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Day: 17 November 2022

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‘Disgusting’ Hazing Incident Condemned By Haverhill Students, Officials

​It’s not just the annual Thanksgiving Day football game that’s been canceled in the fallout of a hazing incident at the high school in Haverhill, Massachusetts. Students say they’ve now been told they’re not allowed to attend the annual Turkey Toss -- another tradition they’re losing after missing out on countless events during the pandemic. At Thursday night’s school committee meeting, Haverhill High students said they’re disgusted by the hazing incident, but say only the people who participated should be punished. "The situation is obviously very disgusting, disturbing and unacceptable in many ways, and the students participating in the video should be punished. As for the students who were not involved at all and not even on the football team, are being punished and that is unfair, especially for the senior class," a senior named Morgan said at the meeting. "We're being stripped from our senior year events that we have all looked forward to very much, especially after losing almost two years of school and normal events from COVID, we shouldn't have to lose this again." "Innocent students should not be punished because of a few students' disturbing actions," she added. The vice president of the student council also spoke at the meeting about having to miss out on the Turkey Toss. "The Haverhill High School Student Council strongly condemns the actions that took place by a few football members whose misconduct led to the cancellation of the rest of the season. The community of Haverhill High students were disappointed by the revelation of illegal and disturbing hazing activities on the football team," a student named Abigail said. "Not only do the consequences affect those who were involved but unfortunately it affects the student body as a whole. Not only was our annual Thanksgiving game canceled but a major senior event, the Turkey Toss, was taken away from us as well. This is a very disheartening time for the Haverhill community because yearly traditions will have to be put on hold as of right now." A letter from Superintendent of Haverhill Public Schools Margaret Margotta and other district officials said "significant material was uncovered" that "impacts the direction of the investigation and the entire school community." Haverhill Superintendent Margaret Marotta said at Thursday's meeting that she is saddened the entire community will suffer because of this conduct. "Our district will not tolerate harassment, hazing or retaliation in any way," she said. "We applaud those who have had the courage to stand up and come forward." School officials say members of the football team were seen on video hazing a student. The incident has been described as violent and sexual. Some of the students involved have been suspended, and police are investigating to determine if any crime may have been committed. Marotta said school officials first became aware of the allegations of misconduct last week and immediately began investigating. She said while initial consequences were imposed, that was prior to them receiving the video of the incident. "It then became abundantly clear that our investigation did not concern an isolated incident and unfortunately many players were a part of this misconduct or aware of this misconduct," she said, citing the district's ongoing investigation into the hazing, harassment and misconduct, as well as their cooperation with the district attorney and police. Marotta said counseling support is available for all students negatively affected by what occurred and individual safety plans have been put into place for those most impacted. The superintendent said she expects additional consequences to be forthcoming. The Haverhill High School football season has been cut short over an investigation into the actions of several members of the team. Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini attended the meeting virtually Thursday night, saying he was interrupting his vacation because it is so important to send a "clear and unequivocal message regarding the disgusting hazing/bullying incident at the high school." "We have to recognize that hazing and bullying is completely and utterly unacceptable," he said. "It's not who we are as a community. It's not who we are as a high school or as a school community." The mayor noted that he fully supports the police having been called. "Normally I do not want police involved in schools but this is so serious that they have to be," he said. He also said he fully supported the canceling of the football game, in addition to a complete and thorough investigation that will look at how this happened, why it happened, and what measures could have been taken to prevent it. The mayor went on to say that the students who were involved in this "disgusting incident" should be permanently barred from any of Haverhill's sports teams. "This is a harsh punishment but necessary to send a clear and unequivocal message that this is unacceptable," he said, adding that he saw a few minutes of the video. The mayor also said Thursday night that staff members or coaches should lose their jobs if they knew about about the hazing and didn’t immediately report it or take steps to stop it. "These actions do not represent our community, they do not represent the vast majority of our student body. Our students are good students, who routinely go onto some of the finest colleges and universities in the land, or go into the military," he said. "Make no mistake about it, this is unacceptable to all of us in the community. This is not boys being boys, this was bullying, violent and is completely unacceptable."

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Is this the greatest taboo of all?

