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News Slideshows (09/16/2020 15 hours)


  • 1/82   News Photos Slideshows
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    News Photos Slideshows - Hot Trends - Click on the image to view in augmented reality or in stereo 3D

    News Photos Slideshows - Hot Trends - Click on the image to view in augmented reality or in stereo 3D


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    Press Review


    Clippers   Kawhi   Despacito   Hump Day   Paul George   Manipulated Media   Holocaust   Boeing   Jamal Murray   Daniel Dale   Timbs   Playoff P   Dame   Orange Beach   Undertale   Pat Bev   
  • 2/82   Oscars diversity rules: Progress or patronizing?
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    The Academy Awards will require Best Picture nominees to meet certain diversity requirements starting in 2024. Will the rules improve representation or are they an empty gesture?

    The Academy Awards will require Best Picture nominees to meet certain diversity requirements starting in 2024. Will the rules improve representation or are they an empty gesture?


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  • 3/82   Viola Davis’s message to white women: ‘Get to know me’
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    But Davis does see a path forward: empathy and becoming educated on one another’s experiences.

    But Davis does see a path forward: empathy and becoming educated on one another’s experiences.


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  • 4/82   Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys’s husband, says hip-hop industry lacks compassion
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Iconic hip-hop producer and Alicia Keys’s husband, Swizz Beatz, isn’t afraid to tell his guy friends he loves them.

    Iconic hip-hop producer and Alicia Keys’s husband, Swizz Beatz, isn’t afraid to tell his guy friends he loves them.


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  • 5/82   Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison, Snooki Says
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison

    Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Is 'Having the Time of His Life' in Prison


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  • 6/82   'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com"Avengers: Endgame" tickets went on sale Tuesday and just like Thanos' famous snap, they were gone just like that. But way more than half.Fandango is reporting that "Endgame" has broken its pre-sale records, topping the previous holder, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."(MORE: New 'Avengers: Endgame' trailer features Captain Marvel, the battle to beat Thanos)Guess the force is strong with Earth's mightiest heroes. ...

    'Avengers: Endgame' tops 'Star Wars,' breaks previous pre-sale record originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com"Avengers: Endgame" tickets went on sale Tuesday and just like Thanos' famous snap, they were gone just like that. But way more than half.Fandango is reporting that "Endgame" has broken its pre-sale records, topping the previous holder, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."(MORE: New 'Avengers: Endgame' trailer features Captain Marvel, the battle to beat Thanos)Guess the force is strong with Earth's mightiest heroes. ...


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  • 7/82   Selma Blair reveals she cried with relief at MS diagnosis after being 'not taken seriously' by doctors
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    The 46-year-old actress is now revealing the agony she went through before receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) last August.'Ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn't know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal,' Blair told Robin Roberts in an interview that aired Tuesday on 'Good Morning America.' 'And I was self-medicating when he wasn't with me.  Blair recalled that she would get so fatigued prior to her diagnosis that she would need to pull over to take a nap after dropping her son, now 7, off at his school one mile away from their home.  During her interview with 'GMA' at her Los Angeles home, Blair was in an 'exacerbation' of MS, or an attack that causes new symptoms or the worsening of existing symptoms.

    The 46-year-old actress is now revealing the agony she went through before receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) last August.'Ever since my son was born, I was in an MS flare-up and didn't know, and I was giving it everything to seem normal,' Blair told Robin Roberts in an interview that aired Tuesday on 'Good Morning America.' 'And I was self-medicating when he wasn't with me. Blair recalled that she would get so fatigued prior to her diagnosis that she would need to pull over to take a nap after dropping her son, now 7, off at his school one mile away from their home. During her interview with 'GMA' at her Los Angeles home, Blair was in an 'exacerbation' of MS, or an attack that causes new symptoms or the worsening of existing symptoms.


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  • 8/82   They won't be loved: Maroon 5 play it safe with dullest halftime show of all time
    PEOPLE TOPIC NEWS

    Maroon 5 could have silenced their many haters with a spectacular performance. But they didn’t do that.

    Maroon 5 could have silenced their many haters with a spectacular performance. But they didn’t do that.


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  • 9/82   Do star athletes make too much money?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    With athletes in America's biggest sports leagues raking in salaries worth $300 million and more, is it time to reign in the big spending or do superstars deserve the big bucks they make?

    With athletes in America's biggest sports leagues raking in salaries worth $300 million and more, is it time to reign in the big spending or do superstars deserve the big bucks they make?


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  • 10/82   Live animal mascots: Cute or exploitative?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Animal rights activists have repeatedly called for college sports teams to stop using real animals as their mascots. Are these complaints fair or an overreaction?

    Animal rights activists have repeatedly called for college sports teams to stop using real animals as their mascots. Are these complaints fair or an overreaction?


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  • 11/82   Does U.S. women's soccer deserve equal pay?
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Has the U.S. women's soccer team done enough to warrant salaries that match their male counterparts? The 360 gives you all the angles on heavily-debated topics in the news.

    Has the U.S. women's soccer team done enough to warrant salaries that match their male counterparts? The 360 gives you all the angles on heavily-debated topics in the news.


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  • 12/82   After fighting for 9/11 victims, Jon Stewart turns to Warrior Games
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    The former “Daily Show” host is serving as the host and emcee of this week’s 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, where about 300 wounded, ill or injured active-duty and veteran military athletes are competing in 14 adaptive sports.

    The former “Daily Show” host is serving as the host and emcee of this week’s 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games in Tampa, where about 300 wounded, ill or injured active-duty and veteran military athletes are competing in 14 adaptive sports.


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  • 13/82   Kevin Love talks anxiety, depression and the time he thought he was going to die mid-game
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. NBA All-Star Kevin Love’s mental health journey began in a moment of anxiety on the basketball court during a November 2017 game against the Atlanta Hawks.

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. NBA All-Star Kevin Love’s mental health journey began in a moment of anxiety on the basketball court during a November 2017 game against the Atlanta Hawks.


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  • 14/82   Is there a crisis with our boys? Expert says they need love, not discipline
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. You can watch the current week's full episode of “Dear Men” every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku. So why are young men struggling? So I don’t never hold back my tears when I'm feeling an emotional overload,” he said.

    “Dear Men” explores how men are navigating the evolution of manhood. You can watch the current week's full episode of “Dear Men” every Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Roku. So why are young men struggling? So I don’t never hold back my tears when I'm feeling an emotional overload,” he said.


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  • 15/82   Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I'm still coping with it
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls. But Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.

    It has been a year since former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for abusing more than 150 girls. But Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman is still coming to terms with the sexual abuse she experienced as a teenager.


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  • 16/82   Aly Raisman on Larry Nassar assault: Sometimes people forget I’m still coping with it
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman tells the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that she sometimes finds it difficult to hear the graphic details in the sexual assault stories of others, as she is still coping with her own traumatic experience.

    Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman tells the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes” that she sometimes finds it difficult to hear the graphic details in the sexual assault stories of others, as she is still coping with her own traumatic experience.


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  • 17/82   For the love of the brain: One mother's fight for CTE awareness
    SPORTS TOPIC NEWS

    Karen Kinzle Zegel spends her days working on the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation website, fielding questions and giving out information on a disease she barely knew existed five years ago – until it took the life of her son, for whom the foundation is named. Karen remembers, “We were a football family, his dad was a coach, I would cheer and yell and you know, do all the things the football mom does. At the time, she was unaware of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head – and the role it was playing in Patrick’s life.

    Karen Kinzle Zegel spends her days working on the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation website, fielding questions and giving out information on a disease she barely knew existed five years ago – until it took the life of her son, for whom the foundation is named. Karen remembers, “We were a football family, his dad was a coach, I would cheer and yell and you know, do all the things the football mom does. At the time, she was unaware of CTE – chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head – and the role it was playing in Patrick’s life.


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  • 18/82   PHOTOS: Fluorescent turtle embryo wins forty-fifth annual Nikon Small World Competition

    The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.

    The winners of the 45th annual competition showcase a spectacular blend of science and artistry under the microscope.


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  • 19/82   7 tax scams to watch out for this year

    In case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.

    In case wringing your hands over the tax man weren’t enough, criminals are out there trying to swipe your hard-earned cash and personal information from right under your nose.


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  • 20/82   Mother Angry After School's Robocall Keeps Mispronouncing Daughter's Name As A Racial Slur

    The daughter's name is Nicarri.

    The daughter's name is Nicarri.


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  • 21/82   What the CIA thinks of your anti-virus program

    PARIS (AP) — Peppering the 8,000 pages of purported Central Intelligence Agency hacking data released Tuesday by WikiLeaks are reviews of some of the world's most popular anti-virus products.

    PARIS (AP) — Peppering the 8,000 pages of purported Central Intelligence Agency hacking data released Tuesday by WikiLeaks are reviews of some of the world's most popular anti-virus products.


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  • 22/82   Google Patents Sticky Car Hood to Trap Pedestrians in a Collision

    The patent calls for a giant sticker to be placed on the front end of a vehicle, with a special coating over the layer that is only broken when something collides with the vehicle, exposing the adhesive and helping the colliding object to remain on the vehicle.  The idea is to prevent a pedestrian from being thrown after the impact and potentially sustaining even more injuries.

    The patent calls for a giant sticker to be placed on the front end of a vehicle, with a special coating over the layer that is only broken when something collides with the vehicle, exposing the adhesive and helping the colliding object to remain on the vehicle. The idea is to prevent a pedestrian from being thrown after the impact and potentially sustaining even more injuries.


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  • 23/82   Relax, Your Instagram Feed Likely Won't Change Tomorrow

    Relax, your Instagram feed likely isn't changing tomorrow.The great "Insta-freakout" of 2016 was unleashed this morning by a slew of celebrities, bloggers and social media aficionados after they alerted followers to turn on post notifications for future access to their photos, videos and messages. ...

    Relax, your Instagram feed likely isn't changing tomorrow.The great "Insta-freakout" of 2016 was unleashed this morning by a slew of celebrities, bloggers and social media aficionados after they alerted followers to turn on post notifications for future access to their photos, videos and messages. ...


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  • 24/82   'Hack the Pentagon' and get paid legally in new program

    Attention hackers: Time to re-watch “WarGames” and crack your knuckles, the Pentagon is about to pay you to break into some government systems.

    Attention hackers: Time to re-watch “WarGames” and crack your knuckles, the Pentagon is about to pay you to break into some government systems.


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  • 25/82   Elon Musk's Hyperloop Vision Could Be Ready for Passengers by 2018

    The Hyperloop, Elon Musk's vision of launching humans through pods inside a high-speed transportation system, could be ready for passengers by 2018, according to a company building a transportation track in California.  One company working to make Musk's vision a reality, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said it has filed for construction permits in Quay Valley, California, for a 5-mile track.  'We are announcing the filing of the first building permit to Kings County to the building of the first full-scale hyperloop, not a test track,' Bibop Gresta, the chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a CNBC/TradeShift event.

    The Hyperloop, Elon Musk's vision of launching humans through pods inside a high-speed transportation system, could be ready for passengers by 2018, according to a company building a transportation track in California. One company working to make Musk's vision a reality, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said it has filed for construction permits in Quay Valley, California, for a 5-mile track. 'We are announcing the filing of the first building permit to Kings County to the building of the first full-scale hyperloop, not a test track,' Bibop Gresta, the chief operating officer of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, said today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, during a CNBC/TradeShift event.


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  • 26/82   Avowed Apple Fan Jeb Bush Realizes His Apple Watch Can Take Phone Calls

    Jeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”

    Jeb Bush's love of Apple products has been widely documented, and the Republican presidential candidate continues to wear his Apple Watch on the campaign trail. Yesterday, in a meeting with The Des Moines Register editorial board documented by USA Today, Bush stumbled upon a feature he didn’t realize his smartwatch was capable of: taking phone calls. Somehow Bush managed to take a call without picking up his iPhone, and the sound of a person’s voice saying hello breaks through the meeting noise, to which Bush responds, “My watch can’t be talking.”


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  • 27/82   Man Proposes by Text Message While Stranded at Chicago's O’Hare Airport

    An Arizona man waiting to fly home to propose to his girlfriend was forced to propose to her via text message after spending 50 hours stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.  Danny Roderique, of Phoenix, had the diamond engagement ring in his pocket but the delay got in the way of the proposal he’d planned.  “I’ve been stranded now in the airport for 50 hours,” Roderique told a reporter from ABC affiliate WLS-TV while still waiting at O’Hare on Monday.

    An Arizona man waiting to fly home to propose to his girlfriend was forced to propose to her via text message after spending 50 hours stranded at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Danny Roderique, of Phoenix, had the diamond engagement ring in his pocket but the delay got in the way of the proposal he’d planned. “I’ve been stranded now in the airport for 50 hours,” Roderique told a reporter from ABC affiliate WLS-TV while still waiting at O’Hare on Monday.


