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Xbox Series X launch sparks record Virgin Media and TalkTalk internet usage

Virgin Media saw its busiest day on record for internet traffic across its network thanks to Xbox.

The surge in broadband data came as the new Xbox Series X console launched and various other video games updated on people’s machines, including Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty.

Tied in with huge amounts of people working from home, the broadband firm saw incredible numbers.

A spokesman said: “In total, 108 Petabytes of data was consumed on Tuesday 10 November – an average of more than 20GB per customer.

“At the peak of recorded traffic, the equivalent of 48 Assassin’s Creed Valhalla games were being downloaded every second.”

Virgin Media’s previous busiest ever day of network traffic was Thursday 11 June, which coincided with the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Season 4.

Jeanie York, Chief Technology and Information Officer at Virgin Media, added: “We’ve seen previous network traffic records smashed this year as a result of Covid-19 with our customers spending more time at home working, streaming, gaming, scrolling and virtually staying in touch with friends and family.

“We remain focused on supporting our customers with fast, robust connectivity at a time when these connections have never been more important to our lives.”

Virgin Media anticipates another busy week of network traffic ahead, with Amazon Prime Video streaming the Autumn Nations Cup 2020 this weekend as well as the launch of PlayStation 5 next Thursday.

Bosses at TalkTalk also said they’d seen record numbers thanks to Xbox.

  • PS5 Gamers can get titles for under a tenner if they join platform subscription

At 9:20pm on Tuesday, TalkTalk recorded a network traffic spike of 6.85Tb/s – the equivalent to delivering 571 hours of HD video per second.

Gary Steen, of the firm, said: “It appears that our appetite for data is showing no signs of slowing down, with last night’s data showing an incredible amount of network activity.

“With the new PS5 due to launch next week we fully expect another large network spike as our gaming customers get to grips with their new consoles.”

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How nano influencers on YouTube and Instagram land brand deals and earn money

Hi, this is Amanda Perelli. Welcome back to Insider Influencers, our weekly rundown on the influencer and creator economy. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Influencers really only need a few thousand followers to start cashing in on their online platforms.

Called "nano" influencers, this category of creators generally have fewer than 5,000 subscribers on YouTube and between 2,500 and 10,000 followers on Instagram. 

Nano influencers often specialize in a specific niche, with a small and engaged community that feels like they know the influencer on a personal level. 

When starting out, nano influencers will usually pitch their own brand sponsorships.

My colleague Sydney Bradley spoke with Laur DeMartino, a 19-year-old influencer with 5,000 Instagram followers.

She earns most of her money as a creator by working with brands like Lululemon, Curology, and SeatGeek. Her YouTube starting rates are between $300 and $500 for sponsorship.

To land deals, she uses a 9-page media kit, which she updates a few times a month.

Check out DeMartino's current media kit, which she uses to land these deals, here. 

How a fitness influencer started training TikTok stars at Sway LA and Hype House 

Alex Hager trains some of TikTok's biggest stars including residents of the Hype House and Sway LA. 

My colleague Dan Whateley spoke with the fitness influencer, who has built an audience of around 250,000 TikTok fans. Hager uses TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube to promote his digital fitness program, "Six Week Shred."

He isn't paid by members of Sway LA for his training tips. But filming with wildly popular TikTok stars have helped grow his business.

"My sales went up within two weeks of posting TikToks with these guys and then getting into YouTube and then posting [Instagram] Stories all the time," Hager said.

Read more on Hager's fitness business here. 

How a nano influencer landed her first brand deal and how much she gets paid

Jen Lauren is a nano lifestyle influencer on YouTube and Instagram.

I spoke with Lauren, who as a part-time influencer makes money by partnering with brands on sponsorships. Lauren said she charges around $350 for an Instagram or YouTube sponsorship (but that price varies).

She emails the brands she wants to work with directly, DMs smaller brands on Instagram, and sometimes finds an influencer marketing contact for a brand on LinkedIn and then messages the person.

She also earns money through Amazon's affiliate program and from YouTube ad revenue.

"It's important to build a relationship with brands and to work with brands that you already love, especially when you're starting out, to build subscriber loyalty," she said.

Check out Lauren's exact 3-page media kit here. 