In Luca Guadagnino's Bones and All, Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell star as troubled teens with horrifyingly unconventional diets. It is just one of several new films and shows that feature cannibalism, writes Nicholas Barber.The latest film from Luca Guadagnino, the director of Call Me by Your Name, seems at first to be the story of an ordinary American teenager. Having enrolled in a new school, Maren (Taylor Russell) is happy to be invited to a sleepover at another girl's house. She is happy, too, to chat and gossip with her prospective friends. But later in the evening, when her hostess shows off her varnished nails, Maren pulls the girl's finger into her mouth and bites down with a horrible crunch. Maren, it turns out, has a highly unconventional diet. And over the course of Bones and All, adapted from the 2015 novel by Camille DeAngelis, she learns that she isn't alone. In Maren's world, cannibals are everywhere. More like this: -       The X-rated cartoon that shocked the US -       The most disgusting films ever made -       The horror that demonized older women That's true beyond Bones and All. Earlier this year, Fresh was released on Disney+, with Daisy Edgar-Jones as Noa, a young woman tired of today's dating scene, and Sebastian Stan as the handsome surgeon who seems to be her ideal man – at least until he announces that he is going to chop her up and sell her to a network of gourmands. And another television drama, Yellowjackets, brought the suggestion of cannibalism into its tale of high-school cheerleaders lost in the wilderness.As different as these films and series are, they all trade on the unique, stomach-churning, spine-chilling discomfort that comes from the thought of humans eating humans. Historically, cannibalism is the ultimate taboo – the line that can't be crossed. What distinguishes it from other types of on-screen nastiness is that it disgusts us in two separate ways – in other words, the prospect of being eaten is nightmarish, but the prospect of doing the eating is almost as bad. Julie Taymor's Titus (1999), Peter Greenaway's The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989), and Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) all play on the latter fear. In Fresh, Noa's escape plan depends on her sampling some meat that might just have been sliced from her own torso. "Is this... me?" she asks, as she prepares to take her first mouthful.Earlier this year, Daisy Edgar-Jones starred in Fresh, one of several recent films and series to approach the topic of cannibalism (Credit: Searchlight Pictures)The question of why anyone else would eat a human underpins all cannibal films. One dubious answer presented by early examples of the genre, is that cannibalism is standard practice in certain corners of the globe. The word "cannibal" is derived from "Carib", an ethnic group that also gave its name to the Caribbean. Christopher Columbus and other Spanish conquistadors reported that the Caribs dined on roasted human flesh, and colonial people-eating lore was soon well established: the cannibalistic Queequeg is one of the main characters in Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. By the 20th Century, racist tropes of pith-helmeted white explorers being dunked in cooking pots had become a staple of comic strips, cartoons and comedies: Betty Boop, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny all took their turns in the soup – although whether it counts as cannibalism when a mouse and a bunny are involved is a matter for debate – as did Abbott and Costello in Africa Screams (1949). A grittier update of this trope can be seen in Ruggero Deodato's infamous Cannibal Holocaust (1980), a found-footage shocker with such convincing bloodshed that the director had to go on television with his actors to prove that he hadn't murdered them. "It does look like the real thing," says Barry Forshaw, who recorded a commentary for the Blu-ray of Cannibal Holocaust. "It doesn't look phoney at all. Deodato uses the loathsome tactic of showing real animals being killed on screen in order to establish to the audience that anything goes in his film. Later, when you see the actors chewing bits of something from the local butcher, you can believe it's human flesh." Cannibal Holocaust is just one of many Italian films of the 1970s and 1980s that have white Europeans venturing into jungles and risking being the main ingredient of a nutritious stew. And Calum Waddell, whose documentaries include Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of The Italian Cannibal Film (2015), and Searching for Cannibal Holocaust (2021), has managed to watch them all. "The trend draws from what author Eric Schaefer dubs the 'atrocity' and 'exotic' films of the 1930s and 1940s," he tells BBC Culture, "which highlighted an imperialistic perspective towards Europe's foreign colonies, particularly in Africa. If you look at such films as Ingagi [1930] and later offerings like Mau Mau [1955], along with more well-known works, such as King Kong [1933] and the Tarzan movies, you can see where Italian cannibal films came from."These films are incredibly racist," Waddell says. "They have the concept of the 'great white hunter' encountering a 'savage, primitive people'. They have Orientalist tropes such as the 'exotic girlfriend'. In the first Italian cannibal film, The Man from Deep River [1972] and its follow-up Last Cannibal World [1977], the white European hero attracts the lust and love of a beautiful local female. To be honest, the fact that the on-screen cannibals eat other humans is the least problematic thing about them."Frank Marshall's Alive (1993) tells the true story of rugby players who were stranded in the Andes after a plane crash in 1972 (Credit: Alamy)But cinematic fantasies about "savage, primitive people" making a meal of their fellow men and women aren't confined to any one region. Two Thousand Maniacs (1964), The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and The Hills Have Eyes (1977) are all set in isolated US backwaters, while Soylent Green (1973), A Boy and His Dog (1975) and The Road (2009) are all set in dystopian futures. Anywhere that resources are scarce, and society's rules don't apply, can be a home to cannibals. Even Bones and All makes a point of keeping Maren in small towns on the fringes of civilisation. Similarly, there are fact-based dramas which show that any of us might rethink our vegetarianism if conditions were extreme enough. Frank Marshall's Alive (1993), one of the inspirations for Yellowjackets, tells the true story of the rugby players who were stranded in the Andes after a plane crash in 1972. "I still think the most upsetting moment of cannibalism in screen history is in Alive," says Waddell, "where the characters decide to eat one of their dead friends in order to survive a little longer. I find that more upsetting than any of the flesh-munching in Cannibal Holocaust." Between fact and fantasy A curious paradox, though, is that another strain of films takes the opposite approach to its cannibal characters. In this category, people don't tuck into each other because they are destitute or savage, but because they are wealthy and refined, and they see human flesh as a delicacy. But maybe these strains aren't so far apart. Maybe the human-flesh-as-delicacy conceit expresses a suspicion that the super-rich are just as distant from societal norms as the caricatured outsiders in The Hills Have Eyes and Last Cannibal World. At both extremes, cannibalism is used to signify that some people are beyond the pale – that for them, nothing is off the table. A key text in human-flesh-as-delicacy studies is Stanley Ellin's short story, The Specialty of the House, which was published in 1948. Its setting is an exclusive Manhattan restaurant which serves its lucky diners "lamb Amirstan" (spoiler: it's not lamb). The story was adapted as an episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series in 1959, and ever since, such unorthodox fine dining has been used to satirise the powerful's predatory exploitation of the powerless. As the poster advertising the film Society (1989) puts it: "The rich have always fed off the poor. This time it's for real." The idea has been revived in Fresh, in which Stan's evil surgeon boasts that he caters for "the one per cent of the one per cent" who can afford $50,000 for a plate of minced homo sapiens. But the conceit will always be embodied by Hannibal Lecter, the snobbish aesthete who remarks in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) that he ate a census taker's liver "with some fava beans and a nice Chianti". Dr Lecter may be known as "Hannibal the Cannibal", but initially his unusual taste in haute cuisine was just one of many traits. "But it's become a character-defining thing," says Forshaw, who wrote the Devil's Advocate guide to The Silence of the Lambs (2013). "It's like Arthur Conan Doyle mentioning cocaine and violin-playing in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and those becoming things that everyone remembers. Audiences were so excited by Lecter's cannibalism that Thomas Harris [the author of the novels] ran with it. He makes it a plot point in Hannibal when the FBI man [played by Ray Liotta in Ridley Scott's 2001 film] is served his own brains for dinner. My wife can't watch that scene. I remind her that they're using visual effects, and they haven't really sawed open Ray Liotta's cranium, but she still walks out of the room."The concept of human-flesh-as-delicacy is embodied by Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs (Credit: Alamy)The strange thing is that the you-are-what-you-eat scene in Hannibal undoubtedly has what Waddell calls "the ick factor" – but it also prompts queasy laughter. Certain kinds of violence may be unambiguously distressing to see, but Lecter's cranial canapés make audiences chuckle. At the end of The Silence of the Lambs, he bids Clarice (Jodie Foster) a suave farewell: "I do wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner." If he'd said he was going to torture and murder that "old friend", it would have been abhorrent – but because the audience knows he's planning to eat Dr Chilton (Anthony Heald), possibly with a nice Chianti, some embrace him as a devilish anti-hero. Why can cannibalism be more humorous than other such outrages? "It should be the most unspeakable human crime," explains Forshaw, "but it's so alien to anything we know that we're not sure how to react." Cannibalism in films is unique because it sits right on the border between fact and fantasy, between the everyday violence of a crime thriller and the supernatural violence of a monster movie. It may happen in the real world, but it's so rare and so appalling that it seems like the stuff of legend – so it can be terrifying and loathsome, but funny, too. For instance, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street features a witty duet in which Sweeney and Mrs Lovett discuss which professions make the tastiest pie fillings. And Forshaw's favourite line on the topic comes from a 1976 comedy, The Big Bus: "You eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal. What a world!" What's even weirder is that some cannibal films don't just have comic aspects, but erotic aspects, too. Bones and All and Fresh both revolve around cool, sexy characters played by pin-up actors, as does Julia Ducournau's Raw (2016). All of these films ponder the link between loving someone and feasting on them, between cannibalism and kinks and body modification. And, let's not forget, one of these films is available on Disney's own streaming service. Who knows, perhaps the ultimate taboo won't be taboo for much longer. Bones and All is released on 22 November. Love film and TV? Join BBC Culture Film and TV Club on Facebook, a community for cinephiles all over the world. If you would like to comment on this story or anything else you have seen on BBC Culture, head over to our Facebook page or message us on Twitter. And if you liked this story, sign up for the weekly bbc.com features newsletter, called The Essential List. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Worklife and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.

