Month: November 2020

  • Benfica 3 – 3 Rangers

    first_imgSubs: Gilberto (6), Grimaldo (6), Nunez (8), Waldschmidt (6), Jardel (6)Rangers: McGregor (6), Tavernier (8), Goldson (6), Helander (5), Barisic (7), Jack (7), Davis (8), Kamara (8), Aribo (7), Kent (7), Morelos (9)Subs: Arfield (7)- Advertisement – Nunez’s late effort means both teams remain unbeaten and at the top of Group D ahead of the return meeting at Ibrox.Download the Sky Sports Scottish Football Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox | SpreakerHow Rangers failed to beat 10-man BenficaRangers arrived at the Estadio da Luz knowing that no team had beaten Benfica at home in the Europa League and that task became even harder when they fell behind to the fastest own goal in the competition in more than a decade.The normally reliable Filip Helander failed to clear his lines, allowing Silva to get in behind, with his pull back ending up in the net off Goldson’s thigh. Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring for Rangers vs BenficaImage:Alfredo Morelos celebrates scoring for Rangers vs Benfica Man of the Match – Alfredo MorelosThe forward made history in Lisbon with a simple far-post finish, the Colombian’s 22nd European goal, more than any other player has managed in Rangers’ history, while he has also now netted 84 times in total in just 154 games for the club.However, it was not just that record-breaking strike that caught the eye at the Estadio da Luz, but the frontman’s all-round game, including a brilliant crossfield pass to assist Kamara’s 25-minute goal.And really he could have had more in the second half but for some alert goalkeeping by Odysseas Vlachodimos, although in the end all people were talking about was his second-half goal that leaves him top of pile in Europe as far as Rangers are concerned. Alfredo Morelos became Rangers’ top European goalscorer but Darwin Nunez’s injury-time strike saw 10-man Benfica snatch a 3-3 draw in the Europa League.Morelos’s tap in six minutes after half-time – the Colombian’s 22nd goal in Europe seeing him overtake Ally McCoist as Rangers’ leading scorer on the continent – had given his side a 3-1 lead, only for the Portuguese to hit back twice in the final 13 minutes through Rafa Silva and substitute Nunez.- Advertisement – Team newsBenfica made four changes from their last league outing, while Rangers boss Steven Gerrard made two changes from the side that won 1-0 at Kilmarnock on Sunday, with Glen Kamara and Steven Davis replacing Scott Arfield and Cedric Itten. What’s next?Benfica entertain Braga on Sunday at 8pm, while Rangers take on Hamilton at Ibrox in the Scottish Premiership on the same day, with the game kicking off at 3pm. First Silva converted after fine approach play from Nunez, before the substitute himself was played clean through on goal in stoppage time, keeping his cool to break Rangers hearts.Still no place like home for Benfica – Match statsBenfica remain unbeaten in all 24 of their UEFA Europa League home games since the competition was rebranded in 2009, winning 19 and drawing five.Rangers conceded three goals in a match for the first time in 20 games in all competitions (1-3 vs Bayer Leverkusen in March). Indeed, they shipped more goals tonight than they had in their previous nine games in all competitions combined (2).This was the fourth different UEFA Europa League game to see both sides net an own goal, with half of these now involving Rangers (vs Benfica tonight, and vs Spartak Moscow in November 2018).Alfredo Morelos scored his 10th UEFA Europa League goal for Rangers, the first player to reach double figures in the competition for the Scottish side (including UEFA Cup). Rangers had made the worst possible start when falling behind after only 60 seconds thanks to Connor Goldson’s unfortunate own goal, only for Nicolas Otamendi’s straight red card (19) to then turn the game on its head as the visitors scored twice in just 88 seconds.Steven Gerrard’s side levelled matters through Diogo Goncalves’s own goal (24), before Glen Kamara immediately made it 2-1 with his first strike since September 2019.center_img The visitors soon increased their advantage when the unmarked Morelos side-footed home another Tavernier cross for his record-breaking 22nd European goal in just 37 games, and all this from a player who cost the club just £1m.However, if Rangers thought they had become the first-ever team to win a Europa League game at Benfica, they were mistaken, with the home side showing great character to snatch a point late on. Player ratingsBenfica: Vlachodimos (6), Goncalves (7), Otamendi (5), Vertonghen (6), Tavares (6), Weigl (6), Rafa Silva (8), Pizzi (7), Taarabt (6), Everton (6), Seferovic (5)- Advertisement – What the manager said…Steven Gerrard: “That will certainly sting for a while. It obviously feels more like a defeat than a positive point right now.“But once the dust settles I’m sure it will be a valuable point.“We’ve got ourselves to blame. We started the game really poor for the opening minute and deserved to be one behind.“We also finished the game poorly as well, so we certainly have a lot to learn from the goals we conceded.“Having said that, once the red card happened some of the football and some of the creativity we produced and the goals we scored were absolutely fantastic.“I thought there were periods in the game where we actually played the best we have this season.“It’s certainly very mixed at the moment. It feels like a defeat because at 3-1 our game management and our order on the pitch should have been better to get us over the line.” But Benfica soon handed Rangers a way back. Steven Davis’s wonderful ball over the top released Ryan Kent, only for Otamendi to trip the midfielder’s heels as he bore down on goal, leaving the referee with no choice but to send off the former Manchester City defender.Rangers took full advantage by first levelling matters when Goncalves diverted James Tavernier’s driven centre into his own net, before Kamara then rounded off a lovely passing move to hand his team a deserved half-time lead. Man of the match: Alfredo Morelos Benfica's Nicolas Otamendi is shown a red card against RangersImage:Former Man City defender Nicolas Otamendi is shown a red card against Rangers, but Benfica fought back with 10 men to claim a point – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Poco C3 Review | NDTV Gadgets 360

