US Regulator Cites New Risk on Grounded Boeing 737 MAX, Orders Changes

WASHINGTON/SEATTLE—The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has identified a new risk that Boeing Co must address on its 737 MAX before the grounded jet can return to service, the agency said on June 26.

The risk was discovered during a simulator test last week and it is not yet clear if the issue can be addressed with a software upgrade or will require a more complex hardware fix, sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The FAA did not elaborate on the latest setback for Boeing, which has been working to get its best-selling airplane back in the air following a worldwide grounding in March in the wake of two deadly crashes within five months.

The new issue means Boeing will not conduct a certification test flight until July 8 in a best-case scenario, the sources said, but one source cautioned it could face further delays beyond that. The FAA will spend at least two to three weeks reviewing the results before deciding whether to return the plane to service, the people said.

Employees walk by the end of a 737 Max aircraft at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington, U.S., on March 27, 2019. (Reuters/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo)

Last month, FAA representatives told members of the aviation industry that approval of the 737 MAX jets could happen as early as late June.

The world’s largest planemaker has been working on the upgrade for a stall-prevention system known as MCAS since a Lion Air crash in Indonesia in October, when pilots were believed to have lost a tug of war with software that repeatedly pushed the nose down.

A second deadly crash in March in Ethiopia also involved MCAS. The two accidents killed a total of 346 people.

“On the most recent issue, the FAA’s process is designed to discover and highlight potential risks. The FAA recently found a potential risk that Boeing must mitigate,” the FAA said in the statement emailed to Reuters. “The FAA will lift the aircraft’s prohibition order when we deem it is safe to do so.”

Boeing said in a securities filing late on June 26 that the FAA has asked it to address through software changes a specific flight condition not covered in the company’s already-unveiled software changes.

The U.S. planemaker also said it agreed with the FAA’s decision and request, and was working on a fix to address the problem.

“Boeing will not offer the 737 MAX for certification by the FAA until we have satisfied all requirements for certification of the MAX and its safe return to service,” Boeing wrote in the filing.

Intense Scrutiny

Boeing’s aircraft are being subjected to intense scrutiny and testing designed to catch flaws even after a years-long certification process.

Two people briefed on the matter told Reuters that an FAA test pilot during a simulator test last week was running scenarios seeking to intentionally activate the MCAS stall-prevention system. During one activation it took an extended period to recover the stabilizer trim system that is used to control the aircraft, the people said.

It was not clear if the situation that resulted in an uncommanded dive can be addressed with a software update or if it is a microprocessor issue that will require a hardware replacement.

In a separate statement, Boeing said addressing the new problem would remove a potential source of uncommanded movement by the plane’s stabilizer.

A hardware fix could add new delays to the plane’s return to service.

The FAA also said on June 26 that it continues “to evaluate Boeing’s software modification to the MCAS and we are still developing necessary training requirements. We also are responding to recommendations received from the Technical Advisory Board. The TAB is an independent review panel we have asked to review our work regarding 737 Max return to service.”

American Airlines Group Inc and Southwest Airlines Co earlier canceled flights through early September as a result of the grounding. On June 26, United Airlines said it also was removing MAX flights from its schedule through Sept. 3.

Reporting by David Shepardson. Additional reporting by Eric M. Johnson.

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Author: Reuters

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NATO Delivers Ultimatum to Russia

BRUSSELS—NATO countries made a pact on June 26 to beef up their air defense systems and surveillance efforts unless Russia destroys its new nuclear missile system within the next six weeks.

Members of the military alliance agreed, during a meeting at its Brussels headquarters, to deploy a “wide range” of countermeasures if the Kremlin continues to flout a major international arms agreement.

However, they ruled out “mirroring” Russia’s actions by deploying more of their own nuclear weapons in Europe, saying the West “doesn’t want a new arms race” with Moscow.

The United States and Russia suspended their obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty on Feb. 2, triggering a six-month countdown until the treaty—which has been in place since 1987—is formally voided on Aug. 2.

At issue is Russia’s SSC-8 missile system—a long-range and hard-to-detect nuclear weapon that can hit European cities within minutes of launch.

At a press conference on June 26, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said all alliance members support the U.S. stance that “a treaty that is only respected by one side will not keep us safe.”

“Russia’s SSC-8 missile system violates the INF treaty and is a significant threat to our security. We continue to urge Russia to return to full and verifiable compliance.