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Skyroot: The private firms helping India aim high in space

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBy Arunoday MukharjiBBC News, Delhi"We started with a leap of faith."That's what Naga Bharath Daka says when asked about Skyroot Aerospace, the Indian space-tech start-up he co-founded with a colleague in 2018. Inspired by the promise offered by the space sector, he and fellow engineer Pawan Chandana left their secure government jobs at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) - the country's government-run space agency - to set up Skyroot, which builds rocket components to send satellites into space. On Friday, Skyroot created history by launching India's first privately developed rocket from ISRO's Sriharikota space centre in eastern India.“We made history today by launching India’s first private rocket. It is a symbol of new India, and just the #Prarambh of a great future.” Pawan Kumar Chandana, Co-Founder Skyroot Aerospace. Keep watching https://t.co/p2DOuRFiIA#Prarambh #OpeningSpaceForAll— Skyroot Aerospace (@SkyrootA) November 18, 2022 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on TwitterIt's an exciting time to be part of India's space industry, which has often been credited for pulling off ambitious missions on relatively low budgets. India's funding for space research is just a fraction of what the US and China spend.It claims only around 2% of the global space market share, but experts hope the ongoing reforms can help boost the sector further.India opened the space sector for private firms in 2020 and allowed them to build rockets and satellites. They have also been allowed to use ISRO's launching facilities."India deserves to have a bigger share of the global space economy. We should be looking at at least 8-10%" says businessman Pawan Goenka, who heads INSPACe, a centre set up by the government to coordinate between private space firms and ISRO. Image source, Getty ImagesAccording to government estimates, the Indian space industry was worth around $7bn in 2019 but has the potential of growing to $50bn by 2024.Skyroot was the first start-up to sign up with ISRO after the government allowed private firms. Since then, almost 100 start-ups have joined it.In September, Skyroot raised a record $51m (£42.9m) in a series-B funding round - the largest ever in the Indian space-tech sector.Around 10 other private firms have also either launched or are close to launching their products. A start-up called Pixxel is working on a product which will help provide images that can help in mining and disaster management. Digantara, a Bengaluru-based start-up, is mapping space debris for the world. Other companies such as Dhruva, Agnikul and Bellatrix are also trying to make their mark.The flourishing of space start-ups has also given more opportunities to young Indians to work in the country instead of going abroad to achieve their dreams."It has now become more accessible for aerospace engineers to have more scope in India," says Himani Varshney, 25, an engineer who works at Skyroot.Experts say that over the years, ISRO has built up a reputation as a cost-effective and reliable partner. Apart from launching its own research-oriented space missions, ISRO has partnered with more than 30 countries to help launch nearly 400 of their satellites. Mr Goenka says India can aim even higher by building rockets and satellites at low costs for other countries."Right now, all things built in India are for consumption within India. Building for other countries can be a fairly big business for India," he says.The war in Ukraine has also triggered more opportunities for India. London-based satellite company OneWeb - which is financially backed by Indian tech giant Bharti Airtel - turned to India after it was forced to suspend use of Russian rockets due to sanctions on Moscow.In October, ISRO launched 36 satellites for OneWeb on an LVM3 rocket, taking the number of satellites it has in space to 462. OneWeb had planned to send a total of 648 satellites into space and with Russia out of the picture, India is now stepping up to launch the rest as well."It's a blessing in disguise for India, in the sense that we had to look at what are the best opportunities for us. I think that vacuum [of Russia] has been addressed amply by the capabilities of ISRO and India," said Rahul Vatts, an India-based director of OneWeb.Image source, Getty Images"It's a wonderful opportunity for India. Once you say you will launch 30-40 satellites, the world market starts looking towards you in a different way," Mr Vatts adds.But there are challenges for private companies that aspire to make it big in the sector.Companies can't expect to make profits overnight, says Lt Gen AK Bhatt, director general of the Indian Space Association, a space policy advocacy unit which works closely with the government. "It's a long business - from the time you plan to launch a rocket, design a rocket, design a satellite, and then launch it, then find a market and then have the outcomes in terms of returns. So many businessmen would only come in when the money starts coming in," he says. Mr Goenka adds that it is not "an easy sector"."It will require a lot of hard work for several years before we can truly see its fruits". Read more India stories from the BBC:Trans icon who fought pain to bring joy to KashmirIndia tech workers fight back amid mass layoffsProtests as teen footballer dies after surgeryThe Bollywood actress caught up in a 'gifts scandal'India tech workers fight back amid mass layoffsThe 'nomad' flower scientist who India forgotMore on this storyIs India ready to send someone to space?22 August 2018India announces plans for third Moon mission1 January 2020Who is responsible for all the space junk?23 December 2019

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Vanuatu: Hackers strand Pacific island government for over a week

