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John Birks • Author at Mirror Daily

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A 23-year-old man from Ohio was sentenced to seven days in prison after trying to lure an underage boy into having sex in December.

The man pleaded guilty to allegations that he tried to pay the teen for sex with a bottle of Sprite and a chicken Alfredo.

Little did the man know is that the 15-year-old boy was an undercover cop. Albert Maruna will now spend seven days in the county prison and four months on house arrest. He’ll stay on probation the next three years, and will feature as a Tier 1 sex offender in the state register.

The man agreed to meet with the teen in Austintown after the two met on a dating app. The police officer reportedly told Maruna that he was 15. The predator replied that age was not something he believed in.

Police records show that Maruna told the undercover cop that he’d want to marry him one day. “You are my one and only,” one of Maruna’s messages in the dating app reads.

Online Predator Busted in Sting Operation

The officer said the man had sent him nudes before they arranged a date. Maruna promised to bring a chicken Alfredo, soda, and lubricant on the date. In exchange, he asked his date to wear a jock strap.

After he was arrested, the man admitted that he wanted to have sex with the teen. Upon his arrest, cops found lubricant, a chicken Alfredo, two bottles of Sprite, and Vaseline lotion on the man. He also carried a MacBook, an iPhone, and several zip drives.

Earlier this year, the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office took arrested ten online predators who were seeking underage girls and boys. The suspects were interested only in 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds.

Some of the men were already sex offenders, and investigators said they were sickened by what they found. Police caught them through a similar sting operation. One deputy posed as an underage boy who agreed to meet one of the suspects while another police officer posed as an Uber driver and gave the predator a ride.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Recent research suggests that being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in middle age could herald pancreatic cancer.

The new study is in line with past research that has shown that diabetes can double the risk of this type of extremely deadly cancer.

Researchers at the University of Southern California have found that developing the metabolic disease after the age of 50 can be a telltale sign that you already have pancreatic cancer.

The analysis revealed that 53% of diabetes patients with pancreatic cancer have learned that they have diabetes less than three years before they were diagnosed with cancer.

It is also possible that the cancer can lead to diabetes.

Researchers couldn’t explain the link between the late onset of type 2 diabetes and the risk of pancreatic cancer.

Late-Onset Diabetes Tied to Pancreatic Cancer

According to a CDC report published last year, more than 100 million people in the U.S. live with prediabetes or diabetes. Prediabetes can morph into a full-fledged diagnosis within five years if left untreated.

In 2015, 30.3 million people in the U.S. had type 2 diabetes. In the U.S.A., diabetes is currently the seventh top killer. In 2016, 53,000 Americans were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a disease with very low survival rates if it is spotted too late.

Nearly 50% of pancreatic cancer cases are people aged 75 or older. The disease is very uncommon in younger people. Unfortunately, around 80% of pancreatic cancer cases are diagnosed too late.

The latest study shows that middle-aged and older diabetics have a twofold risk of being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer later on than young diabetes patients. Also, pancreatic cancer patients are three times more likely to have late-onset diabetes as well than other cancer patients.

The study appeared this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – France Telecom’s former CEO Didier Lombard will stand trial for workplace bullying a decade after one of his decisions to restructure the telecom giant coincided with a tidal wave of employee suicides.

Lombard who led the now-known-as Orange SA is accused of moral harassment. Six other executives are now facing similar charges. The union called CFE-CGC unveiled that the former executives have been indicted and they will stand trial next year.

Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed the news regarding Lombard and the other France Telecom executives. The office wouldn’t offer any details in the case.

Orange dismissed accusations that any of its former executives’ policies destabilized workers. The company promised to offer more details about its stance on the matter at an upcoming public hearing.

Orange’s current CEO Stephane Richard will not stand trial, but the person in charge of the company’s corporate and social responsibility, Brigitte Dumont, has been charged, according to CFE-CGC.

Lombard’s legal team has yet to reply to a request for comment.

