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Le premier «Smart Glock» au monde avec reconnaissance faciale et déverrouillage des empreintes digitales sera lancé pour 1 500 $

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Les Américains peuvent désormais précommander un «Smart Glock» qui nécessite la reconnaissance faciale et la technologie des empreintes digitales pour se déclencher.

Le jeune fabricant d’armes à feu Biofire vend l’arme de poing futuriste de 9 mm pour 1 500 $, les commandes devant être expédiées en 2024.

Le pistolet intelligent scanne deux formes d’identification biométrique, un capteur d’empreinte digitale optique et une reconnaissance faciale infrarouge 3D, pour s’assurer que seul le véritable propriétaire du pistolet peut activer l’arme à feu, réduisant ainsi les accidents et les armes volées à mauvais escient.

La société basée à Broomfield, dans le Colorado, espère que son pistolet mettra un frein au cycle américain de la violence armée.

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Plus de 13 900 personnes ont déjà été tuées par des armes à feu aux États-Unis au cours des quatre premiers mois de 2023 seulement, selon l’organisation à but non lucratif Gun Violence Archive.

Le Smart Gun arrivera avec une station d'accueil intelligente, avec laquelle le nouveau propriétaire devra saisir ses données biométriques : empreintes digitales et reconnaissance faciale.  Le système leur permet, à eux seuls, de déterminer qui peut déverrouiller l'arme

Le Smart Gun arrivera avec une station d'accueil intelligente, avec laquelle le nouveau propriétaire devra saisir ses données biométriques : empreintes digitales et reconnaissance faciale.  Le système leur permet, à eux seuls, de déterminer qui peut déverrouiller l'arme

Le Smart Gun arrivera avec une station d’accueil intelligente, avec laquelle le nouveau propriétaire devra saisir ses données biométriques : empreintes digitales et reconnaissance faciale. Le système leur permet, à eux seuls, de déterminer qui peut déverrouiller l’arme

Le coût total du Smart Gun est actuellement de 1499 $, bien qu'une édition de lancement de 1899 $ et une édition du fondateur de 2499 $ soient également disponibles.

Le coût total du Smart Gun est actuellement de 1499 $, bien qu'une édition de lancement de 1899 $ et une édition du fondateur de 2499 $ soient également disponibles.

Le coût total du Smart Gun est actuellement de 1499 $, bien qu’une édition de lancement de 1899 $ et une édition du fondateur de 2499 $ soient également disponibles.

Les déclarations marketing de Biofire estiment que son arme intelligente pourrait éviter les deux tiers environ des décès par arme à feu attribués au suicide aux États-Unis chaque année, une estimation qui aurait représenté 22 000 vies sauvées en 2018.

Mais l’estimation de Biofire a été accusée d’être gonflée.

Une analyse d’Engineering & Technology (E&T), la publication interne de l’Institution of Engineering and Technology à but non lucratif au Royaume-Uni, a estimé que seulement environ 6 109 décès annuels par arme à feu seraient probablement évités.

E&T a basé ses conclusions sur les données du US Center for Disease Control et d’autres rapports de recherche.

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Dans les deux cas, bien sûr, ce n’est que si l’arme à feu de haute technologie arrive sur le marché, à temps, comme prévu.

“Notre objectif n’est pas seulement de commencer à collecter des commandes, mais de mettre cela en pleine production et d’en produire autant que les gens veulent en acheter”, a déclaré Kai Kloepfer, fondateur et PDG de Biofire, âgé de 26 ans, au Denver Business Journal, “parce que c’est un excellent concept et je pense que ce sera une bonne chose pour le monde.

“Il a la capacité d’avoir un impact progressif et immédiat qui évite une grande partie de l’impasse politique”, estime Kloepfer.

En tant que lycéen en 2012, Kloepfer vivait à environ une demi-heure de route de la banlieue de Denver d’Aurora, où un homme armé a tué 12 personnes et en a blessé beaucoup d’autres lors d’une projection à minuit de la suite de Batman. Le chevalier noir se lève.

L’entrepreneur de la génération Z a immédiatement commencé à jouer avec l’idée d’un système de verrouillage biométrique qui pourrait rendre les armes à feu plus sûres contre les abus, les accidents et le vol.

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Bientôt, son concept d’arme de poing à lecture d’empreintes digitales est passé d’un projet d’expo-sciences à une place sur la liste Forbes 30 Under 30.

Il a ensuite attiré l’attention du libertarien VC Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, qui l’a aidé à lever plus de 30 millions de dollars pour la start-up.

Un capteur optique d'empreintes digitales scanne le majeur du propriétaire de l'arme, tandis que son index s'enroule autour de la gâchette

Un capteur optique d'empreintes digitales scanne le majeur du propriétaire de l'arme, tandis que son index s'enroule autour de la gâchette
Un système de reconnaissance faciale infrarouge 3D scanne en arrière pour vérifier leur identité, tandis que le propriétaire vise le Smart Gun

Un système de reconnaissance faciale infrarouge 3D scanne en arrière pour vérifier leur identité, tandis que le propriétaire vise le Smart Gun

Le pistolet intelligent de Biofire utilise deux formes d’identification pour s’assurer que le propriétaire de l’arme dispose d’une sécurité intégrée pour activer l’arme à feu dans toutes les situations. Un capteur optique d’empreintes digitales (à gauche) scanne le majeur du propriétaire, tandis que son index s’enroule autour de la gâchette. Et un système de reconnaissance faciale infrarouge 3D (à droite) scanne en arrière pour vérifier leur identité, tandis que le propriétaire vise le Smart Gun

Le jeune fondateur et PDG de Biofire, Kai Kloepfer, 26 ans, a passé des années à concevoir une arme de poing avec un lecteur d'empreintes digitales intégré dans la poignée et a remporté la Smart Tech Challenges Foundation en 2014 pour l'innovation peu de temps après avoir lancé le projet d'un lycée scientifique. équitable

Le jeune fondateur et PDG de Biofire, Kai Kloepfer, 26 ans, a passé des années à concevoir une arme de poing avec un lecteur d'empreintes digitales intégré dans la poignée et a remporté la Smart Tech Challenges Foundation en 2014 pour l'innovation peu de temps après avoir lancé le projet d'un lycée scientifique. équitable

Le jeune fondateur et PDG de Biofire, Kai Kloepfer, 26 ans, a passé des années à concevoir une arme de poing avec un lecteur d’empreintes digitales intégré dans la poignée et a remporté la Smart Tech Challenges Foundation en 2014 pour l’innovation peu de temps après avoir lancé le projet d’un lycée scientifique. équitable

Biofire, aux côtés de ses concurrents dans le domaine des “armes intelligentes”, tels que LodeStar Works et SmartGunz, se vante depuis des années que leurs produits sont presque prêts à être commercialisés avec des dates de lancement encore scintillantes à l’horizon.

L’année dernière, le vice-président senior de l’association commerciale de l’industrie des armes à feu, la National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Lawrence Keane, a exprimé son scepticisme l’année dernière face aux promesses répétées de ces entreprises.

“Si j’avais un centime à chaque fois dans ma carrière, j’ai entendu quelqu’un dire qu’il était sur le point de nous proposer un soi-disant pistolet intelligent sur le marché”, a déclaré Keane, “je serais probablement à la retraite maintenant.”

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Néanmoins, les clients américains prêts pour leur précommande peuvent payer un acompte de 149 $, soit environ un dixième du prix de 1 499 $ du pistolet intelligent, pour réserver leur arme via le site Web de Biofire.

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International

US firms could make portfolios great again

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The stock market stars of the year have been the Magnificent Seven, a tech titan posse made up of Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla.

This proof that backing American innovation and resilience tends to pay off has sparked a search for companies in other fields, based in the nation’s heartlands and poised to prosper from a green industrial revolution.

For, despite higher interest rates and recession anxiety, Middle America is still getting down to business, and these conditions could provide diversification opportunities. Recession fears will persist, given the lagging effect of interest rate hikes. But these concerns are tempered by the belief that the US should be less hard hit than Europe or the UK.