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Frances MaoBBC NewsVanuatu's government has been knocked offline for more than 11 days after a suspected cyber-attack on servers in the country.The hack has disabled the websites of the Pacific island's parliament, police and prime minister's office.It has also taken down the email system, intranet and online databases of schools, hospitals and other emergency services as well as all government services and departments. The shutdown has left the nation's population - about 315,000 people living across several islands - scrambling to carry out basic tasks like paying tax, invoicing bills and getting licences and travel visas.Essentially anyone with a gov.vu email or domain has been affected, locals told the BBC."Anyone who tried to do anything with the government knew the system was down," said Ginny Stein, an Australian journalist and communications consultant who spent years living in Port Vila, and left on Monday."My experience of trying to check out of the country... well they just couldn't operate. They were really struggling to get basic things done."She described major delays to any applications to government as officials have resorted to manual systems and in many cases even shut up shop."You'd walk into the offices and they were closed or they were turning you away saying 'come back next week maybe, but we don't know'," she said.Still, government staff have done their best to keep things going - with some using their own personal emails and internet hotspots for essential work.Instead of electronic transfers, people have been paid with cheques. One civil servant relayed the experience of walking from department to department to get the relevant checks and sign-offs on an application. Others have been taking notes manually.What happened?According to civil servants who spoke to the BBC on condition of anonymity, it appears the government's servers were taken out on Friday 4 November. Emails bouncing back from government addresses were the first sign something was wrong, residents said."If you take out the government internet… it affects everything. You want to do shipping? You've got to get stuff through approvals through customs. It affect airlines. It affects the health system - there isn't one bit of it that's unaffected," said Ms Stein.No one from the government or the Prime Minister's office has yet returned the BBC's calls.But AFP news agency and the Vanuatu Daily Post carried a government statement saying its online system had been "compromised" for two days. There appears to be a financial motivation. Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald reported the attackers had demanded a ransom, which the Vanuatu government refused to pay. No detail has been disclosed about the value of that extortion bid, or who the hackers are.It's also unclear how the attack occurred and what protections Vanuatu had in place. Experts have noted the whole system was likely centralised and hosted on the government's own servers, a fundamental security flaw.The island has already pledged to upgrade its system. In the meantime it's asked neighbouring Australia - traditionally its largest aid partner - to help rebuild its network. As of Wednesday, the government domain was still down. A spokesman told the Herald the government's website "should be back next week".Why might Vanuatu have been targeted?The attack has come less than a month after a new government was elected - a potential time of vulnerability. "But the new government has responded quickly and not agreed to the ransom request," said Dr Meg Keen, director of the Pacific Islands Programme at the Sydney-based Lowy Institute."We don't yet know who is behind this attack, but a government spokesman has suggested it was an outside attack, likely from the Asia region." Some have speculated that the hack may have originated in Indonesia. Vanuatu has long supported the independence movement in the Indonesian province of West Papua, where much of the population is Melanesian. The Indonesian military is accused of gross human rights abuses in the province.Others note Vanuatu's position in the Pacific region - as a key nation that has relations with the US, China, Australia and New Zealand.This year has seen Pacific Island nations courted by both Washington and Beijing. Island leaders were invited to the White House in September, while China's foreign minister carried out a whistle-stop tour around the Pacific in June seeking a regional deal.US makes Pacific Islands pledge in bid to counter ChinaIsland trip lays bare US-China tussle in the PacificPacific Islands urge unity in face of China ambitionIn recent years, Vanuatu has become one of the Pacific islands closest to Beijing. Chinese investment has built its parliament house, sporting stadium and convention centre. Beijing has an embassy in Port Vila, while Washington's representation is a three-hour flight away in Papua New Guinea.However, Australia - allied with the US - has for over four decades been Vanuatu's largest aid donor and closest security partner.Image source, Getty ImagesInternet provision is a critical utility. Last year, the Australian government funded its telecoms giant Telstra's purchase of Digicel Pacific, a Pacific telecoms company, in a move widely seen as a political block to China's influence in the region. There had been talk that Digicel might sell its Pacific arm to Chinese state-owned operator China Mobile. Australia also secured an internet cable for the neighbouring Solomon Islands in 2018.Dr Keen said Vanuatu, like other countries, aimed to secure its government information from external attacks. She noted a "global vulnerability" to such attacks - including in Australia, where hacks on a health insurer and telecommunications firm in recent weeks have exposed data of nearly half the population.But Vanuatu has far fewer resources. Its economy is largely reliant on farming and tourism. The low-lying nation has been ranked among the most vulnerable to climate change."The attack is an added strain on public systems," Dr Keen said.Ms Stein, who had worked in government departments in Vanuatu, noted the country's internet system had appeared fragile - with variable internet coverage and limited server capacity."It's a really miserable thing to do to a small island nation that just doesn't have the resources to deal with this," she said.More on this storyAustralia's Solomons deal shuts out Huawei13 June 2018Australia helps buy Pacific firm 'to block China'25 October 2021Pacific Islands urge unity in face of China ambition16 July

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Game-changing type 1 diabetes drug approved in US

