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DVPN Sentinel Launches Bandwidth Sharing on Cosmos IBC Test Network »CryptoNinjas



Sentinel, a decentralized VPN protocol based on the Cosmos SDK-based architecture, today announced that bandwidth sharing will be available for testing on the IBC-compatible Sentinel Turing-4 Cosmos test network starting in May. This transition marks a significant leap forward for the development of dApps that can be built on the Sentinel protocol as part of its proven and upcoming Web3 stack.

Sentinel has supported Cosmos from the very beginning …

Cosmos IBC uploaded in february and allows dApps based on the Cosmos blockchain to interact with other blockchains quickly and transparently. Following the migration from testnet, Sentinel users will be able to take advantage of the underlying Tendermint Byzantine fault-tolerant (BFT) protocol to enable inter-blockchain compatibility with instant finality.

Blockchains that use similar consensus algorithms, such as Proof-of-Stake (PoS), will be able to communicate with each other via Cosmos IBC using the Tendermint protocol. This alignment allows dApps that rely on the Sentinel protocol to use its proven private decentralized communications network.

In a statement regarding what the scalability and usefulness of Cosmos IBC will mean for the Sentinel network as a whole, co-founder and CEO of Exidio, Sentinel dVPN codebase contributor Dan Edlebeck said, “We envision Sentinel to have millions of daily users as we launch our white label technology. Cosmos IBC will allow us to accommodate any number of Sentinel protocol users thanks to horizontal scalability. With an emphasis on ease of use, we will allow any type of payment that Sentinel dVPN nodes wish to accept. In other words, any IBC compatible room can potentially become a way to pay for Sentinel’s dVPN services. “

Echoing Idlibeck’s sentiment, Peng Zhong, CEO of Tendermint, said, “The permissionless transfer of token value across chains is a historic moment on the timeline of a precious internet of blockchains. We will continue to focus on building the Cosmos Hub as the heart of the interlink – enabling trade and connecting politically sovereign chains to create a new paradigm of economic exchange. We have a defined roadmap in place to achieve this future and we will continue to develop services for the Cosmos Hub that will create immense value for all channels that connect to it.

Sentinel is also very happy to be integrated with Keplr, a interchain wallet. the Keplr wallet the integration will make the larger Sentinel network IBC ready right after the Cosmos Hub upgrade and just in time for the launch of DEX gravity, a decentralized exchange bringing DeFi to Cosmos.

These additions complement the community’s ambition to see Sentinel as one of Cosmos’ first native assets. The goal is for Sentinel’s most liquid trading pair to be valued in ATOM to align with Cosmos’ vision that ATOM will be the reserve currency of the interchain; where each asset will be valued in ATOMS, making it both a store of value and a medium of exchange. Sentinel will continue to rely on Cosmos to complete the tie-up between Sentinel and Cosmos both economically and technically.

Once the testnet build has passed the inspection of contributors and the wider development community, Sentinel users will be able to monetize their bandwidth on blockchains. This process is expected to take between 3 and 4 days. The success of the implementation will be determined by the Sentinel validators.

In order to publish the governance update, validators must certify the updated proposal. This will trigger the transition to the Cosmos IBC mainnet, in which case users will be able to build new applications such as Proven Private Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) through blockchains. This rapid advance in the Sentinel protocol will exponentially increase developer use cases.

With this important development, Sentinel invites validators to start testing the Sentinel dVPN protocol on the Cosmos IBC testnet starting Monday, May 3. If testing goes as planned, the Sentinel network is expected to migrate to the main IBC network by May 24. Validators who wish to participate in testnet will need to submit GenTx in the testnet repository, more details will be shared soon.

The Sentinel dVPN is an open source decentralized VPN network application.

