US settles lawsuit alleging abuse of men detained after 9/11 | September 11 News

The Justice Division has settled a decades-old lawsuit filed by a bunch of males who had been rounded up by the federal government within the weeks after the September 11, 2001 assaults and held in a federal jail in New York in circumstances the division’s personal watchdog referred to as abusive and harsh.

The settlement (PFD) introduced on Tuesday requires a $98,000 payout to be break up among the many six males who filed the go well with and had been held with out prices on the Metropolitan Detention Middle (MDC) in Brooklyn, New York.

The lads – Ahmer Iqbal Abbasi, Anser Mehmood, Benamar Benatta, Ahmed Khalifa, Saeed Hammouda, and Purna Raj Bajracharya – stated they had been detained in restrictive circumstances and, in some instances, abused by members of the employees.

“Amongst different documented abuses, together with beatings, pressured sleep deprivation, and racial and spiritual slurs, lots of the victims had their faces smashed right into a wall the place guards had pinned a t-shirt with an image of an American flag and the phrases ‘These colours don’t run’,” the Middle for Constitutional Rights, a authorized organisation primarily based in New York Metropolis who represents the boys, stated in a press release on Tuesday.

“The lads had been slammed towards the t-shirt upon their entrance to MDC and advised ‘welcome to America’,” in keeping with the assertion.

Mock detainee performance by artists in a New York City rally.
Efficiency artists participating within the “Rally In opposition to Struggle, Racism & Islamophobia” in New York Metropolis [File: Chip East via Reuters]

The settlement closes a chapter on a troubling period in federal felony justice when Muslim, Arab and South Asian males had been rounded up within the days and weeks after the September 11 assaults.

Greater than 1,000 had been arrested in sweeps throughout the New York metropolitan space and nationwide. Most had been charged solely with overstaying visas and deported again to their dwelling nations. However earlier than that occurred, many had been held in detention for months, with little exterior contact, particularly with their households.

They had been, in keeping with the 9/11 Fee report, arrested as “particular curiosity” detainees. Immigration hearings had been closed, detainee communication was restricted, and bond was denied till the detainees had been cleared of “terrorism” connections. Identities had been stored secret.

“I’m glad that the case is coming to an finish after 20 years of litigation. Nevertheless, it’s a bittersweet conclusion for me,” stated Benamar Benatta, one of many detainees and a plaintiff within the case, in keeping with the Middle for Constitutional Rights press launch.

“I don’t consider justice is correctly served, contemplating the detrimental penalties the defendants’ actions have had on my life,” he stated.

“I can’t assist however really feel let down by the entire judicial system – federal courts had the chance to treatment the state of affairs however selected to not intervene, and, by doing so, they left the door open for future mistreatment and abuse to happen with none ramifications.”

US Justice department logo
The Justice Division didn’t admit guilt within the settlement, however every of the boys acquired a letter from the director of the Bureau of Prisons acknowledging they had been “held in excessively restrictive and unduly harsh circumstances” [File: Mark Lennihan/AP]

The settlement is considerably uncommon as a result of federal courts at practically each stage, together with the Supreme Courtroom, had thrown out massive chunks of the lawsuit. A federal district court docket choose threw out the remaining a part of the go well with final 12 months. Although the plaintiffs filed an attraction, there had been little motion within the case for months.

Although the Justice Division doesn’t admit guilt as a part of the settlement settlement, Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal wrote a letter to every of the boys saying the Justice Division had decided they had been “held in excessively restrictive and unduly harsh circumstances of confinement and a lot of people had been bodily and verbally abused by sure MDC officers”.

The lawsuit initially sought accountability from high-level members of the George W Bush administration, and a settlement was reached in 2008 with the unique 5 plaintiffs. Others had been added.

“I don’t know that the director of the Bureau of Prisons has ever signed a letter of this nature earlier than to particular person purchasers, so that’s distinctive,” stated Rachel Meeropol, senior employees lawyer with the Middle for Constitutional Rights.

Meeropol referred to as the court docket battle a failure of the justice system, pointing to the restrictions on claims towards federal officers.

The Justice Division didn’t instantly remark.

Evolutionary biologists are ever adapting to progress in science | Letters


Stephen Buranyi’s article (Do we’d like a brand new concept of evolution?, 28 June) discusses whether or not there are severe issues with the extensively accepted view of evolution developed within the Thirties and Nineteen Forties, usually known as the fashionable synthesis. This text doesn’t, nevertheless, give an unbiased or correct account, making statements similar to “the idea dictated that, in the end, genes constructed every little thing”, and implying that authority figures within the area imposed a “social gathering line”. Buranyi additionally means that “its most bold claims – that just by understanding genes and pure choice, we are able to perceive all life on earth” have been dropped or enormously modified.

