Coronavirus herd immunity may be 'unachievable' after study suggests antibodies disappear after weeks in some people

La Boqueria market in Barcelona, Spain, was quiet on Thursday.

Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images

  • A major new study in one of Europe’s worst affected countries for the coronavirus finds no evidence of widespread immunity to the virus developing.

  • Just 5% of Spaniards were detected to have antibodies to the virus.

  • Fourteen percent of people who previously tested positive for antibodies tested negative just weeks later.

  • The study suggests people who experience mild symptoms do not have long-lasting protection.

  • “Immunity can be incomplete, it can be transitory, it can last for just a short time and then disappear,” Raquel Yotti, the director of Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, said.

  • Another scientist involved said: “In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable.”

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Population-wide immunity to the novel coronavirus could be “unachievable” with antibodies to the virus disappearing after just a few weeks in some patients, according to a major new Spanish study.

The Spanish government teamed up with some of the country’s leading epidemiologists to discover what percentage of the population had developed antibodies that could provide immunity from the coronavirus.

Related video: How we know the coronavirus wasn’t made in a lab

in findings published by the medical journal The Lancet.” data-reactid=”33″>The study found that just 5% of those tested across the country maintained antibodies to the virus, in findings published by the medical journal The Lancet.

The study also found that 14% of people who had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies in the first round of testing no longer tested positive in subsequent tests carried out weeks later.

which helped conduct the study, said.” data-reactid=”35″>”Immunity can be incomplete, it can be transitory, it can last for just a short time and then disappear,” Raquel Yotti, the director of Spain’s Carlos III Health Institute, which helped conduct the study, said.

Other researchers said the study corroborated findings elsewhere that immunity to the virus might not be long-lasting in people who develop only mild or no symptoms.

said.” data-reactid=”37″>”No symptoms suggests a mild infection, which never really gets the immune system going well enough to generate immunological ‘memory,'” Ian Jones, a professor of virology at the University of Reading, said.

Jones added: “Anyone who tests positive by antibody test should not assume they are protected. They may be, but it is not clear.”

told CNN: "Some experts have computed that around 60% of seroprevalence might mean herd immunity. But we are very far from achieving that number."” data-reactid=”39″>The study’s lead author, Marina Pollán, told CNN: “Some experts have computed that around 60% of seroprevalence might mean herd immunity. But we are very far from achieving that number.”

The study found that despite Spain being one of the worst affected countries by COVID-19, “prevalence estimates remain low and are clearly insufficient to provide herd immunity.” More than 28,000 people in Spain have died after catching the coronavirus.

As CNN noted, The Lancet published commentary by two other scientists, Isabella Eckerle and Benjamin Meyer, who said the Spanish study, along with similar studies in the US and China, showed that herd immunity could not be achieved.

The “key finding” is that “most of the population appears to have remained unexposed” to the coronavirus, “even in areas with widespread virus circulation,” Eckerle and Meyer said.

Eckerle heads the Geneva Centre for Emerging Viral Diseases, while Meyer is a virologist at the University of Geneva.

They said: “In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable.”

As found in antibody studies elsewhere in the world, Spain’s most densely populated areas — the cities of Madrid and Barcelona — had the highest levels of antibody prevalence. It was over 10% in Madrid and 7% in Barcelona.

Evidence against herd immunity is piling up

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

The Spanish study, which tested more than 61,000 people, is the latest to pour cold water over the idea of herd immunity.

A study published in May suggested that just 7.3% of people in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, had developed coronavirus antibodies, despite Sweden’s government adopting a novel and contentious strategy of not imposing a strict lockdown.” data-reactid=”60″>A study published in May suggested that just 7.3% of people in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, had developed coronavirus antibodies, despite Sweden’s government adopting a novel and contentious strategy of not imposing a strict lockdown.

last week ordered an inquiry into the country’s handling of the virus, telling reporters "we have thousands of dead" and "now the question is how Sweden should change, not if."” data-reactid=”63″>Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, last week ordered an inquiry into the country’s handling of the virus, telling reporters “we have thousands of dead” and “now the question is how Sweden should change, not if.”

Unlike most European countries, Sweden did not implement strict, wholesale lockdown measures in response to the pandemic. Instead, it largely allowed businesses and hospitality to remain open and students to attend school.

In May, Sweden’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, justified this response by saying that countries that imposed strict lockdowns would most likely suffer large second waves later in the year, whereas Sweden’s would be smaller.

