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"Elon Musk, Amber Heard Something's Fishy On Wrapped-Up Sushi Last we heard, Elon Musk and Amber Heard were "not back together" even though they kiss goodbye and dance real close ... sorry, we're not buying that now. Amber and Elon went on a sushi date Monday in WeHo, and looked like the full-blown hand-holding couple that's definitely on again. But that's only because that's exactly what they are -- no matter how many times they try to say they're not reunited. We broke the story ... Elon and Amber started hanging out again this past fall ... after announcing their split in the summer. Since then, they've smooched and gone dancing together. If it looks like a reunited duck, walks like a reunited duck ... TMZ.com"
"Entertainment"
"Scientists are developing more than 100 coronavirus vaccines using a range of techniques, some of which are well-established and some of which have never been approved for medical use before. Most of these vaccines target the so-called spike proteins that cover the virus and help it invade human cells. The immune system can develop antibodies that latch onto spike proteins and stop the virus. A successful vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus would teach peoples immune systems to make antibodies against the virus without causing disease. Whole-Virus Vaccines Vaccines that modify the entire coronavirus to provoke an immune response. Inactivated and Live Attenuated Vaccines Most vaccines in use today incorporate an inactivated or weakened form of a virus that is not able to cause disease. When immune cells encounter them, they make antibodies. Making these vaccines means growing viruses and lots of them. Influenza vaccines are typically grown in chicken eggs, and other vaccines are grown in tanks full of floating cells. These procedures can take months to produce a batch of new vaccines. EXAMPLES: Conventional vaccines for influenza, chickenpox, measles, mumps and rubella all fall into this category. COMPANIES DEVELOPING SARS-COV-2 VACCINES: Sinovac and others. Genetic Vaccines Vaccines that use part of the coronaviruss genetic code. DNA Vaccines A number of experimental coronavirus vaccines dont deliver whole viruses. Instead, they deliver genetic instructions for building a viral protein. The protein can then stimulate the immune system to make antibodies and help mount other defenses against the coronavirus. One of these genetic approaches is known as a DNA vaccine. A circle of engineered DNA is delivered into cells. The cells read the viral gene, make a copy in a molecule called messenger RNA, and then use the mRNA to assemble viral proteins. The immune system detects the proteins and mounts defenses. Prototype DNA vaccines based on the spike protein protected monkeys from the coronavirus. EXAMPLES: DNA vaccines have been approved for veterinary cases such as canine melanoma and West Nile virus in horses. There are no approved DNA vaccines for use in humans, but researchers are running trials to see if they might be effective for diseases such as Zika and the flu. COMPANIES: Inovio and others. RNA Vaccines Some researchers want to skip DNA and instead deliver messenger RNA into cells. The cells read the mRNA and make spike proteins that provoke an immune response. The biotech company Moderna recently completed a small safety trial with eight volunteers that showed promising early results against the coronavirus. Both RNA and DNA vaccines can be produced more quickly than traditional methods. EXAMPLES: There are no approved RNA vaccines, but they are in clinical trials for MERS and other diseases. COMPANIES: Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, CureVac and others. Viral Vector Vaccines Vaccines that use a virus to deliver coronavirus genes into cells. Vaccines Using Adenovirus or Other Viruses Viruses are very good at getting into cells. Since the 1990s, researchers have been investigating how to use them to deliver genes into cells to immunize people against diseases. To create a coronavirus vaccine, several teams have added the spike protein gene to a virus called an adenovirus. The adenovirus slips into cells and unloads the gene. Because the adenovirus is missing one of its own genes, it cannot replicate and is therefore safe. EXAMPLES: Several virus vector vaccines are used to vaccinate animals against rabies and distemper. Johnson & Johnson has developed H.I.V. and Ebola vaccines using an adenovirus. Both have proven safe in humans and are now in efficacy trials. COMPANIES: Johnson & Johnson, CanSino, University of Oxford and others. Protein-Based Vaccines Vaccines that use a coronavirus protein or a protein fragment. Virus-Like Particle Vaccines Some vaccines are particles that contain pieces of viral proteins. They cant cause disease because they are not actual viruses, but they can still show the immune system what coronavirus proteins look like. EXAMPLES: The vaccine for HPV falls into this category. COMPANIES: Medicago, Doherty Institute and others. Recombinant Vaccines Yeast or other cells can be engineered to carry a viruss gene and spew out viral proteins, which are then harvested and put into a vaccine. A coronavirus vaccine of this design would contain whole spike proteins or small pieces of the protein. EXAMPLES: This category includes some vaccines for shingles and hepatitis B. COMPANIES: Novavax and others. Sources: World Health Organization, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Center for Biotechnology Information, NEJM"
"science"
"Jared Fogle Shut Down By Judge In Bid for Early Release 1/22/2018 Jared Fogle got no love from the judge who sentenced him to 15 years in prison ... ruling his legal arguments were BS. Fogle had filed legal docs he prepared himself in the prison library, claiming Judge Tanya Pratt had no jurisdiction to even hear the criminal case because the sex crime charges required proof he traveled from one state to another to engage in sex acts with minors ... and he says everything was done in 1 state. Judge Pratt begged to differ, repeatedly calling Fogle's argument "frivolous," saying federal law specifically covers his crimes. The judge invited him to appeal to a higher court, but made it clear ... that dog don't hunt."
"Entertainment"
"The agency had come under fire from members of Congress and other groups for allowing dozens of wildly inaccurate tests to proliferate without oversight.Credit...David J. Phillip/Associated PressPublished May 4, 2020Updated May 7, 2020The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday that companies selling coronavirus antibody tests must submit data proving accuracy within the next 10 days or face removal from the market.The antibody tests are an effort to detect whether a person had been infected with the coronavirus, but results have been widely varied. Since mid-March, the agency has permitted dozens of manufacturers to sell the tests without providing evidence that they are accurate.The F.D.A.s action follows a report by more than 50 scientists, which found that only three out of 14 antibody tests gave consistently reliable results, and even the best had flaws. An evaluation by the National Institutes of Health, working with other federal health agencies, has also found a concerning number of commercial tests that are performing poorly, the F.D.A. said.The agency has also been under fire from several members of Congress, with numerous lawmakers raising questions about the validity of some of the tests.So far, little is known about whether those who became ill will develop immunity and, if so, for how long, and that leaves the value of antibody tests still uncertain. Around the globe, government and health officials have hoped that antibody tests would be a critical tool to help determine when it would be safe to lift stay-at-home restrictions and reopen businesses. The tests might also be used to identify potential donors of convalescent plasma, an approach in which blood plasma containing antibodies from a recovered individual is used to treat a Covid-19 patient, the F.D.A. said.The highly infectious disease has now killed nearly 70,000 people and sickened more than 1.1 million in the United States alone.While 12 companies have been given F.D.A. clearance to sell the antibody tests, many other products do not have agency authorization. The result has been a confusing landscape in which tests by established companies such as Abbott Laboratories, Cellex and most recently, Roche Diagnostics, are competing with unapproved tests made by unknown companies and sold by U.S. distributors with spotty track records. The F.D.A. has blocked imports of some antibody tests at the U.S. border, and has ordered some distributors to revise claims about what individuals can learn from them, or halt sales.House Democrats Raja Krishnamoorthi, of Illinois, and Rosa DeLauro, of Connecticut, have both criticized the agency for its handling of the matter as has Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas.The administrations original serology testing policy, which allowed tests on the market with no F.D.A. review, felt like an overreaction to the criticism they faced for their slow rollout of molecular tests, Mr. Krishnamoorthi said. But F.D.A. went too far, completely abrogating regulatory responsibility.Overseeing development of coronavirus tests has been rocky from the start, with President Trump and others urging the agency to relax rules for commercial tests. Beginning in late February, the agency came under fire for taking too long to allow private companies to get diagnostic tests for the coronavirus onto the market. Now, the F.D.A. faces additional scrutiny for permitting manufacturers to distribute the antibody tests too quickly without proof of efficacy.Every step this agency has taken in response to Covid-19 has been a balance of risk and benefits, said Dr. Stephen Hahn, the F.D.A. commissioner, in a telephone call with reporters on Monday.In a statement on Monday, Dr. Anand Shah, the F.D.A. deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, and Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, defended the agencys initial policy, saying the tests were never intended to be used as the sole basis for determining whether anyone had been infected.We unfortunately see unscrupulous actors marketing fraudulent test kits and using the pandemic as an opportunity to take advantage of Americans anxiety, they said in the statement. Some test developers have falsely claimed their serology tests are F.D.A. approved or authorized. Others have falsely claimed that their tests can diagnose Covid-19 or that they are for at-home testing.Dr. Shah and Dr. Shuren also pointed to the N.I.H. evaluation that showed a number of tests producing faulty results. The F.D.A. declined to provide details on the number of tests that were studied, or how many did not work. They also said that the F.D.A. is reviewing more than 200 antibody tests to determine whether they work well enough to get the agencys go-ahead.Scott Becker, the chief executive of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, was pleased by the F.D.A.s announcement, which he said would improve the quality of antibody tests. He also said the crackdown comes six weeks too late.The Food and Drug Administration made the right decision by walking back its policy on serology testing for Covid-19, Mr. Becker said. Weve long been concerned that allowing tests on the market that have not been approved and authorized for use is a recipe for disaster.In addition, as states and cities look for ways to reopen businesses, Dr. Hahn said on Monday: Whether a test should be a ticket for someone to go back to work as the sole item, my opinion on that would be no, because there are a lot of unanswered questions."
"Health"
"Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York TimesJune 30, 2018WASHINGTON On the final day of the Supreme Court term last week, Justice Elena Kagan sounded an alarm.The courts five conservative members, citing the First Amendment, had just dealt public unions a devastating blow. The day before, the same majority had used the First Amendment to reject a California law requiring religiously oriented crisis pregnancy centers to provide women with information about abortion.Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the courts four-member liberal wing, were weaponizing the First Amendment.The two decisions were the latest in a stunning run of victories for a conservative agenda that has increasingly been built on the foundation of free speech. Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.The right, which had for years been hostile to and very nervous about a strong First Amendment, has rediscovered it, said Burt Neuborne, a law professor at New York University.The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech.The dissenters responded that the First Amendment did not require allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace and corrupt democracy.The libertarian position has become dominant on the right on First Amendment issues, said Ilya Shapiro, a lawyer with the Cato Institute. It simply means that we should be skeptical of government attempts to regulate speech. That used to be an uncontroversial and nonideological point. Whats now being called the libertarian position on speech was in the 1960s the liberal position on speech.And an increasingly conservative judiciary has been more than a little receptive to this argument. A new analysis prepared for The New York Times found that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been far more likely to embrace free-speech arguments concerning conservative speech than liberal speech. That is a sharp break from earlier eras.As a result, liberals who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.The left was once not just on board but leading in supporting the broadest First Amendment protections, said Floyd Abrams, a prominent First Amendment lawyer and a supporter of broad free-speech rights. Now the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.Many on the left have traded an absolutist commitment to free speech for one sensitive to the harms it can inflict.Take pornography and street protests. Liberals were once largely united in fighting to protect sexually explicit materials from government censorship. Now many on the left see pornography as an assault on womens rights.In 1977, many liberals supported the right of the American Nazi Party to march among Holocaust survivors in Skokie, Ill. Far fewer supported the free-speech rights of the white nationalists who marched last year in Charlottesville, Va.There was a certain navet in how liberals used to approach free speech, said Frederick Schauer, a law professor at the University of Virginia.Because so many free-speech claims of the 1950s and 1960s involved anti-obscenity claims, or civil rights and anti-Vietnam War protests, it was easy for the left to sympathize with the speakers or believe that speech in general was harmless, he said. But the claim that speech was harmless or causally inert was never true, even if it has taken recent events to convince the left of that. The question, then, is why the left ever believed otherwise.Some liberals now say that free speech disproportionately protects the powerful and the status quo.When I was younger, I had more of the standard liberal view of civil liberties, said Louis Michael Seidman, a law professor at Georgetown. And Ive gradually changed my mind about it. What I have come to see is that its a mistake to think of free speech as an effective means to accomplish a more just society.To the contrary, free speech reinforces and amplifies injustice, Catharine A. MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Michigan, wrote in The Free Speech Century, a collection of essays to be published this year.Once a defense of the powerless, the First Amendment over the last hundred years has mainly become a weapon of the powerful, she wrote. Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists, Nazis and Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections.ImageCredit...Jose R. Lopez/The New York TimesChanging InterpretationsIn the great First Amendment cases in the middle of the 20th century, few conservatives spoke up for the protection of political dissenters, including communists and civil rights leaders, comedians using vulgar language on the airwaves or artists exploring sexuality in novels and on film.In 1971, Robert H. Bork, then a prominent conservative law professor and later a federal judge and Supreme Court nominee, wrote that the First Amendment should be interpreted narrowly in a law-review article that remains one of the most-cited of all time.Constitutional protection should be accorded only to speech that is explicitly political, he wrote. There is no basis for judicial intervention to protect any other form of expression, be it scientific, literary or that variety of expression we call obscene or pornographic.But a transformative ruling by the Supreme Court five years later began to change that thinking. The case, a challenge to a state law that banned advertising the prices of prescription drugs, was filed by Public Citizen, a consumer rights group founded by Ralph Nader. The group argued that the law hurt consumers, and helped persuade the court, in Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, to protect advertising and other commercial speech.The only dissent in the decision came from Justice William H. Rehnquist, the courts most conservative member.Kathleen M. Sullivan, a former dean of Stanford Law School, wrote that it did not take long for corporations to see the opportunities presented by the decision.While the case was litigated by consumer protection advocates, she wrote in the Harvard Law Review, corporate speakers soon became the principal beneficiaries of subsequent rulings that, for example, struck down restrictions on including alcohol content on beer can labels, limitations on outdoor tobacco advertising near schools and rules governing how compounded drugs may be advertised.That trend has continued, with businesses mounting First Amendment challenges to gun control laws, securities regulations, country-of-origin labels, graphic cigarette warnings and limits on off-label drug marketing.I was a bit queasy about it because I had the sense that we were unleashing something, but nowhere near what happened, Mr. Nader said. It was one of the biggest boomerangs in judicial cases ever.I couldnt be Merlin, he added. We never thought the judiciary would be as conservative or corporate. This was an expansion that was not preordained by doctrine. It was preordained by the political philosophies of judges.Not all of the liberal scholars and lawyers who helped create modern First Amendment law are disappointed. Martin Redish, a law professor at Northwestern University, who wrote a seminal 1971 article proposing First Amendment protection for commercial speech, said he was pleased with the Roberts courts decisions.Its most important contributions are in the commercial speech and corporate speech areas, he said. Its a workmanlike, common sense approach.Liberals also played a key role in creating modern campaign finance law in Buckley v. Valeo, the 1976 decision that struck down limits on political spending by individuals and was the basis for Citizens United, the 2010 decision that did away with similar limits for corporations and unions.One plaintiff was Senator Eugene J. McCarthy, Democrat of Minnesota, who had challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1968 presidential primaries from the left. Another was the American Civil Liberties Unions New York affiliate.Professor Neuborne, a former A.C.L.U. lawyer, said he now regrets the role he played in winning the case. I signed the brief in Buckley, he said. Im going to spend long amounts of time in purgatory.To Professor Seidman, cases like these were part of what he describes as a right-wing takeover of the First Amendment since the liberal victories in the years Chief Justice Earl Warren led the Supreme Court.With the receding of Warren court liberalism, free-speech law took a sharp right turn, Professor Seidman wrote in a new article to be published in the Columbia Law Review. Instead of providing a shield for the powerless, the First Amendment became a sword used by people at the apex of the American hierarchy of power. Among its victims: proponents of campaign finance reform, opponents of cigarette addiction, the L.B.G.T.Q. community, labor unions, animal rights advocates, environmentalists, targets of hate speech and abortion providers.The title of the article asked, Can Free Speech Be Progressive?The answer, the article said, is no.Shifting RightThe right turn has been even more pronounced under Chief Justice Roberts.The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a larger share of First Amendment cases concerning conservative speech than earlier courts had, according to the study prepared for The Times. And it has ruled in favor of conservative speech at a higher rate than liberal speech as compared to earlier courts.The courts docket reflects something new and distinctive about the Roberts court, according to the study, which was conducted by Lee Epstein, a law professor and political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis; Andrew D. Martin, a political scientist at the University of Michigan and the dean of its College of Literature, Science and the Arts; and Kevin Quinn, a political scientist at the University of Michigan.The Roberts court more than any modern court has trained its sights on speech promoting conservative values, the study found. Only the current court has resolved a higher fraction of disputes challenging the suppression of conservative rather than liberal expression.The court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren from 1953 to 1969 was almost exclusively concerned with cases concerning liberal speech. Of its 60 free-expression cases, only five, or about 8 percent, challenged the suppression of conservative speech.The proportion of challenges to restrictions on conservative speech has steadily increased. It rose to 22 percent in the court led by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger from 1969 to 1986; to 42 percent in the court led by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist from 1986 to 2005; and to 65 percent in the Roberts court.The Roberts court does more than hear a larger proportion of cases concerning conservative expression. It is also far more likely than earlier courts to rule for conservative speech than for liberal speech. The result, the study found, has been a fundamental transformation of the courts free-expression agenda.In past decades, broad coalitions of justices have often been receptive to First Amendment arguments. The court has protected videos of animal cruelty, hateful protests at military funerals, violent video games and lies about military awards, often by lopsided margins.But last weeks two First Amendment blockbusters were decided by 5-to-4 votes, with the conservatives in the majority ruling in favor of conservative plaintiffs.On Tuesday, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the majority that requiring health clinics opposed to abortion to tell women how to obtain the procedure violated the clinics free-speech rights. In dissent, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said that was a misuse of First Amendment principles.Using the First Amendment to strike down economic and social laws that legislatures long would have thought themselves free to enact will, for the American public, obscure, not clarify, the true value of protecting freedom of speech, Justice Breyer wrote.On Wednesday, in announcing the decision on public unions, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the court was applying settled and neutral First Amendment principles to protect workers from being forced to say things at odds with their beliefs. He suggested that the decision on public unions should have been unanimous.Compelling individuals to mouth support for views they find objectionable violates that cardinal constitutional command, and in most contexts, any such effort would be universally condemned, he wrote. Suppose, for example, that the State of Illinois required all residents to sign a document expressing support for a particular set of positions on controversial public issues say, the platform of one of the major political parties. No one, we trust, would seriously argue that the First Amendment permits this.In response, Justice Kagan said the courts conservatives had found a dangerous tool, turning the First Amendment into a sword. The United States, she said, should brace itself.Speech is everywhere a part of every human activity (employment, health care, securities trading, you name it), she wrote. For that reason, almost all economic and regulatory policy affects or touches speech. So the majoritys road runs long. And at every stop are black-robed rulers overriding citizens choices."