Stakeholders involved in the Sentinel network include:

  • Validators – The participants in the consensus in the next Sentinel – Cosmos Hub who are responsible for securing the network and participating in the governance of the Sentinel ecosystem.
  • User – The end user who wants to access a dVPN built on the Sentinel framework in order to secure the Internet in a provable way.
  • DVPN node hosts – Community members intending to monetize the provision of unused bandwidth to dVPNs built on the Sentinel network, by hosting either an egress node or a relay node (meeting certain service level thresholds required) .
  • DVPN app creator – The creator of a dVPN based on the Sentinel framework while using the Sentinel dVPN area as an infrastructure layer. The creator of the app is responsible for user acquisition and marketing in order to generate revenue so that they can pay dVPN node hosts.
Sentinel is an open source, encrypted, and accessible, peer-to-peer bandwidth marketplace. Users can log into any of the reliably secure dVPN applications built on the Sentinel network. Individuals can also earn passive income by offering bandwidth to the market. Live network statistics can be found at https://stats.sentinel.co.



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Karen Garner arrested: 3 Loveland cops involved in violent arrest of elderly woman with dementia quit



Karen Garner was arrested in June for leaving a Walmart with items valued at $ 13.88, according to a federal lawsuit filed earlier this month. She was arrested and left with multiple injuries, including a broken humerus, a dislocated shoulder and a sprained wrist, according to the lawsuit.

The trial includes a video showing Hopp, Jalali and Blackett laughing while looking at body camera footage of Garner’s arrest.

Ticer said Friday that Hopp, Jalali and Blackett are “no longer employed” by the police department. Although the chief did not say whether the officers had resigned, police spokesman Tom Hacker told CNN that all three officers had resigned.

“I share the community’s concerns about this,” Ticer said when asked about his reaction to the body camera images. “It hurts to see that. I have been in law enforcement for 32 years and what I saw in there hurt me personally.”

CNN has reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police and the Loveland Association of Police Officers for their comment. Justine Bruno, assistant to the city manager of Loveland, said this week that some of the officers named in the lawsuit had retained a lawyer through the police union. Attempts to reach the agents failed.

Hopp had been in the post for a year and Jalali had served the department for three years, Ticer said.

Sarah Schielke, lawyer for Garner and his family, expressed disappointment in a statement Friday that the three officers had been allowed to resign and not fired.

“Despite what the world saw they did on not one but two horrific videos, they will still receive benefits paid by Loveland,” Schielke said, adding that other officers linked to the incident remain at work. .

Schielke also took issue with Ticer’s claim that “this is not the Loveland Police Department”.

“This is the Loveland Police Department. And this is his Loveland Police Department,” she said. “He’s responsible for what’s going on there. And incredibly, though he’s presided over the hiring, training, and culture that led to this atrocity against Karen Garner, he and the Town of Loveland believe that he should continue to lead him. “

“(Ticer) said our mother’s case had ‘hurt him personally’,” the Garner family said in the statement. “Clearly the only thing that ‘hurt him personally’ was the attention this matter took to his department. Not what happened to our mother. We are disappointed.”

CNN reached out to Ticer for comment, but there was no immediate response from the chief.

Garner’s family say they are now ‘fearful, suspicious, reclusive’

Garner initially filed a federal civil rights complaint on April 14 against the town of Loveland and three police officers, including Hopp and Jalali, for excessive use of force. An amended lawsuit filed on Sunday added Blackett and another officer to the complaint.

Loveland is approximately 50 miles north of Denver.

CNN obtained body camera footage of the arrest from Schielke’s office.

The modified trial included a video showing Hopp, Jalali and Blackett laughing while looking at footage of the June 2020 arrest, according to Schielke.

“We are physically ill,” Garner’s family said in a statement earlier this week. “We are angry. Our hearts could no longer suffer. Once fiercely independent, happy, carefree and a great lover of the outdoors, she is now fearful, suspicious, recluse.”

Colorado’s 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office requested an investigation of the incident by the Fort Collins Police Department. Colorado District Attorney’s Office and FBI are helping.

“The statements on the videos are very concerning,” said prosecutor Gordon McLaughlin.

Ticer said an internal affairs investigation by the city’s human resources director and a third party would follow the district attorney’s investigation.