“However, we have seen no sign that Russia is willing to do so. On the contrary, it continues to produce and deploy the SSC-8 missiles, so NATO is preparing for a world without the INF treaty,” Stoltenberg said. “Ministers have agreed today that NATO will respond should Russia fail to return to compliance. NATO will remain measured and defensive in everything we do.”

Stoltenberg said measures discussed included new military exercises, extra intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, and bolstering both air and missile defense systems and conventional forces.

“Russia’s choice is simple—return to compliance and uphold its arms control commitments or continue its irresponsible and dangerous behavior and bear the full responsibility for the demise of the treaty,” Stoltenberg said.

“We have shown a will to wait. We have tried again and again to bring them back into compliance but at some stage we have to make it clear that an arms control agreement doesn’t work if it’s only respected from one side.”

On June 26, the upper chamber of the Russian Parliament unanimously passed a bill to suspend the country’s participation in the INF treaty—meaning it only requires sign off from President Vladimir Putin to come into force.

Stoltenberg said the development “doesn’t surprise us,” as it was part of a pattern of increased Russian aggression, including the annexation of Crimea and troop mobilizations, that the alliance has “been witnessing for years.”

The INF prohibits both the United States and Russia from possessing or testing ground launch missiles that have a range of between 300 and 3,100 miles.

Russia is believed to have 64 SSC-8s, which entered into service in 2017 and can travel an estimated 1,500 miles when equipped with nuclear warheads.

At the meeting, which was the first to be attended by new acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, alliance countries also discussed boosting military spending in capitals outside Washington.

Stoltenberg unveiled figures showing a real-terms increase of 3.9 percent in 2018 across Europe and Canada, which has added more than $100 billion to NATO’s capabilities.

Esper said Washington wanted to “strengthen the alliance and to increase our readiness” and that “first and foremost of importance to the U.S. will be more equitable and increased burden-sharing by all of our allies.”

The summit started hours after the UK’s defense ministry revealed it had scrambled Royal Air Force jets deployed in Estonia twice in a single day to intercept Russian aircraft.

The Eurofighter Typhoons were launched to cut off Su-27 fighters and a military transport carrier, bringing the number of incidents involving Kremlin planes to 11 in the past two months.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defense said the UK continues to operate “in support of NATO to reassure our allies and is a further demonstration of the UK’s commitment to the security of the region.”

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Author: Nick Gutteridge

Woman Dies Due to Virus from Rodent Droppings, Officials Urge Vigilance

A 42-year-old New Mexico woman has died after contracting Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), according to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH).

It is the second case of HPS reported in New Mexico and the first case of the virus resulting in death.

HPS is a fatal respiratory disease transmitted by infected rodents.

The Health Department hasn’t released the deceased’s identity. They described the woman as a 42-year-old victim from McKinley County in a press release.

After the case was reported, the health officials did an environmental investigation at the infected woman’s home in a move to reduce any remaining risks to other people.

In the press release, officials urged people to be mindful when summer cleaning. “We urge New Mexicans to be mindful when they are opening up sheds, cabins, and other buildings that have been closed up as mice and other rodents may have moved in,” said Department of Health Secretary, Kathy Kunkel.

“Stirring up dust in areas where rodents hang out–that includes everything from nests to droppings—can cause the virus to get into the air where the particles can be breathed in. It’s best to air out cabins and sheds before entering them and wet down droppings with a disinfectant,” she said.

Stock image of a mouse. (Alexas_Fotos/Pixabay)

Health officials encouraged health care providers and the public to be aware of the early symptoms of HPS.

“Early symptoms include fever and muscle aches, possibly with chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain and cough which rapidly progresses to respiratory distress. These signs typically develop within one to six weeks after rodent exposure,” NMDOH said.

The department says that the virus is fatal in 40 percent of the cases and there are no ways of treating HPS. However, early detection does reduce the fatality chances.

What is Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome?

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome is a fatal respiratory disease caused by the Sin Nombre virus that can be transmitted through the urine, saliva, and droppings of infected rodents, NMDOH explains on its website.

“People can contract the disease when they breathe in virus that is suspended in the air, but it is not contagious from one person to another,” NMDOH said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that there has never been a case of HPS in the United States being transmitted from one person to another. However in Chile and Argentina, person-to-person transmission of the virus has been reported, although it remains rare, according to CDC.

Stock image of an X-ray of the respiratory tract. (Oracast/Pixabay)

The virus is found worldwide and can be contacted when someone breathes in aerosolized virus.

