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Negeri Sembilan lift Premier League title with celebrations at Paroi Stadium


SEREMBAN: Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in, Paroi here turned into a fairyland with fireworks as Negeri Sembilan FC (NSFC) celebrated their historic victory after a 10-year wait to clinch the cup as champions of the Premier League last night.

The moment came after the match saw NSFC trounced PDRM FC 4-2 in their final game yesterday.

The celebration of the championship was led by team captain Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abd Razak with chief coach K. Devan who lifted the trophy proudly amidst applause from teammates.

The occasion was also witnessed by Negeri Sembilan Yang Dipertuan Besar ‘s son, Tunku Zain Al-Abidin Ibni Tuanku Muhriz, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun, NSFC president Tunku Besar Tampin Tunku Syed Razman Tunku Syed Idris Al-Qadri and state executive councillors.

With the victory tonight, the Hobin Jang Hobin squad has qualified for the Super League next season and will compete for Malaysia Cup starting Sept 25.

NSFC fans flooded the compound of the stadium to join in the historic moment since 7 pm despite not being able to witness the match due to Covid-19 pandemic.

NSFC took the Premier League title with 41 points to edge Sarawak to the second place after the runners-up drew 1-1 with Johor Darul Ta’zim II over in Tan Sri Dato’ Hj Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin last night.- Bernama

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Sen. Schumer & other top Dems urge Biden to stop expulsion of Haitian refugees, as UN says decision may violate international law


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats have condemned President Joe Biden for deporting thousands of Haitian migrants gathered at the border, after the UN warned the move could run afoul of international law.

As Biden begins the mass expulsion of Haitian refugees – around 14,000 of whom have showed up under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio in recent weeks, many fleeing natural disaster and political turmoil in their home country – members of his own party have rejected the decision as cruel, among them the Senate’s top Democrat.

“The horrible treatment of these innocent Haitian people – who have come to the border fleeing violence and natural disaster – must stop immediately,” Schumer said in a tweet, adding that Biden “must stop these expulsions and end this Title 42 policy at our southern border.”

To justify the deportations, Biden invoked a provision of US federal law (Title 42 of the United States Code) that allows the government to expel “entries and imports from designated places to prevent [the] spread of communicable diseases.” Title 42 expulsions were used heavily under the Donald Trump administration, which cited the Covid-19 pandemic to bar entry to large numbers of migrants. Despite repeated vows to overturn Trump’s immigration policies, Biden is now using the same mechanism to deport thousands of Haitians.

Schumer echoed earlier criticism from Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) of the government’s “unconscionable” treatment of the refugees, while Congressman Adam Schiff (D-California) and Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under the Barack Obama administration, also denounced the move.

Opposition from Democrats grew more vocal after images from a US-Mexico border crossing made the rounds online, showing Border Patrol agents on horseback forcefully rounding up what appeared to be Haitian migrants. While the agents’ reins were mistaken for “whips” by some critics, the tense visuals nonetheless helped to galvanize criticism from within Biden’s own party.

Earlier on Tuesday, the top refugee official at the United Nations, Filippo Grandi, said Biden’s mass deportation campaign could run afoul of international laws barring ‘forced returns,’ urging Washington to lift the Title 42 restrictions. 

“The summary, mass expulsions of individuals currently underway under the Title 42 authority, without screening for protection needs, is inconsistent with international norms and may constitute refoulement,” he said, referring to a concept under international humanitarian law that forbids states from returning asylum-seekers to places they are likely to face danger or persecution.

Grandi also cited “deplorable conditions” under the Del Rio bridge, an all-concrete overpass located along a stretch of the US-Mexico border where a massive number of migrants has gathered. While federal authorities temporarily banned drone flights in the area last week after aerial footage showed the vast scale of the migrant encampment, state officials have since helped local news crews to circumvent the restrictions, flying Fox reporters over the scene in their own helicopters to give them a better look. 

