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The far right Republican wing uses the murder of two Americans at the border to fuel its anti-Mexico rhetoric | International

A Mexican soldier stands guard during the repatriation of two Americans killed in Matamoros (Tamaulipas) on January 9.
A Mexican soldier stands guard during the repatriation of two Americans killed in Matamoros (Tamaulipas) on January 9.DANIEL BECERRIL (REUTERS)

The shockwave of images of four US citizens at the mercy of Mexican drug violence in Matamoros, one of the country’s organized crime hotspots, spread like wildfire in Washington this week – through the halls of Capitol Hill, the offices of embassies and Joe Biden’s administration and the newsrooms of the major media – to the point of provoking an escalation of the most extreme camp of the Republican Party against the Mexican government. That barrage has included accusations against Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador by a former Trump-era attorney general, William Barr, for not doing enough to fight organized crime and also the response of the former, who revolted against these attacks and denounced his interventionism. “Mexico is respected, we are not a protectorate or a colony of the United States,” said López Obrador.

The four friends whose trip has unleashed the penultimate diplomatic storm had driven from South Carolina to supposedly accompany one of them to undergo cosmetic surgery. They crossed the border through the Brownsville (Texas) crossing and, once in Tamaulipas, they ended up in a chase involving up to nine vehicles, the outcome of which has been repeated over and over again on U.S. cable TV these days. Two of them returned home in a coffin. The other two were found alive on Tuesday and are now back in the United States.

The event provided succulent birdseed for the hawks of the most extreme wing of the Republican Party, who dusted off an old aspiration, as old as, at least, the presidency of Barack Obama, and, later, that of Donald Trump: to name the drug cartels as terrorist groups and empower President Biden to launch military operations in Mexican territory under the pretext of curbing the trafficking of fentanyl, a drug that has contributed to break the record of overdose deaths in the United States once again: 107. 107,000 in the last year.

Two Republican representatives, Michael Waltz (Florida) and Dan Crenshaw (Texas) introduced a bill in Congress in January that would allow the use of “military force against the cartels”. “We cannot allow lethal, heavily armed organizations to destabilize Mexico and bring people and drugs into the United States. We have to start treating them like the Islamic State, because that’s what they are.” And this week Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina senator, added to the tide of a hard-hitting article by Barr in The Wall Street Journal, with a call for a press conference on Wednesday to vow that the United States will “unleash its full fury and might.” “We will destroy their business model and their way of life because our security depends on it.” Graham specifically addressed López Obrador, as did Crenshaw: “Why are you protecting the cartels?” the latter asked the Mexican leader.

The Republican Party controls the House of Representatives, but the Senate is in the hands of the Democrats, so Waltz and Crenshaw’s initiative has little chance of succeeding. And if it did, it would run up against a wall of legal obstacles to carry it out, and, ultimately, with Biden’s opposition, although no one in his party has come out to discuss those plans: appearing weak with Mexico does not sell politically in the United States of the fentanyl crisis and on the road to the 2024 presidential campaign.

Because of this electoral interest, the Matamoros case has been especially relevant in the argument of a Republican Party that is fully engaged in the pre-campaign. To the insistent recourse to the border crisis, the specter of security is added, as could be seen last weekend in the speeches of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which convenes the most pro-Trump faction.

On the other side of the border, the United States is accused of not having recognized its share of responsibility in the fight against drug trafficking. It is a new clash between the country of drug demand and the country of drug supply. Between a society of consumers plunged into a deep crisis of opiate consumption and another that drags hundreds of thousands of dead in almost two decades of war against the cartels, the most powerful criminal organizations in the world.

“The problem they have in this country,” a Mexican diplomatic source in Washington said this week, “is that the focus is always on the supply side, and not so much on the demand side. It’s always: ‘Look at the poison the narcos are sending us. And they never look at other aspects of a terribly complex problem. For example: that four out of every five opiate addicts in the United States got their start thanks to the prescription of painkillers such as Oxycontin. That said, this week’s images are terrible, very difficult to counter.”

Mexico’s past presidents have had to deal with the security pressures coming from the North and accentuated after cases such as Tamaulipas. But this time, López Obrador’s government considers that it has gone too far. “Once and for all we set our position: we are not going to allow any foreign government to intervene, much less the armed forces of a foreign government in our territory,” said the president last Thursday.