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Smitha MundasadHealth reporter A "game-changing" immunotherapy drug proven to delay the development of type 1 diabetes has been approved by regulators in the USA. Experts say teplizumab marks a "new era" in treatment, tackling the root cause of the condition for the first time, rather than just the symptoms.It works by reprogramming the immune system to stop it mistakenly attacking pancreatic cells which produce insulin.It is likely to pave the way for approval decisions in other countries. About 8.7 million people have type 1 diabetes worldwide. In the UK the condition affects 400,000 people, including more than 29,000 children. 'Taking away the burden'In type 1 diabetes, the immune system (that normally fights off bacteria and viruses) mistakenly attacks key cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Insulin is crucial, helping the body use sugar for energy, and most current treatments focus on people checking their blood sugars and taking insulin - by injection or infusion - every day.In 2019, a trial showed the drug delayed some people at high risk of the condition from developing it for an average of two years. Experts say this delay can be very significant, particularly for young people who would not have to take daily insulin or monitor their sugars as intensively for that period of time. They suggest people could also spend more years with their blood sugars in a healthy range, offering more time to be protected from the complications of high blood sugars such as kidney or eye disease. Image source, Beth BaldwinBeth Baldwin's son Peter died after a diabetic ketoacidosis emergency in 2014. He had undiagnosed type 1 diabetes and his body was shutting down. He was just 13.Beth said: "A drug like this would be life-changing. "You cannot stop people getting type 1 diabetes for now. But delaying the onset.... would be phenomenal - particularly for children. "It means three years of not having to intensively manage the condition, and it may delay it long enough for more research to take place. "It is a huge step forward." Beth now works with the charity JDRF UK to increase awareness of the signs of type 1 diabetes, including feeling very thirsty, urinating more than usual, feeling very tired and losing weight without trying.You can read more about Peter's story here.Rachel Connor, from the JDRF UK charity, which part-funded the trial, said: "This is a game-changer. To me this is the start of a new era for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. "It is the first time we are able to get to the heart of why the condition develops and help change the process, so we are not just treating the symptoms any more. "Once we can do that, we can find other ways to do it better and for longer."Type 1 diabetes: 'People don't know how hard it is'.Chris Askew at the charity Diabetes UK, said he hoped the "monumental breakthrough" would lead to further effective immunotherapies to treat the condition. He added: "For 100 years, people living with type 1 diabetes have relied on insulin to treat the condition, and today's decision means that for the first time, the root cause of the condition - an immune system attack - can be tackled."What is diabetes?Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.There are two main types:type 1 - where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulintype 2 - where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulinType 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1.Source: NHSMore on this storyStopping type 1 diabetes from birth11 July 2018Type 1 diabetes: 'People don't know how hard it is'9 MayPioneering type 1 diabetes therapy safe9 August 2017Related Internet LinksWhat is type 1 diabetes - NHS.websiteAbout us JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charity.websiteThe BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

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What Washington’s divided government means for Biden

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, Getty ImagesBy Kayla EpsteinBBC NewsThe United States Congress is officially a house divided. After the final results from last week's midterm elections, the two chambers will be controlled by rival parties. Come January, the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, will be held by Republicans, while the 100-seat Senate will be run by Democrats.The split will significantly affect either party's ability to pass significant legislation through Congress, but particularly Democrats, who also hold the presidency.The result could be two years of partisan deadlock that may remain unresolved until the next election cycle in 2024.Here's what you need to know about a divided US Congress and what it means for American governance.How will the divided Congress work?In the House, the Republican party will get to set the legislative agenda and chair all the committees, which deal with issues like oversight, the economy and labour.In the Senate, Democrats will call the shots on bills and significantly control which legislation comes to the floor for a vote. Because the House and Senate will be controlled by different parties, this will drastically reduce the major initiatives either party will get to accomplish.It's also likely to turn necessary functions of Congress, like funding the government or re-authorising certain types of spending, into massive battles as factions within each party use these crucial deadlines for leverage.Image source, ReutersWhat will the narrow majorities mean for this Congress?Each party controls their chamber by the thinnest of margins. That means individual members will have more power to influence or block legislation they don't like, especially if they band together with like-minded politicians. Expect a lot of intra-party squabbles for the next two years.House Republicans have also said they would use their control of committees to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a right-wing congresswoman from Georgia, has called for the House Republicans to impeach Mr Biden, as the Democrats twice did to Donald Trump.Pelosi stands down as US House Democratic leaderRepublicans says 'top priority' is to probe BidensThis video can not be playedTo play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.What about the investigations into Donald Trump?Republican control of the House will spell the end of the House committee that is investigating Mr Trump's role in the 6 January 2021 attack on the US Capitol, when a horde of his supporters stormed Congress after Mr Trump made baseless claims of election fraud. Shortly before the midterm elections, the committee issued a subpoena to Mr Trump with which he's not expected to comply.The current House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has called the Capitol riot committee "the most political and least legitimate committee in American history", and all but two Republicans refused to participate. What does this mean for Joe Biden?President Joe Biden will now face the herculean task of passing any initiatives through a House of Representatives controlled by the opposing party with an influential bloc of right-wing members. For the first two years of his presidency, Mr Biden's party had control of both chambers of Congress. His path to passing major priorities like climate change legislation was often rocky, but ultimately, Democrats were able to marshal votes and succeed with big-ticket items.But now, Mr Biden has lost one chamber to the opposition party, which will not be inclined to give him major victories heading into a presidential election cycle. It will make it all the more difficult for Mr Biden to accomplish big priorities for the next two years.Analysis: Who is winning so far?Results in maps and chartsWhy a Republican 'wave' never happenedPolitical trailblazers win series of firstsHow many 2020 election deniers won?More on this storyPelosi stands down as US House Democratic leader14 hours ago