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Texas DPS flies Fox News crew in its chopper over Del Rio migrant hotspot after federal government grounded channel’s drone

The Texas state government has long been at loggerheads with the Biden administration over border policy, with Governor Greg Abbott moving to shut down several crossings into the US last week while blaming Biden for “sheer negligence” in failing to “secure the border.” 

The deportation effort has so far been a messy one in both the US and Haiti, with footage emerging from an airport in the Haitian capital on Tuesday purporting to show newly returned refugees storming an airstrip, some seen throwing shoes at a plane. One day earlier, a group of Haitian migrants reportedly attempted an escape from a Border Patrol bus en route to a processing center in Brownsville, Texas, though all were soon recaptured.

While the US Department of Homeland Security vowed to accelerate deportation flights over the weekend, Mexico has also offered a hand in busing and flying Haitian migrants away from the US border, some being brought closer to the Mexico-Guatemala border far in the country’s south. Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretary Ebrard claimed that many of the Haitians already have refugee status in other states such as Chile and Brazil, though another official told the Associated Press that some are seeking to remain in Mexico and would be brought to the southern city of Tapachula to await immigration proceedings.

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US Homeland Security vows to increase ‘removal flights’ as 14,000+ migrants gather under Texas bridge

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Chelsea’s Werner can thrive alongside Lukaku – Tuchel


LONDON: Chelsea forward Timo Werner (pix) is gaining confidence and has shown that he can build a promising partnership with fellow striker Romelu Lukaku, manager Thomas Tuchel said on Tuesday.

While new recruit Lukaku has hit the ground running with four goals early in the season, Werner has yet to open his account after a disappointing 2020-21 campaign in which he scored only six times in the league.

The German forward lost his place in the starting lineup after Lukaku’s arrival but has made substitute appearances to partner the Belgian and Tuchel said he could prove his worth when Chelsea host Aston Villa in the League Cup on Wednesday.

“He gave us a clear impression of how dangerous he and Romelu can be together. There was some disappointment from the Euros and the first games, I don’t think he was happy with his performances,” Tuchel told reporters.

“The stuff that you don’t see, in training sessions, he’s more relaxed, more fluid in his movements, with more confidence. That’s why he came on early against Tottenham, there are clear signs he is in a good way and he can prove it tomorrow.

“Timo was in better positions and we had him in dangerous positions around Romelu. And he got an assist… he moves smart, he’s free and his decision making is with more confidence… Hopefully he can push himself and keep that momentum going.”

Tuchel said players who have been sparingly used will get minutes against Villa but goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has yet to recover from a hip injury and the German coach hopes he will return for Saturday’s big league clash against Manchester City.

“It’s a race against the pain and time. We hope he trains on Thursday so he can be back for Saturday,” Tuchel said.

Tuchel also reserved special praise for Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, who was named man of the match in Sunday’s win over Spurs and turns 37 on Wednesday.

“The approach from him to recovery, to live this life as a professional player is simply outstanding,” Tuchel said. “What he eats, when he eats, how he recovers, how he trains – when he’s on the pitch, he trains full on.

“He obviously gets better and better with his experience… The status that he had at Paris (St Germain), to step out of that and enter the hardest competition in Europe shows how competitive he is.” – Reuters

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US ‘hegemony’ has ‘failed miserably’ & sanctions amount to ‘crime against humanity,’ Iran’s president says in fiery UN address


Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi condemned US “hegemony” in the Middle East, saying efforts to dominate the region had been a disastrous failure while blasting its “criminal” sanctions on medical supplies during a speech to the UN.

In a pre-recorded speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Raisi outlined major grievances with Washington while laying out a vision for his own country’s foreign policy, arguing that the world had rejected the US’ failed “hegemonic system.” To underscore the point, he cited two major events this year which he said symbolized that failure.

“This year, two scenes made history: One was on January 6, when the US Congress was attacked by the people, and two, when the people of Afghanistan were dropped from US planes,” Raisi said, referring to Afghans who fell to their deaths after desperately clinging onto the side of a departing US military plane during a hasty pull-out operation last month. 

From the Capitol to Kabul, one clear message was sent to the world: The United States’ hegemonic system has no credibility, whether inside or outside the country.