“Rodent control in and around the home remains the primary strategy for preventing Hantavirus infection,” said NMDOH.

The CDC says there are four types of rats that cause HPS in the United States—Cotton rat, Deer Mouse, Rice Rat, and White-footed mouse.

Protection from Hantavirus

NMDOH suggests three ways to protect oneself and the family from the virus. It recommends on its website keeping mice away from the home through repairing screens, holes, cracks, or any openings in walls that can let rodents inside the home.

The second step, according to the recommendations, is to, “Trap up mice until they are gone.” The NMDOH offered various ways to lay traps to catch mice in its prevention pamphlet.

The third and the final step, according to the website, is to, “Clean up nests and droppings using disinfectant.”

NMDOH also suggested in the release: “Don’t sweep rodent droppings into the air where they can be inhaled. Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home. Get rid of trash and junk piles to reduce attracting rodents. Don’t leave your pet’s food and water where mice can get to it.”

The first case of HPS in New Mexico this year was a 50-year-old woman from McKinley County who survived after hospitalization.

The department said that in the past ten years, there have been 37 cases of HPS, with 21 people surviving after being infected with the virus.

According to CDC, the “first” identified outbreak of HPS happened in the southwestern United States—Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah—in May 1993.

“A young, physically fit Navajo man suffering from shortness of breath was rushed to a hospital in New Mexico and died very rapidly,” the CDC said. The man’s fiancee had died just a few days earlier from similar symptoms, leading to an investigation and the discovery of the disease.

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Author: Venus Upadhayaya

Dawning Information Industry and Jiang Mianheng have Close Ties

Commentary

A Chinese supercomputer company listed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s export control “entity list” is believed to have intimate ties with infamous former Communist Party leader Jiang Zemin.

Dawning Information Industry Co., Ltd. (Zhongke Shuguang, a.k.a. Dawning Company) is a high-tech enterprise concentrating in high-performance computer and server manufacturing.

As a state-owned listed company, Dawning’s largest shareholder is Beijing Zhongke Computing Source Asset Management Co., Ltd. (with a 21.32 percent ownership), a division of the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dawning provides services to the Chinese Communist government and large state owned technology companies, such as the National Grid of China, China Mobile, and the China Meteorological Administration responsible for weather forecasting. It also provides data centers for e-commerce giant Jingdong and social-media applications such as Tik Tok.

Jiang Zemin Began Paying Attention to Dawning as Early as 1993

The attention towards Dawning can be traced back to when Jiang Zemin, the former leader of the Chinese Communist Party, was in power. In 1993, after the super computer Dawning No. 1 came out, Ma Bin, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council, presented to the then leaders of the Chinese Communist Party a report titled “The designers and developers of the Dawning No.1 computer have seized the opportunity. The leaders are now invited to seize the opportunity to aid in its development.”

Dawning No.1 was researched and developed by the National Intelligent Computer Research and Development Center. Dawning the company, which is affiliated with the Institute of Computer Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was established thereafter.

At the time, the report showed that Dawning No. 1 was very suitable for use on network servers. Its interrupt capabilities and response speed under multi-user working conditions are significantly higher than foreign machines of the same model. It would be able to help launch the CCP’s “Three Gold Projects” by providing an ideal platform for the information management and service system implementation.

The “Three Gold Projects” was proposed by the then Deputy Prime Minister Zhu Rongji when he presided over the State Council meeting in 1993, referring to the Golden Bridge Project, the Gold Card Project and the Golden Gate Project. Among them, “Golden Bridge” refers to the construction of information infrastructure; Golden Gate refers to the digitization of customs declaration tasks; Golden Card refers to various types of card-based application systems based on electronic money application.

According to records, there exists a considerable overlap between the three projects and the Jiang family’s domain of wealth accumulation. For example: Jiang Zemin’s eldest son Jiang Mianheng is known as China’s “Telecommunications King,” the “Big Brother” of Shanghai—where the Jiang family is based—who served a major post on the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and had been involved in a number of large technology related state-owned enterprises.

On Dec. 10, 2006, Jiang Zemin invited six academics and experts from the software and computer science fields from the Chinese Academy of Sciences to a forum at Zhongnanhai, the leadership compound of the CCP. One of the experts who attended the meeting, Li Guojie, was the chairman of Dawning.

According to an article written by Li Guojie on recollection from the forum, Jiang Zemin said that an independent and controllable software technology system and computer technology system must be established, and additionally, be promoted to the importance of national strategy.

