Antony Hewish, astronomer who won Nobel Prize for the discovery of pulsars, dies at 97 #SootinClaimon.Com

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Antony Hewish, astronomer who won Nobel Prize for the discovery of pulsars, dies at 97


Antony Hewish, a British astronomer who designed and built the innovative radio telescope used to discover pulsars – dense, fast-spinning stars that emit sweeping beams of radiation – and was honored with a share of the Nobel Prize in physics for his role in their detection, died Sept. 13 at 97.

His death was announced by Churchill College at the University of Cambridge, where he was an emeritus fellow. Dr. Hewish was associated with Cambridge for his entire scientific career, and was working at the school’s Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory when he and his research team detected the first pulsars in 1967.

Like celestial lighthouses, the stars send streams of radio waves or other radiation into the universe, rotating rapidly so that their beams appear to pulse like clockwork. Most pulsars are now understood to be neutron stars, the extraordinarily dense husks of collapsed supergiants. Their discovery ushered in a new era for 20th-century astronomy, helping scientists locate distant planets, search for gravitational waves and investigate the interstellar medium that fills the cosmos.

Along with his Cambridge colleague Martin Ryle, Hewish was one of the first two astronomers to ever win a Nobel Prize. They were honored in 1974 for what the committee described as “their pioneering research in radio astrophysics,” with Hewish cited for playing a “decisive role in the discovery of pulsars.”

Yet the award sparked decades of arguments among scientists who said at least part of the prize should have gone to one of Hewish’s graduate students, Jocelyn Bell. She helped build the radio telescope, operated the instruments, analyzed the data and identified the first pulsars, for which she was later honored with the 2018 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics.

Hewish never denied that Jocelyn Bell Burnell, as she became known as, made the initial pulsar observations. But he noted that he closely investigated the pulses himself, conducting detailed measurements to learn more about the signals, and created the telescope that made their discovery possible.

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“When you plan a ship of discovery and somebody up the masthead says land ho, that’s great,” he said in a video interview that was featured in a recent New York Times documentary about Bell Burnell. “But I mean, who actually inspired it and conceived it and decided what to do when and so on? I mean, there is a difference between skipper and crew.”

Hewish had been studying rapid variations in radio signals when he built the Interplanetary Scintillation Array, a four-acre network of cables and copper wires that stretched across a field near Cambridge. As part of a search for mysterious radio sources known as quasars, the telescope recorded the signals of distant radio waves, which were registered on chart paper as crests and troughs.

Soon after the telescope was completed in 1967, Bell Burnell noticed an unusual squiggle, what she called a piece of “scruff,” that she traced to the constellation Vulpecula. “I wanted to understand what it was, and I ended up taking this problem to Tony. And he said that it was interference,” she recalled in the Times documentary. Referring to herself in the third person, she added that Hewish “had one idea that Jocelyn had wired up the radio telescope wrongly, and it was something to do with that.”

As Bell Burnell told it, she kept studying the scruff, doing a more detailed analysis that revealed a string of pulses about 1 1/3 seconds apart. Once again, she called Hewish. This time he agreed it was a genuine signal, although its source remained unclear; unable to rule out an alien origin, they jokingly named their discovery LGM-1, for Little Green Man, according to a 2018 report in The Washington Post.

Bell Burnell soon discovered a second, third and fourth pulsing signal, suggesting they had discovered a new kind of star. The findings were announced in a February 1968 article in Nature, in which Hewish was credited first, followed by Bell Burnell and three other members of the research team.

Interviewed for the Times documentary, Bell Burnell said Hewish “could have cited me more and didn’t” while presenting their findings at Cambridge. She added that while he became the scientific face of the pulsar discovery, she was interviewed merely for “human interest,” asked about the color of her hair and the dimensions of her hips, waist and chest. “Tony just let it happen,” she said. “It was dreadful.”

When it came to the Nobel Prize, however, she said Ryle and Hewish were fully worthy of the honor. When English astronomer Fred Hoyle asserted in 1975 that Hewish had won by claiming credit for Bell Burnell’s work, she responded by saying Hoyle had “drastically exaggerated the situation” and was “factually incorrect.”

“It doesn’t much bother me that my name wasn’t included,” she told the Guardian in 2009. “In those days, students weren’t recognized by the committee.”

By 1993, when a Nobel Prize was awarded to pulsar researchers for a second time, that practice had apparently changed. The committee honored both the professor overseeing the research, Joseph Taylor Jr., and his graduate student at the time, Russell Hulse.

The youngest of three sons, Antony Hewish was born in Fowey, Cornwall, on May 11, 1924, and grew up in the coastal town of Newquay. His father was a banker, but Hewish showed an aptitude for physics while studying at King’s College boarding school in Taunton and enrolled at Cambridge in 1942 to study science.

Hewish was also a competitive rower, and in a 2008 video interview for Cambridge he recalled spending “afternoons practicing on the river when I should have been in the physics lab.” His grades suffered, and after his first year, he was dispatched to aid the war effort at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, a military research center in Farnborough.