More creator industry coverage from Business Insider:

YouTube: 

  • How much money a YouTube video with about 100,000 views makes, according to 5 creators (Amanda Perelli)

Creator Spotlight: James Charles' stylist Lena Nash 

Lena Nash is the personal stylist to beauty guru and YouTube star James Charles, who has 23 million subscribers. 

Nash landed the gig styling Charles in April, after he tweeted that he was looking to hire someone. To apply, he asked LA-based applicants to send him a direct message on Instagram with photos of their past work. Nash sent her work Instagram – where she posts photos of her past projects – to Charles and a short message about herself. 

"I remember I went to his profile, thinking he would never see this, and then he replied back within 30 minutes, which is wild," Nash said. "We talked for a little bit, then we Facetimed, and that is basically how it happened." 

Nash said she grew up in a creative environment: her mom is a creative director and her dad is a photographer.

She got her first styling gig after college when a friend set her up with a job for a GQ Style magazine spread assisting the men's fashion director.

She moved to LA in 2018, and she did a few styling internships until starting a job at the high-end streetwear retail store Kith, which today is her main job. 

Nash said streetwear and sneakers are two top fashion trends among influencers right now.

Check out Nash's Instagram here.

This week from Insider's digital culture team:

Yoga influencers are battling to weed out QAnon conspiracy theories that have infiltrated their world of wellness

QAnon, the baseless far-right conspiracy theory, has found its way into the world of yoga.

The movement is focused on the notion that a "deep state" cabal of child traffickers runs the world.

The phrase "Save the Children" has been part of QAnon's successful pivot into mainstream culture. 

The phrase is being used in captions on pastel-colored Instagram posts by yogis, but they do not embrace the conspiracy theory explicitly.

Insider reporters Rachel E. Greenspan and Gabby Landsverk wrote that yogis' interest in the conspiracy-theory movement started amid the pandemic, with a rise of medical misinformation.

"People are drawn to yoga and spirituality who have felt marginalized and let down by the medical system. For many women, it's that they've felt patronized," Julian Walker, a yoga instructor who's researched cultism in wellness, told Insider.

Read the full story here.

More from Insider: 

  • TikTokers are reacting to President-elect Joe Biden's victory with memes (Palmer Haasch)

  • Ariana Grande criticized TikTokers for socializing in LA during the pandemic (Lindsay Dodgson)

  • Fans are criticizing a popular YouTube creator after she posted QAnon conspiracy theories (Rachel E. Greenspan)

  • Inside the life of YouTuber Tati Westbrook and her questionable vitamin brand (Amanda Krause)

Here's what else we're reading: 

  • Followers raise ethical concerns over Khloé Kardashian's recent ad for migraine medication (Tanya Chen, from BuzzFeed)

  • Twitch's top streamer is a 29-year-old political commentator (Taylor Lorenz, from The New York Times)

  • Sally Beauty launches an influencer ambassador program: SallyCrew (Priya Rao, from Glossy)

  • YouTuber MrBeast took over a burger joint for the day and gave away free meals (Brie Handgraaf, from The Wake Weekly)

Thanks for reading! Send me your tips, comments, or questions: [email protected]

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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Ethiopia claims big advance in Tigray, suffering worsens

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s military has defeated local forces in the west of Tigray state, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday, accusing his foes of atrocities during a week of fighting that threatens to destabilise the Horn of Africa.

FILE PHOTO: Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks during a media conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 29, 2018. Michel Euler/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Air strikes and ground combat have killed hundreds, sent refugees flooding into Sudan, stirred Ethiopia’s ethnic divisions and raised questions over the credentials of Abiy, Africa’s youngest leader who won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.

“The western region of Tigray has been liberated,” tweeted Abiy, 44, who comes from the largest ethnic group the Oromo and once fought with the Tigrayans against neighbouring Eritrea.

“The army is now providing humanitarian assistance.”

With communications down and media barred, independent verification of the status of the conflict was impossible.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the mountainous northern state of more than five million people, announced a local state of emergency against what it termed an “invasion by outsiders”.

Abiy accuses the TPLF of starting the conflict by attacking a federal military base and defying his authority, while the Tigrayans say his two-year-old rule has persecuted them.

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The premier said some of his soldiers had been found dead in the town of Sheraro, shot with their legs and arms tied behind their back. “This kind of cruelty is heartbreaking,” he said.

He did not say how many bodies were found or provide proof. Reuters could not verify his allegation and there was no immediate response from the TPLF, which has accused federal troops of being “merciless” in bombing Tigrayans.

