No, Atheists, Religions Are Not Equal

first_imgReligions do not always act as forces for good, but some are clearly evil.If you thought witchcraft went out with the Middle Ages, look at this headline on Phys.org: “Bringing the shocking issue of witchcraft under the UN spotlight.”Witchcraft-related beliefs and practices have resulted in serious violations of human rights including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, and amputation of limbs, torture and murder.There are thousands of cases of people accused of witchcraft each year globally, often with fatal consequences, and others are mutilated and killed for witchcraft-related rituals.Atheists sometimes treat “religion” as some catch-all category where “people of faith” are equally misguided, stupid, or harmful. But even the most egregious cases of Judeo-Christian atrocities don’t sink to the level of “trade in albino body parts” resulting from torture and killing of albino humans as conferring magical powers. And Christians (in name only) who have done evil don’t follow the teachings of Jesus, who called for loving one’s neighbor to the point of enduring evil rather than retaliating. Followers of witchcraft, though, are doing exactly what their religion commands them to do.Now a team, led by Lancaster University, have enabled the shocking issue, which includes ritual killings, to come under the microscope for the first time at international level.A UN Witchcraft and Human Rights Expert Workshop will take place at UN headquarters in Geneva on September 21 and 22 with a multi-agency approach.EugenicsWhy aren’t certain atheistic or Darwinistic behaviors treated like religions? Consider the case of Eugenics. This was a veritable “religion” to its adherents before the Nazis turned it into a dirty word. Ricki Lewis examines the dark side of Eugenics for a PLoS Blog entry. And she draws a clear connection to evolutionism:Whenever I work on a new edition of my human genetics textbook and reach the section on eugenics, at the end of an evolution chapter, I’m relieved that it’s history. But this summer, as I wrapped up the 12th edition, the eugenics coverage took on a frightening new reality.Today’s resurging white nationalism/supremacy echoes the century-old idea that a self-appointed group that perceives itself as superior can “improve” a human population through selective breeding or actions taken against individuals judged to be inferior. Theodore Lothrop Stoddard, identified in Wikipedia as an historian but also a eugenicist and Klansman, laid out his ideas in the 1920 book “The Threat Against White World Supremacy: The Rising Tide of Color.”Unlike some in the mainstream media, who try to link white supremacy to conservatives or Christians, Lewis rightly shows it to rise out of evolutionism. In her brief history of eugenics, though, she fails to mention that its founder was a nephew of Charles Darwin:Sir Francis Galton coined the term “eugenics,” meaning “good in birth,” in 1883, defining it as “the science of improvement of the human race germplasm through better breeding.” In 1930, Sir Ronald Aylmer Fisher, another pale Brit, embellished Galton’s ideas by suggesting that governments reward high-income families when they have children, to encourage the passing on of the prized germplasm.By failing to establish the Darwin connection, and by ignoring the worst atrocities of eugenics, Ricki Lewis’s treatment of the subject is weak. To get the whole ugly history of eugenics, see Jerry Bergman’s books How Darwinism Corrodes Morality and The Darwin Effect, and John West’s book, Darwin Day in America. We must not let Darwinists forget their dirty hands in the eugenics movement. If the likes of Richard Dawkins want to impugn the God of the Bible, let them examine the horrific effects of their idol, Charlie Darwin. Misguided Christians have done evil things, but usually because they were not students of the Scriptures. This is true of medieval Catholicism that actually discouraged study of the Bible, and had become so political and corrupt, even insiders knew it needed a Reformation. The body count from atheist regimes, though, stands mountains over that from religious “holy wars.” We’re talking hundreds of millions of casualties from communism and Nazism in the 20th century alone! Jerry Bergman documents unbelievable atrocities committed by regimes that swallowed Darwin’s lies about superior races and survival of the fittest. What about eastern religions? Buddhism advocates separation from passion, leading to apathy about those who suffer; it has also made the Buddha into an idol. Hinduism and other polytheistic religions encourage self-torture (lancing one’s tongue, spearing one’s flesh and carrying weights on the spears) and irrational, unhealthy behaviors like bathing in the filthy Ganges. It led to suttee and the caste system. Muslims engage in slavery, abuse women, and use the sword to force conversion. Islam is not so much a religion as a political and legal regime following (again) the teachings of one man, a torturer, murderer, conqueror and child abuser. Confucianism is not really a religion, but a set of teachings by one man who didn’t know everything and didn’t try to understand the natural world.Christians have brought help to the suffering, and sought to end the evil practices of other religions. Protestant churches were the first responders to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida. Christian missionaries and charities, like Samaritan’s Purse, send food to Haiti and the Sudan. Christians also take great interest in seeking to understand the workings of God’s creation—a passion that led to modern science (see our series on the world’s greatest creation scientists). Finally, Jews and Christians have preached against the evils of false religions for thousands of years. The contrast between God and the idols of the Canaanites is stark. Idol worshipers burned their children in the fire to their gods, and engaged in sexual orgies as “worship”. The Bible consistently condemned such evils in the strongest terms. Remember that Jesus provided a way to distinguish true from false religion: “You will know them by their fruits.” Only Christianity could draw the contrast that James makes in his letter:Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18)Atheists must not be allowed to lump the good and the evil under one label, “religion.” For one thing, atheism is a religion if religion is defined as a worldview that seeks to understand the Big Questions of Life (where did we come from; what is the meaning or purpose of life; what is good, true and beautiful). Darwinism certainly qualifies as a religion with that definition. For another thing, lumping supposed “people of faith” together overlooks differences which are much, much greater than the similarities. Finally, let’s dispense with the meaningless phrase, “people of faith.” Everybody is a person of faith. Substitute our phrase for those with simplistic, unexamined beliefs: people of fluff. We have an additional term for angry Darwinists: people of froth. (Visited 539 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Working for the Greater Good