For most of the next three years, he helped develop a device to jam the radar of enemy aircraft, working with electronics and antennas that piqued his interest in radio astronomy. He also met Ryle, the head of the military’s radar countermeasures group, whose lab he joined after returning to Cambridge and graduating in 1948.

Hewish married Marjorie Richards in 1950. She later told the Times that she was surprised when her husband won a share of the Nobel: “The entire prize, my husband would agree, should have gone to Professor Ryle. We expected him to get it, and sharing it has been totally unexpected as far as my husband is concerned.”

They had a son and daughter. Information on survivors was not immediately available.

After receiving his PhD in 1952, Hewish joined the faculty at Cambridge. He was professor of radio astronomy from 1971 until his retirement in 1989, and led the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory for six years at the close of his career. He also delighted in lecturing about physics to wide audiences, including at the Royal Institution in London.

“There is, I think, some special benefit for mankind in the realm of astrophysics,” he said at the conclusion of his Nobel banquet speech in 1974. “It is impossible to witness the interplay of galaxies without a sense of wonder, and looking back at Earth we see it in its true perspective, a planet of great beauty, an undivided sphere. Let us try and keep this image always in our view.”

Published : September 18, 2021

Students are destroying bathrooms, swiping school supplies in latest TikTok challenge gone awry #SootinClaimon.Com

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Students are destroying bathrooms, swiping school supplies in latest TikTok challenge gone awry


In recent weeks, an unusual phenomenon has rippled through schools across much of the country: As students have returned to class, bathroom toilets, soap dispensers, science lab microscopes, parking signs and desks have disappeared or been damaged.

Enticed by a viral TikTok challenge, students have pilfered or vandalized items at their schools and then showed off their antics, or “devious licks,” on the popular social media platform – often as a sped-up version “Ski Ski BasedGod” by rapper Lil’ B plays in the background.

“In two school years unlike any other, this is absolutely the last thing we need to be dealing with,” said Jeffrey Haney, a spokesman for the Canyons School District in a Salt Lake City suburb, where bathroom mirrors have been shattered and toilets flooded.

The “Devious Licks challenge” has sparked condemnation from already-stressed school leaders, a handful of arrests and now action from TikTok, which announced Wednesday that it will remove videos associated with the trend and redirect related hashtags after reports of schools from California to Connecticut experiencing vandalism and theft.

“We do not allow content that promotes or enables criminal activities,” a spokesperson for TikTok told The Washington Post in a statement Friday, noting that content like the Devious Licks challenge goes against the platform’s community guidelines.

Melissa Laudani, principal at Lawton Chiles Middle School in Tallahassee, said the move from TikTok only goes so far: As soon as one hashtag is deleted, alternate phrases or spellings – such as “Diabolical Licks” or “Devious Liks” – pop up.

Laudani said private Facebook groups for principals have been awash in recent days of administrators commiserating over the latest challenge.

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“It’s added stress on the teachers, the students and the staff,” she told The Post.

News reports from around the country suggest that the pranks carry a high price tag: A San Antonio-area school shared photos of shattered mirrors and dislodged soap dispensers in the bathroom, while a Southern California school said paper towel dispensers and fire alarms had gone missing. At one eastern Michigan high school, the principal reported that the trend had devolved beyond swiping trophies for social media clout and into “malicious vandalism,” like intentionally clogged toilets.

School administrators are responding by locking bathrooms and posting supervision outside the doors during the rare times the restrooms are accessible. Messages in public service announcements and letters to parents range from imploring students to help their overburdened school staff to warning that students may face fines, replacement costs, in-school suspension or even criminal prosecution.

TikTok challenges commonly grow from a silly dare or an attempt at a memorable reaction – like the Milk Crate and Frozen Honey challenges – into a viral trend in which participants try to outdo already outlandish feats (often against the pleading of medical professionals).

“It’s all for likes and what they feel is popularity online; they want to be famous,” said Laudani, the Florida principal who has been an educator for nearly 30 years. “It’s not even like the old saying of ’15 minutes of fame,’ it’s more like 30 seconds.”

For some school administrators, the Devious Licks challenge is not only frustrating, it’s baffling in a year when so many were eager to return to in-person schooling.

Haney, with the Canyons School District in Utah, said even though his district is more fortunate than some with investment from taxpayers, it doesn’t have money to spare.

“Every penny we get we want to invest in the classroom,” he said.

Principals in the district have reported broken mirrors, soap smeared all over bathroom walls and floors, and even damage to the heat sensors in the sprinkler system that caused the alarm to “ring and ring and ring.”

The damage estimate at Canyons is still being totaled, but Haney said there’s already been an impact on staff time.

“Our custodians mostly end up responsible for cleaning up,” he said. “In this day and age, we’ve asked our custodians to be on the front lines, asking them to make sure our schools are as clean as possible. And every time they have to clean up this mess, it takes time away from making our schools a safe and welcoming environment.”