    first_imgPoco C3 camerasThe Poco C3 prides itself on having three rear cameras, which is not something we see too often in this segment. You get a 13-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel depth camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, there’s a 5-megapixel front camera. The camera app has the usual basic shooting modes, Auto HDR, and AI scene recognition. There’s no dedicated low-light shooting mode.Shots taken in the daytime were decent, with fairly good details and colours. However, HDR wasn’t always handled very well, with highlights often getting overexposed. Close-ups had good detail as long as there was ample light, but once again the highlights tended to get blown out when shooting under sunlight. The macro camera has a lot of shutter lag, due to which most pictures usually ended up with a slight blur unless you stay extremely still. Portrait mode does a decent job too, but there’s no way to adjust the level of blur while shooting.Poco C3 daylight camera sample (tap to see larger image)Poco C3 close-up camera sample (tap to see larger image)Poco C3 selfie Portrait camera sample (tap to see larger image)Poco C3 low-light camera sample (tap to see larger image) The Poco C3 is a pretty large phone. It measures 9mm in thickness and is also fairly heavy at 194g. I definitely struggled to use it comfortably with one hand. However, the build quality is decent. The back and side frame are made of plastic and you get rounded edges on all sides. Poco claims the C3 has a P2i coating, which should help protect it against accidental splashes of water. I have the Lime Green colour, which honestly, looks more blue than anything. It’s also available in Matte Black and Arctic Blue. The majority of the back panel has a textured pattern, which helps grip the phone better and also prevents it from picking up fingerprints easily.The buttons have good feedback, and there’s a headphone jack as well as a Micro-USB port. I’m not too thrilled about the lack of a USB Type-C port, but this is what you can expect in this segment. The SIM tray can hold two nano-SIMs and a microSD card. There’s no fingerprint sensor on this phone, which again, is something that’s not guaranteed on phones in this budget. You do get face recognition, which is slow, but it works even with a face mask on.Poco offers a large display, but naturally, only with a HD+ resolution (1600×720). It’s a 6.53-inch LCD panel with Panda Glass for scratch protection. The display isn’t very vibrant and the brightness is just about adequate indoors. However, the screen washes out pretty badly, making it hard to use under sunlight. The display also has thick borders all around, especially the bottom. There’s a dewdrop notch for the selfie camera.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – – Advertisement – Photos shot in low light had weak details and exposure was generally poor unless there was enough light around. This result was expected given the narrow f/2.2 aperture and the entry-level positioning of the Poco C3. The phone can shoot video at up to 1080p 30fps, but without stabilisation. Video shot during the day was strictly average in quality, and very weak when shot in low light.Finally, the selfie camera captures usable shots in the daytime but the quality drops quite a bit in low light.VerdictThe base variant of the Poco C3 is a decent pick at Rs. 7,499 if all you want is a basic Android smartphone with strong battery life. The display is a bit dull, performance isn’t great, and the cameras are just about serviceable. The 4GB version doesn’t offer very good value, since at Rs. 8,999, you can get better phones such as the Realme Narzo 20A and Moto E7 Plus.Are iPhone 12 mini, HomePod mini the Perfect Apple Devices for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below. I have the 4GB version so I was expecting a relatively smooth experience, but sadly, that wasn’t the case. It’s not just the Poco C3 though; every smartphone that I’ve come across based on the Helio G35 SoC, such as the Redmi 9, Realme C11, Realme C12, and Realme C15 have exhibited sluggish performance irrespective of the amount of RAM they had. There’s an inherent lag in pretty much everything, from the UI animations to multitasking. MIUI is still very usable, but the experience is not as smooth as you’d get on phones with more powerful processors priced just a few thousand rupees higher. In a way, this is the story of most Android phones around the Rs. 7,000 price point, for now.Games ran decently well, but you need to temper your expectations. For instance, games such as Call of Duty Mobile scaled well on the Poco C3 and gameplay was relatively smooth, but with vastly reduced graphics quality. However, titles such as CarX Drift Racing 2 struggled to run at consistent frame rates. The single speaker near the Micro-USB port gets decently loud. Videos don’t look their best due to the dull display, so watching anything isn’t a great experience.The one area where the Poco C3 really excels is battery life. The Poco C3 has a 5,000mAh battery which easily lasted for around two full days, with medium to light usage. Even with a lot of gaming, I was still able to get around a day and half, which is very good. My only gripe is the long time needed to charge the battery. With the bundled adapter, the C3’s battery charged to just 37 percent in an hour, and took almost three hours to charge completely.poco c3 review back wall sThe Poco C3 has three rear cameras and a single selfie camera poco c3 review ports dsThe Poco C3 has a Micro-USB port and a single bottom-firing speaker The entry-level smartphone market might not be as exciting as the mainstream or mid-tier segments, but it’s still amazing to see the kind of features you can get today at relatively low prices. Today we’ll be testing the Poco C3, which is Poco’s first sub-Rs. 10,000 smartphone in India.With prices starting at Rs. 7,499, the Poco C3 boasts of a large display and battery, triple rear cameras, and a gaming-oriented SoC. Its main rivals include the Redmi 9A and Realme C11. Does the Poco C3 offer better value for your money than the competition? Time to find out.Poco C3 design- Advertisement – The box contents are pretty standard. You get a charging cable, a 10W charger, a SIM eject tool, and some documentation. There isn’t a case or headset. Overall, the Poco C3 seems like a well-built phone for the price, even though it is a little too heavy and unwieldy for one-handed use.Poco C3 softwareThe Poco C3 runs MIUI 12, but unlike Redmi phones running MIUI, Poco claims that its version has been tweaked to not show any ads or promotional content. So far, the company seems to be following through on that promise. I didn’t see any ads or unsolicited alerts clogging up the notification shade during the review period. I did get the occasional alert from GetApps, which is Xiaomi’s own curated app store, but these were usually to alert me about updates to the installed apps.Other than this, the MIUI 12 experience felt familiar. You still get a bunch of apps such as Zili and small games preinstalled, but these can be uninstalled.Poco C3 specifications and performanceThe Poco C3 uses the MediaTek Helio G35 SoC, which is found in many phones in this segment, including the Realme C11 (Review). The base variant of the C3 has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and is priced at Rs. 7,499, while the higher one has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for Rs. 8,999. Other features include dual-4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi n, Bluetooth 5, GPS, and FM radio.poco c3 review notch ssThe display on the Poco C3 is a bit dull and washes out easily under sunlightlast_img read more

