Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

Maradona Care ‘Deficient, Reckless’ Before Death, Medical Board Report Says 

A medical board appointed to investigate the death of Diego Maradona has concluded that the soccer star’s medical team acted in an “inappropriate, deficient and reckless manner,” according to a copy of the report shared with Reuters on Friday.Maradona’s death in November last year rocked the South American nation where he was revered, prompting a period of mourning and angry finger-pointing about who was to blame after the icon’s yearslong battle with addiction and ill health.Argentine prosecutors launched investigations shortly after Maradona’s death at age 60 from heart failure at a house near Buenos Aires, including ordering searches of properties of his personal doctor and probing others involved in his care.Maradona, nicknamed “D10S,” a play on the Spanish word for god, and “Pelusa” for his prominent mane of hair, had battled alcohol and drug addiction for many years and had undergone brain surgery in November.In March this year, a medical board appointed by the Justice Ministry met to analyze allegations that members of the health team who attended Maradona did not treat him adequately.”The action of the health team in charge of treating DAM [Diego Armando Maradona] was inadequate, deficient and reckless,” said the medical board report dated Friday and shared with Reuters by a source close to the investigation.The report said Maradona had become seriously unwell and was dying for around 12 hours before his death at around midday on November 25.”He presented unequivocal signs of a prolonged agonizing period, so we conclude that the patient was not properly monitored from 00:30 on 11/25/2020,” the report added.Reuters could not reach prosecutors and lawyers involved in the case for comment on Friday.Maradona, a champion with Argentina in the 1986 World Cup, played for Barcelona, Napoli, Seville, Boca Juniors and Argentinos Juniors, and is widely heralded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time.

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

EU Hits Apple with Music Streaming Charge in Boost for Spotify

EU regulators accused Apple on Friday of distorting competition in the music streaming market, siding with Spotify in a case that could lead to a hefty fine and changes in the iPhone maker’s lucrative business practices.
The preliminary findings are the first time Brussels has leveled anti-competitive charges against Apple, although the two sides have had bruising clashes in the past, most notably a multibillion-dollar tax dispute involving Ireland.
Apple, Spotify and other parties can now respond. If the case is pursued, the EU could demand concessions and potentially impose a fine of up to 10% of Apple’s global turnover – as much as $27 billion, although it rarely levies the maximum penalty.
Apple found itself in the European Commission’s crosshairs after Sweden-based Spotify complained two years ago that the U.S. tech giant unfairly restricted rivals to its own music streaming service Apple Music on iPhones.
The EU competition enforcer, in its so-called statement of objections setting out the charge, said the issue related to Apple’s restrictive rules for its App Store that force developers to use its own in-app payment system and prevent them from informing users of other purchasing options.
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said there were clear signs Apple’s App Store rules were affecting music streaming rivals’ business development and affecting app developers more widely.
“They [app developers] depend on Apple App Store as a gatekeeper to access users of Apple’s iPhones and iPads. This significant market power cannot go unchecked as the conditions of access to the Apple App Store are key for the success of app developers,” she told a news conference.
Vestager said Apple should end restrictive practices and refrain from doing anything that would replicate them.
She also said other authorities were looking into the issue. “We have contact with other jurisdictions doing similar
cases, that could be the Dutch, the Australians, the Americans,”she said, adding she  also was interested in the app gaming market, although it was early days.
Apple rebuffed the EU charge. “Spotify has become the largest music subscription service in the world, and we’re proud of the role we played in that,” it said in a statement.
“They want all the benefits of the App Store but don’t think they should have to pay anything for that. The Commission’s argument on Spotify’s behalf is the opposite of fair competition,” it added.  
 Internet Gatekeepers
Spotify welcomed the EU move, describing it as “a critical step toward holding Apple accountable for its anticompetitive behavior, ensuring meaningful choice for all consumers and a level playing field for app developers.”
Reuters was first to report about the imminent EU antitrust charge in March.
Spotify, one of Europe’s few global success stories in consumer technology, is the market leader in music streaming with 356 million active users and 158 million paid subscribers.  
Apple Music, launched more recently in 2015, is estimated to have more than 70 million subscribers although the company does not give a separate figure for that part of its business.
Competition between the two companies has intensified in recent weeks, with both seeking to build their customer base via supremacy in the market for podcasts.
“Europe’s consumers expect and deserve access to a full range of music streaming services without their choices being restricted or prices being inflated unfairly by internet gatekeepers,” said European consumer organization BEUC.
The EU charge comes a week before Apple’s face off with Epic Games in a U.S. antitrust trial following a lawsuit by the “Fortnite” creator alleging that Apple has abused its dominance in the market for mobile apps.
Epic has complained to the Commission on the same issues. Last month, the UK Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into Apple after complaints the iPhone maker’s terms and conditions for app developers were unfair.

