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Robert Moore, Author at Mirror Daily – Page 10 of 12

After organizing an attack last Saturday on Maiduguri, a city in the North-East of Nigeria, where a suicide-bombing killed 50 people or more, the African terrorist organization Boko Haram officially swore allegiance to ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, recognized Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the head of the Islamic State – as “Caliph” and promised to “hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity”.

Now that a week has elapsed since the African terrorist organization’s pledge of allegiance, a 28-minute audio message from Abu Mohammed al Adnani, a supposed ISIS spokesman, announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi accepted Abubakar Shekau’s oath of fidelity and declared that the caliphate has now broadened its frontiers to Western Africa. The ISIS leader congratulated the African extremists, to whom he referred as “our jihadi brothers”. Abu Mohammed al Adnani, the ISIS messenger, summoned Islamic radicals who want to join the jihad to become members of the Boko Haram troops, if they cannot reach Iraq or Syria.

Boko Haram has been active for several years in Nigeria, where it has been organizing terrorist attacks, with the purpose of taking over control and imposing a very drastic version of Sharia law. In the past few years, the terrorist organization has gone from fighting government soldiers to pillaging villages, kidnapping civilians, organizing assassinations, market bombings, as well as attacks on churches and even on mosques that were not part of the Boko Haram group. Their actions have brought instability not only in Nigeria, but in neighboring countries such as Cameroon and Chad as well.

The alliance between Boko Haram and ISIS is not that surprising for experts who study terrorism. According to Jacon Zenn, a Nigerian specialist, such a connection would grant the African terrorist organization legitimacy in front of other extremists, which means that it will gain new recruits easily. It is not the first time Boko Haram tries to become part of a larger extremist group: in 2009 they became the allies of al-Qaeda’s North-African branch (AQIM, or al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb), who helped the terrorists train and also organize the first suicide bombings in 2011. In his annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, National Intelligence Director James Clapper declared his worries that the new self-declared north-African Islamic State might expand to neighboring regions.

image credit: Conflict News

A 2-year old Alabama toddler died after drinking methadone spiked grape soda that belong to his babysitter.

It was revealed by the Alabama Police Department that Demonie Hendon, a two year old boy, died on Saturday after he drank his babysitter’s grape soda that contained methadone.

Bessemer Police arrested Cassie Townsend, the 31-year old babysitter of Demonie Hendon and charged her with chemical endangerment exposure to a child resulting in death. The little boy died on Saturday from methadone ingestion.

Cassie Townsend, the child’s babysitter, was watching Demonie on a Friday night when she saw that the soda bottled she had been drinking from that had methadone in it was not where she had left it, she told the police.

As soon as she saw that the bottle had been moved, she went to check in on the little boy, whom she found to be looking very sickly, which led her to suspect that he had to have drunk from the bottle.

Cassie Townsend took the little child to a hospital in Birmingham on Friday night, but she took him back home, shortly after. Later in the day, she found that the boy had become unresponsive, so she rushed him back to the children’s hospital.

Demonie died in the hospital this Saturday, which made police change its charges. The woman was initially charged with child endangerment (chemical endangerment exposure of a child), but after Demonie died, the charged were updated.

At this moment, police are waiting on toxicology reports to confirm that it was indeed methadone in the grape juice that the Alabama toddler ingested. The report, unfortunately, could take several weeks until it is ready.

Methadone is a medication that is used by drug addicts to reduce the withdrawal symptoms of heroin and other narcotics. The powerful drug is usually dispensed at a clinic and patients are supposed to swallow it on-site. They are not allowed to take the methadone away from the facility, it was revealed by the police. An investigation into the clinic that gave Townsend the methadone is expected to begin.

Image Source: NY Daily News

A paper posted in the Nature Communications Journal aims to demonstrate how chameleons can change their skin color for multiple purposes by manipulating crystal cells situated under their skin.

The study was done by a University of Geneva team comprised of researchers Suzanne Saenko, Michael C. Milinkovitch, Jeremie Tessyer and Dirk van der Marel and is entitled suggestively “Photonic crystals cause active colour change in chameleons” .

By observing a range of both male and female, adult and juvenile panther chameleons – a type of chameleon native to Madagascar –, the researchers found out that the lizards have two pigmented layers of crystal cells – named iridophore cells – which can be used to reflect light in different ways.

These iridophore cells are comprised of nanocrystals whose arrangement can change depending on the lizard’s state, which also changes the way it reflects light and ultimately modifies its skin color.

