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Farc rebels killed in new air strike

Colombias security forces have wiped out a minimum of five martial artists in the Farc digital rebel group within an air strike within the north-western region of Antioquia

On Thursday, 26 rebels were wiped out inside a similar operation in southern Colombia, compelling the Farc to suspend its unilateral ceasefire

The rebels and also the government will be in peace talks in excess of 2 yrs

They’ve stated they’re not going to pull from the process, however they have accused the government bodies of incoherence

Leader Juan Manuel Santos has stated he needs the rebels to get back, but made an attract accelerate discussions

That’s precisely what we have to put an finish to: this spiral of violence, hate, vengeance and retaliation, that has driven us to half a century of war, he stated

Thursdays operation – within the countrys south-western Cauca region – was the most harmful because the resumption of air strikes from the rebels recently

The Farc has frequently known as for any full bilateral ceasefire throughout the peace discussions

However the Colombian government states the rebels used previous truces to rearm and collect yourself

Some 220,000 individuals are believed to possess died in additional than 50 years of violence and a minimum of three million happen to be displaced

November 2012 – Formal peace talks come from the Cuban capital Havana between your Colombian government and also the Farc

May 2013 – An offer is arrived at on land reform, probably the most contentious issues It requires fair use of land, and rural development, two key reasons for the conflict

November 2013 – The 2 sides agree with the political participation from the Farc should a peace deal be arrived at

May 2014 – Both sides pledge to get rid of all illicit drug production in Colombia

December 2014 – Farc declares a unilateral ceasefire

March 2015 – Each side accept interact to get rid of landmines Colombia is among the most heavily found nations on the planet

April 2015 Government resumes air strikes following the Farc kills 11 soldiers in ambush

May 2015 Farc suspends its unilateral ceasefire after government military operation kills 26 digital rebel martial artists

What’s on the line in Colombias peace process?

Eight die in series of US shootings

escort bursa Police found sufferers at multiple locations near Tyrone Missouri

Eight individuals are dead and something person continues to be hurt after a number of shootings in south-central Missouri

Police made the breakthroughs on late Thursday at five different houses in or close to the small capital of scotland- Tyrone after an urgent situation call

Authorities found the suspect dead of the self-caused gun wound in the vehicle near among the crime moments

The gunmans motive isn’t known at this time around and information ongoing to research

Were presently working six active moments such as the location in Shannon County in which the suspect was discovered deceased Sergeant Shaun Kinder from the Missouri Condition Highway Patrol told reporters on Friday morning

Citizens reported that police went door-to-door on Friday warning these to secure their houses

Around 22:15 local time (4:15 GMT) on Thursday officials in the Texas County Sheriffs Department taken care of immediately an urgent situation call from the girl declaring she heard gunshots in the home

The lady fled to some neighbours house to alert the government bodies Police found a couple dead in the home

Because they ongoing searching they found six others dead and something hurt across four other homes

This can be a terrible tragedy and our hearts go to the sufferers of those senseless functions as well as their families Missouri Governor Jay Nixon stated inside a statement

Your body from the suspect that has only been recognized like a 36-year-old guy from Tyrone is discovered in vehicle in nearby Shannon County He died of the apparent self-caused gunshot wound

Authorities make multiple references to some lady available at among the moments who made an appearance to possess died from natural causes Nonetheless they haven’t made obvious her link with the sufferers or even the suspect

Texas County Coroner Tom Whittaker told The St Louis Publish-Dispatch newspaper the suspects mother have been found dead at her home apparently of natural causes

She’d been within doctors care and made an appearance to possess been dead not less than 24 hrs Mr Whittaker told the newspaper adding all of the sufferers were grown ups

Government bodies required the hurt victim to some nearby hospital but won’t be determining the sufferers until they inform next-of-kin

Citizens from the province were in shock

Weve didn’t have anything of the magnitude before stated County Clerk Don Troutman a homeowner of 36 years

Scott Dill superintendent from the school district that serves Tyrone stated the city was holding our breathto discover specifics

You want to help people understand this tragedy he stated

US retail sales fell in December

Consumers are pictured throughout next day of Christmas sales at Citadel Shops in La California within this file photo taken December 26 2014

Retail sales in america fell in December based on the latest figures in the Commerce Department