Later, Dawning continued to receive support from the central government through large amounts of research funding, becoming the main player in its sector.

Presently, Jiang Zemin’s eldest son Jiang Mianheng, serves as the vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and naturally pays special attention to Dawning.

Jiang Mianheng Served as a Consultant to the Supercomputer Expert Committee

During Jiang Mianheng’s appointment as deputy dean of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (1999-2011), he often visited Dawning’s affiliate, the Institute of Computer Science at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and served an honorary position in the field of supercomputing.

For example, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences Supercomputing Expert Committee’s first working meeting in March 2004 the committee hired Jiang Mianheng as a consultant of its expert advisory committee. Among the two expert consultants hired Jiang, who has no relevant academic background, was ranked first.

In November 2004 Jiang Mianheng attended the launch ceremony of the high-performance computer Dawning 4000A Super Server System. The Dawning 4000A system was dubbed a “cooperation between the Academy and the City” as designed by Jiang Mianheng and deputy mayor of Shanghai Yang Xiong, and jointly developed by the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Dawning, and Shanghai Supercomputing Center.

According to a report from the official website of the Chinese Academy of Sciences at the time, before the launching ceremony Jiang Mianheng and members of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee inspected the host room and exhibition hall of the Shanghai Supercomputing Center, and also talked to technical staff.

This model trades science and technology as an asset for funds from government departments and realizing them into cash. It’s a method of exchanging power for funding.

It should be mentioned that Yang Xiong, then vice mayor of Shanghai, entered the Shanghai officialdom in February 2001 under Jiang Mianheng’s arrangement; he was believed to be Jiang Mianheng’s close confidant. Earlier when Jiang Mianheng was legal representative of Shanghai Lianhe Investment Co., Ltd., Yang Xiong was the company’s first general manager.

Yang Xiong and Jiang were closely linked. According to rumors from Shanghai, Yang Xiong is the public mayor of Shanghai (from the end of 2012 to January 2017) while Jiang Mianheng is the de facto underground mayor, whereas the actual mayor consults with the underground mayor.

In December 2009, Jiang Mianheng once again went to the Institute of Computer Science to consult and research, where he listened to a research and industrialization intelligence report from Dawning’s sister company, Longxin.

Longxin is also a subsidiary company of the Institute of Computer Science of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and focuses on the research and development of chips, motherboards, and processors; Li Guojie alone serves as the chairman of both Longxin and Dawning.

Jiang Mianheng instructed at the time that “future development must be better integrated with local and enterprises, and promote transfer and transformation of results and industrialization of scale.”

People familiar with the matter said what Jiang Mianheng meant is that the Academy of Sciences should work downstream and cooperate with local governments and enterprises to make money.

Jiang Mianheng’s factions inside the Chinese Academy of Sciences Used Official Work to Defraud Funds

During Jiang Mianheng’s tenure, the Chinese Academy of Sciences developed principal projects such as Longxin, the Shuguang high-performance computer, and the Red Flag Linux operating system. Based off of these products, a number of listed companies under the name of the Chinese Academy of Sciences were established.

Presently, only Longxin and Dawning/Shuguang still exist. Zhongke, the company related to Red Flag, had dissolved, but not before incurring some controversy. Prior to its dissolution, certain Zhongke employees collectively went to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to salary bargain, which once triggered heated discussion within the industry.

On December 31, 2013, Linueden, a domestic Linux information site user, published an article entitled “Merit and Sin: Written during the Zhongke Red Flag Mansion’s Verge of Collapse,” which detailed many indiscretions which occurred at the company.

“Zhongke Red Flag’s descent from the former operating system national team to its current state of dissolution, is not the lack of research and development capabilities, and even less is it fooling the world and usurping a good name. As to the black curtain, this article will not explore it. If interested, you can find familiar insiders to find out for yourselves,” the article wrote.

The outside world believes that the “national team” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, such as Zhongke Red Flag, relies mainly on government subsidies and state funding to survive. It is inseparable from the continuous support of the Communist Party regime. Even if it does not rely on government support, it must be attached to a small number of large clients such as telecom operators and state-owned commercial banks. They are thus not fully weaned and unable to be truly self-functioning.

