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Robert Moore, Author at Mirror Daily – Page 9 of 12

The flash news came today that in efforts of retaliating against the Boko Haram terrorist group, the Nigerian troops have stormed in Sambisa Forest, a stronghold of Islamist militants and rescued more than 200 girls and women in the process.

The news was gladly received all around the globe, yet the remembrance of the 200 Chibok kidnapped girls is still casting a shadow on the small conquest of the Nigerian troops. It’s estimated that since the beginning of 2014 the number of female Nigerians that were kidnapped stands at around 2000, with no possibility of clearly establishing the number of missing persons.

The girls and women saved today are in a clear state of trauma. Nonetheless, medical and intelligence team will be flown in the region on Wednesday to provide aid and establish the exact extent of the physical and psychological trauma they suffered. Meanwhile, the Sambisa Forest stronghold is still being screened.

Since the beginning of its operations, the damage list of the Islamist terror group includes more than 15,000 victims and another 1.5 million people internally displaced, homeless or fleeing the country altogether. While following its declared purpose to acquire power in the region and establish a hardline Islamic state, Boko Haram’s actions drew the attention of the entire world, as well global reprobation.

Jonathan Goodluck, the Nigerian president also took the fall for the despicable actions taking place on the territory of its own nation. In a shift of power he recently lost what was supposed to be his re-election campaign to Muhammadu Buhari. It is established that the silverlining of his defeat was the ineffective military response to the seizure of territory by the terrorist organization. Mr. Buhari is set to be sworn in on May 29, leaving Mr. Goodluck the chance to take joy in the success of this particular operation.

From the field, news of the Nigerian troops fleeing or retreating in the face of Boko Haram fighters are being countered by the Nigerian Defence Headquarters. The officials are announcing that soldiers are still screening the Sambisa forest and there is no retreat in the areas of Marte or Borno. At the same time, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters urged to media to avoid reporting in a manner that is helpful to the Islamist insurgents.

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On April 27, 2015 the defense team of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev started their plea to grant the young man his life, albeit behind bars. Their quest to convince the 12 people jury is a difficult one as the 21 year old has already been found guilty of all 30 charges that were brought against him by his prosecutors.

Although an accomplice in the placing of bombs that took the life of three and severely injured more than 200 people during the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is represented by his defense team as a misguided youth, heavily influenced by his radicalized brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

In doing so, the defense team has set up the entire decorum to the slightest detail in trying to convey the image of a youth in need of protection. Judy Clarke and Miriam Conrad motherly flank Dzhokhar on one side, while David Bruck holds his other. In between the three of them, the accused looks as if in the bosom of a loving family.

And it is the fatherly figure who, during the opening statements on Monday stated that: „There is no point in trying to hurt him as he hurt because it can’t be done”, according to Associated Press.

The defense lawyers are playing on just one card. Not that of innocence, but that of a brother whose belief in the radical Islamist doctrine and the advantage of age heavily influenced the then 19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan is under the spotlight as the mastermind behind the bombings and his previous criminal record, as well as the fact that he had dropped out of school to become a boxer are pointing in the direction of his aggressive nature which rendered him unable to adapt to the life of and US citizen.

In shifting the attention from Dzhokhar to Tamerlan the defense team focused on Tamerlan’s wife, an American citizen from Rhode Island, Mrs. Katherine Russell. It was stated that after her marriage and thus under the influence of her husband, she showed signs of becoming a supporter and sympathizer of her late husband’s views.

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon events, one of Katherine’s friends called to ask whether she was safe. She received a reply answering that everything was alright and that many more people died in Syria and they were innocent. This statement coupled with the searches that have been found on Katherine’s personal computer underpinned the idea that it was Tamerlan who influenced her as well. The browsing history revealed such queries as what are the rewards for a martyr’s spouse, as well as the rewards for the wife of a mujahedeen.

It is nonetheless a controversial and daring attempt coming from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team in light of Mr. Amato DeLuca’s declarations. Mr. DeLuca is the attorney for Russell and her family. He stated that neither Katherine, nor her family suspected anything about her husband until the bombings happened on April 15, 2013.

Throughout, Dzhokhar was not called on the bar to make any kind of statement. Concerns have been raised as to whether such a move would backfire or not. And yet again, it might all have to do with the imagery of protecting a young misguided youth.

In his opening statement, attorney David Bruck underlined that Dzhokhar was a good kid, led off track by his radicalized brother. This comes in stark contrast to the portrait painted by the prosecution not long ago: that of a cold-blooded murder, unrepentant for his crimes.

