Tag Archives: first

Why Most Americans Can Buy AR-15s Before They Can Have Their First Beer

Why Most Americans Can Buy AR-15s Before They Can Have Their First BeerThis week’s mass shooting at a Florida high school, where a lone gunman opened fire on students and staff, killing 17 and injuring 15, has distressingly similar details in the profile of the suspect and his weapon.



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US strike in Syria kills Russian fighters in first such clash

US strike in Syria kills Russian fighters in first such clashA US air and artillery strike has killed Russian combatants in the first lethal violence in Syria between the two nuclear powers, according to sources on both sides.  The battle, which was briefly alluded to in a US-led coalition statement last week, took place in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria. On 7 February, a large force loyal to Bashar al-Assad and supported by tanks and artillery advanced and fired at a Syrian Democratic Forces base manned by Kurdish troops and American military advisors, a US military spokesman said in a statement to Bloomberg on Tuesday.  The United States, which was communicating with the Russian side during the clash, drove the attackers back with aircraft and artillery fire, suffering no fatalities, the spokesman said.  On 10 February, a US drone destroyed an advancing Russian-made T-72 tank from the “same hostile force,” the US military said on Tuesday. While reports have varied widely, claiming anywhere from a handful to more than a hundred Russians were killed and describing them alternately as military troops or private contractors, the 7 February clash nonetheless appears to have been the deadliest between US and Russian citizens since the Cold War.  A US military adviser shakes hands with a Kurdish commander in Manbij in northern Syria last week Credit: Susannah George/AP Photo On Monday, the Russia-based independent research group Conflict Intelligence Team published the names of four Russians who had been killed by the US strike. It said the men were mercenaries from the Wagner group, a highly secretive private military company whose alleged commander was photographed with Vladimir Putin in 2016.  Friends and relatives confirmed to RBC newspaper that the men had been killed in Syria on 7 February. Conflict Intelligence Team told The Telegraph on Tuesday that three other Russians were also killed in the attack, which it said was the only time Russians had been killed by the Western coalition. The independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that 13 Russians had been killed and 15 wounded in the strike. It said Wagner troops had been operating with a special forces unit known as the “ISIS Hunters”. Bashad regime soldiers wounded in the US strikes near Deir Ezzor are seen in a hospital last week Credit: AFP/Getty Images Igor Strelkov, a nationalist with links to Russian intelligence who commanded Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, said 100 Wagner employees had died in the strike. Bloomberg quoted Russian sources as saying that 200 professional soldiers, most of them Russian, were killed, while an American official told the publication about 100 had been killed.   If true, those numbers would easily eclipse previous Russian losses in Syria, which has been presented by Mr Putin as a largely bloodless conflict. Russia has insisted it does not have troops on the ground even as reports have mounted of small numbers of soldiers and mercenaries killed. Surveys have shown Russians are largely lukewarm toward the Syrian conflict.  Vladimir Putin speaks to servicemen at Russia's airbase in Syria in December Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Pool Photo via AP In other circumstances, such a clash would have likely sparked a diplomatic crisis, but the Kremlin did not appear to want to discuss possible casualties before Mr Putin stands for re-election next month.  After liberal presidential candidate Grigory Yavlinsky called on the president to comment on the Russian deaths, Mr Putin's spokesman said these reports “need verification” and argued that so many Russians were located in so many countries it was “difficult to have any detailed information”. In a statement last week, the defence ministry said no Russian soldiers were in that area of Deir Ezzor and claimed that the US strike had hit Syrian rebels by mistake, injuring 25 of them. A memorial ceremony for Russian air force pilot Roman Filipov, who killed himself with a grenade after his aircraft was shot down over Syria this month Credit: Vadim Savitsky/Handout via Reuters “If public opinion paints a picture for itself that the Syrian war will require losses and those to blame are not terrorists but American soldiers, then they will have to react, and no one wants to react to this right now,” said Carnegie Centre Moscow analyst Alexander Baunov.  The clashes in Deir Ezzor bode ill for the future of the war, suggesting that conflicts between the many regional powers present in Syria could grow more frequent even as the terrorists are defeated. “The fight with the Islamic State is being replaced by old and new conflicts amid the intersection of internal and external players' interests,” said Conflict Intelligence Team researcher Ruslan Leviev.



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EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's First Class Habit Costing Taxpayers Thousands

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's First Class Habit Costing Taxpayers ThousandsScott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, regularly flies first or business class, often costing American taxpayers thousands of dollars more than equivalent seats in coach, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.



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Trump Points To Rob Porter's Denials In First Remarks On Abuse Allegations

Trump Points To Rob Porter's Denials In First Remarks On Abuse AllegationsPresident Donald Trump on Friday spoke for the first time about the resignation of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who stepped down this week after allegations of abuse from both of his ex-wives became publicly known.