Taking Dawning as an example, we can also see the extent of dependence on government subsidies. According to financial statements disclosed by the company, in 2018 it received government subsidies of 220 million yuan ($32 million) and national project funds of 6.77 million yuan (about $1 million). So far in 2019, Dawn has received 140 million yuan ($20 million) in government subsidies and national project funds of 180 million yuan ($26 million).

Mainland Media Divulges Jiang Mianheng’s Secret Wealth Accumulation; Authorities Retaliate

The 2014 Western Mining IPO financial investigation must also be mentioned as a black mark related to Jiang Mianheng’s factions inside the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 2014, Chinese media 21st Century Network published the article “An Investigation of Mao Xiaobing’s Fortune: The Interests Transmission of Western Mining Company Ten Years ago,” which revealed the wealth accumulation of Jiang Mianheng’s factions inside the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Subsequently, Mao, a Standing Committee Member of the CCP Qinghai Provincial Committee and Secretary of the Xining Municipal Party Committee, was sacked.

According to the report, the IPO of the listed company Western Mining engaged in underhanded dealings with Jiang Mianheng controlled Shanghai Lianhe Investment Co. Ltd. and another company with a Chinese Department of Science and Technology background. For example, Beijing Anruisheng Technology Co., Ltd. was established in June 2006. Just 15 days after its establishment, it had acquired 45.87 million shares of Western Mining (accounting for 14 percent of the company’s total share capital) from Hubei Hongjun Investment Co., Ltd., becoming the second largest shareholder of Western Mining.

And behind Anruisheng Technology are numerous companies affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“There is no concerted action between them; except for the joint holding of the West Mining Group, there is no other relationship between them,” the report stated. On the contrary, there are shackled, complex connections between them, and among the three there exists joint relationships.

The three companies collectively hold 66 percent of the interests of Western Mining, and appointed five people to the board of directors, who hold absolute control over the shareholding ratio and the board of directors composition. In other words, under the guise of these three Chinese companies, the Qinghai Provincial State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission has become the nominal controller of the Western Mining.

After these events were revealed, Jiang Mianheng was greatly angered.

In September 2014, under the pretext of “Extraordinary News Extortion Crime”, Shanghai police arrested 8 people from 21st Century Network including the editor-in-chief and related management, editors, management personnel, and the heads of two public relations companies. At the time, it was precisely Yang Xiong who held the post of Shanghai Mayor.

Curiously, Shanghai Lianhe Investment Co. Ltd. calls itself a state-owned sole proprietorship company approved by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government on its website. It is affiliated with the Shanghai State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and was established in September 1994.

However, according to a 21st Century Network reporter, on April 28, 2014 when searching for “Shanghai Lianhe Investment Co., Ltd.” on the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Bureau website, the query results showed that no records were found that met the query conditions.

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Author: Jim Liao

Israel Folau Fundraiser Tops A$2 Million Thanks to Support From Australian Christian Lobby

Israel Folau has raised more than $2 million through the Australian Christian Lobby website to support his unfair dismissal case against Rugby Australia.

A campaign to raise funds to support ex-Wallaby Israel Folau’s legal stoush with Rugby Australia could soon finish after donations topped $2 million.

The Australian Christian Lobby, which set up the fundraiser on its website, said the flow of donations since it was opened on Tuesday had been overwhelming.

“We have decided we should stop at $2 million and raise more money if and when we need it,” ACL head Martyn Iles told The Australian on Thursday.

“The sheer scale and pace of the response from donors has just been overwhelming.”

Folau wanted to raise around $3 million for his unfair dismissal case, which he believes amounts to discrimination on religious grounds.

He is seeking $10 million in damages from RA and wants his multimillion-dollar contract to be reinstated after it was pulled by the association.

RA took issue with a social media post by the committed Christian in April that was condemned as homophobic.

Folau had paraphrased a Bible passage saying “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters” would go to hell unless they repented.

As of Thursday morning, Folau had raised $2.1 million.

The ACL effort replaced an earlier campaign on GoFundMe that was taken down by the platform for breaching its service guidelines.

Folau on Wednesday said he was humbled by the strength of the public support for his cause.

View this post on Instagram

I am humbled by the support I have received from so many of you since Rugby Australia terminated my employment contract after I shared a religious message on social media. To those who have criticised me, I bear no ill will towards you. You have every right to express your own beliefs and opinions. To the thousands of you who donated to my GoFundMe campaign, I am forever grateful. GoFundMe’s decision to shut down my campaign proves the importance of my case; whether you share my faith or believe in my right to express it, attempts to sanction what we believe is a threat to all Australians. I am incredibly thankful for the Australian Christian Lobby, which has not only come to my defence in the media, but generously established a website to receive donations on my behalf.  For those not in a position to donate, your support and prayers will make more of a difference than anything else. God bless!