The question if the defense team will be able to grant Dzhokhar Tsarnaev a life sentence as opposed to the death penalty still remains opened.

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Collective security and disarmament race have been the keywords of the Opening Meeting of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) at the United Nations headquarters in New York, April 27.

For the first time in the past 20 years, Israel has attended the high-end meeting in hopes of fostering friendlier relations with the Arab Nations and Iran particularly. However, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mr. Mohammad Jamad Zarif seemed to not have met the friendly intentions of the Israeli officials.

Iran has been under strict economic sanctions imposed by the international community since 2006, when allegations of its nuclear program being used in military purposes reached the international forums. Despite its denial of these allegations and the interdiction for International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to look into the real purposes of the existing nuclear facilities, the Iranian official have always maintained their stance that the use of their nuclear program was only civilian.

It was only in 2015 that after long negotiations the P5 plus 1 group broke the ice with Iran’s officials and promised sanction relief in exchange for ensuring that the nature of Iran’s nuclear activities is entirely peaceful. To this end, a draft of a final nuclear accord is due by the end of June.

However, the stance of the Iranian Foreign Minister at the United Nations Opening Meeting has left many unturned from their initial understanding of the Iranian position on nuclear proliferation. Mr. Zarif stated that there should be no limits to the transfer of technology and know-how between the signatories of the NPT. This statement was made in the name of the Non-Aligned Movement.

At the same time he urged the nuclear weapon states to start the elimination of both technology and stocks in order to ensure credibility and the disarmament of the Middle East region in particular. He added that a simple reduction in warheads does not add to anything but an incentive for further armament races and fear mongering.

In this respect he was applauded by all the non-nuclear weapon states which over the years have complained that too little is done among the signatories of the NPT to truly relief the tensions and push forward the disarmament race.

Mr. Zarif also made a point referring to Israel’s assumed nuclear weapon stockpile. Israel is seen by many of the Non-Aligned Movement as a continuous threat to its neighbors and other states.

Against this background, the Israeli officials who took part as observers at the Opening Meeting on the NPT have had no remarks. It was neither confirmed nor denied that Israel is really in the possession of nuclear arsenal. The situation thus remains weary in what regards Israel’s role in the nuclear disarmament efforts, especially when taking into consideration that it is not a signatory of the NPT.

The Israeli official declared that Israel considered submitting to international nuclear inspections and controls only under the condition that it would reach full peace with Iran and other Arab states. Thus the emphasis seems to fall on protecting national security, rather than regional. Nevertheless, Israel is open to discussing common problems that the region is facing, as moderation and consensus are deemed a way forward.

Among these statements, the leader of the United Nations, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called upon all signatories and observers “to abandon short-sighted political posturing and instead embrace a bold and global vision that meets the demands of humanity”.

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On Saturday evening, the Venetian Hotel of Las Vegas was hosting the Republican Jewish Coalition, a large meeting of the wealthiest donors in the nation. The keynote speaker of the event was George W. Bush in what many call a rare occurrence after a long time of avoiding the spotlight of public political life.

At the closed door event, Mr. G. W. Bush addressed his audience in a rather exuberant manner. The themes he approached in his speech shed some light on his opinions regarding the foreign policy conducted by the current administration under Barack Obama’s rule, his brother’s – Jeb Bush – alleged candidacy, as well as the blessings of his private life.

In reference to the foreign policy actions that the Obama administration undertook, Mr. Bush, a convinced Republican walked a thin line between an open criticism and the respect owed to a successor president.

The two themes that were under the spotlight were the Iran nuclear deal struck by the Obama administration on April 2, 2015 in Switzerland after years of sanctions imposed on Teheran, and the war against ISIS.

He commended President Obama for rallying the forces in a bid to overcome this evil and eventually destroy it, as fighting Al Qaeda terrorist group has been a central focus of the Bush administration as well.

However, as far as the Iran deal is concerned, Mr. Bush wasn’t as lenient. He claimed that in a move to ease the sanctions or even erase them fully; the US is prone to losing its leverage on a regime that was only recently showing signs of breaking down.

He added that the political spearheads in Teheran are smooth talkers and the accord that is to be reached by June 2015 between the P5 plus 1 group (the US, the UK, France, China, Russia and Germany) could just as well backfire.

These remarks were highly appreciated as a number of American politicians who back Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have expressed opposition to the potential agreement with Iran under fear of destabilization of the region.

