Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : December 5th 2014 Contents A29
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The music video for South Korean singer
Psy's Gangnam Style exceeded YouTube's
view limit, prompting the site to upgrade
YouTube said the video---its most
watched ever---has been viewed more than
It has now changed the maximum view
limit to 9,223,372,036,854,775,808, or
more than nine quintillion.
Gangnam Style became a worldwide hit
when it was released in 2012, largely due
to the surreal video.
Google, which owns YouTube, later told
Web site The Verge that engineers "saw
this coming a couple months ago and
updated our systems to prepare for it."
YouTube now uses a 64-bit integer for
its video counter, which means videos have
a maximum viewer count of 9.22
Psy has yet to comment although news
of YouTube's change was posted on his
Facebook and Twitter pages.
The second most-watched video on
YouTube---Baby by Justin Bieber---lags
behind Gangnam Style by more than a
billion views. (BBC)
Gangnam Style music video 'broke' YouTube view limit
Officials in the western French
town of La Roche-Sur-Yon have had
to dismantle a nativity scene, in the
latest row over the country s secular
A judge in Nantes ruled that it was
a "religious emblem" and incompatible
with the French principle of "religious
neutrality in public spaces."
Town officials have reluctantly
removed a figure of baby Jesus, plaster
animals and a desk-sized stable they
had erected in the local council build-
A local senator denounced the rul-
France's strict secularism laws mean
that religious symbols are banned from
public spaces such as schools, hospitals
and local councils.
Secularism was a founding principle
of the French Republic and was
enshrined in a 1905 law separating
Church and State.
"This decision is grotesque," said
Senator Bruno Retailleau in a state-
ment. "Next we'll be banning epiphany
cakes at the Elysee Palace."
He also argued that it was unfair as
in Paris the mayor hosted a dinner
celebrating the Muslim month of
Ramadan every year.
Jean Regourd, a member of the sec-
ular Free Thinking Society, lodged the
complaint against the nativity scene
but denied attacking a tradition that
is now part of secular French culture.
"It's a child in a stable with a cow
and a donkey," he said. "It is clearly
a religious symbol, there's no doubt
about it. And these local council build-
ings were built in the 1980s so there
is no local nativity tradition to speak
of."Retailleau has said he will appeal
against the ruling but admits that
keeping the nativity on display would
be an "illegal act of civil disobedience."
And for a French senator, that would
be going too far.
President Vladimir Putin has
warned Russians of hard times
ahead and urged self-reliance, in his
annual state-of-the nation address
Russia has been hit hard by falling
oil prices and by Western sanctions
imposed in response to its interven-
tions in the crisis in neighbouring
The rouble, once a symbol of sta-
bility under Putin, suffered its biggest
one-day decline since 1998 on Mon-
The government has warned that
Russia will fall into recession next
Speaking to both chambers in the
Kremlin, Putin also accused Western
governments of seeking to raise a new
"iron curtain" around Russia.
He expressed no regrets for annex-
ing Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, say-
ing the territory had a "sacred mean-
ing" for Russia.
He insisted the "tragedy" in
Ukraine's south-east had proved that
Russian policy had been right but
said Russia would respect its neigh-
bour as a brotherly country.
Speaking in Basel in Switzerland
later, US Secretary of State John Kerry
said the West did not seek confronta-
tion with Russia.
"No-one gains from this con-
frontation... It is not our design or
desire that we see a Russia isolated
through its own actions," Mr Kerry
The final draft of Vladimir Putin's
annual speech is written by the pres-
ident himself. It is his view of the
state of the Russian nation and out-
lines his priorities for the year ahead.
President Putin remains popular.
One opinion poll this week suggested
that 72 per cent of Russians still
approved of the way he was running
the country. (BBC)
French court bans
Christmas nativity scene
Putin warns Russians
of hard times
A police union official yester-
day defended a white officer s
role in the chokehold death of
an unarmed black man in New
York even as protesters planned
a new round of demonstrations
a day after a grand jury voted
not to bring charges.
New York City Patrolmen's
Benevolent Association President
Patrick Lynch told reporters yes-
terday that Officer Daniel Pantaleo
had acted properly in restraining
Eric Garner during an arrest
attempt in the borough of Staten
Island in July.
"He's a model of what we want
a police officer to be," Lynch said.
Meanwhile, the Rev Al Sharp-
ton and other civil rights leaders
called for the appointment of a
special federal prosecutor to
investigate suspected cases of
police abuse, including the shoot-
ing death in August of unarmed
teenager Michael Brown in the
St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mis-
"We want the justice depart-
ment to address the fact that the
system is broken when you are
dealing with the police and people
of colour," Sharpton told reporters
at a news conference.
The grand jury cleared Pantaleo
on Wednesday, setting off protests
in New York and in other major
cities. The decision was
announced just over a week after
a Missouri grand jury declined to
charge a white policeman who
killed Brown in Ferguson, touch-
ing off rioting, looting and burn-
Hundreds of protesters
swarmed the streets in midtown
Manhattan on Wednesday night,
many chanting "I can't breathe,"
the same phrase Garner repeatedly
gasped in a video of the incident
on a Staten Island sidewalk before
his death. Police reported 83
arrests by yesterday morning.
People demonstrated in other
cities, including Oakland, Wash-
ington, DC and Denver.
The investigation, which began
in March 2013, gained added
prominence after a Cleveland
police officer last month shot
dead a 12-year-old boy who was
carrying what turned out to be a
toy gun on a playground.
The findings will prompt fed-
erally mandated reforms but carry
no criminal charges. (Reuters)
People protest against the Staten Island death of Eric Garner during an arrest in July, at midtown Manhattan
in New York, Wednesday. REUTERS PHOTO
No charges in NY
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