"Politics"
"Before Coming Out, a Hard Time Growing UpVideoMichael Sam, a defensive end at Missouri who will enter the N.F.L. draft, announced Sunday that he was gay. People in his hometown of Hitchcock, Tex., and on his college team voiced their support.CreditCredit...John Francis Peters for The New York TimesFeb. 11, 2014COLUMBIA, Mo. Michael Sam was the loud country boy who wore a tank top and a cowboy hat. He was the smooth-singing baritone who could irritate his coaches and crack up his teammates with his improvised songs.He was one of the best players to come out of tiny Hitchcock, Tex., where his family was well known for all the wrong reasons. He was an all-American and defensive terror on the football field. He was a regular at the gay club, where the bartenders knew him by name.Sam introduced himself to the world Sunday night as a National Football League prospect who happens to be gay. Now he is poised to become a trailblazer in a violent and macho world that will scrutinize his every action and turn his private life into a very public debate.But Sam has never had it easy. He grew up about 40 miles southeast of Houston near Galveston Bay in Texas, the seventh of eight children. Three of his siblings have died and two brothers are in prison. He lived briefly in the back seat of his mothers car, and his relationship with his family remains complicated: When he visits home, he usually stays with friends.Sams life has transformed overnight. His announcement this week prompted a state senator in Missouri to seek legislation to bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. His courage has been hailed by teammates, famous athletes, countless football fans and President Obama and the first lady.But to get a sense of the challenges awaiting Sam, look no further than his father.Last Tuesday, Michael Sam Sr. was at a Dennys near his home outside Dallas to celebrate his birthday when his son sent him a text message.Dad, Im gay, he wrote.The party stopped cold. I couldnt eat no more, so I went to Applebees to have drinks, Sam Sr. said. I dont want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.Im old school, he added. Im a man-and-a-woman type of guy. As evidence, he pointed out that he had taken an older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.ImageCredit...Scott Dalton for The New York TimesOn Sunday night, just after Michael Sam announced his intention to make sports history, his father was still struggling with the news.Sam Sr. loves his son, and he said he hoped his son made it to the N.F.L. As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross, he said. This is just one he has to cross.But he expressed discomfort at the very idea of a gay N.F.L. player, even if the player was his son. He grumbled that Deacon Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end renowned for his toughness, is turning over in his grave.Michael Sam had anticipated his familys uneasiness. In an interview Sunday in North Hollywood, Calif., he spoke about his tough upbringing, which he said was more challenging than the decision to come out publicly.Im closer to my friends than I am to my family, Sam said.He declined to speak beyond the initial interview Sunday.Indeed, Sam had begun telling small groups of his University of Missouri teammates that he was gay two years earlier. In August, he told the whole group, along with the coaching staff. Most of them already knew.If he was not quite public about his sexuality, he certainly was not hiding it. His self-confidence blossomed, along with his game.I think mostly why Mike had such a great season this year is that he could be himself, said LDamian Washington, a wide receiver and close friend. He got that big boulder off his back. Like, finally. I think it was a huge relief. He could be himself and not always be hiding something from everybody.ImageCredit...Scott Dalton for The New York TimesThe Notorious SamsAs a boy growing up in Hitchcock, Michael Sam may not yet have known exactly who he was, but he did know what he needed. He needed to play sports. He needed to be part of a team.Life had hardly been kind to him or his family. Michael Sr. and his mother, JoAnn Sam, were separated after having eight children. He went to North Texas to work as a trucker. She tried to keep what was left of her family together.A sister drowned when she was 2, before Michael was born, when another child accidentally knocked her off a fishing pier. Another brother, Russell, was 15 when he was shot and killed trying to break into a home, in what his father said was part of a gang initiation. Another brother, Julian, has not been heard from since he left for work one day in 1998; his family believes he is dead. Two others are in jail.It was very hard growing up in that environment, Sam said. My family was very notorious in the town that we lived in. Everyone would say, There goes those damn Sams. I didnt want to paint that ill picture of me. I knew the good in my family. They didnt know our background and the adversity we had to endure. I wanted to succeed and be a beacon of hope in my family.If trouble runs deep in the Sam family, so does religion. And it, too, was a source of conflict. JoAnn is a member of the Jehovahs Witnesses, who do not celebrate holidays or believe in most birth control and generally shun participation in organized sports. Michael Sr. comes from a large Baptist family, and his father was a long-serving deacon at a church in nearby Texas City, Tex.But it was Sams desire to play football that caused a rift with his mother she believed that sports distracted from the mission of service. Sam simply saw football as salvation.There were confrontations, Michael said. I love my mother dearly. But I needed sports. I needed sports to make sure I cant get in trouble, to make sure I didnt do anything bad.Efforts to reach JoAnn Sam through her son, friends and at listed phone numbers and addresses failed.ImageCredit...Scott Dalton for The New York TimesNobody in Sams family had attended college, and Sam did not believe he would be the first. But as he coped with a disjointed family and wrestled with his sexuality, one certainty emerged in his life: He needed to get out of Hitchcock. He knew his best chance was through football.A Second HomeHitchcock High School sits on a long, quiet road, between a general store and the First Baptist Church. Freight trains rumble nearby. On fall nights, many of the towns 7,000 residents gather at the stadium to watch their Bulldogs play.It was there that Sam developed a controlled fury that helped him sack quarterbacks and collar running backs. It was there that he found an extended family that includes a prominent banker, an old football coach and a 3-year-old goddaughter named Peighton, who sees him adoringly as a giant.Sam began his football career as a water boy. In junior high school, Craig Smith, the football coach, saw that Sam was athletically blessed and, even better, hungry for guidance and camaraderie. The coaches drafted him to carry equipment and hang around the squad.At the start of high school, Smith put him in the starting lineup on the varsity team. Sam was already so much bigger than his teammates that he stood in the back row of the teams yearbook photograph.Sam was a natural peacemaker, but he was not afraid to use his size when needed. When he saw Robert Dohman, a friend since elementary school, with a busted lip outside a local mall, he waded into a crowd of two dozen and lifted the offender into the air.What do you know about jumping the white boy in the parking lot? Sam shouted, according to Dohman.The crowd scattered.He was trying to protect me, Dohman said.By his sophomore year, Sam played on the offensive and defensive lines. How good was he? Coach Smith did not know: Hitchcock, with only 300 students, was hardly a football powerhouse.ImageCredit...August Kryger for The New York TimesBut Smith had a hint of his potential in Sams senior year when the Bulldogs played Chavez High School, a much bigger school in Houston. It was the teams first game after Hurricane Ike devastated the region and closed the school for several weeks.Chavezs star was an all-American defensive tackle named Michael Brockers, who was bound for Louisiana State University. In 2012, the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the first round. Sam more than kept up with Brockers.We knew right then and there that Michael could really play with anybody, Smith said.Sam found a comfortable place off the field as well, in large part because of Ethan Purl, a classmate and the son of Ron Purl, the president of the local branch of Prosperity Bank.Rons wife, Candy, made sure their house was part recreation center and part counseling hub for their children and their friends. By Sams senior year, he had his own bedroom in the Purls house, along with chores like cleaning the pool and carrying the grocery bags.I look at our house as a kind of safe haven, said Ron Purl, who keeps a photograph of Sam in his Missouri football uniform in his office. He is just another son. If he did something wrong, he got yelled at just like the others did.It was the Purls who drove Sam from Texas to middle Missouri. It seemed like an improbable trip at the time.I didnt even dream of going to college, Sam said. College was not in my definition. If somebody told me I was going to play for the Missouri Tigers in 2009, I would laugh at them.Casual DisclosuresSam may have been big for Hitchcock, but he was small on Missouris defensive line. The coaches did not know what to make of their undersize freshman.ImageCredit...August Kryger for The New York TimesHe was a two-star recruit, said Pat Ivey, an associate athletic director who oversees the strength department. I didnt really see him being an all-American.At first, Sams teammates intimidated him. His affinity for Harry Potter books made him stand out. He was noisy and could not sit still. But he won the group over with improvised songs that ribbed teammates or described their grueling practices.Hes got a motor that never stops, defensive lineman Derrion Thomas said. He is a big personality, and when he started with the songs, you just knew that mind never stopped.The same went for his mouth.He drove me crazy, Coach Gary Pinkel said. He never shut up. I knew when he was in my office talking to the secretary. Id get up and shut the door.Before his senior year, Sam had begun telling those closest to him who he really was. He skipped the dramatic pronouncements in favor of casual disclosures. In a phone call to a high school friend, Tyler Sander, Sam confided that he was having romantic troubles. If Sander had been around more during the Christmas break, Sam said, You would have met him.There was a pause and I was like, Him? Sander said.He was like, Yeah, Im gay.Sander and Sam had a long conversation that night that made them even closer. Now theres nothing to hide, Sander said. We can literally talk to each other about anything.Two years ago during Christmas break, Sam brought home a friend from the swimming team, a man. His second family, the Purls, did not ask any questions. When Sam called Ron Purl later to say that he was gay, Purl assured him that he was perfectly fine with it and already knew.His teammates had similar reactions.I practiced across from him three years, and it was just war, said Elvis Fisher, an offensive lineman and captain of the 2012 Missouri team. You dont set out wanting to know each others life, but you spend so much time with each other you cant help but know them. I knew, and I love the guy.ImageCredit...August Kryger for The New York TimesA Singular SeasonBy last August, Sams sexuality was an open secret here. He had told a professor he was gay and had become a genial presence at the SoCo Club in Columbia, a nightclub and cabaret that hosts regular drag shows, among other events.Marty Newman, SoCos owner and general manager, said Sam was open about who he was: a gay man and a football star. He was happy to talk sports with the bartenders and anyone else.No one felt the need to out him, Newman said. He was respected here and was allowed to be himself.In Sams senior season, Missouri finished 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl. He made first-team all-American and was voted by his teammates as Missouris most valuable player.On Monday, Pinkel tried to put in words a singular season that began with his noisiest players startling announcement, and ended with dozens of men standing by their teammate in the national spotlight.Pretty cool, was the best he could do.On Saturday night, over Chinese food at the home of his publicist, Howard Bragman, Sam was joined by an exclusive group: the fraternity of publicly gay athletes and their peers who have made a cause of supporting them.Dave Kopay and Wade Davis, who came out as gay after retiring from professional football, and Bill Bean, who did so after retiring from professional baseball, were there, along with Brendon Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, two former N.F.L. players who have been outspoken in their support of gay rights.It was a chance to celebrate Sam on his last night of relative anonymity, but it was also a way to tell him about the world he was diving into.Kopay, a 71-year-old former running back, playfully punched Sam a couple of times to emphasize just how intensely he would have to work. He also reminded Sam that if they had been freshmen together in 1960, Sam, as a black man, would not have been entirely welcome. (Norris Stevenson broke the color barrier for Missouri in 1957.)Well, youre just taking another step forward now, Kopay said.Kluwe told him he would not have many problems with players. Theyre there to play football, he said.The men in charge will pose problems, Kluwe said. Its the general managers and coaches who are going to say its a distraction.Then theres the public at large, the millions of sports fans who will soon see a publicly gay player standing tall on an N.F.L. teams defensive line. It is too early to know how they will react, but perhaps the evolution in Sams own family offers a clue.I believe in a persons destiny, his aunt Geraldine Sam said. If thats the way he is, Im not trying to put my religious beliefs on anyone. I respect people for who they are, not who we want them to be."
"Sports"
"Credit...Laurent Cipriani/Associated PressNov. 20, 2018BRUSSELS Gathered at a glitzy Dubai resort this week for their annual conference, the leaders of Interpol hoped to emerge from the shadow of the controversy that erupted after Beijing snatched the agencys Chinese president and unilaterally announced his resignation.Yet, just weeks later, Interpol appears poised to select as its next president a senior security official from Russia, which has been accused of manipulating the agencys arrest warrants to harass its enemies.American and European officials were lobbying behind the scenes to tip a vote on Wednesday away from the Russian candidate, Aleksandr V. Prokopchuk. The virulently anti-Russian Ukranian government went public, declaring that Mr. Prokopchuks candidacy was part of a Kremlin assault on the international order.For years, the Kremlin has used Interpol to demand the arrest of political enemies who have fled to other countries. This spring, William F. Browder, a critic of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, live-tweeted his arrest in Spain on a warrant issued in Moscow. He was quickly released, but the incident served as a reminder that Interpols vaunted systems remain vulnerable to Kremlin influence even after years of pressure from lawyers and rights groups.Despite its portrayal in spy movies as an omnipotent global police force, Interpol has no powers to investigate crimes or to make arrests. Rather, it serves as a sort of United Nations for police leaders and an information clearinghouse to help the local authorities catch international fugitives. The police can ask Interpol to approve international warrants, known as red notices, requesting the detention of fugitives around the world.For more than a decade, Mr. Prokopchuk has served in a department of the Russian Interior Ministry that has flooded Interpol with such requests. Interpol has repeatedly rejected warrant applications that it sees as fabricated or baldly political. Undeterred, Russia has sought more of a different type of warrant, known as a diffusion, which is circulated by Interpol but is not subject to its review.In a telephone interview, Mr. Browder described Mr. Prokopchuk as a nameless faceless bureaucrat who takes orders directly from the Kremlin.I cant imagine a more inappropriate person than a person who has been the architect of the abuse doled out to me by Russia at Interpol, Mr. Browder said at a news conference in London on Tuesday. This is a perfect way for Putin to basically breathe the fear of God into all of his enemies so they know they cant even escape Russia if one of his guys is at the head of Interpol.As criticism mounted this week, Mr. Putins spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, denounced what he called a particular kind of interference in elections at an international organization, according to the Russian state news agency Ria Novosti.The presidency of Interpol is in many ways a ceremonial position with little power to influence the issuance of warrants. Nevertheless, elevating a Russian in the face of such criticism would be a public relations coup for Mr. Putin. It would also be a setback for international lawyers, who have credited Interpol as taking steps in recent years to tighten administrative controls.If you have an organization where part of the job is to keep the chickens safe, and the head of the organization O.K., he doesnt really do much, but hes a fox? It sends a message, said Michelle Estlund, an American defense lawyer who tracks Interpol and its issuance of red notices. They can say, Dont worry, the fox doesnt really guard the hen house. But hes there.The president is selected by the Interpol General Assembly, which is made up of delegates from its member countries. Each country gets one vote, there is no veto, and the winner must carry two-thirds of the vote. Former colleagues say Mr. Prokopchuk, a current vice president, is regarded as well qualified, and members are encouraged to vote for the individual, not the country.ImageCredit...Valery Sharifulin/TASS, via Getty ImagesMr. Prokopchuk, a university graduate who speaks six languages, does not fit the image that many foreigners and many Russians have of Russian police officers as boorish brutes. He is well spoken, highly educated and has a long record of pushing for closer cooperation between police services in Russia and the West.American and European diplomats are backing Mr. Prokopchuks chief opponent, Kim Jong-yang of South Korea. American officials said they would not discuss their efforts, saying the vote would be carried out in secret.But the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, addressed the Interpol conference this week and took aim at governments that provided safe havens to cybercriminals while trying to game the international warrant system criticisms that the United States has had of Russia for years.We will continue to support legitimate investigations and prosecutions conducted by our Interpol partners, Mr. Rosenstein said. At the same time, we will expose schemes to manipulate the extradition process.Ronald Noble, who served for more than a decade as Interpols executive secretary the agencys senior operational position said that institutional safeguards would prevent any president from politicizing warrants.In terms of the day-to-day operations of Interpol, it will have zero political impact, he said. Since Aleksandr is the only active police officer running for president, his election would prove that delegates were voting for the police professional and not against Russia.But Jago Russell, the chief executive of Fair Trials International, a rights group based in London, argued in a letter to Interpol this week that countries that meddle with the agencys systems should not be rewarded with the presidency.He said that was particularly true after the disappearance last month of Meng Hongwei, whose resignation was announced by Beijing but whose fate has never been explained. Interpol has requested more information from China but has generally declared his disappearance a local matter.It is our belief that his presidency and his recent resignation have unfortunately undermined the organizations reputation, Mr. Russell wrote, referring to Mr. Meng.Mr. Meng, who was also Chinas vice minister of public security, vanished early last month during a visit from France, where Interpol is based. Several days later, the Chinese government produced a brief resignation in his name and said he had been detained on charges of bribery and other crimes. His wife, Grace Meng, has said those charges are politically motivated.China has an opaque, highly politicized legal system one that critics said should have given Interpol pause about making Mr. Meng president to begin with and the government has provided few details about Mr. Mengs whereabouts or the charges against him.But Interpol said it had little choice but to let the Chinese process continue. Jrgen Stock, the agencys secretary general, told The Financial Times that he had asked for more information. But again, on the other hand, we also have to accept that China says there are investigations going on and they are deciding about the next steps, he said.Rutsel Silvestre J. Martha, a former Interpol general counsel who now represents Mr. Mengs family, accused Interpol of rolling over for China in the face of violations of international law. In a telephone interview, Mr. Martha said the organization faced a crucial test that is larger than who wins the presidency, comparing it to Interpols darkest days, when Interpol allowed itself to be co-opted by the Nazis and then refused to help pursue German war criminals after World War II.If the organization allows whats happening in individual countries to impact its governance, then the organization isnt doing what it needs to do, Mr. Martha said. They need to make it a priority to ensure the organization never goes that way again."
