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Day: 11 November 2022

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AI reunites Holocaust survivor with childhood photos

Published13 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, US Holocaust Museum/BBCBy Tom GerkenTechnology teamBlanche Fixler remembers hiding inside a bed while Nazis searched for her. "I felt them tapping on the bed," she recalls. "I said, you better not breathe or sneeze or anything - or you'll be dead."Blanche was a survivor - she was lucky. Six million Jews like her were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust during World War Two. The names of more than one million of those people are unknown. Now a tool using artificial intelligence (AI) - built by Daniel Patt, a software engineer for Google - could hold the key to putting names to some of the many faces, both victims and survivors, in hundreds of thousands of historic photographs. It found Blanche in a wartime photo which she had never seen before.Daniel's website, Numbers to Names, uses facial recognition technology to analyse a person's face. It then searches through archive photos to find potential matches.The software has been cross-referencing millions of faces, to try to find matches for people who have already been identified in one photo - but not in others.That detective work - joining the dots - could then help identify some people in photos whose identities are currently unknown. Blanche, who is now 86 and lives in New York, knew about the family snapshot below on the right - but she had never previously seen the group photo on the left, which was taken in France during the war.It was Daniel's AI software which made the connection.Image source, US Holocaust MuseumBlanche was known by the name Bronia as a child. She lived in Poland when the Nazis came looking for her and her family.Her mother and her siblings were murdered - but she was saved, thanks to her Aunt Rose, who hid her.Daniel travelled to meet Blanche to reunite her with the lost image from the past. It triggered a long forgotten memory in her - a French song she learned as a child.Blanche immediately recognised herself standing at the front of the large group of people, but that's not all.She also identified her Aunt Rose and one of the boys in the photo - giving Daniel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum new information to work with."It's so important to identify these photos," says Scott Miller, director of curatorial affairs at the museum. "You're restoring some semblance of dignity to them, some comfort to their family, and it's a form of memorial for the entire Jewish community.""That's part of the problem. I can't stress enough how important these photos are of individuals. "We all know the figure - six million Jews were killed - but it's really one person six million times. Every person has a name, every person has a face."Image source, US Holocaust MuseumBefore Blanche set eyes on the photo, only three people in it had been identified.Thanks to Blanche, and Daniel's software, that number has doubled.More on this story'I never knew my mother escaped the Holocaust'26 OctoberFirst UK plaque for Holocaust victim unveiled30 MayWindermere Holocaust children museum planned9 May

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AI reunites Holocaust survivor with childhood photos

Published13 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, US Holocaust Museum/BBCBy Tom GerkenTechnology teamBlanche Fixler remembers hiding inside a bed while Nazis searched for her. "I felt them tapping on the bed," she recalls. "I said, you better not breathe or sneeze or anything - or you'll be dead."Blanche was a survivor - she was lucky. Six million Jews like her were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust during World War Two. The names of more than one million of those people are unknown. Now a tool using artificial intelligence (AI) - built by Daniel Patt, a software engineer for Google - could hold the key to putting names to some of the many faces, both victims and survivors, in hundreds of thousands of historic photographs. It found Blanche in a wartime photo which she had never seen before.Daniel's website, Numbers to Names, uses facial recognition technology to analyse a person's face. It then searches through archive photos to find potential matches.The software has been cross-referencing millions of faces, to try to find matches for people who have already been identified in one photo - but not in others.That detective work - joining the dots - could then help identify some people in photos whose identities are currently unknown. Blanche, who is now 86 and lives in New York, knew about the family snapshot below on the right - but she had never previously seen the group photo on the left, which was taken in France during the war.It was Daniel's AI software which made the connection.Image source, US Holocaust MuseumBlanche was known by the name Bronia as a child. She lived in Poland when the Nazis came looking for her and her family.Her mother and her siblings were murdered - but she was saved, thanks to her Aunt Rose, who hid her.Daniel travelled to meet Blanche to reunite her with the lost image from the past. It triggered a long forgotten memory in her - a French song she learned as a child.Blanche immediately recognised herself standing at the front of the large group of people, but that's not all.She also identified her Aunt Rose and one of the boys in the photo - giving Daniel and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum new information to work with."It's so important to identify these photos," says Scott Miller, director of curatorial affairs at the museum. "You're restoring some semblance of dignity to them, some comfort to their family, and it's a form of memorial for the entire Jewish community.""That's part of the problem. I can't stress enough how important these photos are of individuals. "We all know the figure - six million Jews were killed - but it's really one person six million times. Every person has a name, every person has a face."Image source, US Holocaust MuseumBefore Blanche set eyes on the photo, only three people in it had been identified.Thanks to Blanche, and Daniel's software, that number has doubled.More on this story'I never knew my mother escaped the Holocaust'26 OctoberFirst UK plaque for Holocaust victim unveiled30 MayWindermere Holocaust children museum planned9 May

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Climate change: Dimming Earth, mustard shortages and other odd side-effects

Published13 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Victoria Gill and Ella HamblyBBC NewsBirdsong, snowdrops, blossom and midge bites - these are not things you associate with November in the north of England. But these are just some of the milder side effects of a warming world. As well as fuelling deadly floods and drought, rising temperatures are cited as a cause of spontaneous explosions of Siberian permafrost, mustard shortages and the planet becoming dimmer. Many of the impacts of climate change are devastating. Some are weird. Exploding tundra and 'earthshine'Giant craters in thawing Siberian permafrost have been attributed by some Russian scientists to warmer ground temperatures causing underground pockets of gas to spontaneously explode. Permafrost is defined as land that has been frozen continuously for more than two years.It's only one hypothesis to explain the formation of giant craters in the Arctic landscape. As this BBC Future article highlighted, they are a "disquieting sign" that this cold, largely unpopulated landscape at the north of our planet is undergoing some radical changes. Recent research also showed that the Arctic is warming even faster than previously thought - four times faster than the rest of the world. Image source, Getty ImagesAnd as well as blasting holes in Earth's wilderness, climate change could also be dimming the planet's "shine", according to scientists at Big Bear Solar Observatory in New Jersey. By measuring the sunlight reflected from Earth to the dark part of the moon at night, scientists measured what they call "earthshine" or albedo - basically Earth's reflectiveness. The studies suggested that the amount of low cloud cover over the eastern Pacific Ocean is reducing due to warming ocean temperatures. Since these clouds act like a mirror, reflecting light from the Sun back into space, without them that reflected light diminishes. So, according to these scientists, we might actually be taking the shine off our little blue dot. Sex-changing reptilesWhile we might be causing global warming, we're not the only species experiencing it. Some creatures are affected in truly surprising ways. In some reptiles, the sex of offspring is partly determined by the temperature at which the eggs are incubated. Genetically male central bearded dragons - a species of lizard found in Australia - will actually change from male to female when they are incubated over a certain temperature. So scientists are concerned that males could become increasingly rare as the world warms - putting the species at risk of extinction. In the ocean, rising levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide could be causing fish to lose their sense of smell. Climate change is also measurably messing up seasonal synchrony. In Wytham Wood this April - the UK's most scientifically studied woodland - great tit hatchlings emerged from their eggs up to three weeks earlier than they would have done in the 1940s. The entire spring food chain has shifted with warming - the caterpillars the birds eat, the oak tree leaves the caterpillars eat - all reach their peak weeks earlier than they did before we warmed up the world.While the seasons shift, many birds are adjusting - or just moving. This year, bee-eater chicks hatched in a Norfolk quarry - they are usually found in the southern Mediterranean and northern Africa. Even the soundscape is shifting. London's now a hotspot of unseasonal birdsong. One study has even suggested that forest birds were moving higher up in the trees to sing, possibly to avoid their calls being muffled by earlier foliage. A shortage of flavour Image source, AlamyExtreme weather is also making it harder to grow food. Staples like wheat, corn and coffee are already being affected. And this year, there have been some notable condiment shortages. In April, Huy Fong Foods, a California-based company that produces around 20 million bottles of Sriracha chilli sauce every year, sent a letter to customers warning of a "severe shortage" of chillies. In summer, supermarkets in France started to run out of Dijon mustard - a problem that could be traced to bad weather in the Canadian Prairies, where most of world's mustard seeds are grown. And the reality of climate change is even hampering efforts to go carbon-free. In August, the energy company EDF had to cut output from nuclear power stations situation in France, because there wasn't enough cool water in French rivers. The answer - being discussed by 200 countries at the UN climate summit right now - is a dramatic cut in those planet-heating gases.But we've already transformed our world by warming it up - and there are likely to be many more unexpected, and surprising, consequences. More on this storyHatched bee-eater chicks 'indicate climate change'22 JulyBird eggs suggest spring is three weeks earlier5 MayFrance's mustard shortage leaves sour taste20 May