More than 11,000 Ethiopian refugees have crossed into Sudan since fighting started and aid agencies say the situation in Tigray is becoming dire. Even before the conflict, 600,000 people there were reliant on food aid.

The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said aid agencies were unable to restock food, health and other emergency supplies due to lack of access.

ARRESTS AND PROTESTS

The U.N. refugee agency’s representative in Ethiopia, Ann Encontre, told Reuters negotiations were under way with both sides for humanitarian corridors to be opened.

Slideshow ( 3 images )

A “major emergency” may be brewing with so many people escaping to Sudan, she warned. Half of the refugees were children and some were wounded.

About two dozen vehicles of non-essential U.N. and other workers were pulling out of Tigray and returning to the capital Addis Ababa in convoy.

Abiy has so far resisted calls by the United Nations, the African Union and others for a ceasefire and talks.

His army chief of staff Birhanu Jula said the federal troops’ Northern Command had survived a five-day siege and was recapturing places including Dansha, Humera airport and Baeker.

“I would like to thank these members of the army for being a model of our heroic defence force and their persistent battle, though deprived of food and water for four or five days,” he said, accusing the TPLF of using people as a human shield.

There was no immediate response to that accusation.

The army said transitional rule would be set up in parts of Tigray and urged local forces to surrender.

Some Tigrayans may have defected from the federal army so as not to fight their own people, an internal U.N. report said.

In a wider push against the TPLF, Ethiopia’s parliament stripped 39 members, including Tigray regional president Debretsion Gebremichael, of immunity from prosecution.

Police said they had arrested 242 TPLF activists suspected of plotting attacks in Addis Ababa. Weapons including bombs and bullets were also confiscated, the city’s police chief said.

Also in the capital, volunteers lined up at a stadium to donate blood for injured armed forces members. Some waved the Ethiopian national flag.

And in what seemed to be a government-backed attempt to win the propaganda war over Tigray, thousands marched in anti-TPLF protests in the Oromia, Somali and Afar regions, Fana reported.

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President Trump’s Show Has Been Canceled

Many incumbent presidents have gone on the campaign trail to make their cases for a second term. Donald J. Trump was the first to campaign for a second season.

At a 2019 campaign rally in Minnesota, he described his victory in 2016 as “one of the greatest nights in the history of television.” And he often seemed to cast his re-election argument less in terms of policies than as a TV producer’s pitch to keep the show going.

Only with him, he argued, would you get the zing, the pizazz, the drama that kept you on the edge of your seat. A vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., he told a rally in Erie, Pa., on Oct. 20, would be a vote for “boredom.”

“Look at all those cameras,” he said, gesturing at the press pen. “If you had Sleepy Joe, nobody’s going to be interested in politics anymore.”

On Nov. 3, a majority of the electorate answered, “You promise?”

If Donald Trump’s loss still seems somehow unreal, and not just to the president’s lawyers, it may be the aftereffect of having spent years trapped in his personal Truman Show. It’s distorted our sense of what’s normal. Was it ever not like this? Was there a time when each day didn’t rattle us awake to the blaring alarm clock of his Fox News livetweets?

American life, since Mr. Trump’s escalator ride on June 16, 2015, had been like a Willy Wonka ironic punishment: You like TV, do you? Then you shall live inside TV — forever!

And then, one day, the show was canceled.

The reboot that wasn’t

The former “Apprentice” host and lifelong media hound dominated the 2016 campaign by knowing what TV wanted. Before he ran for office, Mr. Trump flourished in reality TV, cable news and even pro wrestling, genres that thrive on the same thing he does: conflict.

He was a perfect fit for the “You’re fired” ethos of Mark Burnett’s pseudo-business competition because he, like “The Apprentice,” saw competition and fighting as the most productive state of existence.

This made his presidency an eyeball magnet, for cheerleaders and hate-watchers alike. He was the show’s biggest superfan, consuming hours of TV news, a magic mirror reflecting him, every day.

He trumpeted his Nielsen ratings as if they were jobs reports. He told advisers to think of every day of his administration as an episode of a reality show.

Mr. Trump has often said, not without justification, that the news networks were addicted to him as much as he was to them: “Without me, their ratings are going down the tubes.”

But the Trump presidency proved something else as well. People may like to watch exciting TV shows. They do not necessarily want to live inside one.

