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  • THE FIRST PHONE WITH AN ON-SCREEN FINGERPRINT SENSOR COULD COME FROM … VIVO?

    WHY IT MATTERS TO YOU

    Including the fingerprint sensor in the screen looks to be a standard going forward, at least for future flagship smartphones -- and Vivo's device could be the first.

    The last few months have made it clear that the age of the standalone fingerprint sensor will one day come to an end. Apple is looking into packing its TouchID technology into the screen, and may actually pull it off. There was talk of Samsung doing the same with the Galaxy S8, but when that didn’t pan out, the conversation moved to the upcoming Note 8.

    Either way, somebody sooner or later is going to make it happen, and when they do, the industry will likely follow suit. Nobody expected the first to be Vivo, however.

    A post on the Chinese social networking site Weibo from industry analyst Jiutang Pan discovered by Android Authority shows a video of a Vivo device being unlocked through on-screen fingerprint recognition. Pan says the phone could make it to market in the coming months, before the next flagship iPhone’s presumed fall reveal.

    Still, the analyst says the iPhone could be the first phone outside China to launch with the feature. As for Samsung, the situation is a bit murkier. The company had to pass on the technology in the Galaxy S8, reportedly because it ran out of time perfecting its solution. You’d think that would bode well for the Note 8’s chances, but rumors suggest it will miss out as well.

    So yes, Vivo has a very real shot at being the first phone maker in the world to produce something other, much larger tech firms have been racing to ship. And while that would be surprising, it’s not completely ridiculous when you factor in the company’s modest history of innovation.

    Four years ago, Vivo released the X3 — the world’s thinnest smartphone at the time, measuring just 5.75 millimeters thick. Last November, it brought the very first phone with 6GB of RAM to the market in the form of its XPlay 5.

    Will it follow those achievements up with an even greater one? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: don’t count on the device making it to our shores.

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  • North Korea 'ready for nuclear attack' amid show of force

    North Korea has warned the US not to take provocative action in the region, saying it is "ready to hit back with nuclear attacks".

    The comments came as North Korea marked the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sung.

    A huge parade in Pyongyang was held amid speculation current leader Kim Jong-un could order a new nuclear test.

    Among the hardware on display appeared to be new intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

    The show of strength comes amid mounting tension, with a US aircraft carrier group steaming towards the region.

    "We're prepared to respond to an all-out war with an all-out war," said Choe Ryong-hae, believed to be the country's second most powerful official.

    "We are ready to hit back with nuclear attacks of our own style against any nuclear attacks," he said.

    Rows of military bands and goose-stepping and sword-wielding soldiers marched through Pyongyang's main Kim Il-sung square for the "Day of the Sun" celebrations, as a black-suited Kim Jong-un watched on.

    Kim Jong-un at the paradeImage copyrightREUTERSImage captionKim Jong-un appeared relaxed and laughed with aides

    He saluted an honour guard and took his place on the podium. At times he appeared relaxed and laughed with aides.

    Military planes created the number 105 in the sky.

    With concerns that North Korea is getting closer to successfully producing a nuclear arsenal, Saturday's parade was an opportunity for Mr Kim to broadcast North Korea's current military capabilities.

    On display for the first time were what appeared to be the Pukkuksong submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), which have a range of more than 1,000 km (600 miles).

    Weapons analysts said there also appeared to be two new types of intercontinental ballistic missiles in canister launchers, but it remains unclear whether they have been tested.

    North Korea is marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of its founding president, Kim Il-sungImage copyrightREUTERSImage captionNorth Korea is marking the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-sung

    The event made clear how vital the state's nuclear programme is to its future ambitions as it continues to ignore growing pressure from the US to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

    North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests and a series of missile launches. Experts and government officials believe it is working to develop nuclear-warhead missiles that can reach the US.

    On Friday, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that "conflict could break out at any moment", adding that if war occurred there could be no winner.

    Unlike at previous Pyongyang parades there did not appear to be any Chinese representatives present.

    The USS Carl Vinson, 8 April 2017Image copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionThe US carrier group deploying off the Korean peninsula is led by the USS Carl Vinson

    Adding to Chinese unease, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that "the problem of North Korea" would be "taken care of".