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Ghibli Animates Star Wars Short ‘Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies’

The official Twitter account for the Star Wars franchise announced on Friday that "Zen - Grogu and Dust Bunnies," a hand-drawn animated short by Studio Ghibli, will start streaming on the Disney+ service on Saturday at 3:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. JST). Katsuya Kondo (character designer on Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo, Earwig and the Witch) directed the short, and Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian, Black Panther films) composed the music. The short represents Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki's lifelong friendship with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Ghibli had posted a Tweet on Thursday, teasing a Lucasfilm logo followed by Ghibli's own logo. Kennedy, director and producer Dave Filoni (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian), and others are visting Japan and the newly opened Ghibli Park this month. Star Wars: Visions, an anthology of nine animated shorts from Japanese creators and anime studios, debuted on Disney+ in September 2021. Studios such as Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Kamikaze Douga, Science SARU, Production I.G, and Geno Studio produced the shorts. Star Wars: Visions will get a "Volume 2" next year. Lucasfilm staff verbally said that they plan to release the volume in spring 2023. The project teased that creators from the United States (specifically, California), Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, South Africa, India, South Korea, and Japan are involved. HBO Max began streaming Studio Ghibli's films in 2020. Netflix, in a partnership with Wild Bunch International, also began streaming Studio Ghibli films worldwide except for the United States, Canada, and Japan in January 2020. Netflix then added the films in Canada in June 2020. GKIDS has released Studio Ghibli's films on home video in North America. The distributor also regularly screens the films theatrically in North America. Update: Premiere time added, and Dave Filoni's credits and Netflix Canada's streaming clarified. Thanks, Scoot and ConsumerOfCoffee. Sources: Oricon, Mantan Web

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Ghibli Animates Star Wars Short ‘Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies’

The official Twitter account for the Star Wars franchise announced on Friday that "Zen - Grogu and Dust Bunnies," a hand-drawn animated short by Studio Ghibli, will start streaming on the Disney+ service on Saturday at 3:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. JST). Katsuya Kondo (character designer on Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo, Earwig and the Witch) directed the short, and Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian, Black Panther films) composed the music. The short represents Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki's lifelong friendship with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Ghibli had posted a Tweet on Thursday, teasing a Lucasfilm logo followed by Ghibli's own logo. Kennedy, director and producer Dave Filoni (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian), and others are visting Japan and the newly opened Ghibli Park this month. Star Wars: Visions, an anthology of nine animated shorts from Japanese creators and anime studios, debuted on Disney+ in September 2021. Studios such as Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Kamikaze Douga, Science SARU, Production I.G, and Geno Studio produced the shorts. Star Wars: Visions will get a "Volume 2" next year. Lucasfilm staff verbally said that they plan to release the volume in spring 2023. The project teased that creators from the United States (specifically, California), Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, South Africa, India, South Korea, and Japan are involved. HBO Max began streaming Studio Ghibli's films in 2020. Netflix, in a partnership with Wild Bunch International, also began streaming Studio Ghibli films worldwide except for the United States, Canada, and Japan in January 2020. Netflix then added the films in Canada in June 2020. GKIDS has released Studio Ghibli's films on home video in North America. The distributor also regularly screens the films theatrically in North America. Update: Premiere time added, and Dave Filoni's credits and Netflix Canada's streaming clarified. Thanks, Scoot and ConsumerOfCoffee. Sources: Oricon, Mantan Web

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Ghibli Animates Star Wars Short ‘Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies’

The official Twitter account for the Star Wars franchise announced on Friday that "Zen - Grogu and Dust Bunnies," a hand-drawn animated short by Studio Ghibli, will start streaming on the Disney+ service on Saturday at 3:00 a.m. EST (5:00 p.m. JST). Katsuya Kondo (character designer on Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo, Earwig and the Witch) directed the short, and Ludwig Göransson (The Mandalorian, Black Panther films) composed the music. The short represents Studio Ghibli co-founders Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki's lifelong friendship with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Ghibli had posted a Tweet on Thursday, teasing a Lucasfilm logo followed by Ghibli's own logo. Kennedy, director and producer Dave Filoni (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian), and others are visting Japan and the newly opened Ghibli Park this month. Star Wars: Visions, an anthology of nine animated shorts from Japanese creators and anime studios, debuted on Disney+ in September 2021. Studios such as Trigger, Kinema Citrus, Kamikaze Douga, Science SARU, Production I.G, and Geno Studio produced the shorts. Star Wars: Visions will get a "Volume 2" next year. Lucasfilm staff verbally said that they plan to release the volume in spring 2023. The project teased that creators from the United States (specifically, California), Chile, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Spain, South Africa, India, South Korea, and Japan are involved. HBO Max began streaming Studio Ghibli's films in 2020. Netflix, in a partnership with Wild Bunch International, also began streaming Studio Ghibli films worldwide except for the United States, Canada, and Japan in January 2020. Netflix then added the films in Canada in June 2020. GKIDS has released Studio Ghibli's films on home video in North America. The distributor also regularly screens the films theatrically in North America. Update: Premiere time added, and Dave Filoni's credits and Netflix Canada's streaming clarified. Thanks, Scoot and ConsumerOfCoffee. Sources: Oricon, Mantan Web

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Twitter chaos after wave of blue tick impersonations