first_img24 July 2006Want to help charity, give back to your community, donate skills, time and money and generally change the world – but don’t know where to start? South African philanthropy is now just a click of a mouse away, thanks to Greater Good South Africa. Greater Good raises support for the work of South African charities and promotes a culture of philanthropy in the country, with the ultimate aim of “eradicating extreme poverty in our lifetimes”.Through its comprehensive interactive website, the organisation creates innovative ways for businesses and individuals to help the work of non-profit development organisations of their choice.Greater Good fosters a long-term relationship between people and causes, encouraging donations of money, second-hand and surplus goods, skills and time.In return, it provides details on the objectives, activities and performance of charities, including clear information on their needs. The organisation allows donors to “experience the gift of giving” by providing ongoing feedback on how their contributions have made a difference.Greater Good is sponsored by the Shuttleworth Foundation, Noah Financial Innovation, Cadiz, Deutsche Bank, SAA Voyager, eBucks, American Express and Kaehlo.Its website has a well-stocked community noticeboard allowing charities to request money and services, and donors to offer money, goods and time to specific causes and organisations.Greater Good also runs a number of campaigns with innovative ways of helping charities. Recent campaigns include the Giving Exchange, Teachers Dream, Do It Day and Donate-a-Book.The Giving Exchange“The Giving Exchange aims to raise the bar for giving and receiving in South Africa,” says Greater Good on its website. “The challenge is for South Africans enjoying a 21st century lifestyle to effectively get resources to where they are needed most in our communities.”The Giving Exchange allows ordinary people, businesses and charities to meet and come up with new and effective contributions that involve more than money. It allows causes to access the expertise, skills, talents and resources they need.Some 125 charities are selected – by vote – to participate in Giving Exchange expos, held in major centres. The campaign allows donors to compare and select who to support, based on their own criteria.Teachers DreamTeachers Dream, a partnership between Greater Good and the Shuttleworth Foundation, aims to improve education by connecting donors to educators who need grants for projects that improve education in South Africa.More often than not it is teachers who have brilliant ideas of how to make maths and science come alive, how best to demonstrate life skills, how to show children the geography of the land and how to explore the arts.Exciting and worthwhile proposals – projects, outings, and activities – from dedicated teachers are posted on the Greater Good website. Donors may then contribute to fulfil that dream. Most Teachers Dream proposals require grants of less than R5 000 – time and goods can also be donated.“Many great educator ideas could easily come to fruition with support of relatively small grants,” says Greater Good. “In real terms, it actually doesn’t cost that much to take a class of Grade 4 learners to the planetarium or the Grade 10s to an inspiring exhibition.”At its launch, the Teachers Dream initiative received warm praise from Education Miniser Naledi Pandor.“Teachers Dream is inclusive,” she said. “Its reach transcends geographical space, enabling school communities that are remote or rural to be as connected to South African giving communities as their urban counterparts.“This project will give pupils an opportunity to realise their full potential by exposing them to a variety of career prospects.”An important condition of a Teachers Dream donation is that successful educators report back to funders. They are given a disposable camera to record their dream and post it back along with written feedback. Their report is then posted on the Greater Good website.Do It DayDo It Day takes charity beyond money. Greater Good has set aside 28 October 2005 as the day “South Africans will be rolling up their sleeves and assisting causes to achieve specific one-day projects”.The campaign aims to connect causes to volunteers so they can benefit from work and skills not normally available.In July and August development organisations all over South Africa and submitted one-day projects that need volunteers. Do It Day projects range from developing business and marketing plans to building, renovating and gardening. There’s something for everyone.The Do It Day projects are posted on the Greater Good website, and volunteers can sign up individually or as a team.Projects include an action fun day for Aids orphans, planting a tea garden at the Sparrow Skills Centre, developing a marketing and communications strategy for a positive parenting organisation, and both training in bookkeeping and installing windows and doors for the Siyakhula charity.Donate-a-Book“In South Africa, poverty excludes many children from the enrichment that reading brings,” Greater Good says on its website.“A brighter, better future for all South Africans becomes more likely if we are busy now raising generations of thoughtful, independent life-long learners – and reading is the key to that.”Greater Good encourages online donations to buy books, in support of the work of organisations such as READ, Biblionef SA, the South African Children’s Book Forum and the Athlone School for the Blind Braille Production Programme.Donation vouchers range in price from R50, which buys a book for a pre-schooler, to R5 000 – buying a starter library for a poor school.SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Van der Linde’s racing career rocketing up

