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Washington: As yet another mass shooting in the US put the spotlight back on the contentious issue of gun control, media reports said that there have been 204 mass shootings in as many days in 2015 so far.
Thursday night’s shooting by a white man at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theatre showing the comedy “Trainwreck”, that left two women killed and nine injured was the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks.
The alleged shooter John Russell “Rusty” Houser, 59, using a handgun he legally purchased from an Alabama pawn shop methodically shot 11 people by firing off one 10-round clip, according to Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craig.
“This was slow and methodical,” as the State’s Indian-American Governor Bobby Jindal put it. “This was not a single burst.”
The Mass Shooting Tracker, a crowd-sourced project of the anti-gun folks at the Guns Are Cool subreddit, according to the Washington Post, had listed 203 mass shooting events so far in 2015 before the Louisiana movie theatre shooting.
This year there were 18 mass shootings in April, 39 in May, 41 in June, and 34 so far in July, the Post said.
The theatre shooting was Louisiana’s eighth this year. There have been 10 in Ohio, 14 in California and 16 in New York.
“Will anything change?” the Post asked and itself answered “Probably not” noting the reaction to the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white young man shot and killed nine black worshipers at a historic church.
It “did produce a fruitful national conversation — not on guns, but on the symbolism of the Confederate flag, which the shooter adopted as a banner of his racist beliefs,” the Post noted.
“The morning after the third deadly mass shooting in six weeks, the presidential candidates acted as though they hadn’t seen the news,” the New York Times suggested looking at their reactions.
Though most denounced the shootings and called for prayers for the victims, “none of the presidential contenders offered policy solutions to address gun violence”, it noted describing it as a “reflection of the fact that gun laws are politically radioactive”.
Even “Jindal, who is mounting a long-shot candidacy for the Republican nomination, completely deflected questions on tougher gun laws, saying he would talk about ‘policy and politics’ another time”, Times said.
The leading Republican presidential candidates are overwhelmingly opposed to any effort to restrict access to guns, it noted.
The Democratic hopefuls have proposed gun control measures, but they too have been generally more focused on issues of economics, race and gender than gun violence, according to the Times.
Although President Barack Obama said this week that the failure to convince Congress to pass “commonsense gun safety laws” was one of the great regrets of his presidency, Times said “Congress is unlikely to close any of the loopholes in federal gun laws exposed by the recent shootings”.
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)