Published14 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Shayan SardarizadehBBC MonitoringA wave of new paid blue tick accounts impersonating influential individuals and brands has led to chaos and confusion on Twitter.Fake "verified" accounts in the names of politicians, celebrities, major organisations and businesses started appearing on the platform on Thursday. Twitter suspended many of them, but the company's rapidly changing attempts to address the issue added to the confusion. Experts had previously warned that the new Twitter Blue subscription service announced by new chief Elon Musk, which allows users to pay £6.99 ($7.99) per month for a blue tick, would be immediately exploited by bad actors and scammers, and erode trust in the platform. The extent of the problem with new fake blue tick accounts was laid bare after the feature launched on Wednesday. Blue tick versions of major brand accounts such as Apple, Nintendo, BP and Chiquita were suspended. Fake accounts posing as high-profile individuals like Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, current and former US Presidents Joe Biden, Donald Trump and George W Bush, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were also removed.In one case, an account in the name of Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake tweeted to announce she was conceding to her Democratic opponent, despite the fact votes are still being counted in the tight race. It took hours for Twitter to remove the tweet and the fake account.So this is all going well still. Did Kari Lake concede in Arizona? Nope, it's an $8 fake blue check. Been live nearly 8 hours at time of posting (yeah, timezones) pic.twitter.com/elU9i7Y8tc— Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterA fake Tesla account, another company owned by Mr Musk, joked about 9/11, while Mr Musk himself was impersonated.One of the most disruptive accounts impersonated US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and declared "insulin is free now".The company had to distance itself from the fake announcement.We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.— Eli Lilly and Company (@LillyPad) November 10, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterThe paid blue tick system is also being exploited by conspiracy theorists and far-right activists.The BBC has seen at least three well-known QAnon influencer accounts which have purchased blue ticks on Twitter.Far-right activists Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer, who organised the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, have both purchased blue ticks.Twitter had previously removed verification badges from the accounts of Mr Kessler and Mr Spencer after the violent rally five years ago.Researchers also spotted a variety of accounts with purchased blue ticks using AI generated images of fake personalities. This is a specific area of concern as such inauthentic accounts are routinely used in influence operations, at times by foreign states with the aim of influencing political events in other countries.It's a Thursday, and a variety of Twitter accounts with GAN-generated faces have paid $8 for a blue checkmark. #BlueCheckShenaniGANS(GAN = "generative adversarial network", the AI technology used by tools like https://t.co/AxF5724n8M)cc: @ZellaQuixote pic.twitter.com/qyotNJMDXL— Conspirador Norteño (@conspirator0) November 10, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterTwitter suspended many of the imposter blue tick accounts, but at times struggled to keep up with the pace of new ones appearing.New grey "official" badges were added under the handles of some high-profile accounts, before being scrapped by Mr Musk almost immediately.However, on Friday new grey official badges began reappearing on some Twitter profiles.To combat impersonation, we’ve added an “Official” label to some accounts.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterAnd some users based in the US reported the Twitter Blue subscription system was no longer available to them.Mr Musk himself initially said blue tick parody accounts of high-profile users would have to clarify that they are not genuine in their profile bios.Later he declared the word parody would also need to be included in account names, adding that "tricking people is not ok".Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include “parody” in their name, not just in bio— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterAs of now, it is still unclear how Mr Musk and his newly acquired platform plan to address the issue of blue tick impersonations in the long run.While the issue of verified accounts temporarily changing their names in ways which might mislead had previously surfaced on the platform, such attempts were extremely rare.Experts worry that the harm caused by a lack of trust in Twitter's verification system could come to the fore during events such as mass shootings, terrorist attacks or natural disasters, where Twitter is often used by local authorities, police, emergency services and journalists for accurate information and advice.The BBC reached to Twitter for comment, but received no response.AnalysisBy Marianna Spring, Disinformation and social media correspondentA lot of the parody accounts springing up on Twitter right now might seem quite funny. But it's important to remember that when people don't know who and what to believe, it can pose serious risks. Throughout the pandemic, recent conflicts and elections - we're reminded time and time again of the real-world harm that online mistruths can have. Now, bad actors can use blue ticks to give the disinformation they promote an air of legitimacy - or to confuse users.Blue ticks had become a handy tool to identify official accounts, so its unsurprising that - at least at first - this is causing chaos. Not least because it's happening at the same time as other chaotic changes. Now that blue ticks may be rendered meaningless, users will instead have to rely on other tools to see if an account is really who they say they are. Check out their other tweets, look at their followers - and search off Twitter or via official websites to follow links to genuine social media profiles.Before, it felt like social media sites had woken up to the impact disinformation can have offline - and were at least starting to get to grips with it. This, though, feels like a step backwards - and there are fears there could be more. More on this storyTwitter drama continues with blue-tick confusion15 hours ago

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Twitter chaos after wave of blue tick impersonations

Published14 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Shayan SardarizadehBBC MonitoringA wave of new paid blue tick accounts impersonating influential individuals and brands has led to chaos and confusion on Twitter.Fake "verified" accounts in the names of politicians, celebrities, major organisations and businesses started appearing on the platform on Thursday. Twitter suspended many of them, but the company's rapidly changing attempts to address the issue added to the confusion. Experts had previously warned that the new Twitter Blue subscription service announced by new chief Elon Musk, which allows users to pay £6.99 ($7.99) per month for a blue tick, would be immediately exploited by bad actors and scammers, and erode trust in the platform. The extent of the problem with new fake blue tick accounts was laid bare after the feature launched on Wednesday. Blue tick versions of major brand accounts such as Apple, Nintendo, BP and Chiquita were suspended. Fake accounts posing as high-profile individuals like Meta chief Mark Zuckerberg, current and former US Presidents Joe Biden, Donald Trump and George W Bush, and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were also removed.In one case, an account in the name of Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake tweeted to announce she was conceding to her Democratic opponent, despite the fact votes are still being counted in the tight race. It took hours for Twitter to remove the tweet and the fake account.So this is all going well still. Did Kari Lake concede in Arizona? Nope, it's an $8 fake blue check. Been live nearly 8 hours at time of posting (yeah, timezones) pic.twitter.com/elU9i7Y8tc— Arieh Kovler (@ariehkovler) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterA fake Tesla account, another company owned by Mr Musk, joked about 9/11, while Mr Musk himself was impersonated.One of the most disruptive accounts impersonated US pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, and declared "insulin is free now".The company had to distance itself from the fake announcement.We apologize to those who have been served a misleading message from a fake Lilly account. Our official Twitter account is @LillyPad.— Eli Lilly and Company (@LillyPad) November 10, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterThe paid blue tick system is also being exploited by conspiracy theorists and far-right activists.The BBC has seen at least three well-known QAnon influencer accounts which have purchased blue ticks on Twitter.Far-right activists Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer, who organised the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, have both purchased blue ticks.Twitter had previously removed verification badges from the accounts of Mr Kessler and Mr Spencer after the violent rally five years ago.Researchers also spotted a variety of accounts with purchased blue ticks using AI generated images of fake personalities. This is a specific area of concern as such inauthentic accounts are routinely used in influence operations, at times by foreign states with the aim of influencing political events in other countries.It's a Thursday, and a variety of Twitter accounts with GAN-generated faces have paid $8 for a blue checkmark. #BlueCheckShenaniGANS(GAN = "generative adversarial network", the AI technology used by tools like https://t.co/AxF5724n8M)cc: @ZellaQuixote pic.twitter.com/qyotNJMDXL— Conspirador Norteño (@conspirator0) November 10, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterTwitter suspended many of the imposter blue tick accounts, but at times struggled to keep up with the pace of new ones appearing.New grey "official" badges were added under the handles of some high-profile accounts, before being scrapped by Mr Musk almost immediately.However, on Friday new grey official badges began reappearing on some Twitter profiles.To combat impersonation, we’ve added an “Official” label to some accounts.— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterAnd some users based in the US reported the Twitter Blue subscription system was no longer available to them.Mr Musk himself initially said blue tick parody accounts of high-profile users would have to clarify that they are not genuine in their profile bios.Later he declared the word parody would also need to be included in account names, adding that "tricking people is not ok".Going forward, accounts engaged in parody must include “parody” in their name, not just in bio— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 11, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterAs of now, it is still unclear how Mr Musk and his newly acquired platform plan to address the issue of blue tick impersonations in the long run.While the issue of verified accounts temporarily changing their names in ways which might mislead had previously surfaced on the platform, such attempts were extremely rare.Experts worry that the harm caused by a lack of trust in Twitter's verification system could come to the fore during events such as mass shootings, terrorist attacks or natural disasters, where Twitter is often used by local authorities, police, emergency services and journalists for accurate information and advice.The BBC reached to Twitter for comment, but received no response.AnalysisBy Marianna Spring, Disinformation and social media correspondentA lot of the parody accounts springing up on Twitter right now might seem quite funny. But it's important to remember that when people don't know who and what to believe, it can pose serious risks. Throughout the pandemic, recent conflicts and elections - we're reminded time and time again of the real-world harm that online mistruths can have. Now, bad actors can use blue ticks to give the disinformation they promote an air of legitimacy - or to confuse users.Blue ticks had become a handy tool to identify official accounts, so its unsurprising that - at least at first - this is causing chaos. Not least because it's happening at the same time as other chaotic changes. Now that blue ticks may be rendered meaningless, users will instead have to rely on other tools to see if an account is really who they say they are. Check out their other tweets, look at their followers - and search off Twitter or via official websites to follow links to genuine social media profiles.Before, it felt like social media sites had woken up to the impact disinformation can have offline - and were at least starting to get to grips with it. This, though, feels like a step backwards - and there are fears there could be more. More on this storyTwitter drama continues with blue-tick confusion15 hours ago

