the Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing to spontaneously playing out Game Of Thrones, we were simply larking about pre-show," he said in a statement shared by Press Association.

"Understandably this has been misinterpreted and I send my deepest apologies to those who have been offended."

Rod is currently on a world tour and spent time seeing the sights in Abu Dhabi ahead of his show at the Du Arena on March 2.

His wife Penny has been sharing numerous snaps from their holiday as she unwinds with her hubby.

One photo shows the couple reclining in the sand, with Penny’s arm draped around her husband’s shoulders.

Looking sun-kissed, the pair are beaming in the snap rocking similar sunglasses as they soak up the sun.

"Sandy afternoon," she captioned it.

She also shared a snap of her husband getting a henna tattoo of the word: "Celtic".

The famous couple took time have a tour of a mosque, with Penny covering up in a sheer burgundy dress.

"Enjoyed our day at Abu Dhabi’s incredible Mosque (Rod amused by my new look)," she captioned it.

Penny, who recently made a confession about her hubby, often shares snaps of quality time with her husband.

The pair went incognito on a trip into London this week, with Rod donning an oversized coat and sunglasses in a bid not to be recognised.

Her new show is “a combination of ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and a water park.”

Ellen DeGeneres is playing games in prime-time.

The popular daytime talk host will host a new game show called “Ellen’s Game of Games,” NBC announced on Thursday.

The concept revolves around “supersized versions” of games that DeGeneres already conducts on her afternoon show, according to a press release.

NBC is ordering just six episodes, but DeGeneres promises to pull out all the stops to ensure its success, including gigantic sets and “hilarious games. “It’s going to be like a combination of ‘American Ninja Warrior,’ ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ and a water park,” she said in a release. “OK, it’s nothing like that, but you should still watch.”

Contestants, plucked from the audience, will have to complete stunts, answer questions “under immense pressure” and participate in other means of silliness.

Some of the regular games on her daytime program include “What’s In the Box?” and “Know Or Go.”

“Ellen’s impact as a daytime icon is unprecedented, and we can’t wait to see her bring that amazing spirit to ‘Game of Games,’” said Paul Telegdy, president of NBC Entertainment’s Alternative and Reality Group. “She is among the very best at engaging with her devoted audience and we are all in for a treat when her antics hit prime time.”

The network has yet to determine a premiere date, Variety noted.

Who knows, maybe the new show will feature a version of the “The Sweater Game”:

Tom Hanks has sent a gift to journalists tasked with covering what’s going in the White House, along with a poignant note about the current political climate.

The Oscar-winning actor was revealed to have sent a new shiny new coffee machine to the reporters on Thursday (2 May), but what really struck a chord was the accompanying message. 

Reuters reporter Steve Holland shared the message on his Twitter page, and it read: “To the White House Press Corps. Keep up the good fight for Truth, Justice and the American Way. Especially the Truth part.”

Although the ‘Castaway’ actor has been critical of Trump in the past (let’s not forget the time he called him a “a self-involved gasbag”), he’s since taken a deliberately optimistic approach when asked about the current political climate.

Speaking shortly after the election result last year, he said (via Vulture): “We are going to be all right… that document [the constitution] is going to protect us, over and over again, whether or not our neighbours preserve and protect and defend it themselves.”

Tom Hanks’s gift comes at a time when so-called “fake news” is a hot topic, with recently-elected US President Donald Trump claiming last month on his Twitter that “any negative polls are fake news”.

The President’s press secretary Sean Spicer was also heavily criticised on social media last week, when it was reported that news outlets including the BBC, Buzzfeed and CNN, all of whom Trump has been heavily critical of in the past, had all been banned from a White House briefing.

The American edition of HuffPost was also denied access, with editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen saying shortly afterwards that it had been a “deeply disturbing” decision.

 

Common bucket list items: see the Eiffel Tower, ride in a helicopter, run a marathon.

Not so common bucket list item? Get arrested.

But that's precisely what sat on top of 99-year-old Annie's list: "Experience a police cell from within."

Annie's niece contacted officers in the Dutch town of Nijmegan-Zuid to tell them about her aunt's dream.

There was a problem, though. "Civilians are not allowed inside an area with cells," the police said on Facebook.

But how could you say no to such an odd request? An officer named Maarten bent the rules and "arranged a visit for Annie (very exceptional) in a dwell chamber."

And Annie got the full effect: she was picked up by the police, cuffed, and locked up. She had the time of her life.

Although this request might seem uncommon, it's not the first time someone has asked to be thrown in the slammer for the fun of it.