“When the skin is in the relaxed state, the nanocrystals in the iridophore cells are very close to each other — hence, the cells specifically reflect short wavelengths, such as blue,” explained Milinkovitch, professor of genetics and evolution within the University of Geneva.

Milinkovitch also said that excitement of the chameleon’s skin – caused by the apparition of a male rival or a female – will further the gap between its nanocrystals and cause longer wavelength colors such as red, yellow or orange to be reflected.

Their famous green camouflage is actually a combination of the blue reflected when the crystals are close one to another with a high amount of yellow pigment that the elusive lizards happen to hold under their skin.

The second layer of nanocrystals in the chameleon’s skin is responsible for reflecting a big part of the infrared wavelengths and thus provides the lizard a highly effective shield against continuous exposure to the sun.

This sets the chameleon apart from other animals that change colors based on the build-up and dispersal of pigments within their skin, such as squids. The nanocrystal manipulation demonstrated by the research seems to be an evolutionary trait that until now seems specific to chameleons.

The research also showed that only adult male chameleons are the only ones capable of changing colors, due to the fact that females and juveniles have way fewer iridophore cells in their upper layer.

Image Source: Phys

It was announced that actor Johnny Depp was injured on location over for the next installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The actor was on location in Australia at the time of the injury, which happened over the weekend, but he was not filming.

The fifth installment of the Pirates franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is currently filming in Australia.

According to inside sources, the actor needed surgery and had to be flown back to the United States to have the surgery.

At the moment, the circumstances under which Johnny Depp, 51, hurt himself have not been disclosed and the only piece of information known is that he wasn’t on set when it happened.

Sources also say that production of the Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie is going to be minimally impacted by the absence of its star. Scenes are going to be shot around the Depp’s charismatic character, Captain Jack Sparrow, for the weeks to come.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales began shooting last month in Australian and it is expected to hit the theaters in around two years, the official release date being July 7, 2017.

The fifth installment of the Pirates movie is also starring Brenton Thwaites and Javier Bardem, whose wife, Penelope Cruz, also starred on the franchise while she was pregnant with their baby. The Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie is going to be directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg.

The next Pirates of the Caribbean movie is going to feature Jack Sparrow in his search for the trident of Poseidon. Bardem is going to play the role of Sparrow’s old nemesis, Captain Salazar who is going to lead a fleet of deadly ghost pirates who have escaped from the Devil’s Triangle. Bardem aims to kill Sparrow, as well as all pirates at sea and Jack’s only hope of survival is to find the Trident of Poseidon. The Trident gives the person who owns it total control over the seas, which is the only way Sparrow is going to defeat Captain Salazar.

The last movie from the popular Disney Pirates franchise, grossed over $1 billion at the box office worldwide.

Image Source: The Guardian

A chopstick stuck in a toddler’s brain for 10 days was finally removed by surgeons. The boy is now in stable condition and is recovering from the operation and the brain infection the injury has caused.

The toddler is from Chaoyang City in Northern China and during a meal, he decided to stick a chopstick up his nose. Unfortunately, the child fell from his stool and the chopstick got lodged into nose and brain.

Hanghang, the little boy, was eating Chow Mein with both his parents when the unfortunate event happened. The boy’s parents took him to the doctor’s office, where only a part of the chopstick was removed and the toddler was sent home. Both the doctor who did the initial removal and his parents believed that the entire chopstick was removed.

The doctors who were in charge of his supervision at the hospital did not order any X-rays, which would have shown that the boy still had a 2 ½ inch-chopstick in his brain. They just took the visible part of the chopstick out and sent him home after minor physical examination.

But, 10 days after he was released from the local hospital, he started experiencing mental fatigue and drowsiness, so his parents rushed him to the hospital.

The hospital staff and Hanghang’s parents were shocked when they got the X-ray results back. The child still had a piece of chopstick in his brain and he was rushed to the surgery.

The surgery was a complete success and the rest of the 2 ½ chopstick was removed. While the toddler showed great improvements following the surgery, he still needs to stay a few more days in the hospital to treat the infection that the chopstick caused inside his brain.

Doctors say that Hanghang is very fortunate that the piece of wood hit a non-functional part of the brain. A child’s brain is very adaptive and can assign functions to new areas that don’t usually perform such functions.

Cases like this are quite common in China. Just last year, a 2 year-old boy from Wuhan, had a similar accident. Fortunately, his operation also succeeded and he is now fine.