The behavior in his district goes beyond kids being kids, he argued. For some of the older students, there could be serious consequences: Students could face felony charges if the damage exceeds $1,000, he said.

“Let’s not forget many of our seniors are over 18, they could face charges as an adult,” he said.

Many of the district’s 34,000 students are fed up, too, Haney added. In Utah, students can access an app called SafeUT, managed by the Utah State Board of Education. Originally launched as a suicide intervention tool, students can also use it to report unsafe behavior: In recent days, students in the Canyons District have used it to report damage associated with the Devious Licks challenge, he said.

On Friday, videos associated with the challenge were still easily accessible on TikTok, sometimes under alternate spellings or slightly reworded versions of the “DeviousLicks” hashtag.

Snippets of unzipped backpacks that revealed stolen soap dispensers were still plentiful, but a new trend had already emerged: Students pointing their phones at the wall or ceiling as an exasperated principal is heard over the public address system telling students to knock it off.

Published : September 18, 2021

Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerias former surveillance-state strongman, dies at 84 #SootinClaimon.Com

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Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Algerias former surveillance-state strongman, dies at 84


Abdelaziz Bouteflika, the former Algerian president who fought in his countrys bloody independence struggle against France and then maneuvered through coups, conflicts and political intrigue to become the longest-ruling leader of Africas largest country, has died at 84.

State television announced his death on Friday, citing a statement from the office of current President Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Additional details were not immediately available.

Bouteflika was rarely seen after being hospitalized for a stroke in 2013. He won a fourth term in office the next year thanks to much-criticized changes in the constitution, but resigned in 2019 following pressure from the army and mass public protests that brought an end to his two-decade rule.

Once considered a dapper and Western-leaning international diplomat, Bouteflika came to reflect what Western foreign-policy analysts often call the “opaqueness” of Algeria, a U.S. ally with significant oil and anti-terrorism capabilities, as well as a secretive government and anti-democratic tendencies.

He was the youngest foreign minister in the world when he took that post in 1963, and 11 years later, turned heads as the youngest president ever of the United Nations General Assembly, where in eloquent French he called for unity among the countries of the so-called Third World.

When in 1999 he became president of Algeria in an election his competitors said was rigged, he ended a traumatizing civil war with Islamists, built commercial and political ties with the West and mercilessly squashed terrorist uprisings, such as the 2013 al-Qaida takeover of the Tigantourine gas facility near the city of In Amenas. Militants took about 800 people hostage in that situation.

Although the terrorists did not succeed in blowing up the site, dozens of foreign workers were killed along with the militants.

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Bouteflika also operated with a level of secrecy and surveillance – and, critics said, corruption – that made real democracy impossible. He jailed journalists and ousted opponents, used periodic handouts to placate an increasingly unemployed and youthful populace, and altered his nation’s laws so he could remain in power.

Although details about his roots have been kept murky, most accounts agree that Bouteflika was born March 2, 1937, in Oujda, Morocco, which borders Algeria.

It was a time of growing social unrest in Algeria, a territory annexed by France, with the colonial pied-noir government growing harsher in its attempt to stem restiveness among indigenous Algerians. Some reports say Bouteflika’s parents had been seeking refuge when they fled to Morocco from their Algerian home near the city of Tlemcen.

On Nov. 1, 1954, bolstered by the withdrawal of French troops from Vietnam months earlier, Algerian rebels launched what would become one of the most gruesome and defining struggles of an Arab-speaking Muslim population against colonial overlords.

Across the country, the new Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN), set off bombs in crowded nightclubs, shot European pedestrians and began a campaign of mutilations and killings that shook the French government, which responded with a crushing campaign of torture, repression and mutilation.

Around this time, Bouteflika traveled to Algeria for secondary school. He soon shifted his attention from studies to the independence struggle and, at 19, joined the FLN.

As part of the group’s armed unit, he rose to become secretary to Houari Boumédiène, an FLN commander who would eventually become Algeria’s most beloved leader.

After eight bloody years, the French conceded to the independence fighters. Ahmed Ben Bella became president of the newly sovereign Algeria, and appointed the 26-year-old Bouteflika as his minister of foreign affairs. But the younger man far outlasted the elder. In 1965, Bouteflika’s longtime mentor, army commander Boumédiène, rolled his tanks to Ben Bella’s residence before dawn and took the presidency for himself.

It was Bouteflika who presented independent Algeria to the world. Barely 30, he represented his country during everything from border conflicts with Morocco to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, in which Algeria fought on the side of the Arabs, to negotiations with the United States and Europe about the nationalization of Algeria’s oil industry.

At the same time, he cut a cosmopolitan figure in world capitals. “He was young, very fashionably dressed, with boots, and he would typically smoke a large cigar,” said William Quandt, a professor emeritus of politics at the University of Virginia who was on the National Security Council under presidents Nixon and Carter. Bouteflika mingled comfortably with other diplomats as he pushed on issues related to the developing and Arab world, in particular the rights of the Palestinians.

