Death of Student in China Triggers Questions, Protests – The Diplomat


It was a call no parent wants to receive. On Mother’s Day, around 9 p.m., a woman in Chengdu in southwestern China was told that her son, who she had dropped off at school just hours ago, had died. 

Distraught, she went to Chengdu No. 49 Middle School immediately, but could not even enter the school grounds, she wrote in a series of Weibo posts on Monday that were shared hundreds of thousands of times this week. 

Her account disputing both the police and local government’s account of her 16-year-old son’s death has touched a nerve, becoming one of the most discussed topics on Chinese social media this week. One related hashtag #ChengduNo.49Middle# racked up more than 1.5 billion views alone on Weibo. People online called for justice for the mother and questioned the actions of the school, police and local authorities. 

On Tuesday night, videos of a protest in front of the school circulated. People clutching white flowers shouted “the truth!” again and again. The Associated Press could not independently confirm the veracity of the videos.

The incident reflected the frustration of many Chinese who, in trying to seek justice, are met with local authorities’ deflecting blame and responsibility. Many called on tightly controlled national media to report on the matter or advised the woman to seek intervention from central authorities in Beijing. 

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The school, which serves both middle and high school students, said in a statement on Monday that the student had fallen at around 6:40 p.m. on Sunday night, and that it was investigating and cooperating with the police. The local branch of the education department in Chenghua district in Chengdu said in a statement Tuesday that the incident was a suicide.

Police issued a statement Tuesday saying they were investigating the death of a 16-year-old student at the No. 49 Middle School, and that they had excluded any criminal involvement. “The family has no objection,” the statement read. “We urge the public to not believe rumors and not transmit rumors.”

But rumors continued to swirl as people demanded more information. 

Many wondered on the mother’s Weibo timeline if she had been silenced by authorities, pointing out that she had changed her username shortly after the posts spread widely and that the cellphone model, which is automatically recorded on each post, also changed. 

Other users questioned why there was a gap of roughly two hours between the school’s statement of the student’s time of death and when the mother claimed she was told of the news. Why did the school take two hours to notify her of her son’s death? Why could she not see his body on the same day? 

Others simply repeated the line from the police statement, “the family has no objection.”

On Thursday, China’s official Xinhua News Agency published a report saying that the mother had met with the school on the night of the phone call, but that they had met at the local police department so as to not disturb other students. The school’s director of safety said it took two hours to notify the family because they could not identify the student at first due to the severity of injuries to his head.

State broadcaster CCTV carried a live report from the school and surveillance footage of the student’s fall as seen through his shadow passing through trees.

The mother, who did not reveal her full name online, did not respond to multiple phone calls. A staffer for the school declined to comment saying they had not received directions to speak to media. A police officer at the Chenghua district station directed the AP to the stations’ political department, which did not respond to phone calls.

“In the U.S., when George Floyd died in those dubious circumstances, people had all sorts of demonstrations, but when a high school student dies in dubious circumstances, we can’t get any sort of real information,” said Mike Liu, a 19-year old college student, who had followed the story closely online. 

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On Tuesday night, a large crowd gathered in front of the school, said the owner of a restaurant across the street who gave his last name as Pan. He said he saw roughly 100 people, as well as police officers and security guards everywhere. 

Protests in China, while not uncommon, are usually quickly dispersed by authorities. 

Photos of flowers laid in tribute in front of the school gate on Tuesday night, captured by a photographer for Beijing News, an official paper belonging to the Beijing city government, were quickly deleted from the newspaper’s website by Wednesday afternoon.

Online, people criticized Beijing News for posting the photos, and said the flowers were offered by people paid by foreign forces to stir up trouble. 

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Researchers identify protein produced after stroke that triggers neurodegeneration — ScienceDaily


Researchers with the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute at UT Southwestern have identified a new protein implicated in cell death that provides a potential therapeutic target that could prevent or delay the progress of neurodegenerative diseases following a stroke.

Scientists from the departments of pathology, neurology, biochemistry, and pharmacology at UTSW have identified and named AIF3, an alternate form of the apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF), a protein that is critical for maintaining normal mitochondrial function. Once released from mitochondria, AIF triggers processes that induce a type of programmed cell death.

In a study published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, the UT Southwestern team collaborated with researchers at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and found that, following a stroke, the brain switches from producing AIF to producing AIF3. They also reported that stroke triggers a process known as alternative splicing, in which a portion of the instructions encoding AIF is removed, resulting in the production of AIF3. Defective splicing can cause disease, but modifying the splicing process may offer potential for new therapies.