Sales fell by 09% that was the greatest monthly decline since The month of january this past year

The figures imply that previously year sales store stores and grocery stores of america have risen just by 4% that was the cheapest rate of growth since 2009

Investing by customers accounts in excess of two-thirds of america economy

Additionally formerly released figures for November were modified lower

There is a rise in sales that month of just 04% rather than the sooner estimate of the increase of 07%

Harm Bandholz of UniCredit Financial aspects stated of of Decembers figure: It had been the biggest monthly decline since The month of january when inclement winter months derailed consumption activity

Regardless of this downturn in retail investing the united states economy continues to be growing and making more jobs

Figures earlier this year demonstrated that the further 252000 jobs were produced in in December as the unemployment rate fell from 58% to 56% – the cheapest rate since June 2008

Jim OSullivan chief US economist at High Frequency Financial aspects didn’t begin to see the latest retail sales data as gloomy

Consumer confidence has ongoing to increase he stated

Overall we don’t view these data as convincing evidence the underlying trend in consumer investing is all of a sudden weakening

This view was based on Paul Diggle an economist at Capital Financial aspects

`This is not the beginning of a collapse in activity as that does not match the effectiveness of employment growth and consumer confidence

As a result retail sales will strengthen again before too lengthy

India troops in Kashmir gun battle

An Indian soldier is evacuated by helicopter after the attack by suspected militants


At least 10 people have been killed in a gun battle between Indian troops and suspected Pakistani militants in the disputed territory of Kashmir.

The clashes erupted after the gunmen infiltrated an abandoned army bunker in the Jammu region in Indian-administered Kashmir.

At least three civilians were among the dead, according to reports.

Pakistan and India have overlapping territorial claims in Kashmir and have fought two wars over the region.

The two countries are currently attending a regional trade summit in Nepal, but some observers say their rivalry has overshadowed attempts to strike a deal.

Thursday’s fighting happened near an Indian army base in the town of Arnia, an area that saw deadly fighting between Pakistani and India troops in September.

A senior police official in Jammu told the BBC that about five militants gained access to the disused bunker.

After locals informed the border guard, troops were called in and began to surround the area, he said.

A gun battle then erupted, lasting for approximately six hours.

Civilians in the area – which is only 3km (2 miles) from the international border with Pakistan – were evacuated and schools closed down, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since an anti-India uprising began in 1989.

In recent years violence has abated from its peak in the 1990s, but the causes of the insurgency are still far from resolved.

A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but the nuclear-armed neighbours often accuse each other of violating it.

Last month both sides issued warnings to one another after violence in the region saw at least 19 civilians killed.

Twitter opening office in Hong Kong

Social media giant Twitter will open an office in Hong Kong next year


Social media giant Twitter has said it will open an office in Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2015

The messaging service has been banned from operating in China since 2009 over fears that it could be used to organise protests against the government

However,Twitter said it wanted to tap into the next phase of its growth in the Asian region by expanding in Greater China.

The office will house sales staff and joins the likes of Google and Facebook

Our upcoming Hong Kong office in the first quarter will enable us to pursue strategic opportunities in Greater China, such as China export advertising market, Hong Kong and Taiwan advertising markets, media partnerships, and our new Twitter Fabric integrated with MoPub for mobile developers, the company told the BBC on Friday.

The opening would be Twitter’s fifth office in the region, with operations already in Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney

In August, Twitter said it was opening an office in Jakarta, with Indonesia being one of its biggest markets

With half of all internet, mobile and social media users worldwide in Asia today, we see many opportunities across the region a company spokesperson said.

News of the expansion comes as Twitter reported a disappointing 7% fall in timeline views per user a closely watched measure of engagement despite 23% growth in its user base in the third quarter last month

The company also said its fourth-quarter revenue might fall short of market expectations of $448.8mn (£283mn). New York-listed Twitter shares are down almost 36% this year

In pictures India’s coal miners

India coal miners


India is the world’s third largest coal producing nation and coal supplies 60% of the country’s energy needs, but the coal industry is poorly regulated. Arindam Mukherjee photographs some coal miners going about their work in eastern India.

The coal-rich region in India includes huge swathes of eastern states like Orissa, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh, and pockets in the central and southern parts of the country.