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Air pollution: Uncovering the dirty secret behind BP’s bumper profits

Published14 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBy Owen PinnellBBC News ArabicFar removed from the world leaders making climate pledges at COP, are people like Ali Hussein Julood, a young leukaemia survivor living on an Iraqi oil field co-managed by BP. When the BBC discovered BP was not declaring the field's gas flaring, Ali helped us to reveal the truth about the poisonous air the local community has to breathe.I first saw videos shared on Twitter of burning skies and clouds of black smoke over people's houses in Iraq's oil fields in 2019, and learned that this was a common procedure known as gas flaring - burning off the toxic excess gas that is a by-product of oil drilling. We discovered through satellite data that Rumaila in Basra, southern Iraq, is the world's worst offender for gas flaring. Gas flaring is not only a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also known to emit benzene - which heightens the risk of cancer, particularly childhood leukaemia. Dozens of people we spoke to living in five different communities near oil fields like Rumaila, told the same story - that they had a close relative or a friend who was suffering from cancer, often leukaemia. One of those was Ali, then 18 years old, whose father had sold everything in his house to raise money for his son's cancer treatment in Turkey. Ali said that the cancer hospital in Basra was full of people like him who lived near oil fields. Rumaila, home to several thousand people, has been given the nickname "the shadow town" by locals, because it is cut off and lacking in basic services. Ali and his friends call it "the cemetery"."We'd be playing football, then we'd have to run inside, because of the clouds of smoke suffocating us and oil raining from the sky," Ali told us. "When I told the doctor [in Basra Children's Cancer Hospital] I lived in this area he said: 'This is the main reason for your illness.'"But there had been no studies published on cancer rates in these communities. We later found out that data on this subject was being actively suppressed by the Iraqi government - a Basra health department document leaked to us revealed cancer rates were three times higher in Basra than official records claimed.People living and working in Rumaila sent us videos which gave us a glimpse of what life was like there, but we were struggling to be allowed in to film for ourselves. Our official requests were turned down on at least five occasions, and the oil field - which at 1,800 sq km is bigger than some small countries - is guarded by several checkpoints. Beyond those checkpoints, the area is patrolled by the Iraqi oil police and private security firms working for the oil companies. And behind all of this are the armed militia groups that dominate Iraqi politics in the south - and are profiting from the oil operations on their doorstep. So the only option remaining for us was to go into Rumaila undercover.Under Poisoned SkiesThe deadly impact of the oil giants' toxic air pollution on children and the planet is revealed in this BBC News Arabic investigation from the front line of climate change in Iraq.The documentary is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer (UK only) and internationally on the BBC website.We wanted to film an experiment to monitor the pollution ourselves, which we had devised with leading global pollution experts. We practised before we went on the roof of BBC Broadcasting House in London. The experts had advised us to use what are known as diffusion tubes - small brass cylinders with a filter inside that absorbs pollutants. We worked with one of the region's only environmental scientists, Prof Shukri Al-Hassan, to carry out tests over a two-week period in communities neighbouring four different oil fields within 10km of the gas flaring, including Rumaila. We also took urine samples from children to see if there were detectable toxins linked to gas flaring exposure.Our test results indicated that all the 52 children we tested had high levels in their urine of metabolised naphthalene, a possible carcinogen. Our air pollution monitoring also found benzene levels to be three times higher than the national limit - and in all places it was much higher than the safe level, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is zero. What is gas flaring?Image source, Getty ImagesGas flaring means burning off the natural gas which comes out of the ground when companies drill for oilOil companies sometimes flare gas for safety reasons, to reduce the pressure of gas around underground oil reservoirs and prevent the risk of an explosion. But they also burn gas to save money, if it isn't economically viable to collect it and transport it for saleGas flaring contributes to climate change, putting an estimated 400m tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2021 - more than the UK's total carbon emissions for the yearIt also releases chemicals such as benzene, naphthalene and black carbon, which can harm the health of people nearbyAfter the BBC's film was released, Iraq's Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, pledged that all flaring from the Rumaila oil field would be eliminated by 2026. But he made the statement on his last day in office, and previous targets to eliminate flaring have been repeatedly missed. It is not clear with whom the accountability lies for phasing out flaring. The Iraqi government owns the oil field but BP manages it alongside their partner companies. The then oil minister Mr Abdul Jabbar Ismail told the BBC it was therefore BP's responsibility to reduce flaring. BP, however, says the obligation lies with the operator of the oil field - the Rumaila Operating Organisation [Roo] - which BP co-founded and in which it owns a 48% stake.And a number of whistleblowers from BP have approached us to tell us how bad they claim the situation is on the ground.One BP Rumaila ex-employee, Robert (not his real name), told us: "As the lead contractor, BP's obligation [to the Iraqi government] was to implement best international practices in the operation and maintenance of Rumaila." But, he went on to say, gas flaring "is just the start" of what he describes as "appalling practices in Rumaila that would not be acceptable in any of BP's operations nor uphold the international standard that BP is contracted to implement".He said that the failure to maintain and upgrade systems and infrastructure at the field caused systemic issues, leading to "frequent oil spills, unplanned flaring and gas leaks". This claim has been made by other BP employees too, and the BBC has seen video evidence of major oil leaks at Rumaila oil field. Two other former BP employees have told us there is insufficient pollution monitoring carried out on site, making them feel worried about their safety.A spokesperson for BP said it "would like to strongly refute the claims you raise with regards to operational safety at Rumaila. Since BP began working in Iraq along with our partners, significant improvements have been made. Following years of conflict and underinvestment, there is more to do; and we are fully committed to supporting further improvements at Rumaila, as a matter of urgency."As for Ali, he is in remission from his leukaemia, but his immune system is still weak - his education was cut short and he can no longer play sport, having previously represented his school in regional football competitions. Many of the other children suffering from cancer who we met have since died - including 13-year-olds Fatima and Mustafa who lived near other oil fields in the area, and five-year-old Benin who lived in Rumaila, and who had already lost her older brother to the disease.Ali has repeatedly approached BP for compensation to pay for his missed education. He says an employee from Roo - its Rumaila operator - visited him a day after the BBC investigation was broadcast, and Ali again asked for compensation."I told him how sick I got from the pollution and asked if BP could compensate me for the damage done to my health. But I have not heard from them since."BP said it was not appropriate to comment on private conversations between Rumaila staff and individuals, but added that immediately after first being contacted by the BBC, "BP started working with the Rumaila partners to look at the issues raised and, where necessary, how to address them. This includes a review of processes and procedures to support the community and understand any concerns - this is ongoing."Ahead of our initial investigation, BP told us that "in line with standard practice" it reports flaring emissions from activities only where it is the operator - "[Rumaila's] flaring and operational data are therefore not included in our reporting."Insiders we spoke to estimated that improvements to reduce the flaring at Rumaila would cost in the range of $3-$5m (£2.6m-£4.4m) - a fraction of the £7bn ($8bn) quarterly record profit BP announced last week. Additional reporting by Jess Kelly and Esme StallardMore on this storyRevealed: Huge gas flaring emissions never reported29 SeptemberBP in oil field where ‘cancer is rife’30 September