    "If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A."

    Vice-President Mike Pence will be in South Korea on Sunday as part of a 10-day Asia trip.

    The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and an accompanying battle group have also been sent to the Korean peninsula.

    "We are sending an armada. Very powerful," Mr Trump told the Fox Business Network. "He is doing the wrong thing," he said of Kim Jong-un. "He's making a big mistake."

    However, Associated Press quoted US officials as saying that the Trump administration was focusing more on raising pressure on North Korea with the help of China rather than using military force.

    The US president has recently demonstrated his willingness to resort to military methods. He ordered a cruise missile attack on Syria in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack, and the US military just used a huge bombagainst so-called Islamic State in Afghanistan.

     

    Media captionHow North Korea is testing the US

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  • CES 2017: The top trends in new TVs

    For many, many years, the message of CES for television owners boiled down to “here’s why your TV sucks.” But as picture quality has increased upwards, the amount of set suckage inflicted by keeping last year’s model has diminished. So what’s a TV vendor supposed to do to get you to retire a perfectly adequate high-definition TV for something newer and shinier, preferably with a healthy profit margin?

    CES 2017 has revealed one respectable sales pitch for Ultra High Definition, the successor to HDTV that debuted at the 2012 CES. But there are also a few reasons to wait yet another year before indulging in a new TV.

    UHD and HDR

    UHD, also known as 4K for its almost 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution, offers a much finer picture than mere HDTV. But unless you get a screen larger than 55 inches or so, the additional detail will vanish when viewed from across the room.

    An upgrade to UHD called HDR, short for “high dynamic range,” provides a discernable difference even on smaller displays: a wider range of colors. The difference is obvious, especially with scenes like sunsets and sunrises that involve a large degree of contrast.

    HDR stopped being a niche variation of UHD at last year’s CES but still came at a price premium. At this year’s show, the HDR tax looks set to shrivel. Most vendors aren’t talking prices yet, but the Chinese vendor TCL — a leading supplier of TVs with built-in Roku media-player software — said it will sell a 50-inch UHD HDR set for $500.

    LG's TV W super-thin TV.
    LG’s new TV W, which stands for TV wallpaper, is barely more than a tenth of an inch thick. (image: Rob Pegoraro)

    Alas, this being the electronics industry, there isn’t just one flavor of HDR. One standard called HDR10 is the most common, but another, Dolby Vision, provides greater color fidelity. DirecTV is adopting a third, HLG, and Technicolor backs a fourth, Advanced HDR. LG plans to support all four, but many vendors will pick a subset of them.

    An effort launched at last year’s CES to cut through this format clutter by certifying TVs that pass a set of tests with a “UHD Premium” logo doesn’t seem to have advanced much, to judge from the absence of any such logos at Samsung, LG, TCL and Sony’s exhibits.

    OLED vs. LCD

    The other big change in TV technology over the past few years has been the rise of OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens, which are both exceedingly thin and capable of the same surpassing range of darks and lights that plasma sets provided.

    LG, the dominant OLED vendor, unveiled a 77-inch “TV W’ model—that’s “W” as in “wallpaper,” as the screen is only 2.57 mm thick, just over a tenth of an inch. It’s designed to be fastened directly to a wall, with a thin ribbon cable connecting it to a separate box that contains its circuitry and doubles as a soundbar speaker system.

    This thinness will also leave your wallet looking thin: With a smaller 65” version set to sell for $8,000, $10,000 for this one doesn’t seem out of sight.

    Historically, OLED screens have cost significantly more than conventional LCDs that, because they use LED backlighting, are often called “LED TVs.” That price gap has shrunk, but LCD has kept progressing. Samsung is pitching an upgrade to the technology called “QLED,” the Q standing for the “quantum dot” technology Samsung uses to increase the brightness and color range of these sets.

    Both OLED and QLED look fantastic here. A side-by-side comparison would be instructive, but we’re talking about increasingly marginal differences. And in the real world, you bring the TV home and you don’t mount it next to a competing model, and most of the time you’re happy with it as it is.