first_img11 February 2014Kelvin van der Linde, the hottest South African property in motor racing after convincingly winning the international Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup Championship in Europe in 2013, will take his burgeoning career to the next level with a full-time drive in this year’s ADAC GT Masters Championship.The 17-year-old phenomenon, who comes from an illustrious motor racing family, will again alternate school clothes with racing overalls for another year as a member of the Prosperia C Abt Racing team, winners of the 2013 team title and headed by former ADAC GT Masters champion and former DTM (German Touring Car Championship) driver Christian Abt.Famous circuitsVan der Linde will contest all eight rounds of the series, which features four-hour races at famous circuits like Zandvoort in Holland and the Nurburgring and the Hockenheimring in Germany.He will share driving duties with top young Danish Porsche Cup and GT Masters driver Nikki Thiim, 24, in an Audi R8 LMS Ultra. Their competition includes Porsche 911 GT3s, BMW Z4 GT3s, Chev Camaro GTs and Chev Corvette GT3s, Ford GT3s, Mercedes- Benz SLS AMG GT3s and Nissan GT-R GT3s.The opening round takes place over three days at Oschersleben in Germany from 25 to 27 April. Each round consists of Friday practice and qualifying, with a race on each of Saturday and Sunday.‘Very happy’“I am naturally very happy to have secured this drive with the Prosperia C Abt Racing team,” Van der Linde said in a statement.“I am pleased that it keeps me in the Volkswagen family. It will be another steep learning curve for me after last year’s Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup baptism of fire. This is taking my motor racing career to another level and will bring me closer to my longer term objective of competing in the DTM.”Meteoric riseVan der Linde’s seemingly meteoric rise to prominence in motor sport has actually not happened overnight. He already has eight years of national and a year of international competition under his belt. He started his career at the age of nine in karting and won the first of his two national karting championships at the age of 12.In 2011, at the age of 15, he competed for the first time in senior circuit racing and became the youngest-ever class and overall winner of the regional Goldwagen Challenge for production Volkswagens. That same year he finished third in the Volkswagen Cup national championship and was declared Rookie of the Year.He was already a rising star at the end of 2012 after convincingly winning the Volkswagen Cup one-make series for young Polo racers. At the age of 16 he succeeded his uncle Etienne as the youngest-ever winner of a senior circuit racing national championship.He then put himself firmly in the international spotlight with his convincing overall victory in the 2013 Scirocco R-Cup, a support series to the DTM in Europe.FIA InstituteLast year he also won selection as Africa’s representative in the FIA Institute’s 2013/14 Young Driver Excellence Academy, where he has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of previous participants in the Academy who have gone on to drive in Formula One and the World Rally Championship.Van der Linde won his place on the fully-funded Academy programme after an exhaustive selection process in which he demonstrated his ability not just on the track but also in terms of fitness and understanding of safety and vehicle dynamics.He will have a busy year juggling his grade 12 studies at Dainfern College in Johannesburg, the FIA Young Driver programme and the eight rounds of the ADAC GT Masters championship.‘I’m up for the challenge’“I’m up for the challenge,” asserted Van der Linde. “Last year was a busy year for me, with both home and school responsibilities here and contesting the Scirocco R- Cup in Europe. I managed quite well.“I’m living my dream to become a successful professional racing driver, but I also realise the value of a good education. It’s not easy, but then nothing that is worthwhile is easy. You have to put in the hard work and be totally dedicated. I feel very privileged to have all these wonderful opportunities and I intend to make the most of them.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Is WebOS Just Helping Microsoft Build a Better Version of Windows?

