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World News Daily(2024-07-01) : US Secret Services Campaign Against Nord Stream 2 in Germany

US Secret Services Campaign Against Nord Stream 2 in Germany

US Secret Services Campaign Against Nord Stream 2 in Germany

US agents, under Trump, campaigned in Germany against Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline from Russia. Testimonies in a German state parliament session revealed US secret service involvement, aiming to sway environmental groups.

Thomas Krüger, a state parliament chairman, cited witnesses who faced direct approaches from US intelligence, all in the name of "US interests."

The pipeline, completed in 2021, faced hurdles including US sanctions and German certification halts due to political tensions. In 2022, explosions damaged the pipeline, prompting terrorism investigations in both Russia and Germany.

Nord Stream 2, despite its completion, remains a point of contention, entangled in geopolitical struggles and security concerns.



Far-Right National Rally Poised to Dominate French Politics

The far-right National Rally (RN) is on track to become France's largest party in the National Assembly. This surge marks a significant shift in French politics, with RN now the dominant force. The upcoming second round of voting on July 7th will determine if RN secures an outright majority, giving them a free hand in government, or if they face constraints due to a split Assembly.

Current projections suggest RN could win between 260 and 310 seats, with 289 needed for a majority. To counter this, President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists and the left-wing New Popular Front are urging tactical voting. However, the effectiveness of such strategies is uncertain, as public adherence to party orders diminishes.

The high voter turnout has led to many "triangular votes"—constituencies with three candidates from the center, far-right, and left. This complicates efforts to consolidate anti-RN votes. The nation seems resigned to a far-right victory, a shift that has left many in urban areas, particularly Paris, disheartened.


Outgoing UN Aid Chief Warns of Imminent Famine in Sudan

Outgoing UN Aid Chief Warns of Imminent Famine in Sudan

Sudan teeters on the brink of a famine "beyond imagination," warns Martin Griffiths, outgoing UN aid chief. Over 750,000 Sudanese face imminent starvation, with conditions poised to worsen.

Griffiths compares Sudan's plight to the historic Ethiopian famine, which claimed 1 million lives from 1983 to 1985. He notes Sudan's crisis lacks the global attention and funding that Ethiopia received. The 2024 Sudan humanitarian plan, seeking $2.7 billion, is less than 17% funded.

In Gaza, 495,000 face catastrophic conditions, though numbers have halved since March. Griffiths highlights the effectiveness of aid, yet warns improvements may be fleeting.

Sudan's civil war leaders, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, obstruct aid access. The Darfur region, central to the famine, is blocked from receiving aid via Chad. Diplomatic efforts to resolve this stalemate are ongoing but urgent.

Griffiths emphasizes the critical need for aid to avert the looming disaster. Time is short, and the world's response remains inadequate.



Shenzhen-Zhongshan Corridor Officially Opens, Becoming a New Transportation Hub in the Greater Bay Area

Shenzhen-Zhongshan Link, a 24-kilometer cross-sea project, opened to traffic on June 30th. Integrating bridges, islands, tunnels, and underwater interchanges, it serves as the core hub of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It has set 10 world records and boasts extremely high construction difficulty. The first batch of vehicles have already passed through the toll booths.


  • Shenzhen-Zhongshan Corridor: A cross-sea transportation project connecting Shenzhen and Zhongshan.
  • Greater Bay Area: The southern economic region of China, including cities such as Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
  • Underwater Interchange: A transportation hub within a submarine tunnel.

France's Snap Election: A Shift in Political Landscape

France is on the brink of a snap election, triggered by President Macron's party's defeat to the far-right National Rally in the recent European Parliament votes. The initial round is scheduled for June 30, followed by a second round on July 7. Polls indicate that National Rally, led by Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen, is likely to take the lead with approximately 35% support, while Macron's centrist Together alliance is trailing at 19%.

Macron's decision to call for early elections is aimed at defining France's political trajectory and securing a stable majority. Nonetheless, analysts view this as a high-stakes gamble, relying on public apprehension of a far-right administration to sway votes away from National Rally.

Should National Rally achieve a robust result, Macron might be compelled to appoint a prime minister from the party, potentially Bardella. This situation could lead to a cohabitation period, merging conflicting ideologies and possibly resulting in a contentious government.

Financial markets have responded negatively to the election's uncertainty, with French stocks underperforming and bond yields fluctuating. Political analysts anticipate a difficult negotiation phase following the election, as parties seek coalitions to establish a majority government.

In essence, France is confronting a critical election that could dramatically alter its political scenery, with economic and political stability at stake.