    Samsung QLED TV at CES 2017.
    Samsung says its QLED TVs will offer improved colors and brightness. (image: Rob Pegoraro)
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  • Former MI6 chief Richard Dearlove says Donald Trump borrowed money from Russia during 2008 financial crisis

    The former head of MI6 has said Donald Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis.

    Richard Dearlove told Prospect Magazine that “what lingers for Trump may be what deals – on what terms – he did after the financial crisis of 2008 to borrow Russian money” when other banks and lenders would not risk the money, given Mr Trump’s history of bankruptcy. 

    Mr Dearlove alleged the money was used by Mr Trump to prop up his real estate empire, which was hit hard by the financial crisis. It is not illegal to borrow money from Russian entities but Mr Dearlove, who left government in 2004, did not provide any evidence to support his claim in the interview. 

    Just days before taking office Mr Trump tweeted that Russia has never had “leverage” over him. 

    Mr Trump also recently said US-Russia relations may be at an “all-time low” following the US air strike in Russian-allied Syria after a chemical attack in the Idlib province. 

    Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer at international law firm Amsterdam & Partners with considerable experience in Russian affairs, told The Independent there was “no question” that US intelligence agencies and the FBI had information about Trump’s financial dealings with Russian entities prior to the 2016 US election.

    “Trump’s relationship with Russia goes back many, many years. I’m sure the FBI was monitoring it,” he said. 

    Two parallel investigations into alleged ties between Trump associates and Russia during the 2016 presidential election as well as Russia’s alleged tampering with the election are being conducted in Congress at the moment. 

    Democrat Senator Mark Warner, Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the tactics used by the Kremlin “send a chill down anyone who believes in the democratic process“.

    If the FBI and or other US intelligence agencies did know about any financial burden Mr Trump had with Russian lenders, it will raise further questions over why the information was not released earlier, especially given the FBI's approach to Mr Trump's opposition candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

    FBI Director James Comey infamously sent a letter on 28 October - just 11 days before Americans went to the polls - to Congress stating the agency found new, pertinent emails in its ongoing investigation into then-candidate Ms Clinton’s use of a private email server for messages containing classified information. 

    Mr Amsterdam said one possible explanation is “that the FBI has an informer who was once part of the Trump organisation” and that information was not released in order to protect that source. 

    “In my view…[the FBI] had no obligation” to share the Trump investigation but “the same rules should apply to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump,” he said. 

    Mr Amsterdam explained that Russian authorities likely have the same, if not “better,” information about Mr Trump’s financial dealings with Russian entities. 

    “One of Mr Trump’s main lenders is a bank that’s been particularly close with Russians: Deutsche Bank,” said Mr Amsterdam. 

    It is unknown if Mr Trump is still paying off the alleged 2008 debts to Russian lenders or which part of the vast Trump organisation took out the loans. 

    The Congressional investigations will also include interviews and possibly hearings with Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. 

    It has been confirmed that Vnesheconombank, a Russian state development bank, met with Mr Kushner in December 2016.

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  • Bionic hand 'sees and grabs' objects automatically

    A bionic hand that "sees" objects and instantly decides what kind of grip to adopt has been developed by scientists.

    A computer uses a camera to assess an object's shape and size to then trigger the correct movement to pick it up.

    The technology was developed at Newcastle University and has been trialled by a small number of amputees.

    Dr Kianoush Nazarpour, a senior lecturer in biomedical engineering at the university, said the bionic hand can "respond automatically".

    'Intuitive hand'

    The device could spark a new generation of prosthetic limbs giving the wearer the ability to grip objects without the use of their brain, researchers say.

    Dr Nazarpour said: "Prosthetic limbs have changed very little in the past 100 years.

    "Responsiveness has been one of the main barriers to artificial limbs.

    Dr. Kianoush NazarpourImage copyrightPAImage captionDr. Kianoush Nazarpour has praised the "intuitive" hand that can seemingly react without thinking.

    "For many amputees the reference point is their healthy arm or leg so prosthetics seem slow and cumbersome in comparison.