first_imgRelated Posts klint finley Last week Hewlett-Packardannounced it will be brining WebOS to PCs. In an interivew with the Seattle Times, HP CTO of Personal Systems Phil McKinney says that HP isn’t ditching Windows, but will integrate WebOS with Windows. “It will be a combination of taking the existing operating systems and bringing WebOS onto those platforms and making it universal across all of our footprint,” McKinney said. “It’s not virtualization. It’s an integrated WebOS experience we’re looking to bring.”On the subject of WebOS in the enterprise McKinnley said:The key is what we see as the consumerization of IT. Look at how many technologies going into the enterprise are really decided by the consumer. I go out and buy a consumer phone, bring it into the workplace and say, ‘I want my e-mail on this consumer phone,’ right? I buy a pad, I bring a pad in.What you’re seeing is this collapse — this lack of differentiation — that’s going to happen between what is a consumer technology and what is an enterprise technology. What the enterprises really want is manageability, security. There’s an entire WebOS roadmap to build in all of the security models so not only is it a great consumer device. But it will be the best and most friendly enterprise device that allows the enterprises to manage it, control it, secure the piece of information that’s important to the enterprise, but all in one device experience.Bob Warfield likens this to New Wave, a graphical desktop environment introduced by HP in 1989. 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Tags:#enterprise#mobile It’s probably a little too early to draw comparisons between WebOS and New Wave, without seeing exactly how WebOS will integrate with Windows. But Warfield isn’t optimistic. “The little things it adds that have been demoed so far are all obvious things Microsoft should be building into Windows and in fact will have to build if they want to make their Nokia partnership perform as it should,” Warfield writes.What sorts of things? Warfield elaborates in another post. He thinks Nokia and Microsoft need to focus on doing a better job at serving Windows users than Android and iOS. “HP is showing some fascinating new developments,” he writes. “For example, the ability to see your phone’s instant messages on your PC without having to go get the phone in the next room. That’s the kind of stuff Nokia-Microsoft should be doing for Windows.”Warfield sees HP basically in competition with Nokia/Microsoft for third place after Android and iOS. I would add RIM to the competition for that spot as well. Which means the enterprise security angle McKinney mentioned will be important in this power struggle.Warfield thinks HP is giving Microsoft a big advantage here, just as the company did when it introduced New Wave. “It introduced some cool stuff that Redmond promptly scooped up and marginalized through various releases of their own,” he writes. “Their [Microsoft’s] engine is not particularly innovative, but if someone else can show them what to do that’s in a format not too far removed from what they’re familiar with they will grind that stuff out like nobody else.”What do you think? Is HP just helping Microsoft build a better version of Windows? Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

J&K highway remains closed for second day

first_imgThe Jammu-Srinagar national highway, the only all- weather surface link between Kashmir and the rest of the country, has been closed for vehicular traffic for the second consecutive day on Friday due to fresh snowfall and landslides, officials said. “There was fresh snowfall and also landslides on highway in Pantiyal-Battery Cheshma-Ramban sector. Restoration work at several places is going on despite shooting of stones at Battery Cheshma and Pantiyal,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Suresh Sharma said. Landslides at Battery Cheshma and Anokhi fall in the morning led to the blockage of the road, he said. Snowfall was continuing till afternoon in Banihal and Jawahar tunnel areas, Mr. Sharma said.Mughal road closed The Mughal road, an alternative road connecting Kashmir’s Shopian district with Poonch district of the Jammu region, has been closed for over a fortnight due to snowfall, Mr. Sharma said. The Jammu-Srinagar highway had reopened on Sunday after remaining closed for over six days following landslides and heavy snowfall.last_img read more