Science & Health

Despite Glitch, NASA Thrilled With Performance of Mars Helicopter

Scientists with the U.S. space agency NASA Friday said the tiny helicopter they sent to Mars has exceeded their expectations, despite a glitch that forced its fourth flight to be rescheduled.
During a virtual news briefing on the Mars mission, scientists and engineers with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory said the Ingenuity helicopter’s first three flights showed them enough capability that they are expanding the operation of the aircraft by 30 days, doubling its originally planned mission time.
NASA had originally described the Ingenuity project as a technology demonstration designed to test flight capability in the thin Martian atmosphere. Project Manager Mi Mi Aung, said it performed so well that it is transitioning from a demonstration to operation phase, in which the craft will be used to show how its unique capabilities can be applied.
Aung told reporters “It’s like Ingenuity is graduating.”NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter unlocked its rotor blades, allowing them to spin freely, on April 7, 2021, the 47th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)The craft had been scheduled to complete its fourth flight Thursday, but a software glitch prevented it from transitioning to flight mode. If it goes off as planned later Friday, the NASA team hopes to fly it 133 meters from its starting point — more than twice as far as its last flight — taking color pictures of the terrain below before returning to where it started.
Aung said the pictures will be used to put together three-dimensional images of the Martian landscape, from which staff will select a new landing site for the helicopter, which she said will take at least a week. The landing site will be the destination for Ingenuity’s fifth flight.
NASA officials said that the Perseverance rover has, so far, acted in support of the helicopter, transferring data from the craft and taking pictures of its flights. The researchers say communication between the two vehicles is also working better than expected and they now believe they can be as much as a kilometer apart and still maintain strong contact.
The Ingenuity team says the helicopter is providing NASA with data for how future missions will be designed, how those missions will utilize aircraft to explore to determine where rovers should go and explore areas where they cannot.
The 1.8-kilogram aircraft arrived on the planet packed away on NASA’s Perseverance rover when it landed on Mars in February. Aside from solar batteries and a transmitter, Ingenuity carries no scientific instruments.

Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology

YouTube Child Stars Top Charts but Raise Concerns

Videos of kids having fun are among the most popular on YouTube. They are also a fast-growing business, one that critics say comes with little regulation and oversight to protect children on either side of the screen. Michelle Quinn reports.
Producer: Michelle Quinn

Science & Health

Looming Madagascar Famine Sparks Nutrition Emergency

Famine is looming in southern Madagascar and emergency food aid is needed for hundreds of thousands of people to head off a humanitarian disaster on the African island nation, the U.N. World Food Program warned.Five consecutive years of drought, exacerbated by unexpected sandstorms, have depleted people’s food stocks, forcing them to resort to desperate measures to survive. The WFP senior director of operations in Madagascar, Amer Daoudi, said at least 1.35 million people are suffering from acute hunger, many of whom are living off locusts, raw cactus fruits or wild leaves. He said malnutrition is soaring to alarming levels, putting the lives of many children under age five at risk. While on a diplomatic and governmental tour of the region, he said he saw horrific images of starving, malnourished and stunted children. FILE – Children shelter from the sun in Ankilimarovahatsy, Madagascar, a village in the far south of the island where most children are acutely malnourished, Nov. 9, 2020.”And not only the children,” Daoudi added. “Mothers, parents, and the population in the villages we visited. The situation is extremely, extremely worrisome, scary. They are on the periphery of famine.” The WFP official said most of Madagascar’s southern districts are in a nutrition emergency as acute malnutrition has almost doubled over the last four months. He said people are dying but it is difficult to get an accurate count. “If a child dies, they bury, there is no reporting, there is no official type of reporting to take these numbers,” he said. “Same thing with grownups. We are already witnessing whole villages shutting down and moving to the nearest urban centers.”   That movement, Daoudi said, is putting pressure on an already fragile food security situation in the cities.   He said WFP is short of money and limited in what it can do to address the hunger crisis.   Because of the cash crunch, he said his agency has been forced to cut food rations by half for up to 750,000 people who are living on a knife’s edge. WFP is asking for $75 million immediately to cover the needs of hundreds of thousands of starving people over the next few months. 