“Our goal at the Loveland Police Department has always been to make our community proud. We have failed and we are very sorry for it,” he said on Friday.

Bodycam footage ‘is like live TV’, agents say

Part of the video included in the trial was shot in the Loveland Police Department reservation area shortly after Garner’s arrest.

In the video, Hopp punched Jalali when asked how the arrest went.

Officers shown in video banging their fists during discussions over Karen Garner's arrest on June 26, 2020.

“Well, I thought it went really well,” Hopp said, adding, “I think we crushed him.”

Later in the video, as police began to watch, Jalali, who assisted in the arrest, said the body camera images were “like live television.”

Blackett replied, “The bodycam show”, as someone laughed.

“Bodycams are my favorite stuff to watch. I could watch live bodycams all day long,” Jalali said.

As the three continued to watch, it emerged that Jalali became uncomfortable with the video.

“Can you stop him now?” she asked.

Video shows Colorado police officers laughing at body camera footage of violent arrest of 73-year-old woman

“What?” Hopp replied.

According to a YouTube transcript of the video, Hopp then asked, “Are you ready to pop?” as Jalali covered his ears.

“Do you hear the pop?” Hopp asked.

The pop was referring to something in the video, but it’s unclear what.

“I hate it,” Jalali said.

“It’s awesome,” Hopp replied.

“I hate it,” Jalali said.

“Love it,” Hopp said.

The video viewing and conversations about it took place while Garner was 10 feet away in a cell, according to Schielke. She remained in the cell for two and a half hours, according to the lawsuit, until she was taken to hospital.

CNN’s Keith Allen, Jeremy Harlan and Amir Vera contributed to this report.



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New York returns ‘Robodog’ to police after public outcry



New York The police department announced Thursday that it would stop using the “Digidog,” a four-legged robot sometimes deployed for reconnaissance in dangerous situations. NYPD officials confirmed in a statement that he had terminated his contract and will return the dog to seller Boston Dynamics. Last December, the agency leased the Digidog, nicknamed Spot, for $ 94,000.

John Miller, Deputy Police Service Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism, Told The New York Times that the contract was “a victim of politics, bad news and cheap sound bites.” Miller lamented the role of bad press in the backlash, but in many ways the NYPD’s own actions were a plan not to introduce new technology. And, for activists, how to act effectively to ban unwanted technologies.

In truth, it wasn’t just the sound bites that doomed Spot. New Yorkers didn’t want it.

In February, the NYPD used Spot to defuse a hostage-taking in the Bronx. When the device’s video went viral, its flexible legs and head-camera design scared people. The robot is four-legged but doesn’t really look like a dog. A more immediate comparison is that of the armed robots presented in a post-apocalyptic episode of Black mirror. This comparison quickly spread on social media. The NYPD secrecy worked against this: There was no public comment process for Spot, and residents weren’t aware they expected robot dogs to respond to hostage situations.

The NYPD had exactly this opportunity, months earlier, when it had to disclose both the price and the policies in effect for all surveillance devices like defined by the city Surveillance Technology Public Oversight Act (POST). Instead, the agency included a fleeting reference to Spot in a larger section on “situational awareness cameras,” without footage.

In New York, the police department is not required seek City Council approval, which would typically involve a public comment phase, for new purchases. And throwing a robot at people has consequences.

Notably, Spot’s relatively cheap price of $ 94,000 means that in cities like Sacramento or Burbank requiring board approval for contracts over $ 100,000, it could appear without public scrutiny.

In New York, secrecy followed by sudden viral infamy condemned Digidog.

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) criticized the robot as a waste of funds that could have been spent on social services. Ben Kallos, member of the municipal council drives a charge for the ban on armed robots, claiming that Spot was the first step towards launching an “arms race”. In the borough of the Bronx where the hostage incident occurred, where police often respond to calls for service, many residents are wondering if they would start seeing the dog showing up frequently.

