Trump cancels Nancy Pelosi foreign trip citing shutdown

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Mr Trump has postponed Ms Pelosi’s trip a day after she called on him to postpone his address to Congress

US President Donald Trump has postponed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s upcoming trip to Brussels, Afghanistan and Egypt, citing the government shutdown.

“I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate,” Mr Trump said in a letter.

Mrs Pelosi urged Mr Trump on Wednesday to postpone his State of the Union address, citing the political deadlock.

Mr Trump’s move came on the 27th day of a partial US government shutdown.

The Republican president wants $5.7bn (£4.4bn) of congressional funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, but Democrats have refused.

According to Fox News, Mr Trump’s cancellation of the trip emerged barely half an hour before the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives was scheduled to leave on Thursday afternoon.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders shared the letter in a tweet.

“I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the Strong Border Security movement to end the Shutdown,” Mr Trump wrote.

“Obviously if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.

“I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous Southern Border finally receiving the attention, funding, and security it so desperately deserves!”

A White House official told US media the president was able to halt the foreign trip by Mrs Pelosi and a congressional delegation because they were set to use military aircraft.

Mrs Pelosi’s travel had not been announced before Mr Trump’s letter.

Some commentators expressed dismay that the president would reveal plans about a trip to war zone by a congresswoman who is second in line to the presidency.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told reporters the president’s “petty” action “demeans the presidency”.

Fox News also reports that members of Congress who were due to join the trip have been left sitting on a US Air Force bus at Capitol Hill.

The California representative’s office has not yet responded to the president’s letter.

In her own letter to Mr Trump on Wednesday, Mrs Pelosi called on him to reschedule his annual address to Congress since “the extraordinary demands presented” by the event could not be met during the shutdown.

Mr Trump has not yet directly responded to the request to move his speech.

Earlier on Thursday, Ms Pelosi told reporters that the Democrats did not want security officers working unpaid.

“Maybe he thinks it’s okay not to pay people who work,” Ms Pelosi said. “I don’t.”

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U.S. separated ‘thousands’ more immigrant children than known: watchdog

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government may have separated “thousands” more immigrant children from their parents than previously known but inadequate record-keeping means the exact number is still unclear, an internal watchdog said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: Immigrant children are led by staff in single file between tents at a detention facility next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S., June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

The Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the agency had identified many more children in addition to the 2,737 included as part of a class action lawsuit challenging family separations brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last year.

The administration of President Donald Trump implemented a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to criminally prosecute and jail all illegal border crossers even those traveling with their children, leading to a wave of separations last year. The policy sparked outrage when it became public, and the backlash led Trump to sign an executive order reversing course on June 20, 2018.

But the auditor said in a report that prior to the officially announced ‘zero tolerance’ policy, the government began ramping up separations in 2017 for other reasons related to a child’s safety and well-being, including separating parents with criminal records or lack of proper documents.

The report also said more than 100 minors, including more than two dozen under five years old, were separated after the President’s executive order.

Katie Waldman, a spokeswoman for U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said the practice of separating apprehended minors from adults to protect the interests of the children has been standard practice “for more than a decade.”

Reuters reported in June that from October 2016 through February 2018, before the official ‘zero tolerance’ policy was in place, nearly 1,800 immigrant families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

These separations, though, were only tracked informally, making it impossible for the auditor to know the exact number overall.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), which is run by HHS and is responsible for the care of immigrant children, initially recorded separated minors in an Excel spreadsheet and later a database program. “However, use of these tools was not formalized in procedures, and access was limited,” the auditor said.

ORR said in an statement that the agency “has only limited resources,” and that counting prior DHS separations would take away from its main focus of caring for children in government custody. It said it has modified its case management process to interview children at intake and flag cases where there are signs of separation.

The government was ordered to reunite the more than 2,700 families covered by the ACLU lawsuit and report back about the progress of those reunifications regularly to a federal district court in California, including the status of around 400 parents that were deported without their children.

