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8 - Thursday, October 8, 2015
American Paul Modrich and
won the 2015 Nobel Prize for
Chemistry for work on mapping
how cells repair damaged DNA,
giving insight into cancer
treatments, the award-giving
body said overnight.
“Their work has provided
fundamental knowledge of
how a living cell functions and
is, for instance, used for the
development of new cancer
treatments,” the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences said
in a statement awarding the
eight million Swedish crowns
Thousands of spontaneous
changes to a cell’s genome occur
on a daily basis while radiation,
free radicals and carcinogenic
substances can also damage DNA.
To keep genetic materials
from disintegrating, a range of
molecular systems monitor and
repair DNA, in processes that the
three award-winning scientists
all helped map out, opening the
door to applications such as new
Lindahl works at Britain’s
Francis Crick Institute and Clare
Hall Laboratory, while Modrich
is a researcher at the Howard
Hughes Medical Institute and
Duke University School of
Medicine in the United States.
Sancar, who has US and Turkish
citizenship, is a professor at the
University of North Carolina in
Chemistry was the third of
this year’s Nobel prizes. The
prize is named after dynamite
inventor Alfred Nobel and
has been awarded since 1901
for achievements in science,
literature and peace in accordance
with his will. — Reuters
DNA scientists win Nobel chemistry prize
United States President Barack Obama
apologised overnight to Medecins Sans
Frontieres for the deadly bombing of its
hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, while
the medical charity pressed its demand
for an international commission to
investigate what it calls a war crime.
MSF said that an independent
humanitarian commission created under
the Geneva Conventions in 1991 should
be activated for the first time to handle
the inquiry. Three investigations have
already begun into Saturday ’s air strike
that killed 22 people, including 12 MSF
Obama telephoned MSF, or Doctors
Without Borders, international president
Joanne Liu to apologise and express his
condolences, White House spokesman
Josh Earnest said. Asked whether
Obama offered some explanation to Liu,
Earnest said no.
“ He merely offered his heartfelt
apology ” and a commitment to find out
what went wrong, he said.
Earnest said Obama told Liu that
a US investigation would “provide a
transparent, thorough and objective
accounting of the facts and circumstances
of the incident. And that, if necessary,
the president would implement changes
to make tragedies like this one less likely
to occur in the future.”
MSF said that the commission’s inquiry
would gather facts and evidence from the
United States, Nato and Afghanistan, as
well as testimony from MSF staff and
patients who sur vived.
Only then would MSF consider
whether to bring criminal charges for
loss of life and partial destruction of its
“ If we let this go, as if it was a non-event,
we are basically giving a blank cheque to
any countries who are at war,” Liu told
a news briefing in Geneva. “If we don’t
safeguard that medical space for us to
do our activities, then it is impossible to
work in other contexts like Syria, South
Sudan, like Yemen.” — Reuters
Russia has dramatically expanded its air war
in Syria, unleashing heavy bombardments and
cruise missile strikes from the Caspian Sea as
cover for a major Syrian army ground offensive
Russian President Vladimir Putin said
Moscow had begun synchronising its strikes
with the army’s ground movements as the
Kremlin voiced willingness to make contact
with western-backed rebels that the United
States and its allies accuse it of targeting.
Putin, who turned 63 overnight, said Russian
warships had fired cruise missiles on Islamic
State group positions in Syria for the first time.
A video map released by Russia’s defence
ministry showed the missiles launched from
warships in the southern Caspian Sea and flying
close to 1500km through Iranian and Iraqi air
space before hitting targets in Syria.
A Syrian military source said government
troops had begun a broad ground operation
overnight near the village of Latmeen in Hama
province, aided by Russian air cover.
The US State Department says almost none of
Russia’s military strikes have been aimed at the
Islamic State group or jihadists tied to al Qaeda,
with most targeting the Syrian opposition.
“Greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve
seen them take to date have not been against
Isil or al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists,” spokesman
John Kirby said.
“They ’ve been largely against opposition
groups that want a better future for Syria and
don’t want to see the Assad regime stay in
The Syrian Obser vatory for Human Rights
reported at least 40 Russian air strikes in Hama
and neighbouring Idlib province, which is
controlled by the powerful Army of Conquest
alliance that includes al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra
The alliance has sought to expand into Hama
from Idlib and seize high ground to target the
neighbouring regime stronghold of Latakia
The Britain-based Obser vatory said “many
raids, believed to be from Russian warplanes,
killed six people” including two children in
Maraat al-Numan in Idlib.
It was believed at least one cruise missile
struck near the IS-held city of Al-Bab in
Aleppo province, while several others appeared
to head towards targets in Idlib.