Most miners spend their days tunnelling, digging and extracting coal from the mines. Here, a group of miners are at work in a mine in West Bengal state’s Raniganj district. Each group is led by a sardar (chief) who is responsible for the work of his group.

More than half of India’s commercial energy needs are met by coal. It is the main fuel for generating power and making steel and cement. But mining is also a major factor in environment pollution, emitting smoke and noxious gases.

Many of the miners also suffer from lung diseases caused due to inhaling coal dust throughout the day.

Coal mining can be a very hazardous activity and hundreds of miners have died over the years in accidents in mines.

Poor maintenance of the mines is a major factor behind frequent accidents. Once underground, the only way a miner can communicate with the outside world is by using an intercom.

Sunita Devi’s husband Santraj Prasad was killed along with 25 others in February 2001 when the Bagdigi colliery in Jharkhand was flooded. She now works as a guard at a mine officer’s bungalow in the nearby town of Jharia. Here, she sits at her home with her late husband’s photograph and one of her children.

Miner Salim Ansari was the lone survivor of the Bagdigi disaster in which 26 of his colleagues died. He was trapped in an underground air pocket for seven days until rescue workers found him and brought him out.

Lakhan Tanti works as a loader at the government-owned Coal India Limited mine in Ranigunj in West Bengal. He says the company is now hiring contractual labourers instead of salaried employees to cut costs.

Coal mines, like this one in the state of Jharkhand, have multiple floors where excavation takes place and often operate 24 hours a day. Here, a group of miners are going deep inside an underground mine to begin work.

Female labourers are hired to clean and collect coal near the railway line in Bailbandh colliery in Ranigunj. The women are mostly dependents of deceased miners and are employed on humanitarian grounds after the death of their husbands.

The secret ghostwriters of Hip Hop

Grandmaster Caz


The practice of ghostwriting is one of rap’s biggest taboos, and yet many of its greatest hits were ghostwritten. So who are Hip Hop’s ghostwriters and what place do they have in a style of music built on speaking from the heart?

In most genres of music, including Soul, R&B and Pop, being a songwriter is a legitimate career, but in Hip Hop, writing for another rapper has long been something to hide.

It was Chuck D from Public Enemy who described rap as “CNN for black people.” Emerging from the poverty and deprivation of New York’s South Bronx neighbourhood in the 1970s, rap gave the voiceless a voice. Because of this, rappers have a unique reputation to uphold. They have to be authentic, telling stories about their own individual worlds. They have to keep it real

We expect it to be personal, we expect it to be from the heart and straight from that individual’s experience says Underground UK rapper Jehst. Others put it more strongly. It’s a travesty, anybody who calls themselves an MC and doesn’t write their rhyme  no way you can even stand in the same room as an MC if you don’t write your rhyme, plain  simple says Grandmaster Caz, born Curtis Fisher, who made his name as Casanova Fly in legendary MC battles during the 1970s.

Teenagers like Grandmaster Caz held street parties, each with their own sound system, in which MCs (Masters of Ceremonies) tried to out-do each other to impress. “We were going for glory, we were trying to be superheroes,” says Grandmaster Caz.

“It was of the utmost urgency and importancy, if you called yourself a true MC in the early days, then you had to be able to write rhymes, you had to be able to rock a crowd, you had to be able to eliminate your opponent.”

Despite this, he became most famous for a song he did not perform.

The story goes back to when he was part of the group Mighty Force, managed by his friend Big Bank Hank, real name Henry Jackson. Big Bank Hank had borrowed money from his parents to improve the group’s sound system, and was paying back the loan with a job in a pizza shop. One day, while he was singing along to one of Casanova Fly’s tapes at the pizza shop, in walked the legendary Sylvia Robinson, from the influential Sugar Hill Records label. She was forming a new group and asked Big Bank Hank to audition for her there and then. This should have been his cue to say he managed one of the best MCs in the Bronx – but he didn’t. “He just took the lyrics that were on the tape,” says Grandmaster Caz. “They loved it and they made him part of the group on the spot.”