  • My Family Was Asked to Do a Reality Show

    first_imgThough her family might not bring the drama that reality TV fans are used to seeing, the Christmas Town actress admitted that producers have floated the idea to her once before.“We were approached for reality [TV], but a long time ago and it just wasn’t something that works for us,” Cameron Bure explained. “I’ve never been approached for Housewives [or] anything, nor have I ever seen a Housewives show. [I] don’t think that one’s for me.”Candace Cameron Bure Reveals Her Family Was Approached About Doing Their Own Reality ShowCandace Cameron Bure Broadimage/ShutterstockThe Dancing With the Stars season 18 alum wed hockey player Valeri Bure in June 1996 after being introduced by her Full House costar Dave Coulier at a charity sports event. The duo went on to welcome three children: daughter Natasha, 22, and sons Lev, 20, and Maksim, 18. While spending time together at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, Cameron Bure and her family have been trying to make the most of a difficult circumstance.- Advertisement – “It totally tested us, but in the best of ways,” the Dancing Through Life author told Us of her quarantine experience with Valeri, 46. “I’ll be honest because we try. We both travel so much. So we were like, ‘This might be the most amount of time we’ve actually spent together in years. This is either going to make us or break us.’ And you know what? It’s made us.”The Emmy nominee has been “really grateful” for the extra time she’s been able to spend with her husband. After more than 20 years of marriage, the couple has only grown “stronger.”“So many things are put in perspective just being at home and then you talk through a lot of things and you realize, ‘What are the things we have to work on? What are the things that are working well?’” she explained to Us. “I’m so grateful for my family time because I’ve re-evaluated my work schedule, the time that I’m away from my family and realized that that was not a good balance for me.”- Advertisement – While the former The View cohost feels lucky to spend time at home with her loving family, she realizes not everyone is as fortunate. For the third year in a row, she’s working with The Salvation Army to bring Christmas magic to millions of families in need across the country.“They do so much good work throughout the year and this year because of the pandemic and COVID things are, are different,” she told Us. “So we’re asking everyone to go to and donate there, or drop a few dollars in when you do see the red kettle or set up a monthly donation. … It really does make a huge difference.”With reporting by Christina GaribaldiListen to Us Weekly’s Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories! Sticking to her script. Candace Cameron Bure isn’t sure she and her family are cut out for the reality TV lifestyle.“I don’t think we’re interesting enough to have a reality show around us,” the Fuller House star, 44, joked while speaking to Us Weekly exclusively about her partnership with The Salvation Army. “I think we’re pretty boring.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Christmas Eve Party Is Still on Amid Pandemic