"World"
"Fortnites parent company, Epic Games, had broken its contract with Apple, a federal judge found. The case goes to trial next year.Credit...Brian Finke for The New York TimesPublished Oct. 9, 2020Updated Sept. 10, 2021SAN FRANCISCO A federal judge ruled on Friday that Apple did not need to reinstate the popular video game Fortnite in its App Store, in a blow to Fortnites parent company, Epic Games, which is locked in an antitrust battle with the tech giant over its app store fees and rules.Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the Northern District of California said in her ruling that Apples ban of the game could continue because Epic had violated its contract with Apple. There is significant public interest in requiring companies to adhere to contracts or resolve disputes through the normal course, she wrote.But Judge Gonzales Rogers also said that Apple could not ban Unreal Engine, Epics developer tools, from its platforms because of the potential significant damage to both developers and gamers who rely on the software.The mixed ruling showed the high cost of taking on a tech behemoth like Apple, even for an established company like Epic. The 116 million people who have accessed Fortnite through Apples systems will continue to be kept away while Epic and Apple prepare for a trial in the case, which is scheduled for May.An Epic spokeswoman said the company is grateful that Apple will continue to be barred from retaliating against Unreal Engine and our game development customers. Epic will continue developing for Apples platforms and pursue all avenues to end Apples anti-competitive behavior, she said.An Apple spokesman said the company was grateful that the court recognized that Epics actions were not in the best interests of its own customers and that any problems they may have encountered were of their own making when they breached their agreement. The spokesman added that Apples app store has been an economic miracle that has created transformative business opportunities for developers.Epics battle with Apple comes as the largest tech companies face scrutiny of their power. On Tuesday, House lawmakers said Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power to stifle competition and harm consumers and recommended that the companies be restructured. European regulators have also opened an investigation into whether Apples app store rules are anticompetitive. And in the coming days, the Justice Department is expected to sue Google over anticompetitive search practices.At the heart of Epics case is Apples and Googles tight grip over smartphone apps in their app stores. Both companies require that developers use their payment systems and pay a 30 percent cut of any money they make in their apps.They think they can just decide arbitrarily what apps can exist, and what fees can be charged, and tax all commerce, Tim Sweeney, Epics chief executive, said in an interview last month. We came gradually to the realization that we had to fight this, not just by words, but also by really broad actions.Epic has said it wants Apple to change its requirements that apps use its payment system and shell out a 30 percent fee. It also wants to operate its own app store within Apples.The companies began fighting in August, when Epic violated Apples and Googles rules by directing Fortnite users to its own payments service. Apple and Google responded by pulling Fortnite from their app stores. Epic then sued both companies, arguing they were breaking antitrust laws.Apple later also cut off its support for Unreal Engine, Epics software development tool that is used by thousands of game makers. Judge Gonzalez Rogers said on Friday that Apple must continue supporting Unreal Engine and could not retaliate against any of Epics other affiliated apps or products.The fight has escalated over the past few weeks. Apple has accused Epic of seeking a special deal for itself, while Epic has accused Apple of cherry-picking out-of-context emails in its legal response.Other companies have used the battle to criticize Apple. Microsoft filed a declaration in support of Epic and has announced a set of developer-friendly principles for its own app store. Facebook has also recently called out Apples 30 percent app fees.Smaller app makers, normally wary of angering the tech giants, have found strength in numbers. In September, more than a dozen of them, including the music streaming service Spotify, the dating service Match Group and the Bluetooth tracking device maker Tile, formed a nonprofit group called Coalition for App Fairness to push for changes to the app stores.In a hearing last month, Apple said it was willing to reinstate Fortnite to its app store before a trial if Epic would return to complying with its rules. Judge Gonzalez Rogers proposed an arrangement that would put Apples fees from Fortnite in an escrow account until after the trial. But Epic refused, arguing that doing so would be complying with a contract it views as unlawful.I didnt buy that argument before, Judge Gonzalez Rogers said in the hearing. Im not particularly impressed with it now."
"Tech"
"Lil Pump Attention Record Companies ... $15 Mil or Take a Hike 1/27/2018 TMZ.com Lil Pump is super hot these days and he knows it ... because he ain't signing no recording contract for anything less than $15 mil. We got Pump leaving Avianne and Co. Jewelers Friday night in the Big Apple, where he says he dropped a quarter mil on bling. The 17-year-old rapper reportedly got out of his deal with Warner Bros. Records because it was never certified by a court ... something that's required when minors are involved. Pump's been getting offers, which makes sense. He's got several hit songs, including "Gucci Gang." He better sign a new deal fast ... he says he just bought a Rolls-Royce and is spending like crazy. Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media."
"Entertainment"
"The InterpreterCredit...Jean-Paul Pelissier/ReutersMarch 6, 2017BERLIN An idea, once unthinkable, is gaining attention in European policy circles: a European Union nuclear weapons program.Under such a plan, Frances arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.Though no new countries would join the nuclear club under this scheme, it would amount to an unprecedented escalation in Europes collective military power and a drastic break with American leadership.Analysts say that the talk, even if it never translates into action, demonstrates the growing sense in Europe that drastic steps may be necessary to protect the postwar order in the era of a Trump presidency, a resurgent Russia and the possibility of an alignment between the two.Even proponents, who remain a minority, acknowledge enormous hurdles. But discussion of a so-called Eurodeterrent has entered the mainstream particularly in Germany, a country that would be central to any plan but where antinuclear sentiment is widespread.Jana Puglierin of the German Council on Foreign Relations said that a handful of senior European officials had for sure triggered a public debate about this, taking place in newspapers and journals, radio interviews and TV documentaries.She added: That in itself is remarkable. I am indeed very astonished that we discuss this at all.A Nuclear Plan BJaroslaw Kaczynski, Polands former prime minister and now the head of its ruling party, provided the highest-level call for a European Union nuclear program in a February interview with a German newspaper.But the most important support has come from Roderich Kiesewetter, a lawmaker and foreign policy spokesman with Germanys ruling party, who gave the nuclear option increased credibility by raising it shortly after President Trumps election.In an interview in the German Bundestag, Mr. Kiesewetter, a former colonel who served in Afghanistan, calibrated his language carefully, providing just enough detail to demonstrate the options seriousness without offering too much and risking an outcry from German voters or encouraging the American withdrawal he is hoping to avoid.My idea is to build on the existing weapons in Great Britain and France, he said, but acknowledged that Britains decision to leave the European Union could preclude its participation.The United States bases dozens of nuclear warheads in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands as both a quick-reaction force and a symbol of its guarantee to protect the Continent. Mr. Kiesewetter said his plan would provide a replacement or parallel program.This would require, he said, four ingredients: a French pledge to commit its weapons to a common European defense, German financing to demonstrate the programs collective nature, a joint command and a plan to place French warheads in other European countries.The number of warheads in Europe would not increase under this plan, and could even decrease if the United States withdraws.Its not a question of numbers, Mr. Kiesewetter said. The reassurance and deterrence comes from the existence of the weapons and their deployability.He envisioned a program designed to deter nuclear as well as conventional threats a clear nod to Russias military superiority.This would require a doctrine, he said, allowing Europe to introduce nuclear weapons to a non-nuclear conflict. He compared it to the Israeli program, which is believed to allow for a nuclear strike against an overwhelming conventional attack.These are political weapons. Their use must be unpredictable, he said. Smaller nuclear powers often maintain vague doctrines to deter more powerful adversaries.The goal, he said, would be to maintain Europes defense, seen as crucial for its internal unity, as well as its international diplomatic standing.German lawmakers across the political spectrum worry that Mr. Trump could strike a grand bargain with Russia that excludes Europe, a potential first step toward Washington and Moscow dictating Europes future. Mr. Kiesewetter believes a European nuclear program would allow Europe to preserve its autonomy.A Political MinefieldMostly, Mr. Kiesewetter said he hoped to spur Mr. Trump to end doubts over American security commitments to Europe, rendering unnecessary the nuclear Plan B.For now, Mr. Kiesewetters intention is merely to trigger a debate over addressing this silent, gigantic problem.It has worked. A small but growing contingent of German analysts and commentators have endorsed versions of a European nuclear program.Mr. Kiesewetter said he had heard interest from officials in the Polish and Hungarian governments, at NATO headquarters in Brussels and within relevant German ministries, though he would not say which.But any European nuclear program would face enormous hurdles.The public is totally opposed, Ms. Puglierin said, referring to German antinuclear sentiment, which has at times culminated in nationwide protests against the weapons.In practical terms, the plan would change the flag on Europes nuclear deterrent from that of the United States to that of France. But this would risk making an American exit from Europe more permanent.Oliver Thrnert, a German analyst with the Switzerland-based Center for Security Studies, warned in a white paper that any plan would not only be expensive, but also a political minefield full of undesirable potential political consequences.The biggest challenge may be who controls the French arsenal and where it is based.The United States currently shares warheads with allies like Germany, whose militaries are equipped to deliver the weapons, granting the program credibility as a Pan-European defense.But France has shown no willingness to share its weapons, much less put them under a joint European command. If Paris maintains final say over their use, this might cause an adversary to doubt whether France would really initiate a nuclear conflict to protect, say, Estonia.France and a Special ResponsibilityThese sorts of problems are why Bruno Tertrais of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris said, In other times I would have told you dont bother, theres no story here.Similar proposals have been floated before, including by the French government, and always rejected as politically risky and strategically unnecessary. But, he said, that calculus appears to have a potential to change with Mr. Trump.Theres already a bit more interest in Berlin and in Paris, Mr. Tertrais said, though he emphasized that this talk would become action only if there were a serious loss of trust in the U.S. umbrella.But a joint European command or funding scheme would most likely be impossible, he warned. The French government would insist on maintaining the final decision to use nuclear weapons.That is also United States policy in Europe, which is why Mr. Tertrais believes a more workable plan would be for France to reproduce American-style practices of basing its warheads abroad, while keeping them under French control.While most French warheads are lodged on submarines, a few dozen are fitted to air-launched cruise missiles that could be housed in, for example, German airfields. These are smaller, shorter-range tactical weapons exactly the American capability that Europe most fears losing.French policy already allows for, though does not require, using nuclear weapons in defense of an ally.With Britains exit from the European Union, the French might feel they have a special responsibility as Europes sole nuclear power.Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies regional nuclear powers, was initially skeptical but came to see such a plan as both technically and politically feasible.For France, he said, it extends their frontier, making it likelier that a nuclear conflict would be fought far from French soil. For Germany and other European states, it would increase the credibility of the forward deployment against Russian aggression.An Insurance PolicySome observers believe that official shows of support are intended only to pressure Mr. Trump into maintaining the status quo, which Mr. Kiesewetter emphasized is his preferred outcome.But Mr. Narang said that, regardless of intentions, there is a blurry line between mere signaling and actually pursuing a fallback nuclear option.Nuclear scholars call this insurance hedging, in which a protectee comes to doubt its protector and responds by taking steps toward, but not actually completing, its own nuclear program. This is meant to goad the protector into staying, and to prepare in case it doesnt.Japan, for instance, has quietly developed latent capabilities that are sometimes figuratively described as a screwdrivers turn away from a bomb.Because Europes primary challenges are political rather than technical France already possesses the warheads sparking public discussion and exploring options makes those challenges more surmountable and the option more real.In order for it to be credible there has to be some sort of workable option, Mr. Narang said.I Never Thought We Would See This AgainMr. Kiesewetter hopes the United States will come around. He puts particular faith in Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, whom he met in Afghanistan and Brussels while both were military officers.But Mr. Mattis has echoed Mr. Trumps warnings that the United States could lessen its support for Europe, saying in a recent speech in Brussels, I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States.If Europeans grew more serious about a nuclear program, Mr. Tertrais said, you would not necessarily see it. Negotiations would most likely remain secret for fear of giving Mr. Trump an excuse to withdraw or of triggering a reaction from Russia.Mr. Narang said he was reeling from the seriousness of the discussion, the first since a failed and now-forgotten effort in the 1950s for French-German-Italian nuclear cooperation.I never thought we would see this again. I never thought there would actually be this concern, he said. But, he added, You can see where the debate is surfacing from. There is a logic to it."
"World"
"Credit...Oded Balilty/Associated PressMarch 13, 2017JERUSALEM Jason D. Greenblatt, President Trumps special representative for international negotiations, flew to Israel on Monday and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as part of an early diplomatic foray aimed at breaking the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Mr. Greenblatts visit, during which he will also meet with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, was in many respects a decidedly unconventional mission because he has no diplomatic experience.He also represents an administration that has upended some initial assumptions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process after years of paralysis and frustration.As he made his way to Israel, Mr. Greenblatt, an Orthodox Jew who was Mr. Trumps real estate lawyer before being appointed as an adviser on Israel during the campaign, wrote on his Twitter account: Time for morning prayer (shacharit) at unexpected stop in Frankfurt. Pray for peace.In a photo op at the start of their meeting, Mr. Netanyahu greeted Mr. Greenblatt warmly, addressing him as Jason, and said, I hope we can do some good things together. Mr. Greenblatt replied, I think we are going to do great things together. Once seated, he thanked Mr. Netanyahu for reorganizing his schedule, throwing in a todah, Hebrew for thank you.Mr. Greenblatts visit followed the first telephone call from Mr. Trump to Mr. Abbas on Friday, in which he invited Mr. Abbas to the White House.After his meeting with Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Greenblatt was scheduled to meet Mr. Abbas on Tuesday at his headquarters in the West Bank city Ramallah.On the Israeli side, much about Mr. Greenblatts visit was confidential. Mr. Netanyahus aides did not immediately respond even to basic questions about his schedule.Israeli officials have confirmed that since Mr. Netanyahus visit to Washington last month, Mr. Greenblatt has been trying to formulate understandings on the contours of future Israeli settlement construction in the occupied West Bank. The issue of continued settlement building enrages the Palestinians and became a constant source of tension between the Israeli government and the Obama administration.Israeli analysts said that Mr. Greenblatts talks with Mr. Netanyahu were likely to focus on this more modest issue than on any concrete grand plan to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.Israels strong pro-settler constituency has cheered Mr. Trumps ascendance, seeing him as an ally. But after Mr. Netanyahu announced thousands of new homes in the West Bank, Mr. Trump asked him to delay new construction, saying it would not help peace efforts.ImageCredit...Evan Agostini/Invision, via Associated PressMr. Netanyahu, a conservative, already finds himself in a bind, having pledged to build an entirely new settlement in the West Bank the first in decades to appease the settlers after the recent, court-ordered removal of an illegal outpost.Emboldened by Mr. Trumps victory, the Israeli right has been asserting itself. On Sunday night, barely a week after the Israeli Parliament passed a contentious law barring foreign activists who call for a boycott of Israel or its settlements, the Israeli authorities prevented Hugh Lanning, the chairman of the Britain-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign, from entering the country.But some Israeli commentators surmise that when it comes to the peace process, the right may be in for an unpleasant surprise. From a messiah elected by divine miracle to deliver Israel from the injustices perpetrated by his predecessor, Trump could turn out to be the Israeli right wings worst nightmare, Chemi Shalev, a columnist, wrote on Monday in the liberal Haaretz newspaper.There was some consternation on the Palestinian side when, during Mr. Netanyahus visit to Washington, Mr. Trump discarded two decades of American support for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, saying he would go along with any form of an agreement that made the Israelis and the Palestinians happy.But Palestinian officials said that Mr. Trump seemed serious about reaching a peace deal in his conversation with Mr. Abbas and reaffirmed Mr. Abbass status and that of his Palestine Liberation Organization as partners for any negotiation.We knew that the Israelis tried to exclude the Palestinian side, saying that the leadership does not represent the Palestinian people anymore, Hanan Ashrawi, a senior P.L.O. official, told the Voice of Palestine Radio on Monday. Mr. Greenblatts visit, she said, was all about exploring the two sides positions in order to find a path back to talks.For some here, the American envoys lack of any diplomatic experience makes his mission all the more intriguing.Noting that there was a long list of American mediators dating to the 1940s who failed to achieve peace, Michael Oren, a deputy minister for diplomacy in the prime ministers office, told Israel Radio, A background of policy-making in this matter is not necessarily a promise for success.Mr. Trump seemed to have tapped Mr. Greenblatt as an Israel adviser almost spontaneously when Mr. Greenblatt was called in to help answer questions as Mr. Trump briefed reporters from the Jewish news media during the campaign.A father of six from Teaneck, N.J., Mr. Greenblatt spent a year after high school in the 1980s studying at the Har Etzion Yeshiva in a West Bank settlement south of Jerusalem. In an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency during the campaign, he said he had not met any Palestinians since his stay at the yeshiva, where he had some interactions with Palestinian laborers, gardeners and shopkeepers.He also said that his main sources of information on Israel were daily email alerts, American Israel Public Affairs Committee materials and a weekly Jewish radio program featuring Malcolm Hoenlein, a Jewish communal leader, in addition to conversations with some people involved in the Israeli government. He, his wife and children also contributed to a family travel guide to Israel.Mr. Greenblatt wrote a post in October on Medium.com berating the Palestinian Authority leadership for showing what he described as contempt for its Jewish neighbors after Palestinian security forces detained four Palestinian civilians who had met with settlers during the Jewish Sukkot holiday.Yet in an appreciation after the death in September of Shimon Peres, Israels elder statesman who had become most identified with the pursuit of peace and the two-state solution, Mr. Greenblatt praised Mr. Abbas for his gesture of attending Mr. Peress funeral, despite the criticism Mr. Abbas faced from some of his own constituents."