Both “the idea of hegemony” and “the project of imposing westernized identity” onto the Middle East have “failed miserably,” Raisi went on, saying they had produced only “blood-spilling and instability and ultimately defeat.” And while the “oppressed people from Palestine and Syria to Yemen and Afghanistan” have had to bear the costs of those policies, so, too, has “the US taxpayer,” Raisi said.

Instead of seeking peaceful cooperation with the rest of the world, Washington has pursued a “way of war,” increasingly making use of sanctions to coerce other states to bend to its will, the president said. He noted that US sanctions on Iran began as early as 1951 – when the country attempted to nationalize its oil industry, “which in turn led to a military coup backed by the Americans and the British” – but continue to this day, including “inhumane medical sanctions” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Sanctions, and especially sanctions on medicine at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, are crimes against humanity,” Raisi said, calling for a formal ban on sanctions that obstruct humanitarian efforts, as they have for Iran’s pandemic response.

I… would like to condemn the continued illegal US sanctions, especially in the area of humanitarian items, and demand that this organized crime against humanity be recorded as a symbol… of the so-called American ‘human rights.’

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In its dealings with the rest of the world, “Iran is keen to have large-scale political and economic cooperation and convergence,” Raisi said. However, with Washington, Tehran is only interested in dialogue that leads to the “lifting of all oppressive sanctions,” as was already agreed in the nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015. The president said the US had not held up its end of the deal, calling on his American counterpart Joe Biden to return to the agreement after his predecessor unilaterally scrapped it in 2018.

We want nothing more than what is rightfully ours. We demand the implementation of international rules. All parties must stay true to the nuclear deal and the UN resolution in practice. 

While the US and its allies have repeatedly accused the Islamic Republic of seeking nuclear weapons, Raisi insisted that both as a “strategic policy,” as well as on the basis of a religious decree from the country’s supreme leader, “the production and stockpiling of atomic weapons [is] forbidden” and “nukes have no place in our defense doctrine.”

“Fifteen reports released by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] have attested to the adherence of Iran to its commitments. However the United States has not yet discharged its obligations, which is lifting sanctions,” he said.

Finally, Raisi argued that attempts to create “Cold War-esque divisions” and to isolate “independent countries” would not foster regional stability, saying the US and all other “outsiders” must end their “aggressions” and “occupations” and allow local powers to address their own problems, including terrorism.

“The military presence of the United States in Syria and Iraq is the biggest hindrance of the establishment of democracy and the will of nations,” the president said, also citing US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians as dangerous and destabilizing policies.

Freedom does not fit in the backpacks of soldiers coming from outside the region.

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Congress passes bill to aid victims of ‘Havana Syndrome’ after reports CIA director’s entourage was targeted in India


The US House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve new CIA funding to treat the victims of the so-called ‘Havana Syndrome,’ a vague set of symptoms blamed on what is said to be a mystery directed-energy weapon.

The Helping American Victims Afflicted by Neurological Attacks (HAVANA) Act was approved by the House on Tuesday in a vote of 427-0. 

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk, as the Senate passed it without opposition back in June. The bipartisan brainchild of Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) authorizes additional funding for the CIA to compensate officers afflicted by the symptoms and grants the agency greater leeway in how the money can be spent, while requiring it to submit regular reports to Congress.

The ‘Havana Syndrome’ was named after the symptoms allegedly suffered by a number of US diplomats and spies stationed in Cuba in 2016, who complained of a persistent noise and reported migraines, nausea, memory lapses and dizziness, as well as permanent brain damage. 

Since then, more than 200 government employees and their families have complained about the symptoms, including a CIA agent who recently traveled to India with Director William Burns. That story made the rounds in Washington earlier on Tuesday, ahead of the House vote.

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The “syndrome” has been reported in numerous other places besides Havana – from Russia, China, Germany and Australia to Washington, DC itself.  The US government has officially dubbed it “anomalous health incidents” and the investigations into its nature and origins are ongoing. Scientists, spies and journalists have speculated that it could be caused by some kind of top-secret, high-tech weapon emitting directed energy waves.