Above all, Spot was unarmed. The robot used cameras and microphone to identify areas that may be too dangerous for officers, such as hostage-taking. Most of the time, robots are used to investigate downed power lines or gas leaks. But the tag of “robot dog” stuck as it was introduced in the context of the police, amid a nationwide conversation about the police, used by a police force that purchases new equipment without the approval of the police. public.

Critics have seized this to point out the potential consequences of police use of robots without public oversight or participation. With less alarming technologies, video doorbells, for example, many wonder “what’s the worst that could happen?” In Spot’s case, they warned that this was part of a larger model of police militarization.

Boston Dynamics said the company prohibited attaching weapons to its robots. In a statement released Thursday, the company said, “We support local communities who are reviewing the allocation of public funds and believe Spot is a cost-effective tool comparable to the historic robotic devices used by public safety to inspect hazardous environments.”

Kallos, the city council member, told WIRED in March that the risk of mission drift, as well as the growing militarization of law enforcement (including the increased use of drones and robots in healthcare settings) public) meant it was time to act proactively.





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Boom in illegal sand mining threatens vulnerable lakes and rivers



Illegal sand mining due to a post-pandemic surge in infrastructure spending risks degrading some of the world’s most vulnerable lakes and rivers, environmental researchers have warned.

Sand, mixed with cement to make concrete, is the most consumed material on Earth, with the exception of water. As the decreasing threat of the virus in countries such as China Sparks a surge in construction activity, there are fears that criminal gangs that play a leading role in the industry have been prompted to dredge even more sand from delicate ecosystems.

“From now on, we will see governments pouring a lot of money into infrastructure to stimulate the economy, which will trigger a high demand for sand and gravel,” said Pascal Peduzzi, head of the information database. on the global resources of the United Nations Environment Program in Geneva.

Peduzzi explained that lakes and rivers have been damaged by sand mining, which can alter stream courses, lower lake levels, erode riverbanks and disrupt wildlife. “In some places it has been such a load on these environments, it has led to total ecological disaster,” he said.

Kiran Pereira, author of Sand Stories: Surprising Truths About The Global Sand Crisis, said many large projects had already started under the guise of the global health crisis.

“Covid had the effect of increasing the amount [of sand] which is being extracted, ”she said. “Many governments have used the pandemic as an excuse to push forward unsuccessful projects, such as land reclamation.”

Excavators in an illegal sand quarry in Pekan Bada in Indonesia last year © Chaideer Mahyuddin / AFP / Getty

Sand found under lakes and rivers is better for making concrete than sea or desert sand, which is too rounded to bond with cement. Although the sand appears to be plentiful, it takes thousands of years to form through erosion.

Reserves are quickly depleted because the sand is extracted faster than it can be replenished. As mining is poorly regulated around the world and mining is often undertaken informally, the activity is dominated by organized criminal gangs in many areas.

A paper published in March in the journal Extractive industries and society highlighted how the sand mining industry was “plagued by rampant illegality, a strong black market and intense violence”.

There is little global data on the problem, in part because sand is typically mined locally near where it is used.

“It’s the most exploited natural resource on the planet, yet we know very little where it comes from and who uses it,” said Dave Tickner, advisor to the WWF, the conservation group. “This is a surprisingly low-key question given its importance in our daily lives.”

The linear graph of cement (billion metric tons) is a close approximation of sand consumption showing Cement production has tripled in the past two decades

The problem is most acute in China, the world’s largest consumer of sand.

Beijing has relied on state-dominated industries and infrastructure spending to spur a post-pandemic recovery. China accounts for 58% of global demand for sand and gravel, according to UNEP data.

The high demand and the lure of big profits have attracted criminals who resort to elaborate ploys to cover up their activities. They often operate at night using boats whose dredging equipment is hidden by the water.

A crackdown by Chinese authorities on illegal sand mining from the Yangtze River this year uncovered two dozen gangs involving more than 200 people and revenues of over 17 million rmb ($ 2.6 million).