The new Spanish study, however, casts doubt on the idea that Sweden, which has reported nearly 5,500 coronavirus deaths and has one of the highest per capita death tolls in the world, may not be any better prepared to avert a second wave.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s UK government has denied initially trying to pursue a strategy of herd immunity before being warned that it would lead to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

An Italian health minister last month claimed that Johnson revealed his intention to pursue herd immunity in a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti on March 13, a little more than a week before the UK entered a countrywide lockdown.” data-reactid=”68″>An Italian health minister last month claimed that Johnson revealed his intention to pursue herd immunity in a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conti on March 13, a little more than a week before the UK entered a countrywide lockdown.

said he believed the UK would be able to achieve herd immunity.” data-reactid=”69″>On the same day, Patrick Vallance, the chief scientific adviser to the UK government, said he believed the UK would be able to achieve herd immunity.

Business Insider” data-reactid=”70″>Read the original article on Business Insider

Supreme Court hands victory to school voucher lobby – will religious minorities, nonbelievers and state autonomy lose out?

recent decision that Montana cannot exclude donations that go to religious schools from a small tax credit program could have consequences felt far beyond the state.” data-reactid=”23″>The Supreme Court’s recent decision that Montana cannot exclude donations that go to religious schools from a small tax credit program could have consequences felt far beyond the state.

Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which came down June 30, follows on from recent cases that have expanded what counts as discrimination against religion under the U.S. Constitution, making it harder for states to deny grants to faith-based institutions.” data-reactid=”24″>The 5-4 ruling in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, which came down June 30, follows on from recent cases that have expanded what counts as discrimination against religion under the U.S. Constitution, making it harder for states to deny grants to faith-based institutions.

a scholar of law and religion, this latest ruling could massively limit states’ ability to exclude religious schools from all sorts of funding, including controversial voucher programs which allow state funds to be used by parents to send children to a private school. And rather than preventing religious discrimination, the court’s decision may actually support a system that discriminates against religious minorities and those of no faith.” data-reactid=”25″>From my perspective as a scholar of law and religion, this latest ruling could massively limit states’ ability to exclude religious schools from all sorts of funding, including controversial voucher programs which allow state funds to be used by parents to send children to a private school. And rather than preventing religious discrimination, the court’s decision may actually support a system that discriminates against religious minorities and those of no faith.

A win for voucher advocates

hailed as a major win by supporters of school vouchers, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It isn’t the first time they have cheered the court.” data-reactid=”27″>The Espinoza decision was quickly hailed as a major win by supporters of school vouchers, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It isn’t the first time they have cheered the court.

overwhelmingly benefited religious schools. The court held that the program did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause which limits government support for, and promotion of, religion.” data-reactid=”28″>In 2002, the Supreme Court, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, ruled in favor of a voucher program in Ohio which overwhelmingly benefited religious schools. The court held that the program did not violate the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause which limits government support for, and promotion of, religion.

a long line of previous cases, which held that government could not use taxpayer dollars to fund religious education.” data-reactid=”37″>That decision broke with a long line of previous cases, which held that government could not use taxpayer dollars to fund religious education.

public support for school voucher programs has grown. The election of President Donald Trump and appointment of DeVos as education secretary gave the pro-voucher lobby powerful advocates in the administration. The White House has made vouchers a central plank of their schools policy, with Trump likening “school choice” – a term that includes the use of vouchers – as the “civil rights statement” of the decade.” data-reactid=”38″>In the years following the Zelman decision, public support for school voucher programs has grown. The election of President Donald Trump and appointment of DeVos as education secretary gave the pro-voucher lobby powerful advocates in the administration. The White House has made vouchers a central plank of their schools policy, with Trump likening “school choice” – a term that includes the use of vouchers – as the “civil rights statement” of the decade.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has paved the way for religious schools to benefit from vouchers through a series of rulings.

Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the justices held that refusing the grant contravened the Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits discrimination against religion, among other things.” data-reactid=”40″>In addition to Zelman, and as a precursor to Espinoza, the justices ruled in 2017 that a Missouri program that provided free playground chips for resurfacing, could not deny access to a religious school seeking to resurface its playground. In that case, Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, the justices held that refusing the grant contravened the Constitution’s Free Exercise Clause, which prohibits discrimination against religion, among other things.

hostility toward that faith, such as when the City of Hialeah, Florida, created a series of ordinances to discriminate against the practice of Santeria.” data-reactid=”41″>Until then, the doctrine had been limited to situations in which a government discriminated against a religion through hostility toward that faith, such as when the City of Hialeah, Florida, created a series of ordinances to discriminate against the practice of Santeria.

discriminates against religion.” data-reactid=”42″>In a footnote in the Trinity Lutheran case, the justices specifically noted that the decision was limited and did “not address religious uses of funding” such as for attendance at religious schools. But in Espinoza, the Supreme Court has essentially ignored that narrower reading. Instead, the court held that exclusion of donations to religious schools from the state tax credit program discriminates against religion.