David Harrison, manager of the Rathbone Global Sustainability fund, said: ‘There are companies striving – for want of another phrase – ‘to make America great again’, exploiting the industrial policies introduced by President Biden, a Democrat.’

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The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, aims to speed America’s energy transition. The legislation is powering billions of investment in manufacturing. It is also encouraging businesses to ‘onshore’ jobs from the Far East and other regions, creating employment in the US. It seems less suspicion surrounds initiatives that could be termed as ‘woke’ if they stimulate labour-intensive long-term projects.

Another historic piece of legislation, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, seeks to upgrade America’s bridges, roads and other parts of the nation’s often dilapidated infrastructure. The average water pipe is 100 years old, and probably leaking.

Goldman Sachs contends that, despite anti-woke sentiment in some circles, there will be ‘greater corporate and consumer interest’ in projects coming from the Inflation Reduction Act.

As a consequence, the policy could inspire $3.3 trillion in spending over the next decade. But, as Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Singer argues: ‘Its benefits for green businesses aren’t necessarily being priced in.’

Bank of America notes that the businesses likely to be boosted by the Inflation Reduction Act operate in a diverse range of sectors, encompassing agriculture, battery and energy storage, renewable energies and construction. They include familiar names such as the heavy digging equipment maker Caterpillar, General Electric and Honeywell, plus lesser-known business like Bloom Energy and Teledyne.

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As water scarcity becomes an issue, more data centres are springing up. These centres are catering for the surge in digitisation arising from the rush to integrate more generative AI (artificial intelligence) into the systems of companies.

Each needs copious amounts of water for its cooling systems, and, as Harrison points out, this means more calls for the services of businesses like Advanced Drainage System, based in Hilliard, Ohio. This company fits drains made from recycled plastics. Two more specialist water companies have the potential to prosper: Xylem, the $22.9billion powerhouse of the sector and Badger Meters, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The focus on the impact of Inflation Reduction and the Infrastructure Investment acts has coincided with a reassessment of the prospects for the S&P 500 index among some of Wall Street’s influential forecasters. Since the start of the year, the index has risen by 16 per cent to 4,432. Some strategists who were predicting that the index would end the year as low as 3,800 now contend it could climb to as high as 4,750.

This shift in opinion suggests that it may be worth checking your exposure to the US. It may be skewed more towards Silicon Valley than Middle America if you have cash in certain global funds. The largest holdings of the F&C trust are Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet – and Nvidia, whose shares have jumped by 203 per cent this year.

Shares in Amazon, online retailer extraordinaire, have risen by 54 per cent over the same period. The excitement over the potential of generative AI suggests that the Magnificent Seven still deserve a place in your portfolio. But the price of Home Depot, whose 2,000 stores supply the wherewithal for American property makeovers, is down by 3 per cent this year, although most analysts rate it a buy.

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At the same time, you may already own shares in UK companies which will play a key role in American mega-projects.

Dzmitry Lipski, funds analyst at Interactive Investor, suggests the Artemis US Smaller Companies fund, with its infrastructure and renewable energy themes, as a route to Middle America.

Two years ago, billionaire US fund manager Warren Buffett said you should ‘never bet against America’. I am heeding this advice since, at the age of 93, Buffett has had the time to test his thesis.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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Healthcare is free, there’s (almost) no chance of getting shot and bathroom light switches are operated by string: American living in the UK reveals his adopted country’s ‘strengths’ and its ‘oddities’…

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Brian Klaas has lived in the UK for 12 years - and has revealed what he thinks his adopted country's strengths and 'oddities' are

Brian Klaas has lived in the UK for 12 years - and has revealed what he thinks his adopted country's strengths and 'oddities' are

Brian Klaas has lived in the UK for 12 years – and has revealed what he thinks his adopted country’s strengths and ‘oddities’ are

I’m a statriotic Minnesotan but I’ve lived in the UK for 12 years and I’m going to become a dual citizen.

After living abroad for 12 years, I see America’s strengths and weaknesses more clearly, just as I see Britain’s strengths and weaknesses more clearly as an outsider.

Life here in Britain has its problems – the cost-of-living crisis and the general decline post-Brexit are real and serious – but here are some tremendous strengths – and endearing oddities, too.

STRENGTHS  

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There is interesting history everywhere. When I was a kid in Minnesota , we went on a field trip to one of the oldest grand houses in the state, which was built in 1891. Since moving to the UK, I’ve lived in a cottage that was built in the 16th century – 1578, to be precise. It had no closets. The floor was slanted. It was lovely.

Cities/towns are much more walkable than in the US and there are tens of thousands of miles of walking paths, fanning out in every direction. It really is extraordinary. Where I live, there are several long-distance paths where you can walk out of your door and continue on the same path for hundreds of miles. If baseball and apple pie are America’s national pastimes, having tea after a countryside walk on Sundays seems to be a fair nominee for one of Britain’s most cherished rituals.

Most villages are utterly charming. There are several bleak industrial towns and cities, but most British villages are picturesque, complete with at least one pub, a church (often a very old one), old terraced houses, and nice walking paths crisscrossing it, often near some body of water. (If there is no body of water nearby, you are, of course, welcome to swim in your own bin.)

Healthcare is a guaranteed right and it’s free at the point of service. The NHS has issues, but every experience I’ve had has been overwhelmingly positive.

British political humour is hilarious. (If you haven’t seen The Thick of It, watch it.) Whenever the prime minister is getting elected, they have to stand, flanked by crazy people and joke candidates, such Lord Buckethead and Count Binface.

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Brian marvels at how the Eurostar can whisk you from the UK to Europe in around two hours

Brian marvels at how the Eurostar can whisk you from the UK to Europe in around two hours

Brian marvels at how the Eurostar can whisk you from the UK to Europe in around two hours

There is virtually zero risk of getting shot. (It’s also a myth that stabbings are more frequent in the UK compared to the US; there are more stabbings per capita in America.)

There is tremendous social capital and people are, for the most part, friendly, polite, and terrified of social awkwardness. (The mathematical definition of a limit approaching, but never reaching, zero is the final morsel of cheese at a British dinner party, which subdivides endlessly, until it is approximately one micron long and one micron wide, at which point it will be thrown away.)

You can travel most places in Europe in an hour or two, often for under $100 if you plan ahead. (I once took a morning Eurostar train from London to Brussels – it takes around two hours – gave a lunchtime talk at the European Union, had some Belgian beer and a little walk around, then returned home by 5pm.)

Pubs are wonderful institutions. Enough said.

The London Tube [subway] is fantastic. It’s clean, safe, and reliable. Most of the time, it’s so reliable that waiting anything beyond two or three minutes for a train in central London is deemed an annoyance.

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Most places, there are very few annoying bugs (Scotland’s midges are a notable exception). You can just leave your doors and windows open without screens.

Almost everywhere is dog-friendly: bars, restaurants, bookstores, you name it.

THE ODDITIES

Brian writes: 'Tiny country lanes that would be considered sidewalks in America are supposed to accommodate two normal-sized cars going at speed in opposite directions, often flanked by unforgiving hedges'

Brian writes: 'Tiny country lanes that would be considered sidewalks in America are supposed to accommodate two normal-sized cars going at speed in opposite directions, often flanked by unforgiving hedges'

Brian writes: ‘Tiny country lanes that would be considered sidewalks in America are supposed to accommodate two normal-sized cars going at speed in opposite directions, often flanked by unforgiving hedges’

To turn the light on in many bathrooms, you need not find a light switch, but a little string hanging from the ceiling, which you pull. Nobody knows why.

To get warm in the winter, many people – yes, even in the 21st century – boil water and pour it into a red rubber bag, sometimes with a furry cover over it if you’re extra fancy. These ‘hot water bottles’ are staples of British homes.

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Tiny country lanes that would be considered sidewalks in America are supposed to accommodate two normal-sized cars going at speed in opposite directions, often flanked by unforgiving hedges. When you encounter another car, one of you will reverse, sometimes a great distance, often over tree roots, into a tiny little ‘passing place’. (Both drivers are obligated, by British social law, to wave. The punishment for failing to comply is deep personal angst for days that they might have thought you were rude, which, to many British people, is worse than death).