MIT Researchers Uncover How Microscopic Ice Flaws Affect Global Sea Levels

MIT Researchers Uncover How Microscopic Ice Flaws Affect Global Sea Levels

MIT researchers have developed a model to predict ice flow based on microscopic flaws in ice. This model reveals how these tiny defects influence glacier movement and, consequently, sea level rise.

Traditionally, ice sheets were seen as monolithic. However, this new model shows they respond variably to warming. It focuses on two microscopic mechanisms: "dislocation creep" and "grain boundary sliding." These mechanisms determine how ice deforms under stress.

The model uses data like environmental temperature and ice crystal size to estimate which mechanism dominates in different areas. This helps predict where ice is more likely to flow and melt into the sea.

Comparing the model's predictions with actual ice flow data from Antarctica shows good agreement. This suggests the model can accurately forecast future ice movement and sea level rise.

This research is crucial as it provides a more nuanced understanding of how ice sheets respond to climate change. It helps refine predictions of catastrophic sea level rise, aiding in preparedness and mitigation efforts.


Green Hydrogen: A New Hope for Heavy Vehicle Fuel

In Corpus Christi, Texas, a plant converts water into "green" hydrogen using renewable energy. This hydrogen is then chemically transformed into diesel for heavy vehicles. This development is significant—it could revolutionize how planes, ships, trains, and trucks obtain their fuel.

Batteries are too heavy for aircraft and too bulky for ships. Long-haul trucks and certain rail lines face challenges with electrification. These vehicles account for about half of transportation emissions.

Infinium, the owner of the plant, produces hydrogen-based fuels aiming for net zero emissions. While this is a promising start, these fuels are currently expensive and scarce. Billions of dollars are being invested in this technology by the U.S. government, businesses, and philanthropists such as Bill Gates.

The critical factor is dedicated renewable energy. Without it, hydrogen fuels could generate more pollution than regular diesel. Texas's energy grid is only 40% renewable, with the remainder coming from natural gas and coal. This mix powers the Infinium plant.

Infinium creates chemical replicas of existing fuels by combining captured carbon with green hydrogen. A truck operating on this diesel would produce 89% fewer greenhouse gases than one using petroleum diesel.

The future may see heavy vehicles transition to pure hydrogen fuel cells, which emit only water vapor. However, for now, we need these chemical replicas to gradually reduce our dependence on oil.



Global Undersea Cable Project to Transfer Renewable Energy

Entrepreneurs are planning a massive undersea cable project. Six cables, each over 2,000 miles long, would span the Atlantic, connecting Europe and North America with the aim of transmitting 6 gigawatts of renewable energy. This is equivalent to the power output of six nuclear plants, moving energy at the speed of light.

The concept is to harness the sun's daily cycle. When Europe is sunny and has excess power, it would send this energy west to the U.S. Later, when the sun is over America, Europe would receive the energy back. It's a simple exchange.

This is not just a fantasy. Similar projects are emerging globally. Europe already connects with its neighbors via sea cables. The UK links with Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, and Denmark. They are also considering a solar and wind link with Morocco.

Australia plans to send solar power to Singapore. India and Saudi Arabia aim to connect via the Arabian Sea. These cables are not just about energy; they are reshaping geopolitics, shifting power struggles to the ocean depths.


U.S. Utilities Warn of Impending Power Crisis Due to Surging Data Center Demand

U.S. utilities warn of a looming power crisis. Electricity demand, stagnant for over a decade, is set to surge by 2030. Driven by AI, chip manufacturing, and electric vehicles, this spike threatens economic stability.

Data centers alone will add 290 terawatt hours to U.S. power needs. This is equivalent to Turkey's entire electricity consumption. Tech giants like Amazon and Google are racing to secure power for new data centers, some requiring as much as a gigawatt—the output of a nuclear reactor.

NextEra Energy, the nation's largest renewable power company, forecasts a 38% rise in U.S. power demand by 2040. They plan to meet this with renewables and battery storage. Southern Company, another major utility, also sees historic demand growth, driven by data centers and population expansion.

Both companies emphasize the need for a balanced energy mix. While renewables are crucial, nuclear and natural gas will play key roles in ensuring reliability. The message is clear: to sustain economic growth, the U.S. must get its energy strategy right.


Global Funding Boost for Defense and Resilience Tech

Global military spending reached $2.4 trillion last year. Startups and investors are now focusing on defense technology, particularly those with dual-use potential—technology that serves both civilian and military needs.

