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Police find body of woman who vanished after Tinder date

Nebraska woman Sydney Loofe, 24, raised her family's concerns about her welfare when she failed to turn up for work on Thursday, November 16, and failed to let them know she wasn't coming in.
Lincoln Police Chief Jeff Bliemeister said on Tuesday that "analysis of digital evidence" led authorities to a body in rural Clay County they believe is that of Ms Loofe, 24, US broadcaster WFAA reports.
"We do believe that there is evidence of foul play," Bliemeister said.
The body of Sydney Loofe is believed to have been found by police. Source: Supplied
Chief Bliemeister didn't provide any other details on the cause of death or circumstances surrounding the discovery.
Investigators had been using Ms Loofe's mobile phone signal to retrace her movements in the hours before she disappeared.
Her car was found in the driveway of her home in the US state of Nebraska, but she was nowhere to be seen, sparking fears she may have been abducted.
Her friend Terra Gehrig said she received a text message from Ms Loofe early the day before she disappeared.
Bailey Boswell is believed to have been Ms Loofe's date. Source: Taney County Sheriff's Office
The 24-year-old told Ms Gehrig her Tinder date went well and she was planning to meet the woman again that night.
Ms Loofe failed to show up for her shift the following day at her department store job, or call her manager to let them know she wasn’t coming in.
The night before she went missing, Ms Loofe shared a picture on social media with the caption: “Ready for my date” with a smiley face emoticon with heart-shaped eyes.
Friends told US broadcaster KETV they went to check on the young woman at her home on Thursday after she didn’t turn up for work, but nobody was home despite her car being parked there.
Aubrey Trail is considered a person of interest in the case. Source: Taney County Sheriff's Office
Bliemeister said the persons of interest, Aubrey Trail, 51, and Bailey Boswell, 23, remained in custody but had not been charged in the case.
Both allegedly left the state in the days after Ms Loofe disappeared and were arrested this week on unrelated charges.
A missing poster shared online shows Ms Loofe's tattoos and her final Snapchat. Source: Supplied
Boswell and roommate, Aubrey Trail, 51, live in the eastern Nebraska town of Wilber, about 64 kilometres south of Lincoln and the last place Ms Loofe was seen alive.
Ms Boswell told police she dropped Ms Loofe off at a friend’s house after their date and never heard from her again.
Bliemeister said authorities have not yet been able to confirm her timeline.
"By their own statements on social media, we believe that Aubrey Trail and Bailey Boswell were two of the last people to see her before her disappearance," Bliemeister said.
"Thus they remain persons of interest."

Olympics: Why has Russia been banned and what happens now?

Eligible Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as "Olympic Athletes of Russia"Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It followed the release of a report which the International Olympic Committee said found evidence of "unprecedented systematic manipulation" of the anti-doping system.
Here's how Russia got into this position and what happens next.

Why has Russia been banned?


The Schmid Commission, led by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid, was given the job of looking into alleged Russian doping, particularly at the 2014 Sochi Olympics where the country topped the medal table with 13 gold medals out of 33 overall.
Its conclusion was partly based on the testimony of Grigory Rodchenkov, who was the director of Moscow's Anti-Doping Centre when the Sochi Olympics were held.
Mr Rodchenkov fled the country in 2015 and became a whistleblower, explaining in May 2016 to the New York Times how urine samples from Russian athletes were swapped out so that drug use would be undetected.
He said that the conspiracy involved passing urine samples through a hole in a wall and adding table salt to swapped samples to mask the deception.
Mr Schmid said there was also further scientific evidence, witness statements, documents and correspondence which demonstrated that Russia's anti-doping system had been manipulated.

Why was Russia allowed to compete in Rio if this was already known?

IOC President Thomas Bach said the situation had changed.
"[Ahead of Rio] there was no opportunity to hear the Russian side and at the time of Rio it was mainly about the failure in the Moscow lab," he said.

"Now it's about the manipulation of an Olympic lab. The conditions then and now are totally different."
However, back in 2015 — a year before the Rio Olympics — the World Anti-Doping Agency issued its own damning report on the scandal.
Its findings went further than the IOC's, saying the conspiracy had been state-sponsored and involved Russian secret service agents.
Russia's inclusion in the 2016 Rio Olympics wasn't unrestricted, however, with bans for the entire weightlifting team and all track and field athletes but one.
International sports federations had been told to decide individually on Russia's participation.