'To get warm in the winter, many people - yes, even in the 21st century - boil water and pour it into a red rubber bag, sometimes with a furry cover over it if you're extra fancy,' writes Brian. 'These

'To get warm in the winter, many people - yes, even in the 21st century - boil water and pour it into a red rubber bag, sometimes with a furry cover over it if you're extra fancy,' writes Brian. 'These

‘To get warm in the winter, many people – yes, even in the 21st century – boil water and pour it into a red rubber bag, sometimes with a furry cover over it if you’re extra fancy,’ writes Brian. ‘These “hot water bottles” are staples of British homes’

Dr Brian Klaas's book Corruptible: Who Gets Power And How It Changes Us is out now

Dr Brian Klaas's book Corruptible: Who Gets Power And How It Changes Us is out now

Dr Brian Klaas’s book Corruptible: Who Gets Power And How It Changes Us is out now

What an American would called a kids’ size popcorn at a movie theatre (sorry, ‘cinema’) would be the largest size available in Britain.

The word ‘quite’ is often used to reduce intensity in British English rather than enhance it. In America, ‘quite’ always means ‘very’, whereas in Britain ‘quite nice’ often means ‘sort of nice’ instead of ‘extremely nice’. (I learned this the hard way three years into my time in the UK, when complimenting someone. I was told I had been inadvertently rude.)

In Britain, ‘middle class’ refers to well-off professionals such as doctors and lawyers, not the middle of the economic bell curve, as in America.

You can learn much more about a person by their accent. Accents can change even in the span of a few dozen miles. (When I first moved to the UK, I once went cycling in Wales, encountered someone on the top of a big mountain climb, and couldn’t understand a word he said. I told him I didn’t speak Welsh. It turns out he was speaking English, albeit with a Welsh valley accent. I’m sure he still tells that story about the American idiot he once met.) There is even a special accent associated with Eton, a school for posh boys. Whereas when I talk, I sound like a generic suburban Midwesterner and could conceivably be from an area with a 1,000-1,500-mile radius.

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This article was originally published on Brian’s blog site – The Garden of Forking Paths.

Dr Brian Klaas is Associate Professor in Global Politics, University College London. For more from Brian visit brianpklaas.com. His book Corruptible: Who Gets Power And How It Changes Us is out now, available from Amazon.

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Terminally ill man from Maryland, 58, is living with a PIG’S HEART – after becoming second patient ever to get pioneering transplant surgery

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A Maryland man with a terminal heart disease has become the second-ever patient to receive a genetically modified pig heart. 

This week, Lawrence Faucette, 58, underwent transplant surgery after being deemed ineligible for a human heart transplant due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. 

The procedure, known as a xenotransplant, has only been performed once before on an ex-convict who died two months later. Both historic procedures were performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). 

Mr Faucette, a married father-of-two and a 20-year Navy veteran, is breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices after the surgery, which took place on Tuesday. Without the procedure, he was facing certain death. 

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‘My only real hope left is to go with the pig heart, the xenotransplant,’ Mr Faucette said a few days before surgery. 

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second person in the world to receive a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig. He was deemed ineligible for a human heart due to peripheral vascular disease, which reduces blood circulation. Pictured before surgery with his wife Ann, Mr Faucette is now breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning without any supportive devices

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution

‘Dr. Griffith, Dr. Mohiuddin and their entire staff have been incredible, but nobody knows from this point forward. At least now I have hope, and I have a chance.’

His wife, Ann Faucette, added: ‘We have no expectations other than hoping for more time together. That could be as simple as sitting on the front porch and having coffee together.’ 

Mr Faucette likely has a long road ahead. He’s at risk of his body rejecting the foreign organ, which occurs in 10 to 20 percent of transplant patients. The UMMC doctors believe this risk could be greater for xenotransplant patients. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency approval for the surgery last week with what’s called its single-patient investigational new drug (IND) ‘compassionate use’ pathway. 

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This is used when an experimental medical product, such as a genetically modified pig heart, is the only option available to treat a serious or life-threatening condition. 

‘We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,’ Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. 

‘We are hoping that he will get home soon to enjoy more time with his wife and the rest of his loving family.’  

The gene-edited pig used in this procedure was provided by Revivicor, a subsidiary of United Therapeutics, one of several biotech companies in the running to develop suitable pig organs for potential human transplant. 

On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the heart and placed it in an XVIVO Heart Box, the size of a microwave, which keeps the organ preserved in a nutrient-rich oxygenated solution. 

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Pigs have a gene that produces a molecule not found in humans that triggers an immediate and aggressive immune response in humans, called hyperacute rejection. Within minutes, the body attacks the foreign organ. 

In Mr Faucette’s surgery, three genes were ‘knocked out’ in the donor pig. Six human genes, which are responsible for the immune system accepting the organ, were inserted into the genome. One additional gene in the pig was knocked out to prevent excessive growth of the pig heart tissue. In total, 10 unique genes were edited in the donor pig. 

Xenotransplantation could provide another option for the 110,000 Americans currently waiting for an organ transplant. More than 6,000 of these patients die every year before they can get the organs they need, according to federal data. 

Dr Mark Gladwin, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore, said: ‘This innovative program embodies the future of molecular medicine in surgery and speaks to a possible future where organs may be available to all patients.’

‘We recognize a heroic partnership with Mr Faucette and his family, as we partner to advance the field of transplantation medicine into the next era.’

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'We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,' Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette's operation

'We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,' Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette's operation

‘We are once again offering a dying patient a shot at a longer life, and we are incredibly grateful to Mr Faucette for his bravery and willingness to help advance our knowledge of this field,’ Dr Bartley P Griffith, who transplanted pig hearts into both patients, said. Pictured is the transplant team who performed Mr Faucette’s operation

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig ¿ modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig's heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient's heart and inserted the altered pig heart

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig ¿ modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig's heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient's heart and inserted the altered pig heart

In both of these historic procedures, a pig heart was gathered for a terminal heart disease patient who was ineligible for a human heart transplant. Scientists inserted six human genes into the genome of the donor pig — modifications designed to make the organ more tolerable to the human immune system. They inactivated four genes, including sugar in its cells that is responsible for that hyper-fast organ rejection and a growth gene to prevent the pig’s heart, which weighs around 267g compared to the average human heart, which weighs 303g, from continuing to expand. Surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center removed the patient’s heart and inserted the altered pig heart

This procedure was first performed last year on David Bennett, 57. Like Mr Faucette, Mr Bennett was also ineligible for a human heart. He also did not follow his doctors’ orders, missed appointments and stopped taking drugs he was prescribed.

He was bedridden, on life support, and out of options. ‘It was either die or do this transplant,’ he said.

Though the surgery was deemed a success, Mr Bennett died two months later. However, the organ wasn’t rejected; experts claimed that the heart could have been infected with a virus.

Mike Curtis, chief executive of competing pig breeder eGenesis, told MIT Technology Review: ‘Without the virus, would Mr Bennett have lived? We don’t know, but the infection didn’t help. It likely contributed to the failure.’

The choice to perform the procedure on Bennett was deemed controversial when it was discovered that he served five years in prison for attacking Edward Shumaker while he played pool at a Maryland bar in April 1988 after he caught his then-wife Norma Jean Bennett sitting in Shumaker’s lap while the pair were talking and drinking.

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Shumaker, then 22,  was paralyzed after being stabbed seven times in the back, abdomen and chest. He survived for 19 years before suffering a stroke in 2005 and dying two years later at age 40.

His sister, Leslie Shumaker Downey, bemoaned the praise being heaped on a man who robbed her younger brother of a healthy life in an interview with the BBC in January. 

Downey said he is ‘not a worthy recipient’ and dislikes his portrayal as a hero.

‘Morally, in my opinion, no,’ she said, when asked if he should have been the first person to benefit from the medical breakthrough.