    "Now, for the first time in a century, we have developed an 'intuitive' hand that can react without thinking."

    The team, whose work is reported in the Journal of Neural Engineering, programmed the hand to react within milliseconds and perform four different "grasps" suitable for picking up a cup, holding a TV controller, and gripping objects with a thumb and two fingers or a pinched thumb and first finger.

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  • IS confirms death of top leader al-Baghdadi

     

    FILE PHOTO: A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance, at a mosque in the centre of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014, in this still image taken from video. (REUTERS photo)

    BAGHDAD, July 11 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS) militant group has confirmed the death of its top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a local news website reported on Tuesday.

    "Daesh organization (IS group) circulated a brief statement through its media in the (IS-held) town of Tal Afar in the west of Mosul, confirming the killing of its leader al-Baghdadi without giving further details," Iraqi news agency al-Sumaria News said on its website.

    "Daesh said in its statement that the name a new caliph (Islamic top leader) will be announced soon, calling on the (IS) militants to continue their steadfastness in the redoubts of the caliphate and not being dragged behind the sedition," al-Sumaria said, citing an anonymous source from Nineveh Province.

    "The announcement caused widespread uproar among supporters of the organization," the website said.

    The news report came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared Mosul liberated from IS after nearly nine months of fierce fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in Iraq.

    "I declare to the whole world the end, failure and collapse of Daesh state, the state of IS group terrorism, which they announced it here in Mosul three years ago," Abadi said in a speech in Mosul.

    On Oct. 17, 2016, Abadi announced the start of a major offensive to retake Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.

    Mosul, 400 km north of Iraq's capital Baghdad, came under IS control in June 2014, when government forces abandoned their weapons and fled, enabling IS militants to take control of parts of Iraq's northern and western regions.

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  • Samsung recalls Note 7 flagship over explosive batteries

    Samsung Electronics is recalling its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and said that battery problems were behind phones catching fire.

    The decision follows reports in the US and South Korea of the phone "exploding" during or after charging.

    The South Korean company said customers who had already bought the phonewould be able to swap it for a new one.

    Samsung said it had been difficult to work out which phones were affected among the 2.5 million Note 7s sold.

    "There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure out,'' the president of Samsung's mobile business Koh Dong-jin told reporters.

    "It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety," he said.

    The firm said it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices.

    According to Samsung, the phone has been launched in 10 countries so far but with different companies supplying the batteries.

    The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple.

    What makes lithium batteries catch fire?


    Analysis: Zoe Kleinman, BBC technology reporter

    This is an extraordinary decision for a tech giant to make based on so few reported incidents - Samsung says it is aware of only 35 cases worldwide.

    It's bad timing so soon after a big product launch and especially given that Samsung's rival Apple is understood to be preparing to unveil a new iPhone.

    However, the firm says it has discovered a problem with the battery cell and is halting sales while it inspects its suppliers.

    People who have already bought the device - which is only available to pre-order in the UK - will be issued with a replacement.

    Stories about exploding smartphone batteries do make the news from time to time - lithium ion batteries are flammable but very widely used.


    Samsung Galaxy Note 7Image copyrightARIEL GONZALEZImage captionA Galaxy Note 7 reportedly caught fire shortly after its charger was unplugged

    Reported 'explosions'

    Over the past few days, several users have reported their phones catching fire or exploding while charging, and Samsung said it had confirmed 35 such cases.

    A YouTube user uploaded a video under the name Ariel Gonzalez on 29 August of a Galaxy Note 7 with burnt rubber casing and damaged screen.

    He said the handset "caught fire" shortly after he unplugged the official Samsung charger, less than a fortnight after purchasing it.

    Further images of a burnt Galaxy Note 7 were uploaded to Kakao Story, a popular social media site in Korea, on 30 August.

    A user wrote: "There was another explosion of the Galaxy Note 7. It was my friend's phone. A Samsung employee checked the site and he is currently in talks over the compensation with Samsung. You should use its original charger just in case and leave the phone far away from where you are while charging."

    Flagship phone

    The phone was only launched on 19 August and has since then been generally well-received by critics and consumers.