Helsing, a German AI startup, is a prime example of this trend. Its co-CEO, Gundbert Scherf, believes that AI is essential for democratic defense. The investment by Spotify founder Daniel Ek in Helsing indicates a societal shift towards resilience technology.

The NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) is a major player, investing $1 billion across various technology sectors to enhance defense and resilience. NIF supports startups in its 24 member countries and funds other venture capital firms like OTB Ventures, which specializes in deep technology.

MD One Ventures, based in the UK, specializes in dual-use technology for national security and defense. Its portfolio includes startups like Labrys Technologies and Materials Nexus.

The Israel Resilience Fund, launched after Hamas attacks, aims to raise $50 million for startups impacted by war. Its parent platform, OurCrowd, has secured $17 million so far.

D3, an early-stage fund, supports technology for Ukraine's defense. It invests in drones, sensors, and UAVs, often incorporating AI elements.

This surge in funding reflects a broader societal commitment to technology-driven resilience and defense.



Chrome Introduces AI-Powered Prompt API for Enhanced Web Browsing

The article discusses the introduction of a new AI feature in Chrome, the Prompt API, available through an early preview program. This built-in AI aims to become a standard across browsers, utilizing Gemini Nano for local processing within the browser environment.

The benefits of this embedded AI are clear: it's fast, cost-effective, and user-friendly. As a native browser API, it simplifies access with just a couple of lines of code. This integration promises to enhance browsing efficiency and accessibility.

In essence, Chrome's Prompt API represents a significant step towards integrating AI seamlessly into everyday web use, making advanced functionalities both accessible and straightforward for users.


Photopea: A Web-Based Photoshop Alternative

Photopea, a web-based image editor, mimics Photoshop's functionality. Ivan Kutskir, its creator, developed it initially as a PSD file viewer in 2013. Over time, it evolved into a full-fledged editor, attracting millions of users.

Ivan learned JavaScript through online tutorials and believes code performance matters most. He's content with Photopea but acknowledges some challenging-to-optimize sections.

Photopea earns through memberships and ads. Ivan replaced Google Adsense with other providers, tripling ad revenue. He's been self-sustaining since 2017, solely relying on Photopea for income.

Despite inquiries from companies to buy Photopea, Ivan prefers to retain control, believing in potential future value. He's open to collaboration but skeptical about Adobe's interest due to their existing superior products.

Ivan's journey reflects persistence and adaptability. Starting as a curious experiment, Photopea now serves a significant user base, proving that passion and innovation can lead to sustainable success.


Enhancing Cas9 Gene Editing Efficiency: A Breakthrough in Genetic Therapy

Enhancing Cas9 Gene Editing Efficiency: A Breakthrough in Genetic Therapy

Kai Chen, an alumnus of Zhejiang University and a Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, is currently conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He collaborates with his advisor, Jennifer Doudna, focusing on the improvement of the CRISPR gene editor. Their research has revealed the key to enhancing the efficiency of the Cas9 protein—the modification of the wedge domain.

The CRISPR system, composed of guide RNA and Cas proteins, is widely used in gene editing. However, the enhancement of Cas9 efficiency has been a challenging issue. Chen Kai has significantly improved the editing efficiency by modifying the GeoCas9 protein through directed evolution strategies.

Their findings indicate that amino acid mutations in the wedge domain can strengthen the binding of Cas9 to DNA and expand the recognition range. This strategy is not only applicable to GeoCas9 but can also be extended to other Cas9 proteins, with efficiency improvements of over a hundredfold.

Chen Kai's research not only changes our understanding of the structural functions of Cas9 proteins but also provides new pathways for developing more efficient gene editing tools. His work combines theory and application, showcasing the depth and breadth of scientific research.


Video Game

"The Sims 4" releases a new expansion pack supporting polyamorous relationships.

'The Sims 4' releases a new expansion pack supporting polyamorous relationships.

"The Sims 4" welcomes a new expansion pack, "Heartfelt Havoc," which introduces free updates for polyamorous relationships. Previously, the series did not officially support such relationships. The update includes a "Love Boundaries" system that allows players to customize the exclusivity of relationships and jealousy reactions. Sims can date multiple people simultaneously without affecting other relationships. The player community has reacted enthusiastically, eagerly anticipating this long-awaited feature. Both console and PC players will benefit from the update, which will be released on July 25th along with the expansion pack.