A post shared by Israel Folau (@izzyfolau) on

“To those who have criticised me, I bear no ill will towards you. You have every right to express your own beliefs and opinions,” he posted on Instagram.

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Author: AAP

Australians Losing Trust in China: Lowy Institute Poll

The nation’s trust in China has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, the Lowy Institute report on Australian attitudes to international events reveals.

Australians are losing trust in China due to its communist government’s military intentions, infrastructure ambitions in the region, and displays of influence.

The latest poll from the Lowy Institute think tank on Australian attitudes to international events, released on June 26, reveals local sentiment towards China has taken a negative turn.

Australians’ trust in China is at its lowest level in the 15 years of the poll, with only 32 percent saying they trust the Asian power either a “great deal” or “somewhat” to act responsibly in the world.

This result is a 20 percent fall from last year, and is 15 percent lower than the previous low of 47 percent in 2008.

A similar number of Australians—30 percent—have confidence in Chinese leader Xi Jinping to do the right thing in world affairs, a 13 percent drop from last year.

Nearly three-quarters of Australians believe the nation is too economically dependent on China, while 68 percent say the federal government is allowing too much Chinese investment.

Nearly three-quarters of Australians also did not believe the Australian government has been doing enough to address human rights concerns with China.

When asked if they would support the Australian military going to “stop a government from committing genocide and killing large numbers of its own people,” 80 percent replied in the affirmative.

A slightly fewer number of Australians—77 percent— said they would support the government doing more against China’s military activities in the Pacific region, even if it hurts the economic relationship.

When it comes to perceptions of the United States, almost half agree it’s in decline relative to China.

Close to 70 percent of Australians think the alliance with the United States makes it more likely for Australia to be drawn into any potential war with China.

However, more than half of those surveyed think Australia’s alliance with the United States makes Australia safer from attack or pressure from China.

Two-thirds say U.S. President Donald Trump has weakened Australia’s alliance with the United States. However, the United States still ranks second—behind New Zealand—in being considered Australia’s best friend in the world, with the United Kingdom coming in third.

Close to half of Australians also think foreign interference in politics is a critical threat—an eight percent increase from last year.

And it appears the public supports the federal government’s decision to ban Huawei from the 5G network, with more Australians wanting protection from foreign state intrusions prioritised over keeping prices down or having the best technology.

The poll was conducted from a pool of 2,130 Australian adults in the month of March. Participants were randomly chosen and contacted on their landline or mobile phone.

By Rebecca Gredley. Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.

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Author: AAP

This Common Vintage Tool Has Left Youth Puzzled. Can You Guess What It Is?

For many young children growing up in the age of the smartphone and the cloud, things that were common just a few years ago, like CDs and DVDs, are becoming extinct. According to a survey by the British government, over two-thirds of kids in the United Kingdom couldn’t identify a floppy disk!

But it’s not just technology and communication that have been changing at an incredibly rapid pace, as a photo that had the internet stumped showed. It’s also everyday objects that we use for basic tasks.

What on earth? (©Ebay)

When the nostalgia website Do You Remember posted a picture of this strange implement a few years ago, many young people were left scratching their heads.

From this angle, the tool looks like something that would be used in the garden. You can see a curved metal form with what looks like a handle on one end, with a blunt edge on the other. But what’s that little opening at the bottom of what looks like the handle?

Is it a kind of shovel or tool for digging up garden beds? Or maybe a tool for planting seeds? While it’s not a bad guess, you would have never found this in your garden. It would have lived in a different part of the house altogether. Some people might even guess that it’s some kind of primitive, heavy-duty hairbrush!

Now we’re getting somewhere (©Ebay)

But if we turn the tool over to the other side, we get an important clue about what it was used for.

Now we can see a couple of features that shed more light on the tool. For starters, we can see a kind of edge or lip that does indeed appear like something from a shovel. But the real revelation is the triangular piece of metal that’s attached to the tool, with a sharp, pointy end.

If you have equally sharp eyes, you’ll notice that there’s a small hole at the top of the handle. What would be the point of that? If you think about the hole on the other end, you might wonder if it’s to allow some kind of substance to travel through, maybe a liquid.