Interest in environmental protection, symbolized by repression, comes as the country prepares to host a UN biodiversity summit this year. “They [China] have really stepped up monitoring and enforcement. They really cracked down, ”Pereira said.

Yet environmentalists say what has been exposed is only a fraction of a large illegal mining industry.

Elsewhere in China, intense sand extraction in freshwater lakes like Poyang and Dongting lowered water levels, increased the risk of drought, and endangered local wildlife.

Graph showing sand mining in Poyang Lake in China

China’s insatiable demand for sand has also taken a geopolitical advantage: aggressive sand mining around the Taiwanese island of Matsu has become a major sticking point between Beijing and Taipei.

China has also used copious amounts of sand to build man-made islands that can house military bases and bolster Beijing’s claims in disputed waters.

Yu Bowen, a researcher with the China Aggregates Association, said coastal provinces such as Fujian, across the Taiwan Strait, have thriving illegal markets.

“Companies are trying to take over an area [of the sea] and then it’s up to them to use, ”he said. “It could be one or ten ships that are going to extract sand. This makes repression difficult. “

Mette Bendixen, assistant professor of environment and geography at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, said the hotspot in demand for sand will shift from Asia to Africa in decades to come.

“The sand needs of Western countries have leveled out, the needs of Asian countries are on the rise, and the sand needs of African countries will increase over the next 10 years or so,” she said. “You might see the same horrible mining practices in Africa in a few years.”

Additional reporting by Emma Zhou in Beijing

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NASA and SpaceX halt work on lunar lander deal over contractual challenges



Even if NASA awarded SpaceX a $ 2.9 billion contract to work on a spacecraft-based lunar landing system Two weeks ago, the two companies that lost the deal filed protests with the US Government Accountability Office. Now NASA says if the challenges of Dynetics and Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin are reviewed, SpaceX will have to stop any work it is doing.

NASA spokesperson Monica Witt:

On April 26, NASA was informed that the Blue Origin Federation and Dynetics have filed protests against the selection of the Option A human landing system with the US Government Accountability Office (GAO). Following protests from GAO, NASA informed SpaceX that progress on the HLS contract has been suspended until GAO resolves all outstanding disputes related to this market. NASA cannot provide further comments due to the ongoing litigation.

As first reported by News, as good as Reuters and The edge, the challenges could extend until August 4 at the latest. While we have already seen The reasons for Blue Origin To reconsider the arrangement, SpaceNews released the Dynetics Challenge, which argues against NASA’s decision to pick only one “Option A” winner for the contract, calling it “the most anti-competitive and most competitive option. risky available ”.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through any of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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Investigators probe Giuliani’s role in Ukrainian ambassador’s dismissal Donald Trump news



Former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has targeted the top US diplomat in Ukraine, who has become a key witness to the impeachment.

Federal investigating authorities Rudy Giuliani are seeking information on a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was dismissed two years ago by order of then-President Donald Trump, a lawyer for Giuliani said on Friday.

Robert Costello confirmed by text to The Associated Press that a search warrant served this week in Giuliani referred to Marie Yovanovitch, who, as a central actor in the first impeachment case against Trump, detailed a smear campaign against Giuliani and other Trump allies that preceded his resignation in 2019.

Costello said the warrant also referred to former Ukrainian prosecutor Yuri Lutsenko, who met Giuliani and was also part of efforts to remove Yovanovich from his post.

The fact that the warrant mentions Yovanovich, and that it seeks communication between Giuliani and several Ukrainians, suggests that authorities are trying to determine whether Giuliani’s efforts to impeach the ambassador were made at the behest of Trump or the Ukrainians.

This distinction is important because federal law requires anyone lobbying the United States on behalf of a country or foreign entity to register their work with the Department of Justice.

The former New York mayor told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that electronics seized from his Manhattan residence and a separate office on Wednesday would show he did not violate federal law as he sought to unearth Joe Biden in Ukraine in 2019 to support Trump.

The New York Times newspaper was the first to report on the mandate’s reference to Yovanovich.