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Air pollution: Uncovering the dirty secret behind BP’s bumper profits

Published14 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBy Owen PinnellBBC News ArabicFar removed from the world leaders making climate pledges at COP, are people like Ali Hussein Julood, a young leukaemia survivor living on an Iraqi oil field co-managed by BP. When the BBC discovered BP was not declaring the field's gas flaring, Ali helped us to reveal the truth about the poisonous air the local community has to breathe.I first saw videos shared on Twitter of burning skies and clouds of black smoke over people's houses in Iraq's oil fields in 2019, and learned that this was a common procedure known as gas flaring - burning off the toxic excess gas that is a by-product of oil drilling. We discovered through satellite data that Rumaila in Basra, southern Iraq, is the world's worst offender for gas flaring. Gas flaring is not only a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also known to emit benzene - which heightens the risk of cancer, particularly childhood leukaemia. Dozens of people we spoke to living in five different communities near oil fields like Rumaila, told the same story - that they had a close relative or a friend who was suffering from cancer, often leukaemia. One of those was Ali, then 18 years old, whose father had sold everything in his house to raise money for his son's cancer treatment in Turkey. Ali said that the cancer hospital in Basra was full of people like him who lived near oil fields. Rumaila, home to several thousand people, has been given the nickname "the shadow town" by locals, because it is cut off and lacking in basic services. Ali and his friends call it "the cemetery"."We'd be playing football, then we'd have to run inside, because of the clouds of smoke suffocating us and oil raining from the sky," Ali told us. "When I told the doctor [in Basra Children's Cancer Hospital] I lived in this area he said: 'This is the main reason for your illness.'"But there had been no studies published on cancer rates in these communities. We later found out that data on this subject was being actively suppressed by the Iraqi government - a Basra health department document leaked to us revealed cancer rates were three times higher in Basra than official records claimed.People living and working in Rumaila sent us videos which gave us a glimpse of what life was like there, but we were struggling to be allowed in to film for ourselves. Our official requests were turned down on at least five occasions, and the oil field - which at 1,800 sq km is bigger than some small countries - is guarded by several checkpoints. Beyond those checkpoints, the area is patrolled by the Iraqi oil police and private security firms working for the oil companies. And behind all of this are the armed militia groups that dominate Iraqi politics in the south - and are profiting from the oil operations on their doorstep. So the only option remaining for us was to go into Rumaila undercover.Under Poisoned SkiesThe deadly impact of the oil giants' toxic air pollution on children and the planet is revealed in this BBC News Arabic investigation from the front line of climate change in Iraq.The documentary is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer (UK only) and internationally on the BBC website.We wanted to film an experiment to monitor the pollution ourselves, which we had devised with leading global pollution experts. We practised before we went on the roof of BBC Broadcasting House in London. The experts had advised us to use what are known as diffusion tubes - small brass cylinders with a filter inside that absorbs pollutants. We worked with one of the region's only environmental scientists, Prof Shukri Al-Hassan, to carry out tests over a two-week period in communities neighbouring four different oil fields within 10km of the gas flaring, including Rumaila. We also took urine samples from children to see if there were detectable toxins linked to gas flaring exposure.Our test results indicated that all the 52 children we tested had high levels in their urine of metabolised naphthalene, a possible carcinogen. Our air pollution monitoring also found benzene levels to be three times higher than the national limit - and in all places it was much higher than the safe level, which the World Health Organization (WHO) says is zero. What is gas flaring?Image source, Getty ImagesGas flaring means burning off the natural gas which comes out of the ground when companies drill for oilOil companies sometimes flare gas for safety reasons, to reduce the pressure of gas around underground oil reservoirs and prevent the risk of an explosion. But they also burn gas to save money, if it isn't economically viable to collect it and transport it for saleGas flaring contributes to climate change, putting an estimated 400m tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2021 - more than the UK's total carbon emissions for the yearIt also releases chemicals such as benzene, naphthalene and black carbon, which can harm the health of people nearbyAfter the BBC's film was released, Iraq's Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul Jabbar Ismail, pledged that all flaring from the Rumaila oil field would be eliminated by 2026. But he made the statement on his last day in office, and previous targets to eliminate flaring have been repeatedly missed. It is not clear with whom the accountability lies for phasing out flaring. The Iraqi government owns the oil field but BP manages it alongside their partner companies. The then oil minister Mr Abdul Jabbar Ismail told the BBC it was therefore BP's responsibility to reduce flaring. BP, however, says the obligation lies with the operator of the oil field - the Rumaila Operating Organisation [Roo] - which BP co-founded and in which it owns a 48% stake.And a number of whistleblowers from BP have approached us to tell us how bad they claim the situation is on the ground.One BP Rumaila ex-employee, Robert (not his real name), told us: "As the lead contractor, BP's obligation [to the Iraqi government] was to implement best international practices in the operation and maintenance of Rumaila." But, he went on to say, gas flaring "is just the start" of what he describes as "appalling practices in Rumaila that would not be acceptable in any of BP's operations nor uphold the international standard that BP is contracted to implement".He said that the failure to maintain and upgrade systems and infrastructure at the field caused systemic issues, leading to "frequent oil spills, unplanned flaring and gas leaks". This claim has been made by other BP employees too, and the BBC has seen video evidence of major oil leaks at Rumaila oil field. Two other former BP employees have told us there is insufficient pollution monitoring carried out on site, making them feel worried about their safety.A spokesperson for BP said it "would like to strongly refute the claims you raise with regards to operational safety at Rumaila. Since BP began working in Iraq along with our partners, significant improvements have been made. Following years of conflict and underinvestment, there is more to do; and we are fully committed to supporting further improvements at Rumaila, as a matter of urgency."As for Ali, he is in remission from his leukaemia, but his immune system is still weak - his education was cut short and he can no longer play sport, having previously represented his school in regional football competitions. Many of the other children suffering from cancer who we met have since died - including 13-year-olds Fatima and Mustafa who lived near other oil fields in the area, and five-year-old Benin who lived in Rumaila, and who had already lost her older brother to the disease.Ali has repeatedly approached BP for compensation to pay for his missed education. He says an employee from Roo - its Rumaila operator - visited him a day after the BBC investigation was broadcast, and Ali again asked for compensation."I told him how sick I got from the pollution and asked if BP could compensate me for the damage done to my health. But I have not heard from them since."BP said it was not appropriate to comment on private conversations between Rumaila staff and individuals, but added that immediately after first being contacted by the BBC, "BP started working with the Rumaila partners to look at the issues raised and, where necessary, how to address them. This includes a review of processes and procedures to support the community and understand any concerns - this is ongoing."Ahead of our initial investigation, BP told us that "in line with standard practice" it reports flaring emissions from activities only where it is the operator - "[Rumaila's] flaring and operational data are therefore not included in our reporting."Insiders we spoke to estimated that improvements to reduce the flaring at Rumaila would cost in the range of $3-$5m (£2.6m-£4.4m) - a fraction of the £7bn ($8bn) quarterly record profit BP announced last week. Additional reporting by Jess Kelly and Esme StallardMore on this storyRevealed: Huge gas flaring emissions never reported29 SeptemberBP in oil field where ‘cancer is rife’30 September