So does the IOC think the Russian Government was involved in the conspiracy?

The Schmid Commission said it had not found "documented, independent and impartial evidence" that the Kremlin had knowledge or involvement in the anti-doping manipulation.
However, current Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vitaly Mutko has had a lifetime Olympic ban placed on him.
He who was the sports minister when the manipulation took place. He's also the man responsible for running next year's FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Will any Russian athletes be allowed to compete?

Yes, that's the plan.
The IOC said some Russian athletes will be allowed to compete under the tag of "Olympic Athlete of Russia", if they satisfy strict conditions that show they have a doping-free background.
That means if a Russian athlete were to win a gold medal, it would be the Olympic anthem, and not the Russian, that would get played.
Previously, suspended countries have used terms such as "Independent Olympic Athlete".

Will Russia go along with all this?

That's unclear. Russia could refuse the offer and boycott the Games.
The head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Alexander Zhukov, said Russian athletes would appeal against the ban. But he also had positive things to say.
"Speaking about the positive sides, the International Olympic Committee allowed all clean Russian athletes both in individual and team sports to compete in the Olympics. This is first. Secondly, this team will be called a team of Russian athletes," he said.
"If the Olympics go normally and there are no violations, the temporarily suspended Russian Olympic Committee will be reinstated.
"And one of the positive decisions is that all doping-related sanctions and investigations against Russian athletes will be stopped from this moment."
He said a "final decision" about the conditions of Russia's participation in the Olympics will be made at the Olympic Council on December 12.
We also haven't heard yet from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has previously said it would be humiliating for his country to compete without national symbols.



John Conyers resigns from Congress after sexual harassment allegations

‘My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,’ Conyers said Tuesday.

John Conyers, the Michigan Democrat who is battling sexual harassment allegations from former female staffers, resigned from Congress on Tuesday, after telling a Detroit radio host: “I am retiring today.”
Conyers spoke in a rambling interview with WJBK host Mildred Gaddis, via telephone from an undisclosed hospital. Shortly afterwards his resignation letter was read on the floor of Congress.
Speaking to Gaddis, the 88-year-old insisted that the allegations against him did not diminish his half-century of service in Congress.
“My legacy can’t be compromised or diminished in any way by what we are going through now,” he said. “This too shall pass.”
Conyers went on to say of the allegations: “Whatever they are they are not accurate, they are not true and I think they are something that I can’t explain where they came from.”
He initially only spoke broadly about his political future, saying: “I am in the process of putting my retirement plans together will have more on that very soon.”
After prodding from Gaddis and a brief period of quiet, Conyers said: “Thank you for helping me get this into focus. I am retiring today and I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the support.”
Jerry Nadler of New York, the Democrat who recently replaced Conyers as the ranking member of the House judiciary committee, released a statement in which he said Conyers had been “a friend and mentor to me for over 25 years, and I am saddened that his service to our nation has had to end under these circumstances”.
The announcement came hours after Michigan state senator Ian Conyers, a grandson of John Conyers’ brother, told the New York Times the 88-year-old’s doctor “advised him that the rigor of another campaign would be too much for him, just in terms of his health”.
Conyers told the newspaper his great-uncle – the longest-serving current member of the House – was “not resigning”, adding: “He is going to retire.” The report did not specify how Ian Conyers knew of the congressman’s plans. He said he planned to run for John Conyers’ seat in Washington.
In the radio interview, Conyers endorsed his son John Conyers III to succeed him, not his great-nephew.
Conyers was first elected in 1964 and easily won re-election last year in the heavily Democratic 13th district. But following mounting allegations of sexual harassment, he has faced growing calls to resign from colleagues including the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.
He returned to Detroit from Washington last week and was hospitalized after complaining of feeling light-headed. His attorney, Arnold Reed, said Conyers’ health would be the paramount consideration in whether he decided to step down.
In his statement, Nadler said “there is no doubt that these allegations have taken a tremendous toll on [Conyers] personally, as well as on his family and on everyone that knows him.”
“With that said, there can be no tolerance for behavior that subjects women to the kind of conduct that has been alleged.”
A statement from Pelosi said: “Congressman Conyers … shaped some of the most consequential legislation of the last half-century. But no matter how great the legacy, it is no license to harass or discriminate.”
She added: “The brave women who came forward with were owed the justice of this announcement. Now, we must pass the ME TOO Congress Act to create greater transparency and accountability in the broken reporting and settlements system. We must lead the fight against sexual harassment and abuse, not only in Congress but in every workplace, everywhere in our country.”
The House ethics committee is reviewing allegations of harassment. On Monday, a woman who said she worked for Conyers for more than a decade said he slid his hand up her skirt and rubbed her thighs while she was sitting next to him in the front row of a church.
Elisa Grubbs made the allegation in an affidavit released by her attorney, Lisa Bloom. Grubbs is the cousin of another accuser, Marion Brown, who reached a confidential settlement with Conyers which she broke to speak publicly last week.
Bloom posted Grubbs’ affidavit on Twitter and confirmed it was genuine. It says she worked for Conyers from approximately 2001 to about 2013.
She also said she saw Conyers touching and stroking the legs and buttocks of Brown and other female staffers on “multiple occasions”. Grubbs said witnessing such harassment “was a regular part of life while working in the office of Rep Conyers”.
Once when Grubbs was at Conyers’ home, she said, he came out of the bathroom naked when he knew she was in the room.
Reed told the Detroit Free Press the allegations by Grubbs were “another instance of tomfoolery from the mouth of Harvey Weinstein’s attorney”.
Bloom previously represented Hollywood executive Weinstein, who is accused of sexual misconduct and assault by a number of women. She quit Weinstein’s team after the allegations became public and now represents sexual harassment victims.

