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Entertainment Ghost's Friday News Bits! 28-03-2014

It's Friday! And here are the Friday News Bits of this week!

The Deadly Ebola Virus Outbreaks in Africa

Photo courtesy of: Adrian Pingstone

The deadly Ebola virus has spread out in Guinea, Africa, causing 62 reported deaths.

Bats are believed to be the hosts of this virus, and it has spread out due to eating their meat. World Health Organization has banned the sale and consumption of bats in attempt to prevent the spreading of the Ebola virus. Bats are a local delicacy in the area and have appeared to be "main agents" for the outbreak in the south. From the 62 reported deaths caused by the outbreak, some of the cases have been reported in the neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone as well.

According to the World Health Organization, the virus is spread by close contact and has no known cure or vaccine. It kills between 25% and 90% of the victims, which depends on the strain of the virus. The symptoms of infection include internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea and vomiting.

The charity organization has set-up two quarantine sites in the southern Guinea to try to contain the outbreak. Health authorities are receiving help from the World Health Organization(WHO) and messages are being broadcast on the national television to help the people.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn Launch The WebScaleSQL

The engineering teams at Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter are working together and have launched the WebScaleSQL. WebScaleSQL has been described as "a collaboration among engineers from several companies that face several challenges in running MySQL at scale and seek greater performance from a database technology tailored for their needs", according to the official WebScaleSQL website.

The goal in launching the WebScaleSQL is to "enable scale-oriented members of the MySQL community" to work "more closely together" for prioritizing the aspects that are "most important" to them. 

The aim is to create a more integrated system of knowledge-sharing to help companies "leverage the great features already found in MySQL 5.6" while the engineering teams will contribute and keep building/adding more features that are specific to deployments in large scale environments. The engineers from all the four companies have contributed code and provided feedback to the engineers working on WebScaleSQL in order to develop a "new, more unified, and more collaborative" version of MySQL.

WebScaleSQL has been kept open source, so more contributors can who "have the scale and resources to customize MySQL" to join the development and they have stated that they will "welcome input from anyone who wants to contribute, regardless of what they are currently working on".

Microsoft Launches Office for iPad and Office Mobile Apps on iOS and Android

Microsoft has launched Microsoft Office for the Apple iPad and Office Mobile apps for iPhone and Android phones, as well as the Enterprise Mobility Suite, which is a "comprehensive set of cloud services to help businesses manage corporate data and services on the devices people use at work and home".

In addition to that, the company has also announced the upcoming availability of 'Microsoft Azure Active Directory Premium' and enhancements to 'Windows Intune'. 

About this move, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella has stated:
Microsoft is focused on delivering the cloud for everyone, on every device. It’s a unique approach that centers on people enabling the devices you love, work with the services you love, and in a way that works for IT and developers.

The Office 365 subscribers can now add an iPad as one of their chosen devices included in their subscription benefits and can then create and edit documents with Word for iPad, Powerpoint for iPad and Excel for iPad. The apps are available for free downloads from the App Store.

Microsoft Office for iPad is available in 29 languages and requires an iPad running iOS 7.0 or later to work.

The apps are launched as free applications, but in order to edit them an Office 365 subscription is still required. The price for the Office for iPad is £80 a year, however, small businesses are offered a discounted annual rate of £39.60 per user for up to 25 workers.

Facebook Is Buying Oculus VR for 2 Billion Dollars

Facebook has revealed that they are buying Oculus VR, which is the maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Oculus VR is being purchased for $2 Billion dollars, which is $400 Million dollars in cash and 23.1 million shares of the Facebook stock. Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has revealed the purpose of purchasing Oculus VR in a blog post, stating:
Oculus' mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences. Immersive gaming will be the first, and Oculus already has big plans here that won't be changing and we hope to accelerate.

The deal has caused great outrage from the supporters of the project. Oculus Rift was previously being funded as a Kickstarter project, and the supporters are unhappy with the move. Not only the Kickstarter supporters, but gamers and fans alike have shown disapproval over the deal, fearing that Facebook will ruin the Oculus Rift now. However, both Facebook and Oculus VR have stated that the project will not be affected, but will only become better with Facebook's support.