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Asahi Shimbun Digital

<CNET Japan>「ウマ娘」キタサンブラック好きな記者が見た初のドームライブ「4thイベントEX公演」

 CNET Japanの編集記者が気になる話題のトピックなどを紹介していく連載「編集記者のアンテナ」。主にゲームなどのエンターテインメント関連も取材している佐藤が担当。今回は、11月5日と6日に埼玉県のベルーナドームにて行われた、「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー」(ウマ娘)をテーマにしたライブイベント「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー 4th EVENT SPECIAL DREAMERS!! EXTRA STAGE」(4thイベントEX公演)の模様をお届けする。 クロスメディアコンテンツ「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー」初のドームライブが開催。多くの“トレーナー”が詰めかけた  「ウマ娘」は、CygamesがゲームやTVアニメなどで展開しているクロスメディアコンテンツ。スペシャルウィークやトウカイテイオーをはじめとする、実際に活躍した競走馬をモチーフとして、その名前と魂を受け継いだ“ウマ娘”たちが活躍する姿を描いたもの。レースを繰り広げるだけではなく、レース後にはファンと喜びを分かち合うライブステージ「ウイニングライブ」を行うという世界観を持っている。  ウマ娘たちの声を担当しているキャスト陣がステージに立ち、ウイニングライブをほうふつとさせるようなさまざまな楽曲を披露するライブイベントも、2017年から開催。2022年は「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー 4th EVENT SPECIAL DREAMERS!!」(4thイベント)と題して3月に東京公演、5月に横浜公演を実施。そして、この4thイベントEX公演は追加公演として開催されたもの。「ウマ娘」として初めてのドームライブであるとともに、両日ともに約30名ものキャストが出走(出演)し、30曲以上を披露。公演時間も約4時間に及ぶなど、過去最大規模でのライブイベントとなった。  会場には多くの“トレーナー”(※ゲームにおけるプレーヤー、ウマ娘のファンのこと)が来場。公演は、新型コロナウイルスへの感染防止と安全確保を目的として、感染防止対策を行ったうえで実施。そのため、公演中はマスク着用のうえ客席から発声をともなう声援は控える形となっており、キャストからの問いかけや曲中の盛り上げ、パフォーマンスに対しては拍手を送ったり、ウマブレード(コンサートライト)を振って応えていた。あわせて公演の模様はオンラインでの有料配信も実施。一部楽曲ではARを活用した映像演出も行ったほか、「ABEMA PPV ONLINE LIVE」ではマルチアングルでの配信も提供していた。 配信では、ワンポイントとなるようなものから、画面全体に広がるようなものまで、一部の楽曲においてさまざまな映像演出が行われた  今回のステージはメインステージから十字状に花道がのび、センターステージやサブステージが設けられただけではなく、競馬場をイメージするような楕円形状のトラックがサブステージを繋ぐように設置。スタンド席からでも比較的距離感が近いと感じられるステージとなっており、いたるところでトレーナーに向けたパフォーマンスが展開された。 「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー 4th EVENT SPECIAL DREAMERS!! EXTRA STAGE」DAY1出走者(※敬称略) 和氣あず未(スペシャルウィーク役)、Machico(トウカイテイオー役)、Lynn(マルゼンスキー役)、高柳知葉(オグリキャップ役)、木村千咲(ダイワスカーレット役)、大坪由佳(タイキシャトル役)、衣川里佳(ナリタブライアン役)、大空直美(タマモクロス役)、星谷美緒(マヤノトップガン役)、長谷川育美(ミホノブルボン役)、土師亜文(メジロライアン役)、石見舞菜香(ライスシャワー役)、咲々木瞳(アドマイヤベガ役)、優木かな(スーパークリーク役)、久保田ひかり(メジロドーベル役)、前田佳織里(ナイスネイチャ役)、佐伯伊織(キングヘイロー役)、立花日菜(サトノダイヤモンド役)、矢野妃菜喜(キタサンブラック役)、野口瑠璃子(サクラチヨノオー役)、会沢紗弥(メジロアルダン役)、日原あゆみ(ヤエノムテキ役)、大西綺華(メジロブライト役)、真野美月(サクラローレル役)、中村カンナ(ナリタトップロード役)、今泉りおな(ヤマニンゼファー役)、礒部花凜(ダイイチルビー役)、井上ほの花(アストンマーチャン役)、佐藤日向(ケイエスミラクル役)、稲垣好(コパノリッキー役) 【実況】明坂聡美(実況役)【ナビゲーター】井上喜久子(安心沢刺々美役)※シークレットゲスト  DAY1開演前には、「ぱかチューブ」特別編としてスクリーンにゴールドシップが登場し、拍手やウマブレードを振ることを求めるなど、会場を温めていく。さらに開演冒頭では、安心沢刺々美役の井上喜久子さんが登場。シークレットゲストとして事前告知がなかったこともあり、場内ではざわつきと拍手が巻き起こっていた。特徴的な白衣やサングラスも含めて、安心沢刺々美をほうふつとさせる姿ということもあり、序盤から大きなインパクトを与えていた。最初は刺々美として喋っていたが、途中からはサングラスを外し、井上喜久子さん自身としてお約束の挨拶をしつつ、注意事項などを伝えていた。  オープニングムービーが流れ、ブラスバンドによるファンファーレ演奏とダンサーによるパフォーマンスで期待感を高めたところでメインステージにキャスト陣が登場。新衣装である「Snowy Integrity」をまとって姿を見せ、ライブがスタートした。  その1曲目はウマ娘の代名詞的な楽曲「うまぴょい伝説」で、序盤から盛り上げを図っていく。ウマ娘のライブではステージには実況席と解説席が設けられ、曲中で実況やウマ娘たちへのエールを送るシーンがあるのもの特徴となっており、ここで明坂さんも姿を見せて実況を行ったほか、間奏ではウマ娘の紹介と挨拶も行っていた。  歌い終わって、キャストとしてそれぞれが自己紹介と挨拶。なかでも井上ほの花さんが井上喜久子さんを紹介し会話をするところでは、ほほえましいやりとりが展開(※2人は実の親子で、井上喜久子さんは母、井上ほの花さんは娘)。ほかにも新衣装の紹介やナンバリングイベント初出走のキャストを代表して、佐藤さんと礒部さんが意気込みを語っていた。  改めてライブパートが開始。「WINnin' 5 -ウイニング☆ファイヴ-」(高柳さん、大坪さん、大空さん、長谷川さん、土師さん、石見さん、久保田さん、佐伯さん、会沢さん、大西綺華さん)は、ゲーム内の育成シナリオ「アオハル杯~輝け、チームの絆~」にあわせて登場した楽曲。