Three-quarters of people who got a flu shot this year were not protected against H3N2 flu, the viruses that have caused the lion's share of disease in what has been one of the most difficult flu seasons in years in the United States, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Appearing on CNN early Saturday morning after the arrest of the parents of the Oxford High School shooters who appeared to be on the run, terrorism expert Juliette Kayyem explained that the couple can expect new charges beyond the involuntary manslaughter charges they are each already facing.
Very early Saturday morning, James and Jennifer Crumbley -- parents of Ethan Crumbley -- were taken into custody in Detroit, just 40 miles from the scene of Tuesday's shooting after a tipster spotted their car in an industrial park parking lot which led to a heavily-armed response from law enforcement officials and a SWAT team who surrounded the building.
Speaking with host Christi Paul, Kayyem explained that the couple can likely expect new charges when they are arraigned sometime later Saturday.
"Do you believe some sort of negligence could be added to their charges?" host Paul asked.
"Probably not negligence, but definitely, you know, sort of avoiding arrest and being denied bail are likely the greatest consequences," the CNN contributor stated. "There will probably be additional charges to their involuntary manslaughter charges announced yesterday based on their fleeing."
"They are a flight risk," she added. "They are in possession, or they were in possession of weaponry. This will add on to the criminal complaint against them."
Discussing their attempt to avoid arrest, Kayyem added, "I am so glad you mentioned they left their kid in jail. These are not people who seem to care much about anyone else, really, honestly, and put the school at risk, obviously, and are -- were cooperative or at least part of their son's plan that happened on Tuesday."
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Twitter's new picture permission policy was aimed at combating online abuse, but US activists and researchers said Friday that far-right backers have employed it to protect themselves from scrutiny and to harass opponents.
Even the social network admitted the roll out of the rules, which say anyone can ask Twitter to take down images of themselves posted without their consent, was marred by malicious reports and its teams' own errors.
It was just the kind of trouble anti-racism advocates worried was coming after the policy was announced this week.
"Anyone with a Twitter account should be reporting doxxing posts from the following accounts," the message said, with a list of dozens of Twitter handles.
Gwen Snyder, an organizer and researcher in Philadelphia, said her account was blocked this week after a report to Twitter about a series of 2019 photos she said showed a local political candidate at a march organized by extreme-right group Proud Boys.
Rather than go through an appeal with Twitter she opted to delete the images and alert others to what was happening.
"Twitter moving to eliminate (my) work from their platform is incredibly dangerous and is going to enable and embolden fascists," she told AFP.
But the rules don't apply to "public figures or individuals when media and accompanying Tweets are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse."
By Friday, Twitter noted the roll out had been rough: "We became aware of a significant amount of coordinated and malicious reports, and unfortunately, our enforcement teams made several errors."
"We've corrected those errors and are undergoing an internal review to make certain that this policy is used as intended," the firm added.
However, Los Angeles-based activist and researcher Chad Loder said their account was permanently blocked after reports to Twitter over publicly-recorded images from an anti-vaccine rally and a confrontation outside the home of a former Vice journalist.
"Twitter is saying I must delete my tweets featuring photographs of people at newsworthy public events that did indeed get news coverage, or I will never get my account back," Loder told AFP, adding it was the third report of their account to Twitter in 48 hours.
"The current mass-reporting actions by the far-right are just the latest salvo in an ongoing, concerted effort to memory-hole evidence of their crimes and misdeeds," Loder added, using a term popularized by George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984.
Experts noted that Twitter's new rules sound like a well-intentioned idea but are incredibly thorny to enforce.
One reason is that the platform has become a key forum for identifying people involved in far-right and hate groups, with internet sleuths posting their names or other identifying information.
The practice of so-called "doxxing" has cost the targets their jobs, set them up for intense public ridicule and even criminal prosecution, while the activists who post the information have faced threats or harassment themselves.
A major example was the online effort to track down people involved in the violence at the US Capitol, which was stormed in January by Donald Trump supporters seeking to block the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.
Even the US Federal Bureau of Investigation regularly posts images on its feed of as-yet unnamed people it is seeking in connection with the violence.
"Twitter has given extremists a new weapon to bring harm to those in the greatest need of protection and those shining a light on danger," said Michael Breen, president and CEO of advocacy group Human Rights First, which called on Twitter to halt the policy.
The new rules, announced just a day after Parag Agrawal took over from co-founder Jack Dorsey as boss, wander into issues that may be beyond the platform's control.
"It gets complicated fast, but these are issues that are going to be resolved probably in our courts," said Betsy Page Sigman, a professor emeritus at Georgetown University. "I'm not optimistic about Twitter's changes."
With little regard for joints or bones, bare-chested men hurl their bodies at a hard floor and contort their limbs to strike a heavy rubber ball with their hips.
They are practitioners of the ancient sport of Pok ta Pok, sometimes translated as Mayan ball, and have been competing in the game's very own World Cup.
Participants, mostly indigenous Mayans from three Mexican states, as well as Guatemala, Panama and reigning champions Belize, vied for the world title in the Mexican town of Merida.
Belize won the championship once again, defeating Mexico in the final on Friday.
But unlike ancient Pok ta Pok athletes, these competitors were not playing for their lives, merely pride.
In pre-Columbian times, the outcome could be worse than defeat: players risked being sacrificed, usually by decapitation.
The tradition varied over the centuries, researchers say: sometimes, it was the winners who were killed, which was considered an honor. Sometimes the losers were the ones to pay the ultimate price.
The game was banned by the Spanish conquistadors shortly after their arrival in Mexico in 1519.
Like in most ball team sports, the aim of Pok ta Pok is to get the ball through the opposing team's defenses to score.
Four members per team play in two halves of 13 minutes each, and may touch the solid rubber ball weighing more than two kilos (4.4 pounds) only with their hips.
If another body part gets involved, points are deducted.
Each team can strike the ball only once before the turn passes to their opponents.
And while lives are no longer at stake, the game is not without risk.
"I come to bless the players so they don't twist a foot, so they don't break a bone, (tear) a tendon or something," said Tiburcio Can May, a Mayan healer who blew on a shell and shook smoke at participants in a pre-games ceremony.
"In order for them to be able to run well on the field, we have to ask the lord of the underworld, Xibalba, we have to ask the 13 gods, we have to ask the lord of the Universe, Mother Earth, because they are going to play a very sacred game."
For France Novelo, a player from Belize, Pok ta Pok is "a way to rescue culture in our country."
Jose Manrique, president of the Central American and Caribbean Association of the Ancestral Sport of the Mayan Ball, added: "We have to honor the memory of our grandparents, we have to honor our Mayan gods. That is why the ball game continues to be a ceremony for us."
The previous games were held in Chichen Itza, Mexico, in 2015, Guatemala in 2017 and El Salvador in 2019.
For now, it is an all-men event.
© 2021 AFP