Playmobil says ‘racist’ toy is meant to be a pirate who is a former slave

German toy company offers an explanation after a California mother sparked outrage on Facebook about a toy character that comes with a neck shackle

The Playmobil toy company has claimed a dark-skinned figure wearing a neck shackle was meant to “represent a pirate who was a former slave in a historical context” after a mother complained that it was racist.

Ida Lockett of Sacramento, California, was horrified when she saw the instructions to her five-year-old son’s Playmobil pirate ship, which she said showed a slave with a neckpiece that looked similar to a slave collar.

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Rupert Murdoch sorry for suggesting Obama isn’t a ‘real black president’

Murdoch sent a tweet on Wednesday night praising the Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and jabbing at the current president

Rupert Murdoch has issued an apology, after suggesting on Twitter that Barack Obama was not a “real black president”.

Murdoch sent a tweet on Wednesday night praising the Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and his wife and jabbing at the current president – although not by name.

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Google Safari View: walking with elephants in Kenya

Kenya’s Samburu national park has been mapped by Google Street View, raising awareness of the reserve’s efforts to protect the elephant population

Google Street View has launched a map of Kenya’s Samburu national park, giving internet users the chance to get up close to the majestic elephants that live there. The project, created in partnership with Save the Elephants and with the support of the Samburu County government, aims to raise awareness about the struggle to protect the elephants, that remain at risk from poachers.

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Facebook Reactions: social network adds emoji to ‘Like’ options

After much speculation over a ‘dislike’ button, Facebook is trialling emotional reactions for users, such as ‘love’ and ‘laughter’

How exciting! Facebook is to trial “reactions” options for users responding to content, which rather proves that merely being able to “like” something was somewhat limiting the human emotional spectrum.

From Friday, Ireland and Spain (are they particularly emotive nations?) will be the first to test the new feature. Despite wide reporting that Facebook was working on a “dislike” button in September, it seems Zuckerberg has decided that a binary choice of like and dislike is too specific.

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Need faster broadband? Try posting your data via Amazon’s big box

Company’s Snowball hardware lets developers use postal service to get higher bandwidth than their broadband service

Amazon has come up with a new system for getting huge amounts of data from your computers to theirs: send it by post. As computer science pioneer Andy Tanenbaum wrote: “Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.”

The company’s new Snowball hardware is aimed at developers who use Amazon Web Services, the increasingly-ubiquitous internet backend to websites as varied as Netflix and Ocado.

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