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Ukraine withdraws from Xinjiang-related anti-China statement

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Dog ejected from car during Sunday crash found on sheep farm, herding sheep

UPDATE: JUNE 8 AT 10:28 A.M.
Tilly, the 2-year-old Border Collie who was ejected from a car Sunday during a crash, has been found.
He was found on a sheep farm, where he had apparently taken up the role of sheep herder. 

According to Tilly's owner, he has lost some weight since Sunday's crash and is now drinking lots of water but is otherwise healthy. 
RATHDRUM, Idaho - The Idaho State Police (ISP) is investigation after a crash blocked SH-41 and Hayden Avenue on Sunday afternoon. 

ISP said they are looking for people who witnessed the incident. 
The crash happened when a GMC Yukon towing a white horse trailer attempted to turn south onto SH-41 when a Buick struck the GMC. 
The driver of the Buick, a man from Spirit Lake, was transported to a nearby hospital and was treated and released. No one else was injured.
During the crash, a dog was ejected from the rear of the GMC and is still missing. 
ISP said the dog is a 2-year-old Border Collie Heeler mix that goes by the name "Tilly". Tilly has no tail, a dark-colored face, weighs approximately 70 pounds, and was wearing a multi-colored plaid and tan-colored collar with a name tag containing the owner's contact information.
Tilly was last seen running northwest from the crash scene through the field. 
If you have any information on Tilly's whereabouts, you are asked to call State Police at (208) 209-7830, or the Kootenai County Sheriff Office's Animal Control at (208) 446-1300.

東洋代理疫苗破局羅生門 林全還原真相 - 今周刊






政府採購量不如預期  東洋居中牽線失敗
















EXCLUSIVE China's Tencent in talks with U.S. to keep gaming investments -sources

Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK) is negotiating agreements with a U.S. national security panel that would allow it to keep its ownership stakes in U.S. video game developers Riot Games and Epic Games, according to people familiar with the matter.
Tencent has been in talks with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has the authority to order the Chinese technology giant to divest U.S. holdings, since the second half of last year, the sources said.
CFIUS has been looking in to whether Epic Games' and Riot Games' handling of the personal data of their users constitutes a national security risk because of their Chinese ownership, the sources added.
Tencent owns a 40% stake in Epic Games, the maker of popular video game Fortnite. Tencent also bought a majority stake in Riot Games in 2011 and acquired the rest of the company in 2015. Riot Games is the developer of "League of Legends," one of the world's most popular desktop-based games.
Tencent is negotiating risk-mitigation measures with CFIUS so it can keep its investments, according to the sources. The details of the proposed measures could not be learned. They typically involve ringfencing the owner of a company from operations that have national security implications. They often call for the appointment of independent auditors to monitor the implementation of these agreements.
One of the sources said Epic Games has not been sharing any user data with Tencent.
The sources cautioned there is no certainty that Tencent will clinch deals to keep its investments and asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential.
A Tencent logo is seen in Beijing, China September 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tingshu WangTencent, Epic Games and a CFIUS representative at the U.S. Treasury Department declined to comment.
A Riot Games spokesman said the Los Angeles-based company operates independently of Tencent and that it has implemented "industry-leading practices" to protect player data. He declined to comment on Riot Games' discussions with CFIUS.
CFIUS has been cracking down on Chinese ownership of U.S. technology assets in the last few years, amid an escalation in tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade, human rights and the protection of intellectual property. U.S. officials have expressed concerns that the personal data of U.S. citizens could end up in the hands of China's Communist Party government.
President Joe Biden's administration has maintained the hawkish stance against China inherited in January from his predecessor Donald Trump, albeit with more of a focus on geopolitical issues such as the future of Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as China's persecution of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
Yet many key CFIUS roles have not yet been staffed. This has provided a reprieve to China's ByteDance, which was ordered by Trump last year to sell its popular short video app TikTok but balked at a transaction that would have involved Oracle Corp (ORCL.N) and Walmart Inc (WMT.N). CFIUS has not sought to enforce the divestiture order under Biden.
Epic is locked in a legal fight with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) over access to the iPhone maker's app store. It alleges that Apple forces developers to use its in-app payment systems - which charge commissions of up to 30% - and to submit to app-review guidelines that discriminate against products that compete with Apple's own.
Apple argues that Epic Games broke their contract when it introduced its own in-app payment system in Fortnite to circumvent Apple's commissions. It says the way it runs the app store inspires trust in consumers to open up their wallets to unknown developers. read more
Tencent's vast businesses include video games, content streaming, social media, advertising and cloud services. China has in recent months sought to curb the economic and social power of Tencent and other internet companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (9988.HK), in a clampdown backed by President Xi Jinping. Reuters reported last week that Beijing was preparing a substantial antitrust fine for Tencent. read more
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Facebook moderator: ‘Every day was a nightmare’

She said her experience drove her to give evidence: “I just had such a feeling that I needed to do it,” she added in her testimony. “I need to speak for the people that are too afraid, that feel they have too many responsibilities, and they can't afford to take any risks."


