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Samsung TVs Score iTunes and a MicroLED Upgrade



Television hardware news can be a relatively sleepy affair; at a certain point, “big” begins to lose much meaning, and smart TVs in the age of Roku often seem redundant at best. And yet at CES this year, Samsung has managed meaningful developments on both fronts.

First, in what will likely prove the biggest surprise of the trade show—admittedly not saying much these days—Samsung announced that iTunes would soon take its place alongside Hulu and Netflix and myriad other streamers on its smart TV platform, Apple’s first concession that it might need more than Apple TV to hold sway in the living room. Not only that, but Samsung HDTVs will support AirPlay 2, Apple’s method of automagically beaming content from one of its devices to a big screen.

“We’ve buried the hatchet over the past year or so.”

Andrew Sivori, Samsung

In fact, Apple later clarified that multiple “leading TV manufacturers” would build in AirPlay 2, effectively giving Apple a coherent alternative to Google Chromecast. The iTunes app will remain exclusive to Samsung, at least for the time being. The team-up might seem surprising, if only given the animus between the two companies in recent years.

“As companies, the two of us, we’ve buried the hatchet over the past year or so,” says Andrew Sivori, vice president of TV marketing for Samsung Electronics America. “That opens the opportunity for things like this to happen.”

Otherwise, this feels significant for what it represents than what it will enable in practice in the near term. Since the launch of Movies Anywhere in 2017, you could find the majority of your iTunes movie purchases within your Amazon Video or Vudu or Google Play Movies app anyway, and vice versa. If you own a lot of iTunes TV shows, though, congrats!

iTunes on a Samsung device, though, fits neatly with Apple’s broader aims. With iPhone sales sagging thanks to longer upgrade cycles, Cupertino increasingly needs services like Apple Music and its impending video subscription service to take up the slack. Take the iTunes-on-Samsung news the same way you might have last month’s Apple Music-on-Amazon Echo announcement. Or go all the way back to an iTunes announcement in 2003, when it landed on Windows after only two years as an Apple exclusive.

Which is to say, Apple has realized it cannot go it alone. Walling off its garden worked for years, but alliances will help ensure long-term growth. As for Samsung, iTunes gives its smart TV something Roku doesn’t have, at least for now. That’s priceless.

And then there’s the new Samsung hardware. While the company introduced a MicroLED display last year, the 146-inch behemoth appears not to have shipped in 2018 as planned. Even if it had, the so-called Wall was far too big, and presumably too expensive, for civilian households and budgets. In 2019, the next-generation screen tech has become more manageable, if still not altogether reasonable.

Samsung is still hyping The Wall, the latest iteration of which stretches out to 219 inches. (For context, NBA seven-footer and occasional Twitter hero Joel Embiid has a wingspan of a mere 90 inches. Measured diagonally, The Wall is well over two outstretched Embiids.) But the company has added a 75-inch, 4K-resolution set that belongs in a house rather than a mall.


It arrives sooner than expected. MicroLED is almost certainly the future; the only question has been how long it would take that future to materialize. By ditching the backlight of traditional LED, MicroLED can offer the same inky blacks and lack of haze that makes OLED practically perfect. And while the organic material that powers the individual diodes in OLED can grow dimmer and uneven as they age, MicroLED deploys a durable inorganic material, gallium nitride. It also truly lacks any bezel whatsoever, a refreshing fealty to the “bezel-free” promise that has been applied so loosely to so many TVs and smartphones in recent years.

Its drawbacks start with price, meanwhile, but also run deeper.

“The biggest issue for MicroLED as a viable TV display technology to compete with OLED or LCD is cost, but also issues like heat dissipation and the pixel pitch,” says Paul Gagnon, executive director of research and analysis at IHS Markit. Pixel pitch is how densely pixels are packed together in a given display; the lower the pixel pitch, the closer the viewer can sit without being able to discern individual pixels. “It has actually been difficult to shrink the pixel pitch enough to have a consumer-acceptable screen size that didn’t cost a fortune,” Gagnon says.

The 75-inch display will still likely cost a fortune, whenever it ends up shipping; Sivori says the company will provide an update on timing sometime later this year, not a hopeful sign for 2019 gratification. And 75 inches is currently the lowest the company can go. But Samsung has made great strides over the last year in both heat dissipation and pixel pitch alike.

“At the end of the day, not everybody can have a 146-inch TV in their home, but we know there’s something to this technology, The only way we were going to be able to get this resolution at this size was to get the geometry tighter,” says Sivori, who declined to give specifics on the proprietary smarts behind the shrinkage. In person, though, the 75-inch MicroLED looks every bit as sharp and deep and stunning as advertised.

Another MicroLED display benefit is modularity; you can configure its underlying LED panels however you like. You can see how that looks in Samsung’s so-called Window, which one can contort into niche aspect ratios, like 32:9 or 1:1.

Samsung’s MicroLED “Window” can come in atypical shapes and sizes.


That has a potential consumer benefit as well. “The tiled configuration would permit easier installation of super large sizes,” says Gagnon. “I don’t think people want to transport their TV via crane through a second floor patio door like a piano.”