    first_img“We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more,” she tweeted at the time, noting that everyone had “multiple health screens” and quarantined for two weeks before the trip. “I realize that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is.”Less than a week later, Kendall Jenner received backlash for celebrating her 25th birthday with a star-studded costume party in West Hollywood on Halloween.Kris, 65, defended the back-to-back celebrations on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live on November 2, saying, “We are really responsible, and we make sure that everyone in our family and our closest friends are tested religiously. You know, we do what we can. We try to follow the rules.”Given the constantly evolving nature of COVID-19, Us Weekly wants our readers to have access to the most accurate resources. For the most up-to-date coronavirus information, guidance, and support, consult the CDC, WHO, and information from local public health officials. If you’re experiencing coronavirus symptoms, call your primary care provider for medical advice. Kardashian, who previously battled the novel coronavirus, explained that the soirée “will just have to be small and safe” this year due to the nationwide surge in cases.“Maybe [we will] do rapid testing before,” she added, noting that the Keeping Up With the Kardashians cast still has to determine “what is safest” for their guests.Each year, the Kardashian-Jenners invite dozens of family members and close friends to one of their homes for an extravagant, ultra-festive celebration in the lead-up to Christmas Day. Kris Jenner hosted the party in 2017, while Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian took the reins in 2018 and 2019, respectively.- Advertisement – Don’t put away the jingle bells just yet! Khloé Kardashian confirmed that her family still plans to have their annual Christmas Eve party amid the COVID-19 pandemic.After a Twitter user asked Kardashian, 36, whether the bash would be “cancelled this year” on Monday, November 9, the Revenge Body host replied, “I pray not! I think it will have to be way smaller obviously. And I’m totally fine with that! But we’re definitely celebrating Christmas!”- Advertisement – After Khloé confirmed that this year’s get-together is still in the cards, several Twitter users were quick to point out that her family has already come under fire twice in recent weeks for celebrating special occasions in big groups rather than following the government’s social distancing guidelines.Khloe Kardashian Confirms Christmas Eve Bash Is Still on After Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner Controversial PartiesKhloe Kardashian, Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner Larry Marano/Shutterstock; Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock“Maybe not throwing multiple parties during a global pandemic is the safest,” one tweeter suggested on Monday. Another wrote, “They haven’t followed the rules so far, why start now?”Kim was slammed in October after she revealed that she flew her loved ones to a private island to celebrate her 40th birthday.- Advertisement – – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • The Fed is set to take on a new challenge: climate change