In both human brain tissue and mouse models developed by researchers, AIF3 levels were elevated after a stroke. In mice, the stroke-induced production of AIF3 led to severe progressive neurodegeneration, hinting at a potential mechanism for a severe side effect of stroke observed in some patients. Stroke has been recognized as the second most common cause of dementia, and it is estimated that 10 percent of stroke patients develop post-stroke neurodegeneration within one year.

The molecular mechanism underlying AIF3 splicing-induced neurodegeneration involves the combined effect of losing the original form of AIF in addition to gaining the altered AIF3, leading to both mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death.

“AIF3 splicing causes mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegeneration,” says senior author Yingfei Wang, Ph.D., assistant professor of pathology and neurology and a member of the O’Donnell Brain Institute. “Our study provides a valuable tool to understand the role of AIF3 splicing in the brain and a potential therapeutic target to prevent or delay the progress of neurodegenerative diseases.”

The findings are important for understanding the aftereffects of stroke, which strikes nearly 800,000 U.S. residents annually. Stroke kills one person every four minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and about one in every six deaths from cardiovascular disease is attributed to stroke — with ischemic strokes accounting for about 87 percent of all cases. Leading causes of stroke include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. Stroke also disproportionately affects certain populations and occurs more often in men, though more women than men die from stroke. CDC figures show Black people have twice the risk of first-time stroke than white people and a higher risk of death. Hispanic populations have seen an increase in death rates since 2013, while other populations have not.

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Dow Jones Futures: Spiking Treasury Yields Hit Tech Stocks; Dow Giant Triggers Buy Signal


Dow Jones futures, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures, were higher following Monday’s tech weakness, as Treasury yields spiked near recent highs. DraftKings, Tesla stock and Zoom Video faltered again Monday, while Dow giant Boeing jumped into buy range.




X



On Monday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite sharply underperformed, falling 0.6%, while the small-cap Russell 2000 tumbled 2.8%, finding resistance at its 50-day line. The S&P 500 moved down 0.1%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded up 0.3% to set a record high. Meanwhile, the small-cap Russell 2000 tumbled 2.8%, finding resistance at its 50-day line.

Among the Dow Jones leaders, Apple (AAPL) rallied 0.15% Monday, while Microsoft (MSFT) declined 0.5% in today’s stock market. Boeing (BA) is back in buy range following Monday’s bullish move.

Tesla (TSLA) skidded more than 1% Monday, adding to Friday’s 3.4% tumble.

Among the top stocks to watch, FANG leaders Alphabet (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) are approaching new buy points.

Microsoft and Tesla are IBD Leaderboard stocks. Boeing was Monday’s IBD Stock Of The Day, while Alphabet and Facebook were featured in this week’s Stocks Near A Buy Zone column.

Dow Jones Futures Today

After the stock market close Monday, Dow Jones futures rallied 0.1% vs. fair value, while S&P 500 futures moved up 0.2%. Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.25% vs. fair value. Remember that trading in Dow Jones futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)33172.29+99.41+0.30
S&P 500(0S&P5)3971.29-3.25-0.08
Nasdaq(0NDQC )13059.65-79.08-0.60
Russell 2000 (IWM)214.44-6.17-2.80
IBD 50 (FFTY)42.44-1.33-3.04
Last Update: 4:38 PM ET 3/29/2021

On Monday, the 10-year Treasury yield spiked as high as 1.728% before closing at 1.721%, adding to Friday’s gains. The 10-year Treasury yield is just shy of its recent highs that were reached on March 19 at 1.754%.

Among exchange traded funds, the Innovator IBD 50 (FFTY) traded down 3% Monday. Nasdaq 100 tracker Invesco QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ) lost less than 0.1%. Meanwhile, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) also moved down less than 0.5%.

Stock Market Rally: Nasdaq Set For Another Test?

Amid the current stock market rally, the Dow Jones Industrial Average set all-time highs Monday, while the S&P 500 index snapped a two-day win streak.

Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq remains below its key 50-day moving average. The Nasdaq will need to overcome this key hurdle in order to maintain its upward trajectory. The 50-day line is a critical potential resistance level. If the Nasdaq decisively clears it, then new highs could be on the horizon.