In 1974, Bouteflika was elected unanimously by fellow delegates to preside over the U.N.’s General Assembly, where he became not only the youngest president but one of the most controversial.

He suspended apartheid South Africa from participating in the assembly and gave a head-of-state welcome for Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat – actions that irked Western delegates for Arafat’s connection to terrorism but thrilled leaders of the Arab bloc and other emerging nations.

“The West is listening to the Third World and the Third World is finally being heard,” Bouteflika said shortly after his election. “The cohesion and firmly based solidarity of the Third World have imposed a global vision and have opened the way to a new world order.”

But after Boumédiène died in 1978 – the result of an unusual blood disease, some said; poisoning, claimed others – Bouteflika found himself charged by the new regime with misusing government funds. He fled Algeria, spending the next decade, according to reports, in consulting or business ventures in Europe and the Persian Gulf states. While he was gone, his homeland descended into civil war, the outgrowth of an Islamist insurgency that erupted after the army canceled 1992 elections about to be won by the Islamic Salvation Front.

Bouteflika returned in time to stand for Algeria’s 1999 presidential election. The day before the vote, all of the other candidates dropped out, saying that ballot boxes were being stuffed in favor of Bouteflika. He assumed the presidency with a minor percentage of the vote; many Algerians stayed home.

Bouteflika announced an amnesty plan to end the civil war, in which about 100,000 Algerians had died. He put the proposal up for a referendum, asking citizens whether they supported his efforts to let most fighters put down their arms without facing punishment. A huge percentage of war-weary Algerians voted in support of the measure.

It was, many analysts say, the stamp of legitimacy for Bouteflika’s presidency. To the relief of a traumatized nation, the violence of the civil war slowed and nearly stopped.

For the rest of his term, and into his second, Bouteflika worked to manage a country with growing oil revenue and internationally attractive hydrocarbon deposits; Algeria would become one of Europe’s largest suppliers of natural gas. But Algeria was also freighted with high unemployment and an unbalanced demographic weight toward the young that has destabilized other countries in the region.

Bouteflika’s government squashed protests and strikes, and Amnesty International expressed alarm at the continued repression of social and economic rights activists. With the wounds of the civil war still fresh, the government took an even firmer stance against Islamist insurgents, especially after terror groups operating under al-Qaida’s umbrella began bombing targets in the capital city of Algiers in 2007.

When Bouteflika moved to alter the constitution to run for third and fourth terms, Algerians greeted the news with a collective shrug. Bouteflika may have been changing laws, and maneuvering political adversaries out of their jobs, but this was the way things were in Algeria, commentators said, where backroom power brokering was the norm.

But in seeking a bid for a fifth term, he apparently pushed too far. Thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Algiers, in an unusually daring display of public opposition that dislodged him from power in April 2019. Tebboune, a former prime minister who was seen as the military’s preferred candidate, was elected president that December. About 40 percent of eligible voters participated in the election. Thousands of protesters continued to hold weekly demonstrations for more than a year afterward.

“It’s an entire population that is waking up after a long period of national hibernation,” sociologist Zoubir Arous told the New York Times after Bouteflika’s resignation.

Published : September 18, 2021

Mass migration heightens simmering tensions in border community #SootinClaimon.Com

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Mass migration heightens simmering tensions in border community


DEL RIO, Texas – The plight of nearly 14,000 immigrants living in an improvised shantytown underneath a South Texas bridge is deteriorating as heat, hunger and impatience settle over the growing population that is inflaming long-simmering tensions in the border community.

While the encampment is guarded by more than 100 U.S. National Guard troops, Texas state troopers and federal law enforcement, Del Rio officials who have access to the area described a growing “security threat” to its infrastructure and personnel working on the international bridge. Local leaders said they received reports from counterparts in Mexico that 20 additional buses full of migrants are headed in the direction of their city and expected to arrive in coming days.

Del Rio Mayor Bruno Lozano speaks to the media near the international bridge on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Mayor Lozano spoke to the urgency of the situation and declared a state of emergency.  Photo by Sergio Flores for The Washington Post

“We now have one-third of the population of the city of Del Rio, Texas, in a confined space under the international bridge,” said Del Rio Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano, who briefly closed the city-operated toll lanes on the international bridge and paused border traffic. “I had thought the alarm was set on Monday but this is a nuclear bomb alarm. This is no longer sustainable or acceptable.”

Lozano’s temporary shut down of border traffic was a not-so-veiled attempt to pressure his counterparts in Ciudad Acuña, across the river in Mexico, to do more to stop or reroute buses full of migrants away from Del Rio, according to city and county officials.

After much back and forth, U.S. Customs and Border Protection decided to shut down entry into Mexico on Friday just as hundreds of workers were heading back home to Ciudad Acuña for the weekend. Hard laborers, shoppers, families and mothers with children alone at home – all of whom commute daily to Del Rio – were stopped, without much notice, from going home, motorists said. They wondered aloud why they, mostly Mexicans with dual citizenship or special work visas, had to suffer the consequences of mass migration that they consider the fault of both the U.S. and Mexican governments. Halting commerce and pedestrian traffic across the bridge for an extended period would have major economic consequences for both cities.