    The Galaxy Note 7 model is the latest of Samsung's series of so called phablets - smartphones with very large screens.

    Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.

    In July, Samsung beat expectations with record earnings in the latest quarter with strong smartphone sales helping the firm post its best quarterly results in more than two years.

    Samsung had predicted continued increase in demand for its smartphones and tablets in the second half of the year.


    Have you have experienced a battery on a Samsung Note 7 catching fire or exploding? You can email us at haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk. Please include a telephone number if you are happy to speak to a BBC journalist.

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  • Plenty of animals have big mouths filled with sharp teeth, but only one had a bite this powerful

    Imagine a great cavernous mouth, edged by hundreds of razor-sharp teeth. Powerful muscles work to rip flesh, crush bone and close the maw with terrific speed.

    Such terrifying jaws are familiar from monster movies, fromJaws to Godzilla. But back in the real world, which animal has the worst bite of them all?

    It is not just a matter of having a big mouth. The bowhead whale has the largest mouth of any animal, but it does not use it to bite. To really deliver a powerful bite, an animal needs a big mouth, lots of strong teeth, and powerful muscles.

    To find the worst bite, we have to search on land, underwater and back in the mists of time.

     

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) (Credit: Brandon Cole/naturepl.com)

    A sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) (Credit: Brandon Cole/naturepl.com)

     

    The first thing to understand is that not every animal with teeth can bite. For instance, the common garden snail has thousands of teeth on its tongue-like radula. But it uses them to scrape, not gnash, so it cannot be said to bite.

    The largest living [animal] using its teeth for catching its prey and tearing pieces off it is the killer whale

    Similarly, the blue whale may be the biggest animal alive, but it does not have the biggest bite. There is a simple reason: it has no teeth. Instead it has plates of baleen, a net-like structure with which it filters food from enormous gulps of sea water.

    The sperm whale looks more promising, as it is the largest toothed predator on Earth. But it is another red herring. It only has teeth on its lower jaw and tends to swallow its squid diet whole.

    Oddities like these mean it is no simple task to find the biggest bite on Earth. According to Olivier Lambert of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the best contender is not a whale – but it does prey on whales.

     

    An orca (Orcinus orca) or killer whale (Credit: Roland Seitre/naturepl.com)

    An orca (Orcinus orca) or killer whale (Credit: Roland Seitre/naturepl.com)

     

    "The largest living [animal] using its teeth for catching its prey and tearing pieces off it is the killer whale," he says.

    A lot of tests of bite force have been conducted from the safety of a desk

    Despite their name, killer whales are actually dolphins. They are also known as orcas and can grow to 31ft (9.5m) long. They have around 50 conical teeth, which they use to rip apart prey – from seals to grey whale calves.

    However, as any fan of nature documentaries can tell you, orcas usually hunt co-operatively to take down big prey. That means it could be a case of many mouths make light work, and their individual bites might not be especially powerful.

    So maybe we want a lone predator, in which case we should take a look at the world's biggest predatory fish, the great white shark. Famous for their 300 blade-like teeth, which are continually replaced, these sharks certainly have one of the most feared bites on Earth.

    But with a jaw made of flexible cartilage rather than solid bone, is it the most powerful bite? To find out, someone had to measure the force it exerts.

     

    A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) (Credit: David Fleetham/naturepl.com)

    A great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) (Credit: David Fleetham/naturepl.com)

     

    Measuring the bite of a predator like a great white shark might sound like a guaranteed trip to Davy Jones's Locker. Evidently scientists agree, because a lot of tests of bite force have been conducted from the safety of a desk.

    In 2008, Stephen Wroe of the University of New England in Australia and his colleagues used computer simulations to estimate how powerful a great white shark's bite could be.

    The most powerful bite recorded from a living animal belongs to the saltwater crocodile

    For the largest sharks, the maximum bite force prediction was 18,216 Newtons. For comparison, our best bite with our second molars is estimated at a maximum of 1,317N.

    Previous techniques for simulating bite force had considered the jaw as a two-dimensional lever, but Wroe used a method that went much further.