Siphoning funds

This has significant implications for school vouchers. It could force states to include religious schools in any program that is open to private nonreligious schools.

So if a state allows for parents to use vouchers to take a child out of the public school system, then religious schools must be allowed to benefit from those funds.

preventing religious discrimination, the expansion of voucher plans, in my view, may actually encourage it.” data-reactid=”48″>But rather than preventing religious discrimination, the expansion of voucher plans, in my view, may actually encourage it.

majority of private schools are religious – and in some areas with voucher programs, religious schools make up more than 90% of private schools.” data-reactid=”49″>The majority of private schools are religious – and in some areas with voucher programs, religious schools make up more than 90% of private schools.

representing just one or two denominations.” data-reactid=”50″>In most districts, religious schools that can afford to take voucher students represent only a few larger denominations that are able to highly subsidize religious education. For example, in the Cleveland School District involved in the Zelman case, 96% of voucher recipients went to religious schools representing just one or two denominations.

strip money from public education – every voucher going to a private school means a loss of per student funding for public schools.” data-reactid=”51″>But vouchers strip money from public education – every voucher going to a private school means a loss of per student funding for public schools.

drained of funding and students.” data-reactid=”52″>This would force the parents of religious minorities, agnostics and atheists to choose between sending their children to a school that may provide religious teaching that goes against their wishes or leave their children in public schools that will be further drained of funding and students.

funds will support religious functions.” data-reactid=”53″>The Espinoza ruling did leave the door ajar a little when it comes to limiting vouchers to religious private schools. The court draws a tightrope-like line between discrimination based on religious status – the fact that a school is religious – and situations where the denial of funding is based on concerns the funds will support religious functions.

including those which proselytize. It is hard to imagine how a state might prevent funds from going to a faith-based school without it being seen as denying funding based on that school’s religious status.” data-reactid=”54″>But precedent suggests walking this tightrope might be difficult for states and school districts. The Supreme Court’s decision in Zelman upheld vouchers for religious schools including those which proselytize. It is hard to imagine how a state might prevent funds from going to a faith-based school without it being seen as denying funding based on that school’s religious status.

makes it clear that this is acceptable. And some states already do this. For example, Michigan explicitly prevents taxpayer money going to private schools regardless of whether those schools are religious or not.” data-reactid=”55″>Of course, states can simply not have voucher or tax credit programs for private schools – the Espinoza decision makes it clear that this is acceptable. And some states already do this. For example, Michigan explicitly prevents taxpayer money going to private schools regardless of whether those schools are religious or not.

increasingly being challenged by school voucher enthusiasts and religious groups.” data-reactid=”56″>But even these bans on taxpayer funding for private education are increasingly being challenged by school voucher enthusiasts and religious groups.

Put on notice

In Espinoza, the Supreme Court has put states and school districts on notice that if they have voucher programs they can not prevent taxpayer money from being used at religious private schools. That could leave some parents with an uncomfortable choice between sending a child to a public school that is losing funding as a result of vouchers or a religious private school that may proselytize their children.

The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.” data-reactid=”59″>This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts.

Posted in

Kremlin vows to retaliate against fresh UK sanctions against Russians

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says new UK sanctions against Russia will not be left unanswered – Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

The Kremlin spokesman says that Moscow will respond to new UK sanctions against Russian citizens including a senior investigator and prison officials.

Britain on Monday used a new legislation drafted in the memory of a killed Russian tax adviser to sanction 25 Russian nationals linked to prosecution and mistreatment of tax adviser Sergei Magnitsky as well as 20 Saudis involved in the murder of a journalist in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow “can only lament such hostile steps.”

“We will certainly rely on reciprocity and respond in the way that fits Russia’s interests,” he said.

Alexander Bastrykin, Russia’s top investigator and a university friend of Vladimir Putin, is arguably the most senior official to have been slapped by the new sanctions and his name is likely to anger the Kremlin.

As the head of the Investigative Committee, Mr Bastrykin is accused of covering up the mistreatment of Mr Magnitsky who died in prison after a year in pre-trial detention in 2009.