The kidnapping of Yovanovitch in May 2019 was one of the pivotal episodes of the Trump impeachment case, coming months before a phone call in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter.

Trump and his Republican allies tried to turn Hunter Biden’s business relationship into member of the board of directors of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma in an American political scandal that would harm Joe Biden’s presidential candidacy. Hunter has denied any wrongdoing and the Republican scandal has failed to gain traction.

Giuliani has advanced these same efforts in his own discussions with Ukrainian officials, meeting with a Ukrainian lawmaker who released audio recordings during the 2020 presidential campaign in an attempt to discredit Biden’s candidacy.

Yovanovitch, a career diplomat who served for decades under Republican and Democratic presidents and was first appointed by Ronald Reagan, testified in frightening detail during the impeachment trial about a “smear campaign” against her by Giuliani and others before her dismissal.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testifies before a House Intelligence Committee hearing in connection with the impeachment inquiry of U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 15, 2019 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

Yovanovich also said Home arraignment investigators that Ukrainian officials had told him that Giuliani was in contact with the former Ukrainian prosecutor Lutsenko “and that they had plans and that they were going, you know, to do things, including with regard to me”.

She said that she was told that Lutsenko “sought to harm me in the United States”.

An attorney for Yovanovich declined to comment on Friday.





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Crypto Custodian Finoa Closes $ 22 Million Series A Funding Round Led By Balderton Capital »CryptoNinjas



Finoa, a Germany-based regulated custodian for crypto-assets offering investors storage and staking services, announced that it has closed a $ 22 million Series A funding round to fuel its growth plans .

This new round was led by European venture capital firm Balderton Capital, with additional participation from existing investors Coparion, Venture Stars and Signature Ventures, as well as an undisclosed investor.

The proceeds will be used by Finoa to develop its products and services, grow the team, respond to the growing institutional interest in digital assets while enabling participation in innovative financial services beyond its current custody and custody offering. staking.

“With Balderton Capital joining our investor group, we have added a renowned partner who brings unparalleled expertise in disrupting traditional financial services. Through their experience and network, we have found the best support we can imagine, helping us facilitate greater institutional adoption of digital assets globally and continue to build an industry leader in crypto. ecosystem.
– Henrik Gebbing, co-founder of Finoa

Finoa has focused on creating a secure and regulated gateway for institutional investors and businesses to digital assets and blockchain-based technology. Finoa’s platform allows users to securely store and manage their crypto-assets; while offering a directly accessible and intuitive user experience, allowing transparent access to custody and staking.

According to some sources, over the past year Finoa has increased its income by more than fifty times. Finoa was the only custodian to support the mainnet launch of many leading crypto networks such as the FLOW protocol from Dapper Lab, NEAR and Mina. Today, Finoa serves over 250 clients, including industry leaders like CoinList and some of the world’s largest crypto funds.

“Chris, Henrik and the entire Finoa team have built a deeply impressive company that connects the highest levels of professionalism with radical innovation. As custodians of the private keys of digital assets, Finoa must have confidence in both the secure management of these keys and the products and services that enable their customers to take full advantage of the power of native digital assets. The team they’ve assembled is uniquely positioned to do just that. As they continue to experience exceptional growth, we look forward to teaming up with Finoa on their journey to a category-defining digital asset bank.
– Colin Hanna, Director at Balderton Capital



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Dozens of people were killed in a crush in Israel today. Here is what we know.


Jewish worshipers lingered at the sacred Mount Meron site on Friday, trying to figure out how the disaster unfolded.

The disaster scene is a stadium-style seating area used by Orthodox worshipers to light bonfires.

The ramp leading to the steps remains rather slippery following reports of water spraying on fleeing worshipers.

A central railing that ran down the ramp was left completely folded after the scramble.

Eyewitness accounts from the previous night also help piece together the frenzy that followed.