Spotify wrapped: The songs our staff played the most in 2017 and why

Spotify has launched their annual end-of-year ‘Wrapped’ feature, allowing subscribers to see the stats behind their listening habits.
Once again, members of The Independent have discovered their personal most-listened-to tracks of the year, the results ranging from Run the Jewels to Ed Sheeran.
Below, our (partly embarrassed) staff offer some reasoning as to why they blasted the same song over and over again. (You can find out yours through this link and see our results from last year.)
Arcade Fire, ‘Creature Comfort’
‘Creature Comfort’ — the love child of ‘Reflektor and ‘Month of May’ — is an unapologetic thrill ride comprised of humming synths and stomping bass delivered in Talking Heads-style drawl by Win Butler. Arcade Fire’s intimate show at London’s York Hall is to thank for this track’s victory, amassing at least five listens a day ever since in the hope transporting myself back to that show.
— Jacob Stolworthy
Run the Jewels, ‘Legend Has It’
Proof that I am incredibly susceptible to earworms. If you’re wondering why a track for a 2016 album is being featured here, it’s for the simple and straightforward reason that, as a movie fan, I naturally watched the Black Panther trailer about 20 times then got the track stuck in my head for about three months. It’s a killer, though. 
— Clarisse Loughrey
Tom Petty, ‘Wildflowers’
I started playing this track pretty much on loop after watching Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at their Hyde Park gig in July. I hadn’t paid the Wildflowers album much attention before the gig, leaning more towards the Heartbreakers’ traditional American rock sound, over the gentle folk of Petty’s solo work on Wildflowers. But Petty played several tracks off of this album at the gig and I fell in love with them. The chorus speaks to me as a frustrated country girl who still finds it strange to be among the concrete: “You belong among the wildflowers, you belong in a boat out at sea. Sail away, kill off the hours, you belong somewhere you feel free.”
— Chloe Hubbard
Virginia to Vegas, ‘Selfish’
I was surprised by this one as it’s been months since I last listened to it, but going back to it I get why I had it on repeat so much in 2017. Canadian artist Virginia to Vegas pre-empted the “subdued banger” that would go on to dominate the charts in the later part of this year. I don’t even remember where I heard it first — I think it might have been a viral track on Spotify, but it’s annoyingly addictive — the 8m streams its racked up on Spotify definitely weren’t all by me. I’ve noticed a lot of the tracks that popped up in my Spotify end-of-year list were either old favourites or pop bangers that I’d play about a hundred times in a week before moving on.
— Roisin O’Connor
Brockhampton, ‘Sweet’
Brockhampton was the best artist I discovered in 2017. They're often favourably compared to Odd Future, which I don't really see, but this song kind of has an 'Oldie' vibe to it. Six members of the self-described 'boy band' exchange verses but it's Joba who really shines with his strange, mangled, addictive bars. "I am one with ebb and flow, that's all I know"; I think it tops my list directly as a result of that bit alone.
— Ibrahim Salha
Maleek Berry, ‘Bend It’
This track is entirely unexpectedly because I only started listening to it about three weeks ago. Still, it’s perfect as winter approaches: so fun and sunny that it can even divert the path of cold, British winds; the sheer warmth of it stopping them ripping all the way through to your bones. Those aren’t usually things I especially want from music but this has been a really useful track for stopping me being quite such a goth.
— Andrew Griffin 
Ed Sheeran, ‘Nancy Mulligan’
I was rather surprised that out of the staggering 19,474 minutes I spent listening to Spotify this year most of them were spent internally jiving along to this jolly Irish-jig number. As an avid subscriber to the “I’m too cool to listen to chart music” narrative, I might like Ed Sheeran more than I care to admit. Yes, he’s one of the best-selling artists in the world and yes his music is overplayed absolutely everywhere, but there’s just something about this particular tune, which tells the charming story of how his grandparents met, that evidently kept me coming back for more.
— Olivia Petter
The Rubberbandits, ‘Horse Outside’
My most listened to tune comes from The Rubberbandits, ‘Horse Outside’  being the Limerick duo's tale of Magner's weddings, equine supremacy and car-related one-upmanship. Hilarious, catchy and a great advertisement for horses as a way of avoiding road tax, it livened up the morning commute countless times, much to the bemusement of onlooking fellow passengers as I stamped my hoof in time to the beat. Giddy up.
— Ronan O'Shea
(Sandy) Alex G, ‘Bobby’
Rocket, the latest album from Frank Ocean's Blonde collaborator Alex G, was my go-to this year for those staring-out-of-a-bus-window-feeling-down-on-your-luck moments. In particular, the track 'Bobby' set up shop in my heart, a burnt-out folk rock song based around weary harmonies and lackadaisical violin and banjo. As if pleading to his lover, the narrator reworks the wounding chorus line to address his mistakes. "I'd leave him for you," he says of his personified demons. "I'd clean it for you," he assures of the mess he's made. But is he trying to change more than he should need to? Has he been worn weak by the relationship? "I'd burn them for you" he later says of the pictures of his heart turning dark he's been painting, promising to mask his own valid sorrow just to keep her around. A completely moreish track that's at once brutal and slender.
— Christopher Hooton
Frank Ocean, ‘Chanel’ 
One of Frank Ocean’s many loosies, ‘Chanel’ marks one of the elusive songwriter’s best tracks: a subdued, catchy, slow-burner with lyrics that walk a careful tightrope between bravado and emotional. Before seeing Ocean play Lovebox, the track — along with ‘Biking’ and ‘Nights’ — was played on repeat. Unfortunately, the actual concert couldn’t match my expectations, but the former Odd Future member remains one of my favourite artists working today.
— Jack Shepherd