A tax lawyer, Mr Magnitsky discovered a massive tax scam involving Russian tax authorities and ended up jailed by the same officials he had exposed.

A Russian presidential commission concluded that he was beaten to death in prison. 

Most of the people on the sanctions list are lower-level officials and prison staff including two prison doctors who faced charges of negligence but were never convicted.

All of them will now be subject to travel bans and asset freezes but it is not immediately clear if they have any property in Britain.

The United States adopted the Magnitsky Act in 2012, targeting money of senior Russian officials kept in Western banks. Russia then responded with travel bans as well as a ban on American adoptions of Russian children.

The Kremlin has outlawed institutions such as the British Council during previous diplomatic spats between the two countries, which does not leave Moscow much British property to target this time.

Australia warns of 'arbitrary detention' in China

Australia’s warning to its citizens to be wary of travel to China is the latest sign of frayed relations (AFP Photo/Lucas Coch)

Australia warned its citizens Tuesday they could face “arbitrary detention” if they travel to China, the latest sign of growing tensions between the two nations.

The foreign ministry issued the warning in updated travel advice, which also noted that Chinese authorities had detained foreigners for allegedly “endangering national security”.

Australia has already told its citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the updated advice did not raise the overall level of the warning against travel to China.

“Authorities have detained foreigners because they’re ‘endangering national security’. Australians may also be at risk of arbitrary detention,” the latest warning said.

The warning came days after the foreign ministry cautioned Australians about the possibility of running afoul of controversial new security laws enacted by China in Hong Kong.

China’s foreign ministry said in response that “foreigners in China have absolutely nothing to worry about as long as they abide by the law.”

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that China hoped Australia would “remain objective and fair and do more to benefit the development of China-Australia relations”.

Tension between Australia and its biggest trading partner has been rising for months, and flared recently after Beijing reacted furiously to Canberra’s leading role in calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus.

Beijing subsequently imposed tariffs on Australian goods and warned Chinese tourists and students about visiting the country because of alleged racial harassment against Asians.

Last year China arrested Australian-Chinese writer Yang Hengjun, who was indicted earlier this year for espionage.

China has also arrested two Canadians after Canada detained a high-profile executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in late 2018.

Ottawa has condemned those arrests as “arbitrary”.

A white Florida man who was filmed yelling at a Black homeowner while waving a BB gun also faked being a Navy SEAL for years, report says

Joseph Fucheck was filmed going on a racist and homophobic tirade against a Black man in Florida last month.

Local 10” data-reactid=”17″>Local 10

  • Joseph Fucheck, 58, was arrested last month after being caught on video holding an airsoft gun while harassing a Black man in North Miami-Dade, Florida.
  • He also claimed to be a Navy SEAL veteran in his tirade.
  • The Miami Herald has since reported this claim to befalse.
  • His daughter confirmed to the Miami Herald that Fucheck had never served in the military nad has been pretending to be a SEAL for years, calling him a “narcissist.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A white man who was caught on video holding an airsoft gun while harassing a Black man last month in Florida is not a Navy SEAL veteran, as he claimed in the tirade.

Joseph Fucheck is seen in his booking photo last month.

Miami-Dade County” data-reactid=”36″>Miami-Dade County

Miami Herald” data-reactid=”37″>Miami Herald

Additionally, Fucheck’s daughter, who asked to remain anonymous, confirmed to the newspaper that her father never served in the military and has been pretending to be a Navy SEAL for years.

“He’s a narcissist,” she told the Herald. “He just has to be the center of attention.”

According to an arrest affidavit seen by the Herald, Fucheck was dropping off flyers in mailboxes in a North Miami-Dade neighborhood on June 14, when he got into a confrontation with Black man Dwayne Wynn.

Wynn had been chatting with a neighbor when Fucheck dropped a flyer in a nearby mailbox, and Wynn went to take it out.

That caused Fucheck to return and start yelling at Wynn, while pointing a firearm at him that was later revealed as an airsoft gun.

“Damn right, I carry a gun because I’m a 35-year former Navy SEAL!” he yelled at one point, according to the Herald. “Go look at my Purple Heart!”

Video shows Fucheck waving a gun while harassing Dwayne Wynn last month.

CBS Miami” data-reactid=”59″>CBS Miami

During the tirade, which Wynn partially caught on camera, Fucheck also called Wynn by racial and homophobic slurs.

He also claimed to be the former head of the SWAT team in Hillsborough County, a claim that also turned out to be false.

When detectives searched Fucheck’s home last month, they found Navy certificates, dress uniforms, and photos of him in military dress, according to the Miami Herald.

