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A loud explosion has been reported in central Paris, police have said, with unverified pictures showing damage to a building.

Sky News understands that the emergency services are on the scene and multiple injuries have been reported.

Unconfirmed reports say that there have also been fatalities.

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Soldiers killed in First World War buried after finally being identified | UK News

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The families of two young British privates killed in the First World War have finally seen them laid to rest more than 100 years later.

Private Henry Wallington and Private Frank Mead, of the 23rd (County of London) Battalion, were buried with full military honours – alongside an unidentified British soldier who served in the same regiment.

Known as the war detectives, the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) organised the service after identifying the two soldiers and tracing their surviving relatives.

The remains of all three were discovered on the battlefield near Anneux in February 2016.

Research suggests Ptes Wallington and Mead were killed on 3 December 1917, during the Battle of Cambrai – which marked the first large-scale use of tanks – while they were both in their early 20s.

Undated family handout photo of Private Frank Mead, 23, who fought during World War One and is being buried on Wednesday alongside Private Henry Wallington, 20 and an unknown soldier who all served with the 23rd (County of London) Battalion and who were killed during the Battle of Cambrai.
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Pte Frank Mead (pictured) died alongside Pte Henry Wallington and an unknown soldier

The only artefact found with them giving any clue to their identity was a single 23rd (County of London) Battalion shoulder title.

After extensive research, the JCCC narrowed the candidates down to nine possible names and used genealogy to trace surviving members so DNA samples could be taken.

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Two tests returned positive results, identifying Ptes Wallington and Mead.

Margot Bains, the niece of Pte Wallington, and Paul and Chris Mead, the two great-nephews of Pte Mead, were among those who attended the funeral at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) British Cemetery at Hermies Hill, near Albert.

Ms Bains, from Lincolnshire, said: “It’s been beautiful, very moving.

“We didn’t know about Henry, we didn’t know he existed at all.”

Chris Mead said: “My father passed away four years ago but he had held on to all of Frank’s letters. We had the letters from the trenches but did not know where he (Frank) was. We are just grateful for the opportunity for his story to be told.”

Nicola Nash, who led the JCCC search to identify the soldiers, said: “Getting that match was just an amazing achievement. I’m just so pleased the families are actually able to be here today to see them be buried.

“It’s absolutely devastating when you get two matches and one that actually hasn’t been identified. We will still keep working on it and we will identify him.”

At dawn on 20 November 1917, the British Third Army launched an attack towards Cambrai using the largest number of tanks so far in the conflict.

But more than half were out of action by the end of the first day and when the battle ended in early December more than 80,000 men from both sides were either wounded, missing or killed.

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Tearful Jon Stewart finds congress ’empty’ during 9/11 victims’ fund talks | US News

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US comedian and broadcaster Jon Stewart has attacked a “near-empty” congress after members failed to show up to a hearing on renewing funding for the healthcare of 9/11 first responders.

The former Daily Show host was testifying before the judiciary committee’s subcommittee about securing more money to help care for members of the emergency services who became ill after responding to the attacks.

But most of the panel’s 14 members failed to show up.

“Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak and no one,” Stewart said.

“Shameful, it’s an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution. You should be ashamed of yourselves for those who aren’t here but you won’t be because accountability doesn’t appear to be something that occurs in this chamber.”

Becoming tearful, he continued: “Where are they? It would be one thing if their callous indifference and rank hypocrisy was benign, but it’s not.

“Their indifference cost these men and women their most valuable commodity, time, the one thing they’re running out of.”

Retired NYPD bomb squad detective, Luis Alvarez, was part of the attack response team.

 Retired Fire Department of New York Lieutenant and 9/11 responder Michael O'Connelll, left, FealGood Foundation co-founder John Feal, center, and former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart, right, applaud following testimony from Retired New York Police Department detective and 9/11 responder Luis Alvarez during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
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Mr Alvarez said it was his ‘legacy’ to do right

He told the hearing: “Less than 24 hours from now, I will be serving my 69th round of chemotherapy… I should not be here with you. But you made me come. You made me come because I will not stand by and watch as my friends with cancer from 9/11 like me are valued less than anyone else.”