The song in question was Rapper’s Delight, which became the genre’s first commercial hit, bringing Hip Hop – then a largely counter-culture movement – out of the ghetto and into the mainstream. Big Bank Hank’s use of Casanova Fly’s lines is obvious from the lyrics, which will be familiar to many:

Check it out, I’m the C-A-S-A, the N-O-V-A / And the rest is F-L-Y / You see I go by the code of the doctor of the mix / And these reasons I’ll tell you why / You see, I’m six foot one, and I’m loads of fun.

“He was so much not an MC, he didn’t even know enough to change the words around to spell his own name,” says Grandmaster Caz. “He just copied it word for word – he said: “I’m six foot one” – he’s not, I’m six foot one. Everything in the rhyme describes me. I’m unwittingly Hip Hop’s first ghostwriter.”

Perhaps the speed of events overtook Big Bank Hank, but for Grandmaster Caz, it still rankles. “I was part of one of the most important records of all time, and that should be acknowledged,” he says.

As part of the Mighty Force group, perhaps Big Bank Hank did feel ownership over some of the lyrics. In the 1999 documentary The Hip Hop Years, Big Bank Hank said he understood Grandmaster Caz’s frustration. “I can understand why he would say that and I have nothing but love for him,” he says. “Because he didn’t move to that magnitude and because I couldn’t bring him in. But some of the stuff was done together and I just transposed it over.”

Kathy Iandoli, music editor for the website Hip Hop DX, says ghostwriting in rap can be “anything from shouting a word or two in the studio, to legitimately writing a whole song” and it’s this murky area that creates tension and rumours – who really wrote that lyric? In the early days, the only thing at stake was a rapper’s street credibility, but as Hip Hop gained more currency there was a fortune to be made.

One of the best-known ghetto-to-riches stories is that of Christopher “Biggie Smalls” Wallace, aka the Notorious B.I.G. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York where he was out selling drugs from the age of twelve. Hip Hop changed his life.

Now my whole crew is loungin’ celebrating every day / no more public housing / thinking back on my one room shack / now my Mom pimps a Ac’ with minks on her back. [Ac’ is short for Acura, a luxury line of cars made by Honda.]

The multi-millionaire rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z (Shawn Carter) has also rapped about how he chose music over drug-dealing. Just know I chose my own fate / I drove by the fork in the road and went straight. Instead of hustling drugs, he used his business skills to sell music – Bricks to billboards, grams to Grammys.

When the real talent is being hidden in the broom closet while the performer is out there entertaining guests at the house party, that’s a little shady”

And big money inevitably changed more than just the suits in the so-called “shiny-suit” era of the mid-90s. “When the tax bracket shifted for the Hip Hop artist, everything changed,” says Iandoli. “It was an open conversation that certain acts didn’t write their own rhymes but they were making the hits.”

In his 2001 song Bad Boy For Life, the Hip Hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs boasts “Don’t worry if I write rhymes, I write cheques” – thereby celebrating his money-making over his skills as a rapper.

One of the biggest hits of all time, I’ll Be Missing You – Comb’s Grammy-award-winning ode to his friend Biggie Smalls – was the work of the ghostwriter Sauce Money. He grew up as Todd Gaither in Brooklyn’s projects alongside Jay Z, who inspired him to start writing. After Biggie Smalls was shot in 1997, the hip hop world was in mourning, and Biggie’s good friend and label-mate Combs – then known as Puff Daddy – was looking for someone to help him write a tribute. Jay Z felt too raw to do it himself so he put Combs in touch with Sauce Money, who had lost his mother a few years earlier and channelled his emotions into the lyrics.

Sauce Money remembers when Combs first heard the song. He was blown away because it was everything he wanted to say he says. It’s almost like being an actor  I became him, and once I became him I knew what he would want to say to Big in remembrance

Iandoli remembers that the release of the record polarised opinion. As much of a monster hit as it was, I think it also was controversial because Diddy didn’t write it, she says. It was almost like having someone write a eulogy for when your best friend passed away. The hip hop purist would look at that and say, you really couldn’t write that song? But when you can’t write a song, you can’t write a song

Sauce Money wasn’t invited to the Grammy awards, but the record made his name, and he was well paid. It branded me as an A List ghostwriter he says I was lucky enough to get my money and my publishing.” But not everybody gets such a good deal.