John Oliver slams Dustin Hoffman over sexual harassment claims

CNN)Dustin Hoffman and "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver got into a heated discussion Monday night when Oliver brought up recent allegations of sexual harassment against the actor.
The exchange, which was captured on video by Washington Post reporter Steven Zeitchik, took place during a panel moderated by Oliver for a 20th anniversary screening of "Wag the Dog," which starred Hoffman. The poor quality video is edited, and only about six minutes of the one-hour panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y in New York City was posted online by the Post. Portions of the video are hard to understand due to the poor audio quality.
The comedian host brought up the allegations in front of the panel's live audience.
The Post reports that about halfway through the movie discussion, Oliver began to broach the subject.
"This is something we're going to have to talk about because," Oliver said. "It's hanging in the air."
Oliver was referring to recent allegations made by Anna Graham Hunter in an essay, which was published on November 1 by The Hollywood Reporter. In the column, she claims Hoffman, now 80, made multiple inappropriate comments and unwanted sexual advances toward her when she was a 17-year-old production assistant on the set of "The Death of a Salesman" in 1985.
"It's hanging in the air?" Hoffman said. "From a few things you've read you've made an incredible assumption about me. You've made the case better than anyone else can. I'm guilty," he told Oliver.
Weeks ago, Hoffman apologized for his alleged behavior and his statement was published in Hunter's essay.
"I have the utmost respect for women and feel terrible that anything I might have done could have put her in an uncomfortable situation," Hoffman said at the time. "I am sorry. It is not reflective of who I am."
On Monday, Hoffman duked it out with Oliver on the stage, where the actor was joined by his fellow "Wag the Dog" co-star Robert De Niro, producer Jane Rosenthal and director Barry Levinson.
According to the Post, Hoffman said during the panel discussion that he has "never met" Graham.
"I still don't know who this woman is," Hoffman said. "I never met her; if I met her it was in concert with other people."
In the video, Oliver called out Hoffman's apology, saying he was angered by the actor's word choice.
"'It's 'not reflective of who I am.' It's that kind of response to this stuff that pisses me off," Oliver said. "It is reflective of who you were. If it happened and you've given no evidence to show that it didn't [happen] then there was a period of time for a while when you were a creeper around women. So, it feels like a cop-out to say 'well this isn't me.' Do you understand how that feels like a dismissal?"
Hoffman replied, "It's difficult to answer that question. You weren't there..."
Hoffman also questioned whether Oliver believes everything printed about what his accuser says happened.
"Do you believe this stuff that you read?" Hoffman asked.
"I believe what she wrote, yes," Oliver replied.
"Why?" asked Hoffman.
"Because there's no point in her lying," said Oliver.
"Well, there's a point in her not bringing this up for 40 years," Hoffman said.
"Oh, Dustin," Oliver said, as he put his head in his hand.
Hoffman went on to discuss behavior on movie sets, along with some of the more colorful talk and banter that would often take place between movie crews and actors.
Hoffman described how his co-workers were "a family," who sometimes said stupid sexual things, that were meant to be funny. He reminded Oliver and the audience that this was 40 years ago.
Oliver said, "It doesn't feel self-reflective in the way that it seems the incident demands.
"I get no pleasure from having this conversation because you and I are not the victims here...."
CNN has reached out to Hoffman and Oliver's reps for comment.
Oliver's show airs on HBO, which, along with CNN, is owned by Time Warner.

Mata warns Man United to be wary after debatable Dzagoev goal

The player took advantage of a loophole in the offside law to take the lead at Old Trafford, although United came back to win Tuesday's clash
Juan Mata has warned Manchester United to be wary of the specifics around the offside rule following Alan Dzagoev's goal for CSKA Moscow on Tuesday.
The Russian side took the lead in the Champions League clash at Old Trafford when Dzagoev fortuitously deflected Vitinho's shot into the net, with the goal allowed to stand despite United appealing for offside.
Dzagoev was standing between the last United defender on the pitch and goalkeeper Sergio Romero when he scored but, according to FIFA rules, he had been played onside by Daley Blind, who had slid out of play when trying to intercept a cross.
(CNN)Danny Masterson is out of the Netflix comedy "The Ranch" amid rape allegations made against him.