Other emergency service members sat behind Mr Alvarez wiping away tears.

He continued: “We were there with one mission and we left after completing that mission. I have been to many places in this world and done many things. But I can tell you that I did not want to be anywhere else than Ground Zero when I was there.

“I have been lucky enough to have had 68 rounds of chemo. You heard me right. 68 rounds. Many others haven’t had the opportunity to have five. Some have had none.

“It is my goal and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders.

“You all said you would never forget – well I’m here to make sure that you don’t.”

The fund, originally approved for five years in 2010, provides medical treatment for those who require ongoing care due to inhaling toxic dust in the days following the attack.

Republicans were unhappy with the cost of the original legislation and as a compromise at the time, Democrats agreed to authorise the fund for five years and cover the cost with an excise tax, with a re-evaluation every five years.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: Retired New York Police Department detective and 9/11 responder Luis Alvarez, left, and Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart, right are sworn in before testifying during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The fund provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who require medical care related to health issues they suffered in the
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Stewart called the poor attendance ‘shameful’

Stewart criticised congress for continuing to require the fund be renewed every five years – pointing to the panel’s top Republican, Mike Johnson, for saying that congress has to balance other emergencies as well.

“I’m pretty sure what’s going to happen five years from now, more of these men and women are going to get sick and they are going to die and I am awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue,” Stewart said, adding: “Al Qaeda didn’t shout death to Tribeca.”

More than 40,000 people have applied to the Victim Compensation Fund, which covers illnesses potentially related to being at the World Trade Center site, the Pentagon or Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after the attacks.

More than $5bn in benefits have been awarded out of the $7.4bn fund, with about 21,000 claims pending.

Stewart criticised the fact that nearly 18 years after the attacks, first responders and their families still have no assurance the fund will not run out of money.

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Artists challenge Facebook’s fake video policy with Mark Zuckerberg speech | Science & Tech News

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Artists are challenging Facebook’s policy of refusing to take down videos which have been manipulated to misrepresent their subjects by creating one about Mark Zuckerberg.

The stunt follows criticism of Facebook for refusing to remove a video of US Democratic politician Nancy Pelosi, a prominent critic of President Donald Trump, which had been slowed down to make her appear inebriated.

Artists Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, working with an advertising company, created the video featuring Facebook’s founder and chief executive giving a speech about his desire to control the world’s data.

The so-called “deepfake” speech features the Facebook founder appearing to revel in knowing social media users’ “secrets” before thanking the artists behind the clip.

“Imagine this for a second: One man, with total control of billions of people’s stolen data,” Mr Zuckerberg appears to say.

“All their secrets, their lives, their futures. I owe it all to Spectre. Spectre showed me that whoever controls the data, controls the future.”

As in many manipulated videos which use artificial intelligence software to manipulate the frames of an existing video to change someone’s appearance, there are strange movements around Mr Zuckerberg’s mouth which give the game away.

Journalists who check the origin of such footage can see that it is a doctored version of a speech which Mr Zuckerberg gave in September 2017, fittingly about manipulation on Facebook during the US presidential election.

The video was created, alongside others featuring Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump, by advertising company CannyAI’s video dialogue replacement (VDR) technology for an exhibition in Sheffield.

Although it is possible to detect the VDR technology in the clip of Mark Zuckerberg, the Kim Kardashian clip is exceptionally convincing.

The sophistication of the technology is expected to improve with time which has prompted concerns that it will be used to spread fake news and disinformation.

At the time Ms Pelosi’s altered video was spreading online – amplified by a tweet from Donald Trump – critics noted that Facebook was alone among social media companies refusing to take it down.

Instead the company merely de-prioritised it so that it did not appear high in users’ news feeds, and was presented alongside information from third-party fact checkers.

Currently no such information appears alongside the Mark Zuckerberg video, but it may be coming if the video gains traction.

A spokesperson for Instagram told Sky News they would not be removing the video.

They said: “We will treat this content the same way we treat all misinformation on Instagram. If third-party fact-checkers mark it as false, we will filter it from Instagram’s recommendation surfaces like Explore and hashtag pages.”

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