    "3D finite element analysis has revolutionised predictions and analyses of bite force," says Wroe. "Just because an animal could hypothetically generate a particular force doesn't mean that it did. FEA allows us to predict stress and strain throughout the skull and jaws, as well as reaction forces, and thus allows us to predict overall mechanical behaviour."

    Still, nothing beats measuring the bite of an animal in the flesh. A few hardy researchers have conducted tests on real live animals.

     

    Saltwater crocodiles (Crocoylus porosus): bitey (Credit: Dave Watts/naturepl.com)

    Saltwater crocodiles (Crocoylus porosus): bitey (Credit: Dave Watts/naturepl.com)

     

    The most powerful bite recorded from a living animal belongs to the saltwater crocodile, according to a 2012 study byGregory Erickson of Florida State University in Tallahassee and colleagues.

    It is not the teeth or long jaws of crocodiles that give them a big bite, but the ferocious snap

    The team compared 23 crocodilian species, by persuading the reptiles to bite a metal sandwich on a pole. This "bite force transducer" measured how much pressure was applied across a pair of plates by the upper and lower jaw.

    Erickson's team caught and restrained the animals, then placed the transducer between their back teeth where the bite forces were greatest. This meant only the "jaw adductor" muscle forces were measured, without any twisting forces.

    The largest saltwater crocodiles delivered a crushing 16,414N, more than 3.5 times that of the previous record-holder, thespotted hyena. The crocodile's bite was slightly weaker than that of the great white shark – but the shark's bite was only simulated.

     

    A spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) (Credit: Constantinos Petrinos/naturepl.com)

    You still wouldn't want a spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) to bite you (Credit: Constantinos Petrinos/naturepl.com)

     

    It is not the teeth or long jaws of crocodiles that give them a big bite, but the ferocious snap, according to Laura Porro of the Royal Veterinary College in London, UK.

    There could be crocodiles out there with even stronger bites

    "We think their high bite force is largely due to enormous jaw-closing muscles, particularly a muscle called the pterygoideus," says Porro. "If you look at a photograph of a large croc, these are the big fleshy jowls hanging near the back corner of their mouths."

    This helps explain why the biggest crocodiles have such strong bites.

    "Their jaw-closing muscles show positive allometry," says Porro. "As the animal grows, these muscles grow relatively faster than expected. Adult crocodilians bite harder than juveniles [partly] because they are absolutely bigger in size, but also because their muscles are relatively larger."

    The crocs measured by Erickson's team were not the biggest specimens known, so there could be crocodiles out there with even stronger bites.

     

    A black piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus) (Credit: Willem Kolvoort/naturepl.com)

    A black piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus) (Credit: Willem Kolvoort/naturepl.com)

     

    At the other end of the scale, the diminutive South American fish known as piranhas have a reputation for biting sizeable chunks out of their prey.

    The shark bite researchers estimated the megashark's bite to be an "extraordinary" 108,514-182,201N

    However, in a 2012 study, researchers measured the bite force of the black piranha to be 320N. That is feeble compared to the great white shark, even when you factor in the size difference.

    That said, piranhas are not what they were. Around 9 million years ago, South America was home to giant piranhas called Megapiranha paranensisthat were up to 3ft (1m) long. The piranha researchers estimated that they had a bite force of 1,240-4,749N, and teeth that could crush bones.

    This finding underscores the general pattern that bigger animals have the most powerful bites. For this reason, the giant prehistoric ancestors of our crocs, sharks and whales are estimated to have had the biggest bites of all time.

     

    Illustration of a Megalodon (Credit: Ian Coleman (Wildlife Art Company)/naturepl.com)

    Illustration of a Megalodon (Credit: Ian Coleman (Wildlife Art Company)/naturepl.com)

     

    The whopping shark known as Carcharodon megalodon went extinct 2.6 million years ago. It may have grown to almost 66ft (20m) long, nearly 3.5 times the length of the biggest great white sharks.

    Around 9 million years ago, South America was home to giant piranhas

    The shark bite researchers estimated the megashark's bite to be an "extraordinary" 108,514-182,201N. That is enough to crush a small car.