Illustration by The New York Times; photographs by Al Drago and Tom Brenner for The New York Times, and samxmeg/Getty Images

德语媒体:双赢互惠的德中关系已经成为历史 | DW | 29.04.2021

(德国之声中文网)《南德意志报》发表评论称,如何对待北京是德国政府面临的一个棘手问题,改变北京不可能,但孤立北京也绝不是一个睿智和可行的选项。《南德意志报》外交事务首席记者Stefan Kornelius在题为《德中双赢互惠的时代已经成为过去》的评论写道:
那么,中国的目的究竟是什么呢? 中国共产党对此并不讳言。德中政府磋商期间,中国总理李克强明确表示:不欢迎外部干涉。中国不允许外界提出批评。中国发出的信号是:你们必须习惯于我们的措辞方式,必须接受我们的少数民族政策。除此之外,你们别无选择。
© 2021年 德国之声版权声明:本文所有内容受到著作权法保护,如无德国之声特别授权,不得擅自使用。任何不当行为都将导致追偿,并受到刑事追究。

DNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises Biologists

genomicsDNA of Giant ‘Corpse Flower’ Parasite Surprises BiologistsBy Christie WilcoxApril 21, 2021
The bizarre genome of the world’s most mysterious flowering plants shows how far parasites will go in stealing, deleting and duplicating DNA.The world’s biggest flower, Rafflesia arnoldii, is a parasite that spends much of its life inside its vine hosts. New genomic work suggests that the parasites in this group of plants have lost an astonishing share of their genes.


They are invisible at first. In their Southeast Asian forest homes, they grow as thin strands of cells, foreign fibers sometimes more than 10 meters long that weave through the vital tissues of their vine hosts, siphoning nourishment from them. Even under a microscope, the single-file lines of cells are nearly indistinguishable from the vine’s own. They seem more like a fungus than a plant.

But when the drive to breed awakens them, the members of the Rafflesiaceae family erupt as immense, stemless, rubbery red “corpse flowers” covered in polka dots, with a putrid smell like rotting meat designed to draw pollinating carrion flies. The blooms of one species, Rafflesia arnoldii, are the largest flowers in the world — each one can be more than a meter across and weigh a whopping 10 kilograms, roughly the heft of a toddler.

More than a decade ago, Rafflesiaceae parasites caught the eye of Jeanmaire Molina, an evolutionary plant biologist at Long Island University in Brooklyn, who wondered if their genomes were as bizarre as their outward forms. Her initial investigations suggested they were. As she and her colleagues described it in a 2014 paper in Molecular Biology and Evolution, they successfully assembled the mitochondrial DNA from one Philippines species of Rafflesia. But they were unable to detect any functional genes from its chloroplasts. The plants seemed to have simply ditched their entire chloroplast genome.

That was almost unthinkable. Chloroplasts are best known for using light to make food, but like all the food-making organelles called plastids, they contain genes that are involved in many key cellular processes. Even malaria parasites still carry a plastid genome, Molina noted, and their last photosynthetic ancestor lived hundreds of millions of years ago.

Recent research compiled the first draft nuclear genome of a Rafflesiaceae parasite, Sapria himalayana.


This shocking finding has now been confirmed by an independent research team from Harvard University. The draft genome for another member of the Rafflesiaceae family that they recently published in Current Biology is full of surprises, showing how far parasites can go in shedding superfluous genes and acquiring useful new ones from their hosts. It also deepens mysteries about the role of highly mobile genetic elements that don’t encode proteins in enabling evolutionary changes. Perhaps the greatest lesson of the study is how much we still have to learn about genomics, particularly in plants, and in parasites — a category of organisms that includes more than 40% of all known species.

Losing to Win
Like Molina, Charles Davis, a professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University and the curator of vascular plants in the Harvard University Herbaria, was drawn into studying the Rafflesiaceae because they are the most “charismatic and enigmatic of all the quarter-million species of flowering plants,” he said.

He has been trying to reveal their many secrets for nearly 15 years, but a nuclear genome sequence always proved elusive. Finally, his doctoral student Liming Cai (now a postdoctoral researcher in systematic biology at the University of California, Riverside) stepped up to spearhead the project, and with the help of the university’s informatics group and its director of bioinformatics, Timothy Sackton, the team was finally able to put together a draft genome for Sapria himalayana, a species with blooms the size of a human head.

Sapria’s genome follows several trends seen in many other parasitic plants (and in parasites more generally). Like them, Sapria has done away with many genes considered essential to its free-living relatives. Because parasites steal from their hosts, they essentially outsource the labor of metabolism, so they don’t need all the moving biochemical parts of an independent plant cell.