Some attendees to the event understood between the lines that President’s Obama empty threats towards Syria were referred to when Mr. Bush stated that when leading America, one has to mean it and that only a tough and determined approach let the US’s allies and enemies know where the leader of the American people stood.

Referring to the legacy of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, George W. Bush mentioned that the new policies and the retreat of troops from the soil of the two countries was just stumbling along the way and that a vacuum of power in the region was imminent when such a weak approach had been set in place.

Another theme that the former President approached was that of his brother’s possible candidacy for the White House highest seat. Jeb Bush is the heir of a big name in American politics and this might be a detracting factor for him in the presidential run.

The fact that he also alienated some pro-Israel Republicans in preparing his campaign might also prove problematic. Yet, George W. Bush is ready to lend him a helping hand, but not to interfere with his brother’s campaign, as he is aware that his legacy might also prove problematic by alliance.

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Jeb Bush, a resounding name in the political landscape of the newly opened campaign for the 2016 presidential election, doesn’t come as a surprise. The heir of a heavy name in the bid for the White House’s most coveted seat, Mr. Bush is widely expected to run for president. Yet he seems to be struggling with the confidence of the American voters, his party loyalty and the lightness of political declarations.

In staunch contrast to Hillary Clinton, his political opponent, Jeb Bush’s inheritance of the past is putting his chances off in the eyes of the American public. At least according to polls conducted by Fox News or ABC News-Washington Post. Fox News questioned the US public as to whether or not being related to former presidents is a bump forward.

In the case of Jeb Bush, aged 62, the overwhelming majority suggested that it is a clear disadvantage (58 to 34 percent). Hillary Clinton had it easy, the response to her connection to former president Bill Clinton having been positively vetted (52 to 39 percent).

The ABC News-Washington Post poll sheds some light on the background of these results. Asked how they evaluate the presidencies of former leaders George W. B. Bush and Bill Clinton, the results were negative for the Bush era, with 51 percent of the poll participants disagreeing. The Clinton era received only 23 percent negative feedback.

But does this mean all hope is lost for Jeb Bush? Mr. Bush seems to be trying to run a cleaner campaign than his opponents, at least financially. At the same time he is addressing what the American public sees as a problem: the heavy influence of big donors in the politics of the White House and campaign transparency.

From this perspective, Jeb Bush has vouched to keep his campaign finances under the 1 billion dollars threshold reached by presidential candidates in former campaigns. He stated that a smarter team could run a leaner operation and that such an exorbitant sum is not necessary.

Such statements made the day of the advocates of tighter campaign regulation and campaign finance reform. It might mean one more dismissal of credibility should the threshold be exceeded.

Until then, however, this might be a break in the unfolding of events, with critics arguing that he has acted more aggressively than any presidential candidate before him to raise money for a “super PAC” and for a related political nonprofit run by close aides. What Mr. Bush is doing is that he is offloading major costs of his likely campaign to “independent” groups that can raise and spend unlimited money.

The latest fundraiser set in motion by Jeb Bush’s team was held at the Hotel South Beach, Miami. It boasted a high number of Republican major donors and fundraisers.  It also boasted an environment that stands in opposition with Republican policy tracks.

Gay couples strolling in the hotel lobby, leaflets advertising the Tesla electrical car, sustainability focused magazines and Paleo diet adjusted meals were as many symbols of a new approach. It may be argued that it was a political move for gaining wider support in the electoral base as well as from donors.

Yet, it might also be argued that Mr. Bush is only playing the political game in a more relaxed, inviting and contemporary way than his opponents. While a conservative in all matters political, he invited his guests to an openly left-leaning location, leaving many wondering about how much of this event was posing and how much a break from his party’s political lines.

Against this background, it is still unclear what the unfolding of the campaign is. What can be stated for sure is that so far, even if struggling with the acceptance of the political past of his family and the reluctance of the American voters as to whether a third Bush could bring something new, Jeb Bush stands a fair chance in light of his openness to a new direction.
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Is hair loss giving you headaches? A study issues in the journal Cell reveals a rather strange, maybe a bit painful, method to cure your baldness: pluck out even the ones you still have standing.

According to the researchers conducting the experiments, the mice which had their hairs yanked in specific concentration and patterns benefited from significant fur regeneration. Besides the fact that plucked hairs grew back, new hairs appeared in close proximity.

Chief study author, Cheng-Ming Chuong, an esteemed stem cell researcher at USC, explained how this could lead to new strategies in reversing alopecia, a common form of hair loss.