Arsenal, United complete swap deal for Sanchez, Mkhitaryan

first_imgFILE – In this Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 file photo, Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his side’s third goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park stadium in London. Alexis Sanchez is close to joining Manchester United in what is set to be a rare swap deal among two of England’s top teams that will see Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal. Both players were pictured by British newspapers Monday, Jan. 22, 2018 entering an office in Liverpool to update their work permits. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, file)MANCHESTER, England — Alexis Sanchez joined Manchester United on Monday in a rare swap deal among two of England’s top teams that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move to Arsenal.“I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world,” said Sanchez, a former Barcelona player who had an opportunity to join United’s neighbor and fierce Premier League rival, Manchester City.ADVERTISEMENT Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Read Next Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Mkhitaryan has been a marginal figure at United in recent months, with Jesse Lingard starting ahead of him behind Lukaku. He has five goals in 39 league appearances for United, rarely completing 90 minutes.The 29-year-old Mkhitaryan has previously said his favorite team was Arsenal and his impressive technique, allied with Wenger’s naturally attacking philosophy, should make him a good fit at the London club.“He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he’s very committed as well,” Wenger said. “I must say he’s a player who has all the attributes.”Sanchez’s debut for United could come on Friday, in the FA Cup fourth-round match at fourth-tier Yeovil.Mkhitaryan is cup-tied in that competition, so could make his debut against Swansea next week. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Real Madrid: Ronaldo face cut could have been worse Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PHcenter_img Signing Sanchez is being viewed as a real statement by United, like Eric Cantona joined in 1992 and Robin van Persie — who also arrived from Arsenal — in 2012. Beating City to the Chile forward will make his arrival all the more sweet for United fans and Mourinho.“Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world,” Mourinho said. “He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player, and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.”City came close to signing Sanchez in August and looked to be the favorite to get him this month, only to end its interest in the forward following a rival bid from United. The Premier League leader said Sanchez and his agent increased their financial demands and that it didn’t want to destabilize the team by bringing in a player who would be its highest earner.City, the league leader by 12 points, didn’t particularly need Sanchez, who had entered the final six months of his contract at Arsenal. That wasn’t necessarily the case for United.Sanchez will add some dynamism and unpredictability to a front line that already includes Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Mourinho tried unsuccessfully to sign a winger in the last offseason.ADVERTISEMENT Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City “The chance to play in this historic stadium (Old Trafford) and to work with (United manager) Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down.”The transfers of the 29-year-old players were announced simultaneously, with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saying Mkhitaryan was a “very complete player.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“It’s a dream come true,” Mkhitaryan said, “because I’ve always dreamed of playing for Arsenal.”No financial details were disclosed, but United said Mkhitaryan was joining as “part of the deal” to bring Sanchez to Old Trafford. 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting LATEST STORIES MOST READ John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Sanchez joined Arsenal from Barcelona in July 2014 for about 30 million pounds, choosing a move to London amid interest from Liverpool.He was the top scorer in two of his three completed seasons at Emirates Stadium and helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2015 and ’17, quickly becoming a favorite with the fans. However, with Sanchez happy to run down his contract, Wenger accepted the need to sell his star player.Wenger rejected the theory that Sanchez was disrupting the harmony in the Arsenal team in his final months there.“He’s a very professional player who has been committed until the last minute,” Wenger said. “In training, he was practicing with full power, so I never questioned that. I never had any doubts about that.”Before Arsenal, Sanchez scored 39 goals in his three seasons at Barcelona after joining from Italian club Udinese.Mkhitaryan was substituted at halftime of his first league start for United, setting the tone for what has turned out to be a disappointing spell after arriving in English soccer for $33.5 million and with a big reputation in 2016.Mkhitaryan moved to United from Borussia Dortmund, where he was the German league player of the year, but struggled to secure a regular place in the team under Mourinho except in the first few months of this season.The Armenia international scored 23 goals and set up 32 more in his last season at Dortmund but failed to reproduce anything close to those numbers at United.With injuries affecting Mkhitaryan in his early months at United, Mourinho said the player needed time to adjust to the physicality and intensity of the Premier League.He finished last season by scoring an acrobatic goal in United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in the Europa League final in Stockholm and began this season well, too, setting up five goals in his first three games. View commentslast_img read more