センターステージで10人がそれぞれの方向に向かって歌い進めるなかでは、シナリオの中心であり楽曲のオリジナルメンバーである石見さんと大坪さんがメッセージを送る一幕も。  TVアニメ第1期オープニングテーマである「Make debut!」(真野さん、今泉さん、礒部さん、井上ほの花さん、佐藤さん、稲垣さん)は、横浜公演と同様にナンバリングイベント初出走の6人が歌唱。間奏ではサクラローレル役の真野さんから、きれいな桜を咲かせるといった意気込みを伝えていた。「RUN×RUN!」(和氣さん、Machicoさん、星谷さん、優木さん、前田佳織里さん、日原さん)では、解説席に登場したマルゼンスキー役のLynnさんによるアナウンスとエールを受けて、ポップでかわいらしい曲をセンターステージで披露した。  友だちでライバルという関係性を描いた「ユメゾラ」(衣川さん、大空さん、矢野さん)では、3人が軽快に歌い進めていくなかで、解説席に姿を見せたサクラローレル役の真野さんからの応援と、オグリキャップ役の高柳さんによる独特な表現のエールを受け、大空さんが、“関西弁バリバリ”というタマモクロスがイメージできるノリツッコミを披露。オグリキャップを中心として展開されているコミカライズ「ウマ娘 シンデレラグレイ」での関係性を示すようなやりとりも行われていた。さらに「彩 Phantasia」(木村さん、久保田さん、礒部さん、井上ほの花さん)では、情熱的で力強さがある歌声を響かせつつ、それでいて華と優雅さを感じさせるステージを見せ、それに応えるかのように場内はピンクに染まっていた。  歌唱するウマ娘のアタック映像、そして“響き渡れ凱歌”の文字が映し出されて歌いだしたのは、ライブ初披露となった「Ms. VICTORIA」(和氣さん、Lynnさん、高柳さん、土師さん、咲々木さん、立花さん、野口さん、日原さん、中村さん)。チャンピオンズミーティングより新たなウイニングライブとして実装され、頂点に立ったウマ娘がセンターで歌う楽曲として記憶に新しい。チャンピオンズミーティングのエンブレムがスクリーンに映し出され、せりあがったセンターステージや炎の演出と、ゲーム中のライブシーンをほうふつとさせる光景のなかで熱唱。凱歌を高らかに歌っていた。  MCパートでは、スクリーンにレースの出走表をイメージさせるメンバーの紹介が映し出されるなかで、トークが展開。そして、さらなる盛り上がりとともに体を温めることを目的として、本邦初披露という「トレセン体操」のステージに。ゆるい感じの歌にあわせて、ステージ上のキャストを手本に、客席のトレーナーも体を動かしていく。最後は「うまぴょい伝説」の特徴的な“うまびょいポーズ”のテンポを上げて高速となったところで締めくくった。  ライブ再開に向けた曲振りとしてVTRが上映。そこには武豊騎手とクリストフ・ルメール騎手の姿が。「ウマ娘」のCMにも出演した人気騎手の映像メッセージに、場内もざわつきが起きていた。これ経て歌われたのは「わたしの印は大本命◎(Marching Band Ver.)」(和氣さん)。ステージには和氣さんとともに、ブラスバンドとダンサーが登場。ブラスバンドとダンサーを率いるように先頭に立って歌いながら花道を歩くシーンや、Machicoさんと佐伯さんが旗を手に登場し、ステージに華を添えていた。  明坂さんから、ここからはソロのライブ初披露曲が3曲続くことをアナウンス。その1曲目は「ときめきスクランブル 」(星谷さん)。マヤノトップガンの好奇心旺盛なところを表すようなソロ曲を星谷さんが元気いっぱいに歌い、間奏ではダンサーとともに花道を、飛行機をイメージするような両腕を伸ばして疾走した。「LIKE THE WIND」(今泉さん)では、“風を愛するふんわりウマ娘”のヤマニンゼファーをイメージさせるような、穏やかな表情や笑顔を見せながら、伸びやかに歌声を響かせる。「忘却にて」(井上ほの花さん)では、切なさを感じさせる曲調と歌詞から伝わってくる“覚えていてほしい”というメッセージが、井上ほの花さんによる可愛らしくも真っすぐ訴えかけるような歌声をもって披露していた。  ソロ曲が続いたところで、「Ring Ring ダイアリー」(Machicoさん、石見さん、久保田さん、前田佳織里さん、日原さん)が歌われ、どこか一息付いたような落ち着いた雰囲気を作り出す。さらにゲーム1.5周年記念楽曲でライブ初披露となる「Gaze on Me!」(木村さん、星谷さん、真野さん、今泉さん、礒部さん、井上ほの花さん、佐藤さん、稲垣さん)では、初出走のキャストを中心にオリジナルメンバーのうちの8人がパフォーマンス。ダンスミュージックをノリノリで歌い、ミラーボールはないものの、それがイメージできるようなダンスフロアさながらの空気感を作り出してた。  ここでのMCパートは初出走のキャスト6人と、進行役の井上喜久子さんが登場。企画コーナーとして、2人1組で花道を歩いてポーズを決めるランウェイを行う「ビューティードリームカップ in SPECIAL DREAMERS!! EXTRA STAGE」が実施。まずは井上喜久子さんがお手本を披露し、まさに安心沢刺々美と言えるような、ノリノリでターンを決めたりセクシーなポーズも見せるなどで盛り上げた。  今泉さんと真野さんのペアは2人で大きなハートを作ったり投げキッスで可愛らしさをアピール。井上ほの花さんと稲垣さんのペアは元気よく手を振りながら歩きカッコいい決めポーズを見せる。そして佐藤さんと礒部さんのペアはクールな表情で優雅なポーズを決めるというような、それぞれがキャストとなっているウマ娘の個性も表すようにアピールしていた。  ライブ再開は、ゲームのハーフアニバーサリー楽曲「Never Looking Back」(木村さん、大坪さん、星谷さん、土師さん、久保田さん、大西綺華さん)から。ステージ上段でさらにせりあがったところから、スタンドマイクでクールなカッコよさを出しながら歌う。続いての「ユースフルアイズ」(真野さん)は、“どんなことにもへこたれない不屈のポジティブウマ娘”であるサクラローレルのソロ曲。スクリーンに桜が舞い、桜色と言えるピンクに染まる場内でロック楽曲を歌い、拳を高々と掲げ力強い歌声を響かせていた。  「本能スピード」(Lynnさん、大坪さん、前田佳織里さん、佐伯さん、礒部さん、井上ほの花さん、佐藤さん、稲垣さん)では、ライブの盛り上がりを勢いを加速するかのようにスピード感あふれる楽曲を歌う。アタック映像を経ての「NEXT FRONTIER」(高柳さん、石見さん、優木さん、矢野さん、大西綺華さん、今泉さん)では、解説席に入ったタマモクロス役の大空さんから活を入れるようなエールが送られるなかで熱唱。炎による演出もさることながら、大型スクリーンに6分割で6人の姿が映し出されるのも迫力のあるものとなっていた。  「winning the soul(Remix Ver.)」(長谷川さん、咲々木さん、立花さん、野口さん、日原さん、中村さん)は、「winning the soul」のリミックスバージョンで、原曲が持つ熱さを持ちつつ、スピード感とクールさが増した楽曲に。