Russia says its forces have hit 112 targets since
its operations in Syria — which it insists target
IS and other “terrorist groups” — began on
But Syrian rebels and their backers say a range
of opposition fighters, not just jihadists, have
The US-backed Suqur al-Jabal rebel group in
the northern province of Aleppo said its arms
depots had been destroyed in Russian raids.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
alleged that just two out of 57 Russian strikes
examined by Turkish intelligence had hit IS.
The Russian campaign has raised hackles in
Ankara, which accuses Moscow of violating its
air space from Syria on at least two occasions
over the weekend.
It also reported a violation by a MIG-29
fighter of unknown nationality on Monday.
up air war
IS executes 70 Sunni tribesmen in Iraq
The Islamic State group executed 70 members
of a Sunni tribe allied to the government in
western Iraq earlier this week, a tribal leader
and the United Nations say.
The victims, members of the Albu Nimr tribe,
were executed on Sunday in the Tharthar area
north of Ramadi, the capital of the western
Anbar province, tribal elder Naim Gaoud said.
“These people who were executed were the
fathers and brothers of members of the police,
the army . . . and of tribal fighters who are
battling Daesh,” he said overnight, using an
Arabic acronym for IS.
“Daesh executed them by shooting,” he said.
Iraqi security forces, backed by United States-
led coalition air strikes, launched a vast operation
west of Ramadi on Sunday to tighten the noose
on IS, which captured the Anbar capital in May
and controls most of the province.
Hatem al-Gaoud, another clan member
reached by phone, said IS had trapped dozens of
tribe members in the Khanzir area of Tharthar
since the jihadist group launched its major
offensive in Iraq last year.
“They gathered them outside Khanzir and
shot them all in the head,” he said.
“I don’t know what IS did with the bodies, but
it is likely they buried them in mass graves near
the site of the execution,” he said.
The UN Mission in Iraq’s human rights office
confirmed the mass execution.
“This is not the first attack on the Albu Nimr,
since they have been actively opposed to ISIL
(IS),” it said in an e-mail.
Possibly as many as 300 of the tribe’s members
were killed around a year ago, when anti-IS
forces were still holding out in some parts of
Ramadi, which is the Albu Nimr’s main hub.
Italy’s Roman Catholic Church
has fired a priest who said he could
“ understand” how paedophilia by clergy
could occur because some children
yearned for affection.
The diocese of Trento, in northern
Italy, said overnight Father Gino Flaim,
75, was removed from his position at a
parish and was banned from preaching.
“ Unfortunately there are children who
seek affection because they don’t get it at
home and then if they find some priest
he can even give in (to the temptation).
I understand this,” F laim said in an
inter view on the private La 7 network
Asked if the children were in some way
responsible, he replied: “In many cases,
The diocese said in a statement Flaim’s
comments did not reflect the diocese’s
position on child sex abuse by clergy and
ran counter to “the sentiments of the
entire Church community” on the scandal.
The Roman Catholic Church has been
rocked for the past 15 years by scandals
over priests who sexually abused children
and were transferred from parish to
parish instead of being turned over to
authorities and being defrocked.
Pope Francis has met victims of sexual
abuse twice since his election in 2013,
the latest during his visit to the United
States last month.
The Pope offered them his most
comprehensive comments on the sexual
abuse scandal in his two and a half-year
papacy and used his strongest language
yet in condemning it and promising
that “all those responsible will be held
accountable”. — Reuters
Chinese tourists were left screaming after
a glass walkway suspended 1066m above the
ground cracked while people were standing
Lee Dong Hai, a tourist who was on the
walkway, posted on the social media site
Weibo: “I was almost at the end and suddenly
I heard a sound.
“ My foot shook a little. I looked down and I
saw that there was a crack in the floor.”
“ I screamed out, ‘It cracked! It really
cracked!’ and then I pushed the people in
front of me so that we could run out of the
The U-shaped platform is attached to a cliff
face on Yuntai Mountain, Henan Province,
and opened to the public on September 20,
the Daily Mail reported.
A spokesperson for the Yuntai Mountain
tourism bureau told People’s Daily Online
that the cracks occurred after a tourist
dropped a stainless steel mug on the walkway.
However, he said only one out of the three
layers of glass broke, so the tourists were not
“Only one of a total of three layers of glass
broke, so the tourists were not in danger,” the
spokesman said. The bridge was closed to the
public after the incident. — AP
Glass walkway cracks under tourists’ feet
The Yuntai Mountain walkway.
Wyoming woman dies of rabies from bat bite
Wyoming has recorded the State’s first known
fatality from rabies with the death of an elderly
woman from Lander who contracted the viral
disease in August after being bitten by an
infected bat, State health officials said overnight.
The 77-year-old woman, whose name was not
disclosed, died last week at a hospital in the Salt
Lake City area where she had been taken for
treatment of an ailment testing later showed
to be rabies. Thirteen Wyoming residents,
including family members, and a Utah health
care worker who had contact with the woman
are receiving vaccinations. — Reuters
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