“The passage [where people were walking] flowed well, but it all suddenly stopped. Everyone was piled on top of each other and no one understood why. I looked up and saw the police blocking the way. We shouted “people are dying in this”, “a festival-goer named Zohar told Israel’s Channel 12.

“People have lost the color of their faces,” Zohar said. “Then the bodies started to fall at my feet. I tried to call for help and the rescue forces slowly arrived. There were people who [rescuers] didn’t even try to raise. People were lying on my feet, shouting “Help me”. “

Another eyewitness named Tami also criticized the police response.

“I was standing on the roof over there. They were spraying water because it was very hot, then they started to slip, ten people slipped, then ten more, and ten more. I am still shocked and traumatized by it. I can’t believe what I saw. They tried to move, to run away. They tried to have some room to breathe, but the police wouldn’t let them, ”Tami told Kan News.

“I know the police were doing their job and not realizing what was going on behind them, but in the end the result was amazing.”



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Black pain will never stop the trend



what is a is the picture worth? More precisely, what is the image of a dead black man worth? If you had to guess, how far do you think an image of a fatally injured black man would go, his body freezing against the sidewalk like a pool of blood – in the shape of africa, just in case the symbolism isn’t clear – shapes next to it?

Not sure? Too uncomfortable a thought? According to members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, this man – and the story of his death, rather than the story of his life – is worth Hollywood’s highest honor: Oscar gold.

James, fortunately, is not a real person. Played by rapper Joey Badass, he is the fictional protagonist of Two distant strangers, a film by writer and comedian Travon Free which won the award for best live action short at the ceremony on Sunday night. James, unfortunately, is meant to be a symbol. It is meant to represent the blatant inevitability of black manhood in America: a target of white supremacist terror.

The film exploits a sci-fi gadget to make its point. Thought groundhog day, but the horror. James is stuck in a time loop, and what starts off as the best day of his life turns into his worst – and last. The real depravity of the plot lies in the way his disappearance unfolds: During the course of the film, James dies exactly 100 times at the hands of a white policeman. If being killed 100 times seems extreme, if it sounds disturbing, that’s the point – the visceral horror of a black man to death by a cop, suggests the film, is a nightmare blacks can never wake up from.

Everywhere you look black people are terrorized and killed – harassed walking in the street, arrested and questioned while driving. Through shaking camera and phone images we see them shattered without a second thought. The spectacle of pain is relentless, a nauseating recitation of trauma that calls attention to the end of a life, not to what happened during it. In recent years, camera phone recordings have played a vital role in amplifying racial problems. But awareness and amplification come at a price. For black people, the cost of attention is a constant reminder of our suffering. The phenomenon cannot be escaped, no matter how hard you try. From reality on television to social media, everything is consuming. It’s all the time. It will never end.

And so the the machines of pop culture dutifully spin, relying on images imbued with a sort of retrograde myopia. The last instance is Them. An Amazon series centered on a working-class black family moving to a white Los Angeles suburb in the early 1950s, it comes to the same conclusion as Two distant strangers: Blacks and black life are objects of non-desire. Misery is the only lens through which we meet and understand the Emory family. They are subjected to beastly abuse, but other horrors lurk in their new neighborhood, some more obvious than others. They are surrounded by suffering, hate. They cannot escape it. This is the reason they fled North Carolina and also what welcomes them to sunny and seemingly heavenly Compton. The series recycles the same vision of pain and the cultural void that makes your stomach turn rewarded on social networks, the kind of fare that revolves around the physical and cultural theft of the body.

At a time Them and Two distant strangers, the bodies are beaten. Again and again the bodies are beaten. Bodies are raped, bodies are burned, bodies are fetishized, bodies are killed. The bodies become vectors of an unimaginable vitriol, of an artisanal racism. And in this version of black suffering, in this hokey and all-too-easy symbolism, there is a danger in being a witness, in seeing such continuing torment. For these projects, being Black means being traumatized, alone and always.





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Will menthol cigarettes finally be thrown in the dustbin of history?







Will menthol cigarettes finally be thrown in the dustbin of history? | Fortune



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