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August 1 Shooting victims still searching for answers 4 years later; ‘It’s still very raw, very painful to talk about’ – says one family – New

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By Darlington Gatsi 

THE 1st of August 2018 will remain one of the darkest days in post-Independence Zimbabwe after six unarmed civilians were fatally shot by army officers in broad daylight.

A dark cloud enveloped Harare as the military brazenly shot unarmed civilians in an effort to quell protests against the delayed announcement of the 2018 Presidential election results.

Opposition supporters had stormed the streets, registering their displeasure against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s delay.

For Allison Charles, the day is a stark reminder of how her brother ‘s life was ended prematurely and in broad daylight.

The 48-year old Gavin Dean Charles was among six civilians that perished on the fateful day.

A soldier on the streets of Harare during the deadly clashes

Just mentioning her brother’s name triggers indescribable emotions for Charles who failed to hold back tears as she recounted the painful experience of seeing her brother dead, his body riddled with bullets.

Charles continues to seek answers about the unfortunate death of her brother.

“I still do not like to talk about it; it’s still a very painful thing to talk about,” she said.

“It is still very raw. He left a daughter who is still in high school. She does not have a father now to back her up and pay her school fees.

“It is not about money, it is about moral support that we had. They took her father away from her and there has been nothing done. It is four years down the line and no one has even apologised to the family.”

The controversial shootings were a major setback for President Emmerson Mnangagwa who was desperate to cleanse the country’s image which had been tainted under former leader Robert Mugabe.

Prior to the elections which were first since the ouster of Robert Mugabe, President Mnangagwa had pledged to set the country a new trajectory, free from violence.

Bowing down to pressure after calls to investigate the shootings, President Mnangagwa established a commission of inquiry to probe the shootings headed by former South African president Kgalema Motlanthe.

The commission released its report with the military being incriminated in the shootings.

Among recommendations by the Motlanthe Commission was the establishment of the fund by the Government to compensate families of the deceased.

Former South Africa president Kgalema Motlanthe

Charles believes the Mothlante headed commission was a waste of time as it has failed to bring closure and healing to her family.

“Nothing has happened; nothing real, nothing solid has happened. We just sit and wait.We went to the masters office and we put the beneficiaries names down which is my niece but nothing has been done since,” said.

In their push for justice, the Charles family approached the courts to no avail as the High Court threw away their case.

Facing a similar predicament, Maxwell Tauro who lost his son, Challenge Tauro, in the shootings wishes for the full hand of law to catch up with the perpetrators of the  shootings.

“Until now, it is still painful to understand what happened with Challenge.,” said Tauro.

“There are people back home who are doing rites on the graves of their relatives but I can not do that on Chellenge’s grave because I cannot afford it. He was a breadwinner, someone I could depend on. Life has been on a stand still since then.

“The last time Government got in touch with us was when we appeared before the Mothlanthe Commission and since then there has been nothing.”

To crank up pressure on the government to implement the recommendations from the Commission, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has written to Mothlanthe.

“The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition has engaged victims of the August 1, 2018 shootings and relatives of the deceased and it came out during the engagements that there is lack of political will by the government to implement the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry recommendations

“In light of this challenge we have also engaged His Excellency, Kgalema Motlanthe raising our concern over the stance by the Zimbabwean government,” said Peter Mutasa, CiZC chairman.

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Engineers discover new process for synthetic material growth, enabling soft robots that grow like plants: Soft robots can navigate hard-to-reach places like pipes or inside the human body – Science Daily

An interdisciplinary team of University of Minnesota Twin Cities scientists and engineers has developed a first-of-its-kind, plant-inspired extrusion process that enables synthetic material growth. The new approach will allow researchers to build better soft robots that can navigate hard-to-reach places, complicated terrain, and potentially areas within the human body.