Yemen rebels attack Saudi airport

first_imgCars are parked in front of Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia`s mountainous resort, on 12 June 2019. A Yemeni rebel missile attack on the civil airport wounded 26 civilians today, drawing promises of `stern action` from the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Yemeni Huthi rebels. Photo: AFPA Yemeni rebel missile attack on an airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded 26 civilians on Wednesday, drawing promises of “stern action” from the Saudi-led coalition fighting the rebels.Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who have faced persistent coalition bombing since March 2015 that has exacted a heavy civilian death toll, have stepped up missile and drone attacks across the border in recent weeks.Wednesday’s missile strike hit the civil airport in the mountain resort of Abha, which is a popular summer getaway for Saudis seeking escape from the searing heat of Riyadh or Jeddah.Eight of the wounded were admitted to hospital, coalition spokesman Turki al-Malki said.The other 18 were discharged after receiving first aid, he added in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.The missile caused some damage to the airport’s arrivals lounge and flights were disrupted for several hours before returning to normal.At least one Indian and a Yemeni were among three women wounded along with two Saudi children, said Malki, adding the “terrorist attack” on a civilian target could be considered a “war crime”.- ‘Stern action’ -Malki said the coalition would “take stern action” to deter the rebels and protect civilians.The attack was also condemned by the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, whose information minister Muammar al-Iryani alleged the strike was carried out “under the supervision of Iranian experts”.The rebels said they had launched a missile at Abha airport but insisted they had the right to defend themselves in the face of more than years of Saudi-led bombing, and an air and sea blockade.”The continuation of the aggression and siege on Yemen for the fifth year, the closure of Sanaa airport and the rejection of a political solution make it inevitable for our people to defend themselves,” Huthi spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in a statement reported by the rebels’ Al-Masirah television.A rebel military spokesman threatened to attack the airports of “countries of aggression”, referring to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and warned the public to stay away from them.There has been a spate of cross-border attacks by the rebels in recent weeks which have coincided with reports of intensified coalition strikes on rebel strongholds on the other side of the border.On Monday, Saudi air defences intercepted two rebel drones headed for Khamis Mushait.The city, not far east of Abha, houses a major airbase that has been one of the main launchpads for the coalition’s bombing campaign in Yemen.Last month, the Saudi air force shot down a rebel drone that targeted Jizan airport, on the Red Sea coast close to the Yemeni border, the coalition said.- ‘Proves’ Iran support -The rebel attacks come as Saudi state media reported the coalition was intensifying its air raids on rebel positions in the northern Yemeni province of Hajjah.In May, the Shiite Huthi rebels also carried out twin drone attacks on the kingdom’s strategic east-west oil pipeline, forcing a two-day closure of the main diversionary route for Saudi exports avoiding the Gulf.Riyadh accused its regional arch foe Iran of having a hand in that attack and it levelled a similar allegation over the airport strike.The coalition spokesman said the missile hit “proves this terrorist militia’s acquisition of new advanced weapons and the continuation of the Iranian regime’s support and waging of cross-border terrorism”.The uptick in violence comes as a UN-led peace push falters despite the rebels’ unilateral withdrawal from the lifeline Red Sea port of Hodeida last month.The Yemeni government has accused UN envoy Martin Griffiths of bias towards the rebels despite the UN Security Council’s expression of renewed support in him on Monday.The coalition intervened in support of the Yemeni government in 2015 when President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi fled into Saudi exile as the rebels closed in on his last remaining territory in and around second city Aden.Since then, the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people, many of them civilians, relief agencies say.It has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 24.1 million Yemenis — more than two-thirds of the population — in need of aid.last_img