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Temporary shutdown is the kind of tactical approach Lozano and other Democratic leaders in the Texas border county have employed while navigating the thorny migration politics of their transnational community. In Val Verde County, social media documents the coarsening rhetoric and misinformation-fueled antagonism against immigrants among county residents, who voted for President Donald Trump in 2020.

But the images of what is happening under the international bridge this week are raw and undeniable. Property owners queried U.S. Border Patrol agents earlier this summer about making citizen arrests and shooting migrants who trespass. In a place where some are less than one or two generations removed from their own family’s border crossing, the histrionics are confounding to longtime leaders navigating the political ruptures.

“I don’t want them here. But I’m a humanitarian and they need help and an opportunity,” said Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens. The county leader said he stopped his weekend habit of friendly repartee outside his local hardware store because the immigration debate has become too explosive.

When entreaties of local leaders for more action from federal Democrats were neglected, they embraced the Republican governor’s plan to stop the flow through criminal prosecution and funneling troopers and resources their way. When they talk about immigrants, the politicians know to strike a compassionate tone while training their ire and frustration on the Biden administration.

“I think Washington needs to get off the bench and get into the game,” said Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, whose handful of deputies have been helping with security at the bridge. His office is home to a tent processing center where more than 600 immigrants have been arrested on state trespassing charges and sent to a special state prison unit to await adjudication.

The collective message these elected leaders say they have been sending is that Del Rio, an isolated outpost along the Rio Grande in west Texas, needs help. With one local nongovernmental organization in town, a small airport and a gas station that doubles as a bus station, this community cannot manage all that comes with hosting and moving a mass of migrants that regularly dwarf its population, elected leaders said in interviews.

The Del Rio sector, a gargantuan 47-county riverfront region of sparsely populated brushland, is the second-busiest on the entire Southwest Border. Generations of Mexican men traversed its semiarid terrain, but since January, agents encountered nearly 200,000 migrants from across and beyond the hemisphere. The number of Venezuelans, Cubans and as of late, Haitians, has steadily increased and dialed up tension with the local residents.

When Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, a Del Rio native, started his career, the sector averaged more than 30,000 encounters a year. His agents are coming across nearly as many migrants in a single month in 2021. And that was all before this latest influx of humanity arrived.

Most Del Rio residents will have little to no contact with migrants on a daily basis and crime reports involving migrants are scattered and sporadic, local law enforcement said. The drama under the international bridge is happening several hundred yards behind the George W. Bush-era border fence near the Rio Grande – about a mile from any home. Federal immigration authorities have increased the personnel and resources heading to the bridge with scores of trucks arriving every few minutes with cases of water, portable toilets, catered food and vans full of troops.

A few ambulances have come in and out but so far the sheriff said there have been no major incidents, at least two medical emergencies and one assault reported from among the throngs of people huddled together. Two migrant babies were also delivered in recent days, officials said.

City leaders said it is taking seven to 15 days to process families and move them by bus to Border Patrol stations across the Southwest and as far as El Paso. Earlier this summer, the pattern was most of these migrants were released with a notice to appear in court and travel documents. Within 48 hours, they were headed to San Antonio, Houston and Dallas airports to board flights or bus tickets to Florida and the Southeast – spending little to no time in Del Rio.

At the bridge, bulldozers are clearing land adjacent where the sheriff expects federal authorities to erect a temporary processing center to help accelerate the process and reduce the wait. However, Lozano said his government had not issued a construction permit for the city land.

But while most Val Verde County lives may not change with what’s happening, the impact is palpable. Massive migration disrupts the pace of a place whose rhythm includes running up bar tabs at the White Horse Lounge, dancing away Friday nights to conjunto music in Brown Plaza or fishing for bass at Lake Amistad or swimming in the San Felipe springs every chance they get.

The border community of mostly Mexican Americans has long attracted retirees and grounded Air Force pilot trainees from nearby Laughlin Air Base. Though the sojourn of people across the Rio Grande has long been a part of Del Rio’s heritage, the volume of migrants and of the rhetoric surrounding the border, has pushed county residents uncomfortably into choosing sides.

“We are exhausted,” said Lozano back in June. “I had to put my foot down because I was elected to protect the people of Del Rio, Texas; not to protect those persons that choose to cross here unlawfully. There’s many migrants that I feel are taking advantage of the system.”

Ortiz addressed his former neighbors earlier this year, fielding questions at the Del Rio Civic Center from residents playing out the encounters they had with migrants on their property. Fishing poles went missing. Cars were broken into. And spooked property owners were tired of finding dozens of people in their backyards. At least two people asked Ortiz what legal options they had to act. Ortiz implored them not to take the law into their hands.