Friday’s Big Picture commented, “The sharp stock market gains gave the look of a follow-through rally confirmation. The S&P 500’s gain in higher volume qualified as a follow-through. Leading stocks performed well — much better than earlier in the week. With new strength in indexes and top stocks, the market uptrend resumed, as far as IBD’s market outlook goes.”

Despite a resumed uptrend, the stock market’s choppiness has made it hard to make progress. Given such difficulty, it’s best to maintain a more conservative stance until the market proves its recent strength isn’t fleeting.


Stock Market ETF Strategy And How To Invest


Bitcoin Price

Bitcoin briefly topped $61,000 in mid-March to hit an all-time high. The price of Bitcoin hit its high-water mark on March 13, topping out at $61,556.

The price of Bitcoin advanced about 7% Monday to trade around $57,400, according to CoinDesk. The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) looked to continue its rebound from the 50-day moving average, jumping 6.5%.

Dow Jones Stocks: Boeing

Inside the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Boeing is back in buy range above a 244.18 buy point in a cup base. The 5% buy range goes up to 256.39.

Shares rallied 2.3% Monday after Southwest Airlines (LUV) added 100 orders to its Boeing 737 Max jet agreement. The first 30 jets are scheduled for delivery in 2022.

Boeing was featured as Monday’s IBD Stock Of The Day.

Speculative Leaders Tumble

Tech leaders sold off sharply Monday, as the stock market rotation out of speculative growth stocks continues.

DraftKings (DKNG) tumbled 8.5%, closing below its 50-day line for the first time since a Jan. 14 breakout above a cup-with-handle’s 56.08 buy point. The stock is more than 20% off its 52-week high, set just five sessions ago on March 22.

2020 big winner Zoom Video (ZM) fell nearly 4%, hitting a new recent low. Shares are nearly 50% off their all-time high of 588.84 that they set on Oct. 19.

Stocks Near Buy Zones: Alphabet, Facebook

IBD Leaderboard stock Alphabet continues to form a flat base with a new buy point at 2,145.24, according to IBD MarketSmith chart analysis. Shares are about 5% away from the new entry amid Monday’s 1% gain.

According to Leaderboard commentary, “Alphabet has made better progress than other big-cap techs lately. Support at the 21-day line is now flimsy. Watch for the stock to find support as it tests the 50-day line. The last base was second stage.”

Fellow FANG stock leader Facebook is tracing a cup with handle with a 299.81 buy point. Shares moved up 2.8% Monday and are about 3% away from the new entry.

According to IBD Stock Checkup, FB stock shows a solid 91 out of a perfect 99 IBD Composite Rating. The IBD Composite Rating helps investors easily measure the quality of a stock’s fundamental and technical metrics.


IBD Live: A New Tool For Daily Stock Market Analysis


Tesla Stock

Tesla stock declined 1.2% Monday, adding to Friday’s 3.4% loss.

Shares of Tesla ended Monday about 32% off their 52-week high. Tesla stock could be forming a new base, but it is too early for a new risk-optimal buy point.

On Feb. 22, Tesla broke down through its key 10-week moving average line, a critical support level. On Jan. 25, Tesla stock hit a record high at 900.40, after climbing as much as 93% from a 466 buy point in a cup

Dow Jones Leaders: Apple, Microsoft

Among the top Dow Jones stocks, Apple rose 0.15% Monday, extending a win streak to three sessions. Apple stock is rebounding from its long-term, 40-week line and could soon again try to reclaim its 10-week line.

On Feb. 18, Apple stock triggered the 7%-8% loss-cutting sell rule when it fell more than 7% below its 138.89 buy point in a cup with handle.

Meanwhile, software giant Microsoft moved down 0.5% Monday. Shares are back above their 232.96 buy point and are approaching a 246.23 buy point in a new flat base.

Be sure to follow Scott Lehtonen on Twitter at @IBD_SLehtonen for more on growth stocks and the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Top Growth Stocks To Buy And Watch

Learn How To Time The Market With IBD’s ETF Market Strategy

Find The Best Long-Term Investments With IBD Long-Term Leaders

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How To Research Growth Stocks: Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks



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Nine dead, 140 missing in India after broken Himalayan glacier triggers river torrent disaster


NEW DELHI: Nine people were confirmed dead and at least 140 missing in northern India, after a Himalayan glacier broke and swept away a hydroelectric dam on Sunday (Feb 7), with floods forcing the evacuation of villages downstream.