And for four years, that’s what we did. We were redshirt extras inside a potboiler driven by, and customized for, the adrenaline urges of a conflict junkie. The unceasing tension. The ever-ratcheting drama. The tweets that became news that generated more tweets. What was the latest story line? What was the president mad about today? What did you get mad about today?

The TV-addict president assumed that everyone else found constant battle as invigorating as he did, that they, like him, would rather be relentlessly upset than momentarily bored. He tweeted out links to his choleric TV interviews with a hearty “Enjoy!” There was no apparent irony. Why wouldn’t people enjoy all this? Everything was so exciting!

He believed this partly because he immersed himself in environments where this was true: Tucker and Hannity and Dobbs; his rallies; the mega-MAGA reply choruses on his Twitter feed. All these inputs validated his conviction that a life best lived was a never-ending slugfest.

He postured as a TV antihero, the unpleasant guy it takes to get results in an unpleasant world. Like a “Breaking Bad” or “The Sopranos,” his presidency invited fans to compartmentalize their own morality from the dishonesty, racism and bullying of the protagonist whose exploits mesmerized them. “He’s no Mr. Nice Guy,” one of his re-election ads said, “but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.”

And he ran his White House on the “Apprentice” model. Pundits who expected him to become “presidential” (that would be so boring, he told a rally crowd in Texas) ignored the evidence of his showbiz career.

People forget this now, but the first and highest-rated season of “The Apprentice” had relatively little Trump in it. The host showed up in the beginning, fired someone in the end and mostly vanished in the middle.

From Season 2 on, though, Mr. Trump’s boss-from-hell persona, like a breakout character on a sitcom, became bigger, louder and more ubiquitous. The show spotlighted him with longer, nastier boardroom sessions, sometimes with multiple firings. NBC scheduled the show twice a year, following a fundamental TV dictum — if something’s a hit, give it to people twice as much, twice as hard — all the way down the ratings charts.

So too with Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign, which often seemed like a grittier reboot of the 2016 version. In the White House as on NBC, the solution to any problem had to be more of him. The pro-wrestling heel turns — barking his way through the first debate, brazenly undermining the voting process — were louder and less subtle.

Each big twist had to outdo last season’s. The monster rallies came back, this time with the apocalyptic frisson of defying, or denying, the prospect of death in a pandemic. When he himself got Covid, as the season’s writers had been foreshadowing all along, he timed his flights to and from the hospital for the network evening news.

The president’s media omnipresence may have made some difference; he increased his turnout in the end, however many votes it also motivated against him. As Election Day neared, he openly tried to cast his constant schedule of rallies and gaggles and events as proof of his strength. But it often felt like a test of ours.

Transition: Latest Updates

One-man show vs. ensemble drama

In the closing days of the campaign, Mr. Trump often said that he couldn’t imagine losing to the likes of Mr. Biden. That is, he couldn’t fathom people choosing the political equivalent of PBS — a Trump adviser likened Mr. Biden to Fred Rogers, apparently considering that an insult — when they got so much razzmatazz from the president.

I’ll admit, as somebody who writes about TV and politics, that I was skeptical, too. In the television era, candidates who make themselves the protagonists of their elections — Reagan, Obama, Bill Clinton — usually win. To beat President TV, I assumed, you had to counterprogram him, not just offer to turn the set off.

That offer turned out to be powerful. Jim Carrey’s Biden impression on “Saturday Night Live” was mostly a comedic dud, but its one great insight into the campaign was imagining Mr. Biden at a debate pausing and silencing Mr. Trump with a magical remote control.

But the more I watched the campaign, the more I realized that Mr. Biden was not merely trying to replace something with nothing. I started to get a sense of his media message this summer, when I offhandedly wrote that, amid a reality-show presidency, Mr. Biden was producing a political version of “This Is Us.”

I can explain. “This Is Us” is the NBC drama (whose story starts, fittingly, in the swing state of Pennsylvania) that follows several generations of an extended, multiracial family from the Vietnam War era into the fictional future. “This Is Us” is not cool. It’s not groundbreaking. It’s sentimental and a little sappy. It relies on big life moments (births, weddings, tragic deaths) that shamelessly pull at the heartstrings. Its aesthetic is strictly middle-of-the-road.

But in mass-experience environments, like network TV and general elections, basic and sentimental and middle-of-the-road still get you a big following. Most people are not cool. Grieving and loving are powerful themes because they’re universal.