Evolutionary biologists made no such claims. The fashionable synthesis mixed proof about how inheritance works with Darwin’s concept of pure choice. It confirmed how adaptive options of organisms, such because the eyes, wings and placentas talked about by Buranyi, can evolve by way of pure choice appearing on mutations, producing adjustments within the genetic composition of populations that, over time, can remodel initially poor features into complicated diversifications. A well-known 1994 paper by Dan-Erik Nilsson and Susanne Pelger confirmed how a light-sensitive patch can evolve right into a light-focusing eye. Equally, the evolution of placentas presents no main problem, as placenta-like organs have advanced independently in a number of teams of animals, with examples of intermediate buildings.

Many discoveries because the trendy synthesis have been integrated into evolutionary biology with out considerably altering its main tenets. For instance, the invention that DNA is the genetic materials led to the understanding that there are elements of genomes missing useful significance, which evolve by accumulating mutations with out vital results on health.

The essential concept that allowed this advance was developed by RA Fisher and Sewall Wright, two founders of the fashionable synthesis. Buranyi mischaracterises their work as “the lofty perspective of inhabitants genetics”. In actual fact, each Fisher and Wright did experiments, and their collaborations with naturalists based the sphere of ecological genetics, which has totally documented pure choice appearing in wild populations. This use of theoretical work to interpret empirical observations and experiments continues to complement our understanding of evolution. Buranyi’s article provides a deceptive image of up to date work in evolutionary biology.
Brian Charlesworth College of Edinburgh, Deborah Charlesworth College of Edinburgh, Jerry Coyne College of Chicago

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Ukrainian mathematician becomes second woman to win prestigious Fields Medal


Maryna Sergiivna Viazovska, born in 1984, is a Ukrainian mathematician, one of the recipient of the 2022 Fields medal.

Maryna Viazovska is thought for work on sphere packing.Credit score: Fred Merz (CC-BY-SA)

Ukrainian quantity theorist Maryna Viazovska is among the many 4 winners of the 2022 Fields Medals, one of many highest honours in arithmetic that’s conventionally awarded to individuals aged underneath 40. The opposite winners are James Maynard, a quantity theorist on the College of Oxford, UK; June Huh, a specialist in combinatorics at Princeton College in New Jersey; and Hugo Duminil-Copin, who research statistical physics on the Institute of Superior Scientific Research (IHES) close to Paris. The Worldwide Mathematical Union (IMU) introduced the winners at an award ceremony in Helsinki on 5 July.

“The entire medalists are extremely deserving and gifted, showcasing the vibrancy of mathematical analysis throughout the globe,” says Bryna Kra, a mathematician at Northwestern College in Evanston, Illinois, who’s president-elect of the American Mathematical Society.

Viazovska, who relies on the Swiss Federal Institute of Expertise in Lausanne (EPFL), is the second girl ever to earn the award. She is greatest identified for her answer of the sphere packing drawback — discovering the association of spheres that may take up the most important portion of a quantity — in eight dimensions.

In a three-dimensional area, essentially the most environment friendly option to pack spheres is the pyramid association, akin to how oranges are packed on trays in a grocer’s store (proving this mathematically was extraordinarily arduous and was the topic of a tour-de-force paper within the Nineties). However in 4 or extra dimensions, little or no is thought, says Henry Cohn, a mathematician on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise in Cambridge. “It’s this horrific hole in our data — virtually embarrassing for humanity,” mentioned Cohn in an handle following the Fields Medal announcement. Viazovska launched new methods into the issue that got here from quantity principle and the speculation of symmetries in eight dimensions. “Given how poor our understanding is in different dimensions, it’s actually miraculous that Maryna was in a position to get this precisely,” Cohn added. Extra just lately, Cohn himself has helped to increase the end result to 24-dimensional area.

“Viazovska invents contemporary and sudden instruments that permit her to leap over pure obstacles which have held us again for years,” says Peter Sarnak, a quantity theorist on the Institute for Superior Examine in Princeton.

From left to right, Huh, Maynard and Duminil-Copin, the other three recipients of the 2022 Fields medal.

Fields medalists June Huh, James Maynard and Hugo Duminil-Copin (left to proper).Credit score: Lance Murphey/Ryan Cowan/Matteo Fieni

The Fields Medals and different IMU prizes are usually introduced on the opening of the Worldwide Congress of Mathematicians (ICM), which takes place each 4 years. This 12 months’s congress was scheduled to start on 6 July in St. Petersburg, Russia, however the plan was scrapped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. As a substitute, the awards ceremony was moved to Helsinki and the congress will happen as a digital occasion.

“We condemn the insanity, the injustice, and the irreversibility of battle that threatens the very existence of humanity,” wrote 4 members of what had been the native organizing committee assertion on 27 February.

The committee that chooses the Fields winner — whose members’ identities had been stored secret till as we speak — reportedly made its resolution earlier than the invasion.