Last year, Edie Simms, a 102-year-old woman in St. Louis, had her dream come true when — upon request — police officers arrested her at the senior center where she delivered her handmade scarves and pot holders.

Annie and Edie, though unusual, know how to have a little fun.

 

Michael Jackson‘s mother Katherine Jackson recently claimed that she was the victim of prolonged abuse and financial improprieties at the hands of her nephew and driver, Trent Lamar Jackson. Now the 86-year-old matriarch of the famous music family is elaborating on the supposed misdeeds in new court declarations filed Wednesday, alleging that Trent monitors her home with hidden cameras and listening devices.

 

In the documents, which have been obtained by PEOPLE, Katherine stated the belief that her residence, including private areas and even phone lines, are under Trent’s surveillance. “The only place I can try and have a private conversation is in my bathroom, pretending I am using the restroom so I can make a call,” she said in her declaration.

 

She also claimed Trent, who is the son of her husband Joe’s half brother, has copied the key to her home, and that she dresses in her closet for fear that he will enter without warning. However, Katherine said Trent neglected to call 911 when she thought she was suffering a stroke or a seizure, instead believing that he could care for her.

 

“I needed a doctor, and he neglected my health needs,” she stated in her declaration. “I have spoken to adult protective services in the past, but I have not had the strength or courage to follow through because Trent manipulates and bullies me into backing down. Trent … will speak harshly and make threats to me, or will cry and beg me to changed my mind. He knows I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially family. I am extremely tired from the stress I am under due to Trent’s constant manipulation of my life. I need peace and rest.”

 

wo of Jackson’s children, Jermaine and Rebbie, filed additional declarations in support of their mother. Rebbie, 66, alleged that Trent blocked her number on Jackson’s phone, and attempted to remove her from Jackson’s medical directive.

 

Jermaine, 62, claimed in his declaration that he witnessed an incident in which Trent became violent with one of the Jackson sisters—throwing her against a wall–as well as both Jermaine himself and his nephew.

 

The former Jackson 5 singer also corroborated his mother’s claim that Trent stole money from Katherine—Jermaine put the figure at around $40,000—by using her credit cards and putting his name on her business ventures.

 

“[Trent] makes her pay for everything for him, including airfare and vacations,” Jermaine alleged in his declaration. “He has access to all her computers, bills, documents. My mother has no privacy, personally or in her business affairs.”

 

In prior documents filed on Feb. 8, Katherine said she tried to fire her nephew and order him to move out of her guest house, but he has refused. Trent’s lawyer, Ron Rale, denied these claims Thursday, pointing out that the paperwork was not signed by Jackson but instead by her legal representative.

 

“The initial request for a restraining order was signed by Katherine Jackson’s lawyer and not Katherine herself,” Rale tells PEOPLE. “This request was done on an emergency basis without any notice to Trent. At the hearing Wednesday, the court agreed with my objection that this initial request, signed under penalty of perjury by Katherine’s lawyer, did not have evidentiary value and could be disregarded in preparation our defense.”

 

On Wednesday, Rale continued, “Katherine filed several declarations, and it’s the first time we had a declaration from her directly. It also includes declarations from various other individuals, none of whom reside in the house on a daily basis. The evidence will show that anybody who is there all the time will attest that he’s never been abusive to Katherine. He’s only been caring and respectful and has only put her first.”

 

Katherine is currently in London visiting her daughter, Janet Jackson, but is “afraid to go home with Trent there” and “fears he could physically harm her for terminating him.”

 

“I am currently in London, England, under a doctor’s care in part because of the stress this situation with Trent is causing me,” Katherine, who did not appear in court Wednesday, said in her declaration. “I am fearful that my decision to terminate his employment, and request for this restraining order … will cause him to try and cause my further harm.”

 

Facebook plans to use artificial intelligence and update its tools and services to help prevent suicides among its users.

The world's largest social media network said it plans to integrate its existing suicide prevention tools for Facebook posts into its live-streaming feature, Facebook Live, and its Messenger service.

Artificial intelligence will be used to help spot users with suicidal tendencies, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.

In January, a 14-year-old foster child in Florida broadcast her suicide reportedly on Facebook Live, according to the New York Post.

Facebook is already using artificial intelligence to monitor offensive material in live video streams.

The company said on Wednesday that the updated tools would give an option to users watching a live video to reach out to the person directly and report the video to Facebook.

Facebook Inc will also provide resources, which include reaching out to a friend and contacting a help line, to the user reporting the live video.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 15-29 year olds.

