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French prosecutors open sex assault probe into ex-president d’Estaing

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French prosecutors said Monday they are opening an investigation into ex-president Valery Giscard d'Estaing over allegations by a German journalist that he sexually assaulted her after an interview in 2018.

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The investigation follows claims by reporter Ann-Kathrin Stracke that Giscard d'Estaing, 94, repeatedly grabbed her buttocks in his Paris office.

Giscard d'Estaing, France's oldest surviving former leader, served as president from 1974 until 1981, when he lost out on re-election to Francois Mitterrand.

Stracke, 37, told AFP last week she had filed charges against the former leader, claiming he had placed his hands on her backside three times while they posed for a photograph together in December 2018, when he was 92.

"I decided to tell my story because I think that people should know that a French former president harassed me sexually after an interview," said Stracke, a journalist for German public television WDR.

She took her case to Paris prosecutors on March 10 this year, backed by her employer which carried out an independent investigation into her claims.

Stracke said Monday she was pleased to hear of the decision, adding: "I am, of course, at the disposal of the French authorities in the context of this investigation."

Giscard d'Estaing's lawyer declined to comment.

Tried to push him away

Recalling the interview on December 18, 2018, Stracke said last week that she had asked for a photograph to be taken with Giscard d'Estaing and her colleagues after the interview.

"I was standing to his left, and while taking the photo, he put his hand on my left waist before sliding it to my backside where it stayed," said Stracke.

The same action was allegedly repeated twice — once while a new photo was being taken and another time when the former president was showing Stracke photographs ofRead More – Source

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Murray pulls out of Australian Open

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Follow @cnnsport"Sadly I won't be playing in Melbourne this year, as I am not yet ready to compete," said the three-time grand slam champion in a tweet on the Australian Open Twitter feed Thursday. "I'll be flying home shortly to assess all the options."Murray, now ranked 16th in the world, attempted a return at the US Open in August but pulled out two days before the start of the tournament and his only on-court appearances since have been exhibitions.Who will now be Roger Federer's biggest threats? Have your say on our Facebook page. "I've obviously been going through a really difficult period with my hip for a long time and have sought council from a number of hip specialists," Murray wrote on Instagram earlier this week."Having been recommended to treat my hip conservatively since the US Open I have done everything asked of me from a rehab perspective and worked extremely hard to try get back on the court competing. "Having played practice sets here in Brisbane with some top players unfortunately this hasn't worked yet to get me to the level I would like so I have to reassess my options. Obviously continuing rehab is one option and giving my hip more time to recover. "Surgery is also an option but the chances of a successful outcome are not as I high as I would like which has made this my secondary option and my hope has been to avoid that. However this is something I may have to consider but let's hope not."READ: 2018 — The year of the comebacks READ: Serena set for likely Australian Open comeback The Australian Open starts on January 15 and Murray is not the only high profile player to withdraw. Kei Nishikori will miss his second consecutive grand slam as he has not yet fully recovered from a wrist injury. Nishikori, a US Open finalist, has not competed since August and has consequently dropped to 22 in the world rankings. "My rehab is going well but I am just not ready 100% to come back yet in best-of-five set matches," said the 28-year-old. Djokovic missed the US Open with an elbow injuryVisit CNN.com/sport for more stories & features Novak Djokovic, winner of 12 grand slams, on Wednesday said he will make a decision on whether to participate in the Australian Open after taking part in two exhibition events. The six-time Australian Open champion was also an absentee from the second half of the tour last year and has delayed his comeback, saying last week that he had "started to feel pain" in his right elbow.But on his official website the Serb, 30, said this week he would take part in the Kooyong Classic (January 10-12) and the Tie Break Tens on January 10. World No.1 Rafael Nadal will also make his return from injury — he withdrew from November's World Tour Finals with a knee injury — at the Tie Break Tens in Melbourne and increased hopes that he would compete at the Australian Open by posting on Instagram a picture of himself at an airport with the caption: "Australian Open on my way."