Lombard’s Decisions Pushed Many Employees over the Brink

From 2008 through 2010, over 30 France Telecom workers killed themselves. Many of the employees were put under a lot of stress to make the company more competitive under Lombard’s direction. Workers developed psychological issues, CFE-CGC said at the time.

The restructuring plans were put on hold in 2009 and the CEO left the company in 2010. Since the union shielded employees from being fired, the company allegedly gave those workers high-stress positions to make them leave. Some of them committed suicide in return, according to the union.

One of the victims, a 32-year-old woman, committed suicide after telling her father via e-mail that she could not stand the restructuring at work. Another victim complained about “management by terror” in his suicide note.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – A major drinking study that was funded by Big Alcohol had to be shut down by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for its questionable findings.

The controversy comes in the midst of reports that some NIH officials asked funding from the industry to complete the study.

NIH Director Francis Collins recently told the press that the agency has strong policies when it comes to its employees’ conduct. NIH employees are reportedly barred from receiving gifts and rig grant competitions.

We take very seriously any violations of these standards,

Collins said.

The agency launched a probe into the study’s findings following a disturbing report by the New York Times showing that some NIH officials lobbied the industry to give funds for the study. In return, those officials promised to reach the conclusion that moderate drinking is healthy.

The Study to Be Shut Down Soon

On Friday, the agency published an internal report, which revealed that those officials infringed the agency’s policies and stifled fair competition for research funding. NIH promised to “take appropriate personnel actions”. It refused, though, to comment on the personnel matters.

The report revealed that the officials courted Big Alcohol in a way that appeared to convince the industry to shell the necessary cash for the randomized clinical trial. The trial tried to find whether one serving of alcohol per day would prevent the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

NIH researchers noted that past studies have found that moderate drinking could lead to unexpected health benefits. The agency will shut down the study “within the next few months,” as the group is working on an “orderly closeout.”

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, moderate drinkers should consume up to three drinks per day if they are women and up to four drinks per day if they are men.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – According to a new report, religious people can live up to four years longer than atheists do. Study authors found that there are plenty of benefits to being religiously affiliated.

In their study, researchers analyzed 1,000 obituaries. They interviewed families on the deceased people’s religious belief. The analysis revealed that churchgoers live longer than people who do not believe in God.

Study authors believe that religious people tend to live longer because they are engaged in more face-to-face social activities. Social interactions have been often linked to better health and longevity. Nevertheless, researchers acknowledged that the many benefits of being religious cannot be explained only by looking at those people’s social activities.

There’s still a lot of the benefit of religious affiliation that this can’t explain,

lead author Laura Wallace said.

Co-author Dr. Baldwin Way of the Ohio State University agrees that the link between having faith and longevity cannot be fully explained.

The Study

The initial research revealed that religious people tend to live up to 9.45 years longer than atheists. After the study was adjusted for other factors that might influence the outcomes, like sex and marital status, the figure dropped to 6.48 years. That research involved over 500 obituaries of people who died in Des Moines, Iowa, between January and February 2012.

A separate research focusing on 1,096 obituaries in 42 municipalities revealed that people who had a religious affiliation lived 3.82 years longer than their peers with no religious affiliation. The study was adjusted for sex and marital status.

Scientists also found that social activities like volunteering or active involvement in a charity only accounted for one year of longer life. So, the rest of the longevity boost offered by being religious is likely linked to a less promiscuous life, no alcohol abuse, or addictions.

Also, religious people destress through prayer and practicing gratitude, which can lead to a longer life, too.
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(Mirror Daily, United States) – Albert Einstein’s recently published travel diaries unveiled that he shared many racist views in his youth.

The famous physicist documented his trips to Asia and the Middle East from October 1922 to March 1923.

In the diaries, he describes China as “a peculiar herd-like nation” that had turned its people into “automatons.” He jokes about Chinese men’s looks not being very different than Chinese women’s appearance, while not being able to understand why so many men fall for Chinese women’s “fatal attraction.”