Surjeet Singh, a police official, said nine bodies were recovered so far amid intensified rescue operations.

The flood was caused when a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand on Sunday morning, sending a massive flood of water and debris slamming into two dams and damaging a number of homes.

A video shared by officials and taken from the side of steep hillside shows a wall of water surging into one of the dams and breaking it into pieces with little resistance before continuing to roar downstream.


A view of the damaged Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village in Chamoli district after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, Feb 7, 2021. (Photo: AP)

An eyewitness said he saw a wall of dust, rock and water as an avalanche roared down the Dhauli Ganga river valley located more than 500km north of New Delhi.

“It came very fast, there was no time to alert anyone,” Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives on the upper reaches of Raini village in Uttarakhand, told Reuters by phone. “I felt that even we would be swept away.”

Uttarakhand’s Police Chief Ashok Kumar told reporters more than 50 people working at the dam, the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project, were feared dead though some others had been rescued.

Kumar also said authorities had evacuated other dams to contain the water rushing in from the flooded Alakananda river.

India Glacier Flooding

Indo Tibetan Border Police begin rescue work after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, Feb 7, 2021. (Photo: Indo Tibetan Border Police via AP)

Uttarakhand is prone to flash floods and landslides and the latest disaster prompted calls by environment groups for a review of power projects in the ecologically sensitive mountains.

State utility NTPC said Sunday’s avalanche had damaged a part of its Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower plant that was under construction further down the river. It gave no details but said the situation is being monitored continuously.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was closely monitoring the situation.

“India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone’s safety there,” he said on Twitter after speaking with the state’s Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat.

India Glacier Flooding

People inspect the site near the damaged Dhauliganga hydropower project at Reni village in Chamoli district after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off in the Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, Feb 7, 2021. (Photo: AP)

India’s air force was being readied to help with rescue operations, the federal government said, while Home Minister Amit Shah said disaster response teams were being airlifted in to help with relief and rescue. Army soldiers have already been deployed and its helicopters were doing an aerial reconnaissance of the area.

“All the concerned officers are working on a war footing,” Shah said on Twitter, referring to Uttarakhand by its nickname, the Hindi term for “land of the gods” – due to the numerous Hindu temples and pilgrimage centres located across the state.

India Himalayan glacier (2)

State Disaster Response Fund personnel prepare for deployment in Srinagar of Uttarakhand state on Feb 7, 2021 after a glacier broke off in Chamoli district causing flash floods in the Dhauli Ganga river. (Photo: AFP)

India Glacier Flooding

A police officer asks pilgrims to leave as ghats along the river Ganges are emptied as a precautionary measure in Haridwar, India, Feb 7, 2021. (Photo: AP)

The neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous, put its riverside areas on high alert.

Footage shared by locals showed the water washing away parts of the Rishiganga dam as well as whatever else was in its path.

Videos on social media, which Reuters could not immediately verify, showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment.

“Currently no additional water flows are being reported and there is no flood situation anywhere,” Chief Minister Rawat said on Twitter.

“No loss has been reported from villages along Alaknanda.”

India Himalayan glacier (4)

This screen grab from video provided by KK Productions shows a massive flood of water, mud and debris flowing at Chamoli District after a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand, India, Feb 7, 2021. (Photo: KK Productions via AP)

“HIMALAYAN TSUNAMI”

It was not immediately clear what had set off the avalanche at a time when it is not the flood season. In June 2013, monsoon rains in Uttarakhand caused devastating floods that claimed close to 6,000 lives.

That disaster was dubbed the “Himalayan tsunami” by the media because of the torrents of water unleashed in the mountainous area, which sent mud and rocks crashing down, burying homes, sweeping away buildings, roads and bridges.

Uma Bharti, India’s former water resources minister and a senior leader of Modi’s party, criticised the construction of a power project in the area.

India Himalayan glacier

Police personnel prepare in Srinagar of Uttarakhand state on Feb 7, 2021 after a glacier broke off in Chamoli district causing flash floods in the Dhauli Ganga river. (Photo: AFP)

“When I was a minister I had requested that Himalaya is a very sensitive place, so power projects should not be built on Ganga and its main tributaries,” she said on Twitter, referring to the main river that flows from the mountain.

Environmental experts called for a halt to big hydroelectric projects in the state.

“This disaster again calls for a serious scrutiny of the hydropower dams building spree in this eco-sensitive region,” said Ranjan Panda, a volunteer for the Combat Climate Change Network that works on water, environment and climate change issues.

