Who Is Mademoiselle Choupette, The Late Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat?


Who Is Mademoiselle Choupette, The Late Karl Lagerfeld’s Cat?

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The internet is filled with feline personalities these days, but they pale in comparison to the world’s first feline fashionista – Karl Lagerfeld’s cat.

Mademoiselle Choupette was gifted to the late fashion designer in 2011, when the now 8-year-old Birman was just a young kitten.

It wasn’t long before Mlle Choupette became a regular feature of Lagerfeld’s champagne-and-caviar lifestyle, riding along in his private jet, sleeping on her own pillow, and even earning million of dollars for a series of 2014 photoshoots, which is pretty impressive for a cat!

But despite Lagerfeld’s evident affection for his long-haired muse, Mlle Choupette wasn’t able to turn the famed fashion designer off fur until just last year, when the Chanel announced it would finally go fur- and skin-free for future collections. Regardless, it finally happened — and Lagerfeld’s obvious affection for Mlle Choupette may have played a role.

Now Lagerfeld fans and cat-lovers alike wonder what will become of this high-flying pet now that her famed benefactor has passed away at age 85?

“During this time, Choupette is coping with the loss the best she knows how to, but at such a young age (and being a cat), that is challenging,” the cat’s publicist wrote in a statement to People magazine. “Karl Lagerfeld is and will always be her ‘Daddy.’”

Whatever happens, we’re sure this pampered pet — who reportedly possesses her own luggage, iPad, maids who brush her twice daily, and writers who penned this touching tribute on her behalf –- will likely be quite well-looked after, even if her life will never quite be the same.

“She is choosing to put her best paw forward and hopes that her loyal fans and followers will continue with their outpouring of love to help ease the pain,” her publicist wrote.

Crippled Kitten Bonds With New Foster Mom (Even Though She Is A Dog): Click “Next” below!

J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.

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Emoji number plates launched in Queensland


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Facebook/PersonalisedPlatesQueensland

If a personalised number plate simply isn’t enough to express your complex personality, worry not – soon you will be able to add an emoji to the mix.

Ok, you’ll have to move to Queensland, Australia – but once that’s sorted, you can get your own little smiley starting next month.

The emojis will cost you some extra of course, and are only for decoration.

Oh, and only a few positive faces are allowed, so you’d better be a chirpy driver or else things won’t match up.

Your choice will be limited to laughing out loud, a winking face emoji, the cool sunglasses, the heart eyes, and the good old standard smiley face.

The symbols won’t be part of the sequence to identify your car, though; that will still be down to the letters and numbers on the plate.

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Facebook/PersonalisedPlatesQueensland

According to local media, the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) has no issue with the new scheme. Spokeswoman Rebecca Michael told 7News Brisbane it was no different from drivers putting the logo of their favourite sports team on a plate.

“For quite some time we’ve seen that you can support your favourite team or your favourite town with a symbol on your number plate. And using an emoji is no different,” she said.

Social media reactions to the new plates have ranged from enthusiasm to irony and disdain. While some can’t wait to get one, others have branded the idea a bit tacky or vain.

And of course, some said they’d be keener if the full spectrum of emojis was available – everything from angry faces to… well, the cartoon poop.

Since the plates have a price point of 475AUD (£260, $340), some commenters pointed out that it’s a nifty way for authorities to make yet more money from personalised plates.



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Holographic Activewear Collections : holographic fashion



American Apparel’s ‘Forward’ is Full of Holographic Fashion

American Apparel recently introduced its ‘Forward’ line as a collection of styles made from performance-friendly, lightweight materials with a focus on holographic fashion. In the clothing collection, there are a range of pink, blue and silver holographic styles for men and women that are budget-friendly and available in sizes that run from XS to XXL.

Some of the standout holographic fashion styles include the Forward Fly Half-Zip Hoodie, the Fly Muay Thai Short, the Metallic Singlet and accessories like the Mesh Fanny Pack, which help to add color and dimension to one’s athletic style.

To showcase the styles from its newest line, American Apparel worked with a diverse range of models like Paralympic athlete David Brown and Mexican-Guatemalan yoga instructor Luisa Fonseca.



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Crypto Markets Continue Climbing as Bitcoin and XRP Transaction Volumes Surge


The crypto markets have continued to climb higher after seeing two days of large and widespread gains across nearly all major cryptocurrencies. Today’s price climb has led many investors and analysts to believe that the markets have already established a long-term bottom.

Despite there being a bullish sentiment that is currently spreading through most cryptocurrency communities, analysts are now pointing to the importance of transaction volumes as an indicator of where the markets are heading next.