And Mr. Biden’s campaign happened to come when the country was experiencing a tremendous loss from the ongoing pandemic, which it still has not entirely processed, under a president who has shown no interest in empathy or catharsis. In all those soulful addresses to the camera, sharing his own history of family loss, Mr. Biden was filling a role of the presidency that had essentially been vacant for four years.

But it wasn’t entirely about him. In fact, much of the point of his campaign was that it was not all about him. It was an ensemble drama, not a star vehicle.

You could see the difference in the two parties’ conventions in August. The Republican convention was fully the Trump show, with the above-the-title talent making repeated appearances, speakers trying to mimic his notes like “American Idol” contestants, the production crescendoing with his name spelled in fireworks over the Washington Monument.

The Democratic convention was a group production. It emphasized the demographic variety of the party and of the country, most vividly in the roll call of the states. When Mr. Biden made guest appearances, it was in little virtual forums that foregrounded the voices of others. Each night featured different headliners, including both Obamas, Kamala Harris and Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill.

This was as much a matter of necessity as a statement — modeling safe behavior in a pandemic precluded traditional barnstorming. And Mr. Biden, while often a strong one-on-one connector, is not a meteoric screen presence like the president he ran to replace, or the one he served under.

So it didn’t hurt to bolster him with telegenic co-stars, and he didn’t seem to mind sharing the stage. Even his victory celebration gave prominent billing to the more dynamic Ms. Harris, making history as the first woman, and the first Black person and person of South Asian descent, elected vice president.

All this also echoed a message of their campaign. America had spent years sitting through a relentless solo act. From the minute Mr. Trump rode down the escalator in 2015, the national story had been about him, him, him.

Maybe the corrective to the Trump drama wasn’t a copycat show built around another operatic camera hog. As much as anything, Mr. Biden was offering America a chance to reclaim its breath from a celebrity-in-chief who had sucked up all the cultural oxygen.

The show goes on hiatus

Like many canceled programs, this administration still has a few more episodes to burn off, even if its stunts feel increasingly like shtick and self-parody, like Rudy Giuliani’s raging against the dying of the light in a Four Seasons Total Landscaping parking lot.

But the noise of the Trump era will outlast the president, in some form, because it preceded him. It had existed on Fox News and conservative talk radio, whose dialect he mimicked after spending four years as a weekly regular on “Fox & Friends.”

Maybe another politician will learn its language. Maybe another Trumpist — say, Don Jr., who speaks in Twitter-troll memes and hosts an online show called “Triggered” — will be its next interpreter.

Maybe Mr. Trump will become, as some have speculated, a right-wing-TV host, or maybe a right-wing-TV host will become the next Trump. If this presidency has accomplished anything, it was to obliterate the line between the two job descriptions.

It’s easier to vote out a president than to repeal a media ethos. And as it plays out in our media now, politics seems to be as much a battle between aesthetics as a battle between ideologies. The inclusive, return-to-normal tone of the Biden campaign — this is us. And the high-octane, finger-in-your-eye style of Trumpism — this is us, too.

But while the circus goes on, it will pitch its tent farther away from the White House for a while, maybe long enough for our ears to stop ringing.

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Smooth transition: Japanese mask maker dumps Trump, embraces Biden

Slideshow ( 5 images )

TOKYO (Reuters) – For a mask producer in Japan, the transition from President Donald Trump to Joe Biden has been a smooth one, as it switches production to masks of the Democrat president-elect.

Ogawa Studios, a small producer in Saitama, north of Tokyo, starting making rubber Biden masks earlier this year but since his election win last week, it has ramped up production.

In October alone, 1,000 Biden masks were sold for 2,400 yen ($22.81) each, and the company has set a goal of producing a further 25,000 by year’s end.

Meanwhile, the Trump masks, which cost the same, have been relegated to the bottom of the company’s product line.

Ogawa Studio manager Koki Takahashi said it was much easier to produce a caricature of Trump, whose mask appears to be shouting, than it was for Biden.

Biden’s caricature is much more low-key, with a gentle smile.

“We didn’t have any background information on Biden so it was hard to grasp his character,” said Takahashi.

“But we especially paid close attention to the corner of his eyes and his mouth to make it.”