“The government should no longer ignore warnings from experts and stop building hydropower projects and extensive highway networks in this fragile ecosystem.”

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Twitter’s Controversial Trump De-Platforming Triggers ‘Broader Reckoning’ With Big Tech Agenda



Twitter permanently suspended Donald Trump’s account after he was blamed for the Capitol riots on 6 January in events that resulted in his second House impeachment, with a leaked recording of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey subsequently shedding light on what appears to be a hidden agenda to push on with censorship policy much further than banning POTUS.

Twitter blocked Donald Trump’s account for good on 8 January, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence”, as the president was widely accused of being responsible for inciting his supporters to breach the US Capitol in the riotous events of 6 January.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the time conceded that there are “real and significant ramifications” to the blocking of an account with more than 88 million followers, adding the move constitutes a “dangerous” precedent.

The decision immediately triggered a wave of warnings of big tech’s political bias and ramped up censorship.
Here is a glimpse into the dynamics at play behind the controversial decision to shutter the account of the US President.

‘Misgivings’ Over Suspension

Twitter’s chief executive had received a phone call from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s top lawyer and safety expert, on 6 January to update him that along with company executives she had decided to temporarily suspend President Trump’s account to prevent him from posting statements that might purportedly provoke more violence. This followed an attack by a mob of Trump supporters on the US Capitol that day, writes The New York Times.


©
Sputnik / Artur Gabdrakhmanov

Demonstrators protest outside US Capitol Building in Washington to contest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by the US Congress, 6 January 2021

The move left Dorsey, who had earlier delegated moderation decisions to Gadde, concerned, claim sources cited by the publication.

Throughout Trump’s White House tenure the Twitter CEO had pushed back against demands by liberals and other POTUS critics that the microblogging service terminate his account, ostensibly arguing that the platform was a place where world leaders could ‘speak freely’, but also because he considered the president’s posts newsworthy.

Dorsey was said to have emailed employees, saying it was important for the company to remain ‘consistent’ with its policies. These policies allowed for a user to return after a suspension.

The following day, Dorsey shared several tweets urging caution against a permanent ban of Trump. After the suspension was lifted the next day, Twitter monitored the response to Donald Trump’s tweets across the internet.

Dorsey was subsequently briefed that Trump’s followers had ostensibly seized on the POTUS’s latest tweeted messages to call for more violence.

The referenced tweets on 8 January by President Trump had vowed “American Patriots” who voted for him would have a “giant voice long into the future”. Another Twitter post added that Trump did not intend to attend the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.


©
REUTERS / TOM BRENNER

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden stands at a lectern to deliver remarks as Vice President-elect Kamala Harris looks on during a televised speech on the current economic and health crises at The Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., January 14, 2021

Twitter’s safety team claimed the posts should be viewed “in the context of broader events in the country and the ways in which the President’s statements can be mobilised by different audiences”.

In posts on alternative social networking site Parler, the potential for more ‘real-world unrest’ was perceived as too high.

Twitter employees, including lawmakers, tech investors and others, were also cited as having urged the bosses that Trump be booted off the service, with over 300 staff signing a letter to that effect. The decision to bar Trump, however, preceded the delivery of the letter, claim sources.

A hint at the tensions within Twitter was offered by Jack Dorsey himself in a spate of tweets on 14 January where he wrote that he did “not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban @realDonaldTrump”. Dorsey admitted the move was a testament to the company’s failure to ‘promote healthy conversation.’

Big Tech Under Fire

Since the clampdown, Twitter has been embroiled in a heated debate over big tech influence, censorship and the companies’ accountability.

Lawmaker Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, railed against the decision by Twitter as he appeared in a segment of “Watters’ World” on Fox News.

​Together with host, Jesse Watters, the US Representative for California’s 22nd congressional district discussed the explosive leaked video of CEO Jack Dorsey addressing staff at a virtual meeting.

​The tape, allegedly provided to the outlet by a Twitter “insider whistleblower”, reveals what appears to be plans to push ahead with the platform’s censorship policy further than banning President Donald Trump’s account.

Dorsey is heard instructing staff to focus on the big picture ahead, beyond “the inauguration”.

“So, the focus is certainly on this account and how it ties to real-world violence. But also, we need to think much longer-term around how these dynamics play out over time. I don’t believe this is going away anytime soon,” says Jack Dorsey in the video.