Einstein truly believed that China was made of “industrious, filthy, obtuse people,” according to The Travel Diaries of Albert Einstein: The Far East, Palestine, and Spain, 1922-1923.

In Egypt, the Father of Modern Physics was shocked by the “Levantines of every shade” boarding the ship he was on, whom he compared to creatures that “spewed from hell.” About the people in Colombo, Ceylon, he said they were living in “great filth and considerable stench” while doing little and needing little.

Einstein’s Travel Diaries Also Reflect a Change in Views

In 1933, the Jewish scientist emigrated to the U.S. to escape Nazism in Europe. Later in life, he became interested in civil rights and called racism a “disease” of the white men and women.

The diaries document the view changes on race of the great physicist. While the documents were not designed to be made public, some people might be offended by the views expressed there.

In 1933, Einstein criticized the segregation in America at a time when blacks and whites had separate cinemas, schools, and places in public transportation. He soon became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Some people claim he once said that there were few differences between the way Nazis were treating Jews and the way the U.S. was treating black people.
Image Source: Wikimedia

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Following a $10 million investment in the company, Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk invested an extra $25 million in company shares over the last couple of days.

The billionaire tech entrepreneur is reportedly trying to make the company profitable. The company unveiled Musk’s investments in an SEC filing published on Wednesday. According to the filing, Musk has recently bought 72,500 more shares in just two days.

Tesla is worth $11.5 billion, and with more than 33 million shares, Musk’s recent investment in the company is rather minuscule. Yet, the co-founder remains the biggest shareholder, and if the company starts to make some profit, his position could improve dramatically.

Musk could soon become the richest person in the world after a multi-billion CEO compensation package cleared the Tesla board. The package would offer Musk 1.69 million shares for every $50 billion increase in the company’s market value. Currently, 1.69 million shares mean $600 million, but if the market value goes up, the share price will increase too.

Tesla Stock Climbing

Over the last few weeks, Tesla’s shares have been steadily gaining. Investors who betted against the carmaker lost $2 billion. Musk bought the fresh batch of stock after an announcement that he would trim the workforce by up to 9% to make some savings.

Only on rare occasions, has Musk bought Tesla stock outside the compensation package as the CEO. Even though in theory he is quite rich, he used to lack liquidities. At one point, he had to borrow money to keep the company afloat.

While Musk’s critics claim the recent investments are a show of confidence, Musk seems pretty confident that his company would bounce back when the production of Model 3 will go as planned. The Model 3 could make the company “cash-flow positive” rapidly.
Image Source: Flickr

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Two new studies have found that a groundbreaking DNA-editing technology called CRISPR-Cas9 could boost cancer risk in patients that use the tech to get rid of hereditary diseases.

Researchers explained that the CRISPR tool can become cancer-causing when it is used to replace unhealthy genes with healthier ones.

Two separate studies, one funded by Novartis and another one conducted by Sweden-based Karolinska Institutets, show that, during a CRISPR-Cas9 edit, the tweaked cells no longer have a cancer-suppressing protein dubbed p53, which can boost cancer risk.

P53 protects cells from cancer and lowers gene-editing methods’ success rate. The protein is essential in keeping cancer at bay, but when researchers use CRISPR-Cas9 to get rid of some inherited conditions, p53 can make cells self-destruct.

Karolinska Institutet researchers raised concerns about the safety of such gene-editing tools as the methods seem to prevent p53 from working properly.

“If transplanted into a patient, as in gene therapy for inherited diseases, such cells could give rise to cancer,

lead researcher Emma Haapaniemi of the Karolinska Institutet warned.

The DNA Editing Tool Has Many Risks

A dysfunctional p53 can dramatically increase cancer risk. The protein’s mutations are behind 43% of colon cancers, 50% of ovarian cancers, and multiple cases of stomach, liver, lung, pancreatic, and breast cancers.