Last week, a panel of Cuban scientists said that claims of secret sonic weapons were not “scientifically acceptable,” and there was “no scientific evidence of attacks.”

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Cuban researchers say ‘no scientific evidence’ for US’ ‘Havana Syndrome’ claims

Back in January 2019, a researcher at UC Berkeley said the recording of the sounds allegedly causing the “syndrome,” released by AP, matched the sounds made by the Indies short-tailed cricket.

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Post-match outburst normal as I am human, says Juve coach Allegri


TURIN: Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said his post-match outburst, captured on camera following the 1-1 draw with AC Milan, is something he has done many times before, and called on his players to take responsibility for the club’s plight.

Sunday’s draw at the Juventus Stadium left the Turin club 18th in the standings after failing to win any of the first four Serie A matches this season, something Juve have not done since 1961-62.

Videos emerged of Allegri storming down the tunnel, with Italian media reporting the coach directed his ire at his players in the dressing-room, specifically the substitutes he used against Milan.

“It is normal that I have a post-game outburst, as I am human,” Allegri told a news conference ahead of Wednesday’s match against Spezia.

“Those who are on the bench must be decisive when they enter and approach the game. We cannot risk playing with 10 men.

“It is a sense of respect for those on the bench, how they must take responsibility. We must be ready. When I was younger they always told me that what matters is on the pitch.”

Allegri took charge of the club for the second time in the close season as he looks to improve on Juve’s disappointing fourth-placed finish last term after winning nine titles in a row.

“If you are technically wrong in football you will pay for it in the long run,” Allegri added. “After Milan equalised we could have lost it and we were lucky enough not to lose, which is why moments of the match must be done better.

“Spezia is a team that has won in Venice (against Venezia on Sunday) by creating a lot, playing without too many worries and playing in their stadium is never easy. We have to be mentally and physically like them and then our qualities will have to come out.”

Allegri confirmed Italy forward Federico Chiesa will come into the side, as will defender Matthijs de Ligt after Giorgio Chiellini picked up an injury. – Reuters

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‘Another uprising’: Black Lives Matter pickets restaurant over incident with enforcing New York City’s vaccine pass


After three Texan women were arrested for attacking a Carmine’s hostess who enforced New York City’s vaccine pass rules, Black Lives Matter picketed the restaurant and called out the government for the policy’s “racist” impact.

Activists with Black Lives Matter of greater New York picketed the Italian restaurant on the Upper West Side on Monday night, confronting both staff and patrons and calling Carmine’s “racist” and “fascist” over last week’s incident. 

“I charge Carmine’s with trying to cover up their employee’s actions by using the vaccination passport as an excuse,” said BLM NY leader Hawk Newsome, who led the protest.

New York City was the first jurisdiction in the US to require proof of vaccination for entering restaurants and other venues. The policy went into effect on September 13. Just three days later, NYPD arrested Sally Rechelle Lewis, Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin and Tyonnie Keshay Rankin, and charged them with assault and criminal mischief after a video emerged of them assaulting a Carmine’s hostess.They were released without bail.

The three women, residents of Houston and its suburb of Humble, were originally described as just “Texan,” prompting an outpouring of online vitriol, normally reserved for Republicans. The moment it emerged they were black, however, the story changed. 

Rankin’s attorney told the New York Times that the physical assault followed the hostess calling the group a derogatory racial term – something Newsome seemed to take at face value. 

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Carmine’s owner Jeffrey Bank, however, called that statement “false” and the attack on his employees “entirely unprovoked.” In response to the BLM protest, Bank released the surveillance footage of the incident to the press on Tuesday. 

“At no point did the women mention that any of the hosts ever made a racial slur. Nor did the women say that to the police officers who arrested them. Nor did anyone hear any such slur,” Bank told the New York Post. “This is because none of our hosts — all of whom are people of color — ever uttered such a slur.”