    first_img“Federal Reserve supervisors expect banks to have systems in place that appropriately identify, measure, control, and monitor all of their material risks, which for many banks are likely to extend to climate risks,” the financial stability report said.Fed Governor Lael Brainard first brought up the need to address the issue just over a year ago.In a statement accompanying the report, she noted that “climate change poses important risks to financial stability.” The report cites price instability that could come from climate-driven weather events like tornadoes and floods that cause households and businesses to have too much debt relative to assets, forcing panic-selling. – Advertisement – The Federal Reserve is going green, and that could mean a substantial change for the way financial institutions have to prepare for the unexpected.In recent days, several central bank officials have spoken about the importance of taking climate change into effect when considering dangers posed to the system. Along with that, the Fed’s financial stability report, which usually talks about how economic and market forces could impact banks, insurance companies and other firms, mentioned climate for the first time.While none of the talk addressed anything the Fed might do specifically from a regulatory standpoint, the emphasis was clear on how important the issue has become.- Advertisement – Extinction Rebellion environmental activists protest around Bank Junction in the financial district on the 7th day of their ‘October Rising’ campaign on October 14, 2019 in London, England.Ollie Millington | Getty Images – Advertisement – “It is vitally important to move from the recognition that climate change poses significant financial stability risks to the stage where the quantitative implications of those risks are appropriately assessed and addressed,” added Brainard, who is believed to be a top contender for Treasury secretary in presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet.Fed Chairman Jerome Powell also addressed the issue recently, noting at his post-meeting news conference a week ago that “incorporating climate change into our thinking about financial regulation is relatively new, as you know. And we are very actively in the early stages of this, getting up to speed, working with our central bank colleagues and other colleagues around the world to try to think about how this can be part of our framework.”The Fed has requested membership in the Network for Greening the Financial System, a group of global central banks aimed at addressing the impact climate has on finance. Fed Vice Chairman Randal Quarles also addressed the issue this week, as did Kevin Stiroh, executive vice president at the New York Fed, who said in a speech that financial firms have “taken important steps” towards integrating climate change risks into their thinking though “this work is still in its early days.”‘A very big statement’How it all might impact policy and regulation at this point is unclear, but the move has pleased those who advocate for environmental reform.“We think this is a very big statement from the Federal Reserve,” said Steven Rothstein, managing director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, a nonprofit focused on sustainability issues. “The Fed and other financial regulators need to address this not just because it’s important from a climate perspective, but because it is fundamental to the stability of our financial institutions.”As a practical matter, the Fed and other regulators could push institutions to disclose and measure climate risk in much the same way they do now through standard stress testing.Rothstein also said, for instance, that bank examiners should be trained to ask about climate risk. Banks and insurance companies should be aware of the various geographical risks they face, such as from floods or earthquakes, and prepare accordingly, he added.With Biden’s apparent ascent to the presidency and his focus on environmental issues, such as the Paris Agreement talks from which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S., the focus on climate is even timelier, Rothstein said.“There are broader issues like returning to Paris and the significant infrastructure package that may occur early next year,” Rothstein said. “Until recently, the financial regulators in the United States haven’t been seen as real leaders in climate. That is different than what’s happening around the world.”A lot to take onThe foray into climate comes at a time when the Fed already has its hands full.In response to the coronavirus pandemic, officials this year rolled out and are administering the most aggressive package of monetary programs the institution has ever seen. In addition, the Fed recently announced a policy pivot on inflation that likely will keep interest rates anchored near zero for years.“If you’re talking about the impact of credit on climate change, I think the Fed is safe there. What they don’t want to do is go outside their boundaries, which is either monetary or bank supervision, and start to get into the policy aspect of this,” said Christopher Whalen, a former investment banker and head of Whalen Global Advisors. “I don’t think the Fed should let this distract them. They have many more important things to worry about.”Indeed, the extent to which the issue could cut against a broad swath of sectors and interested government entities is potentially enormous.“Core areas of focus – some of which of course span multiple agencies and the executive branch as well as central bank authorities — include a focus on disclosure, measurement, modeling and mitigation of climate risk in the financial system,” Krishna Guha, head of global policy and central bank strategy for Evercore ISI, said in a note.Still, with a pro-green Biden administration apparently on the way and continued pressure on the Fed, climate change likely will emerge as a significant job in the years ahead.“We give the Federal Reserve great credit for moving forward, for their leadership and understanding that climate is a systemic financial risk,” Rothstein said. “Without it, we could have dramatic losses much greater than what our country saw in the 2008 and 2009 subprime housing collapse. We hope that everyone of the financial regulators follows the lead that the Federal Reserve has just shown in declaring that climate is a financial risk.” – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Trump Pentagon Purge Could Accelerate His Goal to Pull Troops From Afghanistan