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (left), died on March 9, 2022, two months after he received a first-of-its-kind pig heart transplant. His son, David Bennett Jr, is pictured on the right

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

David Bennett (pictured right with surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith on his left) was the first patient in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically modified pig

‘For the medical community, the advancement of it and being able to do something like that is great and it’s a great advancement but they’re putting Bennett in the storylines portraying him as being a hero and a pioneer and he’s nothing of that sort.’

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‘I think the doctors who did the surgery should be getting all the praise and not Mr Bennett.’ 

Scientists have been toying with animal-to-human organ donation, known as xenotransplantation, for decades.  

Skin grafts were carried out in the 1800s from a variety of animals to treat wounds, with frogs being the most popular. 

In the 1960s, 13 patients were given chimpanzee kidneys, one of whom returned to work for almost 9 months before suddenly dying. The rest passed away within weeks.

At that time human organ transplants were not available and chronic dialysis was not yet in use. 

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In 1983, doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center in California transplanted a baboon heart into a premature baby born with a fatal heart defect.

Baby Fae lived for just 21 days. The case was controversial months later when it emerged the surgeons did not try to acquire a human heart.

More recently, waiting lists for transplants from dead, or allogenic, donors is growing as life expectancy rises around the world and demand increases. 

In October 2021, surgeons at NYU Langone Health in New York successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a human for the first time.

It started working as it was supposed to, filtering waste and producing urine without triggering a rejection by the recipient’s immune system. 

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The recipient was a brain-dead patient in New York with signs of kidney dysfunction whose family agreed to the experiment before she was taken off life support. 

It’s unclear what Mr Faucette’s prognosis is, though he is currently in stable condition.

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SHAUN EDWARDS: It was very quiet at breakfast after Antoine Dupont’s injury.. but hopefully he will be back to play a part later in the tournament

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It was a very quiet breakfast hall at our team hotel on Friday morning. I’m one of the early risers and Antoine Dupont was one of the first players down. He’d spent the night in the hospital after fracturing his cheekbone and there was a bit of swelling around his face.

Obviously you don’t want to see your captain suffer an injury. Someone like Antoine is very tough so when he was down on the floor we all knew it was something serious. The atmosphere in Marseille was bouncing — it reminds me of Old Trafford or Anfield with its steep stands — but there was a bit of a lull when they saw Antoine go off against Namibia.

Sometimes you can’t eat for a couple of weeks after an injury like that so I was delighted to see Antoine having a yoghurt and a protein shake. If you can’t eat then you might lose a stone and that really affects your power. Antoine is all muscle so it’s a real positive that he can maintain his weight.

If we make it to the latter stages of the World Cup then I’d be very surprised if he isn’t available for the quarter or semi-final.

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The mood in the changing room was different to when we lost Romain Ntamack a few weeks ago. Everyone knew Romain was out for seven or eight months and the news sucked the life out of the room. This time it felt different. It’s a very different injury and we’d just won 96-0 so some of the boys still enjoyed a beer after three very intense matches. We’ve all got a few days off now and Antoine will go back to Toulouse for surgery. An injury like that always needs surgery. 

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side's next few games

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side's next few games

France captain Antoine Dupont has suffered an injury and will miss his side’s next few games

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

There is hope he could be back for later on in the World Cup as his side bid to lift the trophy

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

France defence coach Shaun Edwards admitted things were quiet in the hotel after the injury

It happened to me when I was playing and they did the operation the very next morning. It’s a very painful injury but a broken cheekbone is easier to manage than a broken jaw. Of course the tackle was a total red card but things like that happen so quickly on the pitch.

The Namibian captain, Johan Deysel, who made the challenge looked distraught after the match and he apologised to Antoine. I feel a bit sorry for him in a way because a lot of people will be pointing fingers but I’m sure he didn’t set out to do it on purpose. It was a mistimed tackle and things like that just require training, training, training.

Fabien Galthie went to visit Antoine at the hospital and that shows how he cares about his players. Winning games is very important but the players are like your family. It’s a bit like being a parent. I never forget the terrible injury that Danny Cipriani suffered under my watch when I was head coach at Wasps. Part of the role is making sure your players get home safe and sound with proper care.

Antoine’s an iconic figure at the moment. There’s no doubt about that. His form has been strong and everyone knows his capabilities but we’ve got brilliant scrum-halves and brilliant leaders who will step up. Baptiste Couilloud came off the bench and nearly scored a hat-trick. He made a brilliant impact. As far as captains are concerned, Charles Ollivon has done it before and Gael Fickou is an outstanding leader.

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The injury is front page news around France and everyone wants to see him play a part in this competition. He’s so popular in France and around the world, so it didn’t surprise me to hear someone like Kevin Sinfield wishing him a speedy recovery.

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup

When Romain Ntamack picked up his injury it would clear he would miss the World Cup 

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Israel ‘at the cusp’ of historic agreement with Saudi Arabia, Netanyahu tells UN

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly on Friday that Israel is “at the cusp” of a historic breakthrough leading to a peace agreement with Saudi Arabia, without outlining a clear path over the significant obstacles facing such an accord.

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He struck an optimistic tone throughout his roughly 25-minute address — and, once again, used a visual aid. He displayed contrasting maps showing Israel’s isolation at the time of its creation in 1948 and the six countries that have normalized relations with it, including four that did so in 2020 in the so-called Abraham Accords.

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“There’s no question the Abraham Accords heralded the dawn of a new age of peace. But I believe that we are at the cusp of an even more dramatic breakthrough, an historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Netanyahu said. “Peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will truly create a new Middle East.”

There are several hurdles in the way of such an agreement, including the Saudis’ demand for progress in the creation of a Palestinian state — a hard sell for Netanyahu’s government, the most religious and nationalist in Israel’s history.

Read moreThe Abraham Accords: ‘Palestinian leaders don’t realise that the region is changing’

The Saudis are also seeking a defense pact with the United States and want help in building their own civilian nuclear program, which has fueled fears of an arms race with Iran.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in an interview with Fox News this week that the two sides are getting closer to an agreement, without providing much detail about the U.S.-led negotiations. He declined to specify what exactly the Saudis are seeking for the Palestinians.

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Netanyahu said the Palestinians “could greatly benefit from a broader peace,” saying: “They should be part of that process, but they should not have a veto over the process.”

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down more than a decade ago, and violence has soared over the past year and a half, with Israel carrying out frequent military raids in the occupied West Bank and Palestinians attacking Israelis. Netanyahu’s government has approved thousands of new settlement homes in the West Bank, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and which the Palestinians want for the main part of their future state.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who addressed the General Assembly on Thursday, made no direct reference to efforts to reach a normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But he reiterated the centrality of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has only worsened since the Abraham Accords were signed.

“Those who think that peace can prevail in the Middle East without the Palestinian people enjoying their full and legitimate national rights are mistaken,” Abbas said.

Netanyahu has often seemed to revel in using the podium of the General Assembly to lambast Israel’s enemies.

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He famously held up a picture of a cartoon bomb in 2012 to illustrate Iran’s advancing uranium enrichment. In 2020, he claimed Hezbollah was stockpiling explosives near Beirut’s airport, prompting the Iran-allied militant group to organize an immediate visit by journalists, who saw heavy machinery but no weapons.

The map he held up this year made no reference to the West Bank, Gaza or east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in 1967 that the Palestinians want for their future state. The map appeared to show Israel encompassing all three.

The chamber was largely empty during his address, though there was a group of Netanyahu supporters who clapped several times during his speech. Protesters and supporters of Netanyahu demonstrated across the street from the U.N. headquarters.

Netanyahu referred to the cartoon bomb when he held up the maps, pulling out a red marker and drawing a line showing a planned trade corridor stretching from India through the Middle East to Europe. The ambitious project, unveiled at this month’s Group of 20 summit, would link Saudi Arabia to Israel.

He also reprised his longstanding criticism of Iran, which Israel views as its greatest threat. Netanyahu referred to Iran’s crackdown on protests, its supplying of attack drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, and its military activities across the Middle East.

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Netanyahu called for stepped-up sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, which has steadily advanced since the United States withdrew from a landmark agreement with Iran and world powers to which Israel had been staunchly opposed.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, who also attended the General Assembly, urged the U.S. to lift sanctions in order to return to the nuclear deal. Iran has always insisted its nuclear program is entirely peaceful, but the U.S. and others believe it had a secret weapons program until 2003.