In their own ways, iTunes on Samsung and a consumer MicroLED set are both iterative announcements, extensions of strategies and technologies already in progress. They’re no less exciting for it, though. If nothing else, think of them as harbingers of the very-near future: a world in which you can watch whatever you want, no matter where it comes from—all on a pixel-perfect picture.

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Riot police squads intervene as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters clash in Montreal




People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

People wave flags atop cars in traffic during a demonstration to voice support for the people of Palestine, at Toronto City Hall in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 15 May 2021.

  • Violence
    between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters in Montreal was condemned by
    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
  • Montreal’s
    city police force intervened and declared the protests illegal after tensions
    heightened and clashes broke out.
  • Israeli
    strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
    toll in almost a week of clashes.

– Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday condemned the violence and
“despicable rhetoric” that marked several weekend protests throughout
the country, after clashes between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters in

worst violence in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, is raging between the
Jewish state and Islamist militants.

strikes killed 42 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Sunday, the worst daily
toll in almost a week of deadly clashes.

after protests in Montreal, Trudeau condemned what he said was “despicable
rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend”.

insisting on the “right to assemble peacefully and express themselves
freely in Canada”, Trudeau stressed in a tweet that there was no tolerance
for “antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind”.

on Sunday, Montreal police used tear gas following clashes between pro-Israel
and pro-Palestinian protesters.

hundred demonstrators, draped in Israeli flags, had gathered in a central
Montreal square to express solidarity with the Jewish state.

‘Protesting is a right’

the protest started peacefully, tensions ratcheted up with the arrival of
pro-Palestinian demonstrators and clashes soon broke out.

SPVM, Montreal’s city police force, declared the protests illegal, and squads
of riot police intervened, using tear gas to separate and disperse the two
groups, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

police spent much of the afternoon in pursuit of the pro-Palestinian
protesters, who spread out and regrouped in commercial streets in the city centre.

the clashes, Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said on Twitter that
“protesting is a right”, but that “intolerance, violence and
anti-Semitism have no place here”.

She said:

Montreal is a city of peace.

thousand pro-Palestinian demonstrators had gathered on Saturday in central
Montreal to denounce what they said were Israeli repression and “war
crimes” in Gaza.

Israel”, some protesters chanted, while others held up a banner that read,
“Stop the genocide of Palestinian children”.

protests happened the same day in multiple Canadian cities, including Toronto,
Ottawa and Vancouver.

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Peter Thiel Helps Fund an App That Tells You What to Do




“How would you feel about being able to pay to control multiple aspects of another person’s life?” asks the BBC.

“A new app is offering you the chance to do just that.”

When writer Brandon Wong recently couldn’t decide what takeaway to order one evening, he asked his followers on social media app NewNew to choose for him. Those that wanted to get involved in the 24-year-old’s dinner dilemma paid $5 (£3.50) to vote in a poll, and the majority verdict was that he should go for Korean food, so that was what he bought…

NewNew is the brainchild of Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Courtne Smith. The app, which is still in its “beta” or pre-full release stage, describes itself as “a human stock market where you buy shares in the lives of real people, in order to control their decisions and watch the outcome”. For many of us that sounds a bit ominous, but the reality is actually far less alarming. It is aimed at what it calls “creators” — writers, painters, musicians, fashion designers, bloggers etc. It is designed as a way for them to connect far more closely with their fans or followers than on other social media services and, importantly, monetise that connection…

Whenever a vote is cast the creator gets the money minus NewNew’s undisclosed commission… In addition to voting, followers can also pay extra — from $20 — to ask a NewNew creator to do something of their choosing, such as naming a character in a book after them. But the creator can reject all of these “bids”, and if they do so then the follower doesn’t have to part with the money…

Co-founder and chief executive Ms Smith, a 33-year-old Canadian, has big plans for NewNew, and has some heavyweight backers. Investors include Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, and the first outside person to put money into Facebook. Others with a stake in the business include leading US tech investment fund Andreessen Horowitz, and Hollywood actor Will Smith (no relation to Courtne). Snapchat has also given technical support.

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Sandpapergate will haunt Australia cricket forever: ex-bowling coach




Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach - Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Brenton Geach – Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The 2018 ball-tampering scandal will haunt Australian cricket forever, much like the infamous underarm delivery of 40 years ago, the team’s former bowling coach David Saker said on Monday.

Saker was responding to opening batsman Cameron Bancroft suggesting that Australia’s bowlers knew about the plan in Cape Town to alter the ball which earned him a nine-month ban and rocked the game.

Saker was Australia’s bowling coach when Bancroft was caught trying to rough up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.

While refusing to be drawn on who knew what, Saker said “the finger-pointing is going to go on and on and on”.

“It’s like the underarm, it’s never going to go away,” he told Fairfax Media, referring to a 1981 incident when Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to ensure New Zealand lost a one-day match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

The notorious delivery is still cited in New Zealand and in cricketing circles as a prime example of unsporting conduct.