Bitcoin and XRP See Sustained Rise in Transaction Volume

Although there may not be a fundamental reason behind the recent crypto market surge, one factor that may be contributing is an increasing amount of transaction volume that may have an impact on various cryptocurrencies prices.

Naeem Aslam, the chief market analyst at Think Markets U.K., recently told MarketWatch that he believes that Bitcoin will see increased fundamental strength in the coming months, which could help contribute to positive price action.

“The cryptocurrency king is on track to secure its first positive month since July 2018… With the wind of change blowing, the fundamentals are likely to improve in the coming months for the cryptocurrency space. The hopes are pinned on the improvement of the transaction volume for on-chain transactions. This will attract growth because of a larger number of industries becoming part of this infrastructure,” he said.

Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, shared a similar sentiment to Aslam, and also noted that Bitcoin’s recent price ascent occurred at the same time its transaction volume began to increase.

“We can see this period of low transaction rate in the purple rectangle below… The green line is $BTC,” Greenspan noted while referencing a chart that shows the volatility BTC saw during a period of low transaction volume.

Greenspan also noted that XRP has seen an influx of transactions in late-January after XRP’s transactions dropped off a cliff on December 11th, which is about the time that XRP fell back towards its 2018 lows in the mid-$0.20 region.

“Transactions in XRP went quiet from December 11th but came back with a vengeance on January 26th,” he said.

Crypto Markets May Not be Out of the Woods Yet

Although the recent market surge that has sent many cryptocurrencies up 10% or more is certainly positive for investors and traders alike, Greenspan warns that a tight correlation between major cryptos and Bitcoin could signal that bear market is not yet over.

“Despite recent optimism, crypto correlations remain strong… Major coins still bearing a positive correlation to $BTC of about 0.8, which is very high… Yet another sign the [bear] market might not be over just yet,” he warned.

At the time of writing virtually all major cryptocurrencies are trading up, with Ethereum, XRP, EOS, trading up 1.2%, 3.2%, and 5.1%, respectively.

Featured image from Shutterstock.





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Google Unveiling Their Gaming Plans Next Month


Google has long been rumored to want to dip its toes into the gaming industry at a level beyond their somewhat disconnected Android platform. Now it seems like the company is finally ready to reveal those plans to the world at large, sending out a fairly detail-free invite to an announcement on March 19.

The Google announcement is taking place in San Francisco during the beginning of the Game Developer’s Conference, a gathering of game developers from around the world. It is expected that Google will announce their own gaming platform at the event, likely leveraging the Google Stream service that went into, and left, beta in the months since announcement in October. What form this platform will take – whether including a physical box or being entirely digital – is still an open question.

The giant software company, which once held a long-standing “Don’t be evil” guideline that it no longer uses as the company’s golden rule, has been gearing up for a gaming launch for quite some time. In 2018, former Xbox and PlayStation executive Phil Harrison joined the company to head up a then-unknown initiative. Soon after, it was reported that Google was prototyping hardware codenamed Yeti for release, but it wasn’t clear if the hardware would ever come out. Google even picked up one of the key engineers behind PlayStation VR, as well.

The invitation promises “All will be revealed at the Google keynote.” Only a few weeks until we can find out how true that is.



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Drone no-fly zone to be widened after Gatwick chaos


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The no-fly zone for drones around airports is to be extended following the disruption at Gatwick in December, the government says.

From 13 March it will be illegal to fly a drone within three miles of an airport, rather than the current 0.6-mile (1km) exclusion zone.

The government also said it wants police to have new stop and search powers to tackle drone misuse.

Gatwick was shut for more than a day after drone sightings near the runway.

It caused chaos for travellers, affecting more than 1,000 flights and about 140,000 passengers.

Since then airports have been trying to improve their procedures to detect drones, but they continue to see illegal flights near their perimeters.

In January departures at Heathrow were temporarily stopped after a drone was reportedly sighted.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The law is clear that flying a drone near an airport is a serious criminal act.

“We’re now going even further and extending the no-fly zone to help keep our airports secure and our skies safe.

“Anyone flying their drone within the vicinity of an airport should know they are not only acting irresponsibly, but criminally, and could face imprisonment.”

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Eddie Mitchell

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There were sightings of drones at Gatwick in December

Stop and search

It is already illegal to fly a drone above 400ft or within 1km of an airport boundary, and those who recklessly or negligently endanger an aircraft with a drone face up to five years in jail.

The government said the new stop and search powers would apply to people suspected of using drones maliciously nears airports.

The powers, to be included in the government’s new Drones Bill, would also allow police to access electronic data stored on a drone.

The Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (Arpas UK), which represents the drone industry, welcomed the wider no-fly zone but cautioned on the stop-and-search plans.

“Police will need to know exactly what the rules are and in exercising their powers do so in the right way,” said Rupert Dent, an Arpas UK committee member.