"World"
"Credit Photo Illustration by Getty Images Divorce can be a moment of liberation, or of devastation. In some countries, a rising divorce rate can be interpreted as a sign of women gaining control over their finances and future. In others, a woman who chooses to leave a bad marriage risks economic ruin, or even the loss of her children. Not all women even have this choice. In some communities and parts of the world, women lack any say in the decision to end their marriage. No matter where one lives, divorce is a deeply personal decision. But it is also one that plays out in public and has profound social and political implications. Wed like to hear from women around the world who have grappled with the decision to divorce or stay in an unhappy marriage, or whose spouse chose to initiate a divorce. What factors went into your decision, and what have been the repercussions? We may publish a selection of the responses. Sorry, but this form is no longer accepting submissions. More on NYTimes.com"
"World"
"Credit...Craig Sherod/AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, via Associated PressNov. 2, 2018WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a new form of an extremely potent opioid to manage acute pain in adults, weeks after the chairman of the advisory committee that reviewed it asked the agency to reject it on grounds that it would likely be abused.The drug, Dsuvia, is a tablet form of sufentanil, a synthetic opioid that has been used intravenously and in epidurals since the 1980s. It is 10 times stronger than fentanyl, a parent drug that is often used in hospitals but is also produced illegally in forms that have caused tens of thousands of overdose deaths in recent years.Although the F.D.A. advisory committee charged with evaluating the new formulation ultimately recommended in a 10-3 vote last month that the agency approve it, the panels chairman, Dr. Raeford Brown, wrote a letter to top F.D.A. officials afterward expressing deep concern.In the letter, which he wrote with leaders of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, Dr. Brown, an anesthesiology professor at the University of Kentucky, described Dsuvia, made by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals, as an extremely divertible drug, adding, I predict that we will encounter diversion, abuse and death within the early months of its availability on the market.After the final approval on Friday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the F.D.A. commissioner, released a lengthy statement defending the agencys decision. He emphasized that Dsuvia is delivered through a pre-filled, single-dose applicator, and said that its only permitted use will be in hospitals, surgical centers and other medically supervised settings. It is ideally suited for certain special circumstances, he said, particularly for soldiers wounded on the battlefield who might not have access to intravenous painkillers.Dr. Gottlieb wrote that Dsuvia will not be dispensed to patients for home use or available at retail pharmacies, and that it should only be administered by health care providers with the single-dose applicators. It will likely hit the market early next year.These measures to restrict the use of this product only within a supervised health care setting, and not for home use, are important steps to help prevent misuse and abuse, he wrote.He also pointed to the agencys new powers to require post-market studies evaluating the efficacy of opioid medications that the F.D.A. might be having second thoughts about, and to consider abuse risk as a factor in making regulatory decisions about drugs after, as well as before, theyre on the market. Last year, the F.D.A. asked the maker of Opana ER, another super-potent opioid, to take it off the market because of concerns about abuse.Vince Angotti, the chief executive of AcelRx, said in a statement that the company would diligently follow a safety program, known as a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, that the F.D.A. had approved for Dsuvia, including monitoring distribution of the drug and auditing wholesalers data; evaluating whether hospitals and other health care providers are using the drug properly; and monitoring for any diversion or abuse.The divisions over the new drugs approval comes after opioid overdose deaths surged to more than 40,000 last year, including more than 30,000 from fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. States and the federal governments have cracked down on the prescribing of opioids, and many chronic pain patients have complained about being undertreated or losing access to opioids entirely.Dr. Brown, who heads the advisory committee on analgesics and anesthetic drug products, was not present for the committee vote last month. But in the letter he wrote afterward, he described trying to resuscitate doctors, medical students and other health care providers some successfully who had overdosed on the IV form of sufentanil at the medical center where he worksIt is so potent that abusers of this intravenous formulation often die when they inject the first dose, he wrote.Dr. Brown also questioned whether the F.D.A. would succeed in enforcing regulations once dangerous drugs hit the market.It is my observation that once the F.D.A. approves an opioid compound, he wrote, there are no safeguards as to the population that will be exposed, the post-marketing analysis of prescribing behavior, or the ongoing analysis of the risks of the drug to the general population.Critics of the approval include four Democratic senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.In a letter to Dr. Gottlieb on Tuesday, they questioned why Dr. Browns committee went ahead and recommended approval on Oct. 12 without him present. They also asked why a different F.D.A. advisory group, the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, had not been involved.An F.D.A. spokeswoman said that while the issue was not brought formally in front of the drug safety committee, there were drug safety and risk experts on the committee whose expert input was taken very seriously throughout this process."
"Health"
"Pablo Escobar's GF Sues Netflix Show Stole My 'Loving' Story 1/25/2018 Pablo Escobar's girlfriend is suing a production company for a Netflix show, claiming it's based on her memoir about her love life with the drug kingpin. Virginia Vallejo just filed suit against Caracol American Productions over the series, "Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal" -- alleging producers for the show stole specific stories from her 2007 memoir, "Amando a Pablo, Odiando a Escobar." That's "Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar" ... for the gringos. In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Vallejo -- a former journalist -- says she was in negotiations with Caracol, but they never struck a deal to use her work. According to the suit, Caracol went ahead and lifted scenes and narratives from her book. For instance, she says the scene of her getting an excessive amount of flowers from Pablo is a direct rip from her book. She also says they changed her name in the show, but it's not clever. As she points out ... Regina Parejo blatantly rhymes with Virginia Vallejo. We've reached out to Caracol for comment."
"Entertainment"
"Credit...Ramin Rahimian for The New York TimesDec. 13, 2015Since it began 10 years ago, Pandora Media has become one of the most popular digital music services in the world, with around 80 million regular users. But it has never had a profitable year, its user growth has slowed and lately Wall Street has become impatient.Now Pandora is steeling itself for a legal decision that may have huge consequences for its business and for the evolving economics of digital music.The Copyright Royalty Board, made up of three federal judges in Washington, is set to rule by Tuesday on the royalty rates that webcasters like Pandora will pay record companies for the next five years. These royalties are Pandoras single biggest expense they amounted to 44 percent of the companys revenue last year as well as its biggest hurdle to profitability.The core problem of Pandora is that under the existing rate structure theyre not making any money, said Alice Enders, a media analyst with the firm Enders Analysis.Michael S. Herring, Pandoras chief financial officer, said in an interview last week that the company expected the judges to come out with a rate that is reasonable, that is in the ballpark of about what Pandora is paying today.The copyright judges have given no clear signals of how they might rule, but analysts expect that their decision might well add to Pandoras burden. Pandora wants its rate lowered, but those representing the music industry are asking for a significant increase.Anything other than the status quo is going to be dreadful for Pandora, because it means that the challenge for monetizing content is going to be that much higher, Ms. Enders said.On-demand services like Spotify, which let people choose exactly which songs to hear, must negotiate directly with the music industry to license the music they play. But Internet radio companies like Pandora which let people listen to stations tailored to their tastes, but do not let them pick specific songs often use a statutory licensing system under federal copyright law, with rates set by the copyright board.Pandoras current rate, 14 cents for every 100 songs, has been a proven rate structure both for healthy royalty payments, Mr. Herring said, and so that distribution arms like Pandora are able to function and be successful businesses.This system has let Pandora develop at arms length from the music industry. But the uncertainty around the rate litigation has long depressed its stock, and years of lobbying and behind-the-scenes battles over the laws and rate-setting procedures have also led to lingering ill will between Pandora and the music world.Recently, however, Pandora has taken steps to become less dependent on the statutory licensing system, and repair its conflicts with the music industry.Pandora was very aggressive in pushing back on what many on the label side saw as fair compensation, said Robert A. Jacobs, an entertainment lawyer at the firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips in Los Angeles who is not involved in the copyright board litigation. Over time, Pandora has recognized that they may get more by simply being cooperative.In October, Pandora paid $450 million for the online ticketing system Ticketfly, and last month it made a deal to pay $75 million for the assets of Rdio, a struggling competitor to Spotify. The company also recently agreed to pay $90 million to settle a long-running royalties dispute over recordings made before 1972, and has begun to strike direct deals with music publishers, which represent songwriting rights. (Pandoras songwriting royalties are not decided by the copyright board.)In announcing the Rdio deal, Pandora executives said they would begin making more extensive licensing deals with record companies, signaling that the company would soon begin to compete directly with Spotify and expand around the world. Largely because of its current licensing system, Pandora now operates only in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.We seek to be the definitive source for music enjoyment and discovery globally, Brian P. McAndrews, Pandoras chief executive, told investors last month.These deals, along with new efforts to promote artists and share data, have been seen as part of a strategy by Mr. McAndrews to mend fences with the music industry. Mr. McAndrews, the chief executive since late 2013, is also a director of The New York Times Company.Yet as eager as Pandora has been to strike new deals, it has also been engaged in intense litigation since early 2014 as part of the copyright board proceedings. SoundExchange, a nonprofit licensing agency that is representing the music industry, has asked the board to raise the rate that Pandora and similar webcasters pay record labels by almost 80 percent, to 25 cents per 100 plays, while Pandora wants it lowered to 11 cents.Both sides have filed mountains of contentious, heavily redacted documents. In one filing, Pandora mocked SoundExchanges arguments as a quest to reach a promised rate-land.The rates paid by services like Pandora have become a focal point for musicians who believe they are not being compensated fairly for their work, and the record labels argue in their filings that higher rates are necessary to cover their production and marketing costs for new music.The rates we proposed reflect what would happen in a true free market, which is what artists deserve under both the law and as a matter of fairness, Michael Huppe, the chief executive of SoundExchange, said in a statement.Pandoras current rate is already low, the labels argue. In 2007, the copyright board set webcasting rates that Pandora then a struggling start-up said were so high that they would have been ruinous. After a high-profile publicity campaign by Pandora, Congress authorized settlement talks to set temporary rates, and the payment structure for pure play webcasters, which includes Pandora, was set in 2009.In filings with the copyright board, Mr. Herring has argued that if Pandora had not gotten lower rates through that settlement, the company almost certainly would have been forced out of business years ago.But Pandora has been publicly traded since 2011, and is now a major force in digital music. Many analysts, as well as both technology and music executives, doubt that Pandora will receive another rate discount, whether from the copyright board or through another settlement. If Pandora or the other parties involved in the case are displeased with the boards decision, they can appeal it.For Wall Street, Pandoras flurry of recent deals may indeed help it survive an unfavorable ruling, and an expansion around the world could vastly increase the companys audience and advertising base. But its immediate costs may still increase, further depressing its stock, which is down about 29 percent this year.Richard Tullo, an analyst at Albert Fried & Company, said that he expected Pandoras operating expenses, including music costs, to increase almost 13 percent next year to $1.42 billion, from what Mr. Tullo estimates as $1.26 billion in 2015.Pandoras move into direct deals, Mr. Tullo said, is an indication that theyd rather negotiate a price today than negotiate a price tomorrow, when those rates may be higher.And if Pandora gets its way with a lower rate?Then, Mr. Tullo said, the stock explodes."
"Business"
"Credit...Angela Weiss/Agence France-Presse Getty ImagesNov. 22, 2018Europes leaders need to send a much stronger message that they will no longer offer refuge and support to migrants if they want to curb the right-wing populism spreading across the Continent, Hillary Clinton warned in an interview published Thursday.Mrs. Clinton said that while the decision of some nations to welcome migrants was admirable, it had opened the door to political turmoil, the rise of the right and Britains decision to withdraw from the European Union.I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame, Mrs. Clinton said in the interview with The Guardian, which was conducted before the United States midterm elections this month.I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support because if we dont deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic, she said.The issue of migration has been a divisive one worldwide, and especially so in Europe, in the wake of an influx of refugees and migrants that, in 2015 alone, drew one million people to the continent. Since then, its leaders have cut unauthorized migration to Europe by 90 percent, largely through the kinds of deterrents Mrs. Clinton belatedly recommended.In the United States, President Trump has mobilized his base of supporters by focusing on what he calls the perils of immigration. He spoke frequently before the midterm elections about a caravan of immigrants traveling north toward the countrys southern border. Democrats agreed on a strategy of mostly ignoring that issue, but the party is divided on how best to grapple with immigration in general.Mrs. Clintons remarks to The Guardian drew criticism and a dose of surprise from an array of scholars, pro-immigration advocates and pundits on both the left and right, some of whom were so perplexed by the comments that they wondered aloud whether Mrs. Clinton had perhaps misspoken. Mrs. Clinton, many said, has a long history of supporting refugees a track record seemingly at odds with her recent remarks. Her immigration platform in the 2016 presidential election boasted that we embrace immigrants, not denigrate them.A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment on Thursday night.I was kind of shocked, Eskinder Negash, the president and chief executive of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said of Mrs. Clintons comments. If shes simply saying you need to cut down on refugees coming to Europe to ask for asylum because they have a well-founded fear of persecution, just to appease some right-wing political leaders, its just not the right thing to do.Tanja Bueltmann, a history professor at Northumbria University in Britain who focuses on migration issues, said Mrs. Clintons perspective was tragically misjudged.Ultimately, immigration is not actually the problem that inflamed voters: Much more foundational issues, such as austerity, are the real reason, Professor Bueltmann said. Immigrants and refugees are simply the scapegoats populists have chosen to use to drive forward their ideas.Mrs. Clintons comments came against a complicated backdrop in Europe. Far-right parties have seized on the immigration issue and gained a foothold in parliaments and governments across the continent, while centrist leaders in a number of countries have undertaken largely successful efforts since 2016 to drastically lower the number of unauthorized immigrants now reaching their borders.Anti-immigration candidates have risen to power in Italy and Austria, and they have gained seats in countries like Germany. The open migration policies of Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany since 2005, ended up causing turmoil within her government and contributed to major electoral setbacks. She recently announced that she would step down as the leader of her conservative party in December and not seek re-election in 2021.To liberals in Europe, Mrs. Clintons advice may have seemed belated as the continent continues its conservative tilt; but it was right on time for the rising populists, who seized on her remarks as they seek to revive a fading and highly effective issue.Maybe Hillary has understood the lesson, said Giorgia Meloni, the leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy party, which has advocated an Italians First platform and a hard line against migrants entering their country.Ms. Meloni, who recently hosted Stephen K. Bannon President Trumps former chief strategist as a keynote speaker at her partys annual conference in Rome, added that Mrs. Clinton appeared to acknowledge that opposition to migration was not a problem of racism, and that if you dont control migration it will affect mostly poor people, people living on the outskirts, working classes.The left didnt understand that, or didnt want to, and they paid for their distance from the people, she said.At the same time, centrist leaders have worked to make the continent less hospitable to unauthorized migrants; the number of new arrivals there has dropped to a fraction of what it was.For instance, Ms. Merkel, the center-right German leader, and Frans Timmermanns, the center-left former Dutch foreign minister, led efforts to forge a counter-migration pact with Turkey in March 2016, promising the country billions of euros in aid for their help in stemming the migrant flow from Syria. Italy reached a similar deal with Libya. The deal was criticized by liberals, leftists and rights activists but afterward unauthorized migration to Europe plummeted by 90 percent.We must get the facts straight, said Gerald Knaus, the architect of the controversial deal with Turkey. Today in 2018, few irregular migrants reach the European Union.Mr. Knaus said that mimicking the approach of the far right only risked helping them. Just getting tough without any strategy does the work of the far right, he said.Democrats in the United States have also struggled to come up with a collective stance on immigration to counter President Trumps relentless focus on the issue.Indeed, Mrs. Clintons assessment represented a stark reminder of the sort of politics she and her husband were long identified with: pragmatic and canny in the view of moderates but, to progressives, nothing less than craven accommodation to the nationalism she purportedly wants to tame.Conversely, Mr. Trump has not hesitated to fully leverage the politics of immigration and fear to his advantage. In the days leading up to the midterm elections, Mr. Trump and his aides managed to overcome a steady stream of negative headlines about the brutal killing of a dissident by his close ally, Saudi Arabia, by shifting attention to the caravan of Central Americans traveling toward the United States.The strategy reprised some of the themes that he used to great effect during the 2016 presidential election. Since the midterm election, talk of the caravan has largely dropped off the Republican agenda.Mrs. Clinton was largely absent from the midterm campaigns, and figures on the American left swiftly seized on her comments to argue that she was badly out of step with the Democratic Partys ascendant liberalism and should remain sidelined.Our job on the left, Corey Robin, a progressive author wrote in a stinging Facebook post, is to say: goodbye to all that, were done being done."
"World"
"Soccer|Kreis in Manchester: Settling Inhttps://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/sports/soccer/kreis-in-manchester-settling-in.htmlFeb. 8, 2014Jason Kreis, the coach of New York Citys expansion team in Major League Soccer that will begin play in 2015, has moved to England to soak up the culture of the city and of City.Other than dealing with learning to drive on the left-side of the road and negotiating the installation of Internet service, Kreis said in a video posted by Manchester City that he is settling in.In the video, Kreis said that the new M.L.S. team would have access to up to four loan players from the parent club (N.Y.C. F.C. is jointly owned by City of Englands Premier League and the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball).We will have the ability to take four players on loan from the club here, so Im looking a lot at the younger players, and the U18s and the U21s at the moment, he said. And also the players that are out on loan.We have a very big interest in bringing some City players over to join us in New York and I certainly think theres the talent there. And the ambition is there as well, so well have to get with those guys over the next six months to a year and see whether or not thats something they would like as well.Kreis, the former coach of Real Salt Lake, was named coach of the new M.L.S. club in early January. He plans to live in Manchester for the next six months in an effort to absorb the clubs culture and way of doing business ... and soccer. At the news conference introducing Kreis, club officials said the new team would probably also avail itself of the league maximum of three designated players.Last week, N.Y.C. F.C. also invited fans to chime in and create badges for the club, badges that will be part of a larger mosaic and that probably will not end up as the teams official crest. Some examples of fans submissions are here."
