A week after Deshaun Watson was dealt to the Browns, the QB was facing another possible criminal case. A second Texas grand jury weighed evidence before deciding Thursday to not charge Watson. The complainant was another massage therapist, who told police that Watson ejaculated on her arm, according to the New York Times. Tom Selleck, the district attorney in Brazoria County, called the case closed on Thursday. “After a careful and thorough review of the facts documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testim...
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Concerns about Russia's war on Ukraine sparking a nuclear disaster are growing after a missile on Monday hit within 1,000 feet of a Ukrainian power plant amid alarm over the security of another Russian-held energy facility.
"There is no other way to characterize this except for nuclear terrorism."
The missile struck near the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP), which is about 160 miles west of the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Europe's largest such station. Shelling of that Russian-controlled facility—which Russia and Ukraine have blamed on each other—has fueled fears of a disaster in the nation home to Chernobyl.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), addressed both the missile strike close to the SUNPP and a disconnected power line that had provided the ZNPP with electricity from the Ukrainian grid in a statement Monday.
"The situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant remains fragile and precarious. Last week, we saw some improvements regarding its power supplies, but today we were informed about a new setback in this regard," he said. "The plant is located in the middle of a war zone, and its power status is far from safe and secure. Therefore, a nuclear safety and security protection zone must urgently be established there."
"While we have recently focused on the urgent need for action to prevent a nuclear accident at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant—establishing an IAEA presence there earlier this month—today's explosion near the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant all too clearly demonstrates the potential dangers also at other nuclear facilities in the country," Grossi added. "Any military action that threatens nuclear safety and security is unacceptable and must stop immediately."
Energoatom, the state-run operator of Ukraine's four nuclear stations, said that Russian forces "carried out a missile attack on the industrial site" of the SUNPP. No staff was harmed and all three reactors "are operating in a normal mode," but the "powerful explosion" damaged buildings, broke over 100 windows, and shut down a hydropower unit as well as three high-voltage power lines.
"Acts of nuclear terrorism committed by the Russian military threaten the whole world," Energoatom added. "They should be stopped immediately to prevent a new disaster!"
The head of the nuclear operator and a Ukrainian official issued similar warnings, according to The New York Times:
"There is no other way to characterize this except for nuclear terrorism," Petro Kotin, the head of Energoatom, told Ukrainian national television on Monday. He said that although the heavily fortified concrete buildings that house nuclear reactors are built to withstand a plane crash, the blast from the overnight strike would have been powerful enough to have damaged the containment structures, had the missile struck closer.
"A few hundred meters and we would have woken up in a completely different reality," Kyrylo Tymoshenko, the deputy head of the Ukrainian president's office, said in a statement.
The Associated Press reported that while the Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately comment on the missile strike, Patricia Lewis, the international security research director at the Chatham House think tank in London, said that attacks on the plants suggest Russia is trying to shut down both power stations before winter.
"It's a very, very dangerous and illegal act to be targeting a nuclear station," she told the AP. "Only the generals will know the intent, but there's clearly a pattern."
"What they seem to be doing each time is to try to cut off the power to the reactor," Lewis continued. "It's a very clumsy way to do it, because how accurate are these missiles?"
Responding to the strike near SUNPP, Beyond Nuclear said Monday that "until now, all eyes have been focused on the six-reactor Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, far closer to the most intense of the military action. But there are four operational nuclear sites in Ukraine with 15 reactors total, all of which present a grave danger should the fighting embroil them."
The U.S.-based advocacy group also noted that "at Beyond Nuclear, we have been warning about these risks since before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24."Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.Comments
A new book by author and radio host Michael Brown looks at whether Christians who support former President Donald Trump have undermined their own faith, The Christian Post reports.
Brown says that even though he's voted for Trump, Christians should put God first when it comes to politics.
"I do believe Christians should be involved in politics and should have a positive impact on politics, but somehow, especially in the last election cycle, we became obsessed with politics," Brown told The Christian Post. "We became more concerned with winning the election than winning the lost."
Brown added that when Christians merge the Gospel with elections it's "as if a political party was the key to advancing God's Kingdom on the earth."
In his book, "The Political Seduction of the Church: How Millions of American Christians Have Confused Politics with the Gospel," Brown aims to reject "the exaggerated, caricatured claims of the left, in which Trump supporters were branded white supremacists and insurrectionists," while spelling out "the dangers of Christian nationalism" and rejecting "the idea that the Church is called to take over society."
Speaking to The Christian Post, Brown said Trump's handling of his rally on January 6 was "abysmal."
"The rhetoric leading up to it was dangerous," said Brown. "It gave the Left all the ammunition they needed to make all of us who voted for Trump into 'white supremacist insurrectionists.'"
"This hurts our cause deeply, and it was part of the downside of the president," Brown stressed. "He was irresponsible in his actions on that day."
Trump benefited from the fierce support of evangelicals in 2016 and cannot afford to lose those voters if he wants to win a second term in November.
Team Trump was a bit frayed in 2019 when evangelical magazine Christianity Today published a scathing editorial before Christmas in favor of the president's removal from office.
"The facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents," wrote the magazine's editor-in-chief, Mark Galli.
"That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."
Of course, Trump quickly fired back -- with a series of tweets.
"The fact is, no President has ever done what I have done for Evangelicals, or religion itself!" he said, calling Christianity Today a "far left" publication.
Several top figures in the religious movement lined up to support Trump.
Franklin Graham -- one of the sons of the celebrated late pastor Billy Graham, who popularized televangelism in the 1950s and founded Christianity Today -- lent his support.