Raisi also denied Iran had sent drones to Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. U.S. and European officials say the sheer number of Iranian drones being used by Russia shows that the flow of such weapons intensified after hostilities began.

In an ambiguous turn of phrase during his address, Netanyahu said that “above all, Iran must face a credible nuclear threat.” The prime minister’s office later issued a clarification, saying he meant to say ”credible military threat.”

Israel, which is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never publicly acknowledged them, has repeatedly said all options are on the table to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

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(AP)

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Russell Brand breaks silence after being accused of rape and sexual assault and says he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’

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Russell Brand breaks silence after being accused of rape and sexual assault and says he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’

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Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’ after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse. 

Over the last week, several women have come forward to make allegations against the comedian, 48, which they claim happened at the height of his fame.

The shocking claims, said to have happened between 2003 and 2013, include the alleged rape of a woman at his home in Los Angeles in 2013 and alleged the sexual assault of a 16-year-old schoolgirl. 

Brand denied the accusations claiming any relationship he had was consensual and has remained silent since The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches first reported the allegations of predatory and abusive behaviour on Saturday.

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Tonight, however, he posted a video to his various social media channels, Brand thanked his followers for their ‘support and for questioning the information that you have been presented with’.

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an 'extraordinary and distressing week' after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an 'extraordinary and distressing week' after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

Russell Brand has broken his silence claiming he has faced an ‘extraordinary and distressing week’ after being accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse

In a short video he said: ‘Hello there you awakening wonders, obviously it’s been an extraordinary and distressing week and I thank you very much for your support and for questioning the information that you have been presented with. 

‘By now, you’re probably aware that the British government has asked big tech platforms to censor our online content and that some online platforms have complied with that request.

‘What you may not know is that this happens in the context of the online safety bill which is a piece of UK legislation that grants sweeping surveillance and censorship powers and it’s a law that’s already been passed.

‘I also don’t imagine that you’ve heard of the trusted news initiative and now, as often is the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.’

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He added: ‘I also don’t imagine that you’ve heard of the trusted news initiative and now, as often is the case when a word like trusted is used as part of an acronym to describe an unelected body, trust is the last thing you should be offering.

‘The trusted news initiative is a collaboration between big tech and legacy media organisations to target, patrol, choke and shut down independent media organisations, like this one.’

More follows.  

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Argentina beats Samoa to reach Rugby World Cup quarterfinals contention

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Argentina was back in the quarterfinals hunt after defeating Samoa 19-10 in a bruising, scrappy Rugby World Cup pool match on Friday.

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The Argentines needed to win after the dismal opening defeat to England, and used the 13-day break to get their heads on right for the Samoans, who had only a six-day turnaround.

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Argentina even denied Samoa a losing bonus point when Nicolas Sanchez booted the margin beyond seven with a last-minute penalty from almost halfway.

Emiliano Boffelli scored all of Argentina’s points for a 13-3 lead in a rainy first half and his third penalty after the rain passed extended their lead to 16-3 with 24 minutes to go.

But with five minutes left, Samoa replacement hooker Sama Malolo barged over for a converted try, and Argentina’s supporters were finally hit with a mute button. But Samoa couldn’t threaten again, the Argentines in the crowd resumed singing and dancing, and Sanchez delivered the finishing blow.

“Against England we didn’t do what we were supposed to do. Today we did it pretty well,” Argentina captain Julian Montoya said. “It’s a massive victory for us, very important for our tournament.”

Argentina has Pool D games left against Chile and Japan to rise higher in the standings, while Samoa was still in the playoffs picture but will have to beat England in two weeks.

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The first half could have hardly gone better for a more composed Argentina.

Samoa fullback Duncan Paia’aua was sin-binned in the first minute for playing Argentina’s Santiago Carreras in the air.

Christian Leali’ifano didn’t relieve the pressure on Samoa when he failed to take a free kick from the mark then missed touch. Argentina’s counterattack exploited Paia’aua’s absence when the ball was spread to both wings and Boffelli went over. He made the conversion and a penalty kick for 10-0 after 25 minutes.

Leali’ifano had three penalty kicks and nailed only one, off the crossbar, in a poor kicking game all around.

Boffelli wasn’t missing though, and his third straight goalkick made it 13-3.

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Two minutes from halftime, an excellent kick-chase gave Samoa a close-range penalty but it wanted seven points. Argentina stole the lineout but Samoa got a five-meter scrum. The Pumas, playing Samoa for the first time in 18 years, read the Samoans, and a blindside burst by scrumhalf Jonathan Taumateine was smothered by Marcos Kremer.

“Argentina executed their gameplan really well and we weren’t able to adapt,” Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua said. “We knew that Boffelli could slot them from anywhere and getting that yellow card early on didn’t help us.”

The rain stopped for the second half and Argentina continued to turn the error-prone Samoans over and around.

A Pumas rolling maul was repelled then lineout tap ball looked to have Boffelli headed for a second try, but Ulupano Seuteni made a try-saving tackle and had to leave for a head injury check.

Boffelli still kicked another penalty then finally missed a shot, but he was in the middle of the action again when he swooped on a Samoa grubber kick in front of his posts with Tumua Manu bearing down.

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Samoa finally threatened the tryline with minutes left and got Malolo across for his third try in two games, but Sanchez, off the bench for his 99th cap, ensured Argentina had the last say.

(AP)

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EXCLUSIVE: NASA contractor will reportedly study 1,000-year-old ‘alien corpses’ presented to Mexico’s Congress

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A NASA contractor is reportedly looking to study ‘alien bodies’ that were presented to Mexico’s Congress during a controversial UFO hearing.

Jaime Maussan, a veteran broadcast journalist and prolific ufologist who presented the corpses last week, told the DailyMail.com that an unnamed third-party contractor has been in contact with him about carrying out a ‘DNA investigation’ potentially on behalf of the US space agency.

The news comes just one week after NASA’s top UFO investigator Dr David Spergel was pressed about the purported alien corpses – and did not shut them down entirely.

Dr Spergel told reporters: ‘We don’t know the nature of those samples. My recommendation is, if you have something strange, make samples available to the world scientific community, and we’ll see what’s there.’

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Maussan had first unveiled the pair of alleged 1,000-year-old bodies, reportedly unearthed in a Peruvian cave, during UFO hearings held by the General Congress of the United Mexican States — unleashing an international firestorm.

A NASA contractor with a laboratory 'dedicated to the reading of DNA' has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as 'alien bodies' last week to Mexico's Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

A NASA contractor with a laboratory 'dedicated to the reading of DNA' has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as 'alien bodies' last week to Mexico's Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

A NASA contractor with a laboratory ‘dedicated to the reading of DNA’ has privately expressed interest in testing the mysterious mummified remains presented as ‘alien bodies’ last week to Mexico’s Congress. The bodies were unveiled by a prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to 'do their own DNA investigation'

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to 'do their own DNA investigation'
NASA itself has also not yet responded for comment, but the DailyMail.com will update this developing story when they do

NASA itself has also not yet responded for comment, but the DailyMail.com will update this developing story when they do

Jaime Maussan (left), veteran broadcast journalist and prolific chronicler of UFO cases in Mexico, told the DailyMail.com that the unnamed NASA contractor wants to ‘do their own DNA investigation.’ NASA has not yet responded to several requests for comment by DailyMail.com

While Maussan heralded the bodies’ discovery as one of the most important in human history, his presentation has sparked an outcry from numerous scientists, anthropologists and even some dedicated UFO researchers. 

This week, the temperature of the debate climbed higher, with Peru’s Minister of Culture filing criminal charges accusing Maussan and his collaborators of robbing bodies from ancient graves.

As of 2022, Peru’s Culture Ministry has designated approximately 26,000 protected archaeological sites across the country, but has faced budget constraints in its efforts to secure these valuable artifacts from black market antiquities dealers.

But, as Maussan told the DailyMail.com, ‘I personally went to the Ministry of Culture, to ask them to do the investigation to get involved in this finding.’ 