The Twitter CEO then adds that the current company moves were part of a “much broader approach that we should be looking at and going deeper on.”

In response to the explosive report, a Twitter spokesperson was quoted by Fox News as saying the remarks in the video were “nearly the same words” that Dorsey had shared in a Twitter thread offering “context around and reflections on our work to protect the conversation in recent weeks”.

The official response was dismissed as ‘mealy-mothed’ by the host of Watter’s World, with Devin Nunes slamming the moves by Twitter as sick and demented’.

​Twitter has since been accused of following double standards by removing Trump but not ‘autocrats’ elsewhere on the platform.

“This is a phenomenal exercise of power to de-platform the president of the United States… It should set off a broader reckoning,” Evelyn Douek, a lecturer at Harvard Law School, was cited by The New York Times as saying.



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Sydney northern beaches COVID-19 cluster triggers CA to send David Warner to Melbourne early


Cricket Australia were planning to fly Sydney-based Test squad members David Warner and Sean Abbott to Melbourne on Saturday in a bid to avoid them being stranded in the NSW capital for next week’s Boxing Day Test if Victoria shuts it border to people from Sydney due to a virus outbreak.

Warner and Abbott were in Australia’s original 17-member squad for the Border-Gavaskar trophy series against India but neither made the trip to Adelaide for the first Test as a result of injuries.

David Warner has not been ruled out of the second Test in Melbourne.Credit:Getty Images

Warner, who tore his groin during the one-day international series against India last month, remains an outside chance of returning to the side for the second Test at the MCG while Abbott, who strained a calf playing for Australia A against the Indians last week, is eager to link up with the Test squad for the first time.

The new Sydney cluster cause further impact around the first Test at Adelaide Oval on Saturday with Cricket Australia staff questioning commentators, broadcast production personnel and media about whether they had been to particular postcodes in the city before flying to South Australia.



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Are Glock’s Triggers Too Light?


Here’s What You Need To Remember: Some gun owners insist that Glock’s trigger pull is ‘lighter’ than other guns – in essence, it takes less effort to pull the trigger, potentially allowing for safety hazards. Glock, of course, disputes this.

Handgun maker Glock advertises its pistols as the embodiment of perfection, and the Austrian-designed handguns have indeed attracted a fanatical following. One complaint about Glocks, however, is that their trigger pull is too light to be safe, causing accidental discharges. Is there any basis to this rumor?

The Glock 17 handgun was released in the United States in the early 1980s to almost universal acclaim. The new pistol, which made considerable use of polymers to achieve a lighter carry weight, included a number of new or previously obscure features, including a striker-fired operating system. Although not new, the striker-fired system went up against the more traditional hammer-fired system that was then typical of many handguns on the American market.

In striker-fired pistols, the pulling back of the handgun slide half-cocks the weapon, a process that is completed when the trigger is pulled. Pulling the trigger disengages three different safeties, each of which is designed to stop an accidental discharge that doesn’t involve a finger on the trigger.  One of the last actions activated by the pull of the trigger is the release of the firing pin lug, which is then struck by the striker. This striking force finally impacts the primer, setting off a chain reaction that ends with a bullet exiting the barrel of the gun.

Glock calls the striker-fired system its “Safe Action” operating system, and there is a lot of truth to that. A Glock can only be fired if the trigger is depressed, meaning accidental falls from holsters and other objects to the ground cannot, for example, cause a hammer to fly forward and impact the primer. Without human interaction, the three safeties, including the trigger safety, will prevent the handgun from firing.

One major benefit of the striker-fired system is the relatively light trigger pull compared to other handgun operating systems. All full-sized and compact Glocks have a trigger pull measuring approximately twenty-four newtons, or 5.39 pounds, versus twenty-eight newtons of force, or 6.29 pounds of force for smaller, concealed carry Glock handguns. This level of force is not uncommon, however, as out of the box, a 1911A1-type pistol has a trigger pull between 4.5 and 6.1 pounds.

Other handguns, particularly double-action handguns, have much heavier trigger pulls. The Beretta 92, for decades the official handgun of the U.S. military, has an initial trigger pull of thirteen pounds as the trigger goes through the various steps to cause the hammer to fall, then a lighter five-pound pull for subsequent shots.

While many handguns have much heavier trigger pulls, it’s clear that others have precisely the same trigger pull weight as a Glock, and have for decades. It seems likely that the “light trigger pull” of the Glock is more likely due to a combination of factors, including operator error and the design of the gun itself.