Suicide rates jumped 24 percent in the United States between 1999 and 2014 after a period of nearly consistent decline, according to a National Center for Health Statistics study.

In December, it was revealed that Facebook is working on automatically flagging offensive material in live video streams, building on a growing effort to use artificial intelligence to monitor content, said Joaquin Candela, the company's director of applied machine learning.

The social media company has been embroiled in a number of content moderation controversies this year, from facing international outcry after removing an iconic Vietnam War photo due to nudity, to allowing the spread of fake news on its site.

Facebook has historically relied mostly on users to report offensive posts, which are then checked by Facebook employees against company 'community standards.'

In June, Facebook revealed it has expanded its suicide prevention tool to offer support to users around the world.

The feature was initially launched in the US in 2015 and reached the UK earlier this year; now, the firm has rolled it out worldwide.

If a friend posts something that may suggest intentions of self-harm or suicide, you can now use the tool to express your concern and send numerous helpful resources.

Facebook Safety says these resources will now be available in all languages that the platform supports. 

When a post is flagged under the concern of self-injury or suicide, that user will be sent a message from the Facebook Team. 

Doing this will offer them a number of options, including ways to contact a friend or helpline, and access tips and support. 

If you suspect someone is in immediate danger, they remind, you should always contact local emergency services immediately.

Decisions on especially thorny content issues that might require policy changes are made by top executives at the company.

Candela told reporters that Facebook increasingly was using artificial intelligence to find offensive material.

It is 'an algorithm that detects nudity, violence, or any of the things that are not according to our policies,' he said.

The company already had been working on using automation to flag extremist video content, as Reuters reported in June.

Now the automated system also is being tested on Facebook Live, the streaming video service for users to broadcast live video.

It has been over a decade since they called it quits on their marriage but looks like that now is water under the bridge.

Brad Pitt reportedly has connected with ex Jennifer Aniston after reaching out amid his split from Angelina Jolie.

The 53-year-old actor tracked down a number for his former partner to wish her a happy 48th birthday, Us Weekly reports.

A source told the magazine that the Jen's ex-husband has 'been texting' after tracking down her phone number.

The pair - who got divorcee on 2005 - have not been in each others lives since he found love on set with his estranged wife Angelina Jolie as they filmed Mr. & Mrs. Smith in 2004.

But Brad was able to track down Jen's cell through 'a tangled web' of contacts to wish her happy birthday on February 11, the source tells Us.

The former spouses exchanged a number of texts and Brad reportedly 'confided in Jen'.

The source said: 'Brad told her he's having a hard time with his split and they exchanged a few texts reminiscing about the past.'

Another source close to Brad confirmed to the DailyMail.com that the pair have been texting but says they have been doing so for some time.

The insider said contact between the pair is no big deal to either party: 'Brad did not seek out her number. They have a relationship and are in touch.'

The friendly exes are not worrying Jen's new husband Justin Theroux with the source telling Us that the 45-year-old is fine with Brad and Jen having a relationship.

'Justin is OK with them being friends [as he knows] Jen just wanted to be nice.'

While Brad and his ex are on good terms, the actor appears to be trying to do the same with his soon-to-be second ex-wife.

After Angelina and those around her initially took aim at Brad very publicly, recently she has spoken of how the actor is 'wonderful' father to their six children - Maddox, 15, Pax, 13, Zahara, 12, Shiloh, 10, and 8-year-old twins Knox and Vivienne.

The 41-year-old filed for divorce citing the 'health' of her family back in September after Brad and oldest son Maddox were allegedly involved in some sort of skirmish on the family's private plane.

The incident was later investigated by the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, who determined there was no reason to press any charges or keep Brad from seeing his children. 

Angelina said on Good Morning American earlier this month the family is doing alright in the wake of the split.

'We are ... we are focusing on the health of our family. And so we will be [healthier].

'We will be stronger when we come out of this, because that's what we're determined to do. ' 

Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth.

They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.

That is a time not long after the planet's formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth.

The researchers report their investigation in the journal Nature.

As with all such claims about ancient life, the study is contentious. But the team believes it can answer any doubts.

The scientists' putative microbes from Quebec are one-tenth the width of a human hair and contain significant quantities of haematite - a form of iron oxide or "rust".

Matthew Dodd, who analysed the structures at University College London, UK, claimed the discovery would shed new light on the origins of life.

"This discovery answers the biggest questions mankind has asked itself - which are: where do we come from and why we are here?