    first_imgUpdated Nov. 12, 2020, 7:30 p.m. ET “The president has had difficulty finding personnel who would faithfully execute on his preferences,” Mr. Ruger said in an interview on Friday. With the new Pentagon leadership, “the president could really cement a legacy here,” he said, adding that Mr. Trump “could be the leader who ends America’s longest war.”This week, the American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, traveled to Washington on a previously scheduled trip as officials in both countries braced for a possible announcement as early as next week to quickly reduce the 4,500 United States troops still left in Afghanistan. Mr. Trump has said previously that he wants to pull all troops from Afghanistan by Christmas.With his recent flurry of firings and appointments, Mr. Trump has effectively pulled down a majority of the personnel guardrails against a fast withdrawal.- Advertisement – Critics of an accelerated withdrawal point to logistical challenges of the strategy. Several current and former Pentagon officials have noted that a withdrawal within two months — which seems to be Mr. Trump’s goal — would be challenging, given the amount of military equipment that would have to be shipped out to avoid becoming spoils for the Taliban.“Those in the Pentagon will use the logistics argument to slow this down,” said Dan Caldwell, a senior adviser to Concerned Veterans for America, a group that has strongly influenced veterans’ policies under Mr. Trump. “People there have slow-walked this and tried to box the president in and that likely upset the president and did not endear Secretary Esper to him.”Over the last year, the organization has spent over $3 million on advertisements in support of an Afghanistan withdrawal. Conservative news media personalities, including Tucker Carlson, have also advocated the drawdown. If Mr. Trump actually announces an expedited plan, “we are going to go big,” Mr. Caldwell said.Of course with Mr. Trump, strongly expressed intentions concerning troops often do not come to fruition.After announcing a full troop withdrawal from Syria in late 2018 — and abandoning Kurdish allies, for which he was widely criticized — he opted to leave several hundred troops in Syria.He has also told aides he wanted to greatly reduce the 700 American troops in Somalia — most of them Special Operations forces — and so far that has gone nowhere.Mr. Ruger said the pressure would remain when Mr. Biden takes office.“Regardless of who the president is, we will support good policies,” he said. “Getting out of Afghanistan is good policy.”Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting from Kabul. Mr. Trump recently nominated a new ambassador to Afghanistan, William Ruger, the vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute — a vocal and well-financed opponent of current conflicts abroad. Even before any Senate confirmation, which seems unlikely before Inauguration Day, Mr. Ruger maintains a large chair at Mr. Trump’s foreign policy table.- Advertisement – But what many Republicans failed to grasp is that Mr. Trump’s positions on the so-called endless wars were good politics. Rancor toward those conflicts has grown among many conservatives, including those in the Koch circle, as well as libertarians among congressional Republicans and even those on the left, including Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, among others.Last year, VoteVets, the liberal political action committee, and the conservative Concerned Veterans for America teamed up to persuade Congress to revoke authorizations of military force passed after Sept. 11. Mr. Trump also replaced the hawkish John R. Bolton with Robert C. O’Brien as his national security adviser. Mr. O’Brien has said the United States needs to redirect its resources from Afghanistan and toward the competition and possible conflicts with China and Russia.Polls have shown that a majority of veterans have grown disenchanted with the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which helped Mr. Trump earn strong support among veterans who voted in 2016. Many have been disappointed that troops remain deployed in Afghanistan and that other promises to reduce the military presence in other regions have not been fulfilled.Exit polls this month suggest that Mr. Trump won veterans 54 percent to 44 percent; in 2016, the poll found he won veterans 60 percent to 34 percent, a major shift that could stem from a variety of factors including his mixed record on these issues. WASHINGTON — Consistent is not the adjective many would use to describe President Trump’s national security policy. But there is one goal he has nurtured since the 2016 campaign: withdrawing all American troops from Afghanistan.Now, in the waning days of his presidency, Mr. Trump is scrambling to make it so, aided by conservative antiwar forces who see it not only as good policy but also as a linchpin to any future he may seek in politics.- Advertisement –center_img President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will find himself having to address these political dynamics at home and the realities on the ground as progress toward peace between the Taliban and the Afghan government stalls.Critics of a fast withdrawal before the Taliban meet the conditions of a recent peace agreement fear that any attempt to pull all American troops by year’s end would potentially result in deaths on the ground. Citing recent escalating violence across the county, they worry that the Taliban could succeed at seizing more territory, especially in the south, the group’s historic center of power.“It’s irresponsible to make troop reduction your entire political objective,” said Evelyn N. Farkas, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. “If you withdraw irresponsibly, you put strategic objectives and military lives at risk.” This week, Mr. Trump dismissed his defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, who had repeatedly expressed reluctance for a fast pullout from Afghanistan, replacing him with Christopher C. Miller, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who may lack the stature and experience to push back effectively on Mr. Trump’s 11th-hour foreign policy actions.Notably, Douglas Macgregor, a retired Army colonel and fierce proponent of ending American involvement in Afghanistan, was named this week as a senior adviser to Mr. Miller. Mr. Trump’s views on reducing the United States’ footprint overseas are long standing and a central component of his “America First” foreign policy agenda. After originally supporting the war in Iraq, he spent years criticizing President George W. Bush for America’s wars in the region. During his 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump astonished fellow Republicans by directly attacking Mr. Bush about the war in Iraq and suggesting he failed to prevent the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. – Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Parler, the Conservative Social Media Platform, Gets Backing from Mercer Family: Report