The employees that were violently attacked were black, Latino and Asian American, he said. The tapes also show that the three Texan women were allowed in after showing their vaccination papers, but got violent after the hostess turned away one of the men seeking to join them, who did not have a valid pass.

While Hawk Newsome focused his wrath on Carmine’s, his wife and fellow BLM leader Chivona took aim at the vaccination pass policy itself.

“We’re putting this city on notice that your mandate will not be another racist social-distance practice. Black people are not going to stand by, or you will see another uprising. And that is not a threat; that is a promise,” said Chivona Newsome. “The vaccination passport is not a free passport to racism.”

Claiming that 72% of New York City’s black residents age 18-44 are unvaccinated, Chivona Newsome asked “what is going to stop the Gestapo, I mean the NYPD, from rounding up black people, from snatching them off the train, off the bus?”

Co-founder of Black Women’s March, Kimberly Bernard, said the protest was “serving notice on the mayor, on the governor, on the restaurant industry that we will not allow for you to use this pandemic, vaccination cards, and masks as another reason to be racist, to put us in prison.”

At the time the measure was announced, in early August, critics pointed out the comparatively low rate of vaccination among African-Americans and said the policy would have a disparate impact, fitting the textbook definition of racism often used by the courts. 

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Democrat Mayor Bill De Blasio ignored the critics, however. Asked about it, the White House said cities and states “should be able to take steps to incentivize more people getting vaccinated.” 

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Politico, which joined MSM chorus dismissing Hunter Biden laptop scoop as ‘Russian disinfo,’ confirms authenticity of key emails


Now that election 2020 is long past and news of Biden family’s influence-peddling has been censored, a Politico reporter’s new book has confirmed at least some of the key emails that were previously branded Russian interference.

Reporter Ben Schreckinger’s book, released on Tuesday, claimed that a person who had independent access to emails from Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, confirmed that he had received two of the messages at the center of the New York Post’s influence-peddling scoop last October.

One of the messages allegedly came from Vadym Pozharsky, an adviser to Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings, who thanked the younger Biden in 2015 for getting him a meeting with Joe Biden. The other was a 2017 email from Biden business partner James Gillar, which included the line “10 held by H for the big guy?” Another former Biden partner said the phrase referred to Hunter Biden holding a 10% stake in the deal for Joe Biden.

Emails released by a Swedish government agency also matched some of the messages that the Post found on Hunter Biden’s laptop after it was left at a Delaware repair shop, Schreckinger said, citing two other people who had correspondence with the president’s son.

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As Washington Free Beacon reporter Chuck Ross pointed out on Tuesday, conservative media outlets had confirmed the authenticity of the Hunter Biden emails long before Schreckinger’s book was published. The Daily Caller said a cyber security expert confirmed that the laptop trove was authentic last October, so Schreckinger was 11 months late to the story.

But for such reporting to now come from Politico, which was among the mainstream media outlets that sought to squash the Post’s scoop as the presidential election approached, represents a sea change. In October last year, Politico called the story “Russian disinfo,” citing a letter signed by 50 former US intelligence agency officials. Those officials offered no evidence to support their claim, but pointed the finger at Moscow, saying “Russia is trying to influence how Americans vote in this election.”

Twitter censored the Post’s reporting, citing its hacked materials policy without having any evidence suggesting that the laptop had been hacked. Not only was the Post’s Twitter account blocked for more than two weeks, but users of the social media platform were prevented from sharing the article.

The Federal Elections Commission ruled last week that the censorship wasn’t politically motivated and Twitter therefore hadn’t made an illegal in-kind contribution to Joe Biden’s campaign by doing his news-suppression bidding.

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Radio host Chris Stigall was among many observers pointing out that Politico is only acknowledging the veracity of the Biden emails after the political damage of censoring it has been done. “Journalism would have been helpful last year,” he said. “Politico quietly admits, yep, that Hunter Biden story was true.”

Commenters such as Newsmax correspondent Emerald Robinson speculated that the apparent flip-flop on the Post’s scoop suggests that mainstream media outlets are poised to turn against the president. “It really means that left-wing corporate media are getting ready to turn on Biden in favor of Kamala (Harris),” Robinson said.