“Mexico would never allow something like that,” said Marcelo Ebrard, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, who hastened his return from a working tour in Asia after the episode of the kidnapping of the Americans. The foreign minister affirmed that the Republicans’ proposal is “unacceptable” and regretted that an anti-Mexican discourse is being raised for electoral purposes. “They know that the fentanyl pandemic does not originate in Mexico, but in the United States,” added Ebrard, who warned of “catastrophic consequences for binational cooperation against drugs” if the initiative goes forward.

“These are speeches for domestic consumption, in which a nationalistic component is present, but the relationship between the two countries goes beyond all that,” said Roberto Zepeda, an academic at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In his opinion, the scenario of a definitive rupture is still distant and improbable. Both countries share more than 3,000 kilometers of border, the most intense border flow in the world and commercial activities that exceed 660 billion dollars annually, according to official data. “Mexico is part of the U.S. security perimeter and it would not be convenient for it to open that front,” he continues, especially at a juncture such as the trade conflict with China and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

From Mexican diplomatic circles in Washington, it is recalled that an initiative such as the one being proposed has been confronted in the past with the wall of its dubious legality from the point of view of international law. Also, that in the midst of the tensions, Lopez Obrador received Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, White House advisor for Homeland Security, at the end of this week at the Government headquarters to discuss fentanyl and arms trafficking. That is, what each partner is demanding from the other: Washington wants to curb drug trafficking and Mexico wants the illegal trade of U.S. rifles to stop feeding the cartels.

At the same time, US Ambassador Ken Salazar met in Mexico City with Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero to discuss the same issues. Since October 2021, both countries announced a new security framework known as the Bicentennial Understanding, which has accelerated the extradition of Mexican drug lords in recent months and the exchange of information to capture them. On Washington’s wish list are names such as Rafael Caro Quintero and Ovidio Guzmán, El Chapo’s son, and the process is already underway for the extradition of the two countries.

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Congratulations, Privacy Just Took A Great Leap Out the Window!

Your Data Is Being Used Without Your Permission And Knowledge

The Voice Of EU | In the heart of technological innovation, the collision between intellectual property rights and the development of cutting-edge AI technologies has sparked a significant legal battle. The New York Times has taken legal action against OpenAI and Microsoft, filing a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court. This legal maneuver aims to address concerns surrounding the unauthorized use of the Times’ content for the training of AI models, alleging copyright infringements that could potentially result in billions of dollars in damages.


This legal tussle underlines the escalating tension between technological advancements and the protection of intellectual property. The crux of the lawsuit revolves around OpenAI and Microsoft allegedly utilizing the Times’ proprietary content to advance their own AI technology, directly competing with the publication’s services. The lawsuit suggests that this unauthorized utilization threatens the Times’ ability to offer its distinctive service and impacts its AI innovation, creating a competitive landscape that challenges the publication’s proprietary content.

Amidst the growing digital landscape, media organizations like the Times are confronting a myriad of challenges. The migration of readers to online platforms has significantly impacted traditional media, and the advent of artificial intelligence technology has added another layer of complexity. The legal dispute brings to the forefront the contentious practice of AI companies scraping copyrighted information from online sources, including articles from media organizations, to train their generative AI chatbots. This strategy has attracted substantial investments, rapidly transforming the AI landscape.

Exhibit presented by the New York Times’ legal team of ChatGPT replicating a article after being prompted

The lawsuit highlights instances where OpenAI’s technology, specifically GPT-4, replicated significant portions of Times articles, including in-depth investigative reports. These outputs, alleged by the Times to contain verbatim excerpts from their content, raise concerns about the ethical and legal boundaries of using copyrighted material for AI model training without proper authorization or compensation.

The legal action taken by the Times follows attempts to engage in discussions with Microsoft and OpenAI, aiming to address concerns about the use of its intellectual property. Despite these efforts, negotiations failed to reach a resolution that would ensure fair compensation for the use of the Times’ content while promoting responsible AI development that benefits society.

In the midst of this legal battle, the broader questions surrounding the responsible and ethical utilization of copyrighted material in advancing technological innovations come to the forefront.

The dispute between the Times, OpenAI, and Microsoft serves as a significant case study in navigating the intricate intersection of technological progress and safeguarding intellectual property rights in the digital age.

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Conflicted History: ‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

‘Oppenheimer’ And Its Impact On Los Alamos And New Mexico Downwinders

The Voice Of EU | In the highly anticipated blockbuster movie, “Oppenheimer,” the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man behind the first atomic bomb, is portrayed as a riveting tale of triumph and tragedy.

As the film takes center stage, it also brings to light the often-overlooked impacts on a community living downwind from the top-secret Manhattan Project testing site in southern New Mexico.