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Islamic State: Lebanon’s economic collapse drives recruitment

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBy Anna Foster & Jewan AbdiBBC News, TripoliAhmed is still a teenager, but instead of studying he spends every day at work. He lives in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, one of the poorest places on the Mediterranean. Despite the hours he puts in, he leaves with just a few dollars a week. He needs to support his sick mother, but his back-breaking manual job earns him barely enough to feed them both. That sense of hopelessness led him to search for a way out. In an internet café in Tripoli, he began chatting to a man who told Ahmed he was a recruiter for the Islamic State group - the radical Sunni Islamist militants who once controlled large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, and who have committed atrocities and terror attacks throughout the region and around the world. "I was studying Sharia [Islamic laws], and day after day they taught us about jihad," Ahmed told me. "They told us about Iraq and the Islamic State group [IS]. We loved IS, because it was famous. I was contacted by a man in prison, and he told me 'I'm going to send you there'."Slight and quietly-spoken, it's hard to imagine Ahmed being a fighter. We talked about the terrible crimes that the group had committed, and I pressed him to explain why he would want to be a part of something like that. "I wanted to join IS and be a mujahid because I couldn't cope with the crisis here", he answers slowly. "Then I would get close to my God, and live comfortably, and not always be worried about the cost of living."Ahmed had made his decision. He told the recruiter he wanted to sign up, to leave Lebanon and travel to fight for the group in Iraq and Syria. But within hours, he was picked up by the police and arrested. Lebanese Army intelligence officers questioned him for five days before he was released. It made him regret his choice, but he still doesn't have a solution to his many problems."It makes me want to kill myself. I owe people money that I borrowed to get furniture for my room but I can't afford to give it back. We don't know what will happen in the future."In Tripoli's backstreets, hope is in short supply. So is electricity, water, fuel, medicines and jobs. In the last year, around a hundred young Lebanese men are said to have joined IS. It's not only about signing up to the extreme ideology the group represents. They're trying to escape the grinding poverty of a country in crisis. For many, their religious sect or family background means opportunities are closed to them. That struggle for survival has seen some young men take desperate measures.Nabil Sari is a prominent judge in Tripoli. He's dealt with these cases before. "There are no job opportunities, no school or study opportunities. And some of those who joined IS because of that, they regretted it, and tried to contact their families to come back - but they can't."BBCNormally people join IS from European countries because of an ideology, or personal reasons. But for the people who join from here, it's because of the poverty.Nabil SariJudge in TripoliThe Islamic State group is far from the force it once was in the Middle East. For a time it controlled a swathe of land which it designated a caliphate [an Islamic State] across Syria and Iraq. The bulk of the group was defeated in a bloody battle in the Syrian town of Baghouz in 2019. But the small remainder who weren't killed or imprisoned continue to attack targets in the areas it once held. And earlier this year, reports of those attacks started to contain details of Lebanese perpetrators. Mohammad Sablouh is a lawyer who represents several of their families. Together we headed to Wadi Khaled where many of the missing men lived. It's a tough area, mired in poverty. Children play all day with makeshift toys in dusty alleyways. The crisis means many don't get the chance to go to school. "Here is separated from the state," Mohammed explained. "Look at these poor areas. Nobody cares about it. The country is not doing its duty towards its citizens. And this poor class will be used and be recruited for IS."A year ago, Bakr Saif vanished. He was weeks away from getting married. Although he'd been arrested and spent time in prison, he was building a future with his fiancée. He didn't tell his mother Umm Saif he was planning to leave. "He told us he was going to see his fiancée, and would be back at noon," she told me, her eyes filling with tears. "And he went, and he never came back.""We heard the news on social media," his father Mahdi continues. "It was on all of our phones. We just didn't believe it. And then everybody started to shout and cry." Umm pauses and wipes her eyes. "He was happy in life, he was preparing for is wedding and he was happy. He'd been released from prison. He was a very good guy. Respectful. Polite. Whatever I say you might say 'She's his mother', but this is the truth." Less than a month later, Umm received a voicemail. A sinister, computer-altered voice told her that her son had been killed fighting for IS in Iraq. Unusually, it described him as "killed" rather than "martyred", the latter being much more like the language a genuine IS message would use.Bakr's parents don't believe the voicemail, or what the Lebanese authorities have told them about his fate. They think he never left Lebanon, and remains hidden in custody somewhere in the country. Bakr's father Mahdi showed me into his son's flat. It's neat and tidy, but empty, and feels abandoned. The gold-wrapped chocolates Bakr bought ready for his wedding still lie on a display stand, uneaten.The Iraqi army says Bakr left Lebanon and travelled there to join IS. They claim he was involved in a militant attack on an army base in Diyala that killed 10 soldiers. Days later nine IS members were killed in a retaliatory air strike by Iraqi forces. Half of them were Lebanese. The Iraqi forces say Bakr was one of them. They insist they're completely sure of his identity, and say they carry out DNA testing on the bodies of those they kill to confirm it. I spoke to Iraqi Army General Yahya Rasoul Abdulla about the men who are leaving Lebanon to join IS. He had strong words for them."My message to the Arab world, and specifically to the Lebanese youth, is that this terrorist organisation is using you as wood for the fire. You can see and ask the Iraqi people who lived under IS control - they were killing people, raping women, enslaving women, destroying heritage, destroying all infrastructure, they even destroyed the prophet's graves. Don't be the fuel for their wars, don't be used by them. "The Iraqi army are everywhere. Wherever this organisation is going, in the desert, the mountains, the valleys, we will chase them and we will kill them."From a peak at the start of this year, the numbers joining IS have begun to slow. The stories of those who left are now well-known in Tripoli, and that makes the prospect of following them less enticing. But as Lebanon continues to struggle with its crippling financial crisis, and its politicians stall on forming a new government months after the country's elections, life isn't getting any easier. And so the IS recruiters continue to circle, hoping to attract a new intake of disenfranchised Lebanese youth. More on this storyWhy I robbed a bank to get my own money6 OctoberFamilies forced to split as Lebanon crisis worsens6 June'Four hours with the militant who murdered my son'19 AugustWhat is 'Islamic State'?2 December 2015