The real-life Biden continues to lay the groundwork for his administration, against the backdrop of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases across the United States, while Trump refuses to accept the election’s outcome.

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Emmanuel Macron shamed: French president torn apart over MEDIEVAL coronavirus plan

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France went into lockdown again at the end of October and tight restrictions will remain in place until next month. Prime Minister Jean Castex warned it is still too early to ease the COVID-19 rules after 35,879 new cases reported yesterday took the country’s total to 1.86 million. The number of French deaths from COVID-19 also rose by 328 to reach a total of 42,535.

Lockdowns are a Middle Ages answer to pandemics

Jerome Riviere

National Rally MEP Jerome Riviere hit out at the way Mr Macron’s government had attempted to tackle the crisis.

He tweeted: “Lockdowns are a Middle Ages answer to pandemics.

“Massive testing, isolation of the affected and treatment of the ill are the keys to Asian success.

“Taiwan (21 million inhabitants) no lockdown and 7 COVID-19 deaths or 400 in Korea, 107 in Hong Kong.”

Fellow National Rally MEP Jean-Lin Lacapelle accused the French President of failing to prepare for a second coronavirus wave.

He tweeted: “There has been no anticipation of a second wave from Emmanuel Macron and his government!”

But the Macron administration insists it has taken the right measures to contain the pandemic.

Mr Castex told Le Monde newspaper it was not the right time to relax restrictions.

The prime minister, who is due to deliver a major speech later today, said even though there were signs of a tapering in the COVID-19 figures “it is certainly not the moment to loosen the reins”.

But some politicians are hoping France may be able to re-open major shops and businesses for Christmas.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM Business radio: “What I wish is that we can save December for retailers.

“What will dictate the decision of the prime minister and of the president is the protection of the safety of the French population.”

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said there were three possible scenarios after lockdown, the first being that “the current rules are maintained as we know them today”.

He said: “The second is a possible hardening of the rules on certain points if necessary and finally, in the best case, a possible relaxation of the rules.”

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Bur Mr Attal warned “the situation remains serious” and that “the epidemic continues to gain ground”.

He said: “The reproduction rate of the virus, the famous R, is still above 1.

“The situation in our hospitals is extremely difficult and it will continue to be serious in the days to come.”

(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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German shepherd left seriously unimpressed as owner suddenly stops stroking him

A German shepherd’s unimpressed reaction to his owner suddenly stopping to pet him has left TikTok viewers in stitches.

Tessa Crawford wanted to try out the popular viral trend of pretending to pet her dog Cooper but could never have anticipated his amazing response.

The clip starts with Tessa stroking her pooch who is clearly loving every moment of it.

But, without warning, she stops and simply hovers her hand over his head.

Cooper jolts back and then stares up at the hand, delivering an absolutely priceless expression in the process.

Tessa claimed the reaction was filmed at the first attempt and her video has exploded online after being shared in September, with more than 3.6 million views.

“I don’t know why I love this so much, his eyes,” one wrote.

Another commented: “Hahahaha his reaction is so hilarious.”

“Love the way he looks up,” a third said, accompanied by several laughing emojis.

And a fourth added: “Them eyes, he’s like ‘umm excuse me where’s my pets’.”

More dog stories

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  • Cheeky pup steals owner’s socks
  • In other news about our furry friends, a baby was recently filmed being given a golden retriever puppy for his birthday.

    The pair hit it off instantly, with the youngster unable to stop smiling.

    Meanwhile, one dog was spotted pulling a guilty face after being caught out stealing her owner’s food.

    And another German shepherd went viral earlier this week with his reaction to seeing a cat on a lead.

    The pooch was seen nervously trying to befriend the feline, with the video leaving viewers creasing.

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    Landlord sentenced for filming tenants with hidden camera

    A landlord who filmed two female tenants with a hidden camera has narrowly avoided a prison term.

    When police searched Stephen Alexander Clutterbuck’s home last year, they found multiple recordings of two former tenants, in which the unknowing women were naked or semi-naked.

    One of the women had two small children, who were also filmed naked.

    The first woman, who rented a furnished room from Clutterbuck for six months in 2018, quit her tenancy without knowing she had been filmed.

    The second, however, started looking for secret cameras a month into her early-2019 tenancy, after she received personal text messages from an unknown number which suggested she was being watched.

    She found a camera inside a speaker and immediately called police.