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iPhones to detect depression, cognitive decline & anxiety in users…problems it could cause in the first place, reports say


Apple is allegedly working with UCLA and pharmaceutical firm Biogen to try to detect depression and other mental illnesses in iPhone users. However, the smartphone itself has also been blamed for such conditions.

The tech giant is working with University of California, Los Angeles to see if its algorithms can detect stress, anxiety and depression among iPhone users, while the partnership with Biogen is devoted to studying mild cognitive impairment among users, according to several unnamed Apple employees who spoke to the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday.

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The projects – codenamed ‘Seabreeze’ and ‘Pi’, respectively – take medical diagnostics quite a bit further than previous Apple features, though the sensors being used to collect data for them have been part of the ubiquitous phones for some time now. Usage data including mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing behavior, and other seemingly innocuous interactions with the device are being analyzed in the hope of finding “digital signals associated with the target conditions,” the sources said.

The UCLA study (‘Seabreeze’) began last fall with 150 subjects tracking data from their Apple Watches and iPhones; it is supposed to expand to 3,000 people this year. The project is quite intrusive, including data from the phone’s video camera, keyboard, and audio sensors as well as information from the watch regarding movement, sleep, and vital signs. Analysis of facial expressions, tone of voice, gait, and sleep is also involved, as are typing speed and accuracy and the content of messages. Accompanying the high-volume data suck are a series of questionnaires about mood and analysis of the stress hormone cortisol in subjects’ hair. A match between usage signatures and relevant psychological conditions could result in an app warning the user they’re at risk of mental illness – though fully-fledged tele-diagnosis is supposedly not the point.

The Biogen study (‘Pi’) was only launched on Monday, according to the employees and documents they provided; meant to last two years, it hopes to follow 20,000 participants, half of whom are at risk of cognitive impairment, and uses data similar to what UCLA is slurping up. It builds on a much smaller study that found 31 adults with cognitive impairment used their phones in a markedly different manner than ‘normal’ adults.

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Both studies are aimed at developing ‘unique features’ for the iPhone, a shift for Apple, which has previously focused most of its biometric efforts on its smartwatch, producing features like the atrial fibrillation detector it developed in 2018 in partnership with Stanford University researchers. While the choice may have seemed logical given that device’s closer-to-the-skin profile, it has meant the company misses out on data collection from the legions of faithful Apple users who for whatever reason opted to skip the wearable and has meant leaving terabytes of ultra-sensitive iPhone usage data out of future biometric features.

While the employees admitted the new projects are in their early stages and “may never lead to new device features,” the connection between smartphone usage and mental health is already a strong and controversial one. Smartphone addiction is a real problem, having earned its own entry in the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual volume 5. It’s especially noticeable in teens who’ve grown up with an iPhone or iPad in their hands, but even in non-digital-natives, the so-called ‘fear of missing out’ keeps people glued to their phones when they should be sleeping, working, driving, or otherwise engaged.

Smartphone addiction is defined as feeling compelled to use the device even in “dangerous or prohibited contexts,” losing interest in other activities, irritability and unease when separated from the phone, or anxiety when unable to immediately send and receive messages. Given how many of those symptoms overlap with depression and anxiety, it’s unclear how Apple and its university partners will be able to tell which came first, the smartphone or the mental illness associated with it.

Smartphone overuse can also negatively impact posture, eyesight and hearing, and while users might believe their connections with their fellow humans are enhanced by constant connection, the reverse is often the case, with the constant distraction offered by the phone sometimes taking the place of social activities or fostering a lingering dissatisfaction based on the belief that someone, somewhere is having a better time. Others with mental illness might rely on their phone as a coping mechanism or to escape negative emotions.

Certain academic studies have indicated ways in which people with particular mental health conditions differ in their smartphone use (‘lonely’ individuals prefer voice calls to texting, while ‘anxious’ people would rather text, for example), while others have quite clearly placed the smartphone on the causal side of the equation. One such study found that poor sleep quality associated with late-night texting or calling was directly linked to a decline in mental health, manifesting in depression and low self-esteem that might persist for as much as a year after the maladaptive texting behavior.