"As a result of ongoing discussions, Netflix and the producers have written Danny Masterson out of The Ranch," a Netflix spokesman said in a statement to CNN Tuesday. "Yesterday was his last day on the show, and production will resume in early 2018 without him."
Masterson said in a statement to CNN that he is "obviously very disappointed in Netflix's decision to write my character off of The Ranch."
"From day one, I have denied the outrageous allegations against me. Law enforcement investigated these claims more than 15 years ago and determined them to be without merit," Masterson continued in his statement. "I have never been charged with a crime, let alone convicted of one. In this country, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, in the current climate, it seems as if you are presumed guilty the moment you are accused."
The former "That '70s Show" actor added, "I understand and look forward to clearing my name once and for all." Masterson went on to thank the cast and crew he worked with on "The Ranch."
News of the allegations date back to March when journalist and former Village Voice editor Tony Ortega wrote on his site, "The Underground Bunker," that Masterson was being investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.
According to Ortega, actress Leah Remini and her A&E show "Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath" helped bring the accusations to light when one of the alleged victims shared her story with Remini.
A spokesperson for the LAPD told CNN on Tuesday that there was no update on the investigation.
Remini and The Church of Scientology did not respond to CNN's request for comment.
Ortega's original report referenced the accusers as victims A, B and C. In early November, the Huffington Post reported that four women had alleged that Masterson raped them in the early 2000s. CNN has not spoken to the accusers.
In November, The Daily Beast spoke with one of Masterson's accusers, Chrissie Carnell Bixler, who said she decided to go public after the Huffington Post reported Netflix would continue to work with Masterson pending the investigation.
"For me, what Netflix has done, feels like a continuation of how the Church of Scientology made me feel when I reported my rape to them, as well as how Danny Masterson made me feel when I would beg him for an apology, an explanation, anything," she said in a statement to the publication. "I was made to feel unimportant."
In a statement provided to The Daily Beast, the Church of Scientology said they "adamantly" deny that Bixler made any criminal allegations against Masterson when she told the Church about their relationship.
A spokesperson for the Church reiterated their point on Tuesday in a separate statement to CNN.
"The Church adamantly denies the implication the Church would ignore the criminal behavior of certain members, especially at the expense of alleged victims," the statement said. "What is being stated is utterly untrue. This has nothing to do with religion. This story is being manipulated to push a bigoted agenda. The Church follows all laws and cooperates with law enforcement. Any statement or implication to the contrary is false."
CNN has reached out to Bixler for comment.
fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of Ventura early Tuesday, burning 50,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing more than 27,000 people to evacuate.
About 3,000 homes were threatened by flames, a firefighter was injured and Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in Ventura County on Tuesday morning, as some 1,000 personnel continued to battle the Thomas fire.
At least 150 structures — including at least one large apartment complex and the Vista Del Mar Hospital, a psychiatric facility — were consumed by flames. But Cal Fire suspects the true number is hundreds more; firefighters just haven’t been able to get into areas to know for sure.
The fall weather sequence helped spark the Thomas fire, which as of 5 p.m. Tuesday was 0% contained and moving west, fire officials said. In the last couple of years, the rains came before the Santa Ana winds. But this year, with no rain in three months, the winds hit dry fuels.
“This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly, but we'll continue to attack it with all we've got,” Brown said. “It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so.”
The state sent resources to help with firefighting efforts as authorities expanded mandatory and voluntary evacuation areas, and opened new shelters throughout the county. Ventura County officials have asked the state for eight fixed-wing firefighting aircraft to help douse the flames, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Donoghue.
The blaze started about 6:25 p.m. Monday in the foothills near Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, a popular hiking destination. It grew wildly to more than 15 square miles in the hours that followed — consuming vegetation that hasn't burned in decades, Ventura County Fire Sgt. Eric Buschow said.