"Sports"
"While the unknowns about coronavirus abound, a new study finds we can handle the truth.Credit...Stephen SavageApril 7, 2020These are, safe to say, uncertain times.The confirmed global cases of illness from coronavirus are approaching 1.5 million, and reported deaths are well into the six figures, but what are the true rates of infection and mortality?We dont know.Last week, Dr. Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said that up to 25 percent of people infected with coronavirus show no symptoms. But at the White House coronavirus task force briefing on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, gave a markedly broader range.Its somewhere between 25 and 50 percent, Dr. Fauci said. And trust me, that is an estimate. I dont have any scientific data yet. You know when well get the scientific data? When we get those antibody tests out there.This type of uncertainty about facts, numbers and science is called epistemic uncertainty. It is caused by a lack of knowledge about the past and the present our ignorance, said David Spiegelhalter, a statistician and chair of the Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication at the University of Cambridge.Science is full of epistemic uncertainty. Circling the unknowns, inching toward truth through argument and experiment is how progress is made. But science is often expected to be a monolithic collection of all the right answers. As a result, some scientists and the politicians, policymakers and journalists who depend on them are reluctant to acknowledge the inherent uncertainties, worried that candor undermines credibility.Then there are scientists like Dr. Fauci, who has also acknowledged uncertainty about matters like the time needed to flatten the curve, to develop an antibody test and to find a vaccine.I will say whats true, and whatever happens, happens, he told Vanity Fair.What happens when scientists do acknowledge uncertainty is the question behind a study, published March 23 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences. It explored The Effects of Communicating Uncertainty on Public Trust in Facts and Numbers.The accusations of a post-truth society, and claims that the public had had enough of experts, prompted us to investigate whether trust in experts was lowered by their openly admitting uncertainty about what they know, said Dr. Spiegelhalter, one of the principal investigators.The studys findings suggest that being transparent about uncertainty does not harm the publics trust in the facts or in the source.These results indicate that people can handle the truth about the level of certainty or uncertainty of scientific facts and knowledge, said Anne Marthe van der Bles, a psychologist at the University of Groningen, who is the lead author and an affiliate with the Cambridge research team.Using online surveys, the study measured reactions to uncertainty expressed in statements about various subjects: the number of tigers left in India, the increase in global average surface temperature between 1880 and 2010 and unemployment figures in the United Kingdom. The survey was replicated in the wild with a field study on the BBC News website. The researchers tested uncertainties presented quantitatively, with a numerical range or percentage; and more qualitatively, using a word such as estimated or approximately.The precise numerical statements were more effective both in conveying uncertainty and in maintaining trust. (There was in fact a minor reduction in trust, but the researchers deemed the effect so small as to be trivial.)I find it heartening, and very good advice, said Ed Humpherson, the director general of the Office for Statistics Regulation in the U.K. Being trustworthy depends not on conveying an aura of infallibility, but on honesty and transparency.Starting on March 19, the experiment was replicated in several countries with statements about the severity of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Early results confirm the papers findings.So, where there is uncertainty around for example, the death rates from Covid-19 people shouldnt feel concerned about communicating this to the public, said Alex Freeman, a co-author, and the executive director of the Winton Centre. It may be important to do so.The public, in turn, must be open to considering and adapting to new evidence, said Lorraine Daston, a historian of science at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. We the public must expect scientific views on the nature of the virus and how best to combat it to change as more evidence comes in, and be prepared to change our conduct accordingly, she said.Varieties of uncertaintyThe Cambridge team has been exploring uncertainty in its many forms for a while now. Last year, they published a theory paper, reviewing related research. At a conference of uncertainty quantification specialists about two years ago, Dr. Freeman asked attendees to write definitions of uncertainty on Post-it notes and stick them on the wall. Every one was different, she said. I have to say my favorite was: Anything and everything that can **** up a decision [insert descriptor of your choice].The recent study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, focused on peoples reactions to epistemic uncertainty: things we dont know about the past and present but in theory could come to know, through measurement. The team is now researching perceptions of aleatory uncertainty unknowns about the future due to randomness, indeterminacy, chance or luck. (In Latin, alea means dice or gambling.)Most uncertainty is a mix of epistemic and aleatory elements. For instance: How many more people will get Covid-19? And once transmission is suppressed below the R0=1 threshold (the reproduction number required to rapidly reduce the number of cases to low levels), how will we avoid a rebound?Common wisdom from the psychologists perspective is that people do not like uncertainty, especially about the future, and that it generates a negative response. (Psychologists call this ambiguity aversion.) From the statisticians perspective, the hypothesis is that people have a positive reaction and trust information more when the communicator is being open about uncertainties in facts and figures.The motivation was to try to adjudicate between these competing hypotheses, said Sander van der Linden, a principal investigator, and a psychologist and the director of the Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab. Ultimately we didnt find support for the notion that communicating uncertainty enhances public trust, but it also didnt substantially undermine it.Models are the maps, not the territoryEither way, there is little to assuage our most pressing existential uncertainty: When will the pandemic end?In the early days of the outbreak, when data was beginning to emerge from China, we were in a state of deep uncertainty, also known as radical uncertainty or Knightian uncertainty. (The economist Frank Knight distinguished between risk and uncertainty about a century ago.) Deep uncertainty is the quagmire of unknown unknowns; there are no constraints.Risk is yet another type of uncertainty, usually pertaining to things in the future that might turn out badly. Risk encompasses the known unknowns and can be calculated with probabilities. As more reliable data comes in, said Dr. Spiegelhalter, the Covid-19 pandemic is rapidly becoming a constrained problem.Earlier in March, he sought to tame the uncertainty and the fear by investigating exactly how much normal risk infection with coronavirus represents.We face normal risk daily We are all going to die sometime, said Dr. Spiegelhalter. And the odds increase from one day to the next, with age.Working with the latest (albeit uncertain) data about Covid-19 mortality rates, he found that getting infected essentially compressed a years worth of normal risk into a couple of weeks. His risk of dying in the next year, as a 66-year-old man, was about 1.5 percent. Very roughly, getting Covid-19 seems to be like packing that much risk into the time that you are ill, he said. Of course, if you survive, you still have your standard ration of risk to deal with.Statistical science, he said, is a machine, in a sense, to turn the variability that we see in the world the unpredictability, the enormous amount of scatter and randomness that we see around us into a tool that can quantify our uncertainty about facts and numbers and science.But as he acknowledged in his book, The Art of Statistics, models are simplifications of the real world they are the maps not the territory. (This is reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borgess story, On Exactitude in Science, about a map growing as large as the territory it was meant to represent.)The limitations and uncertainties inevitably get exploited in politicized narratives, and entangled in misinformation and disinformation, making it all the more important to confront them head on.Neil Ferguson, who heads the team of epidemiologists at Imperial College London that produced the influential March 16 report modeling the viruss spread, said that it is the role of modelers, in presenting the projections, to at once indicate the uncertainties and to evaluate effectively how the uncertainties the extent of asymptomatic infection, for instance; the overall lethality of this virus might change the conclusions, particularly qualitatively rather than quantitatively.In communicating uncertain or ambiguous results for governments, Dr. Ferguson usually includes confidence bounds or error bars. But in doing a radio interview, for instance, he tends to opt for more qualitative descriptions. He was surprised to hear that the studys results indicated that quantitative statements are more effective in conveying uncertainty even with a more general audience. Maybe Ill take that on board, he said.The study is, in a sense, proof of the value in acknowledging these unknowns. As Dr. Spiegelhalter noted, it is an empirical test of humility.[Like the Science Times page on Facebook. | Sign up for the Science Times newsletter.]"
"science"
"Credit...David J. Phillip/Associated PressFeb. 9, 2014SOCHI, Russia The Dutch long-track speedskater Ireen Wust reclaimed her Olympic title Sunday, winning the gold medal in the womens 3,000 meters. After her race, Wust posted a triumphant photograph on Twitter. The pressure was enormous, she said after finishing in 4 minutes 0.34 seconds. I gave everything. I did not focus on a specific time; I just decided to skate a consistent race. Wust, who also won golds in the 3,000 at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, and in the 1,500 at the 2010 Vancouver Games, added: I have now won this three times in a row. I cant believe it.Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic, who won the 3,000 in 2010, was second, trailing her rival with a time of 4:01.95. Olga Graf of Russia, a crowd favorite who was encouraged with screams and Russian flags as she looped around Adler Arena, claimed the bronze medal in 4:03.47. One of Wusts top competitors, Claudia Pechstein, 41, of Germany, was hoping her performance would provide some redemption. Pechstein had won nine Olympic medals five of them gold a total that made her the most successful speedskater in the world and among the most decorated Winter Olympians ever. But Pechstein had also served a two-year suspension for using prohibited substances, not for a failed drug test but for an irregular biological passport. Officials accused Pechstein of blood doping, and her attempts to appeal the charges failed. She was not required to return her previous Olympic medals, but the ban kept her out of the 2010 Games.The scandal also prompted some to label her the Lance Armstrong of speedskating and put a cloud of intrigue around her performance Sunday, in a sport that has long been plagued by the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Pechstein, who had a solid performance, collapsed on a bench and downed a bottle of water upon finishing. But her time (4:05.26) kept her just off the podium, in fourth place. Pechstein will have another chance to earn a medal at a sixth Games she is also competing in the 5,000 meters in Sochi but after stepping off the ice Sunday, she retreated to the dressing room with tears in her eyes. Now Im satisfied, Pechstein said after returning to answer questions from dozens of reporters. After all, Im 41, and Im still able to finish fourth in the Olympic Games. That is not bad at all. Im happy with that result. She added, The Olympics can be bitter.The day had its humorous moments as well. After finishing her race, Graf unzipped her suit down to her waist, creating a plunging neckline. She looked around, embarrassed, and zipped the suit up again, smiling and waving to the crowd apologetically.I just forgot everything for a minute, and I hope it cut out of the pictures, Graf said. Anna Ringsred of the United States, making her Olympic debut, said she was disappointed with her time after she finished in 4:21.51, failing to achieve her goal, 4:18. Still, she was upbeat. I knew I wasnt a medal contender going into this, said Ringsred, who finished 26th. But people dont seem to care. They seem to come out and support you because youre their friend, and they came out.Ringsreds teammate Jilleanne Rookard placed 10th.As for Wust, her competition here is just beginning: The 3,000 meters is one of her five events here."
"Sports"
"The New New WorldThe Chinese telecom giant seeks acceptance in the West, but its structure and value system patterned after Chinas ruling party could stand in the way.Credit...Jialun DengMay 1, 2019The Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei once recommended that his senior executives watch a TV series called Proof of Identity. In that 2009 series, a Communist spy who had infiltrated the Nationalist army during Chinas civil war struggles for years to prove his loyalty and identity after the Communists prevail.Today, 32 years after he founded the telecom giant with $3,000 of borrowed money, Mr. Ren is struggling to prove that Huawei is a private enterprise and independent of the Chinese government.The task is more urgent than ever. In recent months, the Trump administration has said China could use Huaweis equipment to spy on other countries, though it hasnt offered proof. Critics accuse the company of being controlled by the Chinese government. Huawei has repeatedly denied these allegations, saying it is owned by its employees and wouldnt spy on its customers. Regardless of the issues of ownership and control, which have been subjects of heated debate, Huaweis struggle stems in part from its own internal conflict. The company has been deeply influenced by Western competitors. Huawei wants to help determine the worlds technological future, and Mr. Ren himself has said the company may need to adapt to get there. But at its core, from its organizational structure to the way it builds employee loyalty, Huawei closely resembles the Chinese Communist Party itself.Mr. Rens management thinking will naturally carry very deep imprints of the Communist Party culture, according to a 2017 book, Will Huawei Be the Next to Fall? (A different version was published in English as The Huawei Story.) Though effusive in tone, the book named after the sort of question Mr. Ren often poses to employees to inspire urgency offers hints of why Huawei has struggled to reconcile its global ambitions with its Chinese values. The book benefits from access, including interviews with more than 100 top executives. The lead writer, Tian Tao, a management professor, has been a friend of Mr. Rens for two decades, and Huawei sometimes gives out copies as gifts.Huawei disputed that its internal identity contributed to its problems. Citing strong financial results, it said in a statement that over all, Huaweis identity is accepted by customers across most of the world.All we can do to address the issues of identity is to remain open and transparent, and we intend to do that, it added.Huawei isnt the first Chinese institution to grapple with how to relate with the rest of the world. Since the late 1800s, China has debated how much it should learn from the West while retaining what many people see as core Chinese values: patriotism, loyalty, collective values over individual rights. The idea is known as Chinese substance, Western application, and it calls for seeking the tools for Chinas economic and military revival without embracing ideas like individual rights, rule of law and transparency.That model served China well for decades. But it falters when institutions like Huawei start reaching out to the rest of the world. Many in the West worry that Huawei doesnt share their values and that it could become an actor for an authoritarian state. It will take more than a few rounds of media interviews to overcome that mistrust. Mr. Ren understands the differences between the two systems. In a September speech, he instructed the companys public relations department to highlight the Huawei values that align with the West to help reach consensus.We have our own value system. We dont accept the Western political value system completely, Mr. Ren said. Still, he added: Their civilization was built in thousands of years. A small company like Huawei wont be able to change it.Judging from the book, his speeches and other appearances, Mr. Ren is a student of Western learning. He has said he admires the American political and legal systems because they offer better protection for businesses not an unusual idea among Chinas business class. He paid I.B.M. consultants for nearly two decades to help Huawei institute American-style corporate management. To catch up with the Western competitors, he once said, Huawei needed to wear American shoes even if it meant hurting its feet.Only by learning from them with all our humility can we defeat them one day, Mr. Ren was quoted as saying in the book.Still, while Huawei is eager to learn from the West, its soul is steeped in Communist Party culture.In a country with little business management philosophy and experience, Chinas entrepreneurs had to resort to the traditional political and party culture for guidance, according to the book.Huaweis structure looks strikingly similar to the partys. Each is run by a senior group of seven officials, with similarities even further down the line. It calls its management training program its Central Party School, which is the name of the Communist Party institution that trains promising cadres.When it comes to team-building and loyalty-building, Mr. Ren turned to the partys system of self-criticism, in which cadres confess to their misdeeds. Self-criticism sessions are called democratic life meetings, just like the partys. This is the Chinese heritage, the books authors wrote. Western companies will never understand it. Even if they understand, they wont be able to practice it.Huawei also routinely holds ceremonies for its executives, from the board down, to pledge integrity and honesty, much as the party does. Mr. Ren, a former military engineer, also infuses Huawei with a militant culture. He sometimes refers to major business deals as a Battle for Triangle Hill, a reference to a clash during the Korean War that included Chinese and American troops. The ultimate Battle for Triangle Hill, he has said, is to surpass American rivals. His 2012 annual letter ends with the sentence, With lofty aspirations and esprit de corps, we are striding across the Pacific Ocean, referring to the lyrics of a famous song about the Chinese Army crossing the Yalu River to fight the Americans and South Koreans.He told CNBC that he liked using military terms because they were easy to understand. When I cant find a better term to easily describe how business works, I use military terms, he said.Huaweis hard-charging corporate spirit known as wolf culture to outsiders and employees and as striving culture to executives can trace its roots to the party. When Huawei came under attack a decade ago after some employee suicides made headlines in China, Mr. Ren remarked, according to the book: Whats wrong with striving? We learned this from the Communist Party. Well strive for the realization of communism until the end of our lives.Even Mr. Rens leadership status looks like that of Deng Xiaoping, Chinas former paramount leader, who started Chinas reform and opening period in the late 1970s. Deng gave up his titles in his later years though he remained chairman of the China Bridge Association but he held the ultimate authority in Chinas decision making until his death in 1997.Though Mr. Ren is Huaweis chief executive, he has said he holds no decision-making power except for vetoing proposals and removing executives from their posts. Huaweis board secretary, Jiang Xisheng, told journalists last week that Mr. Ren had limited veto power.But within Huawei, he is clearly the paramount leader. One cant use ones veto and impeachment power too often. Once or twice a year would suffice, he was quoted as saying in the book. Nuclear deterrence only works when the bomb remains unexploded.Huaweis pledge to remain open isnt likely to be enough to win over those put off by its culture. To win trust in the West, Huawei may have to change its DNA. The same goes with China. When value systems are incompatible, and the two sides see each other as existential threats, it will be hard to find solutions."
"Tech"
"Special Report: Energy for TomorrowDec. 7, 2015PARIS The weeks leading up to the United Nations global climate conference here could have been one of the finest hours for Frances ecology movement, which is one of the oldest in Europe and was, for one brief, shining moment, one of the Continents most politically successful.That moment came in 2009, when the countrys main green party, Les Verts, scored 16.28 percent of the vote in French elections to the European Parliament, the highest total ever for a French environmental party in any election.Since then, the party, now known as Europe cologie Les Verts, or E.E.L.V., has imploded. Some of its leading members have split to found a new group, and others are casting about for a political future before French regional elections this month and a presidential vote in 2017.This tumult pushed the E.E.L.V. party off the stage as France was preparing to host the ambitious COP21 climate conference, which is viewed as a chance for President Franois Hollande and his Socialist government still loosely allied with the greens to shine in the international spotlight.For Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who headed the French ecologists list in 2009, the collapse of E.E.L.V. is a painful memory. We created an incredible hope and then that hope was destroyed, he recalled in a recent telephone interview. But Mr. Cohn-Bendit, known for his leading role in the May 1968 student protests in Paris, takes the long view on the influence of the ecologist movement on the climate-change debate.Old Europe France included is deeply conscious of the problem, and about the necessity to do something, he said. The software is there; now we have to put in the hardware. The thinking is done; now is the time for doing.He credits a grab bag of associations, local groups and old-fashioned militants, or activists, with having raised consciousness about the environment, food safety and climate change. The movement in France has been helped by such media-savvy personalities as Nicolas Hulot, a television host who is Mr. Hollandes envoy to the COP21 conference, and Jos Bov, an activist whose causes have included battling the spread of fast food. Even Pope Francis has had an affect, with his insistence on the need to act on climate issues.The terrain was prepared and that is what has allowed society to move forward, Mr. Cohn-Bendit said. One result is that a large majority of citizens in most European countries from 64 percent to 82 percent blame human activity for global warming, compared with only 54 percent in the United States, according to an Ipsos Mori global poll in 2014. Another is that Europe is widely considered to be in the lead on climate change, despite some glaring setbacks. In October, the European Unions 28 countries were collectively able to show that they were on track to meet, or even surpass, the goal of reducing 1990-level greenhouse-gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Such an achievement was unimaginable just five years ago, Mr. Cohn-Bendit said. In his view, the ecologists most significant advances and influence have in fact taken place on the European rather than national level. National debates in European countries have varied widely. In Germany, which historically has had a strong environmental party, Chancellor Angela Merkels decision to close the countrys nuclear reactors by 2022 has spurred not only the search for alternative energy but also a greater reliance on coal an industry that is both a major cause of pollution and a major employer.In France, by contrast, where more than 75 percent of electricity is produced by nuclear power, the debate about a nuclear-free future gets little political traction.Mr. Hollandes record on the environment has been inconsistent. A 2012 campaign promise to close an aging nuclear plant at Fessenheim in eastern France remains unfulfilled, though government support for renewable energy has been increased.In late October, the French governments claim to be a leader in the fight against pollution and climate change took a beating when it joined with a majority of European governments in backing a European Union measure to allow the maximum levels of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel cars to double from the current level until 2017. The vote in Brussels was quickly and widely denounced by opponents as a concession to Europes automobile industry.Mr. Cohn-Bendit attributes the E.E.L.V.s political failure to its refusal to open the ecologist movement to the entire political spectrum, as has happened in Germany. Instead, the French party got swept up in the clannish politics of the French left what Mr. Cohn-Bendit calls leftist infantilism resulting in amoeba-like splits along personal and ideological lines. (It is interesting to note that two major figures in Frances ecological movement are not French-born: Mr. Cohn-Bendit, born in France of German parents, chose German nationality as a youth, and Eva Joly, who ran for president in 2012 garnering just 2.28 percent of the vote in the first round is a native of Norway. Both now have French citizenship.)Mr. Cohn-Bendit believes that as a political force, French environmentalists have difficulty translating popular awareness into the kind of political action that can hold its own against powerful lobbies and economic interests at a time when the French economy is stagnant. There is resistance from industry, from oil companies and producers, he said. We also need to reduce consumption, which is not always popular.Like temperatures, awareness levels have been rising around the world. With Obama, the U.S. is going in the right direction, and now China is going in the right direction for the simple reason that its cities are suffocating, Mr. Cohn-Bendit said. Now we have the momentum to go forward."