However, you’d better read some more before you pluck all your hair out. During their experiments, researchers discovered that, in order for regrowth to occur, the area that needed to be cleared of hairs should not be bigger than the diameter of a pencil eraser.

By experimenting with different arrangements, shapes and spacing of the plucked regions, researchers reached the conclusion that correct distribution of 200 plucked hairs could trigger a massive regeneration of more than 1,200 hairs.

After their discovery, Chuong and his team tried to find out what causes this unexpected hair growth, and agreed that it might be the action of “quorum sensing,” the phenomenon in which cells follow chemical pathways to communicate; therefore, they are aware of the “damage” (the plucking of the hairs), and so they alert others and send requests for help.

Quorum sensing principle might be more extensive than just in the hair plucking case, many more application yet to be found. Regeneration of organs and tissue might also respond to collective cellular behaviors due to pathological or physiological stimuli.

The findings of the studies were made possible by the help of molecular and genetic analysis, which basically shows what happened when mouse hairs were plucked. Firstly, the follicles start producing inflammatory proteins, in order to alert the immune system about a wound.

The immune system then reacts by delivering macrophages (white blood cells that can trigger proliferation, among other natural responses) to the inflamed area. In our case, the role of the macrophages was to generate signaling molecules, which will prompt, in the specified conditions, both plucked and unplucked follicles to grow hair.

According to the experiments, the measure of the regenerative response could be connected to the robustness of signaling behaviors. It mattered if the hairs were plucked in a diffuse pattern or in a dense concentration; the latter proved efficient in triggering solid regeneration.

Image Source: Huffington Post

A United States jury found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty of the Boston Marathon bombing. Despite the fact that his own lawyer admitted the guilt in court, a relative from Russia still believes that he and his now-dead elder brother had no motive to carry out the terrorist attack.

Tsarnaev was found guilty on Wednesday of the 30 counts against him. The same jury in Boston must now decide if he should be sentenced to life in prison or to death.

Roza Tsarnaeva, a 66-year-old aunt of Tsarnaev, spoke to The Associated Press in Chechnya, explaining that she is “completely convinced that the two brothers were not guilty of this.”

“These boys didn’t need this,” the women said. “They never saw war, they were little when they arrived in the U.S. and grew up there. No one in the Tsarnaev family, none of the relatives, ever took part in the military campaigns in Chechnya”, Roza Tsarnaeva added. Chechnya is known for its troubled past and present, being a country in which separatists, among them some radical Islamists, carried out two wars against Russian armed forces.

The aunt believes that the Boston bombing was organized by “the American secret services”.

Tsarnaev’s father, who lives in the republic of Dagestan, neighboring Chechnya, has not responded to any phone calls or answered to text messages on the matter.

The Tsarnaev trial now moves into a second phase. It could start early next week and is expected to last another two weeks. The same jury, composed of seven women and five men, will decide whether to sentence Dzhokhar to death or to life in prison without parole.

Even tough he pleaded not guilty, Tsarnaev admitted his guilt culpability at the start of the trial through his lawyers. His defense team targeted an acquittal, while trying to convince the jury to exempt him from capital punishment. The lawyers portrayed him as a reckless and confused young man from a broken family who was controlled by his older brother Tamerlan, who was the mastermind behind the attack in which 3 people have died and more than 200 were injured.

Tamerlan, his 26-year-old brother, died four days after the attack during a firefight with police.

Young Tsarnaev’s lawyers carried out a relatively short defense, calling just a few witnesses in an effort to establish Tamerlan as the primary figure who purchased the bomb components and searched them on the Internet.

Image Source: NPR

A team of biologists has recently discovered in the dense forests of South America three new species of dwarf dragon lizards, also known as wood lizards. These reptiles are one of the most unique creatures in South America, according to the researchers.

Until recently, biologists believe that wood lizards are the least diverse species of reptiles, mainly because only 6 species of this creature had been discovered eight years ago.

However, in the past years, the number of species has reached 15, including the newly found lizards.
The reptiles were discovered during an expedition made by a team of researchers who wanted to find unknown species of wood lizards.

Omar Torres-Carvajal from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and one of the biologists who discovered the lizards, said that:

“The diversity of these conspicuous reptiles has been underestimated.”

The new species of miniature dragon lizards were discovered in dense forests of the Tropical Andes, an area that is known for its rich biodiversity.

Researchers said they do not really know why it took so long for these new species to be discovered, especially since they are so brightly colored, which makes them very easy to be spotted in their natural habitats.