Navy SEAL Don Shipley, of Virginia, who helps uncover people claiming to be servicemen, said he was told about Fucheck a few years ago.

An acquaintance sent him photos of Fucheck in a Navy uniform, it was instantly clear that he was faking it, he told the Herald.

“It was all a mismatch, like he just bought it all online,” he said. “He had that uniform custom made. He paid a lot of money for that dog-gone thing.”

The gun Fucheck was holding turned out to be a BB gun.

Local 10” data-reactid=”79″>Local 10

Shipley told the newspaper he tried to confront Fucheck on a trip to Florida a few years ago, but couldn’t find him.

It also appears that Fucheck may have broken a state law by having a license plate designated for Purple Heart recipients.

In order to get that license plate, one has to submit military paperwork to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Fucheck remains jailed on a charge of aggravated assault with prejudice. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Insider” data-reactid=”90″>Read the original article on Insider

Mysterious damage to Iran nuclear site: what we know

A handout picture provided by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation shows a warehouse after it was damaged at the Natanz facility, one of Iran’s main uranium enrichment plants, south of the capital Tehran on July 2 (AFP Photo/Handout)

Tehran (AFP) – Accident or Israeli sabotage? A mysterious incident in the early hours of Thursday, July 2, badly damaged a building at Iran’s Natanz nuclear complex and sparked speculation over the cause.

The incident came at the end of a week marked by two explosions in Tehran, including one near a military site. Officials said the blasts were accidents, but many Iranians suspected covert Israeli operations were responsible.

Israel and the United States accuse their arch foe Iran of trying to build an atomic bomb — a charge the Islamic Republic has always denied.

AFP takes stock of what we know so far about the Natanz incident.

What kind of building?

Iran’s atomic energy agency first reported that an “accident” had damaged warehouses under construction at the Natanz site, some 250 kilometres (150 miles) south of Tehran, in a confusing statement on the morning after the incident.

There were no casualties, “no nuclear material (on site) and no potential of pollution,” the agency’s spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi told state television.

The organisation released a photo of a damaged building: a long, one-storey brick structure with few openings, part of an exterior wall blackened by fire, a collapsed section of roof and doors that appeared to have been blown outwards.

State TV showed several images of the building’s exterior, but none of the inside.

On Sunday evening, Kamalvandi acknowledged to the IRNA state news agency that the incident had caused “significant financial damage”, without elaborating.

But he said the damaged building had been designed to produce “advanced centrifuges”, hinting that their assembly had begun prior to the “accident”.

What is the Natanz nuclear complex?

The complex is central to Iran’s nuclear programme and is kept under very tight security.

Under the terms of its 2015 nuclear accord with world powers, Tehran had agreed to cap its enrichment of uranium — measured by the presence of fissile isotope Uranium-235 — to 3.67 percent.

It also limited the number of so called first-generation enrichment centrifuges to 5,060.

But a year after Washington unilaterally abandoned the pact and reimposed crushing sanctions, Iran began progressively stepping away from its commitments.

Since mid-2019 it has enriched uranium to 4.5 percent — reactor-grade but still far from the 90 percent required for military use.

Iran has also announced that it is working on developing more efficient centrifuges, without limits.

Accident or sabotage?

On Friday, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council announced that the “cause of the accident” at Natanz had been “accurately determined”.

But it declined to release details, citing security reasons.

On the evening of July 2, IRNA published an editorial warning Iran’s arch-foes against hostile actions, saying unnamed Israeli social media accounts had claimed the Jewish state was behind the incident.

The editorial warned Israel and the US against any attack on Iran’s “security” and “interests”.

A Twitter account linked to an Israeli analyst had claimed in Arabic on July 1 that Israel had attacked an Iranian uranium enrichment plant.

The BBC’s Persian service, which Iranian authorities consider hostile, said it received a statement “hours before” the incident from a group called the “Homeland Cheetahs” who claimed responsibility.

They claimed to be “dissidents present in Iran’s security apparatus” and said the location was targeted as it was not “underground” and that therefore the alleged attack could not be denied.

Iran’s civil defence chief, Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, told state TV on Thursday night that any proven cyberattack against Iran would elicit “a response”.

Israel’s Defence Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz stayed ambiguous on the events.

“Iran is aiming for nuclear [weapons], we can’t let it get there,” he said Sunday.

He however added that “not every event taking place in Iran is necessarily connected to us”.

Did Doxxing of an Oklahoma Councilwoman Lead to a Neighbor Being Raped?