    The camera was connected to a large television in Clutterbuck’s bedroom, and could transmit a live feed from the tenant’s bedroom to that of their landlord.

    Police also found a small rectangular peephole in the bedroom, which Clutterbuck said he knew nothing about, even though footage filmed through the peephole was in his possession.

    Police seized two USBs with film of the victims on them, footage which ranged from two seconds to 16 minutes.

    Clutterbuck also had an objectionable 42-second-long bestiality video in his possession, which he said had been shared to his Facebook page.

    When questioned by police, Clutterbuck said he had put the camera in the speaker but only for use as a sensor.

    He blamed a female associate for setting up the live feed without his knowledge and using his phone without his permission.

    In Dunedin District Court yesterday, Judge Dominic Flatley took a dim view of Clutterbuck’s initial story and when imposing sentence on charges of making an intimate visual recording (x2) and possessing objectionable material with knowledge did not grant full discount for Clutterbuck’s eventual guilty plea.

    Judge Flatley said the courts strongly disapproved of offending such as Clutterbuck’s and that he had seriously considered a term of imprisonment.

    However, Clutterbuck’s lack of similar convictions and the availability of a counselling programme meant an eight-month sentence of home detention was appropriate, the judge said.

    Judge Flatley also imposed a range of conditions on Clutterbuck, including that he not associate with anyone aged under 16.

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    ‘We’ll take back control!’ Frexit leader highlights UK successes as benefits of leaving EU

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    Charles-Henri Gallois listed a number of benefits of cutting ties with Brussels in a series of social media posts. Mr Gallois said leaving the EU would enable France to decide is own polcies on trade, immigration and health.

    The United Kingdom, thanks to Brexit, regains control of its borders and its migration policy

    Charles-Henri Gallois

    He tweeted: “The UK acquires new powers to prevent foreign companies from buying strategic assets.

    “They will be able to block a transaction even five years after its conclusion.

    “France, helpless with EU treaties, sells off all its flagships.”

    In another tweet he said Brexit had allowed Britain to take back control of its borders.

    He said: “The United Kingdom, thanks to Brexit, regains control of its borders and its migration policy.

    “We are also taking back control! Let’s Take Back Control!”

    Mr Gallois also said France would have been better able to formulate health policy on COVID-19 vaccines if it was operating outside EU rules.

    He tweeted: “Hopefully this vaccine will be more effective than Gilead’s remdesivir for which the EU spent 175 million euros. This is a commitment of almost 5 billion euros. 

    “France should decide on its own health policy.”

    The Frexit movement has gained popularity in France during the pandemic with citizens questioning the role of Brussels in such a crisis.

    Frexiteer Florian Philippot, founder of France hardline Eurosceptic party The Patriots, warned last month of the power Brussels wielded over member states and repeated his call to quit the bloc.

    He told followers on social media: “When you stay in the EU, you end up complying!

    “Good lesson to consider. Frexit quickly!”

    Mr Philippot has insisted France needs to leave the EU “more than ever” to take back control of its own destiny.

    The pandemic has pushed more than a million people to the brink of poverty in France with unemployment soaring to record levels.

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    In a post on Twitter, Mr Philippot said: “A large part of France sinks into misery.

    “More than ever a public safety program, the basis of which is the taking back of our sovereignty in all fields, is needed.

    “Frexit, nationalisation of banks, rise in wages and pensions.”

    The former MEP’s drive to see France follow Britain out of the EU has gained widespread support on social media from some citizens who claim membership of the bloc has been a “disaster” for their country.

    (Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)

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    World News

    Lucy Letby: Nurse remanded in custody after being charged with murdering eight babies

    A nurse has been remanded in custody after being charged with the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of 10 others.

    Lucy Letby appeared by video link at Warrington Magistrates’ Court.

    The 30-year-old was arrested for a third time on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the Countess of Chester Hospital, which began in 2017.

    It took just over two-and-a-half minutes for District Judge Nicholas Sanders to read out all the charges, which relate to a period between June 2015 and June 2016.

    No pleas were entered, and families of the alleged victims watched the proceedings from remote locations.

    Letby, from Hereford, spoke in a strong, clear voice to confirm her name, date of birth and home address.

    Pascale Jones, prosecuting, told the court there were “substantial grounds” to believe she needed to be remanded in custody “for her own protection”.

    Letby is due before Chester Crown Court for a further hearing on Friday afternoon.

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