A Forgotten Legacy

While the film industry and critics praise “Oppenheimer,” a sense of frustration prevails among the residents of New Mexico’s Tularosa Basin, who continue to grapple with the consequences of the Manhattan Project. Tina Cordova, a cancer survivor and founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, expresses their feelings, stating, “They invaded our lives and our lands and then they left,” referring to the scientists and military personnel who conducted secret experiments over 200 miles away from their community.

The Consortium, alongside organizations like the Union of Concerned Scientists, has been striving to raise awareness about the impact of the Manhattan Project on New Mexico’s population. Advocates emphasize the necessity of acknowledging the human cost of the Trinity Test, the first atomic blast, and other nuclear weapons activities that have affected countless lives in the state.

The Ongoing Struggle for Recognition

As film enthusiasts celebrate the drama and brilliance of “Oppenheimer,” New Mexico downwinders feel overlooked by both the U.S. government and movie producers. The federal government’s compensation program for radiation exposure still does not include these affected individuals. The government’s selection of the remote and flat Trinity Test Site, without warning residents in the surrounding areas, further added to the controversy.

Living off the land, the rural population in the Tularosa Basin had no idea that the fine ash settling on their homes and fields was a result of the world’s first atomic explosion.

The government initially attempted to cover up the incident, attributing the bright light and rumble to an explosion at a munitions dump. It was only after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Japan weeks later that New Mexico residents realized the magnitude of what they had witnessed.

Tracing the Fallout

According to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, large amounts of radiation were released into the atmosphere during the Trinity Test, with fallout descending over a vast area. Some of the fallout reached as far as the Atlantic Ocean, but the greatest concentration settled approximately 30 miles from the test site.

Now I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds.

J. Robert Oppenheimer

The consequences of this catastrophic event have affected generations of New Mexicans, who still await recognition and justice for the harm caused by nuclear weapons.

A Tale of Contrasts: Los Alamos and the Legacy of Oppenheimer

As the film’s spotlight shines on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a contrasting narrative unfolds in Los Alamos, more than 200 miles north of the Tularosa Basin. Los Alamos stands as a symbol of Oppenheimer’s legacy, housing one of the nation’s premier national laboratories and boasting the highest percentage of people with doctorate degrees in the U.S.

Oppenheimer’s influence is evident throughout Los Alamos, with a street bearing his name and an IPA named in his honor at a local brewery. The city embraces its scientific legacy, showcasing his handwritten notes and ID card in a museum exhibit. Los Alamos National Laboratory employees played a significant role in the film, contributing as extras and engaging in enlightening discussions during breaks.

The “Oppenheimer” Movie

Director Christopher Nolan’s perspective on the Trinity Test and its profound impact is evident in his approach to “Oppenheimer.” He has described the event as an extraordinary moment in human history and expressed his desire to immerse the audience in the pivotal moment when the button was pushed. Nolan’s dedication to bringing historical accuracy and emotional depth to the screen is evident as he draws inspiration from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

For Nolan, Oppenheimer’s story is a potent blend of dreams and nightmares, capturing the complexity and consequences of the Manhattan Project. As the film reaches global audiences, it also offers a unique opportunity to raise awareness about the downwinders in New Mexico, whose lives were forever altered by the legacy of nuclear weapons testing.

The Oppenheimer Festival and Beyond

Los Alamos is determined to use the Oppenheimer Festival as an opportunity to educate visitors about the true stories behind the film’s events. The county’s “Project Oppenheimer” initiative, launched in early 2023, encompasses forums, documentaries, art installations, and exhibits that delve into the scientific contributions of the laboratory and the social implications of the Manhattan Project.

A special area during the festival will facilitate discussions about the movie, fostering a deeper understanding of the community’s history. The county aims to continue revisiting and discussing the legacy of the Manhattan Project, ensuring that the impact of this pivotal moment in history is never forgotten.

As “Oppenheimer” takes audiences on an emotional journey, it serves as a reminder that every historical event carries with it complex and multifaceted implications. The movie may celebrate the scientific achievements of the past, but it also illuminates the urgent need to recognize and address the human cost that persists to this day.

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GSK’s Mosquirix Is Revolutionizing The Fight Against Malaria

GSK’s Mosquirix And The Fight Against Malaria

Over the past three years, the global focus has primarily been on the Covid-19 pandemic, diverting attention and resources away from other infectious diseases that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations in the Global South. Among these diseases, malaria continues to be a pressing public health concern, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year, especially children in Sub-Saharan Africa. While significant progress has been made in preventing and treating malaria, innovative solutions are needed to combat this deadly disease.