But little is known about the fate of the potentially thousands of children who were released but not covered by the class action, the auditor said. Legally the length of time immigrant children can be held in detention is limited and the government is charged with finding adequate sponsors or care for children who cross the border alone or are separated.

“ORR was unable to provide a more precise estimate or specific information about these children’s placements,” for example if they were placed with relatives or in foster care.

Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the ACLU case said in a statement: “We will be back in court over this latest revelation.”

Congressional Democrats said they have already started investigating the issue and plan to hold oversight hearings.


Separations have also continued since Trump’s June executive order ending ‘zero tolerance.’ At least 118 children were separated between July 1 and Nov. 7, 2018, 82 of them were under the age of 13 and 27 of them under the age of 5, according to the report.

Of those, 65 were separated because the parents had a criminal history but in some cases the agency did not provide the details of that history. Other reasons cited included a parent’s gang affiliation, illness or hospitalization or an adult claiming to be a legal guardian of a child without proof.

Anthony Enriquez, director of the unaccompanied minors program at Catholic Charities in New York, said his agency is representing dozens of children who were separated from their parents after June last year.

He said there seems to be no standard for information sharing between the agencies, even months after the government was ordered to reunite many of the families by a court.

Immigrant children, many of whom have been separated from their parents under a new “zero tolerance” policy by the Trump administration, are being housed in tents next to the Mexican border in Tornillo, Texas, U.S. June 18, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

“These children are constantly asking, ‘Where is my parent?’,” he said.

The auditor raised concerns that the government is still not adequately counting separation cases.

“It is not yet clear whether recent changes to ORR’s systems and processes are sufficient to ensure consistent and accurate data about separated children,” the report said.

Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; additional reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; editing by Susan Thomas

Prince Philip, 97, escapes unhurt from car crash

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Philip waits for the bridal procession following the wedding of Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, near London, Britain October 12, 2018. Alastair Grant/Pool via REUTERS/File photo

LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth’s husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, 97, escaped uninjured from a car crash while driving on Thursday near the Sandringham estate in eastern England, Buckingham Palace said.

Police said two people in a car that collided with the prince’s had been treated for minor injuries.

Pictures from the scene showed a Range Rover overturned on the side of the road. The accident occurred when Philip had been pulling out of a driveway onto a main road, the BBC reported. It quoted a witness as saying the Duke was very shaken.

“The Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a road traffic accident with another vehicle this afternoon,” the palace said in a statement. “The Duke was not injured. The accident took place close to the Sandringham Estate.”

A palace spokeswoman later confirmed Philip was at the wheel and that he was checked by a doctor afterwards. He did not go to hospital and was now back at Sandringham, the private country residence owned by Queen Elizabeth in Norfolk, in the east of England.

Local police said they were called to the scene around 1500 GMT following reports of a collision involving two cars.

Philip married Elizabeth in 1947 and has been by his wife’s side throughout her long reign.

Since retiring from official solo duties in 2017, he has appeared in public alongside the Queen and other members of the royal family at events and church services. He had successful hip replacement surgery last year.

The former naval officer did not accompany the Queen to a church service on Christmas Day last month though a royal source said he was in good health.

Reporting by Stephen Addison and Andrew MacAskill

Saturn hasn’t always had rings

One of the last acts of NASA’s Cassini spacecraft before its death plunge into Saturn’s hydrogen and helium atmosphere was to coast between the planet and its rings and let them tug it around, essentially acting as a gravity probe.

Precise measurements of Cassini’s final trajectory have now allowed scientists to make the first accurate estimate of the amount of material in the planet’s rings, weighing them based on the strength of their gravitational pull.

That estimate — about 40 percent of the mass of Saturn’s moon Mimas, which itself is 2,000 times smaller than Earth’s moon — tells them that the rings are relatively recent, having originated less than 100 million years ago and perhaps as recently as 10 million years ago.