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  • 28/82   Twitter Warns Some Users Over Possible Government Hacking

    It's unclear how many people received a letter from Twitter.  In October, Facebook said it would begin issuing alerts to users who the social network believes are being targeted by state-sponsored hackers, according to a message posted by Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer.

    It's unclear how many people received a letter from Twitter. In October, Facebook said it would begin issuing alerts to users who the social network believes are being targeted by state-sponsored hackers, according to a message posted by Alex Stamos, Facebook's chief security officer.


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  • 29/82   Facebook Notifications Get Even More Personal

    Facebook notifications may now be your first stop in the morning to catch up on everything from friends' news to weather, sports scores and what to expect later in the day.  The social network announced this week it will be rolling out expanded, personalized notifications in the Facebook across iOS and Android devices for users in the United States.  The mobile update is bringing a set of new card-like notifications that will include information such as sports scores for teams you have liked, TV shows, weather information and friends' life events, among other updates.

    Facebook notifications may now be your first stop in the morning to catch up on everything from friends' news to weather, sports scores and what to expect later in the day. The social network announced this week it will be rolling out expanded, personalized notifications in the Facebook across iOS and Android devices for users in the United States. The mobile update is bringing a set of new card-like notifications that will include information such as sports scores for teams you have liked, TV shows, weather information and friends' life events, among other updates.


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  • 30/82   How to Tell Which Apps Are Draining Your iPhone Battery

    Some iOS 9 users have complained Facebook's app has been excessively eating away at their battery life, even when the background app refresh setting is disabled.  It's unclear what possible issue may be causing the battery drain.  Tapping the list will show how much of the battery drain was spent when the app was running in the background.

    Some iOS 9 users have complained Facebook's app has been excessively eating away at their battery life, even when the background app refresh setting is disabled. It's unclear what possible issue may be causing the battery drain. Tapping the list will show how much of the battery drain was spent when the app was running in the background.


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  • 31/82   Armed Robbery Suspect Tries Using Uber as Getaway Car, Police Say

    A 23-year-old man suspected of armed robbery tried to take an Uber car to help him get away after he held up a store outside Baltimore, police said.  The suspect, Dashawn Terrell Cochran, was at a store in Parkville, Maryland, early Wednesday morning when he allegedly took a bottle of Tylenol cold medicine to the register, the Baltimore County Police Department said.  Cochran was seen getting into the back of a silver Lexus, and when officers pulled the car over, the driver said he was an Uber driver, police said.

    A 23-year-old man suspected of armed robbery tried to take an Uber car to help him get away after he held up a store outside Baltimore, police said. The suspect, Dashawn Terrell Cochran, was at a store in Parkville, Maryland, early Wednesday morning when he allegedly took a bottle of Tylenol cold medicine to the register, the Baltimore County Police Department said. Cochran was seen getting into the back of a silver Lexus, and when officers pulled the car over, the driver said he was an Uber driver, police said.


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  • 32/82   Drone Popularity Draws Concern From Pilots, Federal Officials

    Roughly 700,000 drones are expected to be sold in the United States this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.  The Federal Aviation Administration plans to meet with Walmart, which has 19 different kinds of drones for sale on its website, to teach salespeople about what it should tell its customers about safe drone operation.  The Consumer Electronics Association projects the U.S. drone market to climb above $100 million in revenue this year, an increase of more than 50 percent from last year’s total.

    Roughly 700,000 drones are expected to be sold in the United States this year, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. The Federal Aviation Administration plans to meet with Walmart, which has 19 different kinds of drones for sale on its website, to teach salespeople about what it should tell its customers about safe drone operation. The Consumer Electronics Association projects the U.S. drone market to climb above $100 million in revenue this year, an increase of more than 50 percent from last year’s total.


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  • 33/82   Carly Fiorina: Why She Wants Everyone to Throw Out Their Flip Phones

    Carly Fiorina is putting flip phone users on notice: You’re going to have to upgrade under a President Fiorina.  “How many of you have a flip phone?” Fiorina recently asked a town hall in South Carolina.  It’s all part of a vision the Republican presidential candidate has to give citizens a direct line of communication – literally – to the president.

    Carly Fiorina is putting flip phone users on notice: You’re going to have to upgrade under a President Fiorina. “How many of you have a flip phone?” Fiorina recently asked a town hall in South Carolina. It’s all part of a vision the Republican presidential candidate has to give citizens a direct line of communication – literally – to the president.


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  • 34/82   How a 'Programming Error' Led to an Oregon Couple's $2 Million Cell Phone Bill

    A couple in Oregon say they spent 10 months trying to clear up a whopping $2 million phone bill, which they say has prevented them from buying the home of their dreams.  Ken Slusher and his girlfriend, of Damascus, Oregon, have a balance of $2,156,593.64 on a Verizon Wireless bill that was for a wireless account that they opened in November.  'Yeah, it's been very stressful to say the least,' Slusher told KPTV.com.

    A couple in Oregon say they spent 10 months trying to clear up a whopping $2 million phone bill, which they say has prevented them from buying the home of their dreams. Ken Slusher and his girlfriend, of Damascus, Oregon, have a balance of $2,156,593.64 on a Verizon Wireless bill that was for a wireless account that they opened in November. 'Yeah, it's been very stressful to say the least,' Slusher told KPTV.com.


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  • 35/82   Social media welcomes Pope Francis to the United States

    Pope Francis gets the social media treatment upon arriving in the U.S. Tuesday.  As Pope Francis’s flight touched down in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled a new batch of emojis created for the highly anticipated papal visit.  Until his departure from the United States on Sunday, Twitter users chronicling the Catholic leader’s East Coast journey will be able to include a cartoon image of the Pope’s face in front of the American flag on all Pope-related tweets by using the hashtag #PopeinUS.

    Pope Francis gets the social media treatment upon arriving in the U.S. Tuesday. As Pope Francis’s flight touched down in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Twitter unveiled a new batch of emojis created for the highly anticipated papal visit. Until his departure from the United States on Sunday, Twitter users chronicling the Catholic leader’s East Coast journey will be able to include a cartoon image of the Pope’s face in front of the American flag on all Pope-related tweets by using the hashtag #PopeinUS.


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  • 36/82   Cyprus: EU sanctions an option to halt Turkey's gas search
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    The European Union shouldn’t discard imposing tougher sanctions to get Turkey to give up an “unlawful” hydrocarbons search in the eastern Mediterranean that has ratcheted up tensions, the president of Cyprus said Wednesday.  President Nicos Anastasiades said the EU should weigh using “all means at our disposal” while responding to Turkey to avoid setting “a double standard” in how the 27-member bloc chooses to deal with improper activity inside and outside its borders.  “As long as unlawful actions are being taken against European Union member states, the European Union’s reaction must be immediate,' Anastasiades said after talks with European Council President Charles Michel in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

    The European Union shouldn’t discard imposing tougher sanctions to get Turkey to give up an “unlawful” hydrocarbons search in the eastern Mediterranean that has ratcheted up tensions, the president of Cyprus said Wednesday. President Nicos Anastasiades said the EU should weigh using “all means at our disposal” while responding to Turkey to avoid setting “a double standard” in how the 27-member bloc chooses to deal with improper activity inside and outside its borders. “As long as unlawful actions are being taken against European Union member states, the European Union’s reaction must be immediate,' Anastasiades said after talks with European Council President Charles Michel in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.


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  • 37/82   'Unexpected' iPhone and iPad update threatens app glitches
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Developers are complaining that they were only given a day's notice about the release.

    Developers are complaining that they were only given a day's notice about the release.


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  • 38/82   Wildflower Partners with Rubicon Organics to Bring Wildflower CBD Products to Canada
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTC: WLDFF) (the "Company") announces that Wildflower CBD products will soon be available in Canada, after signing a Brand Licensing Agreement with Rubicon Organics, Inc. ("Rubicon Organics")("C.ROMJ").

    Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTC: WLDFF) (the "Company") announces that Wildflower CBD products will soon be available in Canada, after signing a Brand Licensing Agreement with Rubicon Organics, Inc. ("Rubicon Organics")("C.ROMJ").


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  • 39/82   Hurricane Sally: 'Catastrophic flooding' as storm hits US
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    Authorities warn of "historic and catastrophic flooding" as Sally makes landfall.

    Authorities warn of "historic and catastrophic flooding" as Sally makes landfall.


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  • 40/82   U.S. consumer spending appears to slow in August
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    U.S. consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession was faltering.  Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales rising 0.5% in August.

    U.S. consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession was faltering. Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales rising 0.5% in August.


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  • 41/82   U.S. consumer spending appears to slow in August
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    U.S. consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession was faltering.  Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.  Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales rising 0.5% in August.

    U.S. consumer spending appeared to slow in August as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession was faltering. Core retail sales, which correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, fell 0.1% last month after a downwardly revised 0.9% increase in July, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core retail sales rising 0.5% in August.


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  • 42/82   We're Hopeful That Forte Biosciences (NASDAQ:FBRX) Will Use Its Cash Wisely
    TECHNOLOGY TOPIC NEWS

    We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, although Amazon.com made...

    We can readily understand why investors are attracted to unprofitable companies. For example, although Amazon.com made...


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  • 43/82   As fires ravage California, Trump gives his climate-change solution: 'It'll start getting cooler'
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom unsuccessfully pressed President Trump on Monday to acknowledge that climate change is making wildfires worse across much of the West Coast.

    California Gov. Gavin Newsom unsuccessfully pressed President Trump on Monday to acknowledge that climate change is making wildfires worse across much of the West Coast.


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  • 44/82   An 88-year-old Black man killed by officers in California was a former employee of the same police department
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Robert Coleman, a resident of West Sacramento, worked for the police department for nearly a decade, authorities said.

    Robert Coleman, a resident of West Sacramento, worked for the police department for nearly a decade, authorities said.


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  • 45/82   Armed gangs ‘protecting property’ in wildfire evacuation zones are confronting people at gunpoint, Oregon police say
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    ‘The last thing I want to see is something tragically happen because somebody is overreacting’

    ‘The last thing I want to see is something tragically happen because somebody is overreacting’


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  • 46/82   Cotton Announces Bill to Revoke China’s ‘Most Favored Nation’ Status
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) announced Monday that he is introducing legislation to repeal permanent most favored nation trade status, a designation that guarantees equal trading opportunity among a nation's trade partners.In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Cotton criticized China’s status as a most favored nation, and said he would introduce legislation this week that would require the president and congress to reassess the status each year.Under Cotton’s new legislation if China were to “shoot missiles at our ships in the Western Pacific” or crack down on Hong Kong as it has done this year, “then we would be able to say each year we are not going to renew most favored nation status for China,” he said. > China should be stripped of its permanent most-favored-nation status.> > Joe Biden voted to give the communist country the special trade status 20 years ago, supercharging the loss of American manufacturing jobs.> > I'm introducing legislation to end it. pic.twitter.com/LWPXmcORlf> > -- Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) September 14, 2020The senator also blasted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his decades of support of increased trade opportunities with the Chinese Communist Party.“This week is the twentieth anniversary of Joe Biden voting to give permanent most favored nation status to China,” he said. “Just think about that — most favored nation status to a communist country.”He said the status had “supercharged the loss of American manufacturing jobs” and criticized the former vice president for defending it last week during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.Tapper asked Biden, “A lot of people think that allowing China into the World Trade Organization, which you supported, extending most favored nation status to China, which you supported, that those steps allowed China to take advantage of the United States by using our own open trade deals against us. Do you think, in retrospect, you were naive about China?”Biden defended the stance saying, “No, here is the thing. In the context of that, we want China to grow. We don’t want a war with China.”Cotton has shown repeated disapproval of Biden’s stance on China and in March published an article at National Review titled “Joe Biden Is China’s Choice for President,” in which he criticized Biden’s support for China’s most favored nation status. “In the critical fight over whether to grant most-favored-nation trade status and World Trade Organization membership to China in the 1990s — a fight in which, again, many of his party’s leaders in Congress were on the right side — Biden carefully shepherded China through the process from his powerful perch as the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” the longtime China hawk wrote. In 2000, Biden voted to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the country, which created a path for China to become a member of the World Trade Organization one year later.“Wherever a brake might have been applied — by placing human-rights or labor conditions on most-favored-nation status, for example — Biden voted the measures down and lobbied other senators for Beijing,” Cotton continued. “Unfortunately, China and Biden got their way, and American workers are still suffering from it.”

    Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) announced Monday that he is introducing legislation to repeal permanent most favored nation trade status, a designation that guarantees equal trading opportunity among a nation's trade partners.In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Cotton criticized China’s status as a most favored nation, and said he would introduce legislation this week that would require the president and congress to reassess the status each year.Under Cotton’s new legislation if China were to “shoot missiles at our ships in the Western Pacific” or crack down on Hong Kong as it has done this year, “then we would be able to say each year we are not going to renew most favored nation status for China,” he said. > China should be stripped of its permanent most-favored-nation status.> > Joe Biden voted to give the communist country the special trade status 20 years ago, supercharging the loss of American manufacturing jobs.> > I'm introducing legislation to end it. pic.twitter.com/LWPXmcORlf> > -- Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) September 14, 2020The senator also blasted Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for his decades of support of increased trade opportunities with the Chinese Communist Party.“This week is the twentieth anniversary of Joe Biden voting to give permanent most favored nation status to China,” he said. “Just think about that — most favored nation status to a communist country.”He said the status had “supercharged the loss of American manufacturing jobs” and criticized the former vice president for defending it last week during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.Tapper asked Biden, “A lot of people think that allowing China into the World Trade Organization, which you supported, extending most favored nation status to China, which you supported, that those steps allowed China to take advantage of the United States by using our own open trade deals against us. Do you think, in retrospect, you were naive about China?”Biden defended the stance saying, “No, here is the thing. In the context of that, we want China to grow. We don’t want a war with China.”Cotton has shown repeated disapproval of Biden’s stance on China and in March published an article at National Review titled “Joe Biden Is China’s Choice for President,” in which he criticized Biden’s support for China’s most favored nation status. “In the critical fight over whether to grant most-favored-nation trade status and World Trade Organization membership to China in the 1990s — a fight in which, again, many of his party’s leaders in Congress were on the right side — Biden carefully shepherded China through the process from his powerful perch as the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” the longtime China hawk wrote. In 2000, Biden voted to approve Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the country, which created a path for China to become a member of the World Trade Organization one year later.“Wherever a brake might have been applied — by placing human-rights or labor conditions on most-favored-nation status, for example — Biden voted the measures down and lobbied other senators for Beijing,” Cotton continued. “Unfortunately, China and Biden got their way, and American workers are still suffering from it.”


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  • 47/82   Three BLM protesters charged following confrontation with Pittsburgh diners
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Videos of demonstrators shouting at customers previously surfaced online

    Videos of demonstrators shouting at customers previously surfaced online


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  • 48/82   White House blocks Navarro from testifying to House panel about ventilator deal
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to President Donald Trump, wrote to Krishnamoorthi on Sept. 9 that the White House would not make Navarro available.

    Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to President Donald Trump, wrote to Krishnamoorthi on Sept. 9 that the White House would not make Navarro available.


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  • 49/82   Almost two-thirds of millennials, Gen Z don't know that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust, survey finds
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    An alarming new survey on Holocaust knowledge also found that almost two-thirds of younger Americans don't know that six millions Jews were killed.

    An alarming new survey on Holocaust knowledge also found that almost two-thirds of younger Americans don't know that six millions Jews were killed.


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  • 50/82   Daniel Prude death: Rochester mayor sacks police chief over 'spit hood' case
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    Daniel Prude's death in March was a key event in months of unrest over racial injustice in the US.

    Daniel Prude's death in March was a key event in months of unrest over racial injustice in the US.


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  • 51/82   Anti-inflammatory drug might shorten coronavirus recovery time
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an additional day.

    A drug company says that adding an anti-inflammatory medicine to a drug already widely used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients shortens their time to recovery by an additional day.


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  • 52/82   Poll: Number of Americans willing to get COVID-19 vaccine falls to new low amid fears Trump is putting politics before safety
    POLITICS TOPIC NEWS

    The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll reveals that less than a third of Americans (32 percent) say they plan to get vaccinated, a stunning 23-point decline that reflects rising concern about the politicization of the vaccine process.

    The latest Yahoo News/YouGov poll reveals that less than a third of Americans (32 percent) say they plan to get vaccinated, a stunning 23-point decline that reflects rising concern about the politicization of the vaccine process.


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  • 53/82   Scientists find world's oldest sperm in Myanmar amber
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    A team of palaeontologists have discovered what they believe is the world's oldest animal sperm,  frozen 100 million years ago inside a tiny crustacean in tree resin in Myanmar.

    A team of palaeontologists have discovered what they believe is the world's oldest animal sperm,  frozen 100 million years ago inside a tiny crustacean in tree resin in Myanmar.


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  • 54/82   Antarctica's Thwaites glacier is in peril, images reveal. The so-called 'doomsday glacier' could trigger 10 feet of sea-level rise if it melts.
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The Thwaites Glacier is receding by half a mile per year. Scientists recently discovered that warm undercurrents could be eating away its underbelly.

    The Thwaites Glacier is receding by half a mile per year. Scientists recently discovered that warm undercurrents could be eating away its underbelly.


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  • 55/82   Plug-in hybrids are a 'wolf in sheep's clothing'
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Although marketed as a green option, the cars cause more polluting than is claimed, campaigners say.

    Although marketed as a green option, the cars cause more polluting than is claimed, campaigners say.


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  • 56/82   One of largest known T. rex skeletons up for auction at Christie’s
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The dinosaur known as “STAN,”, approximately 67 million years old, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison.  “He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” James Hyslop, Christie's head of Science and Natural History, told Reuters.

    The dinosaur known as “STAN,”, approximately 67 million years old, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison. “He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” James Hyslop, Christie's head of Science and Natural History, told Reuters.


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  • 57/82   One of largest known T. rex skeletons up for auction at Christie’s
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    The dinosaur known as “STAN,”, approximately 67 million years old, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison.  “He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” James Hyslop, Christie's head of Science and Natural History, told Reuters.

    The dinosaur known as “STAN,”, approximately 67 million years old, was discovered in 1987 in South Dakota by amateur paleontologist Stan Sacrison. “He showed it to scientists at the time who unfortunately misidentified it as a triceratops,” James Hyslop, Christie's head of Science and Natural History, told Reuters.


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  • 58/82   Experts call for new era for wildlife in UK
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Conservation experts urge the prime minister to take a lead on reversing the decline in nature.

    Conservation experts urge the prime minister to take a lead on reversing the decline in nature.


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  • 59/82   Water shortages in US West likelier than previously thought
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    There's a chance water levels in the two largest man-made reservoirs in the United States could dip to critically low levels by 2025, jeopardizing the steady flow of Colorado River water that more than 40 million people rely on in the American West.  After a relatively dry summer, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released models on Tuesday suggesting looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs where Colorado River water is stored — are more likely than previously projected.  Compared with an average year, only 55% of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line.

    There's a chance water levels in the two largest man-made reservoirs in the United States could dip to critically low levels by 2025, jeopardizing the steady flow of Colorado River water that more than 40 million people rely on in the American West. After a relatively dry summer, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released models on Tuesday suggesting looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs where Colorado River water is stored — are more likely than previously projected. Compared with an average year, only 55% of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line.


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  • 60/82   UK Space Agency funds tech for orbital awareness
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Grants will promote ideas to detect, characterise and track the millions of objects moving overhead.

    Grants will promote ideas to detect, characterise and track the millions of objects moving overhead.


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  • 61/82   The carcass of an extinct cave bear thought to be over 22,000 years old was discovered in remote Siberia — the only find of its kind
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    Scientists found the cave bear's carcass preserved in the Siberian permafrost. Until now, they had unearthed only bear bones.

    Scientists found the cave bear's carcass preserved in the Siberian permafrost. Until now, they had unearthed only bear bones.


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  • 62/82   Is There a Black Hole in Our Backyard?
    SCIENCE TOPIC NEWS

    What is an astrophysicist to do during a pandemic, except maybe daydream about having a private black hole?Although it is probably wishful thinking, some astronomers contend that a black hole may be lurking in our solar system. They have been arguing over how to find it, if it is there, and what to do about it, proposing plans that are only halfway out of this world.The speculation began in 2016 when Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin, astronomers at the California Institute of Technology, proposed that the weird motions of a few ice balls billions of miles beyond Pluto could be evidence of a previously unknown and unsuspected object way, way out there in the dark.According to their calculations, that object would be roughly 10 times as massive as Earth and would occupy an egg-shaped orbit that brought it as near as 20 billion miles from the sun -- several times the distance from the sun to Pluto -- and took it as far as 100 billion miles away every 10,000 to 20,000 years."What we don't know is where it is in its orbit, which is too bad," Brown told The New York Times at the time.Brown called this hypothetical object Planet Nine. Not long ago, Pluto was considered the ninth planet, but Brown's discoveries of other denizens in the Kuiper belt, the realm of frozen, orbiting dirt balls that Pluto inhabits, played a major role in demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet 15 years ago.Needless to say, nobody has yet seen this thing through a telescope.Last year, two astronomers -- Jakub Scholtz of Durham University in Britain and James Unwin of the University of Illinois at Chicago -- suggested that Planet Nine might actually be a black hole. But not just any kind of black hole.Black holes are the gravitational terrors predicted by Albert Einstein's equations, objects so dense that not even light can escape from them -- one-way passages to doom. Astronomers know that such entities exist. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the Virgo observatory have heard black holes -- the gravitational shells of collapsed dead stars -- banging together out in the dark cosmos. Some cosmologists have speculated that black holes could account for 25% of the mass of the universe and could constitute the famous and elusive "dark matter" that determines the gravitational structure of what we see in the sky.But you don't need a star to die to make a black hole. In 1971, Stephen Hawking, drawing on an idea earlier suggested in 1966 by Russian physicists Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich and Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov, theorized that intense pressures during the Big Bang could have collapsed matter directly into black holes. Those primordial black holes could be of any size and could be anywhere. A black hole as massive as Earth would be about the size of a Ping-Pong ball and would be exceptionally hard to see.No such primordial black holes have been detected yet. But neither has their existence been ruled out. Scholtz and Unwin pointed out that an experiment called OGLE, for Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, based at the University of Warsaw in Poland, had detected the presence of a half-dozen dark objects in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Their gravitational fields had acted as lenses, briefly amplifying the light from distant stars that they drifted in front of.Those objects could be free-floating planets, the authors said, with masses ranging from half to about 20 times that of Earth. But they could as easily be primordial black holes floating around the galaxy, the astronomers proposed. If that were the case, the putative Planet Nine could well be a black hole, too, in a distant orbit around the sun.How to Find a Cosmic Ping-Pong BallThat would make Planet Nine the nearest black hole to Earth by many light-years, so close that humans could contemplate sending a robot probe there, much as New Horizons has passed Pluto and the dumbbell iceberg now known as Arrokoth 4 billion miles from here.But first we must find Planet Nine. Earlier this year, Edward Witten, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, chimed in. Witten is the rare physicist who has won the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics and is known, among other things, for his work on string theory, the controversial "theory of everything." Witten suggested borrowing a trick from Breakthrough Starshot, the proposal by Russian philanthropist Yuri Milner and Hawking to send thousands of laser-propelled microscopic probes to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri.Witten suggested sending hundreds of similarly small probes outward to explore the solar system. By keeping track of incoming signals from the probes, scientists on Earth would be able to tell if and when each one sped up or slowed down as it encountered the gravitational field of Planet Nine or anything else out there.Key to this plan would be the ability of the probes to keep pinging Earth precisely every hundred-thousandth of a second. In May, astronomers Scott Lawrence and Zeeve Rogoszinski of the University of Maryland suggested instead monitoring the trajectories of the probes with high-resolution radio telescopes."All this is optimistically hoping that Planet 9 does exist and turns out to be a black hole," Witten said in an email, "and that technology develops enough that a suitable scaled version of Breakthrough Starshot is possible."In an email, his colleague Nima Arkani-Hamed, also a prominent string theorist, called these ideas "pretty futuristic, but really cool!"Vera Rubin Lends an EyeIn May, Avi Loeb, chairman of the astronomy department at Harvard University and leader of a scientific advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot enterprise, poured cold water on that daydream. In their own posting, he and Thiem Hoang of the Korea University of Science and Technology argued that the effects of friction and electromagnetic forces in the interstellar medium -- the dilute electrified gas that wafts among the planets and stars -- would swamp the signal from any gravitational effects from Planet Nine.But Loeb has rarely met a sci-fi-sounding theory or project that didn't intrigue him. He is well known in astronomical circles for arguing that astronomers should take seriously the possibility that Oumuamua, the cometlike object that breezed through the solar system from interstellar space in 2017, was actually an alien space probe.So in July, Loeb was back, with a student, Amir Siraj, and a new idea for finding the Planet Nine black hole. If a black hole were out there, they argued, it would occasionally rip apart small comets, causing bright flares that could soon be spotted by the new Vera C. Rubin Observatory, previously known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, now under construction in Chile. The observatory's mission, starting in 2021, is to make a movie of the universe, producing a panorama of the entire southern night sky every few days and revealing anything that has changed or moved.Such flares should occur a few times a year, they noted. "Our calculations show that the flares will be bright enough for the Vera Rubin Observatory to rule out or confirm Planet Nine as a black hole within one year of monitoring the sky with its L.S.S.T. survey," Loeb wrote in an email.Moreover, because the Rubin telescope examines such a large swath of sky, it could detect or rule out black holes of similar size all the way out to the Oort cloud, a vague and diffuse assemblage of protocomets and primordial, frozen riffraff 1 trillion miles from the sun, they said.The idea of a black hole in our solar system "is as startling as finding evidence that someone might be living in the shed in your backyard," Loeb said in the email. "If so, who is it, and how did it get there?"You Want Fries With That Black Hole?If the theory pans out, it's not crazy to think that humans could contemplate sending a probe to study our local black hole. What would it learn there?A top priority for many astrophysicists and gravity experts would be to test a prediction made by Hawking 46 years ago, that black holes, despite their name, should radiate energy in the form of heat. Almost every astrophysicist believes that the prediction will be confirmed, but it has yet to be. The effect would be beyond minuscule for the giant black holes like those that LIGO and Virgo have been recording, and thus impossible to discern. But smaller black holes are hotter, and they grow hotter still as they shrink and finally explode.A black hole of about six times Earth's mass would have a temperature of about 0.04 degrees Kelvin, according to Witten. That is colder than outer space, which is about 3 degrees Kelvin, and much too cool to measure from Earth."It would be a challenge to measure it from up close," Witten noted. "But it is not out of the question that it could be done by century's end."He added, "I believe one would need a spacecraft of substantial mass orbiting the object and studying it in detail, not a flyby by a miniature spacecraft."In a talk at Harvard's Black Hole Initiative a couple of years ago, Loeb jested about another possibility in the context of a field trip to a black hole. As he recounted in an email: "Since black holes offer a rare environment where string theory can be tested, I recommended to my string-theory friends to enter the horizon of that black hole and test their theory there. Nima Arkani-Hamed shouted from the audience that I must have a hidden agenda for sending string theorists into a black hole."For now, the last word belongs Brown, the promoter of Planet Nine, who, when reached, conceded it was possible that Planet Nine was a black hole. "But it doesn't make sense," he said. "It is also possible that Planet Nine is a six-Earth-mass hamburger, I guess."He added, "The good news is that Planet Nine is really, really, really unlikely to be a black hole but that we can use probes like this to study it once we find it."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