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty/Facebook

A city council member in Norman, Oklahoma, proposed a police budget cut. Then officers for that department posted her address online. Days later, a woman who lived in the other half of her duplex was raped by an assailant who allegedly made a political threat.

The attack was a case of retaliation and mistaken identity, the council member alleges.

under investigation for allegedly posting Scott’s personal information online, which Scott says may have led to the sexual assault of her neighbor.” data-reactid=”19″>Alexandra Scott, a Norman council member who won the Democratic nomination for her state Senate seat last month, is an outspoken critic of her city’s police force. When racial justice protests swept the nation in June, Scott proposed slashing the Norman Police budget by $4.5 million. During a city council meeting about defunding, she also discussed a stalking incident she experienced, which she said police handled improperly. Now a pair of Norman Police officers are under investigation for allegedly posting Scott’s personal information online, which Scott says may have led to the sexual assault of her neighbor.

These 911 Emergency Dispatchers Are Ready to Defund the Police” data-reactid=”20″>These 911 Emergency Dispatchers Are Ready to Defund the Police

to file a lawsuit against city council this month. ” data-reactid=”21″>Defunding the police is a fraught issue across the country, but especially in Norman, where police have made their disagreements with elected officials well known. Amid calls to slash the city’s police budget by millions, council members voted to reallocate $865,000 from the department. The move didn’t cut the police’s overall budget (it mostly vetoes the department’s requested raise, but keeps the department’s coffers at slightly above last year’s budget) but it was enough for the city’s police union to file a lawsuit against city council this month. 

Scott’s criticism of Norman Police has made her a favorite villain in some pro-police circles in the city. A recent Facebook post shared by a Norman Police officer called her “another AOC,” in reference to the New York representative who has become a boogeyperson for conservatives. 

Norman Transcript, Barbour made a Facebook post sharing an unredacted video of police responding to Scott’s 911 call in May. (Although details of the video remain unconfirmed, they align with Scott’s own testimony about calling 911 on a stalker that month.)” data-reactid=”23″>That same police officer, John Barbour, is one of two under investigation for sharing Scott’s personal details shortly after her testimony on police defunding. In posts first reported by the Norman Transcript, Barbour made a Facebook post sharing an unredacted video of police responding to Scott’s 911 call in May. (Although details of the video remain unconfirmed, they align with Scott’s own testimony about calling 911 on a stalker that month.)

Neither Scott nor Norman Police returned The Daily Beast’s requests for comment. Barbour declined to comment, referring The Daily Beast to the Norman Police public information officer, as his case was under investigation. A spokesperson for the group Norman Citizens for Racial Justice said Scott’s address was identifiable in the post. 

“After Alex shared her story of solidarity during that [city council] study session, an officer released an unredacted report and some footage of her making a police report fairly recently,” the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. “Those items that the officer uploaded to Facebook had her home address on there.”

This Utah Police Chief Was Promoted Even After His Racist Posts Were Exposed. Now Residents Want Him Out.” data-reactid=”26″>This Utah Police Chief Was Promoted Even After His Racist Posts Were Exposed. Now Residents Want Him Out.

When Barbour was met with criticism online for the video, he responded sarcastically. “So what I am getting is that if the issue was the officer let everyone see, but when someone slanders the fine officers on open record meeting it’s not ok to find out the proof,” he posted, apparently accusing Scott of being dishonest in her testimony.

Barbour removed the video but shared a recent police report (from when Scott was arrested at a recent protest) that contained her address. In comments viewed by The Daily Beast, Barbour accused Scott of participating in a riot. When commenters noted that “you can’t just call protesters rioters … There was no riot,” Barbour responded, “If you say so….but I bet state law says different.”

Another Norman Police officer, Michael Lauderback, appears to have also shared Scott’s personal information using the Facebook handle “Tired Ofthehate,” which was linked to his legal name. Lauderback posted a picture of a sexual assault report Scott made in 2015. Lauderback could not be reached for comment and appears to have since deleted his Facebook account.

Both officers are now under investigation for posting Scott’s personal information, the Norman Record reported. The police department noted that since Barbour claimed to have obtained the video from a third party who obtained it through a public records request, the officers’ posts appear to be legal.

But Scott and Norman Citizens for Racial Justice said the posts play into a larger culture of harassment that has emerged on Norman-centric social media. “Most of the targeting happened after we started advocating for defunding the police,” the Racial Justice spokesperson told The Daily Beast, noting that many people in her group were experiencing harassment from a “ReOpen Norman” Facebook page.