    first_imgSocial media platform Parler, which styles itself as a “free speech-driven” space, gets funding from hedge-fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter and conservative activist Rebekah, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. US right-wing social media users have flocked to Parler, messaging app Telegram, and hands-off social site Gab, citing the more aggressive policing of political comments on mainstream platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.Parler Chief Executive Officer John Matze, who describes himself as libertarian, has said he founded the company in 2018 as a bipartisan platform but has doubled down on marketing to conservatives as they took to the site. Those who have joined include commentator Candace Owens, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and right-wing activist Laura Loomer, who handcuffed herself to the door of Twitter’s New York office in November 2018 to protest a ban on her by the site.- Advertisement – – Advertisement – “John and I started Parler to provide a neutral platform for free speech, as our founders intended, and also to create a social media environment that would protect data privacy,” Rebekah said in a post on Parler. “The ever-increasing tyranny and hubris of our tech overlords demands that someone lead the fight against data mining, and for the protection of free speech online,” she addedThe company’s user base more than doubled to 10 million in under a week, making it difficult for its roughly 30-person staff to keep up with the new sign-ups, according to the Wall Street Journal.Will Xbox Series S, PS5 Digital Edition fail in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.- Advertisement –last_img read more

  • Avian flu death reported in Thailand

    first_imgSep 9, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – An 18-year-old boy in Thailand who had been exposed to sick chickens died yesterday of H5N1 avian influenza, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today.The WHO said Thailand’s Ministry of Health reported the case. The young man was from Prachinburi province in eastern Thailand, where H5N1 avian flu erupted in poultry earlier this year. The man was hospitalized Sep 5 and died of acute respiratory distress 3 days later, the WHO said.A Reuters report today said the man had raised fighting cocks.On the basis of WHO figures, the death raises the number of human cases of avian flu this year to 40, including 29 deaths. There have been 13 cases with 9 deaths in Thailand and 27 cases with 20 deaths in Vietnam.In other developments, Malaysian officials have ruled out avian flu in two people who were hospitalized with suspected cases, according to an Agence France-Presse report today. The patients were a 10-year-old boy and a 45-year-old veterinarian. The story said no new suspected human cases have been reported.Bernama, Malaysia’s national news agency, said today that culling of chickens and ducks around the site of the country’s second recent outbreak of avian flu has ended. The affected area is at Kampung Belian in the Tumpat district in northern Malaysia.See also:Sep 9 WHO announcement read more

  • NIAID to map flu virus genomes

    first_imgNov 18, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – The federal government announced this week it is launching a campaign to map the genetic blueprint of thousands of human and avian influenza viruses in an effort to better understand how flu viruses evolve, spread, and cause disease. See also: The effort will be conducted in part by the NIAID Microbial Sequencing Center at The Institute for Genomics Research (TIGR) in Rockville, Md., officials said. The NIAID will publish the sequence information through GenBank, an international online database funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and through the NIAID Bioinformatics Resource Center, an online collection of genetic sequence data with analysis tools. “This project is the influenza-virus equivalent of the human genome project,” Robert G. Webster, PhD, professor of virology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, commented in the news release. St. Jude has a collection of more than 12,000 avian flu viruses and will sequence their genomes. Also this week, the NIAID announced the launch of an updated Web site on flu research for the media and the public. Officials said the “Focus on the Flu” site includes information on cutting-edge NIAID-supported flu research; graphics that illuminate concepts important in flu research, such as reverse genetics and antigenic shift and drift; health-related fact sheets; recent NIAID publications and congressional testimony; and other resources. “Our goal is to provide scientists with the infrastructure they need to uncover potential targets for new vaccines, therapies and diagnostics against influenza,” the NIAID’s Maria Y. Giovanni, PhD, said in the news release.center_img Besides TIGR and St. Jude, NIAID partners in the project include the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the NIH’s National Library of Medicine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health in Troy, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, DC. In a Nov 15 news release, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) said it will work with several other institutions on the genome sequencing project. The effort could reduce the impact of annual flu outbreaks and improve knowledge of how pandemic flu viruses emerge, the agency said. Nov 15 NIAID news release on flu virus genome project The NIAID said the project will enhance preparedness for flu pandemics by publishing genetic sequences of emerging avian flu viruses, allowing scientists to analyze the strains and begin to develop vaccines against them.last_img read more