“I had one woman who works on the ranches tell me, ‘Lewis, we won’t spend the night out at the ranch because I don’t want to be put in a position that I might have to kill somebody,’ ” Owens said. “So, you know, they’re scared, and I’m scared if we don’t do something different, it’s only a matter of time before one of my citizens ends up shooting somebody.”

That was all before this week. Now, rumors of protests at the bridge and vigilante groups are popping in emails to the sheriff, mayor and county judge. No one knows what to expect next.

“The immigration system has been broken for the last 40, 50 years and it’s being used as a political football,” Martinez told reporters. “This is a time that we all need to come together and stand together and fix our problems long term.”

Published : September 18, 2021

Mystics flop against Liberty with playoff spot on the line #SootinClaimon.Com

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Mystics flop against Liberty with playoff spot on the line


NEW YORK – Natasha Cloud walked into a cavernous room in the bowels of Barclays Center, sat on a platform and stared straight ahead. As technical difficulties played havoc with the video teleconference equipment, irritation radiated off the Washington Mystics leader, clad in a black hoodie with her hair pulled back in her trademark game-day bun.

Cloud’s smile can light up a room, but her fury is never far away. A 91-80 loss to the New York Liberty in a game that would have clinched a playoff berth brought out the anger.

Washington (12-19) still can clinch the final playoff spot with a win against the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday because it holds a tiebreaker against the Los Angeles Sparks (12-19). A loss eliminates the Mystics because the Liberty (12-20) now holds the tiebreaker over Washington.

“We didn’t handle business tonight,” Cloud said. “We didn’t come in ready to play. We didn’t come in ready for the game scheme. And we didn’t buy in completely. That’s frustrating when our season is on the line.

“I think we made them look like all-stars.”

The Mystics walked onto the floor Friday as the veteran team that had missed the playoffs just once since 2013. They had four days to prepare for a win-and-you’re-in showdown against the Liberty. That did not show during the 40 minutes of game time.

The young Liberty had lost eight straight, a streak that cost it control of its destiny as their season spiraled out of control. New York, however, was the more poised and focused team as it built a 20-point first-half lead that got as high as 24 early in the second half.

The Liberty was efficient all night, shooting 51.6% from the field and 45.5% from 3-point range. The team knocked down seven first-half 3s en route to setting the WNBA single-season record with 321.

Natasha Howard finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds for New York. Sabrina Ionescu ran the show all night with 22 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Sami Whitcomb added 13 points and seven rebounds. Rebecca Allen helped put the Mystics in a hole with three first-half baskets from behind the arc.

“If we don’t buy in on the defensive end, we’re not going to win, period,” Cloud said. “I don’t care what we do on offense. … It doesn’t matter how many points we score if we don’t play defense and we don’t buy into individual matchups and then collectively as a team. So that’s the frustrating part that this has been all season long that we’ve been harping on the defense.

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“I don’t think we took pride in individual matchups and knowing players’ tendencies and keeping people out of the middle of the floor and playing or forcing to the baseline side. Our weak side wasn’t there. . . . We just need to buy in defensively because that was embarrassing for us defensively.”

Ariel Atkins, who missed the past two games following the death of her grandmother, led a second-half rally and finished with 29 points. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 12 off the bench, and Tina Charles had 10 points and seven assists while routinely double-teamed. The Mystics cut the lead to 81-76 with 4:25 remaining, but the Liberty closed on a 10-4 run. Atkins, who played with a heavy heart, plainly said that if teams don’t get stops, teams don’t win basketball games.

“The only reason I’m back here is because of my team,” Atkins said as tears welled in her eyes. “I’m having a hard time playing basketball. But the only reason I’m here is because of them. So I’m not worried about nothing else. My family got me back home. I’m here for my team. So it is not about scoring this, scoring that. We’re trying to win basketball games. They held me down, so I’m here for them right now.”

The Mystics went into halftime trailing 47-29 after an ugly 20 minutes on both ends of the floor. Both teams opened the game playing at an extremely high level, but the Liberty closed the first quarter on a 11-3 run that opened things up in front of a raucous Brooklyn crowd.

Energy wasn’t the problem for the Mystics, but execution was. New York continuously found good looks on the offensive end and made Washington pay. The Liberty shot 53.6% from the field and 63.6% from behind the arc as four of five starters buried at least one 3 in the first half. Allen was 3 of 4, and Ionescu was 2 of 3.

The Mystics had every player available except Elena Delle Donne (back). The team was without Coach Mike Thibault, who missed his first game since 2017 after he entered the league’s health and safety protocol after testing positive for the coronavirus. Associate coach Eric Thibault, Mike’s son, was a head coach for the first time.

“The most obvious thing was we helped off some people we weren’t supposed to help off,” Eric Thibault said. “When you talk about, for three days, Rebecca Allen spacing the floor and you’ve got to be careful about leaving her, and then we left her several times in the first half. We did a better job in the second half after we kind of regrouped. Had a few miscommunications in the second half. . . . Some personnel breakdowns defensively and then some coverage breakdowns even into the second half.

“It’s hard to put yourself in that position on the road in a big game.”