Their young age puts to rest a long-running argument among planetary scientists. Some thought that the rings formed along with the planet 4.5 billion years ago from icy debris remaining in orbit after the formation of the solar system. Others thought the rings were very young and that Saturn had, at some point, captured an object from the Kuiper belt or a comet and gradually reduced it to orbiting rubble.

The new mass estimate is based on a measurement of how much the flight path of Cassini was deflected by the gravity of the rings when the spacecraft flew between the planet and the rings on its final set of orbits in September 2017. Initially, however, the deflection did not match predictions based on models of the planet and rings. Only when the team accounted for very deep flowing winds in atmosphere on Saturn — something impossible to observe from space — did the measurements make sense, allowing them to calculate the mass of the rings.

“The first time I looked at the data I didn’t believe it, because I trusted our models and it took a while to sink in that there was some effect that changed the gravity field that we had not considered,” said Burkhard Militzer, a professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley, who models planetary interiors. “That turned out to be massive flows in the atmosphere at least 9,000 kilometers deep around the equatorial region. We thought preliminarily that these clouds were like clouds on Earth, which are confined to a thin layer and contain almost no mass. But on Saturn they are really massive.”

They also calculated that the surface clouds at Saturn’s equator rotate 4 percent faster than the layer 9,000 kilometers (about 6,000 miles) deep. That deeper layer takes 9 minutes longer to rotate than do the cloud tops at the equator, which go around the planet once every 10 hours, 33 minutes.

“The discovery of deeply rotating layers is a surprising revelation about the internal structure of the planet,” said Cassini project scientist Linda Spilker of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The question is what causes the more rapidly rotating part of the atmosphere to go so deep and what does that tell us about Saturn’s interior.”

Militzer also was able to calculate that the rocky core of the planet must be between 15 and 18 times the mass of Earth, which is similar to earlier estimates.

The team, led by Luciano Iess at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, reported their results today in the journal Science.

Did rings come from icy comet?

Earlier estimates of the mass of Saturn’s rings — between one-half and one-third the mass of Mimas — came from studying the density waves that travel around the rocky, icy rings. These waves are caused by the planet’s 62 satellites, including Mimas, which creates the so-called Cassini division between the two largest rings, A and B. Mimas is smooth and round, 246 kilometers in diameter. It has a big impact crater that makes it resemble the Death Star from the Star Wars movies.

“People didn’t trust the wave measurements because there might be particles in the rings that are massive but are not participating in the waves,” Militzer said. “We always suspected there was some hidden mass that we could not see in the waves.”

Luckily, as Cassini approached the end of its life, NASA programmed it to perform 22 dives between the planet and the rings to probe Saturn’s gravity field. Earth-based radio telescopes measured the spacecraft’s velocity to within a fraction of a millimeter per second.

The new ring mass value is in the range of earlier estimates and allows the researchers to determine their age.

These age calculations, led by Philip Nicholson of Cornell University and Iess, built on a connection that scientists had previously made between the mass of the rings and their age. Lower mass points to a younger age, because the rings are initially made of ice and are bright but over time become contaminated and darkened by interplanetary debris.

“These measurements were only possible because Cassini flew so close to the surface in its final hours,” Militzer said. “It was a classic, spectacular way to end the mission.”

How to rapidly image entire brains at nanoscale resolution

Eric Betzig didn’t expect the experiment to work.

Two scientists, Ruixuan Gao and Shoh Asano, wanted to use his team’s microscope on brain samples expanded to four times their usual size — blown up like balloons. The duo, part of Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator Ed Boyden’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), uses a chemical technique to make small specimens bigger so scientists can more easily see molecular details.

Their technique, called expansion microscopy, worked well on single cells or thin tissue sections imaged in conventional light microscopes, but Boyden’s team wanted to image vastly larger chunks of tissue. They wanted to see complete neural circuits spanning millimeters or more. The scientists needed a microscope that was high-speed, high resolution, and relatively gentle — something that didn’t destroy a sample before they could finish imaging it.