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DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyes

DNA shows first modern Briton had dark skin, blue eyesThe first modern Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, London scientists said on Wednesday, following groundbreaking DNA analysis of the remains of a man who lived 10,000 years ago. Known as “Cheddar Man” after the area in southwest England where his skeleton was discovered in a cave in 1903, the ancient man has been brought to life through the first ever full DNA analysis of his remains. In a joint project between Britain’s Natural History Museum and University College London, scientists drilled a 2mm hole into the skull and extracted bone powder for analysis.



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World’s First Passenger Drone Unveiled in China

World’s First Passenger Drone Unveiled in ChinaWith a top speed of over 60 mph, the EHang 184 is bringing scenes from sci-fi movies closer to reality, say its developers.



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First Woman To Accuse Nassar Says Church Can Be One Of 'Worst Places' To Go For Help

First Woman To Accuse Nassar Says Church Can Be One Of 'Worst Places' To Go For HelpRachael Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse.



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4-Year-Old's Flu Death Confirmed as New Jersey's First Influenza Fatality

4-Year-Old's Flu Death Confirmed as New Jersey's First Influenza FatalityShe had not been vaccinated, according to officials



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First State Ban On Bump Stocks Takes Effect After Las Vegas Massacre

First State Ban On Bump Stocks Takes Effect After Las Vegas MassacreA Massachusetts law banning possession of bump stocks and other accessories that increase a gun’s rate of fire went into effect on Thursday, making the state the first to enact such legislation in the wake of last year’s deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.



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World’s first talking killer whale: Wikie the orca learns to say ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’

World’s first talking killer whale: Wikie the orca learns to say ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’Whales are known for their impressive communications skills which allow pods to ‘talk’ to each other through complex clicks and singing, even when they are 100 miles apart. But a new experiment has shown the mammals are also apparently capable of mimicking human speech, a feat that was previously believed to be limited to primates, birds, elephants, dolphins and seals. Scientists say they have recorded a killer whale named Wikie repeating the words ‘hello’ and ‘bye bye’, counting up to three, and even saying the name of her trainer ‘Amy.’ The 14-year-old orca lives in Marineland at Antibes, France, and is the first in the world ever recorded by scientists allegedly saying human words. The achievement is even more remarkable because whales do not have the same vocal ability as humans having evolved to make their own sounds underwater. While humans use the larynx to speak, whales produce sounds through their nasal passages using bursts of air. An orca whale in the wild  Recently scientists have discovered that whales have different ‘accents’ or ‘cultures’ and the new study suggests that those differences are picked up when young through imitation of adults, in a similar way to how children learn to speak through copying. Writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, José Abramson of the Complutense University of Madrid, said: “Vocal imitation is a hallmark of human spoken language, which, along with other advanced cognitive skills, has fuelled the evolution of human culture. “We found that the subject made recognizable copies of all familiar and novel and human sounds tested and did so relatively quickly, most during the first 10 trials and three in the first attempt. “Our results lend support to the hypothesis that the vocal variants observed in natural populations of this species can be socially learned by imitation.” Whales are known to communicate over one hundred miles and have their own dialect and cultures  Credit: AP Photo/Miami Seaquarium In the wild, killer whales live in pods and each has its own dialect, which includes calls that are completely unique to themselves. Some clicks are even thought to represent names. But it was unclear where that knowledge came from. Previously killer whales have been observed mimicking the barks of sea lions and the whistles of sea dolphins and beluga whales have been filmed apparently imitating humans, but until now no controlled experiments have been carried out to verify the reports. In the new trial, Wikie was trained to understand a ‘copy’ signal then invited to repeat 11 completely new sounds given by her trainer. They included words and also noises such as an elephant call, a wolf howl and a creaking door. Wikie was given a fish or an affectionate pat when she achieved the sound to reinforce the learning. Six judges were then asked to rate whether the vocalisation matched the original word or noise. The researchers concluded: “In sum, Wikie made recognizable copies of the demonstrated sound judged in real time by two observers, Wikie’s trainer and one experimenter, later confirmed by both after listening to the recordings. “The subject’s matching accuracy is all the more remarkable as she was able to accomplish it in response to sounds presented in-air and not in-water, the species’ usual medium for acoustic communication. “It is conceivable that our data represent a conservative estimate of the killer whale’s capacity for vocal imitation.” The whale words were also analysed in waveform and matched the human words when the acoustical recordings were compared. Dr Alex Thornton, senior lecturer in cognitive evolution at the University of Exeter, said: “We still don't fully understand why some animals learn to mimic, but there are a few possibilities. “In some cases, mimicking might be deceptive. Fork-tailed drongos in the Kalahari, for instance, copy meerkat alarm calls so that the meerkats drop their food in alarm and the drongo can swoop in and steal it. “In other cases, copying sounds might be a way of showing off to potential mates. If a male is good at learning to make lots of different noises, females might use this as an indication that they are also good at learning to find food and feed offspring. “Finally, in some cases copying sounds might help to identify an individual as a member of a group. Some whales, for example, learn their calls from one another and so have local vocal dialects that mark them out as members of their social group.”



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