    What is an astrophysicist to do during a pandemic, except maybe daydream about having a private black hole?Although it is probably wishful thinking, some astronomers contend that a black hole may be lurking in our solar system. They have been arguing over how to find it, if it is there, and what to do about it, proposing plans that are only halfway out of this world.The speculation began in 2016 when Michael Brown and Konstantin Batygin, astronomers at the California Institute of Technology, proposed that the weird motions of a few ice balls billions of miles beyond Pluto could be evidence of a previously unknown and unsuspected object way, way out there in the dark.According to their calculations, that object would be roughly 10 times as massive as Earth and would occupy an egg-shaped orbit that brought it as near as 20 billion miles from the sun -- several times the distance from the sun to Pluto -- and took it as far as 100 billion miles away every 10,000 to 20,000 years."What we don't know is where it is in its orbit, which is too bad," Brown told The New York Times at the time.Brown called this hypothetical object Planet Nine. Not long ago, Pluto was considered the ninth planet, but Brown's discoveries of other denizens in the Kuiper belt, the realm of frozen, orbiting dirt balls that Pluto inhabits, played a major role in demoting Pluto to a dwarf planet 15 years ago.Needless to say, nobody has yet seen this thing through a telescope.Last year, two astronomers -- Jakub Scholtz of Durham University in Britain and James Unwin of the University of Illinois at Chicago -- suggested that Planet Nine might actually be a black hole. But not just any kind of black hole.Black holes are the gravitational terrors predicted by Albert Einstein's equations, objects so dense that not even light can escape from them -- one-way passages to doom. Astronomers know that such entities exist. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory and the Virgo observatory have heard black holes -- the gravitational shells of collapsed dead stars -- banging together out in the dark cosmos. Some cosmologists have speculated that black holes could account for 25% of the mass of the universe and could constitute the famous and elusive "dark matter" that determines the gravitational structure of what we see in the sky.But you don't need a star to die to make a black hole. In 1971, Stephen Hawking, drawing on an idea earlier suggested in 1966 by Russian physicists Yakov Borisovich Zel'dovich and Igor Dmitriyevich Novikov, theorized that intense pressures during the Big Bang could have collapsed matter directly into black holes. Those primordial black holes could be of any size and could be anywhere. A black hole as massive as Earth would be about the size of a Ping-Pong ball and would be exceptionally hard to see.No such primordial black holes have been detected yet. But neither has their existence been ruled out. Scholtz and Unwin pointed out that an experiment called OGLE, for Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, based at the University of Warsaw in Poland, had detected the presence of a half-dozen dark objects in the direction of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Their gravitational fields had acted as lenses, briefly amplifying the light from distant stars that they drifted in front of.Those objects could be free-floating planets, the authors said, with masses ranging from half to about 20 times that of Earth. But they could as easily be primordial black holes floating around the galaxy, the astronomers proposed. If that were the case, the putative Planet Nine could well be a black hole, too, in a distant orbit around the sun.How to Find a Cosmic Ping-Pong BallThat would make Planet Nine the nearest black hole to Earth by many light-years, so close that humans could contemplate sending a robot probe there, much as New Horizons has passed Pluto and the dumbbell iceberg now known as Arrokoth 4 billion miles from here.But first we must find Planet Nine. Earlier this year, Edward Witten, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, chimed in. Witten is the rare physicist who has won the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics and is known, among other things, for his work on string theory, the controversial "theory of everything." Witten suggested borrowing a trick from Breakthrough Starshot, the proposal by Russian philanthropist Yuri Milner and Hawking to send thousands of laser-propelled microscopic probes to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri.Witten suggested sending hundreds of similarly small probes outward to explore the solar system. By keeping track of incoming signals from the probes, scientists on Earth would be able to tell if and when each one sped up or slowed down as it encountered the gravitational field of Planet Nine or anything else out there.Key to this plan would be the ability of the probes to keep pinging Earth precisely every hundred-thousandth of a second. In May, astronomers Scott Lawrence and Zeeve Rogoszinski of the University of Maryland suggested instead monitoring the trajectories of the probes with high-resolution radio telescopes."All this is optimistically hoping that Planet 9 does exist and turns out to be a black hole," Witten said in an email, "and that technology develops enough that a suitable scaled version of Breakthrough Starshot is possible."In an email, his colleague Nima Arkani-Hamed, also a prominent string theorist, called these ideas "pretty futuristic, but really cool!"Vera Rubin Lends an EyeIn May, Avi Loeb, chairman of the astronomy department at Harvard University and leader of a scientific advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot enterprise, poured cold water on that daydream. In their own posting, he and Thiem Hoang of the Korea University of Science and Technology argued that the effects of friction and electromagnetic forces in the interstellar medium -- the dilute electrified gas that wafts among the planets and stars -- would swamp the signal from any gravitational effects from Planet Nine.But Loeb has rarely met a sci-fi-sounding theory or project that didn't intrigue him. He is well known in astronomical circles for arguing that astronomers should take seriously the possibility that Oumuamua, the cometlike object that breezed through the solar system from interstellar space in 2017, was actually an alien space probe.So in July, Loeb was back, with a student, Amir Siraj, and a new idea for finding the Planet Nine black hole. If a black hole were out there, they argued, it would occasionally rip apart small comets, causing bright flares that could soon be spotted by the new Vera C. Rubin Observatory, previously known as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, now under construction in Chile. The observatory's mission, starting in 2021, is to make a movie of the universe, producing a panorama of the entire southern night sky every few days and revealing anything that has changed or moved.Such flares should occur a few times a year, they noted. "Our calculations show that the flares will be bright enough for the Vera Rubin Observatory to rule out or confirm Planet Nine as a black hole within one year of monitoring the sky with its L.S.S.T. survey," Loeb wrote in an email.Moreover, because the Rubin telescope examines such a large swath of sky, it could detect or rule out black holes of similar size all the way out to the Oort cloud, a vague and diffuse assemblage of protocomets and primordial, frozen riffraff 1 trillion miles from the sun, they said.The idea of a black hole in our solar system "is as startling as finding evidence that someone might be living in the shed in your backyard," Loeb said in the email. "If so, who is it, and how did it get there?"You Want Fries With That Black Hole?If the theory pans out, it's not crazy to think that humans could contemplate sending a probe to study our local black hole. What would it learn there?A top priority for many astrophysicists and gravity experts would be to test a prediction made by Hawking 46 years ago, that black holes, despite their name, should radiate energy in the form of heat. Almost every astrophysicist believes that the prediction will be confirmed, but it has yet to be. The effect would be beyond minuscule for the giant black holes like those that LIGO and Virgo have been recording, and thus impossible to discern. But smaller black holes are hotter, and they grow hotter still as they shrink and finally explode.A black hole of about six times Earth's mass would have a temperature of about 0.04 degrees Kelvin, according to Witten. That is colder than outer space, which is about 3 degrees Kelvin, and much too cool to measure from Earth."It would be a challenge to measure it from up close," Witten noted. "But it is not out of the question that it could be done by century's end."He added, "I believe one would need a spacecraft of substantial mass orbiting the object and studying it in detail, not a flyby by a miniature spacecraft."In a talk at Harvard's Black Hole Initiative a couple of years ago, Loeb jested about another possibility in the context of a field trip to a black hole. As he recounted in an email: "Since black holes offer a rare environment where string theory can be tested, I recommended to my string-theory friends to enter the horizon of that black hole and test their theory there. Nima Arkani-Hamed shouted from the audience that I must have a hidden agenda for sending string theorists into a black hole."For now, the last word belongs Brown, the promoter of Planet Nine, who, when reached, conceded it was possible that Planet Nine was a black hole. "But it doesn't make sense," he said. "It is also possible that Planet Nine is a six-Earth-mass hamburger, I guess."He added, "The good news is that Planet Nine is really, really, really unlikely to be a black hole but that we can use probes like this to study it once we find it."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


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  • 63/82   US outlines sweeping plan to provide free COVID-19 vaccines
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism rippling across the land.  In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot.  The Pentagon is involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones giving shots.

    The federal government outlined a sweeping plan Wednesday to make vaccines for COVID-19 available for free to all Americans, even as polls show a strong undercurrent of skepticism rippling across the land. In a report to Congress and an accompanying “playbook” for states and localities, federal health agencies and the Defense Department sketched out complex plans for a vaccination campaign to begin gradually in January or possibly later this year, eventually ramping up to reach any American who wants a shot. The Pentagon is involved with the distribution of vaccines, but civilian health workers will be the ones giving shots.


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  • 64/82   Palestinian refugee agency warns of instability amid crisis
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is experiencing a financial crisis that could force it to halt some services to an already impoverished population of more than 5 million people, the head of the agency said Wednesday.  Philippe Lazzarini also warned in an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut that the spread of coronavirus, an economic meltdown in Lebanon and a huge deficit in UNRWA’s budget are deepening the hopelessness among Palestinian refugees, some of whom are trying to flee the Mediterranean nation on migrant boats.  UNRWA was established to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.

    The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees is experiencing a financial crisis that could force it to halt some services to an already impoverished population of more than 5 million people, the head of the agency said Wednesday. Philippe Lazzarini also warned in an interview with The Associated Press in Beirut that the spread of coronavirus, an economic meltdown in Lebanon and a huge deficit in UNRWA’s budget are deepening the hopelessness among Palestinian refugees, some of whom are trying to flee the Mediterranean nation on migrant boats. UNRWA was established to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s establishment in 1948.


