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Inside Daily Brief (Nov 28th, 2017)

A woman who related a false story to Washington Post reporters about being impregnated by Senate candidate Roy Moore has ties to a conservative political organization. Over the course of several weeks, the woman – who identified herself as Jaime Phillips – told various reporters that Moore had urged her to have an abortion at age 15. But reporters found inconsistencies in her story and discovered that she had links to Project Veritas, an organization that carries out sting operations to discredit mainstream media. Post reporters confronted Veritas’ founder James O'Keefe, who refused to answer their questions. The Post has released a recording of one of the interviews with the woman. – CBS

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A Russian cosmonaut said that bacteria found outside the International Space Station could be alien life. Anton Shkaplerov told Russian state media that when cosmonauts swabbed the exterior of the ISS module they found microorganisms that had not been there during the launch. "So they have flown from somewhere in space and settled on the outside hull," he said. It is not known where the organisms are being kept or what kind of experiments scientists are carrying out to study them. In the past, cosmonauts have found living organisms attached to the ISS’s hull that hailed from Earth. INDEPENDENT

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Although Pope Francis did not name the Rohingya during a speech in Myanmar on Monday, he demanded respect for all ethnic groups. According to the UN and the US, the Rohingya have been the victims of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar army, which has pillaged their villages, forcing some 600,000 to flee the country since August. The Roman Catholic Church had advised Francis not to use the word "Rohingya" for fear that such a mention could stoke further violence. In his speech, Pope Francis called for "respect for a democratic order that enables each individual and every group – none excluded – to offer its legitimate contribution to the common good." He also lamented that people in Myanmar have "suffered greatly, and continue to suffer, from civil conflict and hostilities that have lasted all too long and created deep divisions". – BBC

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Harvard scientists have developed origami skeletons that give soft robots the capacity to lift 1,000 times their own weight. According to a paper published in the journal PNAS, the robots contain a folding origami structure and muscles that contract when an electronic pump fills them up with air or fluid. "Soft robots have so much potential, but up until now, one of the limitations has been payloads," said MIT roboticist Daniela Rus, one of the paper’s authors. "[They’re] very safe, very gentle, but not good for lifting heavy objects. This new approach allows us to make strong and soft robots," she said. The team wants to use the technology to develop a soft robot elephant trunk that’s "as flexible and powerful" as a real one, Rus said. – VERGE

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With sales of nearly $6.6 billion, Cyber Monday was the largest online sales event ever in the U.S. Best selling items included Nintendo Switch and Apple AirPods. About a fourth of Cyber Monday’s online revenue came from orders made on mobile phones, which represents a 32 percent increase from last year. According to data provided by Adobe Analytics, Americans have spent $50 billion online so far this month, a 16.8 percent increase from last year. – FORBES

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A vessel with eight bodies washed ashore on the west coast of Japan over the weekend. So far this month, four boats have reached the Japanese coast after apparently going adrift, and three of them had dead bodies aboard. It is not known where the latest vessel sailed from, but the number of North Korean fishing boats reaching Japan has increased in recent months. On Thursday, eight North Korean fishermen were rescued after their boat washed ashore on Japan. "It's after Kim Jong Un decided to expand the fisheries industry as a way of increasing revenue for the military. They are using old boats manned by the military, by people who have no knowledge about fishing … It will continue," said Satoru Miyamoto, a professor at Seigakuin University. – CNN

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A British actress has filed a lawsuit claiming that Harvey Weinstein and his production company violated sex trafficking law. The claim argues that the Weinstein Company facilitated trips in which Harvey Weinstein enticed "female actors into forced or coerced sexual encounters on the promise of roles in films or entertainment projects." The claimant, British actress Kadian Noble, alleges that Weinstein forced her into sexual acts while at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014. According to the complaint filed by Noble in a New York civil court, an unnamed Weinstein Company producer asked her to be "a good girl and do whatever (Weinstein) wished." In exchange, the person allegedly told Noble that "they would work" with her further. Through a representative, Weinstein denied ever having non-consensual sex with any of his accusers. – USAT

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Facebook will use artificial intelligence to search for signs that users may be planning to commit suicide. The system will work by detecting suicidal thoughts in Facebook posts and raising the alarm with trained moderators, who would contact suicide prevention groups and ask them to intervene. Alternatively, moderators could send messages about mental health to the at-risk user. Facebook will use the technology throughout the world, with the exception of the European Union, due to privacy laws there. "In the future, AI will be able to understand more of the subtle nuances of language, and will be able to identify different issues beyond suicide as well, including quickly spotting more kinds of bullying and hate," said CEO Mark Zuckerberg. – TECHCRUNCH

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Water leaked through the snorkel of the Argentine submarine that has been missing for nearly two weeks, causing a battery short circuit. "They had to isolate the battery and continue to sail underwater toward Mar del Plata, using another battery," an Argentine Navy spokesman said. Around 4,000 people from 13 countries are using planes and ships to search for the submarine that went missing on Nov. 15, when it was on its way to the Argentine port of Mar del Plata. Some relatives of the 44 people aboard the submarine are losing hope. "There is no way they are alive," said Itatí Leguizamón the wife of crew member German Suárez. "The other families are attacking me for what I am saying," she said, "but why have they not found it yet? Why don’t they tell us the truth?" – AP

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A Cold War era alarm system will be reinstated in Hawaii on Dec. 1. When triggered, the alarm will tell locals to "Get inside, stay inside, and stay tuned." The alarm is part of a ballistic missile preparedness program being implemented amid fears of a possible North Korean attack. According to a fact sheet published by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, locals would have to stay in a shelter for up to 14 days if a nuclear attack were to occur. – ABC

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BULLETPROOF RECOMMENDATIONS

Most British detective dramas follow the same formula: death, a little bit of action, and clever commentary for good measure. ITV’s “Endeavour,” starring Shaun Evans and Roger Allam, doesn’t stray far from the path. However, the cast brings just enough unique flavor to each 90-minute episode to make it not only crave-worthy, but binge-worthy if you have some extra time on your hands.

The series is meant to be a prequel to the beloved “Inspector Morse,” which aired in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s. Evans stars in the series as Sergeant Endeavour Morse, an Oxford graduate with a love of classical music and crossword puzzles. Similar to the original sergeant, played by John Thaw, Evans’ Morse is full of quirks that make him as delightfully awkward as he is brilliant.

But it’s Evans’ costars that bring out the best of him in every episode. Allam stars as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday and Morse’s close companion. He challenges his colleague to go beyond his Oxford background and think unconventionally about small town crimes. Anton Lesser plays Police Chief Superintendent Reginald Bright, who pushes Morse to second-guess all of the initial conclusions he draws about homicides, suicides, and everything in between.

Then, of course, there are the women in his life, played by Sara Vickers (Detective Thursday’s daughter, Joan) and Shvorne Marks (love interest), who bring the softer side of Morse to the surface.

That’s not to say that Evans doesn’t do enough himself to keep viewers intrigued. He does Thaw’s character justice by skillfully portraying the learning curves Morse went through to become the hard-nosed detective he is in the original series. For good measure, he adds just the right amount of charm with clever remarks during lulls in the show.

For those who are looking for a new British detective show to indulge in, “Endeavour” delivers on all fronts. While some may call it run-of-the-mill, it’s hard to deny the strong performances of a cast with obvious chemistry.

– @kavermes

THE BASICS

Title: Endeavour
Platforms: PBS Passport, Amazon Prime
Seasons: 4
Episode Length: 90 minutes

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