Oculus' inventor, Palmer Luckey has stated in a Reddit post that:
In the end I kept coming back to a question we always ask ourselves every day at Oculus: what's best for the future of virtual reality? Partnering with Mark and the vision, allows us to execute on some of our most creative ideas and take risks that were otherwise impossible. Most importantly, it means a better Oculus Rift with fewer compromises even faster than we anticipated.

John Carmack, who left Id Software and joined Oculus VR as it's CTO, stated that:
For the record, I am coding right now, just like I was last week. I expect the FB deal will avoid several embarrassing scaling crisis for VR.

On a negative note, the founder of the Mojang studio and the creator of the ground-breaking hit Minecraft, Markus Persson, who had received the development kit, has cancelled his plans for making a version of Minecraft for the Oculus Rift, after the Facebook deal, stating that Facebook creeps him out. He tweeted shortly afterwards the news of the deal broke out that:
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is expected to launch to the public either around late 2014 or early 2015, with Sony's Project Morpheus being seen as possible competition.

The First Gay Man To Sue The Government

A Chinese gay rights activist from the Hunan Province, the 19 year old Xiang Xiaohan, has sued the Chinese government for not registering his gay rights organization. His campaign is to challenge the decision made by the civil affairs department of the Hunan government has marked a rare open protest by China's gay and lesbian community and he instantly came into the media's spotlight.

Xiang Xiaohan filed the lawsuit in the provincial capital Changsha after the Hunan government turned down his application to register his organization, sending him a reply which stated that "homosexuality has no place in traditional Chinese culture".

Xiang Xiaohan has said, in an interview with BBC News that:
I believe what the government said [in the reply] defames the reputation of the gay and lesbian community in China, and I want them to issue a written apology. The apology is not only for me, but for hundreds of thousands of gay men and women in China.
He also wants his group to be registered as an NGO, which would enable it to legally receive donations and enjoy tax exemptions. If successful, this would be the first NGO-registered organization of it's kind in China.

The lawsuit was filed on 19th, February. Xiang Xiaohan received a written reply from the court on 14th, March and the case was thrown out by the court because it did not believe that the government defamed homosexuals, and that the court believed the government only offered what it called "administrative guidance on the issue of homosexuality". Xiang Xiaohan will appeal against the ruling.

Xiang Xiaohan stated that:
If we can't force the civil affairs department of the Hunan government to withdraw what it said on homosexuality, then other government bodies would likely follow its example, and this would cause irreparable psychological damage to gay and lesbian people. If gay and lesbian people have no place in China's traditional culture, how can you encourage them to pursue the China Dream(referred to President Xi Jinping's publicly stated vision for the country's future).

He also stated that:
This is a fight for the long term. We will continue to try to encourage the government to safeguard gay and lesbian rights through laws and agree to register our organisation. I'm confident that gays and lesbians will be fully accepted in China even though it may take 20, 30 or even 50 years for it to happen."

Homosexuality was illegal until 1997 and was labelled as a mental disorder until 2001 in China. Although Xiang Xiaohan has received support, he has also been criticized and bashed by some.

Chris Evans Is Quitting Acting

Hollywood star, best known for his role as Captain America in Marvel's movies Captain America and The Avengers, Chris Evans, has announced that he will be quitting acting.

He says he has a six-movie contract with Marvel, which was originally a nine-movie contract but was reduced to six movies because of his decision. Three movies have already been made, Captain America, The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Now, three more remain, of which one is The Avengers 2. The cameo in Thor: The Dark World does not count.

Chris Evans has stated that he wants to focus on directing movies instead of acting in them. He has already directed one drama movie called "1:30 Train" which he filmed this year.

Chris Evans has not completely abandon acting, however. He says that "For all I know in five years, I might say 'Shit, I miss acting'. Right now, I just want to get behind the camera and make movies". He also said that he might be done with the Marvel movies by 2017.

Muhammad Junaid

Muhammad Junaid is the writer of Entertainment Ghost. He writes articles, reviews, previews and entertainment news about gaming, technology, the media and so on. You can follow him on Twitter @Mr_MJunaid and Facebook MJunaid

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Published On Entertainment Ghost At Saturday, March 29, 2014