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  • 65/82   Health Expert: 'We're Looking at 2022' Until COVID is Over
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    As cities reopen, there's a sense that normalcy isn't too far around the corner. Don't be fooled. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief science officer at the World Health Organization in Geneva, said Tuesday, speaking to reporters during a virtual meeting hosted by the United Nations Foundation, that we're still in the middle of it. "The way that people are picturing it is that in January you have vaccines for the whole world and things will start going back to normal," Swaminathan told reporters. But that "is not how it works." Read on for her realistic prediction for how long this will last—and to protect your health, and the health of others, don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus. Dr. Swaminathan Said This Will Last For a 'Long Time to Come'"We're looking at 2022 at least before enough people start getting the vaccine to build immunity. So for a long time to come, we have to maintain the same kind of measures that are currently being put in place with physical distancing, the masking and respiratory hygiene," said Swaminathan. "Those will have to continue after the vaccine starts getting rolled out, because we need 60% to 70% of the population to have immunity before you will start seeing a dramatic reduction in transmission of this virus," Swaminathan said. "We also don't know how long these vaccines will protect for—that's the other big question mark: How long does immunity last? And it's possible that you will need a booster."RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make Bill Gates Agrees With This AssessmentSwaminathan's remarks come the same week as an interview Bill Gates gave to New York Magazine. "In the very best case, two years from now, you would be, for some of the health things in particular, ideally back at where you were at the beginning of 2020," said the tech guru and philanthropist, credited by some with predicting the pandemic in a 2015 Ted Talk. "That is, if we're lucky enough that several of these vaccines work, including the ones that are low cost enough that we can scale the manufacturing. And if we get the factories going and we get the money to buy it for the entire world….In that case, during 2021, the pandemic is going down, and in 2022, the global pandemic comes to an end. Could we sit here two years from now and say, "Okay, during that time, not only did we end the pandemic; did we also restore the vaccination services and catch up to the kids that got missed? Could we restore the malaria work and HIV work that was lost to the pandemic?"As for yourself: To shorten the lifespan of COVID-19, wear a mask, social distance, only run essential errands, avoid crowds—and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

    As cities reopen, there's a sense that normalcy isn't too far around the corner. Don't be fooled. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief science officer at the World Health Organization in Geneva, said Tuesday, speaking to reporters during a virtual meeting hosted by the United Nations Foundation, that we're still in the middle of it. "The way that people are picturing it is that in January you have vaccines for the whole world and things will start going back to normal," Swaminathan told reporters. But that "is not how it works." Read on for her realistic prediction for how long this will last—and to protect your health, and the health of others, don't miss this essential list of the Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus. Dr. Swaminathan Said This Will Last For a 'Long Time to Come'"We're looking at 2022 at least before enough people start getting the vaccine to build immunity. So for a long time to come, we have to maintain the same kind of measures that are currently being put in place with physical distancing, the masking and respiratory hygiene," said Swaminathan. "Those will have to continue after the vaccine starts getting rolled out, because we need 60% to 70% of the population to have immunity before you will start seeing a dramatic reduction in transmission of this virus," Swaminathan said. "We also don't know how long these vaccines will protect for—that's the other big question mark: How long does immunity last? And it's possible that you will need a booster."RELATED: COVID Mistakes You Should Never Make Bill Gates Agrees With This AssessmentSwaminathan's remarks come the same week as an interview Bill Gates gave to New York Magazine. "In the very best case, two years from now, you would be, for some of the health things in particular, ideally back at where you were at the beginning of 2020," said the tech guru and philanthropist, credited by some with predicting the pandemic in a 2015 Ted Talk. "That is, if we're lucky enough that several of these vaccines work, including the ones that are low cost enough that we can scale the manufacturing. And if we get the factories going and we get the money to buy it for the entire world….In that case, during 2021, the pandemic is going down, and in 2022, the global pandemic comes to an end. Could we sit here two years from now and say, "Okay, during that time, not only did we end the pandemic; did we also restore the vaccination services and catch up to the kids that got missed? Could we restore the malaria work and HIV work that was lost to the pandemic?"As for yourself: To shorten the lifespan of COVID-19, wear a mask, social distance, only run essential errands, avoid crowds—and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.


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  • 66/82   Just monkeying around: Primate takes phone, then selfies
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it.  Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, said Wednesday that his phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up Saturday.  ... So when I checked my phone picture gallery, I was shocked.

    A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, said Wednesday that his phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up Saturday. ... So when I checked my phone picture gallery, I was shocked.


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  • 67/82   Bosnian Serbs honor late ex-official convicted of war crimes
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnian Serb authorities on Wednesday held an official commemoration for a top former wartime leader, despite his war crimes conviction by a U.N. court.  The Bosnian Serb president, prime minister and other officials attended the event in the northern city of Banja Luka, the seat of the Serb-run part of Bosnia called Republika Srpska.  The gathering illustrates the continued Bosnian Serb denial of their wartime leaders’ role in the atrocities committed against non-Serbs during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Bosnian Serb authorities on Wednesday held an official commemoration for a top former wartime leader, despite his war crimes conviction by a U.N. court. The Bosnian Serb president, prime minister and other officials attended the event in the northern city of Banja Luka, the seat of the Serb-run part of Bosnia called Republika Srpska. The gathering illustrates the continued Bosnian Serb denial of their wartime leaders’ role in the atrocities committed against non-Serbs during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.


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  • 68/82   Britain could surrender control over Channel Islands' fishing in attempt to pass Brexit deal
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    Britain could cede control over fishing waters around the Channel Islands in an attempt to resolve a key dispute in Brexit negotiations with the European Union, it has been claimed. UK diplomats have floated the possibility of instating different fishing rights around the Channel Islands to the rest of the UK, allowing more access for French vessels, two sources told Reuters. The claims have been dismissed by Government sources, one of which told The Telegraph: “There is no departure from our fundamental position that we will have control of our waters around there [the Channel Islands].” A spokesman said: "“We want a simple, separate fisheries framework agreement which reflects our rights under international law and which provides for annual negotiations over access and sharing opportunities based on the scientific principle of zonal attachment.” European Union negotiators say French coastal fishing communities would be affected if Britain regains control of the area around Jersey, which is just 14 miles from the French coast. Fishing rights are currently shared between the UK and other countries in the EU under the Common Fisheries Policy. The dispute over fishing rights after Brexit is one of the remaining issues preventing the UK and EU signing a deal, which must be finalised before the end of the transition period in January. The UK is pushing for annual renegotiation of fishing rights and “zonal attachment”, which uses scientific data to estimate the size and location of fish stocks. The EU began the negotiations calling for Britain to continue to effectively adhere to the Common Fisheries Policy after Brexit, which would make it impossible to increase UK fishermens' quota. Some compromise between the two positions could also involve a “phasing-out mechanism” that increases the UK share of fishing rights over time, rather than overnight on January 1. There has been some progress on technical aspects of the talks on fisheries, including on quota sharing and a list of stocks, but London says the EU has not accepted that Britain will become an independent coastal state.

    Britain could cede control over fishing waters around the Channel Islands in an attempt to resolve a key dispute in Brexit negotiations with the European Union, it has been claimed. UK diplomats have floated the possibility of instating different fishing rights around the Channel Islands to the rest of the UK, allowing more access for French vessels, two sources told Reuters. The claims have been dismissed by Government sources, one of which told The Telegraph: “There is no departure from our fundamental position that we will have control of our waters around there [the Channel Islands].” A spokesman said: "“We want a simple, separate fisheries framework agreement which reflects our rights under international law and which provides for annual negotiations over access and sharing opportunities based on the scientific principle of zonal attachment.” European Union negotiators say French coastal fishing communities would be affected if Britain regains control of the area around Jersey, which is just 14 miles from the French coast. Fishing rights are currently shared between the UK and other countries in the EU under the Common Fisheries Policy. The dispute over fishing rights after Brexit is one of the remaining issues preventing the UK and EU signing a deal, which must be finalised before the end of the transition period in January. The UK is pushing for annual renegotiation of fishing rights and “zonal attachment”, which uses scientific data to estimate the size and location of fish stocks. The EU began the negotiations calling for Britain to continue to effectively adhere to the Common Fisheries Policy after Brexit, which would make it impossible to increase UK fishermens' quota. Some compromise between the two positions could also involve a “phasing-out mechanism” that increases the UK share of fishing rights over time, rather than overnight on January 1. There has been some progress on technical aspects of the talks on fisheries, including on quota sharing and a list of stocks, but London says the EU has not accepted that Britain will become an independent coastal state.


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  • 69/82   Seoul: N. Korea may conduct underwater-launched missile test
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday, amid long-stalled nuclear talks between the North and the United States.  In written remarks to lawmakers ahead of a confirmation hearing, Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, a place where it builds submarines.  Shortly after the repairs are complete, there is a chance it will carry out a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, Won said.

    North Korea may soon conduct its first underwater-launched ballistic missile test in about a year, a top South Korean military official said Wednesday, amid long-stalled nuclear talks between the North and the United States. In written remarks to lawmakers ahead of a confirmation hearing, Won In-choul, the nominee for chairman of South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea has been repairing recent typhoon damage at its northeastern Sinpo shipyard, a place where it builds submarines. Shortly after the repairs are complete, there is a chance it will carry out a submarine-launched ballistic missile test, Won said.