The paper is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“This is the first time these concepts have been fundamentally demonstrated,” said Chris Ellison, a lead author of the paper and professor in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “Developing new ways of manufacturing are paramount for the competitiveness of our country and for bringing new products to people. On the robotic side, robots are being used more and more in dangerous, remote environments, and these are the kinds of areas where this work could have an impact.”

Soft robotics is an emerging field where robots are made of soft, pliable materials as opposed to rigid ones. Soft growing robots can create new material and “grow” as they move. These machines could be used for operations in remote areas where humans can’t go, such as inspecting or installing tubes underground or navigating inside the human body for biomedical applications.

Current soft growing robots drag a trail of solid material behind them and can use heat and/or pressure to transform that material into a more permanent structure, much like how a 3D printer is fed solid filament to produce its shaped product. However, the trail of solid material gets more difficult to pull around bends and turns, making it hard for the robots to navigate terrain with obstacles or winding paths.

The University of Minnesota team solved this problem by developing a new means of extrusion, a process where material is pushed through an opening to create a specific shape. Using this new process allows the robot to create its synthetic material from a liquid instead of a solid.

“We were really inspired by how plants and fungi grow,” said Matthew Hausladen, first author of the paper and a Ph.D. student in the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “We took the idea that plants and fungi add material at the end of their bodies, either at their root tips or at their new shoots, and we translated that to an engineering system.”

Plants use water to transport the building blocks that get transformed into solid roots as the plant grows outward. The researchers were able to mimic this process with synthetic material using a technique called photopolymerization, which uses light to transform liquid monomers into a solid material. Using this technology, the soft robot can more easily navigate obstacles and winding paths without having to drag any solid material behind it.

This new process also has applications in manufacturing. Since the researchers’ technique only uses liquid and light, operations that use heat, pressure, and expensive machinery to create and shape materials might not be needed.

“A very important part of this project is that we have material scientists, chemical engineers, and robotic engineers all involved,” Ellison said. “By putting all of our different expertise together, we really brought something unique to this project, and I’m confident that not one of us could have done this alone. This is a great example of how collaboration enables scientists to address really hard fundamental problems while also having a technological impact.”

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.

In addition to Ellison and Hausladen, the research team included University of Minnesota Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science researchers Boran Zhao (postdoctoral researcher) and Lorraine Francis (College of Science and Engineering Distinguished Professor); and University of Minnesota Department of Mechanical Engineering researchers Tim Kowalewski (associate professor) and Matthew Kubala (graduate student).

Video of a soft growing robot navigating a tortuous path:

Video explaining the idea behind the plant-inspired research:

Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Minnesota. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Ultra-diffuse galaxy F8D1 has a giant tidal tail, observations find –

Ultra-diffuse galaxy F8D1 has a giant tidal tail, observations find
The RGB star count density across the HSC image. A giant tidal stream can be seen emanating from F8D1, which is located at the South-Western edge. The stream can be traced for more than a degree towards the North-East, in the direction of NGC 2976 and M81. Credit: Žemaitis et al., 2022.

Using the Subaru telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT), an international team of astronomers has observed an ultra-diffuse galaxy known as F8D1. The observational campaign has revealed an enormous tidal stream emanating from this galaxy. The finding was presented September 21 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) are extremely-low-density galaxies. The largest UDGs have sizes similar to the Milky Way, but have only about 1% as many stars as our home galaxy. The mystery of UDGs is still baffling scientists as they try to explain why these faint but large galaxies are not ripped apart by the tidal field of their host clusters.

Located some 12 million in the M81 Group ( in the constellations Ursa Major and Camelopardalis), F8D1 is the closest UDG to the Milky Way. It has a large effective radius of approximately 8,150 light years and luminosity at a level of about 40 million solar luminosities.

Although F8D1 was discovered in 1998, it was poorly studied in the past. Therefore, a group of astronomers led by Rokas Žemaitis of the University of Edinburgh, U.K., employed the Subaru telescope’s Hyper Suprime-Cam (HSC) imager and the MegaCam imager on CFHT to investigate this UDG, hoping to get more insights into its properties.