At a satellite tv for pc convention to the ICM on 2 July, one other Ukrainian-born girl, Svetlana Jitomirskaya on the College of California at Irvine, gained the inaugural Ladyzhenskaya Prize in Mathematical Physics — the primary main prize for the self-discipline to be named after a girl however open to individuals of any gender. The prize celebrates the late Russian mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya (1922-2004), who narrowly missed out on her personal Fields Medal when her candidacy was thought-about in 1958. Earlier than Viazovska, the one girl to win a Fields Medal was the late Maryam Mirzakhani, in 2014.

This can be a breaking information story that shall be up to date.

Euro hits 20-year low against US dollar over recession fears | Business and Economy News

Rising fears of a recession within the eurozone push the euro to its lowest stage towards the US greenback since 2002.

The European Union’s single foreign money has sunk to its lowest stage towards the US greenback since 2002 as information pointed to a rising recession danger within the eurozone.

The euro additionally dived on Tuesday as traders eyed aggressive rate of interest hikes by the US Federal Reserve in its struggle towards inflation, in distinction with the European Central Financial institution which plans extra modest will increase.

Simply earlier than 09:00 GMT, the shared eurozone unit tumbled to $1.0306, threatening a push in direction of US greenback parity for the primary time because the euro’s creation in 1999.

Financial development within the eurozone floundered in June, a key survey confirmed on Tuesday, hit by hovering inflation.

Company confidence

S&P World’s carefully watched month-to-month buying managers’ index (PMI), which measures company confidence, fell to 52.0 in June from 54.8 in Could.

The studying, which was a 16-month low, nonetheless, stays above the 50-point stage signalling growth.

“Rising fears of a recession are hammering the euro decrease, while the greenback is hovering on bets that the Fed will preserve mountain climbing charges aggressively to tame inflation,” Metropolis Index analyst Fiona Cincotta informed the AFP information company.

“At present’s PMI information from Europe have highlighted the chance of slowing development on the finish of the second quarter and lift the prospect of a contraction in exercise within the coming months.”

The ‘tree of lice’ identifies the earliest animal with an infestation

An adventurous parasite travelled from a bird to an ancestor of contemporary elephants more than 90 million years ago.

At one point, at least 90 million years ago, lice may not have been a problem for animals. But it did not last. An ancient ancestor of elephants and elephant shrews acquired small skin parasites from a bird, initiating a fascinating — and maybe uncomfortably close — relationship between mammals and lice that persists to this day.

Following a genetic analysis of the mammalian ‘tree of lice,’ biologist Kevin Johnson of the University of Illinois in Champaign and his co-authors reached this result. The findings indicates that many of the lice now parasitizing mammals may trace their ancestry back to a single louse that lived on a single animal before the demise of the non-avian dinosaurs.

A terrible story

Rarely recounted, the history of mammalian lice is in some respects as spectacular as the history of mammals. When seals evolved to living in the water tens of millions of years ago, their lice also adapted, becoming the only genuinely aquatic insects. Bret Boyd, a scientist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, states, “Lice may co-evolve closely with their hosts.”

But lice also possess a remarkable capacity to move hosts when the chance presents itself. This ability helps explain why the lice found on seals, skunks, elephants, and humans all seem to share a common progenitor. After analyzing genetic data from 33 species of lice originating from all of the main mammal groups, Johnson and his colleagues believe that lice have switched mammalian hosts at least 15 times since they first began parasitizing mammals.

Abounding in variety

This host-switching is largely to blame for the difficulty in constructing the mammalian tree of lice, but it’s not the entire explanation. Vincent Smith, a specialist in biodiversity informatics at the Natural History Museum in London, notes that acquiring lice from a variety of host species in order to harvest their DNA is a logistical problem.

Boyd states that the tree has been debated throughout the years. “It seems like Kevin has worked it out.”

Jessica Light, an evolutionary scientist at Texas A&M University in College Station, warns that it may be premature to conclude that this is the ultimate image. “Future research with a larger sample size may confirm or refute these results,” she adds.

Immobilizing the tree of lice has far-reaching effects. According to Smith, early twentieth-century biologists used lice to test their theories on co-evolution, the interwoven development of two or more species. He believes that the new findings may entice scientists interested in these broad evolutionary issues to examine lice in a new light.

The tree of lice may also provide light on host-switching, a subject of great interest due to the fact that the origins of some illnesses, particularly COVID-19, may be explained by host-switching from other animals to humans. According to Johnson, a better knowledge of the process’s mechanics “may throw insight on how to limit the risk of novel illnesses transferring hosts to people.”

However, the procedure is complex. Blood-sucking lice are able to thrive on mammals, according to Boyd, because they contain symbiotic bacteria that supply them with B vitamins they cannot readily receive from mammalian blood. Nonetheless, just as lice are able to migrate between mammalian hosts, it seems that bacteria may also switch between lice hosts. While examining a marine seal louse a few years ago, Boyd and his colleagues determined that its bacterial symbionts were recently acquired.