"Business"
"VideoFujian Jinhua, a new semiconductor maker, is building a chip factory with 100,000 square feet of office space in a region formerly known for manufacturing shoes.CreditCredit...Paul Mozur/The New York TimesJune 22, 2018JINJIANG, China With a dragnet closing in, engineers at a Taiwanese chip maker holding American secrets did their best to conceal a daring case of corporate espionage.As the police raided their offices, human resources workers gave the engineers a warning to scramble and get rid of the evidence. USB drives, laptops and documents were handed to a lower-level employee, who hid them in her locker. Then she walked one engineers phone out the front door.What those devices contained was more valuable than gold or jewels: designs from an American company, Micron Technology, for microchips that have helped power the global digital revolution. According to the Taiwanese authorities, the designs were bound for China, where they would help a new, $5.7 billion microchip factory the size of several airplane hangars rumble into production.China has ambitious plans to overhaul its economy and compete head to head with the United States and other nations in the technology of tomorrow. The heist of the designs two years ago and the raids last year, which were described by Micron in court filings and the police in Taiwan, represent the dark side of that effort and explain in part why the United States is starting a trade war with China.A plan known as Made in China 2025 calls for the country to become a global competitor in an array of industries, including semiconductors, robotics and electric vehicles. China is spending heavily to both innovate and buy up technology from abroad.Politicians in Washington and American companies accuse China of veering into intimidation and outright theft to get there. And they see Micron, an Idaho company whose memory chips give phones and computers the critical ability to store and quickly retrieve information, as a prime example of that aggression.Three years ago, Micron spurned a $23 billion takeover offer from a state-controlled Chinese company. Today it faces a lawsuit and an investigation in China, which accounts for about half its $20 billion in annual sales.Then Micron was the target of the heist in Taiwan, according to officials there and a lawsuit the company has brought against the Taiwanese company that employed the engineers, UMC, and the Chinese company it says wanted access to the technology, Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company.Other companies may face predicaments similar to Microns, industry experts said.One state-backed factory in the city of Wuhan, owned by Yangtze Memory Technology Company, or YMTC, will be turning out chips that look similar to those made by Samsung, the South Korean chip maker, said Mark Newman, an analyst at Sanford Bernstein.ImageCredit...Tomohiro Ohsumi/BloombergThe YMTC one is virtually identical to Samsungs, which makes it pretty clear theyve been copying, Mr. Newman said.A Samsung spokeswoman declined to comment, and YMTC officials did not return calls for comment. President Xi Jinping of China visited YMTCs production facilities this year, one way Chinas leaders show their endorsement for projects.China defends Made in China 2025 as necessary for its economic survival. It still depends on other countries for crucial goods like chips and software, and China is offering funding for homegrown labs and for entrepreneurs who hope to grab a piece of the future.But Trump administration officials in a report this year recounted how Chinese officials have at times helped local companies get intellectual property from American firms, including in the energy, electronics, software and avionics sectors.American business groups worried about Made in China 2025 point to Micron. The account of its struggles was based on Taiwanese and American legal documents.In 2015, representatives from Tsinghua Unigroup, a Chinese chip maker with major state backing, approached Micron with an acquisition offer, which the company rejected. It later also turned down several partnership offers from Chinese companies out of concern for protecting its technology, said a person with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be identified because the person lacked authorization to speak publicly.That was when one Chinese company resorted to theft, Micron said in documents filed last December in Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.Microns accusations focus on efforts by Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit, a state-backed chip maker, to build a $5.7 billion factory in Chinas Fujian Province. Two years ago, Jinhua tapped UMC, a Taiwanese company, to help it develop technology for the factory. Instead of going through the lengthy steps required to design the technology, Micron said in its suit, UMC and Jinhua decided to steal it.A UMC spokesman denied the allegations and declined to comment further. Jinhua did not respond to requests for comment.First, UMC lured away engineers from Microns Taiwan operations with promises of raises and bonuses, according to the Taiwanese authorities. Then, it asked them to take some of Microns secrets with them, according to Microns court filings and the authorities. The engineers illegally took with them more than 900 files that contained key specifications and details about Microns advanced memory chips, the authorities said.Micron grew suspicious, according to its court documents, after discovering that one of its departing engineers had turned to Google for instructions on how to wipe a company laptop. Later, at a recruiting event in the United States aimed at Micron employees, Jinhua and UMC showed PowerPoint slides that used Microns internal code names when discussing future chips it would make, according to the court documents.ImageCredit...Charlie Litchfield/Associated PressAlerted by Micron, the Taiwanese police tapped the phone of one Micron engineer, Kenny Wang, who was being recruited by UMC. According to an indictment in Taiwan against Mr. Wang and others, UMC reached out to Mr. Wang in early 2016 using Line, the smartphone messaging app, while he was still working for Micron. UMC explained it was having problems developing its memory chip technology. Mr. Wang then grabbed the information it needed from Microns servers, and later used it to help UMCs design. The police said Mr. Wang received a promotion at UMC.When investigators showed up at UMCs offices early last year, the police said, some employees rushed to hide what they had taken from Micron. Mr. Wang and another former Micron employee gave laptops, USB flash drives and documents to an assistant engineer, who locked them in her personal locker. She then left the office with Mr. Wangs phone the one that the police had tapped, which was quickly tracked down.UMC filed its own criminal complaint against Mr. Wang last year, which Taiwanese prosecutors rejected. Mr. Wang and other engineers who were charged said they had taken the trade secrets for personal research. Mr. Wang did not respond to emails and phone calls for comment.In January, Micron was hit with a patent infringement suit by Jinhua and UMC over several types of memory. As part of the suit, the companies requested that the court bar Micron from making and selling the products and pay them damages. The case is being heard by a court in Fujian Province. The Fujian provincial government is an investor in Jinhua.In a letter sent to President Trump, Senators Jim Risch and Michael D. Crapo, Republicans of Idaho, expressed concern about the entire case and specifically the rapid pace with which the patent lawsuit has proceeded. The case could block Micron from selling some products in China.If the case against Micron moves forward, and the Chinese government once again rules in favor of itself, it would cause substantial damage to Micron and the U.S. tech industry as a whole, said the letter, which was viewed by The New York Times.In May, Chinas market regulator opened a price-fixing investigation into Micron, along with the South Korean memory makers SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics. Memory prices have jumped over the past year, because of spiking demand and limited production by the three companies, which dominate the market. Another China regulator, which has said it is also monitoring the price jump, also gave a multimillion-dollar grant to Jinhua.Jinhua and other Chinese chip makers face hurdles in catching up. Production of semiconductors involves a highly complex and automated process that controls everything down to the atomic level.Jinhua and others are spending big to get there. In Jinjiang, a city in Fujian Province once known as a shoe-manufacturing center, Jinhuas new factory is almost finished. Rising five stories and stretching several football fields long, the structure boasts 100,000 square feet of new office space.Economic planners in Jinjiang said they were hoping to attract more talent from Taiwan. In addition to adding more flights there, the town was in the process of building out a bilingual international school, a hospital with international accreditation and upscale apartments. The new plant is just a short drive from the airport.Most of Made in China 2025 is likely to succeed. Not all technologies are rocket science, said Dan Wang, a technology analyst in Beijing with Gavekal Dragonomics, a research firm. With enough subsidies, Chinese firms have a good shot at catching up to the technological frontier."
"Tech"
"Credit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesUnder President Trump, once stately medallions have gotten glitzier, and at least one featured a Trump property. Ethics watchdogs are worried.The presidential challenge coin produced for White House Communications Agency members.Credit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesJune 24, 2018WASHINGTON Since Bill Clinton occupied the White House, the commemorative medallions known as challenge coins have been stately symbols of the presidency coveted by the military, law enforcement personnel and a small circle of collectors.Then came Donald J. Trump.His presidency has yielded more and more elaborate coins that are shinier, flashier and even bigger, setting off a boom for coin manufacturers, counterfeiters and collectors, with one official Trump challenge coin recently fetching $1,000 on eBay.Among those produced in recent months by members of a White House military unit is a coin featuring Mr. Trumps private Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, on the front, and the presidential seal, the White House and Air Force One on the back. Another has Pope Francis on one side and the presidents face set against the White House on the other.And Mr. Trumps aides have commissioned multiple versions of an official challenge coin, for which the president himself has reviewed several proposals, according to people familiar with the process. One such design, which was approved by Mr. Trump and paid for by the Republican National Committee, is thicker, wider and more gold than those of preceding presidents, and bears his campaign slogan Make America Great Again, as well as his name emblazoned three times. Missing was a traditional staple of presidential challenge coins: the presidential seal with the national motto, E pluribus unum, or Out of many, one. The break from tradition comes against larger debates over Mr. Trumps fascination with the trappings of power, and his blurring of the lines between his presidency and both his campaign and business operations.And, though challenge coins seem relatively trivial, the shift has caused headaches for the Trump White House.The official Challenge coin for the first lady, Melania TrumpImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesThe official challenge coin for Vice President Mike PenceImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesConcerned about running afoul of rules barring government resources from being used for partisan political purposes, the White House Counsels Office warned staff members not to display the Republican National Committees challenge coin, or any paraphernalia with Mr. Trumps campaign slogan, in government buildings.Outside ethics watchdogs say the Make America Great Again coins shouldnt be distributed to military personnel a traditional use of presidential challenge coins since the military is supposed to be walled off from politics. And those watchdogs warn that coins featuring Mr. Trumps properties, such as Mar-a-Lago, should not be produced using government resources including funds, work hours or even phone calls and emails since federal ethics laws prohibit the use of public resources to promote private businesses.The Mar-a-Lago coins are akin to a metallic tourist brochure, said Norman L. Eisen, a former ethics lawyer in President Barack Obamas White House and the chairman of a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.The Mar-a-Lago trip coin produced for White House Communications Agency membersImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesLindsay Walters, a White House deputy press secretary, said those laws didnt apply to the Mar-a-Lago coins, because no public funds were used in their design or creation. Instead, Ms. Walters said, individual personnel assigned to the White House Communications Agency, a military unit that provides technological support for the president and his staff, used their own private funds to pay for the coins.But Karen Brazell, the chief of staff for the White House Military Office, which oversees the communications agency, declined to comment on whether other agency resources were used for the coins.After The New York Times inquired about the coins, agency personnel abruptly canceled plans for a coin featuring the presidents signature Trump Tower in Manhattan and his golf course in Bedminster, N.J.The coins, which are usually slightly larger than a silver dollar, are intended to represent trips taken by the president and vice president, and are collected or traded by the staff members involved in facilitating those trips. Only a limited number are purchased for each trip, Ms. Brazell said, and sold to her offices employees to benefit what she described as a private morale organization.The Vatican trip coin produced for White House Communications Agency membersImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesThe World Economic Forum trip coin produced for White House Communications Agency MembersImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesAny profit beyond the design and production costs goes to that fund for team-building activities like ceremonies and retirement gifts, Ms. Walters said, stressing that neither Mr. Trump nor his staff had any involvement in the creation, design, distribution or funding of the agencys coins.She acknowledged, though, that the president is involved in the selection and design of his official presidential challenge coins, which have been funded partly by the Republican National Committee.People who have traveled with Mr. Trump say he has become enthralled by challenge coins, attributing his interest to his appreciation for military traditions and might, as well as his attraction to gaudy displays of gilded excess. That fascination grew during the presidential campaign, when he would receive coins from law enforcement and military personnel whom he encountered at stops.It wasnt long before coins bearing the campaign logo and slogan began circulating among his campaign team. Traveling aides usually kept a supply on hand to distribute to dignitaries and military and law enforcement personnel. Even the campaigns private security detail, made up of former F.B.I. agents and New York City police officers, jumped in on the act. The group which was accused of using heavy-handed tactics produced a coin featuring the phrase Have Gun, Will Travel. After Mr. Trump was sworn in, he had a sampling of his challenge coin collection displayed on a credenza behind his desk in the Oval Office, where it is visible in photographs alongside a Frederic Remington sculpture of a cowboy riding a rearing bronco.The challenge coin for the Trump Campaigns private security detailImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesImageCredit...Jared Soares for The New York TimesThe numismatic side of Mr. Trumps presidency elicited unwanted headlines after images of two coins the Republican National Committees Make America Great Again coin, and one issued ahead of Mr. Trumps meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un were published.Replacing the nations motto with his campaign slogan is kind of tacky, the comedian Stephen Colbert said, riffing on the Republican National Committee coin on his CBS late-night show. But he quipped, It beat the first choice good for one free drink.The North Korea coin, ordered by White House Communications Agency personnel, drew umbrage across the political spectrum for a different reason. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, urged the administration to remove Mr. Kims likeness. He is a brutal dictator and something like the Peace House would be much more appropriate, Mr. Schumer wrote on Twitter, referring to the site used for negotiations between North and South Korea, in the Demilitarized Zone separating the two nations.But the coin incited a surge of interest in challenge coins like nothing that collectors could recall, spawning a host of knockoffs and creating an opportunity for a private company based in central Pennsylvania, the White House Gift Shop. The shop, which was once affiliated with the federal government, quickly ordered nearly 100,000 copies of a version of the coin from the company that had designed and produced the original, Challenge Design. Consumers seeking to buy the coins crashed the White House Gift Shops website and jammed its phone lines. The coin, which differs substantially from the original, is listed for $49 on the companys website.The North Korea coin produced for White House Communications Agency membersImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesThe North Korea summit MEETING coin produced for the white house gift shopImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesThe White House Gift Shop plans to sell two additional North Korea coins in what it bills as a historic art coin series. The second coin will have a side showing Mr. Trump flanked by Mr. Kim and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in front of their nations flags with a dove holding an olive branch in its beak. The reverse side is essentially a paean to the Singapore summit meeting, depicting the resort at which it was held and a banner that lists the date and the words Diplomatic History.The third coin will seek to capture the outcome of the talks, possibly including the Nobel Prize, should Mr. Trump or Mr. Kim win it, said Mary H. Harms, the owner and creative director of Challenge Design.What we try to do with our coins is tell stories, said Ms. Harms, whose company also makes coins for an array of military units, as well as private sector clients like musicians. Those worlds sometimes collide, as with a coin she produced for the band 3 Doors Down, which commemorated its performance during Mr. Trumps inaugural festivities. It featured the bands logo and the American flag on one side, and the seals of the president and vice president against the Lincoln Memorial on the other.the inauguration performance coin produced for 3 doors downImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesImageCredit...Whitten Sabbatini for The New York TimesIn some ways, the proliferation of splashy presidential coins under Mr. Trump is emblematic of his convention-defying presidency, said John Wertman, a former Clinton White House aide who is a leading expert on challenge coins. His collection includes the official presidential challenge coins of Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama, muted bronze affairs that have the presidential seal on one side and the White House and the presidents signature on the other. (The two coins made for Vice President Mike Pence by the Republican National Committee are equally understated, and the one for the first lady, Melania Trump, while gold, is much less ornate than her husbands.)Mr. Wertman was one of the few to receive a copy of Mr. Trumps Make America Great Again Republican National Committee coin, which was largely removed from circulation after the round of mocking by the media. He said he was surprised by its thickness and lack of the presidential seal, but not necessarily its hue.If you look at what he did with the design of the White House drapes and his general inclination toward gold, thats his personal preference, Mr. Wertman said of Mr. Trump."