However, the ball-tampering scandal – dubbed “sandpapergate” – had a greater impact on Australian cricket, with the then-captain Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner suspended for a year from all cricket and stripped of their leadership roles.

Darren Lehmann also quit as coach and all the top brass from Cricket Australia left after a scathing review blasted their “arrogant and controlling” win-at-all-costs culture.

No one else among the team or coaching staff was held to account but Bancroft’s remarks in an interview with The Guardian newspaper hinted that the team’s bowlers at least knew about the plan.

“Obviously what I did benefits bowlers and the awareness around that, probably, is self-explanatory,” he said.

Saker added: “There was a lot of people to blame. It could have been me to blame, it could have been someone else. It could have been stopped and it wasn’t, which is unfortunate.

“Cameron’s a very nice guy. He’s just doing it to get something off his chest … He’s not going to be the last.”

In response, Cricket Australia said that if anyone had new information, they would look into it.

Saker said he was not opposed to a fresh investigation but added “I just don’t know what they’re going to find out.”

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Mexico’s Andrea Meza crowned Miss Universe




Miss Universe Andrea Meza

Miss Universe Andrea Meza





1. Mexico

2. India

3. Brazil

4. Dominican Republic

5. Peru



1. Jamaica 

2. Dominican Republic 

3. India

4. Peru 

5. Australia 

6. Puerto Rico

7. Thailand

8. Costa Rica

9. Mexico

10. Brazil





1. Columbia

2. Peru 

3. Australia 

4. France

5. Myanmar

6. Jamaica 

7. Mexico 

8. Dominican Republic 

9. USA

10. Indonesia 

11. Argentina 

12. India

13. Curaçao

14. Puerto Rico

15. Phillipines 

16. Brazil

17. Great Britain

18. Nicaragua

19. Thailand 

20. Costa Rica

21. Vietnam



74 contestants will compete for the title of Miss Universe on 16 May in Hollywood, Florida. 

The Miss Universe pageant takes place on 16 May in the US (02:00 to 05:00 on 17 May SA time). The show will be broadcast live on 1 Magic (DStv Channel 103) with a repeat at 21:30. 

Reigning Miss Universe Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa will crown her successor at the end of the event.

Representing South Africa is Natasha Joubert, and South Africans are hoping for the “magic double” – back-to-back consecutive wins, which has only happened once before in the pageant’s history.

Natasha wowed crowds at the national costume competition last week and on Friday impressed during the preliminary round

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Miss Mexico crowned Miss Universe 2021




By AFP Time of article published 16m ago

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Washington – Miss Mexico was crowned Miss Universe on Sunday in Florida, after fellow contestant Miss Myanmar used her stage time to draw attention to the bloody military coup in her country.

Sunday night marked the Miss Universe competition’s return to television, after the pageant was cancelled in 2020 for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrea Meza, 26, finished first ahead of the Brazilian and Peruvian finalists in a flashy televised event, hosted by American actor Mario Lopez and television personality Olivia Culpo.

Former Miss Universe contestants Cheslie Kryst, Paulina Vega and Demi-Leigh Tebow (who won the title in 2017) served as competition analysts and commentators, and a panel of eight women determined the winner.

Dressed in a sparkling red evening gown, Meza tearfully walked the catwalk as Miss Universe for the first time, before rushing back for a group hug with the other competitors.

Meza beat more than 70 contestants from around the globe in the 69th installment of Miss Universe, which was held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida.

In the days leading up to the final competition, Miss Myanmar Thuzar Wint Lwin, who made the top 21, made waves when she used her time in the spotlight to bring attention to the coup in her country.

“Our people are dying and being shot by the military every day,” she said during her biographical video, which showed photos of her taking part in the anti-coup protests. “Therefore I would like to urge everyone to speak out about Myanmar.”

Natasha Joubert, Miss Universe South Africa 2020 competes on stage in Ema Savahl swimwear during the MISS UNIVERSE® Preliminary Competition.

She also won the award for best national costume: during that competition segment on Thursday, she wore an outfit beaded in traditional Burmese patterns and held up a sign that said, “Pray for Myanmar.”

Myanmar has been in uproar since February 1, when the army ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least 796 people have been killed by security forces since then, according to a local monitoring group, while nearly 4 000 people are behind bars.

Miss Singapore Bernadette Belle Ong – who did not make the top 21 – also used the national costume portion to make a political statement.

Dressed in a glittering red bodysuit and matching thigh-high boots, she turned around to reveal her cape – in the colours of the Singaporean flag – was painted with the words “Stop Asian Hate.”

“What is this platform for if I can’t use it to send a strong message of resistance against prejudice and violence?” she wrote on Instagram alongside pictures of her outfit.

The United States in particular has seen a surge in anti-Asian violence in the past year, which activists have blamed on former president Donald Trump’s rhetoric, especially his repeated description of Covid-19 as the “China virus.”

The pageant has also drawn criticism in the past for objectifying the contestants.

In recent years, the competition has shifted image, focusing more on female empowerment and activism.

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