Epic Games Submits Fortnite for Apple Notarization Under EU's DMA

Epic Games Submits Fortnite for Apple Notarization Under EU's DMA

Epic Games has submitted its store and an updated Fortnite app to Apple for notarization. This move follows the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which compels Apple to relax its restrictions on third-party developers. Apple maintains the authority to ensure that these applications meet its stringent security and privacy standards.

Epic, along with other companies such as Spotify, has been critical of Apple's strict requirements. The EU is currently investigating Apple's policies regarding alternative app stores and its Core Technology Fee (CTF). The CTF imposes a charge of 0.5 Euros per installation after the initial million, with no exemptions granted for free apps. Third-party app stores are also subject to this fee for every download, with no exceptions for the first million units.

Apple contends that the CTF is necessary to cover the expenses associated with utilizing its technology and notarization services, which are essential for validating apps for Apple platforms. Developers and owners of alternative app stores, such as Riley Testut's AltStore, have voiced their opposition to this fee to the EU.


AI-Generated Game Characters Enhance Player Interaction and Research

AI-Generated Game Characters Enhance Player Interaction and Research

Game companies are utilizing large language models to generate characters that not only have detailed backgrounds but can also interact with players in multiple ways. This technology enables non-player characters (NPCs) in games to engage in continuous, unscripted, and non-repetitive dialogues.

Neuroscientists and psychologists have long used games as tools to study human psychology. For instance, the game "Ocean Hero Quest" helps research the navigational abilities of early-stage Alzheimer's patients by observing players' navigation behaviors in a virtual ocean.

The advantage of using games for research lies in people's willingness to participate without requiring payment, allowing researchers to conduct large-scale studies with smaller budgets. Professor Spears has collected data from over 4 million people across 195 countries.

The integration of artificial intelligence allows researchers to create a rich, immersive world, aiding them in studying how the brain responds to various social environments and how humans interact with others. By observing interactions between players and AI characters, scientists can gain deeper insights into the nature of cooperation and competition.

Additionally, AI game characters can help us understand relationships with virtual companions, which are becoming increasingly common. Professor Spears finds the study of these relationships inherently fascinating.



Fathom Events Sees Significant Growth in Classic Film Re-releases

Fathom Events, a joint venture between AMC, Regal, and Cinemark, is thriving. In 2023, it earned $100 million at the box office, a 116% increase from 2019. The first quarter of 2024 brought in $43 million, up nearly 140% compared to the previous year.

Fathom specializes in re-releasing classic films and live events such as theater, opera, and concerts. It also distributes specialty films and shows, including "The Chosen" and "Waitress: The Musical."

Anniversary re-releases are a significant attraction. Films like "The Wizard of Oz," "Gone with the Wind," and "Steel Magnolias" were celebrated. Upcoming anniversaries include "Blazing Saddles," "Rear Window," and "Mean Girls."

Studio Ghibli Fest features all 14 films from the studio, celebrating milestones like "Howl's Moving Castle" and "Kiki's Delivery Service."

"Coraline" had a successful 3D re-release, generating $7.1 million in ticket sales. Presales for this year's screenings are robust, with two-thirds choosing the 3D version.

Fathom's extensive reach and marketing capabilities benefit smaller theater chains, managing licensing and promotion for classic film re-releases.



Groundbreaking Decision to Offer Sedation for IUD Insertion

Health experts are hailing the introduction of sedation for IUD insertion as groundbreaking. IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are long-acting contraceptives that prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones or copper into the uterus.

The procedure to place an IUD can be painful, and sedation, which involves medication to calm and relax, makes the process easier. This decision to offer sedation is a significant step, acknowledging the discomfort many women face.

Offering sedation can increase IUD use by removing a major barrier for women considering this method. This move demonstrates a commitment to patient comfort and choice.

In my view, this is practical progress that respects women's experiences and enhances healthcare options. Simple, effective solutions like this improve lives and are the backbone of meaningful change.


Paternal Fish Oil Supplements May Reduce Offspring Obesity Risk

Animal study suggests that paternal fish oil supplementation may lower obesity risk in offspring.

Researchers discovered that male mice fed fish oil prior to mating transmitted healthier fat profiles to their offspring. These pups exhibited lower rates of obesity and enhanced metabolic health.

Fish oil, abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, seems to affect sperm quality, which in turn influences the offspring's capacity to manage fats more effectively, thereby reducing the risk of obesity.

The study underscores a potential novel strategy to prevent obesity, emphasizing the importance of paternal health before conception.

This research challenges the conventional belief that only maternal diet determines fetal health. It initiates discussions on the significance of paternal nutrition in shaping offspring health outcomes.