Still, Davis was shocked to see that nearly half of the genes widely conserved across plant lineages had disappeared from Sapria. That’s more than twice as many genes as are lost from the parasitic plants called dodders (genus Cuscuta), and four times the losses in cereal-killing witchweeds (genus Striga). “We knew that there would be loss,” he said, “but we didn’t think it would be on the order of 44% of its genes.”

Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine; Source: DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.045; Photos: Aneth David (SLU) (Striga); Tyrrhium (Cuscuta); Rohit Naniwadekar  (Sapria)

And that’s in addition to the stunning deletion of the whole plastid genome that Molina’s work on Rafflesia had suggested. The only other organisms known to have jettisoned that genome are single-celled algae in the genus Polytomella, which gave up photosynthesis in favor of absorbing sustenance from the waters around them.

Molina said she found the confirmation of her team’s finding “comforting,” but also confusing, because Rafflesia still seem to make their plastid compartments. “When we did electron microscopy studies, we found plastids,” she said, “so it’s just quite bizarre that the plastids are empty.”

Sapria also seems to have cut other genetic corners. The plants have deleted the noncoding stretches of DNA within many genes. These regions, called introns, are interspersed among the parts of genes that code for the actual protein that is produced.

It might sound as though Sapria and its kin have simply made their genomes smaller and more efficient. But paradoxically, Sapria’s genome is big: an estimated 3.2 to 3.5 gigabases of DNA in total, roughly the same size as ours. What is filling up its genome?

A Life of Theft
For starters, it’s loaded with stolen genes. Davis’ team estimated that at least 1.2% of the plant’s genes came from other species, particularly its hosts, past and present. That might not sound impressive, but this kind of horizontal gene transfer is considered exceptionally rare outside of bacteria. So even a single percent of genes arising this way raises eyebrows.

Because these parasites have been stealing genes for millennia, Cai noted, their genome is like “a huge graveyard of DNA.” By carefully digging through that graveyard and comparing its contents to the genomes of 10 types of vines that seemed like potential hosts, Cai and her colleagues were able to peer back in time. “These horizontally transferred genes are serving as DNA fossils,” she said.

From these fossils, they unearthed “an extinct host-parasite association that dates back to maybe the mid-Cretaceous,” she said. Today, the roughly four dozen known species of Rafflesiaceae all infest vines from a single genus, Tetrastigma. But long before the parasites infested Tetrastigma, they seem to have infested and stolen from peppervines (genus Ampelopsis). This kind of ecological history is all but impossible to deduce from stony fossils: The parasite’s flowers don’t last long, and the thin, threadlike remains of its vegetative body are unlikely to fossilize.

Evolution on Repeat
Yet stolen genes represent only a paltry fraction of Sapria’s huge genome. The vast majority of it consists of copies of DNA sequences called transposable elements (also known as transposons or “jumping genes”). “The genome of this plant is something like 90% repeat elements,” said Sackton.

That high level of repetition is in fact why Davis struggled so long to assemble a draft genome for Sapria. Until about the past decade, genome sequencing technologies were easily stymied by DNA with too many indistinguishable, repetitive sequences. “It’s like trying to do a puzzle of a completely clear blue sky where every piece is exactly the same shape,” Sackton said. “There’s just no way to do it.”

Samuel Velasco/Quanta Magazine; Source: DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.12.045

But Cai and colleagues were able to take advantage of current sequencing technologies, which can handle much longer (and therefore more distinctive) stretches of DNA. Even so, they were only able to reconstruct what they estimate is 40% of the Sapria genome — the rest was still too repetitive.

This abundance of transposable elements is striking, says Saima Shahid, a plant biologist with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, who studies the functions of transposable elements in plants. It’s about twice what is seen in dodders. And in the other plant parasites sequenced to date, the dominant elements are “retrotransposons,” which move within the genome by first being transcribed into RNA. Sapria, however, is mostly filled with DNA transposons that repeatedly copy and paste themselves into the genome directly. “That’s somethi


印度媒體《周日衛報》(The Sunday Guardian)報道,大陸連鎖火鍋店海底撈在加拿大溫哥華的店內裝設60多個攝像鏡頭,用來拍攝員工的工作情況和用餐的客人,其影像資料可能還會傳回中國總公司。而台灣也因發現了布滿監視器的海底撈店而引發驚恐的消息。

加拿大海底撈公司尚未回應記者查詢,但印度媒體從海底撈溫哥華分店的一名潘姓經理方面得到的解釋仍令人感到不安。這名潘姓經理提到,總公司要求依照中國“社會信用體系“(Social Credit System)的規定,在該分店安裝逾60個攝像鏡頭。該店設有30張桌子,每張桌子約有兩個鏡頭。
當被問及為何海底撈會要求安裝這麼多鏡頭時,潘經理表示,這些攝影機除了用來查看員工有否遵守公司準則工作外,還可用於“追蹤特定人士“。有關影片還會傳送回中國,但該名潘姓經理拒絕說明理由,僅透露是 ”秘密“。