Image Source: Fox News

In North Jerusalem, a Palestinian drove his car into a group of female officers, injuring four of them. One was lightly hurt, but the three others were more seriously injured. After hitting the women, who were not within the precincts of the Police Station, the attacker continued to drive for about 300 meters until he hit a cyclist in a light train rail station. The Israeli man on the bicycle, along with the five injured officers, was treated by the paramedics who arrived in very short time at the spot on the accident. The aggressor, who is probably from East Jerusalem, was shot and severely wounded by a Border Guard who happened to be there because he was performing a training exercise. The terrorist was carrying a butcher knife, which he tried to use against the forces after the car collision.

The fortunate intervention of the Border Guard was possible because the attack occurred very close to a Border Police base, on HaTzadik Street, a place where another hit-and-run attack happened in November 2014, killing one Border Police Officer and injuring 13 people. In the interval between the two vehicle terror-attacks, several other instances of violence have been registered in Jerusalem, the latest being the stabbing of an ultra-Orthodox man by an Arab teen on February 22. This incident happened in Safra Square, but the Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who was there with his security guard, intervened to stop it.

The Mayor took a very decisive stand against the threat of terrorism, promising that the authorities (and the people along with them) will not let terror become a hindrance to their daily lives and promising to refuse compromise in fighting its agents. He expressed his gratitude towards citizens, guards, and police, who helped in capturing the aggressor and thus avoided the possibility of his hurting even more persons. “Our response to terror is to continue on with our routine”, Mayor Nir Barkat stated, as he announced the continuation of all Purim events in Jerusalem according to the pre-established schedule. The condition of proceeding with the festivities, as the mayor acknowledged, is to increase security in the entire city, particularly in Safra Square, where the main Purim celebration event will take place in a closed and guarded location. In order to boost confidence, he officially invited all the residents of Israel to celebrate the Jewish festivity in Jerusalem.

image source: ynet news

Between 2009 and 2013, while she was in office as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is said to have used her personal email for work. To avoid speculations over the inappropriateness of this practice, she decided to ask for the release of all the emails from that period of time. “I want the public to see my email. I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.” – the former U. S. Senator wrote on Twitter.

This message is Hillary Clinton’s first public intervention since the beginning of the scandal surrounding her unsuitable use of a private email account. It comes as an answer to the comments in The New York Times, published earlier this week. This might be a crucial turning point in H. Clinton’s career, since her nomination as the Democrat candidate for the White House is very likely to happen, given that she is leading in all the polls so far. However, it is still premature to say whether she will be the one to run for president and maybe much depends on the outcome of the email release.

The disclosure of the documents might nevertheless take a while, because, as the State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf has announced in the aftermath of Clinton’s tweet, the standard procedure of reviewing the emails before release will be time-consuming, given the volume of information. According to Reuters, we are talking about a set of files that is 55,000 pages large. As ABC news has announced, a certain number of emails that do not concern work will be checked but not handed to the public.

According to her legal representative David Kendall, Hillary Clinton used only one email address during her stay in office as Secretary of State. However, as Jason R. Baron (a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath and a former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration) observed, the use of a personal email account in governmental affairs is “inconsistent with the Federal Records Act and longstanding policies of the National Archives”.

Hillary Clinton’s request to have her emails made public was made after the House Select Committee, which was investigating the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, had sent subpoenas to the State Department demanding all of the former Secretary of State’s communications in connection to Libya.

image source: USA Today

It was recently revealed that scientists have discovered and photographed the smallest life-form on Earth, a bacterium. The bacterium is so tiny that the researchers are wondering how long it has been on our planet.

The smallest life-form on Earth has a volume of 0.009 cubic microns on film. In case you don’t know, a micron is one millionth the length on a meter. Below, you can see the tiny bacterium and under it, a scale bar that is 100 nanometers.

The researchers who discovered it believe that these bacteria have reached the lowest size limit possible for life-forms on planet Earth.

The cells of this bacterium are so small that it would take more than 150,000 of them to simply fill up the space of the tip of a human hair. Also, for scale, you should know that the largest virus, the Pandoravirus, is around 1 micron across.

The tiny bacterium was discovered in water and scientists believe that they are most likely harmless and probably very common.

The fact that this bacterium is so small is only a part of why this discovery is so important. It’s also amazing that scientists have discovered a new life-form on Earth, one that they had no previous knowledge of.

