July 15, 2019

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Anorexia stems from body as well as mind – study

The origins of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa are in both the mind and the body, according to an international study.

Anorexia is seen as a serious psychiatric disease.

But doctors at King’s College London showed changes hardwired into some people’s DNA altered the way they processed fats and sugars and may make it easier to starve their bodies.

The eating disorder charity Beat said the findings were groundbreaking.

The researchers looked at 16,992 people with anorexia and 55,525 people without the disease, from 17 countries.

All their DNA – the blueprint for the human body – was analysed to find mutations in genetic instructions that were more common in anorexia patients.

The study, published in Nature Genetics, found some mutations also presented in other psychiatric disorders such obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and schizophrenia.

But they also found mutations in the instructions that control the body’s metabolism, particularly those involving blood sugar levels and body fat.

“There is something in those systems that has gone awry,” Prof Janet Treasure, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, told BBC News.

(BBC)

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Law and crime

  • A police raid on a neo-Nazi group in northern Italy results in the arrest of three people. Sophisticated weaponry, including a Matra Super 530F air-to-air missile, are seized during the operation. (BBC)

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July 16, 2019

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ESA confirms asteroid will miss Earth in 2019

Asteroid 2006 QV89, a small object 20 to 50 metres in diameter, was in the news lately because of a very small, one-in-7000 chance of impact with Earth on 9 September 2019.

In the first known case of ruling out an asteroid impact through a “non-detection,” ESA and the European Southern Observatory have concluded that asteroid2006 QV89 is not on a collision course this year—and the chance of any future impact is extremely remote.

Asteroids come and go, quite literally, often frustrating astronomers. You can catch sight of a hurtling space rock, take some measurements to narrow down its orbit, and days later it’s gone—potentially remaining unobservable for decades.

In general, when an asteroid is found to have even a tiny chance of impacting Earth, further observations and measurements are taken. These “astrometric” data refine our understanding of the asteroid’s path, improving our understanding of the risk it poses and often excluding any chance of collision altogether.

However, the case of asteroid 2006 QV89 is peculiar. The object was discovered in August 2006 and then observed for only ten days. These observations suggested it had a 1-in-7000 chance of impacting Earth on 9 September 2019.

(phys.org)

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July 17, 2019

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Trump Twitter row: US House condemns ‘racist comments’

The row over US President Donald Trump’s tweets attacking four Democratic congresswomen shows little sign of abating. The House of Representatives has passed a motion denouncing “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

The motion got through the Democrat-controlled House by 240 votes to 187. It follows Mr Trump tweeting that Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib – who are all US citizens – should “go back” to their own countries.

After the House’s decision, the president has come out fighting on Twitter again, writing that there is not “a racist bone in my body”. 

BBC

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Science and technology

  • Astronomers rule out the chances of ~30-meter asteroid 2006 QV89‘s impacting Earth in September 2019 by eliminating the possibility of its passing through an area where it would have to be if it were on an impacting orbit. Prior to this, the asteroid had been given a one-in-7,000 chance of impacting Earth. (phys.org)

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July 18, 2019

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UK would have to ‘face the consequences’ of no-deal Brexit

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier says British counterparts “never” told him during negotiations that the UK might opt to leave without a deal.

One senior EU figure describes the realisation of this in Brussels: “Oh my God, they haven’t got a plan… it’s like Lance Corporal Jones.”

Nato chief calls on Russia to save missile treaty

We have to be prepared for a world… with more Russian missiles.” So says Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who tells the BBC that time is running out to save the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty, signed by the US and USSR in 1987, which bans short and medium-range missiles. Both the US and Russia have suspended their obligations under the treaty, amid concern over Moscow’s plans for new weapons systems. Mr Stoltenberg says the Russian missiles are in “clear violation of the treaty”, being nuclear capable, mobile, very hard to detect, and able to reach European cities within a few minutes.

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July 19, 2019

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Dangerous heatwave starts hitting US and Canada

Extremely hot weather has started to hit most of the United States, with temperatures set to peak over the weekend, meteorologists say.

The heatwave could affect about 200 million people in major cities like New York, Washington and Boston in the East Coast, and the Midwest region too.

In some places, temperatures could be close to or exceed 100F (38C). Parts of Canada are also being hit.

Experts link more frequent heatwaves in recent years to climate change.

The world experienced its hottest June on record this year, with an average temperature worldwide of 61.6F (16.4C), according to new data. (BBC)

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Iran denies that one of its drones was shot down by the United States on July 18, saying all of their drones “returned to their bases.” (USA Today)

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July 20, 2019

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‘Avengers: Endgame’ passes ‘Avatar’ to become the highest-grossing film ever

“Avengers: Endgame,” the Disney and Marvel blockbuster, will move past “Avatar” on the list of all-time highest grossing films on Sunday in its 13th weekend of release, Disney reported Saturday night.”Avatar,” James Cameron’s science fiction film set on the planet of Pandora, held the record for 10 years.

The latest “Avengers” film, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans, has made more than $2.789 billion worldwide.”A huge congratulations to the Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios teams, and thank you to the fans around the world who lifted ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to these historic heights,” Alan Horn, co-chairman and chief creative officer of The Walt Disney Studios, said in a statement.

To get to the top spot, “Endgame” passed some of the biggest blockbusters in film history such as “Titanic,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and its predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War.””

‘Endgame’ has cemented the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a cornerstone of modern mythos that will be passed down to generations of fans,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business. “That would have been true regardless of its monetary position relative to ‘Avatar.'”Robbins added that the title of highest-grossing film of all time is “the cherry on top for Marvel’s first decade.”

(CNN)

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  • An explosion at a gas factory in China‘s Henan Province kills at least 15 people and leaves 256 injured. (DW)

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July 21, 2019

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Ireland’s Lowry breezes to victory at The Open

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Shane Lowry made the 68 years between Open Championships in Northern Ireland worth the wait.

The silver claret jug is staying on the Emerald Isle.

Lowry, the 32-year-old Irishman with stout nerves and a soft touch around the greens, endured the worst weather of the week and the Sunday pressure of a sellout crowd cheering him along to win The Open by six shots at Royal Portrush.

Even as the rain stopped, the tears began flowing.

“I can’t believe this is me standing here,” Lowry said as he cradled golf’s oldest trophy. “I can’t believe this is mine.”

It was never really in doubt.

Lowry closed with a 1-over 72, the first time since 1996 the Open champion was over par in the final round, and it was no less impressive. More difficult than the rain was wind strong enough to break an umbrella. Lowry began making bogeys in the middle of the round without losing ground. No one from the last 12 groups broke par.

ESPN

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