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Ukraine war: The men who bring back the dead

Published15 hours agoSharecloseShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingBy Jonathan BealeBBC News, eastern UkraineThis article contains details some readers may find distressing.Artur describes his job as bringing the dead back from oblivion.He and Denys, two young Ukrainian men, have the grim task of retrieving the bodies of civilians and soldiers killed in this brutal war. That includes dead Russians as well as their own. The day we meet them they're in a recently liberated area in eastern Ukraine. Artur says their task is to ensure that no dead body is left behind on the battlefield. The ground is scarred with rubble, abandoned trenches and deep shell holes. They've been told there are several bodies lying somewhere in this scene of apocalyptic devastation. There's still the sound of fighting in the distance. Artur says they're well aware their job is dangerous, but considers the risks justified "because the most important thing is to take out the dead from this terrible war".They open the door of their white van, marked with a red cross and the number 200 - the military code for transporting dead soldiers. There's a sickly smell of death when they open the back door, and the sight of maggots on the floor from bodies retrieved earlier in the day. Artur and Denys have been told there are several more bodies nearby, but they now have to find the location. Denys launches a small drone fitted with a camera to scout the area. They're not just looking for the bodies, but also for signs of mines. One of their team was recently injured by one. It's a constant hazard. They now take the precaution of throwing a hook to turn over a dead body before approaching the remains. Russian forces have been known to booby-trap buildings and even bodies before they retreat.The day before, a Ukrainian military engineer tells me that he thinks there are around 100,000 mines in the recently liberated areas of Eastern Ukraine. It'll take a long time to clear them. The engineer says that, as a rule of thumb, one year of fighting equates to five years of de-mining.After flying the drone for about 20 minutes, Artur and Denys think they've identified a likely location. It's a bombed out building next to a destroyed railway siding. They put their helmets and body armour on and make their way carefully through the rubble.Inside the collapsed structure there are the charred remains of three bodies. At first it's hard to distinguish the human remains from the burnt-out timbers. Slowly Artur and Denys begin to identify bones. They carefully comb through what's left - looking for any signs of identification.This time they're not recovering their own but dead Russians. No identification papers survived the inferno, but Artur and Denys find the blackened, burnt buckle of a Russian military belt. Small pieces of ceramic body armour plates also tell them these three men were fighting for Russia. There are a few other personal items they recover from the ground including a pair of spectacles. Each is photographed and placed to the side. They will be returned along with the human remains - carefully placed into body bags which are then loaded into their truck. It takes them several hours to complete the delicate task, ensuring every piece of what was once a human life is recovered. Then the bodies they collect are taken to a local morgue. Buried with dignityArtur says he feels an almost spiritual sense of relief when he recovers a body, regardless of who they were. "We feel grace that the body will finally return from the war," he says. When they recover Russia's dead he says "there is a clear understanding that they will be exchanged for our deceased and our deceased will be buried with dignity in Ukraine". It's the Red Cross who facilitates the exchanges between countries.Artur and Denys often attend the funerals of the Ukrainian soldiers they've brought back from oblivion.They've experienced more death than life over the past year. Artur accepts it will eventually take a toll on their emotional state. But he adds, "I understand that we are doing a good job and this motivates me a little and gives me faith that the war will end soon."Their role illustrates the war in Ukraine is not just a physical battle. There's a moral component too, reflected in the way an army treats both the living and the dead.More on this storyHas Putin's invasion of Ukraine failed?2 days agoUkraine in maps: Russian defeat in the south4 days agoWhy did Zelensky want a watermelon in Kherson?3 days ago

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