So, they turned to Betzig. His team at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus had used their lattice light-sheet microscope to image the rapid subcellular dynamics of sensitive living cells in 3-D. Combining the two microscopy techniques could potentially offer rapid, detailed images of wide swaths of brain tissue.

“I thought they were full of it,” Betzig remembers. “The idea does sound a bit crude,” Gao says. “We’re stretching tissues apart.” But Betzig invited Gao and Asano to try the lattice scope out.

“I was going to show them,” Betzig laughs. Instead, he was blown away. “I couldn’t believe the quality of the data I was seeing. You could have knocked me over with a feather.”

Now, he and his Janelia colleagues have teamed up with Boyden’s group and imaged the entire fruit fly brain and sections of mouse brain the thickness of the cortex. Their combined method offers high resolution with the ability to visualize any desired protein — and it’s fast, too. Imaging the fly brain in multiple colors took just 62.5 hours, compared to the years it would take using an electron microscope, Boyden, Betzig, and their colleagues report January 17, 2018, in the journal, Science.

“I can see us getting to the point of imaging at least 10 fly brains per day,” says Betzig, now an HHMI investigator at the University of California, Berkeley. Such speed and resolution will let scientists ask new questions, he says, like how brains differ between males and females, or how brain circuits vary between flies of the same type.

Boyden’s group dreams of making a map of the brain so detailed you can simulate it in a computer. “We’ve crossed a threshold in imaging performance,” he says. “That’s why we’re so excited. We’re not just scanning incrementally more brain tissue, we’re scanning entire brains.”

Expanding the brain

Making detailed maps of the brain requires charting its activity and wiring — in humans, the thousands of connections made by each of more than 80 billion neurons. Such maps could help scientists spot where brain disease begins, build better artificial intelligence, or even explain behavior. “That’s like the holy grail for neuroscience,” Boyden says.

Years ago, his group had an idea to figure out how everything was organized: What if they could actually make the brain bigger — big enough to look inside? By infusing samples with swellable gels — like the stuff in baby diapers — the team invented a way to expand tissues, making the molecules inside less crowded and easier to see under a microscope. Molecules lock into a gel scaffold, keeping the same relative positions even after expansion.

But it wasn’t easy to image large tissue volumes. The thicker a specimen gets, the harder it is to illuminate only the parts you want to see. Shining too much light on samples can photobleach them, burning out the fluorescent “bulbs” scientists use to light up cells.

Expanding a sample just four-fold increases its volume 64-fold, so imaging speed also becomes paramount, Gao says. “We needed something that was fast and didn’t have much photobleaching, and we knew there was a fantastic microscope at Janelia.”

The lattice light-sheet microscope sweeps an ultrathin sheet of light through a specimen, illuminating only that part in the microscope’s plane of focus. That helps out-of-focus areas stay dark, keeping a specimen’s fluorescence from being extinguished.

When Gao and Asano first tested their expanded mouse tissues on the lattice scope, they saw a thicket of glowing nubs protruding from neurons’ branches. These nubs, called dendritic spines, often look like mushrooms, with bulbous heads on skinny necks that can be hard to measure. But the scientists were able to see even “the smallest necks possible,” Asano says, while simultaneously imaging synaptic proteins nearby.

“It was incredibly impressive,” says Betzig. The team was convinced that they should explore the combined technique further. “And that’s what we’ve been doing ever since,” he says.

The brain and beyond

Over the last two years, Gao and Asano have spent months at Janelia, teaming up with biologists, microscopists, physicists, and computer scientists across the campus to capture and analyze images. “This is like an Avengers-level collaboration,” Gao says, referring to the crew of comic book superheroes.

Yoshinori Aso and the FlyLight team provided high-quality fly brain specimens, which Gao and Asano expanded and used to collect some 50,000 cubes of data across each brain — forming a kind of 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Those images required complicated computational stitching to put the pieces back together, work led by Stephan Saalfeld and Igor Pisarev. “Stephen and Igor saved our bacon,” Betzig says. “They dealt with all the horrible little details of image processing and made it work on each multi-terabyte data set.”