"Politics"
"Credit...Eduardo Munoz/ReutersJune 21, 2017As health insurers scrambled to decide whether to stay or go by Wednesdays deadline to file plans for the federal marketplace, Anthem, one of the Obamacare markets major players, announced that it would pull out of two more states, Wisconsin and Indiana, in 2018.The company, which offers for-profit Blue Cross plans in 14 states, had already said this month that it would stop selling coverage in the marketplace next year in Ohio. In making the announcement, Anthem said offering plans had become increasingly difficult due to a shrinking and deteriorating individual market, as well as continual changes and uncertainty in federal operations, rules and guidance.Even as Senate Republicans hurry to finish their plan to overhaul the law, insurers are racing to meet not just federal but also state deadlines to submit rate requests.While the Wednesday deadline does not represent a final commitment by any insurer, it will be a good indicator of the health of these markets, said Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University.House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, whose home state of Wisconsin was among those Anthem plans to exit, pointed to the decision as reason the Republicans needed to pass their overhaul of the health care legislation.This law has failed our state, he said. Obamacare is clearly collapsing, and we have to step in before more families get hurt.Anthems exit underscores the rapidly changing dynamics of the market. Other insurers have indicated they will stay and a few are even expanding into more states.Oscar Health, the New York insurance start-up, said on Wednesday that it expected to offer policies in three additional states for 2018: Ohio, New Jersey and Tennessee. The company, which covers about 105,000 people, also plans to expand in California and Texas while remaining in New York. Oscar had previously sold policies in New Jersey but did not offer them there this year.Backed by venture capitalists, including Josh Kushner, one of the companys founders and the brother of Jared Kushner, President Trumps son-in-law, Oscar has focused almost exclusively on selling insurance in the market created by the Affordable Care Act.Were confident that when the dust settles, the market for health insurance will stabilize in time for 2018, Mario Schlosser, the companys chief executive, wrote in a blog post. For all of the political noise, there are simply too many lives at stake for representatives in Washington, D.C., not to do whats right for the people.Other insurers also appear to be gambling on the current market, in spite of the political turbulence. Molina Healthcare, another major player in the market that has expressed concerns about its stability, said it had filed initial proposals in all nine states where it has business, according to a company spokeswoman.Medica, a small nonprofit insurer, said on Monday that it would offer plans statewide in Iowa, although it is seeking rate increases that average 43 percent. Its decision would cover the yawning gap left by Aetna and the state Blue Cross plan, which left the market for next year, raising the possibility that no carrier would offer coverage to the bulk of the states residents.Centene, another large insurer, announced its plans last week to offer coverage for the first time in Nevada, Missouri and Kansas.But other insurers have emphasized they remain ambivalent about staying. Health Care Service Corporation, which operates nonprofit Blue Cross plans, said it would file proposals in all five states where it offers coverage, but could still decide to leave. The insurer covers more than one million people in the individual market.The overall market appears to be worsening as more insurers leave, said Dan Mendelson, the president of Avalere, a consultant, who said there is a lot of variation by local market.There are some markets that are doing fine, he said, while others, particularly rural ones, could still be left without an insurer willing to offer coverage.Anthems departure from Wisconsin and Indiana, where the company is headquartered, does not seem to add to the dozens of so-called bare counties across the country where no insurer has yet said it will offer insurance in the state marketplace for that area.Anthem covers about a million people through the state marketplaces or exchanges, and has filed proposals to sell policies in other states, like Connecticut.ImageCredit...Jacquelyn Martin/Associated PressIn the three states that it is leaving, the insurer will offer at least one plan outside of the marketplace that reserves the option of returning to that state to offer coverage.Anthems view of the future of the marketplaces has clearly turned negative, driven by some underlying market instability and uncertainty drummed up by the Trump administration, said Larry Levitt, an executive with the Kaiser Family Foundation.If an insurer misses the Wednesday deadline, regulators could still choose to accept a last-minute application, as they did last year in Arizona, to make sure residents have access to a policy through the state marketplace. State officials and governors are going to be very pragmatic to make sure people have coverage, Ms. Corlette said.To stay, insurers are asking for much higher prices, according to Avalere, which analyzed filings in eight states. Insurers are seeking an 18 percent increase, on average, for the most popular so-called silver plans.Many insurers are blaming the current political uncertainty when requesting much higher rates. The Trump administration and Congress have yet to commit to critical funding for subsidies worth billions of dollars to low-income individuals. Insurers are also concerned that the administration will stop enforcing the penalties people face when they choose to go without coverage, which they say would also drive up prices.In Washington State, Molina is seeking rate increases that average 38.5 percent, citing the lack of enforcement and the return of a special tax on insurers. In developing its rates, the company said it assumed that major provisions of the law, including the existing subsidies and tax credits, would continue.In Connecticut, Anthem wants an average rate increase of 33.8 percent, much of which it attributed to higher medical costs and increased demand for services.We are forecasting that the individual market will continue to shrink and that those individuals with greater health care needs will be the most likely to purchase and retain their coverage, the insurer told state regulators.Companies are likely to seek very high rates, said Ms. Corlette. They are going to build all of this uncertainty into their rates to the maximum extent to protect themselves, she said, and insurance regulators will have to decide whether to push back.Even those insurers that plan to stay say the market has been challenging. While its losses have narrowed, Oscar lost about than $200 million last year and said that other changes were needed to stabilize the market. We are not immune to the pressures in the individual market, Mr. Schlosser said.But he said the insurers partnerships with health systems like the Cleveland Clinic to offer new plans in northeastern Ohio should allow it to be successful. If you have the right products and the right partner, you can make it work, Mr. Schlosser said."
"Health"
"Science|Causes of Blindness Vary for Older Adultshttps://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/science/causes-of-blindness-vary-for-older-adults.htmlQ&ACredit...Victoria RobertsMarch 5, 2016Q. Whats the No. 1 cause of blindness in older adults in the United States?A. It sounds like a simple question, but theres no perfect answer, said Dr. Susan Vitale, a research epidemiologist at the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. It depends on age, how blindness is measured and how statistics are collected. For example, some studies have relied on the self-reported answer to the vague question: Do you have vision problems?The best available estimates, she said, come from a 2004 paper aggregating many other studies, some in the United States and some in other countries, updated by applying later census data.This paper and others have found striking differences by age and by racial and socioeconomic groups, Dr. Vitale said. In white people, she said, the major cause of blindness at older ages is usually age-related macular degeneration, progressive damage to the central portion of the retina. In older black people, the major causes are likely to be glaucoma or cataracts. In older people of working age, from their 40s to their 60s, the major cause, regardless of race, is diabetic retinopathy, damage to the retina as a result of diabetes.Many studies have shown that white people are more likely to have age-related macular degeneration, Dr. Vitale said, but as for cataracts, for which blindness is preventable by surgery, there are questions about access to health care and whether those affected can get the needed surgery. It is not known why black people are at higher risk of glaucoma. There are also some gender differences, she said, with white women more likely than white men to become blind. Studies have not found the same difference by gender in black and Hispanic people.Because many of the causes of blindness at all ages are preventable, Dr. Vitale said, it is essential to have regular eye checkups, even if there are no obvious symptoms. question@nytimes.com"
"science"
"Credit...Matthew Abbott for The New York TimesMarch 9, 2017YOUNG, Australia On a rural road about two hours drive from the nearest major city, the small Australian town of Young has long been known for cherries and little else. But in recent years, the once largely white, working-class community has seen a steady influx of Lebanese Muslim families, many who say they have relocated from Sydney for a better and safer life.Among them are members of the Zahab family. Now one of them, Haisem Zahab, a 42-year-old electrician, is accused of using the internet to try to help the Islamic State develop a guided missile. Officials suspect that some of his relatives traveled to Syria to join the extremist group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.The allegations about the Zahab family have rattled many residents of this town, who have long taken pride in its peaceful multiculturalism. They have also stoked some of the worst fears about homegrown links to terrorism in a country that is grappling with immigration policy and labor shortages.One argument developing is that Muslims cannot be trusted, they are all bad, and with so many in our town, it was only a matter of time before trouble raised its head, Craig Thomson, editor of The Young Witness, the local newspaper, wrote in an opinion column after Mr. Zahabs arrest. The other point put forward is that hatred is not the way to handle this situation and one mans actions should not condemn the entire towns Muslim population.The case is playing out as Australia contends with the same nationalist, anti-immigrant forces that helped propel Donald J. Trump to the American presidency and that prompted voters in Britain to approve a withdrawal from the European Union. Visiting Australia last year, Mutuma Ruteere, the United Nations special rapporteur on racism, condemned Australian politicians as engaging in xenophobic hate speech, and likened the countrys mood to nationalist ideologies brewing in Europe and the United States.Mr. Zahab was arrested, with his family present, in a raid at his property in Young on Feb. 28. He was accused of researching and designing a long-range guided missile and laser warning device for use by Islamic State militants.Mr. Zahabs extended family had been under investigation for 18 months, and officials suspected that some of his relatives had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State and had sent money from the sale of their Sydney home to terrorists in Syria. A police report detailed how investigators believed the family had moved money to the Islamic State.Family members had access to a significant amount of funds in an Australian bank account and were suspected of using international travel cards and a computer consulting company based in the Middle East to remit funds out of Australia for the use and benefit of Islamic State in Syria, the report said, adding that members of the family were believed to have already traveled to Syria to become members of the terrorist group.ImageCredit...Lukas Coch/Australian Associated Press, via ReutersMr. Zahab was charged with foreign incursion offenses, which are antiterrorism statutes that carry a maximum penalty of life in prison. After Mr. Zahabs arrest, police officers spent days searching his 10-acre property, using metal detectors and digging up the yard in search of evidence.Mr. Zahab is no stranger to law enforcement, having pleaded guilty previously to drugs and firearms charges. He is linked to a business called Oz Survival Gear, which is registered to the address that was raided by the police. The company sells items such as Swiss Army knives and flashlights, and it proclaims that a knifeless man is a lifeless man.Mr. Zahab was known as something of an outsider who rarely interacted with the local Lebanese Muslim community. But his arrest has sent some Muslim residents of Young into hiding, people in the community said.Youngs council administrator, Wendy Tuckerman, said that Mr. Zahabs arrest should not taint the rest of the community, which has a rich multicultural history.It is important that we acknowledge that the scope of the arrest is limited to the actions of one individual, Mrs. Tuckerman said.Muslim families first moved to the area more than two decades ago to work on cherry farms. John Barton, who was a real estate agent when some of the first Muslim families came to Young, remembers them buying several properties with orchards, and he has since watched those families grow and settle in.Theyve got shops in town coffee shops, a new kitchen shop, and the younger ones work in the big stores like Woolworths, Mr. Barton said. Local Muslim residents turned a former drive-in movie theater into a mosque, and they opened an Islamic school last year. Theyve added to the culture of the town, Mr. Barton said. Its a very friendly community.David McCabe, a local lawyer who has represented Muslim slaughterhouse workers in the area, said some of the families who relocated to Young did not want their children to grow up with the gang mentality fostered in parts of Sydney.Once they got to 15 to 17, they thought theyd lost control of them in western Sydney, Mr. McCabe said. And they thought theyd have a better chance of controlling them in the country.ImageCredit...Matthew Abbott for The New York TimesBut Clarke Jones, an expert at Australian National University on terrorism and radicalization, said that Youngs remoteness may have made it an attractive spot for hiding efforts to support foreign terrorist groups.Young was probably chosen as a destination because its out of the radar of the usual police attention of Melbourne and Sydney, Dr. Jones said.Dr. Jamal Rifi, a Muslim community leader in Sydney, called it unfortunate that the actions of one man could taint Australias Muslims.That is symptomatic of what exactlys been happening in the last couple of years when the actions of a small number like this Young man discredit the Australian Muslim community at large, he said.It is a phenomena thats been happening across Australia, he added.Mr. Zahabs arrest comes as Australians have been on heightened alert. The terrorism threat level in the country was elevated to probable in September 2014, and since then there have been four attacks tied to terrorism in Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that a dozen more have been foiled and that more than 60 people have been charged as a result of counterterrorism operations across the country.Of particular concern to many Australians is the rise in the number of terrorism suspects born and raised in the country. About 100 Australians are believed to be fighting with or engaged in terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, according to the Attorney Generals Department. The government is working to strengthen laws to prosecute returning foreign fighters.In recent days, Mr. Turnbull, who has seized on Mr. Zahabs arrest as yet another reminder of the enduring threat we face from Islamist terrorism, has ramped up his language, declaring his countrys objective is to kill Islamic State fighters.Our goal as far as those who serve with Daesh in the Middle East is to kill them, he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. Let me be quite frank that is our goal.But Dr. Jones, the terrorism expert, cautioned against vilifying a whole community based on the actions of one person.The more than 70 odd families that are there are hardworking, productive members of the Young community, he said."
"World"
"In a North Dakota deposit far from the Chicxulub crater in Mexico, remains of the rock from space were preserved within amber, a paleontologist says.Credit...Kansas University, via Agence France-Presse Getty ImagesApril 7, 2022GREENBELT, Md. Pristine slivers of the impactor that killed the dinosaurs have been discovered, said scientists studying a North Dakota site that is a time capsule of that calamitous day 66 million years ago.The object that slammed off the Yucatn Peninsula of what is today Mexico was about six miles wide, scientists estimate, but the identification of the object has remained a subject of debate. Was it an asteroid or a comet? If it was an asteroid, what kind was it a solid metallic one or a rubble pile of rocks and dust held together by gravity?If youre able to actually identify it, and were on the road to doing that, then you can actually say, Amazing, we know what it was, Robert DePalma, the paleontologist spearheading the excavation of the site, said on Wednesday during a talk at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.A video of the talk and a subsequent discussion between Mr. DePalma and prominent NASA scientists will be released online in a week or two, a Goddard spokesman said. Many of the same discoveries will be discussed in Dinosaurs: The Final Day, a BBC documentary narrated by David Attenborough, which will air in Britain in April. In the United States, the PBS program Nova will broadcast a version of the documentary next month.A New Yorker article in 2019 described the site in southwestern North Dakota, named Tanis, as a wonderland of fossils buried in the aftermath of the impact some 2,000 miles away. Many paleontologists were intrigued but uncertain about the scope of Mr. DePalmas claims; a research paper published that year by Mr. DePalma and his collaborators mostly described the geological setting of the site, which once lay along the banks of a river.When the object hit Earth, carving a crater about 100 miles wide and nearly 20 miles deep, molten rock splashed into the air and cooled into spherules of glass, one of the distinct calling cards of meteor impacts. In the 2019 paper, Mr. DePalma and his colleagues described how spherules raining down from the sky clogged the gills of paddlefish and sturgeon, suffocating them.Usually the outsides of impact spherules have been mineralogically transformed by millions of years of chemical reactions with water. But at Tanis, some of them landed in tree resin, which provided a protective enclosure of amber, keeping them almost as pristine as the day they formed.In the latest findings, which have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, Mr. DePalma and his research colleagues focused on bits of unmelted rock within the glass.All these little dirty nuggets in there, said Mr. DePalma, a graduate student at the University of Manchester in England and an adjunct professor at Florida Atlantic University. Every single speck that takes away from this beautiful clear glass is a piece of debris.Finding amber-encased spherules, he said, was the equivalent of sending someone back in time to the day of the impact, collecting a sample, bottling it up and preserving it for scientists right now.ImageCredit...Kenneth Chang/The New York TimesMost of the rock bits contain high levels of strontium and calcium indications that they were part of the limestone crust where the meteor hit.But the composition of fragments within two of the spherules were wildly different, Mr. DePalma said.They were not enriched with calcium and strontium as we would have expected, he said.Instead they contained higher levels of elements like iron, chromium and nickel. That mineralogy points to the presence of an asteroid, and in particular a type known as carbonaceous chondrites.To see a piece of the culprit is just a goose-bumpy experience, Mr. DePalma said.The finding supports a discovery reported in 1998 by Frank Kyte, a geochemist at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Kyte said he had found a fragment of the meteor in a core sample drilled off Hawaii, more than 5,000 miles from Chicxulub. Dr. Kyte said that fragment, about a tenth of an inch across, came from the impact event, but other scientists were skeptical that any bits of the meteor could have survived.It actually falls in line with what Frank Kyte was telling us years ago, Mr. DePalma said.ImageCredit...Joshua Knuppe, via ReutersIn an email, Dr. Kyte said it was impossible to evaluate the claim without looking at the data. Personally, I expect that if any meteoritic material is in this ejecta it would be extremely rare and unlikely to be found in the vast volumes of other ejecta at this site, he said. But maybe they got lucky.Mr. DePalma said there also appears to be some bubbles within some of the spherules. Because the spherules do not look to be cracked, its possible that they could hold bits of air from 66 million years ago.Jim Garvin, the chief scientist at NASA Goddard, said it would be fascinating to compare the Tanis fragments with samples collected by NASAs OSIRIS-REX mission, a spacecraft currently en route to Earth after a visit to Bennu, a similar but smaller asteroid.State-of-the-art techniques being used to study space rocks, such as the recently opened samples from the Apollo missions 50 years ago, could also be employed on the Tanis material. They would work perfectly, Dr. Garvin said.In the talk, Mr. DePalma also showed other fossil finds including a well-preserved leg of a dinosaur, identified as a plant-eating Thescelosaurus. This animal was preserved in such a way that you had these three-dimensional skin impressions, he said.VideoNOVA Dinosaur Apocalypse premieres Wed., May 11 at 9 p.m. Eastern time on PBS. The two-hour special will also be available for streaming online and via the PBS Video app.There are no signs that the dinosaur was killed by a predator or by disease. That suggests the dinosaur might have died the day of the meteor impact, perhaps by drowning in the floodwaters that overwhelmed Tanis.This is like a dinosaur C.S.I., Mr. DePalma said. Now, as a scientist, Im not going to say, Yes, 100 percent, we do have an animal that died in the impact surge, he said. Is it compatible? Yes.Neil Landman, curator emeritus in the division of paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, visited Tanis in 2019. He saw one of the paddlefish fossils with spherules in its gills and is convinced that the site does indeed capture the day of the cataclysm and its immediate aftermath. Its the real deal, he said in a phone interview.Mr. DePalma also showed images of an embryo of a pterosaur, a flying reptile that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. Studies indicate the egg was soft like those of modern-day geckos, and the high levels of calcium in the bones and the embryos wing dimensions support existing research that the reptiles might have been able to fly as soon as they hatched.Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland who served as a consultant for the BBC documentary, is also convinced that the fish died that day, but he is not yet certain that the dinosaur and the pterosaur egg were also victims of the impact.I havent yet seen slam-dunk evidence, he said in an email. Its a credible story but hasnt yet been proven beyond a reasonable doubt in the peer-reviewed literature.But the pterosaur embryo nonetheless is an amazing discovery, he said. Although initially skeptical, he added that after seeing photos and other information, I was blown away. To me, this may be the most important fossil from Tanis."
"science"
"Economy|Broad Effort Aims to Expand Financial Services to Low-Income Consumershttps://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/business/economy/initiatives-aim-to-expand-financial-services-to-low-income-consumers.htmlCredit...Alex Wong/Getty ImagesDec. 1, 2015WASHINGTON The Obama administration, teaming with private partners including the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase, announced initiatives on Tuesday to expand banking services to millions of Americans and others worldwide who lack essentials like checking or savings accounts and access to credit.More than two billion people around the world rely solely on cash transactions, and basic financial services are out of reach for one in four individuals on earth, the Treasury Secretary, Jacob J. Lew, said at a two-day financial inclusion forum of government, financial industry, academic and nonprofit leaders at the Treasury Department.Even in the United States, with greater access to conventional financial services, one in five households continues to use alternatives like check cashers or auto title loans, Mr. Lew added, and millions do not have enough financial history despite years of paying rent and bills to have the credit score needed for access to loans.Many of the 10 initiatives announced to reduce the ranks of the so-called unbanked were intended to harness technological innovations to provide access to financial services for low-income people.To that end, the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase have joined to create a new fund for investment and development, while PayPal and Village Capital are partners in a venture to support entrepreneurs seeking technology-based solutions to expanding financial services in the United States and Mexico.One public-private partnership would focus on bringing basic banking services to the Mississippi Delta one of the most unbanked regions in the country, according to a Treasury statement. Another, financed by Coca-Cola, which is based in Atlanta, would provide training in financial literacy and entrepreneurship for women and girls in the southeastern United States.Several companies and nonprofits, along with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, intend to work to develop systems that provide a credit history for more Americans, taking into consideration, for example, their rent payment record.For many, it is hard to imagine how it would be possible to manage financial affairs without basic products like a checking account or a credit card, Mr. Lew said. But the consequences of exclusion are real, and expanding access to financial services is important at every level of the global economy."