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‘They never did,’ according to Maussan. ‘We tried many, many times. We sent letters.’

‘And let me tell you something else,’ Maussan asked rhetorically, ‘You remember NASA saying that this should be investigated, and so on?’ 

‘A contractor from NASA took the challenge,’ Maussan answered. ‘They are a laboratory dedicated to the reading of DNA.’

Despite several attempts by the DailyMail.com, via phone and email, NASA’s office of public affairs could not yet be reached for comment.

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico's Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico's Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

Mexican journalist and UFO enthusiast Jaime Maussan, claims the tiny bodies that he presented to Mexico’s Congress earlier this week are not related to any known Earthly species

The corpses' retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more 'typical of birds,' according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

The corpses' retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more 'typical of birds,' according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

The corpses’ retractable necks and long skulls show characteristics more ‘typical of birds,’ according to some researchers who has examined the bodies

For his part, Maussan expressed concern that too much transparency too early could upset the delicate investigations which, he says, are now underway.

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When asked by the DailyMail.com, Mussaun declined to identify the NASA contractor by name. 

‘A contractor from NASA — it’s all I can tell you,’ he said. 

‘I won’t tell you the name. I want to keep this private,’ he said, ‘until they can do their investigation.’

But, the Mexican broadcaster who was once chief investigative reporter and editor of 60 Minutos, the country’s affiliate of the CBS television news magazine 60 Minutes, was nevertheless willing to speculate on the NASA contractor’s next steps. 

‘I think they’re going to Peru [then] they’re coming to Mexico,’ Maussan said, ‘to check on the bodies to take samples. They want to do their own DNA investigation.’

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‘And we said yes! We are open, my friend.’

Maussan’s efforts to garner professional scientific interest in the potential of ‘ancient alien’ specimens from Latin America has spanned years, with some setbacks and some success, but never before at the present level of international scrutiny.

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

Radiologist technician Guillermo Ramirez prepares to do a CT scan on a tiny body of a specimen, that UFO reporter Jaime Maussan says is not related to any known Earthly species

At a May 5, 2015, event in Mexico City, Maussan and a coalition of US ufologists presented now infamous photographic slides purported to document a recovered alien body from the long-rumored 1947 flying saucer crash at Roswell, New Mexico.

Efforts by a coalition of skeptics and dedicated UFO researchers, however, quickly put forward compelling evidence that the images depicted a child mummy, museum placard included, as displayed at the Mesa Verde Museum in Colorado.

Undaunted, Maussan returned with his first Peruvian ‘alien mummy’ in 2017, for a documentary on Gaia TV, which included analysis by Konstantin Korotkov, a professor of computer science and biophysics at Saint-Petersburg University,

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In the ensuing speculation, some scientists have taken a crack at determining the origin of these specimens, including researchers at the Cyprus University of Technology as well as the retired CEO of Western Paleontological Laboratories.  

Debate continues on whether the specimens are truly alien, or were ritually made from human and llama remains by ancient indigenous populations, or were made more recently by the enterprising tomb-raiding huaqueros themselves. 

To complicate matters, the numerous Peruvian mummies brought to the public by Maussan vary in size and several more key characteristics. 

This week, Maussan’s associate, Dr. Jose Zalce Benitez, the director of the Scientific Institute for Health of the Mexican Navy, detailed x-rays, 3-D reconstruction and DNA analysis which he said has been carried out on the remains.

According to Benitez, scans showed that the specimens of the two latest mummies are each ‘a single skeleton’ and ‘complete organic being,’ contrary to suggestions they were made up of ‘different parts as some assumed.’

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This analysis has its critics, including Elsa Tomasto-Cagigao, a respected Peruvian bio-anthropologist, who cited similar alleged finds that were found to be frauds.

‘What we said before still stands, they are presenting the same rehash as always and if there are people that keep believing that, what can we do?,’ she said.

Ultimately, Maussan maintains his conviction that the bodies merit deeper, professional scrutiny.

‘We know — we’re not stupid — that we need someone bigger than us, a university, or an institution, someone bigger, to investigate them,’ Maussan told the DailyMail.com Thursday.

‘Once that happens, everybody will realize this is the finding of the century or the millennium, or whatever you want to say,’ Maussan said. ‘I put my hands on the fire, to tell you that this is absolutely real.’

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‘This is physical evidence, it’s not going to evaporate.’ 

WHAT ARE THE NAZCA MUMMIES AND ARE THEY REAL?

A group of self-proclaimed paranormal researchers claim they have found proof of aliens near the city of Nazca in Peru.

The team say they have found a number of mysterious three-fingered ‘mummified humanoid’ with elongated skulls.

Early last year, the group recorded a short documentary of a research trip into a cave near Nazca, where they found what appeared to be a mummified body.

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The body was found covered in white powder, which the team say was used to preserve the remains.

They claim that carbon dating samples of the body dates between 245 – 410 AD, though the validity of these tests has not yet been verified.

Since this find, the group say they have found at least five other alien bodies in the region of similar sizes and proportions.

Some conspiracy theorists think the three-fingered mummies, found last year, may be the remains of alien visitors to Earth.

The body measures 1.68 metres (5 foot 6 inches) tall and has similar proportions to humans

The body measures 1.68 metres (5 foot 6 inches) tall and has similar proportions to humans
But the mummy's three long fingers on each hand and its lack of nose and ears suggest it could be something from beyond Earth

But the mummy's three long fingers on each hand and its lack of nose and ears suggest it could be something from beyond Earth

Early last year, a conspiracy group recorded a short documentary of a research trip into a cave near Nazca, where they found what appeared to be a mummified body (left). Pictured right is a Cat scan of the individual named ‘Maria’ by the team

But not everyone is convinced by the finds, with one UFO expert saying the ‘extraterrestrials’ are plastercast models made as part of an elaborate hoax.

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Leading UFO expert Nigel Watson, author of Haynes UFO Investigations Manual, told MailOnline last year: ‘I’m no expert on ancient mummified bodies but they tend to be more leatherish looking.

‘This seems to be a plastercast over a bone structure with three fingers attached to the hands. Such hoaxes are the product of wishful thinking mixed with greed and a lust for publicity.’

Jamie Maussan, an ex-investigative journalist who is infamous for his involvement in several high-profile UFO hoaxes, was part of the Peruvian mummy team.

In May 2015, he promoted photographic slides claiming to be pictures of an alien recovered from the Roswell flying saucer crash of 1947 that were later proved to be fake.

The group’s lead researcher Dr Konstantin Korotkov of Russia’s Saint Petersburg University has previously stirred controversy when he claimed he had invented a camera that can photograph the soul.

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A quick guide to probate and how executors deal with estates

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When someone dies it is essential to deal with their estate, which is made up of their home, savings and investments, belongings and anything else they may have owned.

This is not as easy as simply passing around what they owned as they wished, even if they left a will.

Instead an official process must be followed, known as probate (or confirmation in Scotland). This gives the legal right to distribute the estate and involves varying degrees of complication.

Our quick guide below outlines the process in England and Wales for dealing with the estate of someone who died leaving a will.

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Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone's estate after they die

Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone's estate after they die

Fulfilling last wishes: How to apply for probate and deal with someone’s estate after they die

What is probate?

Probate is generally used as the term to describe dealing with someone’s estate. It involves finding out about all their assets and debts, valuing their estate and passing it on.

This is done by that person’s executors, who will be named in their will. They could be a trusted friend or member of family, or a nominated professional, such as a solicitor.

When writing a will it is important to remember that you do not need a professional to do probate, it is perfectly possible for the layman or woman to do it.

The crucial elements that decide how complex this task will be is whether you need a grant of representation and have to complete inheritance tax forms.

What is a grant of representation?

The legal term ‘grant of representation’ covers two types of document, one of which you will need depending on the circumstances.

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– You apply for a ‘grant of probate’ if the deceased person left a will.

– You will need ‘letters of administration’ if there was a will but it does not name an executor, or the named executor cannot apply, or there is no will.

A grant of representation is the official seal that allows you to access a deceased person’s assets and distribute them.