Next, Srigokul Upadhyayula from Harvard Medical School, a co-first author of the report, analyzed the combined 200 terabytes of data and created the stunning movies that showcase the brain’s intricacies in vivid color. He and his coauthors investigated more than 1,500 dendritic spines, imaged fatty sheaths that insulate mouse nerve cells, highlighted all of the dopaminergic neurons, and counted all the synapses across the entire fly brain.

The nuances of Boyden’s team expansion technique make it well suited for the lattice scope; the technique produces nearly transparent samples. For the microscope, it’s almost like looking through water, rather than a turbid sea of molecular gunk. “The result is that we get crystal clear images at blazingly fast speeds over very large volumes compared to earlier microscopy techniques,” Boyden says.

Still, challenges remain. As with any kind of super resolution fluorescence microscopy, Betzig says, it can be hard to decorate proteins with enough fluorescent bulbs to see them clearly at high resolution. And since expansion microscopy requires many processing steps, there’s still the potential for artifacts to be introduced. Because of this, he says, “we worked very hard to validate what we’ve done, and others would be well advised to do the same.”

Now, Gao and the Janelia team are building a new lattice light-sheet microscope, which they plan to move to Boyden’s lab at MIT. “Our hope is to rapidly make maps of entire nervous systems,” Boyden says.

Scientists find increase in asteroid impacts on ancient Earth by studying the Moon

An international team of scientists is challenging our understanding of a part of Earth’s history by looking at the Moon, the most complete and accessible chronicle of the asteroid collisions that carved our solar system.

In a study published today in Science, the team shows the number of asteroid impacts on the Moon and Earth increased by two to three times starting around 290 million years ago.

“Our research provides evidence for a dramatic change in the rate of asteroid impacts on both Earth and the Moon that occurred around the end of the Paleozoic era,” said lead author Sara Mazrouei, who recently earned her PhD in the Department of Earth Sciences in the Faculty of Arts & Science at the University of Toronto (U of T). “The implication is that since that time we have been in a period of relatively high rate of asteroid impacts that is 2.6 times higher than it was prior to 290 million years ago.”

It had been previously assumed that most of Earth’s older craters produced by asteroid impacts have been erased by erosion and other geologic processes. But the new research shows otherwise.

“The relative rarity of large craters on Earth older than 290 million years and younger than 650 million years is not because we lost the craters, but because the impact rate during that time was lower than it is now,” said Rebecca Ghent, an associate professor in U of T’s Department of Earth Sciences and one of the paper’s co-authors. “We expect this to be of interest to anyone interested in the impact history of both Earth and the Moon, and the role that it might have played in the history of life on Earth.”

Scientists have for decades tried to understand the rate that asteroids hit Earth by using radiometric dating of the rocks around them to determine their ages. But because it was believed erosion caused some craters to disappear, it was difficult to find an accurate impact rate and determine whether it had changed over time.

A way to sidestep this problem is to examine the Moon, which is hit by asteroids in the same proportions over time as Earth. But there was no way to determine the ages of lunar craters until NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) started circling the Moon a decade ago and studying its surface.

“The LRO’s instruments have allowed scientists to peer back in time at the forces that shaped the Moon,” said Noah Petro, an LRO project scientist based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

Using LRO data, the team was able to assemble a list of ages of all lunar craters younger than about a billion years. They did this by using data from LRO’s Diviner instrument, a radiometer that measures the heat radiating from the Moon’s surface, to monitor the rate of degradation of young craters.

During the lunar night, rocks radiate much more heat than fine-grained soil called regolith. This allows scientists to distinguish rocks from fine particles in thermal images. Ghent had previously used this information to calculate the rate at which large rocks around the Moon’s young craters — ejected onto the surface during asteroid impact — break down into soil as a result of a constant rain of tiny meteorites over tens of millions of years. By applying this idea, the team was able to calculate ages for previously un-dated lunar craters.