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Record temperatures could hit Spain, Portugal amid heat wave

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The UK Met Office said parts of the Iberian peninsula could beat the all-time continental European record of 48 degrees Celsius (118.4 degrees Fahrenheit) this week, with inland areas likely to be hotter than the coast.That record was set in the Greek capital, Athens, in July 1977. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the record for Spain is currently 47.3 Celsius, while for Portugal it's 47.4 Celsius.The Portuguese capital, Lisbon, could see a high of 41 Celsius on Saturday, according to CNN forecasters. Its average temperature is 28 Celsius for this time of year.Deadly heat waves becoming more common due to climate changeA heat wave warning was in place across much of southern and eastern France on Thursday. The national meteorological agency, Méteo France, said Wednesday that temperatures in the south of the country would come close to record highs in the coming days.Vacationers have been warned to take precautions against extreme temperatures, as the heat wave coincides with the peak holiday season in Europe. Vulnerable people such as children and the elderly could be at risk of heat stroke, which occurs when a person's core body temperature rises above 40 Celsius and can lead to permanent brain, heart and kidney damage and, in more severe instances, death. Spain's meteorological office, Aemet, warned of high temperatures lasting from Wednesday into early next week. The hot spell will be particularly intense and long-lasting in Spain's southwest, the central zone and the Ebro Valley, with temperatures above 40 Celsius, it said. In inland areas of the northwestern region of Galicia, normally known for its mild, rainy weather, the mercury could hit 41 Celsius on Thursday, it said.Wildfires have raged in Sweden and neighboring Scandinavian nations in recent weeks amid unusually hot, dry conditions. Some places in Sweden have had their driest May-to-July period on record, according to its meteorological agency, and a number of weather stations have recorded only 10% to 15% of their normal rainfall. The United Kingdom is also experiencing a prolonged spell of hot, dry weather. The Met Office said last week that some parts of east and southeast England had had virtually no rain for more than 50 days. Thunderstorms over the weekend brought with themrain and cooler weather, but temperatures are again on the rise.The National Farmers' Union hosted an emergency summit Wednesday with representatives of the UK government, at which it called for its members to be given help to cope with the conditions. Farmers are struggling with irrigation, heat stress on livestock, the loss of crops and a shortage of forage for animals, the union said. "The impacts of the dry and hot weather have been hugely challenging for many farms across the country, with many not seeing such weather in their lifetimes," said NFU President Minette Batters.The UK Environment Agency said it would allow greater flexibility in the rules on water extraction to help farmers manage the situation.The partly dried-out bed of the River Danube is pictured in Mariaposching, southern Germany, on Wednesday.Meanwhile, German Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner wrote to the European Commission on Wednesday urging it to take steps to help farmers affected by drought. Food for livestock could become scarce in the coming weeks, she warned.The past four months in Germany have been very hot and dry, particularly in the north and east of the country. The European Commission announced measures Thursday to help farmers cope, including giving them higher advance payments from EU funds and granting more flexibility to use land that would normally be left fallow to grow animal fodder.The latter measure will be of particular help to livestock farmers, it said.

CNN's Haley Brink and Brandon Miller contributed to this report.

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Accused attacker refuses to answer questions in court

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It was the first public appearance for 28-year-old Salah Abdeslam since his arrest in Belgium in March 2016, according to Reuters news agency. He is on trial for charges related to a gunfight with authorities that preceded his arrest.Abdeslam is accused of attempted murder in a terrorist context and illegal possession of firearms, charges which carry up to 20 years in prison if convicted. The prosecutor is calling for the maximum sentence.His trial is expected to last a week. Abdeslam also is expected to face a trial in France on charges related to the November 13, 2015 terror attack in Paris. That night, men armed with assault rifles and explosives targeted six locations across the French capital, killing at least 130 people and wounding hundreds. The militant group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. Authorities think Abdeslam, a French national born in Belgium, drove the black Renault Clio that dropped off three suicide bombers near the Stade de France.Abdeslam is the brother of Ibrahim Abdeslam, believed to be the suicide bomber who detonated explosives near a café on the Boulevard Voltaire the night of the November 2015 attack.