So how do these bacteria survive? Well, scientists say that they have a very basic life cycle. They appear to store their genes into packed spirals and run on barebones metabolism. You can observe in the image above that at the end of the cell there are ribosomes, which produce protein and energy for the bacterium.

Also, they found that the DNA of the cells of these bacterium is around one million base pairs in length. They have pili, which are hair-like ends, which serve as connection wires to other bacteria. Researchers also believe that keeping into account that these bacteria lack many basic functions, they most likely rely on other bacteria for necessities.

There is still plenty scientists do not know about this newly discovered smallest life-form on Earth. Jillian F. Banfield, Earth Science professor and University of California, Berkeley Earth Science senior faculty scientist released a statement in which she said that these newly discovered ultra-small bacteria are an incredible example of a subset of the microbial life on our planet of which humans know almost nothing about.

Image Source: Berkley Lab

A new study has revealed that New York City rats carry the fleas that can transmit the plague. The results of this new study were published in the Journal of Medical Entomology.

The study has revealed that ever since the 1920s, the New York City rats have been carrying some flea species that are known to be capable of spreading plague pathogens.

Matthey Frye, lead author of the study and an urban entomologist at the Cornell University’s New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, said in a news release that if these New York City rats carry fleas that are capable of transmitting plague to the people, then the only thing missing from the transmission cycle is the pathogen itself.

It needs to be highlighted that not all fleas are capable of transmitting the plague. The primary vector for the Black Death is the Oriental rat flea (Xenopsylla cheopis), which was responsible for the plague in the majority of epidemics.

For the study that has found that New York City rats carry the fleas that can transmit the plague the scientists have captured 133 New York City fleas. After careful examination, the researchers have managed to collect more than 6,500 specimens of fleas and mites from the specimens and found that more than 550 Oriental rat fleas.

Aside from the plague-carrying fleas, they found that many of the rats carried a large number of bacterial and viral diseases that could infect humans.

Although it may seem incredible, there are around 10 cases of the Black Death, or bubonic plague, inside the United States every year. The cases are caused by the infected fleas from squirrels and prairie dogs.

The authors of the study also noted that health officials should monitor city rats and their fleas and that people should implement Integrated Pest Management practices such as removing food and water and preventing access to shelters in and around their homes.

Frye concluded:

When we evict rats from our homes and workplaces, we need another core IPM practice — careful sanitation. It’s critical to rid buildings of the fleas, lice and mites that are left behind. “It’s not that these parasites can infest our bodies, but they can feed on us while seeking other rats to infest.

Image Source: WNYC

An Italian surgeon believes that human head transplant will become a reality in 2 years’ time. Dr. Sergio Canavero is a surgeon in Turin, Italy and believes that 642-883 the procedure would revolutionize medicine and the way people are being treated.

He said that a human head transplant would help extend the lives of people with terminal diseases and allow people with spinal cord injuries to let their old body behind and get a new one.

Canavero revealed that all the technology that is needed for a human 640-878 head transplant is either already available or not very far off in the future. The doctor will be presenting an introduction about human head transplant at a conference in June about orthopedic surgery where he hopes his peers will offer expertise and support.

Canavero said that for the human head transplant to be successful, the spinal cord would need to be cleanly cut so that nerve damage is minimized. The next step would be moving the head onto the body of the donor and the muscles and blood vessels would be stitched together.

Naturally, the most challenging part would be fusing the two ends of the spinal cord, which currently cannot be done. Canavero thinks that using a chemical that would encourage the fat in the cell membranes of the spinal cord to glue everything together.

After the stitching is done the patient would need to stay completely still for several weeks for that they don’t disturb the new connections and the Italian surgeon proposes they be kept in a coma. Keeping someone in an artificial coma is a very challenging and dangerous thing, so scientists would need to figure out a way to do it safely. The patient would learn to walk in about a year, Canavero believes.

A head transplant was attempted in the 1970s when scientists transplanted the head of a monkey onto the body of another one, but they didn’t even attempt to fuse the spinal cords. As a result, the monkey could not move or even breathe unattended. It died nine days later after its immune system rejected the head.

As expected, the notion that a human head transplant is just around the corner was met with much criticism from the scientific community. Dr. William Mathews, a spinal surgeon and chairman of the AANOS (American Academy of Neurological and Orthopaedic Surgeons) revealed that the idea of spinal fusion is indeed plausible but he added that it was highly unlikely that anyone would succeed in doing it in the next two years. He concluded, referring to Canavero:

He thinks he’s ready, I think it’s far into the future.

Image Source: IKnowToday Properties

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