  • Report depicts China as launching pad for avian flu

    first_imgFeb 10, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – An analysis of influenza viruses collected from thousands of wild and domestic birds in China and Hong Kong suggests that H5N1 viruses have been circulating in southern China for nearly a decade and have spread repeatedly from there to spark outbreaks across Asia.The study by 27 researchers from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and the United States provides strong evidence that migratory birds can spread the virus for long distances, a contention that has been controversial in recent months. The report was published online today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Perhaps more surprising is the group’s discovery of H5N1 viruses in some apparently healthy chickens in live-bird markets in southern China. Ducks are known to be capable of carrying the virus without appearing sick, but the virus has been regarded as almost invariably pathogenic or lethal for chickens.”We have shown that H5N1 virus has persisted in its birthplace, southern China, for almost 10 years and has been repeatedly introduced into neighboring (e.g., Vietnam) and distant (e.g., Indonesia) regions, establishing ‘colonies’ of H5N1 virus throughout Asia that directly exacerbate the pandemic threat,” says the report, written by a team that included leading flu expert Robert G. Webster, PhD, of St. Jude Children’s Research Institute in Memphis.The scientists took more than 13,000 samples from migratory birds in Hong Kong’s Mai Po Marshes and at Poyang Lake in southeastern China over three winters from 2002 to 2005. Among these they found six H5N1 viruses, all collected from apparently healthy migratory ducks at Poyang Lake just before their migration north.The team also tested samples gathered from more than 51,000 apparently healthy birds in live-poultry markets in southern China from January 2004 through June 2005. Testing detected 512 H5N1 viruses, including isolates from 58 of the 22,390 chickens tested, with most of the rest found in ducks.The analysis also included viruses recovered from the outbreak in migratory birds at Qinghai Lake in north-central China in 2005, along with isolates collected from poultry in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia in the past 2 years.To trace the relationships among H5N1 samples, the researchers sequenced the genomes of 69 viruses recovered in China since January 2004 and 59 isolates gathered in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia from August 2003 through May 2005. This enabled them to construct a phylogenetic chart, or family tree, of the viruses.Among other things, the analysis revealed that the hemagglutinin protein of all the viruses stemmed from the patriarch of highly pathogenic H5N1 viruses, a strain found in geese in China’s Guangdong province in 1996. It also showed that viruses from particular regions formed “distinct sublineages,” which, the authors say, demonstrates the long-term persistence of the viruses in those regions.Parts of southern China represented an exception to this picture of regional “sublineages,” in that the strains there were more diverse, falling into four different genotypes, the report says. “Because the precursor of these H5N1 viruses . . . was originally detected in southern China in 1996 and because H5N1 viruses in this region have the greatest genetic diversity, southern China is the most likely source of the emergent and reemergent HPAI [highly pathogenic] H5N1 influenza viruses,” it states.The phylogenetic analysis also showed that one May 2005 virus from Vietnam was much more closely related to a January 2005 Chinese strain than to other strains from Vietnam, indicating that the virus probably had been recently introduced to Vietnam from China via poultry. In fact, the authors say their findings suggest that H5N1 strains spread from southern China to Vietnam three times—in 2001, 2003, and 2005.”Therefore, control of this regional epizootic and its attendant pandemic threat requires that the source of virus in southern China be contained,” they assert.The researchers found that viruses from the Qinghai Lake outbreak matched up with those from migratory ducks at Poyang Lake, more than 1,000 miles away, which “strongly argues that migrating birds can transfer the virus over long distances.” The team found further support for this notion when they exposed a number of ducks and geese to H5N1 viruses and found that most of the ducks survived; the surviving ducks shed the virus for as long as 7 days after infection.The report says only six of the isolates that were sequenced had a mutation in the M2 protein that confers resistance to the older antiviral drug amantadine; the rest all had structures indicating sensitivity to the drug. US officials recently recommended against using amantadine and rimantadine to treat flu patients this winter because most of the circulating viruses had become resistant to them. Also, previous evidence of H5N1 resistance to the two drugs has led to a general assumption that they would be of little use if that virus evolves into a pandemic strain.The authors say the diversity they found among H5N1 samples “challenges the wisdom” of relying on just one strain to make a candidate vaccine for pandemic preparedness. The strains used to develop human vaccines “must reflect the antigenic diversity observed across this wider region,” they write.Chen H, Smith GJD, Li KS, et al. Establishment of multiple sublineages of H5N1 influenza virus in Asia: implications for pandemic control. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2006 Feb 10 (early online publication) [Abstract]last_img read more