“We are keen it doesn’t prevent legitimate operators from operating drones in a legitimate fashion.”

Eye witness accounts

Following the Gatwick disruption, Sussex Police arrested a drone enthusiast and his partner who lived near the airport, but they were released without charge on 23 December, having been cleared of any involvement.

In a statement Sussex Police said they had still not found the perpetrators, despite having 130 eyewitness accounts of illegal drone flights.

“We continue our criminal investigation, which is challenging in its scale and in the type and quality of evidence immediately available,” a spokeswoman said.

“Despite a reward of £50,000 for public information leading police to the person or persons responsible, we have not received the critical information that we believed exists within the community.”



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Guard Jodie Meeks agrees to 10-day deal with Raptors


Free-agent guard Jodie Meeks has agreed to a 10-day contract with the Toronto Raptors, league sources told ESPN.

Meeks made a good impression on the Raptors in a workout this week, offering the Eastern Conference contender some belief that he could make impact off the bench with his shooting ability.

The Raptors have lost guard Fred VanVleet for several weeks because of hand surgery, as well as Delon Wright in the Marc Gasol trade with Memphis. Toronto recently signed guard Jeremy Lin for the rest of the season.

Meeks, 31, has been out of the NBA since serving a 25-game suspension for violating the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program. Washington traded Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks in October, where he served the final 19 games of his original 25-game ban.

The Bucks acquired Meeks’ $2.8 million salary for a future second-round pick and $1.5 million in cash. For the Bucks, the value of the Meeks deal was essentially buying a pick for $1.3 million.

Meeks has insisted that he never knowingly ingested any substances that would’ve been considered performance enhancing. Meeks, 31, was suspended before the 2017-18 playoffs; the Wizards lost their first-round series in six games.

Meeks has averaged 9.3 points and shot 37.2 percent from 3-point range in 531 career games.



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35 Microbiome Skincare Products



From Prebiotic Gel Moisturizers to 15-Minute Acne Treatments

Within the world of skincare, consumers are embracing prebiotic and probiotic ingredients in microbiome skincare as a means of bolstering the body’s first line of defense.

Over the past few years, consumers have become familiar with a variety of fermented food and beverages, as well as their benefits and an understanding of the role that good gut health plays in one’s overall health and well-being. Similarly, consumers are eager to invest in microbiome-boosting skincare that acknowledges the role that a healthy microbiome plays in radiant skin.

Some of the most innovative skincare products take the form of fast-acting treatments and multi-step systems with products that work in tandem to deeply support the skin’s natural barrier and thousands of beneficial bacteria that it is home to.



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Furi Developers Announce Haven, A Stylish Adventure Game


It wasn’t that long ago that developers The Game Bakers released Furi, a shoot’em up boss rush with a hint of character action and bullet hell and a kickin’ soundtrack. While you’d think the the developers would follow it up with something in the same vein, but instead they’re taking quite a different path with their new title, Haven.

Check out the teaser trailer for the game below.

“Haven is an Adventure RPG about everyday love, rebelling against the rules and also, food,” the developer writes. “You play as two lovers who escaped to a lost planet. The only thing that matters to them is to stay together.”

The Game Bakers say that Haven has been in development for about two years and more details will come soon, but one of the screenshots does show an RPG-like battle system with different command options. Between the art and the soundtrack, Haven looks like something to look forward to when it releases on PC and unspecified consoles in 2020.



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Gender pay gap grows at hundreds of big firms


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Four in 10 private companies that have published their latest gender pay gap are reporting wider gaps than they did last year, according to BBC analysis.

The BBC looked at a company’s median pay gap – that is the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and the middle-ranking man.

This is different to unequal pay – paying women less than men for the same work – which is illegal.

Big firms with a wider pay gap include Kwik Fit, Npower and Virgin Atlantic.

Only about 10% of employers have reported their latest figures so far, ahead of the 4 April deadline for the private sector.

Of those 1,146 companies the median gender pay gap reported is 8.4% – a slight improvement from 9.7% last year.

Of the companies that had reported by the morning of 19 February:

  • 74% report a pay gap which favours men
  • 14% have a pay gap favouring women
  • 12% report no pay gap.

It will take time for firms to improve their figures, the government said.

Want to find out the gender pay gap where you work? Try the calculator below.

All British companies with 250 or more employees have to report their gender pay gaps. Last year 78% disclosed that they paid men more than they paid women.

If you cannot see the calculator, please click here

Who are the offenders?

By law, companies, charities and public sector departments of 250 employees or more must publish their gender pay gap figures. The first set were based on a snapshot taken in April 2017, and the most recent data relates to April 2018.

Public sector firms must report by 30 March, and charitable and private firms by 4 April.