When compared to a similar timeline of Earth’s craters, they found the two bodies had recorded the same history of asteroid bombardment.

“It became clear that the reason why Earth has fewer older craters on its most stable regions is because the impact rate was lower up until about 290 million years ago,” said William Bottke, an asteroid expert at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado and another of the paper’s coauthors. “The answer to Earth’s impact rate was staring everyone right in the face.”

The reason for the jump in the impact rate is unknown, though the researchers speculate it might be related to large collisions taking place more than 300 million years ago in the main asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Such events can create debris that can reach the inner solar system.

Ghent and her colleagues found strong supporting evidence for their findings through a collaboration with Thomas Gernon, an Earth scientist based at the University of Southampton in England who works on a terrestrial feature called kimberlite pipes. These underground pipes are long-extinct volcanoes that stretch, in a carrot shape, a couple of kilometers below the surface, and are found on some of the least eroded regions of Earth in the same places preserved impact craters are found.

“The Canadian shield hosts some of the best-preserved and best-studied of this terrain — and also some of the best-studied large impact craters,” said Mazrouei.

Gernon showed that kimberlite pipes formed since about 650 million years ago had not experienced much erosion, indicating that the large impact craters younger than this on stable terrains must also be intact.

“This is how we know those craters represent a near-complete record,” Ghent said.

While the researchers weren’t the first to propose that the rate of asteroid strikes to Earth has fluctuated over the past billion years, they are the first to show it statistically and to quantify the rate.

“The findings may also have implications for the history of life on Earth, which is punctuated by extinction events and rapid evolution of new species,” said Ghent. “Though the forces driving these events are complicated and may include other geologic causes, such as large volcanic eruptions, combined with biological factors, asteroid impacts have surely played a role in this ongoing saga.

“The question is whether the predicted change in asteroid impacts can be directly linked to events that occurred long ago on Earth.”

The findings are described in the study “Earth and Moon impact flux increased at the end of the Paleozoic,” published in Science. Support for the research was provided by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, and the Natural Environment Research Council of the United Kingdom.

Britain should delay Brexit to hold citizen assemblies, Gordon Brown says

LONDON (Reuters) – Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Thursday the government should delay the formal process of leaving the European Union by a year to hold citizens’ assemblies to break the political impasse over Brexit.

FILE PHOTO: Gordon Brown speaks during a news conference during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

With the clock ticking down to March 29, the date set in law for Brexit, the United Kingdom is now in the deepest political crisis in half a century as it grapples with how, or even whether, to exit the European project it joined in 1973.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Theresa May’s two-year attempt to forge an amicable divorce with an independent trade policy was crushed by parliament in the biggest defeat for a British leader in modern history.

Brown, Labour prime minister from 2007 to 2010, said there was rising public anger over what people perceive as an out-of-touch elite and a paralysed parliament.

“It is the lethal combination of a deadlocked parliament, an ever-more divided country and the mounting distrust between parliament and people that makes me fear for our cohesion,” he said in a speech in Edinburgh.

“If parliament on its own cannot solve the problems it has created and if we are in uncharted waters – like a boat at sea, with no compass, no map and no life jackets – it is time to think afresh.”

Citizens’ assemblies, which have been deployed around the world, see members of the public confront social or political challenges politicians have been unable to resolve.

Facilitated by experts, they are aimed at removing the conflicts of interest and loyalties that can hamper politicians in reaching a conclusion.

Brown said they have been used in Canada, the United States Ireland to tackle thorny political topics such as abortion legislation.

He said that over the past two centuries, parliament had eventually been able to resolve other political crises by compromise and reform. But the current situation was unique because parliament seemed incapable of breaking the deadlock.