Researchers show that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPRCas9 cleavage efficiency

first_img More information: Robert M. Yarrington et al. Nucleosomes inhibit target cleavage by CRISPR-Cas9 in vivo, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2018). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1810062115AbstractGenome editing with CRISPR-Cas nucleases has been applied successfully to a wide range of cells and organisms. There is, however, considerable variation in the efficiency of cleavage and outcomes at different genomic targets, even within the same cell type. Some of this variability is likely due to the inherent quality of the interaction between the guide RNA and the target sequence, but some may also reflect the relative accessibility of the target. We investigated the influence of chromatin structure, particularly the presence or absence of nucleosomes, on cleavage by the Streptococcus pyogenes Cas9 protein. At multiple target sequences in two promoters in the yeast genome, we find that Cas9 cleavage is strongly inhibited when the DNA target is within a nucleosome. This inhibition is relieved when nucleosomes are depleted. Remarkably, the same is not true of zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), which cleave equally well at nucleosome-occupied and nucleosome-depleted sites. These results have implications for the choice of specific targets for genome editing, both in research and in clinical and other practical applications. A team of researchers at the University of Utah has found that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPR/Cas9 cleavage efficiency. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes testing the gene editing technique on yeast samples and what they found. Journal information: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Illustration of Cas9 binding to DNA. The top figure shows two nucleosomes surrounding a nucleosome-free stretch of DNA. Hypothetical PAM sites for Cas9 targets in the central region and the right-hand nucleosome are shown in red. The lower figure shows Cas9 (with sgRNA) bound to the central target, with the PAM and flanking DNA held deep in the protein cleft. The PAM in the nucleosome could not be accessed without dissociating the DNA from the histone core. DNA backbones are blue; the RNA backbone is teal; DNA and RNA bases are white, except for the PAM; histones are green; Cas9 is purple. Credit: Janet Iwasa (University of Utah, Salt Lake City). Citation: Researchers show that nucleosomes can inhibit CRISPR-Cas9 cleavage efficiency (2018, September 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-09-nucleosomes-inhibit-crispr-cas9-cleavage-efficiency.html © 2018 Phys.orgcenter_img The gene editing technique CRISPR-Cas 9 uses guide RNA to find and snip out segments of DNA—but what happens when the targeted segment is part of a nucleosome? Prior research has suggested that in such instances, it is likely that cleavage efficiency would suffer. In this new effort, the researchers have carried out an in vivo test of such instances and found that prior research results were correct—using CRISPR-Cas 9 on nucleosomes may not work very well.DNA strands are tiny, but really long—approximately six feet long if stretched out. Because of that, cells have mechanisms for packing DNA into a cell nucleus. That mechanism involves rolling the strands into bunches around a given protein. Such rolled bunches are known as nucleosomes. Logic suggests that a technique for editing a strand of DNA might encounter difficulty because of accessibility issues. Other researchers have considered the possibility of such problems, but have studied them in test tubes or did their work on known strands that were not part of nucleosomes. In this new effort, the researchers sought to find out once and for all if CRISPR-Cas9 would work just as well editing strands that are part of nucleosomes in living tissue as it does on strands that are not.The work involved CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing using different guide RNAs in living yeast, which allowed for editing different targets. Some of the targets were in nucleosomes while others were not. The researchers report that cleavage efficiency was much lower in nucleosomes than in non-nucleosome areas. But they also found something else—when testing the gene editing technique called zinc fingers the same way, they found no such difference. The group suggests that in the future, gene editing efforts should start with nucleosome position maps to improve efficiency. Explore further Two unrelated studies result in discovery of CRISPR-Cas12a inhibitors This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

For stronger women

first_imgIf you give us 100 educated mothers, then we can build a stronger nation”. The meaning of these words spoken by Vivekanand was reiterated by a special Women’s Day show called Swayamsidha to be telecast on DD National on March 14 on Doordarshan. Renowned Bollywood actor and maker of thought provoking show Satyamev jayate appeared and made some significant comments on status of women in society. Shot in Doordarshan Mumbai, and anchored by Neelam Sharma, the show originally was telecast on March 8 at 10 pm, with well known women achievers from different walks of life, who gave their views. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The women who participated in this show were IPS Meera Chaddha, Former Election Commissioner and writer Neela Satyanarayan, actor Vikram Gokhle whose recent film Raat Van vaiche was telecast on DD Mumbai, Advocate and member ‘Beti Bachao Movement’ Varsha Deshpande, Dr. Shweta Mahapatra, Communication Chief, UNICEF, Kalpana Saroj, owner of Kamani Tubes, famous lawyer and women rights activist, Flavia Agnes and Mona Khot who is the producer of Stree Shakti telecast on DD National. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAamir started the show by focusing on not just the importance of girl child education, but also little boys who need to learn to respect women. He said, this will inculcate a healthy relationship of equality amongst the boys and girls.Many issues were touched on the show Swayamsidha, while the over arching point made was that it’s important to change the mindset, strengthening the role of women in relationships, family, society and nation at large, it is first of all important to educate and empower the girls and women. If daughters and sisters would be strong, they will become stronger mothers and mothers in law. Aamir and all the members spoke freely and concluded the show with a promise that every woman would try to empower the other men and women, and that’s how the condition of women would improve in our society.The show’s upcoming telecast is at 8 pm on DD National, on March 14.last_img read more

