The Daily Moth 11-26-2018

November 27, 2018

Chinese Researcher Claims World’s First Genetically-Edited Babies; Middle School Girl Shot 7 Times Performs With Colts Cheerleaders; Alabama Police Say They Killed Wrong Man During Mall Shooting; Russia Seizes Three Ukrainian Navy Ships; US Border Agents Fire Tear Gas at Migrants; GM Announces 15% Workforce Cuts; California Wildfires Update; Deaf Malibu Girl Describes Devastation

Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Monday, November 26. Hope your weekend was good. Ready for news?




Chinese Researcher Claims World’s First Genetically-Edited Babies


A scientist and researcher in China, He Jiankui, said he has helped to create the world’s first genetically edited human babies, twin girls that were born this month. Their names are Lulu and Nana.


The girls’ embryos were edited to prevent them from getting HIV infection. Their father had HIV, but the mother did not.


The scientist used a new tool called CRISPR-cas9 to go into the DNA and disable a gene called CCR5, with the goal of blocking a “doorway” where HIV can enter cells. This was done during fertility treatments in lab dishes.


He said he felt a strong responsibility to be the first to do this and provide an example, and that society will decide what to do next.


This has shocked scientists around the world with several American scientists saying it was immoral and unethical and premature. But there are others who support this work for the purpose of fighting against diseases.


Gene editing sperm, eggs, or embryos will not only affect the future person, but also the future person’s children. The genes will be passed on. This means the twin girls when they grow up, if they have children, they will pass on the edited genes.


The scientist, He, works at a university in southeast China. The school and the city seemed to be surprised at the news, saying there would be investigations.


Gene editing with embryos is allowed in the U.S., but only for research purposes with discarded embryos that are not destined to form into a human. But in China they’ve done this with a person who was born. We will see what the ripple effects of this are.




Middle School Girl Shot 7 Times Performs With Colts Cheerleaders


A teenage girl, Ella Whistler, who was shot several times at Noblesville West Middle School near Indianapolis six months ago, sang the national anthem and was an honorary captain for the Indianapolis Colts Cheerleading team during a NFL game yesterday. She sang and danced.


Whistler was shot by a 13-year old boy seven times in the face, neck, and chest. A teacher was also shot. The boy is now at a state juvenile detention center.


The Colts Cheerleaders said Whistler is their hero. She is currently in the 8th grade.




Alabama Police Say They Killed Wrong Man During Mall Shooting


On Friday I did a news brief about a shooting at a mall in Alabama on Thanksgiving night. Two people, a 18-year old male and a 12-year old girl were shot by someone, and police thought they shot and killed the gunman, a 21-year old man.


But police said the 21-year old man, Emantic “EJ” Bradford Jr., was not the gunman. He had a license to carry a gun and was briefly in the U.S. Army. So the police shot the wrong person.


Police said they felt threatened by Bradford because he was brandishing a gun, and offered their sympathy to his family.


There were protests last weekend. Bradford’s parents have hired an attorney, who said it doesn’t matter if you’re a good guy with a gun, if you’re black the police shoot and kill you and ask questions later.


Police said they are still looking for the shooter.


This would be the second incident of a police officer shooting and killing a black “good guy with a gun” in November. The first was at a bar in Chicago when police shot and killed an armed security guard, Jemel Roberson, when he was detaining a gunman. His funeral was on Saturday.




Russia Seizes Three Ukrainian Navy Ships


There is a military conflict between Ukraine and Russia. It started yesterday when the Russian navy attacked and seized two Ukrainian gunboats and a tugboat and detained 24 Ukrainian soldiers.


A video shows a Russian ship and its commander ordering it to ram an Ukrainian tugboat. Prior to this, Russians opened fire on the boats. Several Ukrainian soldiers were injured.


This happened at the Kerch Strait, in waters between Crimea and mainland Russia. We know Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.


Ukraine said the sea crossing was in accordance with international rules and agreements, but Russia said they violated rules of peaceful passage.


Ukraine is demanding Russia to immediately release the detained soldiers and transfer the ships back to them. Ukraine will impose martial law for 30 days starting on Wednesday.  


There will be an emergency UN Security Council meeting today to discuss this. The U.S.’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said Russia was reckless and did “outlaw actions.”


President Trump is expected to meet Russian President Putin this week at the G20 Summit in Argentina.




US Border Agents Fire Tear Gas at Migrants


Yesterday U.S. border agents fired tear gas at migrants in Tijuana who were trying to get around Mexican police to cross into the U.S.


A widely-circulated image by Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon shows a mother with two young girls running away from tear gas smoke. In the image, there are at least 100 other migrants at the border wall. You can see barb wire, tall metal fencing, and a U.S. flag on the other side.


A woman from Honduras said she felt her face burning and her baby fainted.


Border agents said there were people who were throwing rocks at them and their vehicles.


It is not the first time border agents used tear gas or pepper spray at the border, but this is a more sensitive time with President Trump’s focus on protecting the border with military troops.


The Democratic governor-elect of California, Gavin Newsom, said this is not his America, that he will not stand to see barefoot children who are seeking for peace and asylum being met with violence and fear.


President Trump said Mexico should return the migrants to their home countries and warned he would close the border permanently.



GM Announces 15% Workforce Cuts


General Motors announced they will cut 15% of their workforce, which is about 14,000 people in North America, and stop production in plants in Michigan, Maryland, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. GM also said they would lay off 25% of their executive staff.


GM will stop producing the Chevrolet Volt, Chevrolet Cruze, and Chevrolet Impala. They said Americans have shown they prefer larger vehicles and would focus more on electric and self-driving vehicles.


The UAW union said this is profoundly damaging to our American workforce. They pointed out that GM got a taxpayer bailout when they were bankrupt and is now putting profits before the working families of this country.


There are several news articles of people being angry, disappointed, or scared in cities where the affected GM plants are.




California Wildfires Update; Deaf Malibu Girl Describes Devastation  


The Camp Fire in northern California is now 100% contained after rain helped firefighters to stop the spread. The fire first started on November 8.


It is the deadliest fire in California history with at least 85 people killed and at least 14,000 homes destroyed. 249 residents are still missing.


In Southern California, the Woolsey fire, which killed 3 people and destroyed 1,600 structures, was contained on Thanksgiving Day.


Here is a video from a 7-year old deaf girl, Brielle, who’s home in Malibu was almost destroyed by the fires.




[Brielle] Hello! My name is Brielle Ferguson. I want to tell you about the fire that came near our home here in California.


The fire came really close. I can’t believe it. Wow.


We live here in Malibu. When I woke up, there was a strong wind that blew on our flowers, our beautiful flowers. The flowers wilted. Later we saw big black clouds. In the distance we saw the mountain was on fire and then a house was on fire!


[Timberly] Where is your home?


[Brielle] You can see my home better here.


The fire was truly close to our house. Close!


The flames were huge, and roared right by the house.


We started smelling smoke and my Mom said, we must leave. I said, yes, okay let’s go! We got in the car and drove to the hotel. We saw more fires along the way. After we finally got back from the hotel, our house was still there.


Look how sad this is. That’s my dad’s office that was destroyed. Dad grew up in this building too. His childhood home is now destroyed.


Here’s my dad’s surfboard.


There’s his boat.


I’m glad our home is still there. I was sad to see other homes destroyed.


Home sweet home! I love you!




[Alex] Thank you Brielle for describing the scene, and to her mother, Timberly, for sending the video.


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