“Precisely because parliament has reached an impasse, citizens’ assemblies offer a fresh opportunity for parliament to hear how representative groups of people across all regions and nations think unity can be restored,” he said. 

Editing by Stephen Addison

Warren Street baby: Student helps deliver newborn at Tube station

Ambulance and paramedics at Warren Street stationImage copyright

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The London Ambulance Service was called to Warren Street Station

A medical student who helped deliver a baby at a central London Tube station said it was a panicked situation.

Hamzah Selim, 21, was on his way home from an anatomy lecture when he heard a woman screaming for help at Warren Street Station on Tuesday afternoon.

The first-year medic rushed to help the woman, who was standing in a “pool of blood” alongside her sister, and used his jumper to protect the newborn.

The mother and her baby were then taken to hospital by paramedics.

Mr Selim initially thought a fight had broken out between two women when he heard screaming and swearing at the station .

‘Utter panic’

He helped her to sit down as he feared she might faint because of the extensive blood loss.

He said he “felt something warm, instinctively looked down and saw a little baby’s head with its arms side by side”.

“All the blood left me in that moment,” he added.

The woman was with her sister, he said, who had been “incredible” and had begun delivering the baby prior to his arrival.

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Hamzah Selim

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Hamzah Selim is currently building an app to screen for dementia as part of his degree

Mr Selim has not studied midwifery but had just spent the past few weeks at a neo-natal unit as part of his degree at University College London.

“I knew a little bit of what to do. I had to lower the woman. I took my jumper off and wrapped the baby in it.

“I held the baby in horror. It wasn’t responding so I immediately went to the worst possible thought.”

He said he called for “someone more qualified” to help but that “there was no-one there”.

He tried to feel the baby’s pulse but could not feel anything. “I was in utter panic.”

It then came back to him to test the baby’s reflexes and, after rubbing its cheek, “it just coughed in my face, and it was the best moment of my life,” he said.

He handed the baby wrapped in his jumper to the mother before the paramedics arrived.

“The mum was incredible, she was so strong, and so much more brave than me,” he said.

Mr Selim also said Transport for London staff had provided them with “some privacy” by holding up a blanket protecting the mother from onlookers who walked past and started filming.

The London Ambulance Service said it treated the woman and baby at the scene and took them both to hospital “as a priority”.

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Oxford University suspends funding from China’s Huawei

FILE PHOTO: A man walking past a Huawei P20 smartphone advertisement is reflected in a glass door in front of a Huawei logo at a shopping mall in Shanghai, China December 6, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – The University of Oxford said on Thursday it has stopped accepting funding from China’s Huawei Technologies [HWT.UL], the leading global supplier of telecoms network equipment, after scrutiny over the company’s relationship with China’s government.

“Oxford University decided on January 8 this year that it will not pursue new funding opportunities with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd or its related group companies at present,” the university said in a statement.

“The decision has been taken in the light of public concerns raised in recent months surrounding UK partnerships with Huawei. We hope these matters can be resolved shortly.”

A Huawei spokesman said they had not been informed of the Oxford decision and only found out when it was reported in the media.

Reporting By Andrew MacAskill; editing by Stephen Addison

Prince Philip unhurt after car crash – palace

Duke of Edinburgh on 24 June 2018Image copyright

The Duke of Edinburgh has been involved in a car crash, Buckingham Palace has said.

Prince Philip, 97, was not injured in the accident, which happened close to the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk on Thursday.

Buckingham Palace said the crash involved another vehicle and police attended the scene.

The Queen and Prince Philip have been staying in Sandringham since Christmas.

The duke, who is the Queen’s husband, did not join the Royal Family for their Christmas Day church service.

He retired from public life in August 2017.

His retirement came after decades supporting the Queen and attending events for his own charities and organisations.

Buckingham Palace calculated he had completed 22,219 solo engagements since 1952.

Since retiring from official solo duties, he has appeared in public alongside the Queen and other members of the royal family at events and church services.

In April last year he underwent a successful hip replacement operation in hospital.

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