For people who live near the ocean, these almost look like something people would use for digging clams or oysters. The metal bit at the end could be used to pry open the shell. And maybe the holes are to let the excess water drain out of the shell? While it’s a good idea, it’s still not right.

Hint: it’s not for digging clams; in fact, you would find it in the garage (Illustration – Shutterstock | V J Matthew)

You’ve been straining your mind to try to figure out what it is, so it’s time we gave you a small hint. This tool isn’t exactly used anywhere inside the house. You would find it in a place attached to the main living area: the garage.

Think about things that your car absolutely needs in order to run. And think a little bit more about that pointy end and the curved lip it sits on. Doesn’t it almost look like a giant version of something from the kitchen? Something you’d need to open things from the pantry?

That’s right, it’s a can opener. But you wouldn’t use it to open a can of corn or beans. It’s for motor oil!

Pretty nifty, isn’t it? (©Ebay)

As you can see here, you take the sharp end, push it through the lid, and let the clamp stick to the side. Then you can tip the whole can over to pour the oil via the spout to the engine. No mess and none of the spills that you often have with today’s plastic containers! Plus you don’t need a extra filter as the spout is built into the opener!

Did you get it right away? Why not share the image with your family and friends and see what people guess? You’ll definitely get some laughs, especially when kids and teens try to figure out what it could be!

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Author: Robert Jay Watson

Sons Are Texting at Dinner, Watch the Fed-Up Dad’s Crazy Act to Get Their Attention

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another. We’ve sat down to share food and drink with dear friends or family, or maybe even the person we love most—a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse.

But instead of being grateful for the food and the people who made it and recognizing how lucky we are to have this chance to chat with people over a nice meal, someone pulls out their smartphone. Pretty soon, they’re scrolling down the gaping abyss of their Facebook feed or sending business-related emails, hours after they got off from work.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Monkey Business Images

Whoever does it first doesn’t really matter. Once one person gets sucked into their phone, it sends the message to others that it’s okay for them to do the same. Even if everybody else at the table wants to keep the conversation going, it’s tough to get it back once someone so overtly shows a lack of interest for what’s going on.

For Matthew Abeler, a filmmaker, “the problem is more about value than it is about cellphones” as he told Writer’s Bone. “If I am having a deep conversation with my parents, and I whip out my phone I am implicitly telling them, ‘I value the conversations with my friends on the phone more than the conversation I’m having with you.’”

But while many people might agree with this, what’s a person to do when the culture of devices is so dominant? When Abeler was a student at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota, back in 2013, he was confronted with the complete lack of respect for mealtimes displayed by his fellow students.

A table full of food and friends and everyone’s on their phone (Illustration – Shutterstock | Prostock-studio)

As he told Writer’s Bone, “no matter what I’m doing, if something causes me to turn a deaf ear to my close friends, I hurt not only them, but also my ability to maintain long lasting, tight-knit relationships.”

His answer to this problem was to make a movie about it for his Speech class. He came up with the concept himself, wrote and directed the short film, and even got his dad, Paul Abeler, and his mother, Lisa Abeler, to portray a couple in the project who are exasperated about phone use at the table and come up with a pretty radical solution to address it!

Matthew Abeler စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၄၊ နိုဝင်ဘာ ၂၆၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

The basis of the film what was Matthew Abeler saw at the dining hill at his university. “I noticed how “normal” it was for an entire group to have their phones out at the tables, sometimes oblivious to each other. I wondered how a parent would deal with the problem,” as he said to Writer’s Bone.

The setup of the film is a typical family dinner, with father, mother, and two sons. The family appears to have nice home and good food to eat, but there’s one problem. One of their sons pulls out his phone and starts busily messaging right during the middle of the meal.

The father is pretty upset about it and loudly asks his texting son, “pass the salt.” His son completely ignores the request and continues messing with his phone before finally taking a jar and sliding it toward his dad, not even bothering to look up. The camera zooms in, and we see that it’s actually pepper!

Really Really like this pose dad! hahahah! Excited to be back home for thanksgiving!

Matthew Abeler စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၃၊ နိုဝင်ဘာ ၂၄၊ တနင်္ဂနွေနေ့

At this point, the other son sees the example of his brother and takes out his own phone. Now Mom and Dad have lost any chance of having a chat with their boys or a meal without technology.