Published : September 18, 2021

France recalls ambassadors to U.S., Australia over submarine row #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006312

France recalls ambassadors to U.S., Australia over submarine row


“At the request of the President of the Republic, I decided to immediately recall to Paris for consultations our two ambassadors in the United States and Australia. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on Sept. 15 by Australia and the United States,” said French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian.

France has decided to recall its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations after Canberra scrapped a deal to acquire French-designed submarines and decided instead to invest in U.S. nuclear-powered submarines.

“At the request of the President of the Republic, I decided to immediately recall to Paris for consultations our two ambassadors in the United States and Australia. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on Sept. 15 by Australia and the United States,” said French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian in a statement on Friday.

It is the first time in the history of France that such a decision was taken vis-a-vis these two countries, according to French media.

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Earlier in the day, Secretary of State for European Affairs Clement Beaune said France cannot trust Australia in its ongoing trade talks with the European Union (EU) after the new security partnership called “AUKUS” (Australia-UK-U.S.) was unveiled by the three countries on Wednesday.

Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, D.C.(Xinhua/Liu Jie)Photo taken on Sept. 3, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, D.C.(Xinhua/Liu Jie)

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A first initiative under the trilateral partnership will be the delivery of a nuclear-powered submarine fleet to Australia by the U.S. and the UK, while back in 2016 Australia signed a contract with France for the purchase of 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines.

Le Drian on Thursday called the trilateral move a “stab in the back.” “We had established a relationship of trust with Australia. This trust has been betrayed,” he said.

“The American behavior worries me; this unilateral and brutal decision is very similar to what Mr. (Donald) Trump was doing,” he added.

Amid international worries about the proliferation of nuclear material and technology via the deal, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said in a press release that it will “engage with them (Australia, the U.S., and the UK) on this matter in line with its statutory mandate, and in accordance with their respective safeguards agreements with the Agency.”

China has also voiced opposition against the trilateral move, describing it as a “sheer act of nuclear proliferation.”

Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, has said that “by openly providing assistance to Australia,” a non-nuclear weapon state, in its acquisition and building of the nuclear-powered submarine, it will “apparently give rise to proliferation of nuclear materials and technologies.” 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) talks with U.S. President Joe Biden after their meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, on June 10, 2021. (Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (L) talks with U.S. President Joe Biden after their meeting in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, Britain, on June 10, 2021. (Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street/Handout via Xinhua)

Published : September 18, 2021

Booster shot debated as U.S. struggles against COVID-19 with vaccination plan #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006311

Booster shot debated as U.S. struggles against COVID-19 with vaccination plan


New coronavirus cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the United States have started to show signs of decline, although they remain far higher than they were earlier in the summer, and the number of new deaths is still increasing.

Abooster shot for COVID-19 vaccination was debated in the United States on Friday, while the pandemic keeps charging forward, though some states are faring better than previous weeks, like California.

According to The New York Times (NYT), the seven-day average of confirmed cases of the pandemic stood at 150,366 nationwide on Thursday, with its 14-day change striking a 9-percent fall. COVID-19-related deaths were 1,969 on Thursday, with the 14-day change realizing a 29-percent rise.

MIXED DEVELOPMENTS

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New coronavirus cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the United States have started to show signs of decline, although they remain far higher than they were earlier in the summer, and the number of new deaths is still increasing, reported NYT on Friday.

As the Delta variant has ripped through unvaccinated communities, reports of new deaths have reached an average of more than 1,900 a day, up nearly 30 percent in the past two weeks. Approximately one in every 500 Americans has died from the disease, said the report.

Customers wearing mask are seen at a shopping mall in San Mateo, California, the United States, Aug. 4, 2021. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)Customers wearing mask are seen at a shopping mall in San Mateo, California, the United States, Aug. 4, 2021. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaoling)

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The pace of vaccinations remained relatively sluggish, with 64 percent of eligible people in the United States fully vaccinated, according to federal data. Health officials said that most of the patients who are being hospitalized and dying are not vaccinated, while areas with higher rates of vaccination have generally fared better, added the report.

Good news was that earlier this week, California dropped from “high” to “substantial” virus spread, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It later bounced back up, but total new cases per 100,000 residents were still lower than any other state.

“An aggressive push for vaccines, coupled with masks mandates at the local level and a public largely willing to go along with them, appear to have helped flatten the state’s curve,” The Washington Post (WP) on Friday quoted experts as saying.

“California, as compared to many other states in the nation, took rapid steps to recognize the extent of the problem and to apply more COVID-19 control measures,” Robert Kim-Farley, an infectious disease expert at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told WP. “I think if California had not taken these steps to curb transmission, we could have ended up with much higher levels.”

The Golden State’s change in CDC designation, a barometer of how well states are doing in combating the virus, was celebrated by public health officials, who suggested it was a signal that California could be close to a turning point. However, “the fight against Delta is far from over in California, which still faces a host of challenges in containing cases,” said the report.