In a since-deleted Facebook post, Scott said that social media activity had led to real-world horror for her and a neighbor.

“People were passing around my address on social media (and wherever else) for 2 weeks & making light of my experiences with assault and stalking,” she wrote. “I’ve received threatening messages and voicemails from men stating they, ‘hoped I didn’t need the police’ when something happened.”

Scott claims those threats came to a head late last month. Her address, which was shared publicly, is in a duplex building. On June 27, someone broke into the other half of the duplex and assaulted Scott’s neighbor.

“She was raped by [a] stranger who broke into her side of our duplex last night. She had been out with her father, he dropped her off around Midnight and left. Then she was assaulted in her hallway,” Scott wrote in the now-deleted post. “Her rapist dug his elbow into her neck, pushed her into the wall, and told her ‘Maybe next time you’ll learn your lesson.’ He threw her on the ground and raped her.”

The attack, she said, was intended for her. “They got the wrong woman,” she wrote. 

obtained by the Transcript, the incident is described as a burglary.” data-reactid=”39″>Norman Police released a statement acknowledging the incident and the prior publication of the address on social media although, in a heavily redacted police report obtained by the Transcript, the incident is described as a burglary.

Since Norman Police officers posted Scott’s address, it has circulated on right-wing Oklahoma pages, where it remains online.

Read more at The Daily Beast.” data-reactid=”41″>Read more at The Daily Beast.

Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!” data-reactid=”42″>Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!

Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.” data-reactid=”43″>Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Surge in NYC shootings fuels police reform debate

Protesters and police in Brooklyn on 17 June 2020 (AFP Photo/Angela Weiss)

New York (AFP) – New York reeled from a spate of holiday weekend shootings Monday, with police fueling controversy by partially attributing them to reforms undertaken following the death in custody of George Floyd.

The Big Apple was rocked by 45 shootings — which resulted in 11 deaths — over the long July 4th weekend, up from just 16 shootings for the same period in 2019.

Terence Monahan, the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, said “tremendous animosity” shown towards officers following the recent Black Lives Matter protests had contributed by lowering police morale.

Shootings soared 130 percent in June compared to the same period last year, NYPD statistics show, with Monahan also saying early release of prisoners due to coronavirus put more violent offenders on the streets.

Monahan also denounced a new law that bars New York police officers from keeping a suspect on the ground by pressing on his chest.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis on May 25 when a white police officer knelt on his knee for almost nine minutes as Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe.

Weeks of protests in which demonstrators called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to “defund police” saw him cut their annual budget by $1 billion, although activists say the cuts are not meaningful.

The uptick in shootings will likely further fuel tensions between police departments and Democratic leaders making police cuts in major cities such as New York, Chicago and Seattle.

President Donald Trump has tried to make political capital out of the police reforms. In a tweet Monday, he accused the Democratic mayors of New York and Chicago of protecting criminals.

New York was once one of America’s most violent cities but crime has been steadily decreasing since the 1990s.

North Korea Would Use Lethal 'Swarm' Attacks to Fight

Click here to read the full article.” data-reactid=”19″>Click here to read the full article.

small naval craft armed with missiles and torpedoes.” data-reactid=”21″>If South Korea goes to war with its northern neighbor, one of the threats that it will face is swarms of small naval craft armed with missiles and torpedoes.

And how is South Korea is preparing to defeat them? With swarms of rockets fired from multiple rocket launchers mounted on small patrol vessels.

Kh-35 antiship missile. The backbone of the North Korean force is composed of more than 200 torpedo boats, armed with a couple of torpedo tubes and some machine guns or small cannon.” data-reactid=”23″>North Korea currently has about 300 fast attack craft, ranging from twenty-ton torpedo boats to a half-dozen Nongo-class surface effect ships—a sort of hovercraft—that weigh in at 200 tons, and carry a 76mm cannon and a North Korean version of Russia’s Kh-35 antiship missile. The backbone of the North Korean force is composed of more than 200 torpedo boats, armed with a couple of torpedo tubes and some machine guns or small cannon.

This mosquito fleet could hardly inflict more than a mosquito bite in an open sea battle against the South Korean and U.S. navies. But used in coastal waters, they could potentially prove devastating by conducting quick, surprise attacks with flotillas of boats to overwhelm the defenses of enemy ships. That such attacks would be suicidal wouldn’t trouble Pyongyang if the prize was sinking or damaging a South Korean destroyer, a U.S. cruiser or even an American carrier.