But then Abeler imagines a pretty incredible intervention! Dad pulls out an old-fashioned typewriter and starts banging away on the table, typing up a storm. Though the boys seemed to be completely lost in their screen worlds, they finally look up, completely shocked at their father’s strange behavior. “I’m sorry. I must have been, a little … distracted,” he says.

Pass the salt! (Illustration – Shutterstock | Heather A Phillips)

The boys get the point and put their phones back in their pockets, and the father finally gets the salt he had asked for. People on the internet got the point too, and the video was shared and discussed widely, with almost 19 million views on YouTube to date!

For Matthew Abeler, the problem he wanted to address “is not mere technology or media, but our confusion with more relationships meaning better relationships.” The film shows the importance of family and being good to those closest to us—a message that’s just as relevant today as it was when Abeler came up with the idea.

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Author: Robert Jay Watson

Girl With Down Syndrome Gets Married, Then Dad Reveals a Tear-Jerking Truth

For people with disabilities, life doesn’t always come easily. Many of the things able-bodied people take for granted are a big struggle, and more than any difficulties with daily tasks, differently abled people often have to face a lack of comprehension and compassion from a world that wasn’t designed for them.

When Cincinnati Enquirer sports columnist Paul Daugherty’s daughter, Jillian, who has Down syndrome, was married a few years ago, Paul Daugherty wrote an incredible letter that showed just how proud he was of how far his daughter had come and how she had defied all the odds with the power of love.

At Amazon’s brick and mortar store in Boston!

Paul Daugherty စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၇၊ ဇူလိုင် ၁၉၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

For Paul Daugherty, the revelation some 30 years ago that Jillian had Down syndrome was a tough moment. As he told WKRC in Cincinnati, as a parent of a disabled child, “you grieve a little bit, you cry a little bit, then you strap your boots on and get to work.” For Daugherty and his wife, Kerry, “she was our daughter, and we were going to make Jillian the best Jillian she could be.”

While not everything has been easy over the years, he wrote in Uncomplicated Life (2015), a memoir of raising his daughter, that the day of her diagnosis was “the last bad day.” From that time on, the Daughertys encouraged Jillian to do anything and everything she wanted to do.

https://twitter.com/NickLachey/status/674389352848297984A thumbs up for An Uncomplicated Life from @Nicklachey

Paul Daugherty စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၅၊ ဒီဇင်ဘာ ၉၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

As Daugherty told WKRC, when he and his wife, Kerry, started out raising Jillian, there were few resources and a great deal of antiquated ideas about people with Down syndrome. “We like to think that we did a lot of work on Jillian’s behalf that now helps other parents with kids with disabilities.”

While Jillian has had her share of adversity, she’s also had many triumphs as an adult, including graduating from Northern Kentucky University in the Greater Cincinnati area, becoming the manager of the basketball team there, and most specially for her and her family, meeting the love of her life, Ryan Mavripilis.

Jillian Daugherty Mavriplis စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၅၊ ဇူလိုင် ၂၄၊ သောကြာနေ့

The two were married on June 27, 2015, and Paul Daugherty wrote and read a letter to his daughter that expressed his love and support for her on that important day. The heartfelt letter left everyone in tears and stands as a moving tribute to the power of people to accomplish anything they set their minds to as they long as they have a loving family behind them.

The letter was published on The Mighty and has an incredibly inspiring message for everyone. Daugherty asks his daughter, “do you remember all the stuff they said you’d never do, Jills? You wouldn’t ride a two-wheeler or play sports. You wouldn’t go to college. You certainly wouldn’t get married. Now… look at you.”

Describing how happy he and his wife, Kerry, were when they met Ryan, her dad lets her know how excited and supportive he is for the next part of her journey. “Now, you and Ryan are taking a different walk together. It’s a new challenge, but it’s no more daunting for you than anyone else. Given who you are, it might be less so. Happiness comes easily to you. As does your ability to make happiness for others.”

Jillian Daugherty Mavriplis စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၂၊ ဩဂုတ် ၈၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

Paying tribute to his daughter, who never stopped trying to learn, to grow, and to connect with other people, her dad can’t help but feel blessed. “I don’t know what the odds are of a woman born with Down syndrome marrying the love of her life. I only know you’ve beaten them.”

Her dad concludes the letter with moving, “uncomplicated” words, just like his daughter’s incredible life. “My little girl, all in white, crossing the threshold of yet another conquered dream. I stand breathless and transfixed, utterly in the moment. ‘You look beautiful’ is the best I can do.”

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Author: Robert Jay Watson