The BBC’s analysis refers purely to private sector firms which had gender pay gap data and a consistent registration at Companies House for April 2017 and April 2018.

According to the available data, the gender pay gap at energy giant Npower has grown from 13% to 18% since it last reported.

It partially attributed this to more female than male employees opting for a salary sacrifice benefits scheme.

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The gap at car mechanics chain Kwik Fit grew from a negative gender pay gap – when women get paid more – of minus 15.2% to a positive one of 14%.

A company spokeswoman said the industry had been “historically more appealing to men”, although it was trying to recruit more women.

“Last year most of our female employees were in our upper quartile of salary bands, however over the course of the last 12 months a number of these senior employees have left the company, a shift which has skewed our figures.”

The gap at airline and tour operator Virgin Atlantic also widened, from 28.4% to 31%.

A spokeswoman said the firm was focused on achieving diversity “for all roles – including engineering and pilot roles”.

Banks still performing badly

For some firms exact comparable figures are unavailable, but their pay gaps remain glaringly large.

The average gender pay gap at RBS was 36.8%, according to the most recent data – one of the biggest gaps reported by a firm with 5,000 employees or more.

The bank has pledged to significantly increase the number of women in senior roles and has recently appointed a female chief financial officer.

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Getty Images

The pay gap at Lloyds Banking Group, which has also pledged to appoint more women to senior roles, was flat at 32.8%.

London Heathrow Airport was among the firms that improved, posting a gender pay gap of 0.6% compared with 6.5% a year earlier. The company said it welcomed the reporting measures.

“It’s no one’s fault – it’s not a blame game. This is a chance to recruit excellent talent,” said Elizabeth Hegarty, Heathrow’s director of customer relations and service.

Analysis: Dharshini David, BBC economics correspondent

Shining a spotlight on pay discrepancies was meant to spur action. So the news that the gap is getting bigger in almost two out of five companies that have so far reported may bring dismay.

But this highlights that there’s no quick fix. A large gap points to (typically) women being clustered in more junior roles. Progressing them through the ranks could take years. Actually, if a firms’ plan includes recruiting more female employees at entry level, that can initially widen a pay gap.

Research for the Government Equalities Office also queries how meaningful many companies’ plans to close the pay gap are. Campaigners say concrete initiatives and cultural change are needed. The pay gap really opens up when women become mothers. Yet the Equalities and Human Rights Commission found that a third of employers assume mothers are less interested in career progression.

We don’t know exactly what’s going on. Firms aren’t obliged to explain – nor are they penalised for a lack of improvement. The government says it will wait five years before reviewing the legislation.

The early signs are that gender pay reporting may have helped some – but others may be forgiven for feeling short-changed by the process.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Should firms have to say how they will close the gap?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) – which enforces the gender pay gap rules – said that forcing companies to report their pay gaps was not enough to eliminate pay disparities.

“We believe that it should be mandatory for employers to publish, alongside their pay gap data, action plans with specific targets and deadlines,” said chief executive Rebecca Hilsenrath.

Sam Smethers, head of gender equality campaign group the Fawcett Society, said she was not surprised that some companies’ figures had got worse.

“This is a long term issue and and we need companies to put long-term plans in place.

“The key thing is are they committed to it? Do they have a three to five year strategy that they can implement?”

Understanding the terminology

Median pay gap

The median pay gap is the difference in pay between the middle-ranking woman and the middle-ranking man.

If you line up all the men and women working at a company in two separate lines in order of salary, the median pay gap will be the difference in salary between the woman in the middle of her line and the man in the middle of his.

Mean pay gap

The mean pay gap is the difference between a company’s total wage spend-per-woman and its total spend-per-man.

The number is calculated by taking the total wage bill for each and dividing it by the number of men and women employed by the organisation.

Pay gap v equal pay

The gender pay gap is not the same as unequal pay.

Unequal pay is giving women less than men for the same work. That has been against the law since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970.

A company’s gender pay gap can also be caused by other things, for example fewer women in senior or highly-paid roles or more women in part-time jobs.

How does the BBC calculator work?

The individual company data reflects the information submitted by companies to the Government Equalities Office as of 3.45pm on Tuesday 19 February.

The data submitted each year is based on figures drawn from a specific date – called the ‘snapshot date’ – the previous year. 5 April is the snapshot date for businesses and charities. 31 March is the snapshot date for public sector organisations.

All gender pay gap figures in this article reflect the hourly median pay gap for all employees.

Calculator design and development: Irene de la Torre Arenas, Becky Rush, Scott Jarvis, Alexander Ivanov and Oliver Schnuck.

Data journalism: Clara Guibourg, Maryam Ahmed and Nassos Stylianou



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