Photo taken on Aug. 23, 2021 shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, the United States. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)Photo taken on Aug. 23, 2021 shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Silver Spring, Maryland, the United States. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua)

BOOSTER DEBATE

The U.S. government’s push to introduce widespread COVID-19 vaccine boosters faced a test as a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel met on Friday to weigh evidence on the extra shots, a topic that has divided federal health officials.

The outside panel of about 20 scientific advisers reviewed information about the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE vaccine’s declining protection against COVID-19 over time and on how people tolerated additional doses.

Pfizer has asked regulators to clear booster shots for people 16 years and older, and the FDA, which this week said all the shots cleared for use in the country remain effective without boosters.

While U.S. health officials, some other countries and vaccine makers have said boosters are needed, many scientists, including some inside the FDA and the CDC, disagree.

The FDA panel then voted to recommend COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for Americans 65 and older and those at high risk of severe illness, but rejecting a broader use of booster shots.

“Anything short of a full-throated endorsement could complicate the (U.S. President Joe) Biden administration’s plan to begin distributing extra shots next week to bolster immunity among the vaccinated and counter highly transmissible variants of the virus such as Delta,” reported The Wall Street Journal on Friday. 

People wait in line to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine clinic in the Brooklyn borough of New York, United States, Aug. 23, 2021. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)People wait in line to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile vaccine clinic in the Brooklyn borough of New York, United States, Aug. 23, 2021. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Xinhua)

Published : September 18, 2021

Covid-related deaths down in Asean countries #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006309

Covid-related deaths down in Asean countries


Southeast Asia on Friday reported the least number of Covid-related deaths in a week, although new cases were marginally higher, collated data showed.

Asean countries saw 72,071 new cases, higher than Thursday’s 71,269, and 1,345 deaths, down from 1,460 the previous day.

The number of Covid-19 cases crossed 11.33 million and deaths rose to 249,711.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 69, on Friday received a Covid-19 booster shot after having been inoculated previously with two doses of Pfizer since January. He urged other elderly people to come forward to get a shot amid a new wave of infections across the country. The government had earlier announced that all citizens aged over 60 years as well as those who have underlying health problems will get a booster shot to protect against Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Indonesia reported 3,835 new cases and 219 deaths on Friday, bringing cumulative cases in the country to 4,185,144 with 140,138 deaths. Authorities announced that from Thursday, residents in Jakarta who have yet to receive any vaccine will be eligible for a Pfizer or Moderna jabs by walking into a vaccination centre, adding that children aged over 12 and pregnant women will get a Pfizer shot while those over 18 years will get a Moderna shot instead.

Published : September 18, 2021

Giant panda cubs receive public visitors in China zoo #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006308

Giant panda cubs receive public visitors in China zoo


Twin panda brothers born in a zoo in southwest Chinas Chongqing Municipality started to receive public visitors on Friday.

Afemale panda named “Mangzai” gave birth to them on June 10. “Giant pandas often only choose the stronger one of the twins to feed,” said Yin Yanqiang, technical director taking care of the animals at Chongqing Zoo.

“To ensure the survival of the two, we carried out artificially assisted feeding, with one brought up by the panda mom and the other artificially raised in the nursery box. We exchanged their places regularly to allow both of them to enjoy the breast milk in time,” Yin said.

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The brothers are growing well with concerted efforts. The older cub now weighs 6,060 grams and the younger one 5,680 grams, said Yin, adding that the twins have different personalities. “The older brother is more active and alert, while the younger cub gentler and quieter.”

The nursery receives visits in two timeslots from Friday, 10:00-11:00 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m., and the public is invited to give names for the cubs. 

Published : September 18, 2021

Cuba sees over 8,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day #SootinClaimon.Com

#SootinClaimon.Com : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation.

https://www.nationthailand.com/international/40006304

Cuba sees over 8,000 new COVID-19 cases in one day


Meanwhile, the Cuban government is accelerating its vaccination drive against COVID-19, with over 39 percent of the total population of 11.2 million people immunized so far with one of the three-dose vaccines produced by Cuba: Abdala, Soberana-02 and Soberana Plus.

Cuba on Friday said it registered 8,291 new cases of COVID-19 infection in 24 hours, pushing the total number of cases detected to date here to 784,416.

The Ministry of Public Health also reported 75 more deaths from the disease in the same period, raising the pandemic death toll to 6,676.

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Of the total number of new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, 8,260 were the result of community transmission, the ministry’s director of hygiene and epidemiology, Francisco Duran, said in presenting his daily pandemic update.

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The province of Pinar del Rio remains the epicenter of the pandemic on the island, with 1,629 new cases and an incidence rate of 3,425 per 100,000 inhabitants, the highest in the country.

Meanwhile, the Cuban government is accelerating its vaccination drive against COVID-19, with over 39 percent of the total population of 11.2 million people immunized so far with one of the three-dose vaccines produced by Cuba: Abdala, Soberana-02 and Soberana Plus. 

Published : September 18, 2021