Torres-Carvajal explained that wood lizards are usually large reptiles, so it’s unusual that only a few species have been discovered in the past ten years. This shows how much there is still to discover about the reptiles living in South America, said Torres-Carvajal.

One of the newly found lizards was named Enyalioides sophiarothschildae and has a black a brown body, with bright white scales under its jaw, which resembles a beard.
This particular species was named after Sophia Rothschild, one of the sponsors who financed the program that led to the discovery of the reptiles.

The second species of lizard discovered was named Enyalioides anisolepis. This species of dwarf dragon is bright green, orange or black in color. The lizard has uneven scales down its back, which inspired its name, which in Greek means “unequal scales”.

The third lizard is called E. altotambo and was named after the town it was discovered in, Alto Tambo, Ecuador. The male of this species looks like tiny iguanas, while the female looks more like a chameleon.

According to DNA analysis, all three species of lizards are different from each other and from other known species of wood lizards.

The discovery was detailed in the journal ZooKeys.
Image Source: wanderlust

Nintendo has announced through the voice of veteran producer Eiji Aonuma that the previously announced Legend of Zelda game for its Wii U platform will not be released later this year, as was originally stated, and the game will also skip this year’s E3 conference.

Aonuma released a video on the Nintendo of Europe Youtube channel entitled “Zelda Development Update – 27/3/2015 (Wii U)” during which he explained that the release timetable will be pushed back, as the development team is exploring new possibilities with the game. The producer apologized to fans expecting the game to come out in late 2015, but also stated that the game has “freedom of exploration previously unseen in any Zelda game”.

“As I have watched our development progress, I have come to think that rather than work with meeting a specific schedule as our main objective, and releasing a game that reflects only what we can create within that scheduled time, I feel strongly that our focus should be to bring all these ideas to life in a way that will make Zelda on Wii U the best game it can possibly be” said Aonuma within the video.

At the same time, the official Nintendo of America Twitter account said that the development team has decided not to showcase the game at the popular Entertainment Electronic Expo (E3) event, scheduled to take place mid-June in Los Angeles.

The Legend of a Zelda game for the Wii U, with the title still being a work in progress, was first announced more than two years ago. It will be the first original game in the Zelda series which will be produced in high definition graphics, and the second one overall after the 2013 HD remake of The Wind Waker. The practice of pushing back release dates for Zelda titles isn’t a new one for Nintendo, with five other games being released the year after they were first announced to appear: Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, Wind Waker, Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword.

The action-adventure series is one of the most popular in gaming history, with most of the 18 released games since 1986 receiving widespread critical acclaim. Notably, the last original Zelda game, 2013’s A Link Between Worlds received numerous overall game of the year awards, despite being released for the

Image Source: Wii U Daily

Facebook is looking to become an even bigger part of its users’ lives, as the Ney York Times reported on Tuesday that it has already signed agreements with certain news companies – including NYT itself, BuzzFeed or National Geographic – to display full content directly on the platform rather than just sharing links leading to their respective sites.

Most media outlets currently acknowledge the importance and influence of Facebook by having their own pages on the platform, on which they share updates regarding new content posted on their external sites while also providing links leading to them. The average loading speed when accessing a media site from Facebook is 8 seconds, and the company considers that eliminating it would make a world of difference especially on smartphones.

In exchange for posting their content directly on the site, publishers would get revenue from ads running on their article pages. This would mark the first time content publishers would share advertisement revenues with Facebook on a regular basis; the American giant has experimented with this concept sporadically in the recent past, including splitting income with the NFL for ads presented in sponsored football videos.

Reaction to this speculation has been mixed within media publishers: reportedly, The Guardian employees suggested that this might work only if contracts are signed for the entire industry rather than separate outlets, with them also retain control over any kind of advertisement. Most have declined to comment on the idea, waiting probably for the social media giant to presenting them with something concrete before judging on its viability.

However, the idea of integrating news into the most popular social media platform worldwide could have a series of game-changing implications for online news outlets. If, let’s say, only a couple of high profile publishers jump the pond and accept letting their content fully within Facebook, the possible exposure they could reach grows significantly, considering that the site has more than 1.3 billion users. News sites that choose not to collaborate with Facebook might end up finding themselves at an extreme disadvantage from this point of view; this in turn might lead to the creation of a very disparate coverage medium. Non-Facebook publishers might find themselves needing to adapt their content to be different enough from Facebook ones, so that it could still generate the present amount of traffic despite not having the same accessibility as their competitors.

Image Source: Mashable

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