“The burn area is pretty much all the mountains between Ventura and Ojai and extending east to Santa Paula,” Donoghue said. “It’s a challenge because of the enormity of it, and it’s a challenge because it’s pretty rugged terrain.” Power outages also caused problems for firefighters Monday night and rendered some pumping systems inoperable, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Steve Kaufmann. Some hydrants couldn’t get water pumped to them because there was no power, he said.
At one point in Ojai, the entire water system went down, including hydrants and drinking water, because a pumping system was damaged by the fire, Kaufmann said.
On Tuesday morning the water district had sent people to Ventura to repair the problems, but he did not know status of the repair.
“It definitely presented a challenge to us,” he said.
By 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, authorities had ordered a mandatory evacuation of the entire community of Casitas Springs, northwest of Ventura. The evacuation area spreads from the northern portion of Highway 33 into Ojai, said Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Stan Ziegler. The county also issued a voluntary evacuation order for all parts of Ojai Valley not under mandatory evacuation.
In addition to the Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura and Nordhoff High School in Ojai, evacuation centers have been set up at the Oxnard College gymnasium and Santa Paula Community Center.
The size of the fire will likely grow, Ziegler said. Authorities are still seeing “erratic fire behavior and erratic winds so it’s making the firefight very difficult," Ziegler said.
Aircraft are available for firefighting efforts, but will usually only drop retardant when winds are below 30 mph, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Scott McLean.
About 7 a.m., the wind appeared to be pushing the fire east toward Camarillo and north toward Ojai, said Ventura County Sheriff’s Senior Deputy Tim Lochman.
On Tuesday firefighters continued trying to save homes in Ventura, where the fire was active. They faced a red-flag wind advisory that notes ridgeline winds of 35 to 45 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph. Winds are expected to decrease somewhat in the afternoon, said Chad Cook, Ventura County Fire Department division chief.