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While some have argued that diagnosing mental illness by smartphone is wildly irresponsible, not all sufferers necessarily have access to a trained professional, especially in the US, where health insurance is not universal and often doesn’t cover specialty visits like mental health providers. The Apple employees who spoke to the Wall Street Journal have expressed hope that any feature the company comes up with can at least help bridge that gap. However, there is also the risk of stigma that comes with mental illness. For its users to be willing to trust it with their mental health data – or what it believes to be their mental health data – Apple will have to regain a significant amount of trust it has lost over the many scandals it has weathered this year.

From the revelation that Israeli spyware program Pegasus has basically had open-ended access to iPhones for years, to the botched yet sinister effort to screen all iCloud accounts for ‘child pornography’, Apple’s reputation as the pro-privacy smartphone manufacturer lies in tatters, while Google is chortling all the way to the bank – having never promised the privacy it has not delivered. Apple customers, who often pay a good deal more than their Google-loyal brethren for what are supposed to be less porous devices, are unlikely to keep shelling out the big bucks for a phone that not only spies on them for foreign governments but diagnoses them with mental illness into the bargain.

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‘Unacceptable!’: Republicans & Democrats team up for Israel after progressives strike Iron Dome funding from spending bill


Support for Israel transcends Washington’s partisan divide, and after progressive Democrats struck funding for the Jewish state’s Iron Dome missile defense system, lawmakers from both parties outdid each other with outrage.

House Democrats on Tuesday scrubbed $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from a broad spending bill. The bill, a stopgap measure meant to ensure the functioning of government past the end of the month, was then reintroduced minus the missile-defense bounty for Tel Aviv.

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The Iron Dome funding was pulled due to objections from the more left-leaning progressives within the Democratic Party. With the House narrowly divided, the Democrats need to vote as a bloc to pass the bill and avert a government shutdown.

No sooner had news broke than lawmakers from both parties erupted with outrage. Republicans accused the Democrats of caving to “the anti-Semitic Left” and wanting Palestinian “rockets to hit civilians.”

“For Ilhan Omar and the left, saving Israeli lives from terror attacks is unacceptable,” Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton tweeted, name-checking one of the Democratic Party’s most vocal critics of Israel.

Many Democrats too were unhappy with the direction their party leadership took. “As Israel’s staunch ally and friend, replenishing Iron Dome funding ASAP is absolutely essential,” former Democratic National Committee chair and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz tweeted, adding that she would “work hard to achieve that critical goal.”

Even avowed progressives like Richie Torres, a New York representative and former Bernie Sanders campaign delegate, spoke out. “A missile defense system (i.e. Iron Dome) defends civilians from missiles,” he tweeted. “Hence the name. Only in a morally inverted universe would this be considered a ‘controversy.’”

Shortly after the bill was introduced, a spokesperson for House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Connecticut) said that funding for the Iron Dome “will be included in the final, bipartisan and bicameral” defense bill later this year. 

Behind the outrage, both sides are playing politics. Republicans incensed at the apparent betrayal of Israel were likely never going to vote for the Democratic bill, Iron Dome funding or not. On the other side, DeLauro’s assurance that the Dome funding can be inserted into the yearly National Defense Authorization Act is by no means ironclad. Progressives have threatened to obstruct the defense bill if a whopping $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill that would dramatically expand the welfare state isn’t passed by then. At present, centrist Democrats are pushing party leadership to hold a vote on a more modest $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill recently passed by the Senate.

The Iron Dome has been operational since 2011, with Israel’s military saying the system is capable of shooting down around 90% of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza. However, each interception costs between $100,000 and $150,000, and after nearly two weeks of intense bombardment by Palestinian militants in May, the Israeli military needs to replenish its missiles.

At the time, President Joe Biden pledged then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu his “full support to replenish Israel’s Iron Dome system to ensure its defenses and security in the future.” 

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