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Is The Smartphone Past Its Peak?

The ills of the Smartphone industry go beyond the meltdown of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7. A market sector that was still booming not so long ago is now expected to suffer losses this year for the first time, and is forecast to stagnate for the foreseeable future, a recent report from tech research and advisory company Gartner showed.

Following the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung's shares continued to fall today. The burning issue for the South Korean company now clearly is lost revenue, with Reuters putting the figure as high as $17 billion, as Samsung had expected to sell some 19 million units of the now-scrapped device. But analysts warn that the short-term sales hit may just be a prelude to a deeper sullying of the company's reputation.

Of course, Apple is largely expected to profit from Samsung's woes. But this can't hide the fact that sales of the latest iPhone models have been anything but satisfactory. Some have gone as far as to suggest we've already past the peak of the smartphone market. The answer to the "then, what comes next?" question may be a still-to-be-imagined device or innovation — but a different response could be that burning smartphones might be the perfect message to say the never-ending hunt for consumer consumption is illusory and potentially dangerous. Not to mention environmentally unsustainable.


  • The National Hockey League begins its 100th season.
  • UN Spanish Language Day.


Russian senators ratified this morning a Russia-Syria agreement for the "indefinite deployment" of Russia's air task force in Syria, news agency Tass reports. One Russian official said the move was "the first but far from the last step" towards consolidating the country's positions "not only in Syria and in the Middle East, but also in the whole world." This comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Western leaders in Washington, London and Paris, as airstrikes on the besieged city of Aleppo continue. See French daily Le Figaro's front page today.


At least 14 people were killed and 36 wounded in attacks that targeted Shia Muslim worshippers in Kabul as they commemorated one of their most important religious holidays, AFP reports. No organization has yet claimed responsibility.


Happy 44th birthday to the man behind Borat, Brüno and Ali G! Get ready for your 57-second shot of history here.


"Now you find a situation in which the guy says stuff that nobody would find tolerable if they were applying for a job at 7-Eleven," U.S. President Barack Obama told a campaign rally in Greensboro, North Carolina, in a jibe aimed at Donald Trump. The Republican candidate meanwhile lashed out at the GOP establishment, which has largely left him, and said "the shackles have been taken off me."


The two lawyers of Salah Abdeslam, the last known survivor of the terrorist commando behind the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris, will no longer defend him because of his decision to remain silent, they told BFM TV.


The well-publicized death of the popular Vatican exorcist, Gabriele Amorth, and an award-winning documentary have stirred new interest in ridding the devil from within. For Italian daily La Stampa, Lorenzo Cresci and Giacomo Galeazzi met with several modern-day exorcists: "Every exorcist carries a crucifix and holy water, always ready to recite the deliverance prayer to coax out demons from the possessed. Even the Vatican has addressed the need for exorcists. Pope Benedict XVI once warned there was a need for an exorcist in each diocese in the world. Pope Francis frequently refers to the dangers of Satan in his sermons. But there aren't enough exorcists to meet the growing demand. There are only seven exorcists in Sardinia's 10 dioceses. Elsewhere in Italy, the exorcism "industry" is booming. The number of exorcists in Milan has doubled, while an exorcism hotline was launched in Rome."

Read the full article, Speak Of The Devil, Inside Italy's Boom Of Exorcisms.


The UN envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo warned of "extreme risk" of all-out violence in the country amid a deepening political dispute over the future of President Joseph Kabila, Reuters reports. His mandate, the last authorized by the country's constitution, expires this year but officials have said that logistical and budget restrictions will prevent elections from taking place until Dec. 2018, something his opponents see as an attempt to hold on to power.


Without Further Commercialism — Polperro, 1995


That's how long it took a British data specialist to make tea using a WiFi kettle.



The Isle of Wight and Zanzibar are no longer big enough to fit the entire population of the world. But a recent study has shown that the 7.4 billion inhabitants of our planet (as of July 2016) could all fit on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, with a distribution of 4.5 people per square meter.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

That Man In Mariupol: Is Putin Using A Body Double To Avoid Public Appearances?

Putin really is meeting with Xi in Moscow — we know that. But there are credible experts saying that the person who showed up in Mariupol the day before was someone else — the latest report that the Russian president uses a doppelganger for meetings and appearances.

screen grab of Putin in a dark down jacket

During the visit to Mariupol, the Presidential office only released screen grabs of a video

Russian President Press Office/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

Have no doubt, the Vladimir Putin we’re seeing alongside Xi Jinping this week is the real Vladimir Putin. But it’s a question that is being asked after a range of credible experts have accused the Russian president of sending a body double for a high-profile visit this past weekend in the occupied Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

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Reports and conspiracy theories have circulated in the past about the Russian leader using a stand-in because of health or security issues. But the reaction to the Kremlin leader's trip to Mariupol is the first time that multiple credible sources — including those who’ve spent time with him in the past — have cast doubt on the identity of the man who showed up in the southeastern Ukrainian city that Russia took over last spring after a months-long siege.

Russian opposition politician Gennady Gudkov is among those who confidently claim that a Putin look-alike, or rather one of his look-alikes, was in the Ukrainian city.

"Now that there is a war going on, I don't rule out the possibility that someone strongly resembling or disguised as Putin is playing his role," Gudkov said.

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