Future studies should investigate these effects in humans. Gaining insight into how paternal diet impacts offspring health could significantly transform preventive health strategies.


Eisai's New Alzheimer's Drug Targeting Tau Proteins

Eisai's New Alzheimer's Drug Targeting Tau Proteins

Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company, is developing a new Alzheimer's drug that targets tau proteins, which are associated with brain cell damage. Although the trials are currently small, they show promising results. Developing drugs that target tau proteins is challenging, but they have the potential to significantly alter the treatment landscape for Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease begins with the accumulation of amyloid proteins in the brain, followed by tau proteins, which lead to neuron breakdown. The role of tau proteins is direct, impacting cognitive functions. While removing tau proteins is complex, recent research has illuminated how they spread, prompting new efforts in drug development.

Eisai's drug aims to trap tau proteins before they spread. Successful animal tests have been conducted, and now human trials are underway. The competition is intense, with major U.S. companies like Biogen and Johnson & Johnson also vying for a breakthrough.

Eisai already has lecanemab, an approved Alzheimer's treatment that targets amyloid proteins. They plan to combine it with the new tau drug for enhanced efficacy. Lecanemab has received fast-track approval in both the U.S. and Japan.

Haruo Naito, CEO of Eisai, is optimistic about the potential of a tau drug, stating, "A tau drug could be the next step towards a cure." Alzheimer's affects over 55 million people worldwide, and Eisai is aiming for substantial sales with lecanemab and its new tau drug.


Breakthroughs and Challenges of the New Antiretroviral Drug Lenacapavir for HIV

Breakthroughs and Challenges of the New Antiretroviral Drug Lenacapavir for HIV

Gilead Sciences recently announced that its HIV drug lenacapavir, in phase III trials, demonstrated 100% efficacy among 2,134 cisgender women with no cases of infection. Lenacapavir is an injectable capsid inhibitor designed to impede the assembly of the virus's protein shell and has been approved in the United States for HIV treatment, requiring combination with other antiviral drugs.

The drug has shown excellent performance in preventing HIV infection, with Gilead's CEO calling it a new tool for HIV prevention. However, lenacapavir faces multiple challenges in ending HIV transmission: a large global population of HIV-infected individuals, high costs of preventive medications, and the virus's strong mutation capabilities.

Despite these challenges, lenacapavir's long-acting properties (requiring only two injections per year) bring hope to HIV patients, potentially alleviating the psychological burden of daily medication, improving mental health, and reducing HIV transmission.

Gilead has a long history in antiviral research, having previously launched a hepatitis C drug that increased cure rates to nearly 100% and contributed to a shrinking market size. The success of lenacapavir not only boosted Gilead's stock price but also added another achievement to its efforts in HIV prevention and treatment.

Overall, while lenacapavir brings new hope to HIV prevention and treatment, completely ending the HIV epidemic will require further research and efforts.



Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone Sets New 400m Hurdles World Record

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, 24, set a new world record in the 400-meter hurdles at the U.S. Olympic trials, clocking 50.65 seconds. This marks her fifth record-breaking run at Hayward Field, University of Oregon. McLaughlin-Levrone, already the defending Olympic champion, dominated the race, finishing 1.99 seconds ahead of Anna Cockrell and 2.12 ahead of Jasmine Jones.

The event, once tightly contested, now sees McLaughlin-Levrone far ahead, prompting discussions about the possibility of breaking the 50-second barrier. Her training under coach Bobby Kersee has been pivotal, notably adjusting her stride count between hurdles to 14. This change, implemented since 2021, has significantly enhanced her performance.

With the Olympic final set for August 8 in Paris, expectations are high for another record or even a sub-50-second run. Hurdling legend Edwin Moses suggests it's within reach, possibly requiring a few more races to achieve.



Upside Foods Hosts Miami Tasting Event Ahead of Florida's Lab-Grown Meat Ban

Florida's ban on lab-grown meat takes effect next week. Upside Foods, a California company, hosted a Miami tasting event prior to the ban, serving cultivated chicken produced from animal cells in steel tanks. The process involves using water, sugar, fats, and vitamins to cultivate the cells into meat.

CEO Uma Valeti advocates for people's right to choose their food, arguing that cultivated meat is safe and could mitigate environmental harm caused by traditional meat production. Critics express concerns over safety and the potential impact on farmers.

Upside Foods adhered to FDA and USDA guidelines to secure approval and is challenging state bans as unconstitutional. The company's goal is to expand food options rather than replace traditional farming.