South Korea’s response was recently unveiled at the recent MADEX 2017 trade show, where Korean companies LIG Nex1 and Hanwha unveiled a rocket launcher system, specifically designed to stop North Korean swarm attacks. It will equip the South Korean navy’s Patrol Killer Experimental, or PKX-B, patrol boats.

 navyrecognition.com. The rocket has a maximum range of twelve miles, and mid-course guidance system that can adjust its trajectory in flight using GPS, inertial navigation, and data uplink, before an infrared homing system steers it onto the target. Significantly, the rocket launcher’s fire control system can reportedly engage more than three targets simultaneously, which would put a dent in any wolfpack attack.” data-reactid=”26″>The launcher contains twelve canisters, each containing one 130mm rocket armed with an eighteen-pound warhead, according to naval Web site navyrecognition.com. The rocket has a maximum range of twelve miles, and mid-course guidance system that can adjust its trajectory in flight using GPS, inertial navigation, and data uplink, before an infrared homing system steers it onto the target. Significantly, the rocket launcher’s fire control system can reportedly engage more than three targets simultaneously, which would put a dent in any wolfpack attack.

The rocket does have a minimum range of about two miles, which would create a dead zone that North Korean vessels could penetrate. But the forty-nine-foot-long, 200-ton PKX-B is also armed with a 76mm cannon. The first PKX-B is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of this year. The next three ships will be delivered by the end of 2018, and the four after that in 2020.

 Littoral Combat Ship. The navy has also tested 57mm shipboard cannon and even robotic swarm craft to intercept enemy fast attack craft.” data-reactid=”28″>Other navies are looking at other solutions. In particular, the U.S. Navy is worried about swarm attacks, given that Iran will also use flotillas of small, fast boats to take on American warships in the narrow waters of the Persian Gulf. The navy recently test-fired a modified U.S. Army Hellfire antitank missile, reconfigured as an antiship missile, from a Littoral Combat Ship. The navy has also tested 57mm shipboard cannon and even robotic swarm craft to intercept enemy fast attack craft.

Twitter and Facebook. This article first appeared in 2017 and is reprinted here due to reader interest.” data-reactid=”29″>Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook. This article first appeared in 2017 and is reprinted here due to reader interest.

More From The National Interest: 

Russia Has Missing Nuclear Weapons Sitting on the Ocean Floor ” data-reactid=”32″>Russia Has Missing Nuclear Weapons Sitting on the Ocean Floor 

How China Could Sink a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier ” data-reactid=”33″>How China Could Sink a U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier 

Where World War III Could Start This Year” data-reactid=”34″>Where World War III Could Start This Year

Click here to read the full article.” data-reactid=”35″>Click here to read the full article.

McConnell opens door to more coronavirus stimulus checks for low-income Americans

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Monday that the next round of coronavirus legislation could include an additional round of stimulus checks aimed at helping low-income Americans.

Asked at one of three public events in Kentucky whether the relief bill would include more direct payments, McConnell said it “could well.”

“I think the people who have been hit the hardest are people who make about $40,000 a year or less. Many of them work in the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry, as all of you know, just got rim-racked — hotels, restaurants — and so that could well be a part of it,” McConnell said.

another round of direct deposits and checks. Republicans have been critical of the House bill, but President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans have said they’re open to including another round of direct payments in future legislation.” data-reactid=”22″>House Democrats have passed a $3 trillion bill that includes another round of direct deposits and checks. Republicans have been critical of the House bill, but President Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans have said they’re open to including another round of direct payments in future legislation.

Speaking at a separate event earlier Monday, McConnell said he’d be putting forward his own legislation after the Senate returns July 20.

“I’ll be unveiling something which will be a starting point in a few weeks and we’ll be dealing with the administration and the Democrats,” McConnell said.

“I can’t comfortably predict we’re going to come together and pass it unanimously like we did a few months ago,” he added. “The atmosphere has become more political than it was in March, but I think we will do something. The country needs one last boost.”

McConnell said one of his top priorities for the bill would be liability protection to protect businesses from coronavirus-related litigation.

“This is not just for businesses. This is for hospitals, doctors, nurses, nonprofits, universities, colleges, K-12, so that people who acted in good faith during this crisis are not confronted with a second epidemic of lawsuits in the wake of a pandemic that we’re already struggling with,” he said.

He also reiterated that, as far as he is concerned, the next stimulus bill would be the last.

“This will have to be the last rescue package, because we now have a debt the size of our economy for the first time since World War II. We cannot keep doing this,” he said.