Advancements in Malaria Prevention:

Researchers have made remarkable progress in both prevention and treatment strategies for malaria. The World Health Organization’s recommendation of dual-ingredient insecticide-treated bed nets in March 2023 marks a significant milestone in preventing malaria transmission by Anopheles mosquitoes. These nets, including those with more lethal insecticide combinations and those disrupting mosquito growth, are key tools in malaria prevention efforts.


The Importance of Cost-Effective Antimalarial Medicines:

Cost-effective antimalarial medicines play a crucial role in combating malaria. In 2021, approximately 45 million children between the ages of three months and five years received seasonal malaria chemoprevention, which involved monthly doses of therapeutic drugs at a cost of less than $4 per person. While this approach has shown promising results, the development of a groundbreaking vaccine brings renewed hope.

GSK’s Mosquirix (RTS,S) Vaccine:

GSK’s Mosquirix, also known as RTS,S, is an innovative vaccine that has the potential to transform the fight against malaria. This vaccine offers hope in preventing the disease, particularly among children in malaria-endemic regions. Although the current cost is relatively high, around $40 per child for the first year, it presents an essential step forward in malaria prevention efforts.

The Persistent Threat of Malaria:

Despite substantial investments of $26 billion to combat malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, the number of cases has seen a slight increase between 2000 and 2019, although the number of deaths has decreased. This highlights the need for new prevention measures tailored to vulnerable populations, especially children. Taking inspiration from the Covid-19 pandemic, where monoclonal antibodies have demonstrated their potential, similar approaches could be explored in the fight against malaria.

The Potential of Monoclonal Antibodies:

Monoclonal antibodies, laboratory-made copies of immune system proteins, have shown immense potential in combating various diseases, including cancer and autoimmune disorders. Their remarkable selectivity and ability to target specific molecular markers make them an attractive option for preventive interventions. Researchers at the United States National Institutes of Health, led by Robert Seder, have identified two antibodies that target CSP-1, a protein used by the malaria parasite to invade liver cells. Clinical trials are currently underway in Mali and Kenya to assess their safety and efficacy, focusing on seasonal and year-round malaria transmission settings.

Game-Changing Potential:

Monoclonal antibodies have the potential to be a game-changer in malaria prevention, advancing the long-sought goal of eradication. The latest generation of antimalarial antibodies offers extended protection, with a single dose potentially safeguarding a child for at least three months, if not longer. Clinical trials will determine the extent and duration of this protection and guide future improvements to achieve a once-a-year injection.

Making Monoclonal Antibodies Accessible:

While monoclonal antibodies are often associated with high costs, efforts to increase their potency could significantly reduce expenses. It is estimated that an injection as small as one milliliter of the antibody drug being trialed in Mali and Kenya could protect children at a cost of only $5-10 per person. To ensure accessibility, it is crucial to engage national regulatory agencies and involve affected countries in the production of these biologics. While manufacturing antibodies is a complex and regulated process, investing in the necessary technology now would greatly benefit developing economies burdened by endemic malaria.

Addressing Disparities and Raising Awareness:

Currently, demand for monoclonal antibodies primarily comes from high-income countries, with Africa accounting for only 1% of global sales. This disparity underscores the importance of working with national regulatory agencies to address public health concerns and involve affected countries in the production and distribution of these life-saving biologics. Collaboration among government, academia, and industry is crucial to coordinate advocacy efforts and raise awareness about the potential of monoclonal antibodies in malaria prevention.

Preparing for Success:

While the deployment of the first generation of antimalarial antibodies is expected to occur no earlier than 2027, it is essential to start preparing for their potential success now. These antibodies hold tremendous promise as a powerful weapon in the fight against malaria, alongside bed nets, medicines, and emerging vaccines. Clinical trials will provide vital information on the extent of their efficacy, duration of protection, and dosage requirements. It is imperative to remain proactive and ensure that the necessary infrastructure and policies are in place to facilitate the widespread adoption of these breakthrough treatments.

Combining Science & Research:

As the world continues to battle the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial not to overlook the persistent threat of malaria, especially in regions heavily impacted by poverty. While significant progress has been made in malaria prevention and treatment, the development of innovative solutions like GSK’s Mosquirix vaccine and the potential of monoclonal antibodies offer renewed hope in the fight against this deadly disease. By harnessing the lessons learned from Covid-19 research and engaging in collaborative efforts, we can work towards a future where malaria is no longer a major public health concern. Together, we can strive for the eradication of malaria and ensure a healthier future for vulnerable populations worldwide.

By Laura Richardson | Independent Contributor “The Voice Of EU

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