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  • 70/82   How the Trump-Russia story was buried
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The biggest political story of 2016-19 was largely wrapped up this August, and it only made a blip in the news. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) published the final volume of its enormous investigation into how the Russian government influenced the 2016 election, this time focusing on how the Trump campaign was involved (what has become known as "Russiagate"). Remarkably, the committee is led by Republicans due to their Senate majority — a reasonable sign it was a credible investigation. Since then, there has been a steady drip of reporting about Russia's apparent effort to influence this year's election, like President Trump's own Treasury Department sanctioning a Ukrainian friend of Rudy Giuliani for allegedly doing just that.This volume of the report is nearly 1,000 pages long, but at bottom the story is pretty simple. Essentially, the suspicion your average ordinary liberal had from the start was correct. The Trump campaign did conspire in secret (as well as openly) with Russian intelligence. The Trump campaign knew Russia was behind the email hacking of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, and very likely coordinated with WikiLeaks about the emails being dribbled out in a fashion calculated to inflict maximum damage to Clinton.It's peculiar that the resolution of this story — which dominated front pages for months on end — has not gotten more attention. Part of the explanation, no doubt, is the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing economic crisis, and looming election. But another is how the Russiagate story hits the blind spots of practically every American political faction. Many liberals and conservatives succumbed to paranoia about the story, while many leftists took that paranoia as proof the story was nothing. So it was buried.But first, the details of this latest report. SSCI found that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (who was convicted of multiple counts of bank and tax fraud as part of the Mueller investigation), was in regular contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent. Manafort gave him regular updates of confidential Trump campaign information, including polling and strategy details. Kilimnik was likely part of the Russian hacking effort, and he was also in close connection with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Putin ally who was a part of the hack as well.Meanwhile, WikiLeaks (which distributed the hacked emails) "actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort," the report states. The Trump campaign was aware multiple sources had attributed the hack to Russia, and "sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks's planned releases through Roger Stone," who did indeed reach out to WikiLeaks privately. Though SSCI could not confirm Stone actually delivered any non-public information, "Trump and the campaign believed that Stone had inside information and expressed satisfaction that Stone's information suggested more releases would be forthcoming."In sum, the Trump campaign worked with the right-wing authoritarian government of Russia, which illegally stole private communications and leveraged them to corrupt the democratic process by tricking the American people about which candidate was more corrupt. The "emails" story got more front-page New York Times coverage in six days than all policy topics combined got in 69 days — drowning out coverage of the dozen-plus far worse Trump corruption stories.These conclusions add details and certainty to the report published by Special Counsel Robert Mueller back in 2019, which found multiple instances of Trump at least attempting (and arguably succeeding) to obstruct the investigation, and related other meetings Trump campaign operatives had with Russian intelligence, but did not complete the Kilimnik story, nor confirm the Stone back channel.Recall that before the Mueller report was made public, Attorney General (and shameless Trump stooge) William Barr lied through his teeth about what it said. And wouldn't you know it, new reporting also calls into question another aspect of the Mueller report that supposedly exonerated Trump — that his investigators found no direct connection between the president and Russia. Michael Schmidt of The New York Times reports that in 2017, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instructed Mueller not to directly investigate Trump's ties with Russia. Rosenstein also did not tell the FBI brass, which had opened its own investigation, that he did this. In other words, Mueller found no direct connection between Trump and Russia because he was instructed not to look into it.There are still some missing pieces to the story (and the SSCI report has many redactions), but the basic outline of the story is there for those with eyes to see. In retrospect, we can see how the Russiagate story unfortunately played into the biases of various political factions. The neocon NeverTrump center-right naturally found it most compelling, with its Cold War bad guy. They folded the Russia story into their broader politics, arguing that this proved Trump was weak on national security and what America needs is to stand up to Vladimir Putin. "The Trump presidency’s connections to Russia are a national-security issue first, a criminal-justice issue only second," as David Frum wrote at The Atlantic in 2018. But this stance plainly does not play well in a country that is ever-more exhausted with war and wary of international conflicts. Given the lack of appetite for a confrontation with Russia, the neocons have resigned themselves to political defeat, at least for the moment.The center-left also found the story appealing at first, and gave rapt coverage to every twist and turn of the Mueller investigation. Some of them, like anonymous business consultant turned Resistance Twitter celebrity Eric Garland, went completely off the deep end over it, while others like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow allowed it to displace coverage of practically every other story for a time. Others have written hyperbolic stories about Russian spying, like a recent Daily Beast article that trumps up a Russian "infiltration" operation of left-wing magazines that amounted to a garbled unsolicited pitch. But even among relatively sensible commentators and politicians there was a hopeful expectation that Mueller would be the one to nail Trump, thereby excusing the Democratic leadership from having to do politics. If all the loyal Republican patriots in the national security bureaucracy could bring Trump down for treason, then the republic could be saved without Democrats having to beat the GOP in the political arena.Alas, it was not to be. Multiple people in the Trump orbit did indeed get charged and convicted of crimes, but Trump has already commuted the sentence of WikiLeaks back channel Roger Stone, is signaling that other pardons will probably come, and he himself has skated on any accountability. Once it became clear that Mueller was not allowed to indict Trump despite his findings of very likely obstruction of justice, and that absolutely nothing could convince Senate Republicans to vote to remove him from office after he was impeached, the center-left largely gave up on the story too.All that said, elements of the left bungled the story worse than either of the previous two factions. The fact that neocons and the center-left were agreeing about something set off instinctive warning bells — and rightly so, because that often signals something terrible, like on October 10, 2002. It also seemed, again probably rightly, that the Democrats and the Clinton campaign were attempting to excuse their abysmal 2016 performance by blaming the loss on Russia. It wasn't our grossly unpopular candidate or her data whiz advisers deciding not to campaign in swing states that did it — it was dastardly foreigners!All those were important caveats to keep in mind. But they were no excuse to simply not examine the details of such a big story, much less baldly misrepresent them. Yet that is precisely what many ostensibly lefty voices have done. People like The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and independent writers Michael Tracey and Matt Taibbi seized on every failed liberal prediction to cast doubt on the overall story. Then, when Barr released his lying summary of the Mueller report, they swallowed it hook, line, and sinker, gleefully declared victory, and concluded the whole thing was garbage. The summary proved the whole thing was "unhinged conspiratorial trash," wrote Greenwald. "It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD," wrote Taibbi. Tracey — perhaps the most tendentious Slatepitch contrarian writing today — had clockwork outbreaks of shrieking hysterics online for weeks over how "disgusting media scumbags" had perpetuated "a deranged 3-year hoax."Naturally, since the SSCI report came out weeks ago, none of them have updated their views, or indeed written a single word about it that I can find.Incidentally, this is an important lesson in how propaganda works. Taking a hard look at the evidence in a complicated story and coming to a measured conclusion with all the proper caveats is tedious and boring. Seizing on a convenient half- or quarter- or twentieth-truth, or straight-up falsehood, and loudly repeating it 10 million times sticks in people's minds. It works even better if you take that wrong belief, declare it to be proved beyond any question 10 million more times, and start furiously demanding recriminations from people who disagree with you.Thus, through a sustained campaign of ideological battering, Russiagate basically became a non-story on the left. People either came to believe that it was all nonsense, or they got so fed up with arguing with aggressive bad-faith B.S. that they figured it wasn't worth the bother. It was particularly jarring coming from Greenwald, who wrote an entire book back in 2011 about elite impunity with an extensive discussion about the Iran-Contra coverup — in which Barr was a central player. But when it was convenient to believe so, suddenly Barr was a reliable source.Moreover, this stance was pretty much exactly what Trump himself and his corrupt cronies said about the story.So, with moderate factions either way out over their skis or losing interest in the story, and the far right and some on the left agreeing it was not even real, the mainstream press largely lost interest as well. The SSCI report did get coverage, but it was largely perfunctory — wondering if voters would care about the story at all.The fact that a literally murderous right-wing autocrat meddled in the American political system and is very probably doing so again is a genuinely difficult analytical challenge. On the one hand, the neocons are wrong in their conclusions. Aggressive confrontation with Putin is half the reason the U.S. got into this mess in the first place, and what the U.S. needs above all right now is de-escalation and diplomacy, especially given how tensions have ratcheted up between American and Russian forces on the ground in various places (apparently over disputes regarding control of Syria).But on the other hand, the left contrarians are also wrong. This is not a fake, overhyped story — on the contrary, it's one of the biggest stories of political corruption and white-collar criminality in decades, and should by rights be towards the top of the Trump administration's very long list of crimes.Finally, contrary to the hopes of the center-left, Trump will not be held to account by a Senate committee or law enforcement agencies on their own. The only way for it to happen at this point is for Joe Biden to win the presidency and then commit to exercising his power to make it happen. Greenwald was right about elite impunity in 2011 (as was Taibbi when he wrote a similar book in 2014). It was a terrible mistake for President Obama to sweep all the Bush administration's torture crimes under the rug, and doing so again with Trump's record might well doom America's democratic institutions. When people in power get away with crimes, sooner or later outright criminals will get into high office and start stealing elections.Biden is probably going to resist seriously investigating Trump. It would help encourage him if all Americans in favor of the rule of law could agree that his crimes are, in fact, crimes, even if it means momentarily agreeing with some MSNBC liberals.More stories from theweek.com  Late night hosts really enjoy watching Trump being 'Fox & Friend-zoned' by Steve Doocy  Trump says he'll be on Fox & Friends every week — but host Steve Doocy doesn't agree to have him  Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah ponder why Trump superfans still trust him with their lives

    The biggest political story of 2016-19 was largely wrapped up this August, and it only made a blip in the news. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) published the final volume of its enormous investigation into how the Russian government influenced the 2016 election, this time focusing on how the Trump campaign was involved (what has become known as "Russiagate"). Remarkably, the committee is led by Republicans due to their Senate majority — a reasonable sign it was a credible investigation. Since then, there has been a steady drip of reporting about Russia's apparent effort to influence this year's election, like President Trump's own Treasury Department sanctioning a Ukrainian friend of Rudy Giuliani for allegedly doing just that.This volume of the report is nearly 1,000 pages long, but at bottom the story is pretty simple. Essentially, the suspicion your average ordinary liberal had from the start was correct. The Trump campaign did conspire in secret (as well as openly) with Russian intelligence. The Trump campaign knew Russia was behind the email hacking of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, and very likely coordinated with WikiLeaks about the emails being dribbled out in a fashion calculated to inflict maximum damage to Clinton.It's peculiar that the resolution of this story — which dominated front pages for months on end — has not gotten more attention. Part of the explanation, no doubt, is the coronavirus pandemic, ongoing economic crisis, and looming election. But another is how the Russiagate story hits the blind spots of practically every American political faction. Many liberals and conservatives succumbed to paranoia about the story, while many leftists took that paranoia as proof the story was nothing. So it was buried.But first, the details of this latest report. SSCI found that Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort (who was convicted of multiple counts of bank and tax fraud as part of the Mueller investigation), was in regular contact with Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian intelligence agent. Manafort gave him regular updates of confidential Trump campaign information, including polling and strategy details. Kilimnik was likely part of the Russian hacking effort, and he was also in close connection with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Putin ally who was a part of the hack as well.Meanwhile, WikiLeaks (which distributed the hacked emails) "actively sought, and played, a key role in the Russian influence campaign and very likely knew it was assisting a Russian intelligence influence effort," the report states. The Trump campaign was aware multiple sources had attributed the hack to Russia, and "sought to obtain advance information about WikiLeaks's planned releases through Roger Stone," who did indeed reach out to WikiLeaks privately. Though SSCI could not confirm Stone actually delivered any non-public information, "Trump and the campaign believed that Stone had inside information and expressed satisfaction that Stone's information suggested more releases would be forthcoming."In sum, the Trump campaign worked with the right-wing authoritarian government of Russia, which illegally stole private communications and leveraged them to corrupt the democratic process by tricking the American people about which candidate was more corrupt. The "emails" story got more front-page New York Times coverage in six days than all policy topics combined got in 69 days — drowning out coverage of the dozen-plus far worse Trump corruption stories.These conclusions add details and certainty to the report published by Special Counsel Robert Mueller back in 2019, which found multiple instances of Trump at least attempting (and arguably succeeding) to obstruct the investigation, and related other meetings Trump campaign operatives had with Russian intelligence, but did not complete the Kilimnik story, nor confirm the Stone back channel.Recall that before the Mueller report was made public, Attorney General (and shameless Trump stooge) William Barr lied through his teeth about what it said. And wouldn't you know it, new reporting also calls into question another aspect of the Mueller report that supposedly exonerated Trump — that his investigators found no direct connection between the president and Russia. Michael Schmidt of The New York Times reports that in 2017, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instructed Mueller not to directly investigate Trump's ties with Russia. Rosenstein also did not tell the FBI brass, which had opened its own investigation, that he did this. In other words, Mueller found no direct connection between Trump and Russia because he was instructed not to look into it.There are still some missing pieces to the story (and the SSCI report has many redactions), but the basic outline of the story is there for those with eyes to see. In retrospect, we can see how the Russiagate story unfortunately played into the biases of various political factions. The neocon NeverTrump center-right naturally found it most compelling, with its Cold War bad guy. They folded the Russia story into their broader politics, arguing that this proved Trump was weak on national security and what America needs is to stand up to Vladimir Putin. "The Trump presidency’s connections to Russia are a national-security issue first, a criminal-justice issue only second," as David Frum wrote at The Atlantic in 2018. But this stance plainly does not play well in a country that is ever-more exhausted with war and wary of international conflicts. Given the lack of appetite for a confrontation with Russia, the neocons have resigned themselves to political defeat, at least for the moment.The center-left also found the story appealing at first, and gave rapt coverage to every twist and turn of the Mueller investigation. Some of them, like anonymous business consultant turned Resistance Twitter celebrity Eric Garland, went completely off the deep end over it, while others like MSNBC's Rachel Maddow allowed it to displace coverage of practically every other story for a time. Others have written hyperbolic stories about Russian spying, like a recent Daily Beast article that trumps up a Russian "infiltration" operation of left-wing magazines that amounted to a garbled unsolicited pitch. But even among relatively sensible commentators and politicians there was a hopeful expectation that Mueller would be the one to nail Trump, thereby excusing the Democratic leadership from having to do politics. If all the loyal Republican patriots in the national security bureaucracy could bring Trump down for treason, then the republic could be saved without Democrats having to beat the GOP in the political arena.Alas, it was not to be. Multiple people in the Trump orbit did indeed get charged and convicted of crimes, but Trump has already commuted the sentence of WikiLeaks back channel Roger Stone, is signaling that other pardons will probably come, and he himself has skated on any accountability. Once it became clear that Mueller was not allowed to indict Trump despite his findings of very likely obstruction of justice, and that absolutely nothing could convince Senate Republicans to vote to remove him from office after he was impeached, the center-left largely gave up on the story too.All that said, elements of the left bungled the story worse than either of the previous two factions. The fact that neocons and the center-left were agreeing about something set off instinctive warning bells — and rightly so, because that often signals something terrible, like on October 10, 2002. It also seemed, again probably rightly, that the Democrats and the Clinton campaign were attempting to excuse their abysmal 2016 performance by blaming the loss on Russia. It wasn't our grossly unpopular candidate or her data whiz advisers deciding not to campaign in swing states that did it — it was dastardly foreigners!All those were important caveats to keep in mind. But they were no excuse to simply not examine the details of such a big story, much less baldly misrepresent them. Yet that is precisely what many ostensibly lefty voices have done. People like The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald and independent writers Michael Tracey and Matt Taibbi seized on every failed liberal prediction to cast doubt on the overall story. Then, when Barr released his lying summary of the Mueller report, they swallowed it hook, line, and sinker, gleefully declared victory, and concluded the whole thing was garbage. The summary proved the whole thing was "unhinged conspiratorial trash," wrote Greenwald. "It's official: Russiagate is this generation's WMD," wrote Taibbi. Tracey — perhaps the most tendentious Slatepitch contrarian writing today — had clockwork outbreaks of shrieking hysterics online for weeks over how "disgusting media scumbags" had perpetuated "a deranged 3-year hoax."Naturally, since the SSCI report came out weeks ago, none of them have updated their views, or indeed written a single word about it that I can find.Incidentally, this is an important lesson in how propaganda works. Taking a hard look at the evidence in a complicated story and coming to a measured conclusion with all the proper caveats is tedious and boring. Seizing on a convenient half- or quarter- or twentieth-truth, or straight-up falsehood, and loudly repeating it 10 million times sticks in people's minds. It works even better if you take that wrong belief, declare it to be proved beyond any question 10 million more times, and start furiously demanding recriminations from people who disagree with you.Thus, through a sustained campaign of ideological battering, Russiagate basically became a non-story on the left. People either came to believe that it was all nonsense, or they got so fed up with arguing with aggressive bad-faith B.S. that they figured it wasn't worth the bother. It was particularly jarring coming from Greenwald, who wrote an entire book back in 2011 about elite impunity with an extensive discussion about the Iran-Contra coverup — in which Barr was a central player. But when it was convenient to believe so, suddenly Barr was a reliable source.Moreover, this stance was pretty much exactly what Trump himself and his corrupt cronies said about the story.So, with moderate factions either way out over their skis or losing interest in the story, and the far right and some on the left agreeing it was not even real, the mainstream press largely lost interest as well. The SSCI report did get coverage, but it was largely perfunctory — wondering if voters would care about the story at all.The fact that a literally murderous right-wing autocrat meddled in the American political system and is very probably doing so again is a genuinely difficult analytical challenge. On the one hand, the neocons are wrong in their conclusions. Aggressive confrontation with Putin is half the reason the U.S. got into this mess in the first place, and what the U.S. needs above all right now is de-escalation and diplomacy, especially given how tensions have ratcheted up between American and Russian forces on the ground in various places (apparently over disputes regarding control of Syria).But on the other hand, the left contrarians are also wrong. This is not a fake, overhyped story — on the contrary, it's one of the biggest stories of political corruption and white-collar criminality in decades, and should by rights be towards the top of the Trump administration's very long list of crimes.Finally, contrary to the hopes of the center-left, Trump will not be held to account by a Senate committee or law enforcement agencies on their own. The only way for it to happen at this point is for Joe Biden to win the presidency and then commit to exercising his power to make it happen. Greenwald was right about elite impunity in 2011 (as was Taibbi when he wrote a similar book in 2014). It was a terrible mistake for President Obama to sweep all the Bush administration's torture crimes under the rug, and doing so again with Trump's record might well doom America's democratic institutions. When people in power get away with crimes, sooner or later outright criminals will get into high office and start stealing elections.Biden is probably going to resist seriously investigating Trump. It would help encourage him if all Americans in favor of the rule of law could agree that his crimes are, in fact, crimes, even if it means momentarily agreeing with some MSNBC liberals.More stories from theweek.com Late night hosts really enjoy watching Trump being 'Fox & Friend-zoned' by Steve Doocy Trump says he'll be on Fox & Friends every week — but host Steve Doocy doesn't agree to have him Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah ponder why Trump superfans still trust him with their lives