'I am not afraid of you'

In court Monday, Abdeslam looked very different than the clean-shaven young man who appeared in his arrest photos. His beard was full and his hair was longer and combed back, according to CNN affiliate BFM TV. Abdeslam had asked to be present at his trial. But he refused to stand or to answer questions, BFM TV reported, and even balked at confirming his identity when asked by the court, telling those assembled that silence was "his defense."But Abdeslam did lecture the court about the treatment of Muslims by the justice system, reported BFM TV. "What I see is that Muslims are judged in the worst way," he said. "My silence does not make me a criminal … I am not afraid of you, nor of your allies. I place my trust in Allah. I have nothing to add."Refusal to answer questions is a tactic Abdeslam has used before. In October 2016, some members of his legal team quit because he would not speak in court.

CNN's Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank contributed to this report.

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Europe’s heatwave unveils a hidden past

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But the sweltering heat has had some unexpected results, uncovering architecture and more that had been lost to the long grasses of history. Gardens, ghostly mansions and even grenades have all emerged from Europe's parched landscape as the sun scorches the continent's lawns, fields and scrubland. In Ireland, yellowing fields are unearthing ancient archaeological monuments, while wildfires uncovered aerial navigation aidsfrom World War II. Drone imagery above the world-famous Neolithic tombs at Newgrange in County Meath has revealed a string of further monuments. The pictures show circular markings etched into the landscape, which experts believe may show ancient ceremonial sites and a prehistoric mortuary.These recent discoveries will transform the current understanding of the archaeological landscape at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to Ireland's National Monuments Service. Fires along clifftops on Bray Head in Ireland revealed these markings that aided aviators in World War II. From more recent times, the sun-soaked weather in Ireland has unearthed World War II-era "EIRE" markings in yellowing clifftops on Bray Head in County Wicklow. Fires sparked by the hot weather revealed the sign, hidden since 1944. Ireland's authorities marked out 83 such displays along the Irish coast to alert military aviators they were flying over a neutral country. At the request of the US Air Force they were numbered, helping American bomber pilots to navigate across the Atlantic. The rain-starved Elbe River in Germany has revealed 24 pieces of WWII-era ordnance already this year. With so little rainfall, the water level of the Elbe River in Germany has been lower than usual, exposing munitions that have lain beneath its waters since the war's end in 1945. Police in the German region of Saxony-Anhalt have already found 24 pieces of ordnance so far this year, double the total for all of 2017, and they expect to find more. "After the war, the munition — mainly grenades, mines or munition pieces — have been thrown into the river undefused," policespokeswoman Grit Merker said. "People just wanted to get rid of them as quickly as possible."Merker said there was no reason for the public to be alarmed. "The only danger is erosion or movement — that can lead to explosions," she said. "The heat itself that uncovered the munition does not pose a threat."And in the UK, the shapes of hidden gardens and mansions are emerging in the heat. A stately house once stood on the sunbaked grounds of Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, England. At Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, England, the layout of a Victorian garden emerged from a thirsty lawn.In Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire, the sunbaked grass has revealed where a long-demolished stately house once stood.

CNN's Gianluca Mezzofiore reported and Joseph Ataman wrote from London. CNN's Kevin Tschierse contributed from Berlin.

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Water gun can cut through concrete

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This water gun can pierce concrete

How do firefighters put out a blaze when they can't reach the flames?

That's the challengefirefighters confronted in 2008, when a B-2 Stealth Bomber crashed on the runway at an American airbase in Guam.

The crew successfully ejected, but the hugely expensive aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire that burned deep within its wreckage.

"The firefighters had difficulty getting through the composite layers of the aircraft skin to fight the fire," U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Scott Knupp told CNNMoney.

The loss of the aircraft prompted the Air Force to search for a solution.

"We were looking for some type of technology out there that would help us penetrate through [to] hard-to-reach spaces to get water onto the fire," said Knupp.

