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Scientists announce plan to produce Richard III’s genome sequence

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British scientists on Tuesday announced plans to create the complete genome sequence of infamous British king Richard III after his remains were found under a car park in 2012.

Geneticist Turi King will lead the £100,000 project ($164,000, 120,000 euros) to produce the first genome sequence from ancient DNA for a named historical figure, the project’s co-funders the Wellcome Trust and the Leverhulme Trust said in a statement.

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“It is an extremely rare occurrence that archaeologists are involved in the excavation of a known individual, let alone a king of England,” said King.

“Sequencing the genome of Richard III is a hugely important project that will help to teach us not only about him, but ferment discussion about how our DNA informs our sense of identity, our past and our future,” she added.

The year-long project, which will attempt to extract DNA from ground-up samples of Richard’s bones, could reveal the controversial leader’s hair and eye colour, and whether the scoliosis that deformed his spine was genetic.

Geneticist and co-funder Alec Jeffreys pitched the idea to King over dinner.

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“We will never have this chance again, wherever he ends up being buried and whenever it ends up happening,” King said. “We have this unique opportunity now and it seemed a shame not to do it.”

The skeleton was found during an archaeological dig at a municipal car park in Leicester, central England, in August 2012.

DNA from the bones matched that of descendants of the king’s sister, while the skeleton had the twisted spine and battle injuries consistent with contemporary accounts, said researchers from the University of Leicester.

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After his death at the Battle of Bosworth, near Leicester, Richard’s body was buried by Franciscan friars, known as Greyfriars, in an unmarked grave. When their monastery was destroyed in the 1530s, all traces of him disappeared.

In “Richard III”, Shakespeare described a villain who murdered his two young nephews to win the throne.

Enthusiasts say there is no evidence he killed the young boys, and hope the focus will now shift to the social reforms Richard introduced.

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A court battle is ongoing to decide whether his remains should eventually be buried in the nearby Leicester Cathedral, or in York, his royal house.

[Image: Facial reconstruction of Richard III, via Richard III Society Facebook page]


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‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience

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The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.

The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."

Photos from the protest:

1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.

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Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report

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President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.

"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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