"Business"
"SharedElizabeth Wolf lives with her 81-year-old father and 65-year-old mother who both have dementia. Here, Elizabeth helps her mother, Nancy.Credit...Mark Makela for The New York TimesSlide 1 of 15 Elizabeth Wolf lives with her 81-year-old father and 65-year-old mother who both have dementia. Here, Elizabeth helps her mother, Nancy.Credit...Mark Makela for The New York TimesMarch 4, 2016In 2010, Elizabeth Wolf, then 30, was living in Vermont, working for a nonprofit and happily exploring new pursuits, from raising chickens to contra dancing.But after several disturbing phone calls from and about her parents, Louis and Nancy Brood, she moved back into the split-level in Mt. Laurel, N.J., where she and her siblings had grown up, with her now husband, Casey Wolf. She expected to arrange caregiving help for her parents, then return to Vermont. Five years later, she is still taking care of her 81-year-old father and 65-year-old mother, both with dementia. Ms. Wolf, who volunteers with the Alzheimers Assoication, writes about the experience at upsidedowndaughter.com. Her interview has been edited and condensed for space and clarity.My parents called me one day in March and started singing Happy Birthday. It was unsettling. My birthday is in May.My uncle called, too. He and my father had owned an upholstery shop in Philadelphia for 50 years, and it was really bothering him that my dad couldnt do simple math anymore.I dont remember all the doctors appointments that led to Dad seeing a neurologist, but I do remember the appointment where they subjected him to the mini-mental test. He came away from that examination with an Alzheimers diagnosis.We were very concerned about my mother, too. She was asking us the same questions over and over. I said Id talk to the teacher whose classroom she worked in as an aide.The teacher said, Your mother is basically not functioning. She just sits at a table in the back of the classroom and stares out the window.It had been going on for a long time, and we had all been so focused on my dad we had missed it. We ended up taking her to the same neurologist, and she got an Alzheimers diagnosis, too.I told Casey, Were going to come back for two months, October through December. It became apparent very soon that we would need to stay longer.The doctors told me that people with Alzheimers have an average life span, between diagnosis and death, of five to seven years. So I knew were in this for the long haul, whatever that looks like.Now, every morning, I wake up around 6 or 6:30. Ill bring Dad his medicine.I take Mom to the bathroom. I have to take her every couple of hours, otherwise we have what happened this morning, when theres not only a major accident, but the mess ends up everywhere and I have to get her in the bath.I prepare their breakfast. She takes medicine for diabetes, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, and shes on seizure medication and two antipsychotics because she has hallucinations. She stopped swallowing pills willingly a few years ago we were having all-out wars. Now we hide them in chunks of banana.My dad goes to a day program for adults with Alzheimers and dementia. Five days a week, he gets picked up at 8:40 and comes back between 1 and 1:30.Im always looking for more activities to do with him. I found a local voice teacher, and once a week she plays the piano and they sing together, old songs he has in his deep memory recesses. All the Way. Some Enchanted Evening.My mom doesnt have much of an attention span for activities anymore. A lot of what we do all day is wander and sit and stare out the window.At night, we have a motion sensor so that any time their bedroom door opens if my mom has to go to the bathroom, shell wander into the hallway a receptor in our room bings. It goes off maybe six times a night, on average. Some nights it feels like every half-hour.One night recently my dad was so confused, up so many times, and I was exhausted and full of frustration and anger and overwhelming grief. I just went in there and cried in his arms, begging him, Please, go back to sleep. He didnt understand, but he was holding me and crying, too, and saying, Im so sorry. Ill do better. Ill do better.I dont know how to describe that feeling, where you just dont feel like you can go on anymore. And I know I have a lot of things on my side relative to other people in this situation. A supportive husband. Paid help.We just got a grant from the organization Hilarity for Charity. They gave us 25 hours of care a week for a year. We also have a caregiver from one of the state programs. So now we have help Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings.But most of the caregivers arent able to handle my mom in the bathroom or bathe her, so often theyre assisting me. And when I do have help, Im running around trying to do the other thousand things that need to happen to maintain a household. I also work part time from home.Most of my me time is spent going to the gym; I see a therapist and get acupuncture a couple of times a month, too. These are the things I do to stay alive.More than anything, the grief or loss I feel is in the form of loneliness. The isolation. I dont know how to relate to people my age.Once in a while I let myself think about what Ive given up. Casey and I decided not to have children, but I feel like a mother to my parents.I value the incredible intimacy I get to share with them. When I was a teenager, my mother was pretty critical; she ignored me for days at a time. I think she was overwhelmed by motherhood.Now, this role that we share, its changed the dynamic, the history of our relationship. However many years down the line, looking back, Ill think of the moments of tenderness I shared with her, every single day.There was a point in May of 2013 wed been here two and a half years when we had plans to move my parents into a facility. We were going to do a respite stay, and if they fit in, if it went well, wed sell the house.We did everything we could we brought couches and furniture from their bedroom to make the place feel homelike. But it wasnt home. For my dad, it lasted three days. He started having panic attacks, to the point where he was throwing up.He was still with it enough to call us. I remember getting a message from him, weeping. Its Daddy. Please, me and Mom want to come home.Everybody, including his doctor, said, You have to leave him, you have to let him adjust. I couldnt do it. I would never judge the people who do, but I couldnt.Theyve been here 40 years. All my dad ever wanted was this home. Who am I, if I take my dad from his home?"
"Health"
"Health|Vaccine Makers Ranked on Pricing and Researchhttps://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/health/vaccine-makers-ranked-on-pricing-and-research.htmlGlobal HealthCredit...Jacquelyn Martin/Associated PressMarch 13, 2017The pharmaceutical companies GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi sell many doses of vaccines at high prices and do a lot of research with the profits, while the Serum Institute of India makes more doses than any other manufacturer and sells them at low prices, according to the first Access to Vaccines Index, which was released last week.The new index is produced by the Dutch foundation that issues the biennial Access to Medicines Index, which ranks drug manufacturers according to how easy it is for people in poor countries to get the companies lifesaving medications. GSK has led that list since it was first published in 2008.The vaccines index does not rank companies from one to 20, as the medicines index does. There are so few large vaccine companies, and their product portfolios are so diverse, that giving each an overall ranking seemed unfair, said Jayasree K. Iyer, executive director of the Access to Medicines Foundation.So the foundation ranked each vaccine manufacturer on three criteria: research, pricing and supply. Generally, GSK led Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, while Pfizer lagged behind.Despite providing vaccines at low cost, the Serum Institute scored poorly on pricing because it does not explain how it sets fees. The institute concentrates on vaccines recommended by the World Health Organization and sells 1.4 billion doses a year around the world.The vaccine industry has changed rapidly in the past two decades, the report found. The market grew to $33 billion from $6 billion between 2000 and 2014.Generous donor support has gotten vaccines for diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles and hepatitis B to more than 80 percent of the worlds poorest children. But the rest are still missed or do not get the booster doses they need.Also, children in rich countries get protection against certain diseases like chickenpox, German measles, rotavirus, pneumonia, flu and papillomavirus that poor children do not.There is a world to be won by increasing access to vaccines, Dr. Iyer said.The report lists 32 diseases for which vaccines are urgently needed but none exist. A consortium led by donors recently pledged $500 million toward developing vaccines against three of them: Lassa, Nipah and MERS viruses."
"Health"
"Credit...Michael Stravato for The New York TimesJune 10, 2017As more details emerge about the first-ever charges of female genital mutilation in the United States, the case is opening a window onto a small immigrant community, while stirring impassioned discussion about genital cutting among women who have experienced it.At a hearing in Michigan this past week, a federal prosecutor said the defendants two doctors and a clinic manager from a small Shiite Muslim sect were believed to have arranged cutting for up to 100 girls since 2005. The prosecutor, Sara Woodward, said investigators had so far identified eight girls.The unprecedented charges provide an unusual case study of a practice outlawed in the United States two decades ago but still seen in parts of Africa, the Middle East and, less frequently, South Asia. The focus on the Dawoodi Bohra, a sect of about 1.2 million based in western India, with clusters in the United States, Pakistan and elsewhere, is spurring Bohra women to describe their experiences publicly. Some are doing so for the first time, defying the sects historic secrecy about cutting and taking a risk that they or relatives will be ostracized.This Michigan case made me think I want to speak out, said Nazia Mirza, 34, who was cut at age 6 in her hometown, Houston. To me its very much like a rape survivor. If you dont say anything, then how are you going to expose it and bring awareness?The case prompted Tasneem Raja, 34, a journalist, to write about being cut in New Jersey. She said she had received an outpouring of emails from people saying thank you.But Ms. Raja said the case was exposing a spectrum of feelings. Even among Bohra women who oppose cutting, she said, views range from women who say this has greatly impacted their sex life and their ability to enjoy sex, to people like me who walked away with lifelong emotional trauma, to people who say, I dont see what the big deal is.Some worry the case is stoking anti-Muslim sentiment, though cutting is not in the Quran or practiced in many Muslim societies. And some Bohras who oppose cutting nonetheless feel the defendants are being unfairly demonized for a practice endorsed by their religions leadership.I dont want to be pro the practice, but I dont want it to be exaggerated into something completely barbaric, said Maryah Haidery, 37, who comes from a Bohra family in New Jersey and had never spoken publicly about her cutting before.Ms. Haidery, who does medical writing for pharmaceutical companies, said she was very concerned about this violation in Michigan, but also taken aback by how vilified that Michigan doctor had become.Prosecutors, citing phone records, texts, interviews and surveillance video, accuse Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency medicine physician, of cutting the genitals of two 7-year-old girls from Minnesota. Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, an internist, is accused of letting Dr. Nagarwala use his Burhani Medical Clinic in Livonia. His wife, Farida Attar, the clinics office manager, is accused of holding the girls hands during the Feb. 3 procedures and urging others to deceive investigators.According to a criminal complaint, one of the Minnesota girls told investigators that it was a special girls trip for a procedure to get the germs out. A medical examination showed that the girls labia minora had been altered or removed, that the clitoral hood was abnormal in appearance and that she had scar tissue and small lacerations.The other girl said that she got a shot and it hurt really badly and she screamed, and that after the procedure, she could barely walk, and she felt pain all the way down to her ankle, the complaint said. An examination found a small incision in her clitoral hood and a small tear to her labia minora.Dr. Attar said Dr. Nagarwala occasionally used his clinic to see 6- to 9-year-old Bohra girls for problems with their genitals, including treatment of genital rashes, the complaint said.The Minnesota girls parents have not been charged. At least one girl was briefly removed from her parents custody.Michigans Child Protective Services has initiated petitions to terminate custodial rights of several Bohra parents whose daughters are believed to have undergone cutting, including Dr. Nagarwalas 12-year-old daughter and the Attars 8-year-old daughter. The Attars were released on bond, confined to house arrest; Dr. Nagarwala remained in prison.Michigans Dawoodi Bohra mosque, Anjuman-e-Najmi, where the defendants worship, said in a statement after the arrests that any violation of U.S. law is counter to instructions to our community members and does not reflect the everyday lives of the Dawoodi Bohras in America.Recently, the Dawat-e-Hadiyah, an organization overseeing smaller Shiite Muslim sects, hired two well-known lawyers, Alan Dershowitz and Mayer Morganroth, to help the defense, The Associated Press reported.ImageCredit...Clarence Tabb Jr./Detroit News, via Associated PressDr. Nagarwala, 44, who was born in America, received her medical degree from Johns Hopkins and worked at Henry Ford Health System, which fired her after the arrest and said no cutting had occurred at its facilities.Her lawyer, Shannon Smith, said Dr. Nagarwala acknowledged removing a sesame seed-sized amount of mucous membrane from the clitoral hood.What she did does not meet the definition of female genital mutilation, Ms. Smith said, calling it a ritual nick and a protected religious procedure.Dr. Attars lawyer, Mary Chartier, said her client was at a bookstore when prosecutors claim he met Dr. Nagarwala at the clinic. But she said he knew that this century-old religious rite of passage was being conducted at his clinic and believed it wasnt female genital mutilation.It is unclear how common cutting is in the United States. In 1996, genital mutilation of girls was banned, and in 2013, so was traveling outside the United States for cutting. The World Health Organization considers all forms of cutting to be human rights violations.The practice varies by culture and can include narrowing the vaginal opening and sewing it virtually closed, removing the clitoris or labia, or cutting, piercing, burning or scraping the clitoral hood. Dawoodi Bohras form of it, sometimes called khatna, typically involves the clitoral hood. But all types can vary depending on tradition and whether the practitioner has medical training.Lawyers for the Michigan defendants argue that their clients practice is milder than male circumcision.With what my client was doing, Ms. Smith said, were talking removal of the mucous membrane, and the girls are walking out the door 10 minutes later just fine.But while male circumcision has opponents, it is legal, and some medical experts link it to health advantages. In contrast, the cutting of female genitalia can cause serious difficulty or pain during sex, pregnancy or childbirth.Health providers know the harms and the short-term and long-term complications, said Dr. Nawal Nour, director of the African Womens Health Center at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, who is experienced in treating such patients.For the Dawoodi Bohra sect, which encourages education, particularly on a path toward medical and engineering professions, cutting increasingly generates debate.In 2015, three Bohras in Australia were convicted of performing cutting. Afterward, leaders in India circulated letters to mosques worldwide, saying Bohras should follow laws of the countries where they live. Later, however, several Bohra women recalled, the highest Bohra leader gave a speech saying Bohra traditions should continue despite Western opposition.Khatna, like many cutting traditions, is performed by women; men often say they are unaware of its occurrence. Justifications for it vary, including to curb sexual promiscuity, preserve tradition or, said Ms. Raja, take a bad bug or a germ out of you.Ms. Mirza mostly remembers a woman holding me I was screaming. Married with two children, Ms. Mirza, who left the sect, said cutting had totally affected me in terms of my intimacy and struggling to feel pleasure.Ms. Haiderys experience is complex. Cut by a relative with medical training using an anesthetic, she remembers little pain, saying she was told that I had to do this in order to be fit to be married. When an obstetrician examining her during pregnancy noticed nothing unusual, I thought maybe its not a huge deal, she said.Still, she said that I was shocked when Bohra friends in New Jersey mentioned getting their daughters cut and was very happy that I didnt have a girl.Mariya Taher, a co-founder of a Bohra anti-cutting group, Sahiyo, which conducted a 2015 survey of Bohra women, said some Bohras considered cutting a social norm and if you dont get it done youre doing something wrong and youre not helping your daughter out.But more women now consider it gender violence, especially serious because its happening to little girls, she said.Youre tampering with female genitalia, Ms. Mirza said. It violates you as a human being and it shouldnt be done, end of story."
"Health"
"TrilobitesResearchers are gaining a better understanding of the biochemical processes that precede female octopuses deaths after they lay and then tend their eggs.Credit...Matt Cosby for The New York TimesPublished May 14, 2022Updated May 16, 2022Most octopus species live for one year. But the deaths of octopus mothers after they reproduce have long been a scientific spectacle.Why exactly octopus mothers engage in a form of self-harm that leads to death just after they reproduce remains something of a mystery. But a study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology uses the California two-spot octopus as a model to help explain the physiology of this strange behavior.Z. Yan Wang, an assistant professor of psychology and biology at the University of Washington and an author of the study, explained that the female of the species goes through three reproductive stages.After she mates, the mother produces her eggs and handles them with care. She takes each egg, one by one, carefully stringing them into long strands. Then she cements them to the wall of her den, and stays there, blowing water over the eggs to keep them oxygenated and fiercely protecting them from predators.But then she stops eating. She begins to spend a lot of time away from the eggs. She loses color and muscle tone; her eyes become damaged. Many mothers begin to injure themselves. Some rub against the gravel of the seafloor, scarring their skin; others use their suckers to create lesions along their bodies. In some cases, they even eat their own arms.Scientists have known for some time that reproductive behavior in the octopus, including death, is controlled by the animals two optic glands, which function like the pituitary in vertebrates, secreting hormones and other products that control various bodily processes. (The glands are called optic because of their location between the animals eyes. They have nothing to do with vision.) If both glands are surgically removed, the female abandons her brood, begins eating again, grows and has an extended life span.The new study describes specific chemical pathways produced by the optic glands that govern this reproductive behavior.One pathway, they found, generates pregnenolone and progesterone, which is unsurprising, because these substances are produced by many other animals to support reproduction.Another produces the precursors of bile acids that promote the absorption of dietary fats, and a third makes 7-dehydrocholesterol, or 7-DHC. 7-DHC is generated in many vertebrates as well. In humans, it has various functions, including essential roles in the production of cholesterol and of vitamin D. But elevated levels of 7-DHC are toxic, and are linked with disorders like Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, a rare inherited disease characterized by severe intellectual, developmental and behavioral problems. In octopuses, Dr. Wang and her colleagues suspect that 7-DHC may be the essential factor in triggering the self-harming behavior that leads to death.Roger T. Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass., who was not involved in the study, said thatthis is an elegant and original study that addresses a longstanding question in the reproduction and programmed deaths of most octopuses.Dr. Wang said that for us, what was most exciting was seeing this parallel between octopuses, other invertebrates, and even humans. She added that it was remarkable to see this shared use of the same molecules in animals that are very distant from each other.The molecules may be the same, but the death, she said, is very different. We generally view human death as a failure, of organ systems or of function.But in an octopus thats not true, Dr. Wang said. The system is supposed to be doing this."
"science"

Dataset Card for News_Articles_Categorization

Dataset Description

3722 News Articles classified into different categories namely: World, Politics, Tech, Entertainment, Sport, Business, Health, and Science

Languages

The text in the dataset is in English

Dataset Structure

The dataset consists of two columns namely Text and Category. The Text column consists of the news article and the Category column consists of the class each article belongs to

Source Data

The dataset is scrapped across different news platforms

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