Air Force firefighters now use a system called PyroLance — a firefighting "gun" that can blast through steel, brick or concrete walls, and even bullet-resistant glass.

pyrolance water gun
The PyroLance uses ultra-high pressure technology.

The hand-held device uses a mixture of pressurized water and granite material to pierce a six millimeter-wide hole throughobstacles.

Once the ultra-high pressure spray penetrates the surface, the PyroLance nozzle continues to pump a fine mist of micro droplets into the enclosed space, lowering the temperature from around 1,500 F to 200 F in less than a minute.

Using ultra-high pressure (UHP) technology to put out fires isn't new in itself. The Air Force Research Laboratory at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida began researching and testing UHP in the mid 2000s.

It found that water pumped at higher pressuresproduces millions of micro water droplets. This spray extends across a greater surface area, helping extinguish fires faster while using less water.

But PyroLance president Scott Alexander said his company is the only one that uses the technology to penetrate a barrier and extinguish a fire.

PyroLance began supplying the U.S. Air Force five years ago and the technology has also been adopted by the U.S. Navy, as well as numerous airports and fire services around the world.

The system costs from $15,000 to $80,000, and the company hopes to sell 350 units at home and abroad over the next year.

Alexander said that one of the biggest challenges his company faces is convincing firefighters that it isn't trying to eliminate their jobs or "take the fun out of firefighting."

He said the company wants to reduce firefighters' exposure to intense heat,deadly backdrafts and toxic smoke environments.

"The reality is we're trying to keep them safe,"he said.

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Prince Harry: No guest list yet for wedding to Meghan Markle

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Asked on a BBC radio program whether he would invite former US President Barack Obama Harry swerved the question, saying he didn't want to "ruin that surprise."There has been speculation in the UK media that British officials fear the political consequences if the couple decide to invite Barack and Michelle Obama, with whom they are friends, but not President Donald Trump. Markle, an American actor, has been critical of Trump in the past, and there is already widespread controversy in the UK over the prospect of an official visit by the President to the UK.The wedding is not a full state occasion and the guest list is being drawn up by Buckingham Palace, with the British government in a consultative role. It is not clear whether Downing Street would insist on Trump or a representative being invited, or whether it could block an invitation being extended to the Obamas.The vexed issue came up when Harry appeared as guest editor on BBC Radio 4's flagship morning program, Today, on Wednesday. After a pre-taped exchange between Harry and Obama, the Prince was asked whether his friendship with the former President warranted an invitation to the wedding."We haven't put the invites or the guest list together yet so who knows whether he's going to be invited or not. I wouldn't want to ruin that surprise," the prince said.Harry has become close to the Obamas through their support for the Invictus Games, an event for injured servicemen and women that was started by the UK royal in 2014. The Prince conducted the interview with Obama for BBC Radio 4's Today program while he and the former US President were in Toronto, Canada, for this year's Games. The Prince and Markle, who announced their engagement last month, have set May 19 as their wedding date. The ceremony is to be held in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, west of London. UK newspapers have already begun speculating over who might be on the guest list, which could bring together an intriguing mix of British and showbiz aristocracy.The wedding is expected to be a smaller affair than that of Harry's brother, Prince William, in 2011. He and his wife, Catherine, had two receptions in Buckingham Palace: a traditional lunch for over 600 guests, which was hosted by the Queen and included dignitaries and officials, and a more intimate evening party for roughly 300 friends and family.Meghan Markle intends to become UK citizen after marriage to Prince HarrySt George's Chapel was most recently the scene of the wedding of Peter Phillips — son of Princess Anne and cousin to Harry — who married Canada-born Autumn Kelly there in 2008.Harry and Markle spent Christmas with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip, as well as other family members, at Sandringham, the Queen's country estate in rural Norfolk, about 100 miles north of London.Asked on air Wednesday how his first Christmas was with Markle, Harry said they had had an "amazing time" and a lot of fun with William and his family. "Oh it was fantastic, she really enjoyed it. The family loved having her there," he said of his fiancee.Related: How much does a royal wedding cost?