"It is very humbling to have the oldest known lifeforms in your hands and being able to look at them and analyse them," he told BBC News.

The fossil structures were encased in quartz layers in the so-called Nuvvuagittuq Supracrustal Belt (NSB).

The NSB is a chunk of ancient ocean floor. It contains some of the oldest volcanic and sedimentary rocks known to science.

The team looked at sections of rock that were likely laid down in a system of hydrothermal vents - fissures on the seabed from which heated, mineral-rich waters spew up from below.

Today, such vents are known to be important habitats for microbes. And Dr Dominic Papineau, also from UCL, who discovered the fossils in Quebec, thinks this kind of setting was very probably also the cradle for lifeforms between 3.77 and 4.28 billion years ago (the upper and lower age estimates for the NSB rocks).

He described how he felt when he realised the significance of the material on which he was working: "I thought to myself 'we've got it, we've got the oldest fossils on the planet'.

"It relates to our origins. For intelligent life to evolve to a level of consciousness, to a point where it traces back its history to understand its own origin - that's inspirational."

Any claim for the earliest life on Earth attracts scepticism. That is understandable. It is often hard to prove that certain structures could not also have been produced by non-biological processes.

In addition, analysis is complicated because the rocks in question have often undergone alteration.

The NSB, for example, has been squeezed and heated though geological time

At present, perhaps the oldest acknowledged evidence of life on the planet is found in 3.48-billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.

This material is said to show remnants of stromatolites - mounds of sediment formed of mineral grains glued together by ancient bacteria.

An even older claim for stromatolite traces was made in August last year. The team behind that finding said their fossil evidence was 3.70 billion years old.

Nonetheless, the UCL researchers and their colleagues say they have worked extremely hard to demonstrate the greater antiquity for their structures.

Dr Papineau does concede though that the idea of metabolising micro-organisms using oxygen so soon after the Earth's formation will surprise many geologists.

"They would not consider that there were organisms breathing oxygen at this time. It brings back the production of oxygen on the Earth's surface, albeit by tiny amounts, to the beginning of the sedimentary record," he said.

Prof Nicola McLoughlin from Rhodes University, South Africa, was not connected with the research.

She commended the scholarship but felt the data presented by the UCL-led team fell short.

"The morphology of these argued iron-oxidising filaments from Northern Canada is not convincing," she told BBC News.

"In recent deposits we see spectacular twisted stalks, often arranged in layers, but in the highly metamorphosed rocks of the Nuvvuagittuq belt the filaments are much simpler in shape.

"The associated textural and geochemical evidence of graphite in carbonate rosettes and magnetite-haematite granules is careful work, but provides only suggestive evidence for microbial activity; it does not strengthen the case for the biogenicity of the filaments."

She also said the maximum age of the rocks had proven to be very controversial, and that the true age was more likely to be closer to the 3.77-billion-year age.

Part of the interest in ancient life is in the implication it has for organisms elsewhere in the Solar System.

"These (NTB) organisms come from a time when we believe Mars had liquid water on its surface and a similar atmosphere to Earth at that time," said Mr Dodd.

"So, if we have lifeforms originating and evolving on Earth at this time then we may very well have had life beginning on Mars."

If that is the case then, according to Dr Papineau, recent Nasa rover missions to the Martian surface may have been looking for signs of life in the wrong places.

He said that the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Spirit and Opportunity, and the more recent Curiosity robot mission had overlooked areas that might have had rocks produced by hydrothermal vents.

"On the surface of Mars there have been missed opportunities. The MER Opportunity in 2003 found promising formations but there was no analysis. And the Spirit rover went straight past another near the Comanche outcrop in Gusev crater."

The suggestion that life had already arisen "just" a few hundred million years after the Earth had formed is intriguing in light of debates about whether life on Earth was a rare accident or whether biology is a common outcome given the right conditions.

 

This is the guy who TMZ says is responsible for the biggest screwup in Oscar history ... the guy who handed Warren Beatty the wrong envelope.

His name -- Brian Cullinan -- an accountant at Pricewaterhouse. He's a veteran ... 30 years at the accounting firm.

Here's the thing ... Brian was supposed to discard the spare Best Actress envelope and hand Warren Best Picture.

As for why ... well,  Brian was tweeting like crazy during the ceremony, posting photos ... so he may have been distracted. Brian has since deleted the tweets, but one was a pic of Emma Stone with her Oscar. If it was tweeted right after her win, that's exactly when Brian should've been prepping for the next category ... Best Picture.

TMZ says the firm is issuing an apology to all concerned.

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