Bernhard Schmierer of the Karolinska Institutet praised the CRISPR-Cas9 tool for its “staggering therapeutic potential.” But he added that the method does have its risks just like drugs have side-effects.

Researchers plan to further study the mechanism that prompts a p53 mutation when gene-editing is applied.

CRISPR-Cas9 can correct genetic mutations that can lead to diseases. The tool can do this by either gene replacement or gene disruption. When the gene is disrupted, p53 seems to not be affected.
Image Source: MaxPixel

(Mirror Daily, United States) – A tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey boasting about getting a 10% discount to a Chick-fil-A food meal triggered a tidal wave of controversy on the website about promoting the conservative company during the Pride Month.

On Saturday, Dorsey informed his Twitter followers that ordering a meal at the fast-food restaurant chain via a new app triggered a 10% discount.

The tweet was innocent in its intention, but it has somehow triggered LGBT members across the platform as the restaurant’s chief executive is known for his anti-LGBT views.

In 2012, the company’s CEO Dan T. Cathy, who happens to be the successor of the chain’s late founder, opposed gay marriage publicly. The company is also known for its many donations to conservative groups that oppose LGBT rights.

Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay marriage is spurred by the owners’ deeply held Christian views. This is why the locations are closed on Sundays.

While Dorsey has tried hard to stay away from any political controversy, his Saturday tweet was perceived as a problematic endorsement.

Twitter Reactions

Journalist Soledad O’Brien was one of the first people to remind Dorsey that he just endorsed an anti-LGBT company during the Pride Month. Dorsey acknowledged that he “forgot about their background”.

Another Twitter user “kindly” asked Dorsey to “boost your head out of your ass,” while another user urged him to delete the tweet and stop it with the “free advertising.”

“Hate chicken never tasted so homophobic,” wrote Twitter user Sarah Burris, while other users accused the Twitter boss of “bigotry” and “homophobia”.

However, not everyone overreacted to Dorsey’s tweet. Other users reminded offended LGBT supporters that everyone is entitled to their own views and that following God’s principles is not a bad thing to do. “Relax, it’s just a chicken sandwich,” user TheCONNtrarian wrote.
Image Source: Chris Potter/Flickr

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Southern Africa’s iconic baobab trees, that can live for several millennia, are facing a massive die-off, and researchers blame rising temperatures for it.

One baobab tree, which managed to reach the age of 1,500, is known in Africa as Homasi or Grootboom, which means “big tree” in the language Afrikaans. In 2004, however, the ancient tree collapsed unexpectedly.

No one had expected that since, during the previous spring, the tree had been in full bloom. In June 2004, its health started to deteriorate until on New Year’s Day in 2005, when the tree died.

The African baobab, with its massive trunk, is one of the planet’s biggest flowering plants. It is a very strange tree as its bare branches can be easily mistaken for its roots which gives it an appearance of an “upside-down tree.”

The mythical tree can reach exceptional ages, but in recent years, the Black continent’s oldest baobabs have faced a massive die-off. Grootboom was just one of seven ancient baobabs that died over just two years.

Baobab Trees Dying One after Another across the World

What’s more, there are 13 ancient baobab trees across the world, and four have collapsed over the last decade. Five more of the oldest known trees are about to die, too.

These large and monumental trees, which can live for 2,000 years or more, were dying one after another,

said Romanian researcher Adrian Patrut who has been studying the phenomenon.

Patrut expressed his disappointment that a generation will witness so many baobab deaths.

Baobab trees’ trunks can grow so large that people can use them as homes, stores, prisons, or chapels. This happens when most of the trunk’s tissue has died and the trunk becomes hollow. Usually, hollow baobabs can grow new stems, which then fuse together and create the hollow space.

It is unclear how old a baobab tree can really live. It was initially estimated that they could live for 5,000 years. Patrut has found the oldest known baobab tree in Zimbabwe, which lived for 2,500 years when it collapsed in 2011.
Image Source: MaxPixel

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