Youtube promises to reduce recommendations of conspiracy theory Exgoogler explains why this

first_imgTalks of AI algorithms causing harms including addiction, radicalization. political abuse and conspiracies, disgusting kids videos and the danger of AI propaganda are all around. Last month, YouTube announced an update regarding YouTube recommendations aiming to reduce the recommendations of videos that promote misinformation ( eg: conspiracy videos, false claims about historical events, flat earth videos, etc). In a historical move, Youtube changed its Artificial Intelligence algorithm instead of favoring another solution, which may have cost them fewer resources, time, and money. Last Friday, an ex-googler who helped build the YouTube algorithm, Guillaume Chaslot, appreciated this change in AI, calling it “a great victory” which will help thousands of viewers from falling down the rabbit hole of misinformation and false conspiracy theories. In a twitter thread, he presented his views as someone who has had experience working on Youtube’s AI. Recently, there has been a trend in Youtube promoting conspiracy videos such as ‘Flat Earth theories’. In a blog post, Guillaume Chaslot explains, “Flat Earth is not a ’small bug’. It reveals that there is a structural problem in Google’s AIs and they exploit weaknesses of the most vulnerable people, to make them believe the darnedest things.” Youtube realized this problem and has made amends to its algorithm. “It’s just another step in an ongoing process, but it reflects our commitment and sense of responsibility to improve the recommendations experience on YouTube. To be clear, this will only affect recommendations of what videos to watch, not whether a video is available on YouTube. As always, people can still access all videos that comply with our Community Guidelines”, states the YouTube team in a blog post. Chaslot appreciated this fact in his twitter thread saying that although Youtube had the option to ‘make people spend more time on round earth videos’, they chose the hard way by tweaking their AI algorithm. AI algorithms also often get biased by tiny groups of hyperactive users. As Chaslot notes, people who spend their lives on YouTube affect recommendations more. The content they watch gets more views, which leads to Youtubers noticing and creating more of it, making people spend even more time on that content. This is because YouTube optimizes for things you might watch, not things you might like. As a hacker news user observed, “The problem was that pathological/excessive users were overly skewing the recommendations algorithms. These users tend to watch things that might be unhealthy in various ways, which then tend to get over-promoted and lead to the creation of more content in that vein. Not a good cycle to encourage.” The new change in Youtube’s AI makes use of machine learning along with human evaluators and experts from all over the United States to train these machine learning systems responsible for generating recommendations. Evaluators are trained using public guidelines and offer their input on the quality of a video. Currently, the change is applied only to a small set of videos in the US as the machine learning systems are not very accurate currently. The new update will roll out in different countries once the systems become more efficient. However, there is another problem lurking around which is probably even bigger than conspiracy videos. This is the addiction to spending more and more time online. AI engines used in major social platforms, including but not limited to YouTube, Netflix, Facebook all want people to spend as much time as possible. A hacker news user commented, “This is just addiction peddling. Nothing more. I think we have no idea how much damage this is doing to us. It’s as if someone invented cocaine for the first time and we have no social norms or legal framework to confront it.” Nevertheless, Youtube updating it’s AI engine was taken generally positively by Netizens. As Chaslot, concluded on his Twitter thread, “YouTube’s announcement is a great victory which will save thousands. It’s only the beginning of a more humane technology. Technology that empowers all of us, instead of deceiving the most vulnerable.” Now it is on Youtube’s part how they will strike a balance between maintaining a platform for free speech and living up to their responsibility to users. Read Next Is the YouTube algorithm’s promoting of #AlternativeFacts like Flat Earth having a real-world impact? YouTube to reduce recommendations of ‘conspiracy theory’ videos that misinform users in the US. YouTube bans dangerous pranks and challenges Is YouTube’s AI Algorithm evil?last_img read more