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  • 71/82   US Secretary of State says 'tide has turned' and the world increasingly regards China as a threat
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    A growing number of people internationally are recognising China's selfishness and bid for global dominance, leading more countries to side with Washington's view of the world over Beijing's, America's top diplomat said Tuesday.In recent months, as relations between the two superpowers have imploded, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - known as the Trump administration's "attack dog" on China - has stepped up his verbal salvoes at Beijing's governance, state-led economic system, espionage activities and handling of the pandemic."The world has wakened and my view is that the tide has turned," Pompeo told the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank in Washington. "I think these are powerful shifts in the world view of the threat from the Chinese Communist Party."Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Even as the Trump administration has belatedly vied for global hearts and minds, it's been accused of squandering one of its greatest assets: America's history of working closely with allies in addressing shared frustrations with Beijing, including intellectual property theft; forced technology transfer; unbalanced trade; and island building in the contested South China Sea.According to the Soft Power 30 index - which tracks countries' use of persuasion rather than coercion in achieving objectives - the US fell to fifth place globally in 2019, the latest data, down from third place in 2017 when Donald Trump became president.China's soft-power ranking also declined to 27 in 2019, from 25 in 2017, according to the index, compiled by the Portland consultancy and the University of Southern California. France ranked first in both years.And a Pew Research poll released Tuesday in 13 advanced European, Asian and North American nations found that just 15 per cent of respondents thought the US dealt well with the pandemic. This compared with 37 per cent who thought China handled the pandemic well and 64 per cent the World Health Organisation - both accused by the Trump administration of fanning the virus.Among Trump's first actions on becoming president was to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a grouping aimed at working together on common challenges related to China. Since then, he has launched trade wars with Japan, South Korea, Canada and the European Union, among others, embarrassed their leaders publicly and too often viewed foreign relations as a zero-sum game, critics say."I've seen that critique," Pompeo said, but added that the administration's greatest priority has been helping Americans understand the threat that China represents to their economic and national security."Tens of millions of jobs have been stolen through the Chinese Communist predatory economic activity here in the United States," which cannot continue, he said.Turning to the battle for telecommunications supremacy, Pompeo said that Western competitors to Huawei would strengthen and become the global industry standard."I am confident that there will be cost-effective deliverables from Western trusted vendors that can deliver the same services or better services," Pompeo said, even as he conceded that beating Chinese prices would remain tough, citing Chinese state subsidies."We always joke about the battle between Airbus and Boeing being state-subsidised," he went on, referring to the European and US aircraft manufacturers. "That is child's play compared to what the Chinese Communist Party does."China's economic model has been built on state-backed companies "stealing American technology, bringing it back to the homeland, and then turning around and dumping it in the United States of America and around the world", Pompeo said.Despite Trump's "America First" policy, however, critics say Beijing has often failed to capitalise. Global suspicion toward China has increased under President Xi Jinping as Beijing has ramped up territorial disputes with India and Japan, drilled for oil in contested Southeast Asian waters and tightened its grip over Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet and Inner Mongolia.In recent months, international criticism has increased over China's early handling of the coronavirus and its subsequent global distribution of sometimes flawed medical equipment, amid reports of Beijing's demands for praise and veiled economic threats. And a growing number of US allies, including Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan and India, have taken steps to limit Huawei Technologies equipment in their 5G networks, wary of data theft that the company denies.The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment, but foreign ministry officials in Beijing have repeatedly slammed Pompeo's volleys. "It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday. "No matter how they carry on bragging, facts will reduce them all to a laughingstock.""It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week. Photo: Reuters alt="It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week. Photo: ReutersAs the US and China flex their economic and political muscles, some see a growing risk of a misstep as communication between the giants falters, suspicion grows and the US prepares for a presidential election that's seen both major political parties criticise China."It's the risk of a military clash, particularly between the US and China in the South China Sea, that might start with a conflict or contingency with the Philippines, or Vietnam," Greta Nabbs-Keller, a research fellow at Australia's University of Queensland said Monday at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Even a relatively minor clash could have severe reverberations across the Asian region, she added.Increasingly tense US-China relations and more warships and military aircraft leave less margin of error in potential flashpoints, said Amanda Hsiao, Beijing-based project manager with the Switzerland-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue."There is just a greater chance for an accidental collision or an incident that might accelerate to a point that neither side wants to see," Hsiao said, an "unintended incident that then escalates into something much greater".This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

    A growing number of people internationally are recognising China's selfishness and bid for global dominance, leading more countries to side with Washington's view of the world over Beijing's, America's top diplomat said Tuesday.In recent months, as relations between the two superpowers have imploded, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - known as the Trump administration's "attack dog" on China - has stepped up his verbal salvoes at Beijing's governance, state-led economic system, espionage activities and handling of the pandemic."The world has wakened and my view is that the tide has turned," Pompeo told the Atlantic Council, an international affairs think tank in Washington. "I think these are powerful shifts in the world view of the threat from the Chinese Communist Party."Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.Even as the Trump administration has belatedly vied for global hearts and minds, it's been accused of squandering one of its greatest assets: America's history of working closely with allies in addressing shared frustrations with Beijing, including intellectual property theft; forced technology transfer; unbalanced trade; and island building in the contested South China Sea.According to the Soft Power 30 index - which tracks countries' use of persuasion rather than coercion in achieving objectives - the US fell to fifth place globally in 2019, the latest data, down from third place in 2017 when Donald Trump became president.China's soft-power ranking also declined to 27 in 2019, from 25 in 2017, according to the index, compiled by the Portland consultancy and the University of Southern California. France ranked first in both years.And a Pew Research poll released Tuesday in 13 advanced European, Asian and North American nations found that just 15 per cent of respondents thought the US dealt well with the pandemic. This compared with 37 per cent who thought China handled the pandemic well and 64 per cent the World Health Organisation - both accused by the Trump administration of fanning the virus.Among Trump's first actions on becoming president was to pull the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a grouping aimed at working together on common challenges related to China. Since then, he has launched trade wars with Japan, South Korea, Canada and the European Union, among others, embarrassed their leaders publicly and too often viewed foreign relations as a zero-sum game, critics say."I've seen that critique," Pompeo said, but added that the administration's greatest priority has been helping Americans understand the threat that China represents to their economic and national security."Tens of millions of jobs have been stolen through the Chinese Communist predatory economic activity here in the United States," which cannot continue, he said.Turning to the battle for telecommunications supremacy, Pompeo said that Western competitors to Huawei would strengthen and become the global industry standard."I am confident that there will be cost-effective deliverables from Western trusted vendors that can deliver the same services or better services," Pompeo said, even as he conceded that beating Chinese prices would remain tough, citing Chinese state subsidies."We always joke about the battle between Airbus and Boeing being state-subsidised," he went on, referring to the European and US aircraft manufacturers. "That is child's play compared to what the Chinese Communist Party does."China's economic model has been built on state-backed companies "stealing American technology, bringing it back to the homeland, and then turning around and dumping it in the United States of America and around the world", Pompeo said.Despite Trump's "America First" policy, however, critics say Beijing has often failed to capitalise. Global suspicion toward China has increased under President Xi Jinping as Beijing has ramped up territorial disputes with India and Japan, drilled for oil in contested Southeast Asian waters and tightened its grip over Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet and Inner Mongolia.In recent months, international criticism has increased over China's early handling of the coronavirus and its subsequent global distribution of sometimes flawed medical equipment, amid reports of Beijing's demands for praise and veiled economic threats. And a growing number of US allies, including Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan and India, have taken steps to limit Huawei Technologies equipment in their 5G networks, wary of data theft that the company denies.The Chinese embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment, but foreign ministry officials in Beijing have repeatedly slammed Pompeo's volleys. "It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Friday. "No matter how they carry on bragging, facts will reduce them all to a laughingstock.""It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week. Photo: Reuters alt="It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to lie about China," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said last week. Photo: ReutersAs the US and China flex their economic and political muscles, some see a growing risk of a misstep as communication between the giants falters, suspicion grows and the US prepares for a presidential election that's seen both major political parties criticise China."It's the risk of a military clash, particularly between the US and China in the South China Sea, that might start with a conflict or contingency with the Philippines, or Vietnam," Greta Nabbs-Keller, a research fellow at Australia's University of Queensland said Monday at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies. Even a relatively minor clash could have severe reverberations across the Asian region, she added.Increasingly tense US-China relations and more warships and military aircraft leave less margin of error in potential flashpoints, said Amanda Hsiao, Beijing-based project manager with the Switzerland-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue."There is just a greater chance for an accidental collision or an incident that might accelerate to a point that neither side wants to see," Hsiao said, an "unintended incident that then escalates into something much greater".This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2020 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.