The need for invisibility means that ghostwriters aren’t always listed on the album credits or given royalties, and instead are often paid one-off fees for their work. Iandoli suggests that because of this, it’s difficult to know exactly how much ghostwriting goes on. A lot of deals are being struck under the table. Publishing credits with certain artists are not being handed out because of the street credibility, she says. But I think because so many artists are so wealthy, when they know there’s a hit they’ll pass hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands. That kind of exchange of money without the proper documentation is what exists nowadays

In 2012 one of the most highly regarded lyricists in Hip Hop  Nas  was accused of using other people help write his rhymes. Nas denied the allegations in a radio interview. You know who’s my ghostwriters? My friends, people I meet on the street somebody will say something that sparks something in me so I get it from everybody, he said on Power 106 FM.

But according to the BBC’s DJ Semtex collaboration is not only something that artists do all the time, it’s actually a good thing. “If by the end of the session you’ve only written 50% of the track, is that a bad thing? It’s you being smart as an MC, it’s you constructing other people’s opinions, getting their contributions and turning it into a banger,” he says.

Hip hop glossary

Certainly, collaborations with ghostwriters can be fruitful and allow rappers to flex a different kind of muscle.

Hailing from the infamous Corona neighbourhood in Queens, Nathanial Wilson, better known as Kool G Rap, became famous for his violent lyrics depicting the reality of the criminal underworlds of the late 1980s. His songs have often been heavily misogynistic – the track Hey Mister describes a violent attack on a lying girlfriend: She started coppin’ a plea but I ain’t really tryin’ to hear her / I snatched her by her hand, bashed her face up in the mirror.

Not everyone is equipped to be a lyricist, not everyone is equipped to be a vocalist

This makes it hard to believe that Kool G Rap was a ghostwriter for the female rapper Roxanne Shante and the all-female Hip Hop group Salt-N-Pepa. The track he wrote for them, Chick on the Side, tells the story of a cheating boyfriend from a female perspective: I finally caught on to your little game / Your lying and denying is a cryin’ shame / You took me for granted, this is the end, dammit / You’re playing the field like you’re some (love bandit)

Blogger and label owner Frank Miller says it’s not unusual for established acts to look to younger talent in order to help them stay relevant and ahead of the game.

When artists are under pressure to pump out the hits, they often need a team around them  including writers  he says. Once you’re on a mainstream stage and you’re such a money-generating entity, art isn’t the focus, it becomes business and product,” he says. “You want the best minds you can afford all in the same room and bouncing ideas off each other, and the avatar representing all that hard work is the artist

Miller says the young writer benefits by getting a foothold in the industry. But on balance it’s the established acts that get most out of the relationship

There are artists that have been around for 20 or 30 years now that are running out of gas, and they see some new talent and they are like: I have the resources and you have the talent, let’s put it together and keep me limping along, he says. It’s a shame it has to be that way, that young artists coming with new music that connects to their generation have to go through these old gatekeepers to have that platform.

But then not everyone can make it as a performer. Not everyone is equipped to be a lyricist, not everyone is equipped to be a vocalist, as Chuck D has put it.

Kool G Rap says that at the early stage in his career when he worked with Salt N Pepa he was just happy to have the chance to realise his talent as a writer.

And he respects those who are able to convincingly spit [rap] other people’s lyrics. I can’t take away from the artists that deliver lyrics from other writers, he says. I can’t knock it because it still takes a certain type of person to deliver that

Iandoli agrees. When it comes to the quintessential hip hop artist, that person has to have a combination of lyrics and skill and swag and charisma. That’s ideal, that’s Jay Z. Artists like that are one in a million.

Miller suggests ghostwriting is becoming less of a taboo, but it’s still a concealed industry, which leaves it open to exploitation. It’s fine when people are being credited for their work, he says, but when the real talent is being hidden in the broom closet while the performer is out there entertaining guests at the house party, that’s a little shady.

Some mainstream rappers hang on to the tradition of writing their own lyrics. When Nicki Minaj picked up her prize for Best Female Hip Hop Artist at this year’s Black Entertainment TV awards she said: When you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it… I’m still one of the only MC’s that’s out here spitting metaphors and making you think. She ended with the hope that authenticity would continue to be honoured.

But Hip Hop has moved on so much that even though the legacy of honest, raw writing is still a selling point, the reality is very different