The Daily Moth 3-15-17

March 15, 2017



Will Genetic Therapy Cause an End to the Deaf Community?, DOJ Announces Indictments Against Four Hackers for Yahoo Breach, Two Congressmen Say There Is No Evidence for Trump’s Wiretapping Claims, Suicide Bombings in Syria Kills 31, and Netherlands/French Elections. 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Wednesday, March 15. Ready for news? 




A Gallaudet philosophy professor, Dr. Teresa Burke, wrote an article about gene therapy to “cure/eliminate” hereditary deafness — warning that it can be a threat to the Deaf community/culture. 


In the article, she mentions there are already discussions within the Deaf community that scientific research which aims to eliminate or cure deafness is a form of cultural genocide — since if hereditary deafness is cured, there would be a smaller pool of deaf children and that’d lead to our demise. 


Dr. Burke said researchers often dismiss this notion — they say their efforts to cure deafness is not equivalent with “a call to eliminate” deaf communities/deaf people. Researchers also say if they support gene therapy, it does not mean they support discrimination against Deaf people.


Dr. Burke then challenges the researchers — saying they must consider the perspective that deaf people’s genes are connected with their identity and language, as it is passed down to deaf children.


She pointed out that a majority of Deaf children are born to hearing parents and most of the children do not have a choice on learning sign language. 


Dr. Burke said there is a bias in “Hearing culture” that it is “better” to be a part of the “Hearing cultural community” than to be in the Deaf community.


Now about gene therapy — Dr. Burke argues that it is different from cochlear implant surgery because with CI, deaf children are still deaf — and they could decide later to not use the devices. But with gene therapy, deaf children lose that choice permanently and it will “fundamentally change their potential life experiences.” 


Dr. Burke compared it with doctors doing limb-lengthening surgery on people who were born short or doing genital surgery on children who were born with an “ambiguous genitalia.” She said such surgeries have a deep impact on the well-being of children. 


Dr. Burke then challenged researchers/scientists to consider the potential impact of identity loss on children with hereditary deafness by curing them with gene therapy. 


Gene Therapy Article :




The U.S. Dept. of Justice announced they have charged four people in relation to the massive hacking of Yahoo accounts in 2014 in which 500 million people had their account information stolen.


Two of the four charged are Russian spies and a part of FSB, a Russian intelligence agency. The DOJ says the two spies worked with the other two hackers to hack into Yahoo and they are suspected of targeting Google accounts. 


The hacking was focused on breaking through email accounts of both Russian and U.S. government officials. Apparently they were able to “take over” 30 million Yahoo accounts to send out spam emails. 


Of the four, three are Russians (two of them FSB officers) and one is from Kazakhstan and currently lives in Canada. Their ages are 29 to 44. 


The DOJ says they hope Russia will respect the U.S.’ criminal justice system and possibly extradite them to the U.S. There is currently no extradition treaty/agreement between the U.S. and Russia, so the U.S. will either have to convince the Russians to hand them over or wait for the three to enter a country that has an extradition agreement with the U.S. 


The Canadian hacker was arrested yesterday in Canada. 


Yahoo released a statement saying they were grateful for the DOJ’s indictments — and that it shows that the hacking attacks were “state-sponsored” — meaning Russia was behind it.


The DOJ clearly stated that the Yahoo hacking has no connection with the hacks on the Democratic National Committee’s emails. 


BBC Article:




Remember when President Trump accused then-President Obama of ordering a wiretap of his phones in the Trump Tower when he was campaigning? Here is the tweet. 


[Tweet: How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy! 


On Monday, the Dept. of Justice asked the Intelligence Committee for “more time” to get evidence that Obama ordered his phones to be wiretapped. 


Yesterday Press Sec. Spicer said Trump didn’t mean that Obama actually personally tapped into his phone, but that Trump was talking broadly about agencies spying on him last fall. The President’s Adviser Kellyanne Conway said the spying could be done through TV sets or microwaves.


Now the House Intelligence Committee seems to have shot down the idea of Obama ordering a wiretap of Trump Tower. 


Rep. Devin Nunes (R, CA) said if you want to take the President’s tweets literally, then the president is clearly wrong — that there was no actual tap of Trump Tower. 


Rep. Adam Schiff (D, CA) said the (White House leadership team) has been unclear about where Trump got the idea of wiretapping — and that they are trying to distract from the fact that Trump said something that was clearly untrue. 


It seems like this thing will go away, just like Trump’s previous claims without evidence that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes in the election or that Obama was not born in the U.S. 




In Damascus, Syria — many people died and many were injured from two suicide bombings. 


The first bomber detonated near a courthouse in the center of the city — killing at least 31 people, injuring at least 102 people. Before the explosion, he was stopped by security when he tried to enter the building — but he threw himself inside the building and set off the bomb while there were many lawyers, judges, and civilians around. 


The second bomber detonated at a popular restaurant, fortunately there were no deaths — but 28 people were injured. It appears the bomber was chased by security guards and detonated while running. 


It is not clear which group was responsible for the bombings. It might have been done by the jihadist organization/alliance Tahrir al-Sham — because they claimed responsibility for bombings on Saturday that killed more than 40 people, also in Damascus. 


Bombs were placed at a cemetery near a parking lot for buses — one exploded, causing serious damage to people and buses, then another exploded 10 minutes later that appeared to target first responders arriving. 


Terrible. The leader of Tahrir al-Sham used to be a leader for al Qaeda in Syria.


Reuters Article:

NPR Article:




In the Netherlands (Holland) — there is a general election to pick the next Prime Minister of the country in an election with two leading campaigners who have very different views about the future of Europe and immigration. 


The two front-runners are current Prime Minister Mark Rutte against Geert Wilders, who has risen in popularity for making promises to ban the Quran, close all mosques, closing the borders to refugees, and doing a “Brexit” style pull-out of the European Union. The results will be known tomorrow morning their time (late tonight our time). The results will show the mood in the Netherlands on feelings of whether Europe should remain united with religious freedom and open borders — or if Holland should close off its borders and have strong measures against Islam. Rutte has a narrow lead in the polls. 


Another big election in Europe is France — they will elect their new president — with a similar top-two frontrunner competition between “moderate” Republican Francois Fillon vs right-wing and populist candidate Marine Le Pen, who has shown strong opposition to immigration and views against Islam. Le Pen is leading in the polls. There will be a two-round election in April and May, with the first to determine the top two and the second to decide the winner. 


We’ll see what happens in Europe. 




That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 









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