World news in brief

By Drum Digital
18 December 2013

A tourist falls off a pier because of Facebook and blink to take pictures with Google Glass. This a round-up of some stories making news around the world.

Google glass eye-wear let’s winking snap pictures

Google Glass on Tuesday announced updates to the software in its Internet-linked eye-wear to allow users to snap pictures by winking.

The new feature, which promises to escalate privacy concerns already being voiced about the high-tech gadget, came as one of an array of improvements.

"We've got a new setting that lets you quickly and easily capture the moments you care about with a simple wink of the eye," Google Glass posted on its Google+ social network page.

"We're starting with pictures, but just think about what else is possible," the message continued.

Notions put forth included Glass wearers someday paying for cab rides by winking at meters or buying something in a shop with a blink.

New  travel site for Muslims launched

A new website for Muslim travellers which includes a global directory of halal restaurants and dedicated city guides launched Wednesday in a bid to capitalise on the growing number of Islamic tourists.

Specialist Singapore-based firm Crescentrating said the site, which is called HalalTrip.com, offers a wide range of features for tourists wishing to travel in accordance with the rules of Islam.

"It is the world's first fully-featured travel booking website for Muslim travellers," Crescentrating chief executive Fazal Bahardeen told AFP, adding that the industry had been lacking a dedicated travel booking site catering to the needs of Islamic tourists.

Spending by Muslim travellers is estimated to reach $200 billion by 2020, up from $126 billion in 2011, according to the company's chief operating officer Dany Bolduc.

Crescentrating acquired HalalTrip.com from its Austrian owner in June and has re-launched it with new features including booking facilities for nearly 400,000 hotels, as well as airlines and tour packages. The site previously only allowed bookings for 1,000 hotels.

Tourists can now search flights and hotels on the English-language site as a result of partnerships with online reservation firm Booking.com, and travel search engine Wego.com.

It also offers a global directory of halal restaurants, mosques and amenities useful the Muslim tourist.

Tourist distracted by Facebook falls off pier in Australia

A tourist in Australia had to be rescued by police after plunging off a pier while browsing Facebook on her phone, officials said Wednesday.

The woman was walking along a bay in Melbourne on Monday night when she became distracted by her Facebook feed and plummeted off the pier into the chilly water, Victoria state police said.

A witness called for help and police rushed to the woman’s aid. They found her flailing around in the water, about 20m from the pier.

“She was still out in the water lying on her back in a floating position because she told us later that she couldn’t swim,” Senior Constable Dean Kelly of the state water police told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “She still had her mobile phone in her hand and initially she apologised and said sorry.”

The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment. Police said she is a foreigner, but declined to say from which country.

“With Facebook, or social media in general as far as we’re concerned, if you’re anywhere near the water just pay attention,” Kelly said. “Especially if you can’t swim.” - Sapa, AFP, AP

(Pic: blogs.independent.co.uk)

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