The fire hopscotched through hillside neighborhoods Monday night, burning some homes and sparing others. Some residents hoped the worst might be over in the early hours of the morning when the wind died down. But it picked up with a fury around daybreak, causing more destruction.Engulfed in flames, the Hawaiian Village Apartments above central Ventura collapsed about 4 a.m.
Water gushed down North Laurel Street as firefighters worked to put out the flaming complex and residents watched, holding cameras and cellphones. The sound of bursting propane tanks filled the air.
Hundreds of firefighters working through the night tried to prevent the blaze from spreading, block by block, as they were confronted by wind gusts of up to 50 mph.
One firefighter was hit by a car while he was protecting homes. He was at a hospital, said Ventura County Fire Capt. Scott Quirarte.
Fire officials said the intensity of the fire, coupled with the high winds, made it pretty much unstoppable.
Schools in the Oxnard, Ventura, Hueneme and Santa Paula school districts were closed Tuesday.
California authorities have secured a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in firefighting efforts, the Office of Emergency Services announced Tuesday morning.
Fire officials expected flames would rip through at least 50,000 acres in the mountains between Santa Paula and Ventura.
The destruction comes in what was already the worst year on record for wildfires in California. Forty-four people were killed and more than 10,000 structures were lost when fires swept through Northern California’s wine country in October.
The Thomas fire’s movement bears some similarity to Northern California’s Tubbs fire, which ravaged the town of Santa Rosa and killed more than 20 people in October, McLean said.
The Thomas fire has moved almost as quickly as the Tubbs did, with winds pushing flames that started north of a community into a city, he said. Like the Tubbs, there are access issues with the Thomas fire because of the topography, McLean said.
What’s different, though, is that authorities began the morning of the Tubbs firefighting more than a dozen blazes in the area, whereas the Thomas fire is currently the greatest threat in Southern California. The Creek fire, near Sylmar, was at 11,000 acres early Tuesday afternoon and had destroyed at least 30 structures.
There were no confirmed fatalities in the Thomas fire as of 2 p.m., authorities said.
Southern California has been under red-flag weather conditions since Monday, with “the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season” expected through at least Thursday, the National Weather Service said.
The dry, gusty Santa Ana winds will continue for at least the next three days, the National Weather Service said.
“Generally, it’s awful fire weather today, tomorrow and Thursday,” said forecaster Ryan Kittell. “The winds we’re seeing right now are … plenty strong to drive a fire.”
It doesn’t matter that the winds are relatively cool compared to typical Santa Anas because wind gusts are so powerful and dry, he said.

Ventura County fire officials reported Monday night that one person was killed in a traffic accident on a road closed due to the Thomas fire. But at about 6 a.m. Tuesday, authorities said no human fatalities were confirmed — although they added that one dog had died.At least 1,000 homes in Ventura, Santa Paula and Ojai were evacuated.
More than 260,000 customers in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties lost power as the fire raged. By noon Tuesday 15,000 homes in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were still without power, said Southern California Edison spokesman Paul Netter.
More homes may lose power as the fires continue to spread, and some may be without power for days, Netter said.
“We’re encouraging conservation because of the power fluctuations,” he said. “Every little bit helps when it comes to maintaining power as we restore it.”
Just north of Foothill Boulevard, along Hilltop Drive, Mark Urban, 53, took a moment about 7 a.m. Tuesday to inspect the front of his home, where at least two spot fires had broken out; one was put out by firefighters and the other by himself, using a garden hose.
Urban said he and his wife began evacuating their Spanish-style home about 11 p.m. Monday and headed to the Ventura fairgrounds. About 1 a.m., though, he returned to grab more belongings and decided to stay to defend their home with a hose, he said.
“I just kept hitting the hot spots,” Urban said.
A crowd gathered Tuesday morning in the street at the top of a hilly Santa Paula neighborhood, watching as black smoke and flames crept along a tawny ridge near dozens of white, tan and pink houses.
Gusts ripped red flowers off a bougainvillea and sent flames billowing upward a few hundred feet from houses along Coronado Circle.
Doctors and nurses in scrubs who had stepped out of nearby Santa Paula Hospital put on face masks and pulled out cellphones to record the fire.
The hospital was closed Tuesday to incoming patients and all surgeries were canceled, according to a doctor and a technician who were not authorized to talk to the media. About 16 patients remained in the 28-bed facility and could be quickly evacuated if fire officials gave the word, they said.
Beverly Moore stood on 10th Street with a black hoodie drawn tightly over her head to block the strong winds, watching the fire.
Moore moved to Coronado Circle about eight years ago, when the neighborhood was new. She knew fire was a risk, because the street opens onto hundreds of acres of open space that is covered in dry brush, she said. Even so, she wasn’t prepared to watch the fire come so close to her house.
In her rush to leave home, Moore said, she’d grabbed her violin, but forgot her jewelry and her daughter’s guitar.
Police cars blocked the street, stopping residents from returning to their homes. A Santa Paula police officer allowed Moore back in, telling her to hurry.
She returned 15 minutes later, smiling, her jewelry in a brown shopping bag, her father’s will in a manila envelope, and her daughter’s guitar slung across her back.
“It’s all she wanted,” Moore said. “I’ve done what I could.”