CNN's Hilary McGann and Amanda Coakley contributed to this report.

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Macron vows no new ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais

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Speaking ahead of Thursday's talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, Macron insisted that France was doing all it could to prevent illegal crossings into the UK.Macron wants the UK to increase its spending to help ease the pressure on Calais, which was home to the former encampment known as the Jungle where thousands of migrants lived before it was destroyed by French authorities in October 2016."Calais has become an impasse," Macron said in a speech in the city on Tuesday."In no way will we let illegal routes to be developed here. In no way will we let a 'Jungle' spring up, or an illegal occupation of the territory."Macron and May are set to discuss the 2003 Le Touquet agreement, a deal that allows the UK to effectively have a border on French land and vice-versa. The agreement is unpopular in France. The move is in line with Macron's pre-election pledge to renegotiate the treaty. If the deal is scrapped, Britain's immigration services would have to deal with migrants when they arrive in the UK rather than before they leave France.According to the Elysee Palace, there are currently about 300 to 500 migrants living in Calais a — down from 2,000 14 months ago.Many are living in makeshift camps and attempting to find their way across the English Channel.The French government recorded 115,000 attempts to enter the UK from Calais in 2017 compared to 165,000 in the previous year.French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to a migrant center in Croisilles, northern France.Macron met with a number of migrants at a center in Croisilles about 130 kilometers (80 miles) from Calais, before addressing security staff later in the afternoon.Macron wants to reduce the time it takes to process asylum claims from 18 months to six while offering protection to the most vulnerable, including women.He also pledged to challenge Britain on accepting unaccompanied minors, adding he would be seeking some "specific responses" from London on the matter.

Saskya Vandoorne in Paris contributed to this report.

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European allies relieved Trump ‘didn’t give away the store,’ senior US official says

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"There isn't a lot of clean-up because there doesn't seem to be a lot of spillage," one senior official said. "The feedback we are getting from the Europeans is that they are relieved. They were worried he was going to give away the store and he didn't. So they aren't thrilled with the optics, but they are fine." The immediate diplomatic reaction to Trump and Putin's press conference was scathing. European envoys offered assessments that ranged from "frightening" and "devastating" to "an abomination," with some raising the need to create new strategies to deal with the US as a now less-than-reliable ally, perhaps even an adversary. Trump's endorsement of the Russian President over his own intelligence services and his failure to confront Putin on key issues such as Crimea and the Novichok poisonings in the UK signaled to many that he was giving Putin carte blanche to do what he wants.But days after the summit it seems the level of alarm has subsided a little.US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchinson and John Huntsman, US ambassador to Russia, briefed NATO ambassadors of the North Atlantic Council, the principal decision-making body within NATO, about the Helsinki talks in Brussels on Tuesday. Beyond that, the State Department said that there has not been any high level engagements on the matter.Another senior administration official said that Europeans are seeing Trump's comments at the press conference as "a performance for domestic political consumption which they already anticipated." Trump's Helsinki performance puts translator in the spotlight"The summit itself was meaningless," the official said. "It's being discounted." The official's comments echoed that of a Western diplomat, who predicted that any commitments Trump made to Putin at the summit would not lead to tangible changes in US policy toward Russia.The diplomat, who called Trump's performance at the press conference with Putin "pathetic and devastating," said the one "silver lining is that nothing will come out of this summit" because Trump never follows through on what comes out of the meetings with world leaders."Putin probably thinks the whole thing was a joke. Even if he wanted to get something from Trump, it never goes anywhere," the diplomat said. "And he doesn't know anything on substance. So even if you accept that strategy, how does he negotiate?"A senior State Department official said neither the administration nor its allies sense the "climate of crisis" being portrayed in the media or by lawmakers on Capitol Hill. "Our relationship with Russia and our positions are the same today as they were on the 15th," the official said. "The Helsinki meeting was an opportunity to see where the relationship could go in the future."WH entertaining Russian proposal to interrogate Americans in exchange for Mueller investigation assistanceHowever, there is concern that so little is known about the substance of what Putin and Trump discussed in their private meeting with only translators present. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said there were three proposals discussed at the meeting that the US is "currently assessing." According to Nauert, the proposals included establishing a high-level working group with business leaders from both countries and an "expert council" that would include political scientists from the US and Russia, current and former diplomats as well as former military officials — similar to an initiative between the US and Soviet Union years ago.Lastly, Nauert said officials from the US and Russian national security councils would meet to discuss "follow-up meetings.""These are certainly all modest proposals," Nauert said. "The President had said going into this that we wouldn't solve all the world's problems in one meeting, in one conversation with the Russian government, but we think it's a pretty good place to start."