“The louse probably lost an ancestral symbiont and replaced it with this new one, so it’s similar to host-switching on a deeper level,” he explains. There are several tiers of complexity.

Handle with care: mistakes and near-misses at UK Covid labs | Coronavirus


A week earlier than the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown, a lab employee at Aneurin Bevan College Well being Board in Newport was screening nostril and throat swabs from an intensive care affected person. The paperwork carried no medical particulars and the swabs weren’t double-bagged to point excessive threat. As such, the work was performed on an open bench. However the swabs had been extra harmful than thought. It later emerged that they got here from a affected person who was preventing for his or her life with Covid.

The incident in March 2020 was among the many first of dozens of mishaps, blunders and failures involving Covid that the Well being and Security Government (HSE) investigated over the course of the pandemic. With so many labs, hospitals, universities and take a look at centres dealing with the virus, such incidents got here as no shock.

Two blunders on the Royal Wolverhampton hospitals NHS belief in April 2020 had been typical of incidents early within the pandemic. Covid samples from contaminated sufferers had been knocked off racks into lab areas the place workers had been working. “While no precise hurt occurred, the implications of the incidents may doubtlessly have been extra severe,” the HSE discovered.

A month later, a scientist at Public Well being England’s Porton Down laboratory was bitten on the forearm whereas scooping a Covid-infected ferret from its cage. On eradicating their PPE and protecting go well with, the researcher seen the chunk had drawn blood. They showered to scrub the wound and on recommendation from the on-call medic, went house to self-isolate and monitor the wound.

The HSE met with Public Well being England in April 2021, 11 months after the ferret incident, and reported “important progress” at Porton Down, however managers on the web site acknowledged “a considerable quantity of labor that continues to be excellent”. The identical day, the lab acquired an enforcement letter from the HSE a couple of January 2021 mix-up over Covid samples, which led to scientists pipetting reside virus on the lab bench, believing it had been killed.

PHE was not the one authorities company introduced up on security considerations. One Sunday morning in November 2020, a workers member on the Nationwide Institute for Organic Requirements and Management, operated by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare merchandise Regulatory Company, discovered {that a} room housing Covid-infected marmosets and hamsters had flooded. The water, pouring from a hose left on in a sink, was a couple of inches deep however had not entered the animals’ cages. A few of the water was collected and poured down the sink, with out being disinfected first.

Based on HSE studies, the flood unfold to the neighbouring hall and leaked into the workplace beneath. There, workers in full PPE and respiration gear shortly coated electrical gear and bagged up broken ceiling tiles. The remaining wastewater was disinfected and poured down the drain. “While it can’t be totally concluded whether or not or not reside virus may need [been] current within the leaked water, the chance seems to be minimal,” the HSE concluded.

To fulfill the large demand for Covid assessments, the federal government swiftly created and staffed its Lighthouse laboratories, which ran tens of millions of PCR assessments every week. The HSE studies spotlight quite a few instances when samples had been spilled on technicians or discovered to have leaked, with complete trays of take a look at samples typically dropped or knocked over.

Per week earlier than Christmas in 2020, because the Alpha variant was fuelling the UK’s deadliest wave of Covid, the Milton Keynes lab was ordered, on the final minute, to divert greater than 3,000 samples to the Alderley Park Lighthouse lab in Cheshire. With out correct “mediboxes” to bundle them in, workers secured the samples in waterproof wrap and despatched them off in a transport cage.

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“The choice was made in an effort to salvage specimens for testing, quite than discarding and never testing 3,000 plus sufferers,” the HSE report notes. However workers at Alderley Park weren’t impressed and thought of it a breach of transport laws. “Fortunately no leaked or broken samples had been detected,” they informed the investigation.

Additional incidents highlighted issues with house take a look at kits. Some swabs did not snap in the fitting place, which means folks needed to drive them into pattern tubes earlier than closing the lids. On being opened at Lighthouse labs, these sprang out and typically splattered PPE-clad technicians. Robots had their moments too. On the Leamington Spa Lighthouse lab in July 2021, a robotic flicked a swab out of a containment cupboard and on to the ground, prompting a swift evacuation till a spillage workforce arrived.

In spring 2021, the Division of Well being was rolling out an alternative choice to PCR often known as the Lamp take a look at. A lab run by the UK Well being Safety Company and Manchester College NHS basis belief was having issues with the take a look at and hosted an professional from the College of Central Lancashire to assist troubleshoot. After operating assessments on what had been regarded as innocent management samples, it emerged that two had been Covid-positive saliva. As a result of the work had been performed with out applicable precautions, all 5 folks within the room, together with a member of the Division of Well being’s “Tiger Crew” had been despatched house to self-isolate.