Graham said his father "would be very disappointed" with the magazine's editorial, adding: "My father knew Donald Trump, he believed in Donald Trump, and he voted for Donald Trump."
Tony Perkins, president of the ultra-conservative Family Research Council, said the editorial represented an "isolated voice" and added he was not at all worried that it would drain evangelical support away from Trump.
"I see the support just as strong now as it was in 2016, if not stronger," Perkins said in an interview.
One of every four Americans identifies as evangelical, according to the Pew Research Center, a Washington-based think tank.
Evangelicalism is the primary form of Protestantism in America, and the main religious group in the country, ahead of Catholics (21 percent) and traditional Protestants.
With additional reporting by AFP
Alzheimer’s might not be primarily a brain disease. A new theory suggests it’s an autoimmune condition.
The pursuit of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is becoming an increasingly competitive and contentious quest with recent years witnessing several important controversies.
In July 2022, Science magazine reported that a key 2006 research paper, published in the prestigious journal Nature, which identified a subtype of brain protein called beta-amyloid as the cause of Alzheimer’s, may have been based on fabricated data.
One year earlier, in June 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had approved aducanumab, an antibody-targeting beta-amyloid, as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, even though the data supporting its use were incomplete and contradictory. Some physicians believe aducanumab never should have been approved, while others maintain it should be given a chance.
With millions of people needing an effective treatment, why are researchers still fumbling in this quest for a cure for what is arguably one of the most important diseases confronting humankind?
Escaping the beta-amyloid rut
For years, scientists have been focused on trying to come up with new treatments for Alzheimer’s by preventing the formation of brain-damaging clumps of this mysterious protein called beta-amyloid. In fact, we scientists have arguably got ourselves into a bit of an intellectual rut concentrating almost exclusively on this approach, often neglecting or even ignoring other possible explanations.
Studying beta-amyloids as abnormal proteins that cause Alzheimer’s disease has not translated into a useful drug or therapy. Shutterstock
Regrettably, this dedication to studying the abnormal protein clumps has not translated into a useful drug or therapy. The need for a new “out-of-the-clump” way of thinking about Alzheimer’s is emerging as a top priority in brain science.
My laboratory at the Krembil Brain Institute, part of the University Health Network in Toronto, is devising a new theory of Alzheimer’s disease. Based on our past 30 years of research, we no longer think of Alzheimer’s as primarily a disease of the brain. Rather, we believe that Alzheimer’s is principally a disorder of the immune system within the brain.
The immune system, found in every organ in the body, is a collection of cells and molecules that work in harmony to help repair injuries and protect from foreign invaders. When a person trips and falls, the immune system helps to mend the damaged tissues. When someone experiences a viral or bacterial infection, the immune system helps in the fight against these microbial invaders.
The exact same processes are present in the brain. When there is head trauma, the brain’s immune system kicks into gear to help repair. When bacteria are present in the brain, the immune system is there to fight back.
Alzheimer’s as autoimmune disease
We believe that beta-amyloid is not an abnormally produced protein, but rather is a normally occurring molecule that is part of the brain’s immune system. It is supposed to be there. When brain trauma occurs or when bacteria are present in the brain, beta-amyloid is a key contributor to the brain’s comprehensive immune response. And this is where the problem begins.
Because of striking similarities between the fat molecules that make up both the membranes of bacteria and the membranes of brain cells, beta-amyloid cannot tell the difference between invading bacteria and host brain cells, and mistakenly attacks the very brain cells it is supposed to be protecting.
This leads to a chronic, progressive loss of brain cell function, which ultimately culminates in dementia — all because our body’s immune system cannot differentiate between bacteria and brain cells.
A section of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease displayed at the Museum of Neuroanatomy at the University at Buffalo, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/David Duprey)
When regarded as a misdirected attack by the brain’s immune system on the very organ it is supposed to be defending, Alzheimer’s disease emerges as an autoimmune disease. There are many types of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, in which autoantibodies play a crucial role in the development of the disease, and for which steroid-based therapies can be effective. But these therapies will not work against Alzheimer’s disease.
The brain is a very special and distinctive organ, recognized as the most complex structure in the universe. In our model of Alzheimer’s, beta-amyloid helps to protect and bolster our immune system, but unfortunately, it also plays a central role in the autoimmune process that, we believe, may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Though drugs conventionally used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases may not work against Alzheimer’s, we strongly believe that targeting other immune-regulating pathways in the brain will lead us to new and effective treatment approaches for the disease.
Other theories of the disease
It is gratifying to see new thinking about this age-old disease. (Pixabay)
In addition to this autoimmune theory of Alzheimer’s, many other new and varied theories are beginning to appear. For example, some scientists believe that Alzheimer’s is a disease of tiny cellular structures called mitochondria — the energy factories in every brain cell. Mitochondria convert oxygen from the air we breathe and glucose from the food we eat into the energy required for remembering and thinking.
Some maintain that it is the end-result of a particular brain infection, with bacteria from the mouth often being suggested as the culprit. Still others suggest that the disease may arise from an abnormal handling of metals within the brain, possibly zinc, copper or iron.
It is gratifying to see new thinking about this age-old disease. Dementia currently affects more than 50 million people worldwide, with a new diagnosis being made every three seconds. Often, people living with Alzheimer’s disease are unable to recognize their own children or even their spouse of more than 50 years.
Alzheimer’s is a public health crisis in need of innovative ideas and fresh directions. For the well-being of the people and families living with dementia, and for the socioeconomic impact on our already stressed health-care system coping with the ever-escalating costs and demands of dementia, we need a better understanding of Alzheimer’s, its causes, and what we can do to treat it and to help the people and families who are living with it.