By late Tuesday morning, evacuees were beginning to learn the fate of their homes.Darlene Gonzalez and her husband scrambled to evacuate Monday by 6 p.m., just after they got off work. They fled with clothes, passports and other paperwork, but left her husband’s most cherished possessions in the garage: A 1959 Chevrolet El Camino and a 1928 Ford (“a Bonnie and Clyde car,” Gonzalez said).
“You work so hard all your life, and now this,” Gonzalez said. “But what can you do? Fire is fire.”
At least two buildings on the campus of Vista Del Mar Hospital burned down as the Thomas fire ravaged the canyons above Ventura.
The hospital treats adolescents and adults with mental health issues, and among its specialties is treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Patients were evacuated and by Tuesday morning, two buildings were completely destroyed by flames, with the rubble of stucco walls and clay roofs smoldering under the smoky sky.
“There’s a huge need for this facility,” said Roger Case, 76, explaining that it welcomes patients from Fresno to the San Fernando Valley. Case is an advisory board member.
In addition to serving about 80 patients at a time, the facility also employs about 230 people.
Many have found their way to evacuation centers, waiting out the fire.
Inside the shelter at the Ventura County fairgrounds Tuesday morning, some volunteers handed out water and bananas to evacuees who spent the night. Others grabbed the green cots that crowded the concrete floor and walked them over to the larger livestock shelter where the evacuees were being moved.
Rudy Avendano and his family voluntarily evacuated their home on Richmond Road about 3 a.m. His daughter Felicia had woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom when she saw flashing lights on the street.
She stepped outside and asked the police if they were being evacuated.
“We strongly suggest it,” she remembered the officer saying.
She quickly woke her parents and two sisters. They grabbed the items they’d packed earlier in the day — clothes, blankets, documents, photo albums and a mandolin — and jumped into their cars with their pit bull-Labrador mix, Bear.
Avendano, 60, said he saw a continuous ribbon of orange flames licking the hills on the drive to the fairgrounds.
Throughout the drive, he said, he thought of the extra food he should have thrown in the car. A gallon of Sunny Delight and a box of crackers from Trader Joe’s weren’t enough, he said with a laugh.
Parvini, Nelson, Vives and Hamilton reported from Ventura County, Kohli from Los Angeles. Times staff reporters Jaclyn Cosgrove, Alene Tchekmedyian and Joseph Serna, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Xiaomi unveils new look and features for MIUI 6

Xiaomi has been having a lot of success recently, with its range of competitively priced smartphones and tablets, but the company is perhaps equally as well known for its MIUI software. The company has just released a new version of its customized Android OS – MIUI 6.

MIUI 6 introduces some big changes to the software’s look and feel, with a brighter color pallet and an overall flatter looking design than before. But the update is not purely cosmetic, the core apps have been updated with new features and there have been a number of tweaks to the OS.

Xiaomi has been having a lot of success recently, with its range of competitively priced smartphones and tablets, but the company is perhaps equally as well known for its MIUI software. The company has just released a new version of its customized Android OS – MIUI 6.

MIUI 6 introduces some big changes to the software’s look and feel, with a brighter color pallet and an overall flatter looking design than before. But the update is not purely cosmetic, the core apps have been updated with new features and there have been a number of tweaks to the OS.

MIUI 6 also introduces a range of new features, such as the ability to mark unknown numbers, access free Wi-Fi with WiWide, and use a visual menu for voice service calls. The notification system has also been redesigned. Messages, downloads, and calls all appear in a small floating pop-up, which only takes a small amount of space at the top of the screen. It’s rather reminiscent of Paranoid Android’s Hover feature.

urthermore, MIUI 6 and Xioami’s apps are now further integrated with its Mi Cloud service, which, following some privacy concerns, has been change to opt-in as default. Speaking of privacy, Xiaomi has also bundled its OS with new security measures and a built-in virus scanner.

Unfortunately, the update is currently only available to a small group of beta testers, and there aren’t any ROMs available to download yet. However, Xiaomi will be updating its latest phones and tablets to MIUI 6 in the near future.