“We have used data from Subaru/HSC and CFHT/MegaCam to revisit the properties of F8D1, a peculiar dwarf satellite companion of M81 [Messier 81 galaxy in the M81 Group],” the researchers wrote in the paper.

The observations detected a giant stream of stars which extends from F8D1 to the North-West, in the direction of galaxies NGC 2976 and M81. This feature can be seen on both sides of NGC 2976. The stream curves about 0.8 arcminutes West of the main body at small radii, and changes direction at larger radii, curving about 1.1 arcminutes to the East at distances of 40–60 arcminutes.

The newfound tidal stream was estimated to be at least 195,000 light years in size. Given that it contains 30–36% of the main body light, it indicates that F8D1 is undergoing heavy tidal disruption. The astronomers assume that the most likely cause of the tidal disruption of this UDG is the central galaxy M81.

According to the researchers, the finding that F8D1 is in an advanced state of tidal disruption has implications for both the dynamical evolution of the M81 Group and for the origin of galaxies showcasing UDG properties.

“In the first instance, F8D1 has likely played a hitherto unrecognized role in the interaction history of the group and it will be important to include its effects in future modeling efforts…. Furthermore, the severe tidal shredding of F8D1 is likely the origin of its present-day extremely diffuse nature, and not any peculiar properties it might have had at birth,” the authors of the paper concluded.

Explore further

Creating ultra-diffuse galaxies

More information:
Rokas Žemaitis et al, A Tale of a Tail: A Tidally-Disrupting Ultra-Diffuse Galaxy in the M81 Group. arXiv:2209.09713v2 [astro-ph.GA],

© 2022 Science X Network

Ultra-diffuse galaxy F8D1 has a giant tidal tail, observations find (2022, September 28)
retrieved 28 September 2022

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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There’s been a big rise in hackers targeting Google Chrome – doing this one thing can help protect you – ZDNet


Image: Getty/gilaxia

Cyberattacks targeting vulnerabilities in internet browsers are on the rise – with Google Chrome increasingly in the hackers’ sights.

According to analysis by cybersecurity researchers at WatchGuard, the second quarter of this year saw an overall 23% increase in malware attacks against browsers – Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer – compared with the previous quarter.

Much of that increase has been driven by a rise in cyberattacks on Chrome: according to the WatchGuard Threat Lab Internet Security Report, attacks targeting Google’s browser have increased by 50%. 

Browsers are of interest to hackers because they’re key to how we use the internet – entering and storing information including passwords, cookies, and even credit card details. This makes them a target for information-stealing malware.  

Also: The scary future of the internet: How the tech of tomorrow will pose even bigger cybersecurity threats

All of this information is useful for cyber criminals, either to exploit themselves or sell on dark web forums for others to use. For example, stolen passwords for corporate cloud services could be used to help launch significant cyberattacks, including ransomware campaigns, while stolen card details could be used to drain people’s bank accounts.

Researchers suggest that one reason for the increase in attacks targeting Chrome could be the persistence of various zero-day exploits.

There have been several instances of these high-severity Chrome vulnerabilities this year, including CVE-2022-1364CVE-2022-2294 and CVE-2022-307. Google warned that the latter was actively being used to conduct cyberattacks, and Chrome browser users on Windows, Mac and Linux were told to apply the relevant security update immediately.

However, researchers suggest that the rise on Chrome attacks might partly be due to the fact that many browsers aren’t receiving the updates, particularly if security patches aren’t automatically being applied by administrators. Without these updates, browsers are highly vulnerable to attacks.

Ensuring that critical security updates are applied as soon as possible is one of the best strategies when it comes to protecting against cyberattacks targeting browsers – or any other software.

“All it takes is one unpatched vulnerability for an attack to squeeze through a crack in your defenses. Keeping your software updated with the latest security patches is one of the single best actions you can take in terms of bang for your buck in cyber defense,” said the WatchGuard report. 


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