Science & Health

US Aid Arrives as India Grapples with COVID-Triggered Humanitarian Crisis

The first emergency aid of critical medical supplies arrived in India from the United States on Friday, as the country grapples with a humanitarian crisis after being hit with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the death toll soaring past 200,000, the race to save lives is getting more frantic with India’s health care system virtually crushed under the relentlessly rising numbers.
A U.S. Super Galaxy military transporter brought more than 400 oxygen cylinders and other hospital equipment as well as rapid coronavirus tests to New Delhi.
U.S. officials said that special flights which will also bring equipment donated by companies and individuals, will continue into next week.
President Joe Biden has pledged to support India in its fight against the coronavirus. On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar “to reaffirm the strength of the U.S.-India partnership in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price.
“Expressing his appreciation for Indian assistance in America’s time of need, Secretary Blinken reviewed comprehensive ongoing U.S. government efforts in support of the Indian government’s COVID-19 response operations,” said Price. “He also noted the outpouring of support from U.S. industries, non-governmental institutions, and private citizens for COVID-19 relief efforts in India.”
Some 40 countries including major powers Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Japan, and smaller countries such as Thailand and Taiwan, have promised to send medical supplies as part of an international aid effort to address the shortage of critical oxygen and medicine. China, with whom India’s ties are strained, has also offered to send aid.
“We are facing an unprecedented second wave of the pandemic,” Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday.
For ordinary citizens that “unprecedented” situation means waging a desperate battle to save loved ones. The anguished appeals for oxygen, hospital beds, intensive care units, medicines and even wood to cremate the dead continue to dominate social media. At its overburdened crematoriums, grieving people wait into the night to perform the last rites for their family members.
While the Indian capital is one of the worst hit by the second wave, the virus is also wreaking havoc in other parts of the country.COVID-19 relief supplies from the U.S. are being unloaded from a U.S. Air Force aircraft at the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s cargo terminal in New Delhi, India, April 30, 2021.Adding to India’s woes, vaccines are in short supply — several Indian states said they will be unable to expand the vaccination program to people over the age of 18 beginning Saturday, as planned, because they do not have stock. So far, the vaccination drive was restricted to those above 45 years of age.
With hospitals overwhelmed, the Indian army has opened several of its hospitals to civilians and is helping in setting up medical facilities in several cities.
Amid the outcry from citizens, the Indian government has defended itself. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said this week that the country’s fatality rate per million was the lowest in the world and that the oxygen supplies were “adequate.”
India reported 386,452 news cases in the past 24 hours, while deaths from COVID-19 jumped by 3,498, according to health ministry data. For more than a week, the country has set a daily global record reporting over 300,000 infections.
But many experts say India’s official death count and total count of 18.8 million cases is an underestimate. There is also criticism that India did not pay sufficient attention to a new variant of the coronavirus that is infecting people.
About 350 scientists and medical researchers in an online appeal urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow them access to government data such as sequencing of virus variants, testing and recovered patients that could help study, predict and curb the spread of the coronavirus. The data is not available to non-government experts.
“While new pandemics can have unpredictable features, our inability to adequately manage the spread of infections has, to a large extent, resulted from epidemiological data not being systematically collected and released in a timely manner to the scientific community,” the appeal stated.
Public health experts say India’s health facilities are failing under the exponential rise in numbers because health officials neglected to ramp up health infrastructure during the six months when cases dipped amid complacency that the worst of the pandemic was over.
“We were clearly underprepared for the second wave. A lot of temporary facilities set up and staff were let go after the first wave,” said Anant Bhan, a public health expert. “So, when the cases increased, we were found wanting. The second issue is we took things too lightly too soon. There was not much adherence to public health measures such as masking, and large religious and political events were held, which aided the spread of the infection. Also, the spread of new variants which are more infectious in nature have led to this situation.” 

Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business

5 Arrested in Violent Robbery of Lady Gaga’s Dogs

The woman who returned Lady Gaga’s stolen French bulldogs was among five people arrested in connection with the theft and shooting of the music superstar’s dog walker, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
Detectives do not believe that the thieves initially knew the dogs belonged to the pop star, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement. The motive for the Feb. 24 robbery, investigators believe, was the value of the French bulldogs — which can run into the thousands of dollars.
The dog walker, Ryan Fischer, is recovering from a gunshot wound and has called the violence “a very close call with death” in social media posts. He was walking Lady Gaga’s three dogs — named Asia, Koji and Gustav — in Hollywood just off the famed Sunset Boulevard when he was attacked.
Video from the doorbell camera of a nearby home shows a white sedan pulling up and two men jumping out. They struggled with Fischer and one pulled a gun and fired a single shot before fleeing with two of the dogs, Koji and Gustav.  
The video captured Fischer’s screams of, “Oh, my God! I’ve been shot!” and “Help me!” and “I’m bleeding out from my chest!”  
Lady Gaga offered a $500,000 reward — “no questions asked” — to be reunited with the dogs. The singer had been in Rome filming a movie at the time.
The dogs were returned two days later to an LAPD station by a woman who originally appeared to be “uninvolved and unassociated” with the crime, police initially said. The woman, identified Thursday as 50-year-old Jennifer McBride, had reported that she’d found the dogs and responded to an email address associated with the reward, police said.  
McBride turned out to be in a relationship with the father of one of the suspects, the LAPD said Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she had received the reward.
Police arrested James Jackson, 18, Jaylin White, 19, and Lafayette Whaley, 27, in connection with the violence. They are charged with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jackson, who authorities say was the shooter, also faces charges of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and a felon carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle. White faces one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury.
White’s father, 40-year-old Harold White, and McBride were arrested and accused of being accessories to the attack. The elder White also was charged with one count of possession of a firearm and McBride faces a charge of receiving stolen property.
Jackson, Whaley and the Whites are all documented gang members, according to the LAPD.
The five suspects were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, according to the  Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. It was not immediately clear if they had attorneys who could speak on their behalf.
All five were being held on $1 million bail each, online jail records show.
Lady Gaga did not immediately address the arrests on her social media accounts Thursday afternoon. Fischer and Lady Gaga’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

Science & Health

NASA Mars Helicopter Fails to Respond for 4th Flight

The U.S. space agency NASA said the experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity, after three successful flights, failed to respond to commands to lift off for a fourth flight Thursday.
Scientists with the Ingenuity team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in southern California say a software problem similar to one that delayed the experimental craft’s initial flight 11 days ago prevented the helicopter from transitioning to “flight mode.” The scientists plan to try again Friday.
The 1.8-kilogram aircraft arrived on the planet packed away on NASA’s Perseverance rover when it landed on Mars in February. It was unfolded and dropped from the rover a little more than three weeks ago, and each of the three flights it has made so far have been successively more ambitious.
After first simply rising three meters off the Martian surface, hovering, and landing again,
Ingenuity’s second flight saw it rise to five meters, travel two meters to the east of its position, execute three turns, and return. On its third trip, it rose to five meters and traveled 50 meters, flying at a top speed of about two meters a second.
NASA scientists have planned the fourth flight to be the most ambitious yet. After rising to five meters, they plan to send the helicopter south, switch on its downward-facing navigation camera, and collect images of the surface every 1.2 meters until it travels a total of 133 meters. Ingenuity will then hover, take images with its color camera, and return to its original position.   
NASA has scheduled a news conference later Friday to discuss the overall mission.
 Our #MarsHelicopter has flown successfully three times & completed its mission objectives! What’s up next for the mighty little rotorcraft? Mission experts aim to push the limits. Find out how on Fri., April 30 at 12:30pm ET:— NASA (@NASA) April 29, 2021The space agency describes Ingenuity as a technology demonstration designed to test flight capability in the thin Martian atmosphere. It has specially designed rotors that spin much faster than they would have to on Earth to achieve flight. It also has innovative batteries and solar cells for recharging.
Aside from cameras, Ingenuity carries no scientific instruments.