それを6人がセンターステージでカッコよさを前面に出しながら歌う。「Make a new track!!~クライマックス開幕~」のウイニングライブ楽曲「BLOW my GALE」(和氣さん、Lynnさん、木村さん、衣川さん、大空さん、前田佳織里さん、佐伯さん)では、会場の熱をさらに高めるように炎の演出を受けながら力強く歌っていた。  MCパートではここまでを振り返るなかで、石見さんが炎の演出で歌うのが夢だったことに触れ、それが「NEXT FRONTIER」で実現したことの喜びを語る一幕も。また開演前に行われているという円陣をステージ上で行い、さらに客席のウェーブも行われ一体感を高めたところで、ライブも後半戦に。ここでは「シンデレラグレイ」の映像が流れ、同作で登場するウマ娘たちのステージとなった。  その先陣を切ったのは「My Against Fight」(大空さん)。“白い稲妻”の二つ名を持つタマモクロスのソロ曲ということもあり、スクリーンだけではなく天井にも白い稲妻が光る演出を受けながら、間奏での気合の入ったセリフとともに熱唱。「硝子のエトワール」(会沢さん)は、“高貴な深窓の令嬢”“ガラスのように繊細な脚”というメジロアルダンのソロ曲で、天井には星空のような光景が描かれるなか、バラード曲を伸びやかに歌う。  「ふんわりSlowly」(優木さん)は、甘やかし上手で母性に満ちたスーパークリークのソロ曲で、ゆったりとしたバラード曲を歌い、癒しの空間を作り出していた。ソロ曲が続いたなかで歌われたのは「ウマ娘 シンデレラグレイ」の主人公であるオグリキャップのソロ曲「unbreakable」(高柳さん)。白く染まった場内と切なさを感じさせる曲調のなかで、トレーナーや故郷の人々に勝利を届けるというオグリキャップの決意を伝えるような、力強い歌声をもって披露した。  このパートの締めくくりとして「UNLIMITED IMPACT」(高柳さん、大空さん、優木さん、野口さん、会沢さん、日原さん)を歌う。メインステージとサブステージ2か所に分かれてうたうなかで、途中からセンターステージに6人が集結。ライバルとしての気迫を感じさせるステージを展開した。  MCパートでは、出走表をイメージさせるメンバー紹介がコミックスの絵になっていたという細かいこだわりも。また大空さんと優木さんはリリ-スイベント以来久々、会沢さんはライブ初披露ということで、ソロ曲を歌えたことの喜びを語っていた。また高柳さんもソロ曲は久々の披露となるなかで、「シンデレラグレイ」を通じてより理解が深まったことを話していた。  ここで、サトノダイヤモンド役の立花さんによる紹介アナウンスを受けて歌われたのは「メジロ讃歌」(土師さん、久保田さん、会沢さん、大西綺華さん。声のみの出演:大西沙織さん(メジロマックイーン役)、のぐちゆりさん(メジロパーマー役))。2022年のエイプリルフール企画としても話題となったこの曲が、声のみの出演も含めてメジロ家6人が揃って歌われることに。明坂さんによる指揮のもと、透き通るようなハーモニーを奏でていった。  「願いのカタチ(Strings Ver.)」(Machicoさん)は、TVアニメ「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー Season 2」(TVアニメ第2期)の第10話エンディングテーマとして流れた「願いのカタチ」のアレンジバージョンとなっており、落ち着いた雰囲気のなかでMachicoさんが感情を込めて歌う。TVアニメでは挫折し諦めかけたトウカイテイオーが再起を誓う姿が描かれており、歌うなかでもトウカイテイオーの印象的なセリフも口にし、そのときのことを思い返すようなステージになったと同時に、アレンジバージョンとなったことでより涙腺を刺激するようなものとなっていた。  続けて歌われた「Find My Only Way(Acoustic Ver.)」(大坪さん、衣川さん、咲々木さん、真野さん、中村さん、今泉さん、稲垣さん)は、TVアニメ「ウマ娘 プリティーダービー」(TVアニメ第1期)第12話のエンディングテーマのアコースティックバージョン。スクリーンにも天井にも星空がイメージされる光景を映し出すなか、もともとはチーム<スピカ>が歌っている楽曲を、一新したメンバーかつアレンジバージョンで新鮮な気持ちで、そして聴き入ってしまうような雰囲気を作りだしていた。  スクリーンに10色の光の玉が浮かび、2色の光の玉がさまざまな軌道を描くというスクリーン映像を経て歌われたのは「Special Record!」(和氣さん、Machicoさん、Lynnさん、長谷川さん、石見さん、前田佳織里さん、立花さん、矢野さん、礒部さん、佐藤さん)では、まず礒部さんと佐藤さんが歌い始め、立花さんと矢野さん、長谷川さんと石見さん、さらにMachicoさんと前田佳織里さん、和氣さんとLynnさんという形で、2人ずつステージに登場し歌う流れに。それぞれ関係性のあるウマ娘2人ずつのキャストによる組み合わせで、間奏ではケイエスミラクル役の佐藤さんと、ダイイチルビー役の礒部さんがこの先の活躍を誓うセリフもあるなど、感慨深さを感情を揺り動かすようなステージとなっていた。  そして出走者全員が登場し、ゲーム1周年記念曲である「We are DREAMERS!!」を披露。東京公演と横浜公演でも1曲目として歌われ、ステージを華やかに彩ってきたこの曲を、今回は終盤で煌びやかに歌っていた。  ライブ本編は一区切りとなり、アンコールを求める拍手が鳴り響くなかで、明坂さんと井上喜久子さんが登場。トラックを歩いてトレーナーに手を振りながら挨拶をしつつ、それぞれ実況席と解説席に入り、「ウマ娘」に関する最新情報を告知。特に新ウマ娘の公開には、どよめきと拍手が巻き起こっていた。  アンコールでは、これまでの4thイベント衣装「ニュースターズ・ロゼ」をまとって出走者全員がステージに登場。それぞれウマ娘としてライブに向けた意気込みを語る演出を経て、“やっとみんな会えたね”のフレーズとともに歌いだした「GIRLS' LEGEND U」で、再度会場の熱気を高めていく。歌い終わり、代表したキャストがライブの感想を語るなかで、Machicoさんはドームに立てたことの喜びを伝えるとともに、声援を控えているトレーナーに拍手が聞きたいと呼びかけると、この日一番と思える大きな拍手が巻き起こっていた。  ライブの締めくくりとなったのは、再度の「うまぴょい伝説」。花道やトラックに繰り出しながらキャストが歌うなかでは、明坂さんと井上喜久子さんもステージや花道を歩き、とりわけ井上喜久子さんと井上ほの花さんが一緒に歌うという親子共演が見られた一幕も。さまざまな場所でトレーナーに感謝を伝えるように歌い、トレーナーと一体になって盛り上り、DAY1を締めくくってDAY2へと繋げた。

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November 2022
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