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  • 72/82   Trump’s pre-election diplomatic offensive glosses over awkward realities
    WORLD TOPIC NEWS

    The ‘Abraham accords’ merely make public once-furtive friendships between Israel and Gulf monarchies, while bigger problems remainThe White House was festooned with the flags of four nations. There were trumpet blasts, multiple signatures on various pieces of paper, and much weighty talk about blood and history – everything you might expect from a peace deal.And not just any peace deal. The agreements signed in Washington on Tuesday were titled the Abraham Accords, implying a epochal reconciliation between Judaism, Islam and Christianity, three faiths with shared Middle East ancestry.Benjamin Netanyahu had brought the rhetoric to match, with lines for the occasion seemingly borrowed from a biblical blockbuster.“This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace,” the Israeli prime minister declared.The host and master of ceremonies, Donald Trump, also delivered his quotes with a cinematic ring, albeit from a quite different movie.“This is peace in the Middle East without blood all over the sand,” the president said. “It’s been blood all over the sand for decades and decades and decades. That’s all they do, is they fight and kill people, and nobody gets anything.”Just whose blood might be involved was glossed over. The other signatories of the “accords”, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, had never been at war with Israel. They are Gulf monarchies from the high-end enclaves of the Arab world, who have exchanged intelligence and technology with Israel as wall as a mutual fear of Iran, for several years already. The “peace agreements” involved three Middle Eastern governments putting an official seal on once furtive friendships, in a brash ceremony honed to benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.Israel’s real enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, had no less enmity as a result of the accords. By way of a reminder, as the documents were being signed, the sirens were going off along the Israeli coast, and six people were injured by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.The conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims on territory and security, the impasse which had prevented diplomatic breakthroughs in the past two decades, was overcome in Tuesday’s White House deals simply by being ignored.The UAE had claimed to have secured a pledge from Israel not to annex the West Bank, all least for the time being. There was no mention of that in its Abrahamic agreement, which focused on potential fields of economic cooperation.Bahrain’s version was even thinner. The kingdom had agreed to join the spectacle a few days earlier, and its agreement to Israel amounted to a single page of vague aspirations, one of which was “continuing efforts for a just, comprehensive, enduring resolution of Israeli-Palesitnian conflict.”“The loser here is definitely the Palestinian cause and the two state solution. It’s a surrender of the Palestinians,” Randa Slim, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said, adding that the accords stripped them of even the appearance of Arab solidarity.“I don’t see how they can enter into negotiations and exact any serious concessions, now that they have been denied the one strong negotiating card they had at their disposal.”The Abraham accords was at least a docudrama loosely based on some real-life issues. A taboo, however tenuous, had been broken. Israeli journalists and diplomats mingled freely with their Gulf Arab counterparts, and there will no doubt be an upside from economic cooperation.The same can not be said for the other “peace deal” inked recently at the White House. That involved actual former adversaries, Serbian and Kosovan leaders, but next to no substance.Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vu?i?, and Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, walked away on 4 September with separate documents, which restated agreements already made between the two sides, such as infrastructure projects that were already under way.The new element was a tie-in with the Middle East. Both parties agreed to move their embassies to Jerusalem, which appeared to come as a surprise to Vu?i?. On hearing Trump announcing it at the elaborate Oval Office ceremony (also cast as a breakthrough between two ancient rivals), the Serbian leader thumbed through the documents in front of him and cast a bewildered look to an aide standing off camera. A few days later, his office let it be known that Serbia would not be keeping its end of the Jerusalem bargain if Israel recognised Kosovo, which had also been part of the deal.Trump’s pre-election diplomatic offensive has not been all theatre, however. Talks started in Doha at the weekend between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a fraught discussion between real adversaries about very real issues, brokered by the US.But the timing has been dictated by Trump’s campaign calendar. His insistence on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, no matter what the consequences, gave the Taliban what it had been seeking all along and presented the government of president Ashraf Ghani little choice but to negotiate, with a weakened hand. The talks can still collapse, or Kabul could be forced to negotiate away basic freedoms, including women’s rights.“In some respects, the Afghanistan talks are the most substantial of them all, in war and peace terms,” Daniel Serwer, senior fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said.“But you have to be realistic about what it is. We’re losing that war and [the US negotiators] found a way to use withdrawal of troops as leverage on the government of Afghanistan. So if I were an ally of the United States, I might not be looking at that in a completely positive light.”The consequences, for good or ill, will play themselves out after the election. Meanwhile, the Doha dialogue is being deployed by the White House as yet another example of how Trump slices through problems that were beyond his predecessors. The reelection campaign is making much of his nomination for the Nobel Prize, skating over the fact that all that took, under the idiosyncratic rules, was the support of a single maverick right-winger in the Norwegian parliament.Even though the resulting campaign advertisement misspelled the award as the Noble, the fanfare seems bound to help Trump’s bid to stay in the Oval Office. It is foreign policy, reputed to be of little weight in a US election contest. But it is also show business, at which Trump excels.

    The ‘Abraham accords’ merely make public once-furtive friendships between Israel and Gulf monarchies, while bigger problems remainThe White House was festooned with the flags of four nations. There were trumpet blasts, multiple signatures on various pieces of paper, and much weighty talk about blood and history – everything you might expect from a peace deal.And not just any peace deal. The agreements signed in Washington on Tuesday were titled the Abraham Accords, implying a epochal reconciliation between Judaism, Islam and Christianity, three faiths with shared Middle East ancestry.Benjamin Netanyahu had brought the rhetoric to match, with lines for the occasion seemingly borrowed from a biblical blockbuster.“This day is a pivot of history. It heralds a new dawn of peace,” the Israeli prime minister declared.The host and master of ceremonies, Donald Trump, also delivered his quotes with a cinematic ring, albeit from a quite different movie.“This is peace in the Middle East without blood all over the sand,” the president said. “It’s been blood all over the sand for decades and decades and decades. That’s all they do, is they fight and kill people, and nobody gets anything.”Just whose blood might be involved was glossed over. The other signatories of the “accords”, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, had never been at war with Israel. They are Gulf monarchies from the high-end enclaves of the Arab world, who have exchanged intelligence and technology with Israel as wall as a mutual fear of Iran, for several years already. The “peace agreements” involved three Middle Eastern governments putting an official seal on once furtive friendships, in a brash ceremony honed to benefit Trump’s reelection campaign.Israel’s real enemies, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran, had no less enmity as a result of the accords. By way of a reminder, as the documents were being signed, the sirens were going off along the Israeli coast, and six people were injured by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.The conflicting Israeli and Palestinian claims on territory and security, the impasse which had prevented diplomatic breakthroughs in the past two decades, was overcome in Tuesday’s White House deals simply by being ignored.The UAE had claimed to have secured a pledge from Israel not to annex the West Bank, all least for the time being. There was no mention of that in its Abrahamic agreement, which focused on potential fields of economic cooperation.Bahrain’s version was even thinner. The kingdom had agreed to join the spectacle a few days earlier, and its agreement to Israel amounted to a single page of vague aspirations, one of which was “continuing efforts for a just, comprehensive, enduring resolution of Israeli-Palesitnian conflict.”“The loser here is definitely the Palestinian cause and the two state solution. It’s a surrender of the Palestinians,” Randa Slim, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, said, adding that the accords stripped them of even the appearance of Arab solidarity.“I don’t see how they can enter into negotiations and exact any serious concessions, now that they have been denied the one strong negotiating card they had at their disposal.”The Abraham accords was at least a docudrama loosely based on some real-life issues. A taboo, however tenuous, had been broken. Israeli journalists and diplomats mingled freely with their Gulf Arab counterparts, and there will no doubt be an upside from economic cooperation.The same can not be said for the other “peace deal” inked recently at the White House. That involved actual former adversaries, Serbian and Kosovan leaders, but next to no substance.Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vu?i?, and Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, walked away on 4 September with separate documents, which restated agreements already made between the two sides, such as infrastructure projects that were already under way.The new element was a tie-in with the Middle East. Both parties agreed to move their embassies to Jerusalem, which appeared to come as a surprise to Vu?i?. On hearing Trump announcing it at the elaborate Oval Office ceremony (also cast as a breakthrough between two ancient rivals), the Serbian leader thumbed through the documents in front of him and cast a bewildered look to an aide standing off camera. A few days later, his office let it be known that Serbia would not be keeping its end of the Jerusalem bargain if Israel recognised Kosovo, which had also been part of the deal.Trump’s pre-election diplomatic offensive has not been all theatre, however. Talks started in Doha at the weekend between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a fraught discussion between real adversaries about very real issues, brokered by the US.But the timing has been dictated by Trump’s campaign calendar. His insistence on withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, no matter what the consequences, gave the Taliban what it had been seeking all along and presented the government of president Ashraf Ghani little choice but to negotiate, with a weakened hand. The talks can still collapse, or Kabul could be forced to negotiate away basic freedoms, including women’s rights.“In some respects, the Afghanistan talks are the most substantial of them all, in war and peace terms,” Daniel Serwer, senior fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said.“But you have to be realistic about what it is. We’re losing that war and [the US negotiators] found a way to use withdrawal of troops as leverage on the government of Afghanistan. So if I were an ally of the United States, I might not be looking at that in a completely positive light.”The consequences, for good or ill, will play themselves out after the election. Meanwhile, the Doha dialogue is being deployed by the White House as yet another example of how Trump slices through problems that were beyond his predecessors. The reelection campaign is making much of his nomination for the Nobel Prize, skating over the fact that all that took, under the idiosyncratic rules, was the support of a single maverick right-winger in the Norwegian parliament.Even though the resulting campaign advertisement misspelled the award as the Noble, the fanfare seems bound to help Trump’s bid to stay in the Oval Office. It is foreign policy, reputed to be of little weight in a US election contest. But it is also show business, at which Trump excels.


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  • 73/82   Can coronavirus vaccine mistrust be overcome?
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    A large number of Americans say they won't feel safe taking a vaccine for coronavirus once one is available. Can their lack of trust be fixed or will vaccine skepticism make herd immunity impossible?

    A large number of Americans say they won't feel safe taking a vaccine for coronavirus once one is available. Can their lack of trust be fixed or will vaccine skepticism make herd immunity impossible?


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  • 74/82   Police called to home of boy with toy gun in virtual class: 'I could have been burying my son today,' mom says
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    A Black seventh grader from Colorado had the police called to his house because he was playing with a toy gun during virtual art class. His mom, Dani Elliott, believes that if anyone did anything wrong, it was the school.

    A Black seventh grader from Colorado had the police called to his house because he was playing with a toy gun during virtual art class. His mom, Dani Elliott, believes that if anyone did anything wrong, it was the school.


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  • 75/82   Michael Caputo was brought in to streamline coronavirus messaging. He has fostered chaos instead.
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    A disciple of Nixonian “dirty trickster” Roger Stone, Caputo has worked for Oliver North, Russian energy giant Gazprom and, most recently, Trump, joining his presidential campaign back when few were taking that campaign seriously. 

    A disciple of Nixonian “dirty trickster” Roger Stone, Caputo has worked for Oliver North, Russian energy giant Gazprom and, most recently, Trump, joining his presidential campaign back when few were taking that campaign seriously. 


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  • 76/82   Fallout from Trump's coronavirus admissions
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    President Trump told journalist Bob Woodward that he was deliberately downplaying the risks of the coronavirus in the early months of the pandemic. What impact will these statements have?

    President Trump told journalist Bob Woodward that he was deliberately downplaying the risks of the coronavirus in the early months of the pandemic. What impact will these statements have?


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  • 77/82   Children transmit the coronavirus, Utah study suggests, but don't get sick themselves
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    The new findings could help shape the debate about how to reopen schools safely as the coronavirus continues to sicken thousands and kill hundreds daily.

    The new findings could help shape the debate about how to reopen schools safely as the coronavirus continues to sicken thousands and kill hundreds daily.


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  • 78/82   Biden campaign jumps on Woodward interview to pin COVID deaths on Trump's 'playing it down'
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    As the revelations by journalist Bob Woodward of how President Trump misled the American people about the severity of the coronavirus reverberated this week, the Biden campaign did its best to keep the story alive with scathing digital advertising.

    As the revelations by journalist Bob Woodward of how President Trump misled the American people about the severity of the coronavirus reverberated this week, the Biden campaign did its best to keep the story alive with scathing digital advertising.


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  • 79/82   New York speeds to open restaurants for indoor dining despite scientists' concerns over COVID-19 spread
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    A new CDC study found that people infected with the coronavirus were twice as likely to have been at a restaurant than those who had not. Even with social distancing mandates in place, restaurants could become coronavirus hot spots.

    A new CDC study found that people infected with the coronavirus were twice as likely to have been at a restaurant than those who had not. Even with social distancing mandates in place, restaurants could become coronavirus hot spots.


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  • 80/82   2 Black Senate hopefuls look to make history in the South — and fix health care while they're at it
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins from Louisiana and Jaime Harrison from South Carolina envision a “new South” to address issues they say have been largely ignored by their longtime incumbent opponents.

    Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins from Louisiana and Jaime Harrison from South Carolina envision a “new South” to address issues they say have been largely ignored by their longtime incumbent opponents.


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  • 81/82   Post-COVID heart damage alarms researchers: 'There was a black hole' in infected cells
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    While more studies are needed, researchers and doctors throughout the country are warning of a likely connection between COVID-19 and a serious heart condition.

    While more studies are needed, researchers and doctors throughout the country are warning of a likely connection between COVID-19 and a serious heart condition.


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  • 82/82   A new COVID-19 forecast predicts more than 400,000 deaths by the end of 2020. Will the fall wave really be that big?
    HEALTH TOPIC NEWS

    Experts have long feared that colder weather and other factors could create a fall wave of the coronavirus with the potential to dwarf previous peaks — and America’s most prominent COVID-19 modelers are projecting just that. So is it time to freak out about the fall? Maybe not just yet.

    Experts have long feared that colder weather and other factors could create a fall wave of the coronavirus with the potential to dwarf previous peaks — and America’s most prominent COVID-19 modelers are projecting just that. So is it time to freak out about the fall? Maybe not just yet.


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