Banks and other financial institutions will ask you for this before they will release funds.

How to be a successful executor 

Stephen Gold is a retired judge and author who recently acted as executor for his beloved late aunt. 

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After successfully adding many hundreds of pounds more to her estate, he offers a guide to follow for any readers facing the ordeal of sorting out a deceased loved one’s finances. 

In the first of a three-part serial, Gold explains how he took on BT and a string of banks and building societies over unacceptable errors and delay. 

In the second part, Gold eventually finds a way to prise cash out of Lloyds after it refuses to budge over a no-interest account. 

He then gets a stern reception at the probate service when he tries to complain about a 16-week delay – but persistence finally wins results. 

In part thee, he describes how to squeeze yet more compensation from banks slow to hand over cash. 

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The Gov.uk website says: ‘Contact the financial organisations the person who died used (for example, their bank and mortgage company) to find out if you’ll need probate to get access to their assets. Every organisation has its own rules.’

It adds you may not need probate if the person who died:

– Only had savings

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– Owned shares or money with others – this automatically passes to the surviving owners unless they’ve agreed otherwise

– Owned land or property as ‘joint tenants’ with others – this automatically passes to the surviving owners.

Who is responsible for applying for probate?

When someone dies leaving a will they will name an executor or executors in it. This role should have been agreed with those people when they wrote the will.

The executors are responsible for administering the will and dealing with probate. 

Even if they have been named in a will as an executor, some people pass this task on to a solicitor, deciding to pay a professional to do the job for them. You can officially relinquish the job if you have not already started doing it.

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Gov.uk says: ‘Only certain people can apply for probate. Who can apply depends on whether or not there’s a will. If there’s a will, executors named in it can apply. If there’s not a will, the closest living relative can apply.’

It is possible to do probate yourself. One money-saving tip is to do the bulk of it and then simply pay a solicitor to check your work for you.

Find tips on how to do this when you are applying online and what it costs, plus ways to avoid common mistakes that cause delays below.

What do you need to do to value an estate?

To value someone’s estate you need to identify all their assets. This means any bank and building society accounts, investments, properties, their belongings, car and anything else they may have owned. You also need to identify and pensions and life insurance policies.

For savings and investments and other financial assets you need to contact the provider and ask for a valuation on the date of death.

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Properties need to be valued, preferably by an estate agent or valuer, and you will also need to tot up what everything else is worth.

You also need to know about any debts, such as mortgages, credit cards, loans and personal debts and you can deduct the cost of funeral expenses, so get this figure too.

Inheritance tax then needs to be dealt with even if no tax is going to be owed.

Do you have to fill in inheritance tax forms?

Unfortunately, form-filling is difficult to avoid. But most estates do not incur inheritance tax and are ‘excepted estates’, in which case you do not have to give full details of an estate’s value, unless it falls under one of the other categories listed here.

Gov.uk has a guide to how to value an estate for inheritance tax and report its value here.

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What counts as an excepted estate depends on whether the person died before or after the start of 2022.

If the person died on or after 1 January 2022

An estate is usually an excepted estate if any of the following apply:

– Its value is below the current inheritance tax threshold

– The estate is worth £650,000 or less and any unused threshold is being transferred from a spouse or civil partner who died first

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– The deceased left everything to a spouse or civil partner living in the UK or to a qualifying charity and the estate is worth less than £3million (search the charity register for registered UK charities)

– The deceased was living permanently outside the UK (a ‘foreign domiciliary’) when they died and the value of their UK assets is under £150,000.

HEATHER ROGERS ANSWERS YOUR TAX QUESTIONS

       

If the person died on or before 31 December 2021

An estate is usually an excepted estate if any of the following apply:

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– Its value is below the inheritance tax threshold at the time the person died

– The deceased left everything to a surviving spouse or civil partner living in the UK or to a qualifying charity and the estate is worth less than £1million (search the charity register for registered UK charities)

– The deceased was living permanently outside the UK (a ‘foreign domiciliary’) when they died and the value of their UK assets is under £150,000,

Gov.uk explains the processes to follow regarding inheritance tax if you are dealing with:

– An estate where a full account is needed

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– An excepted estate if the person died on or after 1 January 2022

– An excepted estate if the person died on or before 31 December 2021.

The process of applying for probate

If there’s inheritance tax to pay, you have to wait 20 working days after sending the tax forms to HMRC before applying for a grant of representation.

Nowadays, the Government prefers people to apply online, and notes that it takes longer to process paper applications than online ones.

You can apply here, and that link also explains how to get help with an online application.

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If you decide to fill in a form, use PA1P if there is a will and PA1A if there is no will.

You will need to give details about the deceased and their family and rehash some of the figures from the inheritance tax stage above.

There might also be a fee to pay – £273 if the value of the estate is over £5,000, but nothing if it is £5,000 or less. You might be able to get help with fees.

A grant of representation will then be sent to you, and this needs to be shown to banks and other institutions to release assets.

Any debts owed by the deceased must then be settled and the estate can be distributed. The grant also allows properties to be sold and the money distributed.

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How to avoid probate delays 

People can face significant wait times if their applications are ‘stopped’ for some reason, warns Michael Culver, chair of Solicitors for the Elderly.

‘This could be down to errors in the application or missing documents. Once an application is stopped, it goes to the back of the queue and new cases take priority.’

If you’re handling the probate process yourself, Culver suggests the following tips to pre-empt some of the common problems.

1. If in doubt, seek out an SFE member to review your application before you submit it. Many of our members will happily review and feedback on any changes required for an agreed fixed fee.

If applying online, you can share your password and log-in details with your solicitor, but usually it will send a code to your email so it’s best to do it in the same room where possible, or over the phone.

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Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

Michael Culver: Cases take longer if stopped, ususally due to errors in the application or missing documents, and once stopped an application goes to the back of the queue

We’d recommend getting in touch with a lawyer for a fixed fee meeting in the office. We’d ask someone to bring all of their paperwork and log in details ready to review the online application together before making the submission.

In central London you might pay around £300 for a fixed fee one-hour meeting to review the online probate application, but this is assuming there’s no inheritance tax payable.

If there are inheritance tax forms to check, it wouldn’t be a fixed fee as it would likely take three to four hours of additional work and the total could be closer to £1,000.

This will differ per region and per firm.

2. If tax is payable wait 25 working days from sending the inheritance tax paperwork to HMRC before applying for probate.

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This is recommended even if HMRC have confirmed receipt of the paperwork in the meantime, in order to give them time to share the paperwork with the tax service.

The lack of a response from HMRC is one of the main causes for an application being stopped.

3. Ensure all names match those within the will or explain why if there is a difference.

4. Explain why one executor isn’t applying for the grant if appropriate.

5. Ensure all documents including the original will are included when sending documents to HMCTS.

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6. If there is no will, make sure you explain why you are entitled to apply for the grant.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

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International

From welcoming refugees to the crisis in Lampedusa, six years of French immigration policy

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French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Tuesday that France would not be taking in any of the migrants who arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa last week. FRANCE 24 looks back at six years of French U-turns on immigration policies.

Having lamented for years that the Mediterranean has become “the world’s biggest cemetery”, Pope Francis is visiting the French port city of Marseille on Friday to reinforce his message that the region should welcome migrants.

His visit comes as Lampedusa, a small Italian island nestled in the Mediterranean between Tunisia and Malta, saw a record number of migrant arrivals last week. Some 8,500 people reached the island’s shores, briefly exceeding its resident population of 6,100.

But the pope’s call for peace may fall on deaf ears, as EU nations like Italy and France pledge tougher immigration measures.

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Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Monday called for a naval blockade of North Africa to prevent smuggler boats from leaving the continent, lengthened detention time for migrants awaiting repatriation and announced the creation of more detention centres in remote areas.

France boosted border patrols on its southern frontier with Italy and amplified its drone surveillance of the Alps to keep people from crossing over. The government has held firm on its decision not to take in migrants from Lampedusa.

“[We] will not take in migrants,” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told national TV channel TF1 on Tuesday. “It’s not by taking in more people that we’re going to stem a flow that obviously affects our ability to integrate [them into French society],” he said.