Under normal circumstances in which a “light trigger” may prove a problem, the only reason a handgun would go off is if the trigger is pulled. New Glock owners used to the heavier triggers of double action handguns could find themselves applying more pressure to the handgun than needed, causing the gun to go off prematurely. This, however, is a training flaw and not a design flaw.

One issue that might contribute to the controversy is the Glock’s lack of an external safety that prevents the trigger from being pulled. The lack of an external safety means that there is no fail-safe mechanism if the handgun operator violates the third rule of gun safety: always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. A shooter used to being slightly more reckless with an external safety handgun may find themselves punished by a Glock, with serious consequences. While a Glock could arguably benefit from an external safety, the responsibility lies with the individual pulling the trigger.

Glock handguns may have “light” triggers, but historically they are no lighter than other commonly owned handguns. Ultimately, the handgun operator is the only one that can make his or her handgun fire, and it falls to the Glock owner to operate their weapon in a safe manner and learn the ins and outs of his or her firearm. Handguns may be about freedom, but they are also about responsibility.

Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national-security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he co-founded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This article first appeared in December 2018.

Image: Reuters.





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S Gurumurthy meeting Rajinikanth triggers political speculations in Tamil Nadu


Chennai: Political commentator and editor of Tamil magazine Thuglak S. Gurumurthy met superstar Rajinikanth at his Poes Garden residence on Sunday evening and had a two-hour-long chat.  

Though Rajini-Gururmurthy’s meet was described as a ‘courtesy’ call to enquire about the former’s health, the media was agog with speculations about the ‘timing’ of the meet.

 

Gurumurthy, RSS ideologue, had earlier said Rajinikanth has a bright future in politics and he aligning with BJP would be good for the state.  

It may be recalled that Rajinikanth, a few days ago, said he had been advised against entering politics by doctors during this pandemic as he had undergone a kidney transplant.

However, the actor said he would consult the office-bearers of  Rajini Makkal Mandram and announce at an appropriate time whether he would enter politics or not. He also said on his Twitter handle that the statement hinting that he may reconsider his political entry due to his health condition doing rounds on social media was not from him. However, the content related to his health condition and doctors’ advice are true, he said.   

 

With Assembly elections nearing in 2021, expectations that he may announce his party have heightened among his fans and people.



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Dark web crackdown on opioid traffickers triggers 179 arrests across world, including four in UK | Science & Tech News



Police have arrested 179 people, including four in the UK, as part of a global crackdown on dark web opioid trafficking.

More than $6.5m (£5m) in cash was seized in a series of arrests and raids across the US and Europe, which came more than a year after the Wall Street Market darknet site was closed down.

At the time the site – which was operated by three German nationals – was one of the largest online illegal marketplaces, allowing users to purchase illicit items ranging from fraudulent documents to drugs and weapons.

It was accessible though the anonymity-preserving Tor browser, which is legitimately used around the world by people whose access to the internet is controlled by authoritarian governments, but which has also provided criminals with a mechanism to frustrate law enforcement.

The US Department of Justice nicknamed the crackdown Operation DisrupTor – a reference to the software – and said its investigators were continuing to work to identify individuals behind darknet accounts.

The three Wall Street Market administrators were arrested last year after conducting a so-called exit scam, suddenly disappearing with the cryptocurrency they held in escrow for the vendors and purchasers who traded on their site.

Alongside cash and virtual currency, the crackdown led to the seizure of more than 500kg of drugs – around 275kg of which was captured in the US – and 64 firearms.

The drugs included 17kg of fentanyl and 97kg of methamphetamine, along with heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other opioids.

FBI officers in Ohio shut down what was described as “one of the most prolific online drug trafficking organisations” in the US, “which operated using the moniker ‘Pill Cosby’.”

Another narcotics vendor called “NeverPressedRX” was, the FBI said, “so intent on securing his online criminal enterprise that he conspired to use explosives to firebomb and destroy a competitor pharmacy”.

The arrests included 121 in the US, two in Canada, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the UK, three in Australia and one in Sweden, according to the US Department of Justice.

“There will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace,” the DoJ said in its statement.

“Today’s announcement is very much a success story in international law enforcement cooperation, as crime on the darknet is truly a global problem that requires global partnership.

“However, the global nature of the threat also means that foreign countries who fail to act can easily become safe harbours for criminals who seek to pump lethal, addictive drugs into the US from abroad.”



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