    For now, that is the strongest bite that has been formally estimated. But it may not be the strongest of all.

    At the same time that C. megalodon prowled the seas, there was also a sperm whale called Livyatan melvillei. Named for the author of the ultimate whale tale, this huge whale lived in some of the same places as the mega-shark, and hunted the same prey.

     

    The jaws of a Livyatan melvillei (Credit: Endless Travel/Alamy)

    The jaws of a Livyatan melvillei (Credit: Endless Travel/Alamy)

     

    It was a whopper: its head alone was 9ft 10in (3m) long. Not only that, unlike modern sperm whales it had functional teeth in both jaws. Those teeth may be the largest of any animal: they were 14in (36cm) each.

    Very powerful bites can be reasonably expected for this animal

    "With such skull and teeth sizes,Livyatan melvillei is undoubtedly one of the biggest bites of all time, if not the biggest," says Olivier Lambert, who was part of the team that first described the giant sperm whale.

    So far, nobody has applied the finite element analysis technique used to model C. megalodon's bite force to L. melvillei.As a result, we cannot compare their estimated bite forces.

    However, "it would definitely [be] worth trying," says Lambert. "Considering the jaw, teeth and skull size and proportions, very powerful bites can be reasonably expected for this animal."

    So if you travel far enough back in time, there may be some fact to the fiction of Moby Dick.

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  • Salomon Kalou: Ivory Coast forward to miss Nations Cup tie

    Salomon Kalou: Ivory Coast forward to miss Nations Cup tie

    Salomon Kalou
    Salomon Kalou has played 83 times for Ivory Coast

    Ivory Coast forward Salomon Kalou is set to miss the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Sierra Leone after suffering two family bereavements.

    The 31-year-old Hertha Berlin player lost his father Antoine to a heart attack two weeks ago and is now also mourning the loss of his aunt Fernande.

    He will fly home to spend time with his family during the international break.

    Ivory Coast need only a draw with Sierra Leone on 3 September to qualify for the 2017 finals in Gabon.

    "I'm travelling home to support my family," Kalou told German daily Bild.

    "Of course, I am unbelievably sad and feel empty," he added, talking about the death of his father, after Hertha's 5-3 penalty shoot-out win at Jahn Regensburg in the first round of the German Cup last Sunday.

    "Football is a therapy for me at the moment. It will take a while to get over this."

    After this weekend's opening round of Bundesliga matches, Berlin's next German league game is on 10 September at Ingolstadt, but no date has been fixed for Kalou's return.

    Kalou was Berlin's top scorer last season with 14 goals in 32 league games.

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  • Mourinho accused of tax fraud during Real Madrid stint

    Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been accused of tax fraud by Spanish prosecutors investigating his time as Real Madrid's head coach.

    Portuguese-born Mourinho is accused of defrauding Spain of €3.3m (£2.9m; $3.6m) in taxes between 2011 and 2012. He has yet to comment on the claim.

    A prosecutor said he did not declare income from the use of his image rights in order to get an "illicit benefit".

    Other big names in football have been accused of tax fraud in Spain recently.

    Those include Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who played under Mourinho and shares the same agent as him. The player is accused of defrauding tax authorities of €14.7m, by also hiding his income from image rights.

    He denies the accusations and is threatening to leave Spain. The Portuguese-born star is set to give evidence in his case on 31 July.

    Mourinho, 54, is accused of two counts of tax fraud - €1.6m in 2011 and €1.7m in 2012. The Madrid prosecutor said the case was presented to a local court.

    Other footballers accused of tax fraud in Spain include:

    • Barcelona and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi, who has been handed a 21-month jail term. His father Jorge, who manages his finances, was also convicted
    • Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano - also an Argentine - admitted tax fraud, escaping a jail term with a one-year suspended sentence
    • Barcelona and Brazilian star Neymar is also facing allegations of corruption and fraud over his transfer to the Spanish club in 2013 - a case which also involves his parents. Prosecutors allege the transfer cost much more than publicly declared, and that millions were concealed from authorities
    • Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell, was arrested in May as part of a money-laundering investigatio
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