Darmanin’s words come at a time where immigration has once again taken centre stage in French politics. As the country’s hung parliament wrangles over a draft law governing new arrivals, President Emmanuel Macron has evoked a possible referendum on the topic.

No one knows whether the referendum will actually take place or what question will be posed. But that very sense of uncertainty matches France’s indecision on immigration policy over the past six years.

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FRANCE 24 takes a look back at the string of U-turns and contradictions Macron has made on the issue since taking office in 2017, a journey worthy of whiplash.

  • January 2017: Macron praises Angela Merkel’s stance on migration

While he was still running for presidency on January 2, 2017, Macron published an op-ed in French daily Le Monde. In the article, he praised former German Chancellor Angela Merkel for having taken in a large number of migrants years earlier – at a time where most European countries wouldn’t.

“When Italy was alone in handling the arrival of refugees in Lampedusa, to the point of deeply moving Pope Francis, neither France nor Germany were there to help,” Macron wrote. “Greece has also long been on the front line, helpless and overwhelmed in the face of the influx of refugees and migrants. That being said, Chancellor Merkel and German society as a whole have lived up to our shared values – they have saved our collective dignity by taking in refugees in distress, housing them and training them.”

Shortly after he took office, Macron spelled out his vision for welcoming migrants and specifically asylum seekers more clearly. A few months after publishing the op-ed, he made a speech in Orléans, a city south of Paris, in which he stated: “By the end of this year, I no longer want there to be men and women in the streets, in the woods or lost … It’s a matter of dignity, of humanity and also of efficiency. I want to ensure that, wherever emergency accommodation is built to take in [asylum seekers], there are also administrative facilities in place to process their requests.”

In 2023, tens of thousands of migrants are still sleeping rough, according to the Abbé Pierre Foundation, which finances and supports associations that fight against substandard housing.

  • Summer 2018: France rejects dock request from Aquarius migrant ship

The summer of 2018 was marked by diplomatic quarrels between France and Italy, especially regarding the request to dock the Aquarius – a migrant ship chartered by the European humanitarian organisation SOS Mediterranée, which carries out search and rescue missions for migrants lost at sea.

The dispute began in June, when Italy refused to let the ship dock with 629 migrants on board. Macron criticised the “cynicism and irresponsibility” of the Italian government’s decision to close its ports, while refusing to let the ship dock in France. After a week of being stuck off the coast of Sicily, Spain finally agreed to let the Aquarius dock on June 17, before it moved on to Marseille. Of the 629 people on board, 78 were taken in by France.

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But a few weeks later, on September 25, the French government refused to let the Aquarius, and the remaining 58 migrants on board, dock for a second time. This time, Malta agreed to take in the migrants but not the ship, which had to stay offshore. Although France eventually took in 17 of the 58 remaining migrants, it still refused to let the ship dock.

Progression of asylum applications and number of asylum statuses granted over the last six years in France.
Progression of asylum applications and number of asylum statuses granted over the last six years in France. © FRANCE 24 graphic design studio
  • September 2018: A controversial asylum and immigration bill

In the summer of 2018, Macron’s initial Interior Minister Gérard Collomb passed a bill on asylum and immigration that was slammed by non-profit organisations helping refugees across the board. Measures that were soundly criticised included the doubling of the 45-day detention period for illegal migrants to 90 days, the possibility of placing children in detention centres and cutting the maximum processing time for asylum seekers from 120 to 90 days.  

The controversial bill exposed divisions within Macron’s party, who had a majority in parliament at the time. More than a dozen MPs abstained from voting and one MP voted against the bill. The legislation even sparked wrath from the right. Former right-wing minister Jacques Toubon, who later became the French Human Rights Defender, told French daily Le Monde that the bill treated asylum seekers “badly”.

  • November 2019: Prime Minister Édouard Philippe restricts healthcare access for migrants

On November 6, 2019, then French prime minister Édouard Philippe announced a new immigration plan that aimed to combat what the government called “medical tourism”.  The government claimed that the medical coverage offered to migrants was attracting newcomers to France, so they decided to restrict access to healthcare.

For asylum seekers who are not minors, a three-month waiting period to access universal coverage was introduced, and the list of treatments covered was reduced for foreign nationals receiving state medical aid (AME).  

  • November 2020: Brutal dismantling of migrant camp in central Paris

Hundreds of migrants were violently dispersed in central Paris on the night of November 23, 2020, only a few days after a migrant camp housing 2,000 people was dismantled in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.

During the evacuation operation in central Paris, police officers were accused of violence as they broke up the migrant camp at the Place de la République. Images on social media showed officers hitting protesters and picking up tents, sometimes with people still inside – prompting the country’s interior minister to say that some of the scenes were “shocking” and order an inquiry.

“You can’t respond to misery with police batons. It is urgent, essential and indisputable that the migrants in Saint-Denis who live on the streets should be given shelter. The honour of the French Republic is at stake,” said Delphine Rouilleault, director of the non-profit “France terre d’asile”, which has criticised the treatment of migrants in Calais for years. “When tents aren’t being torn down by police, it’s the ‘jungle’ [the name of the former immigration camp in the Calais region] itself that is dismantled using bulldozers.”

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Progression of residence permits granted by the French government over the years.
Progression of residence permits granted by the French government over the years. © FRANCE 24 graphic design studio
  • August 2021: After the Taliban retake control of Afghanistan, France must protect itself against ‘irregular migratory flows’

When France began repatriating its nationals after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021, Macron declared it was his country’s “duty” and “dignity” to protect Afghans (including translators and cooks) who had worked for France on the ground.

But the French president also warned that Europe would have to protect itself “against significant irregular migratory flows”.  His statement was condemned by the left as well as humanitarian organisations, who saw it as showing a shameful lack of empathy for the Afghans.

In the weeks that followed, France was accused of not doing enough for the Afghan people – particularly Afghan interpreters and women. A total of 2,600 Afghans were evacuated to France, compared with 8,000 to the UK and 4,000 to Germany.

  • February 2022: More than a hundred thousand Ukrainian refugees welcomed

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 prompted large numbers of Ukrainians to flee their country and seek refuge in western Europe. France quickly opened its borders and spent €500 million on welcoming those in need. As a result, more than 110,000 refugees arrived on French soil within a year – 80 percent of whom were women, according to official data released by the interior ministry on February 24, 2023, a year after the war broke out.

Refugee NGOs applauded the French government’s efforts, but also viewed them as a double standard in relation to how those fleeing the Global South are treated. “We’re very happy that things are going well for Ukrainians, but we found the whole thing incredibly unfair. When they are Africans or Afghans, we’re told there is nowhere to house them and they end up sleeping rough. On the other hand, when it’s Ukrainians – people we can identify with – they open accommodation centres,” Yann Mazi, founder of French non-profit Utopia 56, told French daily Libération.

  • November 2022: France accepts the Ocean Viking rescue ship but suspends plan to take in 3,500 refugees

Four years after the Aquarius migrant ship was barred from docking in Italy, a new rescue vessel chartered by SOS Méditerranée, the Ocean Viking, caused a renewed diplomatic spat between France and Italy.

When Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni refused to allow the ship carrying 234 migrants to dock at an Italian port, French Interior Minister Darmanin announced on November 10, 2022 that France would “as an exception” welcome the Ocean Viking in Toulon.

After declaring that France would receive a third of the migrants on board, Darmanin went on to describe Italy’s decision as “incomprehensible” and “lacking humanity”, calling Meloni’s behaviour “contrary to the solidarity and commitments” made by Rome.

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However, in protest at Italy’s behaviour, Darmanin then suspended a plan to take in 3,500 refugees who had arrived in Italy. The transfer was planned as part of a European burden-sharing accord.

In line with the multiple U-turns the French government has made on its migration policy over the years, it plans to relaunch its immigration bill – initially planned for the start of 2023 – this autumn.

The bill aims to make it easier to expel foreigners who “pose a serious threat to public order” and give special residence permits to undocumented migrants already working in understaffed sectors in France.

This article has been translated from the original in French. 

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