CNN's Nicole Gaouette contributed reporting.

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Can AI create a masterpiece?

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This story is part of "Smart Creativity," a series exploring the intersection between high-concept design and advanced technology.

"Edmond de Belamy" has made history as the first work of art produced by artificial intelligence to be sold at auction.

The slightly blurry canvas print, which has been likened to works by the Old Masters, sold Thursday for $432,500 — dramatically exceeding its original estimate of $7,000-$10,000– at a Christie's auction in New York.

"Christie's continually stays attuned to changes in the art market and how technology can impact the creation and consumption of art," Richard Lloyd, international head of prints and multiples at Christie's, said in a statement before the auction.

"AI has already been incorporated as a tool by contemporary artists and as this technology further develops, we are excited to participate in these continued conversations. To best engage in the dialogue, we are offering a public platform to exhibit an artwork that has entirely been realized by an algorithm."

Obvious co-founder Pierre Fautrel stands beside "Edmond de Belamy" before it hits the auction block at Christie's in New York. Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

While the print is signed "min G max D x [log (D(x))] + z [log(1 – D (G(z)))]" after a section of the algorithm's code, it was conceived by Obvious, a Paris-based trio fascinated by the artistic potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Though none come from an art background, friends Pierre Fautrel, Hugo Caselles-Dupré and Gauthier Vernier first started experimenting with art and machine learning last year.

"We saw algorithms were capable of creating new images, and we were astonished by the potential they had," Vernier said.

To produce "Edmond de Belamy" and the 10 other portraits in the "La Famille de Belamy" series, Obvious fed a two-part algorithm 15,000 images of portraits from different time periods. After reviewing these submissions, the first part of the algorithm began generating its own portraits, trying to create original works that could pass as man-made.

Can artificial intelligence produce a masterpiece?

"All the data has similarities, so common features. So, first algorithm creates new examples of those images and tries to fool the second algorithm into thinking that those pictures created are, actually, real portraits, so human-made," Vernier said.

"We're looking at these portraits the same way a painter would do it. Like walking in a gallery, taking some inspiration. Except that we feed this inspiration to the algorithm, and the algorithm is the part that does the visual creation."

"Le Comte de Belamy" is one of 10 portraits that comprise Obvious' "La Famille de Belamy" series.

"Le Comte de Belamy" is one of 10 portraits that comprise Obvious' "La Famille de Belamy" series. Credit: Courtesy Obvious

While inventive, this approach hasn't been without critics. Many working in the field of art and artificial intelligence criticized or dismissed Obvious' inclusion in the Christie's sale since the type of algorithm used — generative adversarial networks, or GANs — have been used by artists for years.

Speaking to The New York Times ahead of the auction, Mario Klingemann, an artist known for his work with machine learning, likened "Edmond de Belamy" to "a connect-the-dots children's painting."

But in light of the auction result, it's likely Obvious will remain undaunted by naysayers. Their work has raised interesting points around the nature of human creation — and clearly caught the attention of the world's collectors.

"I think (artificial intelligence) has its place in the art world because it tries to replicate what any artist would do, like trying to create from what he knows," Vernier said. "It forces you to try to understand your own creativity and how you would be able to replicate it."

Watch the video above to find out more about Obvious and how technology informs the trio's practice.

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