LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has returned three antique bronze sculptures to Indian authorities more than 40 years after they were stolen from a Hindu temple in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
A total of four bronzes from the Vijayanagara period, which lasted from the 14th to the 17th century, were stolen in 1978 from a temple dedicated to the god Vishnu in Nagapattinam.
The thieves were convicted in India at the time but it was only in 2019 that three of the statues were found, when the Indian High Commission in London discovered that one of them was being offered for sale by a UK-based dealer.
Alerted by the embassy, the Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit investigated and was able to establish that the dealer had purchased the item in good faith.
Once he had been shown evidence that the bronze had been stolen, he voluntarily handed over the sculpture, and identified two additional ones from the same group, the police said. All three will now be returned to their homeland.
The Indian High Commission tweeted photographs of the statues, taken during a formal handover to the government of Tamil Nadu, describing the event as an “auspicious moment”.
The Metropolitan Police said it was proud to have been involved in the return of the bronzes to India.
“Not only are they beautiful and historically significant, they are of course of religious importance so it’s particularly gratifying that they are to be returned to the temple from which they were taken,” said Detective Chief Inspector Tim Wright in a statement.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Editing by Alexandra Hudson)
A new SpaceX video shows never-before-seen footage of its first astronaut flight
SpaceX released a video on Tuesday that chronicles its Demo-2 mission, the first crewed flight of its Crew Dragon spaceship. The mission carried NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to and from the International Space Station, and it went remarkably smoothly – an outcome that felt somewhat out-of-keeping with this turbulent year on Earth.
“We hope it brings a little bit of brightness to a pretty tough 2020,” Hurley says at the end of the video.
The never-before-broadcast footage shows Behnken and Hurley driving to the launch site at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After giving thumbs-ups to onlookers, the two astronauts board the Crew Dragon.
“Three…two…one…ignition, liftoff,” Mission Control says. Then SpaceX’s Falcon-9 rocket ignites.
Once they enter space, Behnken does a backflip as a stuffed sequined dinosaur floats around the capsule. “Tremor the Apatosaurus” was the latest in a long line of stuffed animals that astronauts have brought into space as zero-gravity indicators; when the toys start to float, observers know the ship has entered microgravity.
The video also shows the moments after Crew Dragon docked with the space station, when the astronauts met up with the members of Expedition 63. The montage ends with their return to Earth: A small white capsule shrieks through the atmosphere, then its parachutes deploy, slowing it to a gentle splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico.
You can watch the full video below:
SpaceX is learning from Demo-2 to make its next mission smoother
As test missions go, Demo-2 was remarkably hassle-free.
“The greatest surprise is that this mission was as smooth as it is,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president and COO, said after Behnken and Hurley’s splashdown.
Still, the mission wasn’t without snags. For instance, once the Crew Dragon landed, its thrusters began emitting toxic fumes. Throngs of boats carrying tourists and onlookers also ignored commands to keep their distance.
These problems serve as learning opportunities for NASA and SpaceX as they prepare for the next crewed mission in their partnership, Crew-1. That’s scheduled to launch at 2:40 a.m. ET on October 31.
That crew includes NASA astronauts Shannon Walker, Mike Hopkins, and Victor Glover, as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. Hopkins is slated to be the mission’s commander, Glover the pilot, and Walker and Noguchi mission specialists.
The Demo-2 astronauts have already offered some words of wisdom for that group. Hopkins said Hurley warned him about the shocking speed of re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere.
“His comment about entry was, ‘It happens fast,'” Hopkins said in a press briefing on Tuesday. “From the time the de-orbit sequence starts, the entry sequence starts, to when you touch down is very fast.”
“For me, that means I need to make sure that we, as a crew, are ready for it,” Hopkins added. “When things happen fast, you need to be anticipating.”
But minor issues and surprises aside, NASA and SpaceX officials are mostly hoping for a repeat of Demo-2’s success later this fall.
“It will be a great mission if Crew-1 goes exactly the same way,” Kathy Lueders, NASA’s head of human spaceflight, said during the Tuesday briefing. “I’m counting on a beautiful mission.”
Read the original article on Business Insider
Why Clare Bronfman won’t disavow Nxivm’s Keith Raniere
Clare Bronfman will be sentenced on Wednesday for her role in NXIVM, a “self-help group” that prosecutors say operated as a pyramid scheme and sex-trafficking cult. She is the first of six of the organization’s prominent members to be sentenced. Bronfman, an heiress to the Seagram liquor fortune, helped bankroll NXIVM for years.
In April 2019, Bronfman pleaded guilty to charges including identity theft and immigration fraud. While she expressed remorse for breaking the law, that’s about it. Bronfman’s attorneys claimed she was unaware of the secret women-branding sorority within NXIVM called DOS, in which “slaves” were directed to engage in sexual acts with Raniere. Bronfman “renounces sex trafficking and human trafficking in their entirety: full stop,” her lawyers stated. But she won’t renounce Raniere.
Prosecutors are asking Bronfman receive five years in prison for her crimes, and in the sentencing memorandum obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, they note her unwavering loyalty to the group’s leader. “Even now — after Raniere’s convictions for sex trafficking, forced labor, alien smuggling and child exploitation offenses — Bronfman continues to support Raniere,” it reads.
While some are surprised at Bronfman’s loyalty, psychologist and Yahoo Mental Health Contributor Dr. Jen Hartstein explains how disavowing Raniere could prove challenging.
“Many people, when in a group like NXIVM, suffer from psychological manipulation,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “There is a coercive control from the leader of the [group], which causes those involved to pledge devotion to him [or] her and their rules. Often, those involved are isolated, lonely and looking to connect to someone who can make them feel a part of something. It is hard to believe that that person would do anything to harm them in any way.”
Bronfman made that clear in a letter to a Brooklyn federal judge last month in which she said “NXIVM and Keith greatly changed my life for the better.”
“There is possibly a belief that her own needs are not as important as the leaders, so she will sacrifice herself for him,” Hartstein speculates. “In many ways, it’s a brainwashing of sorts, leaving no room, at this time, for alternative beliefs or ideas.”
Bronfman joined NXIVM in the early 2000s and has been entangled with Raniere for years. “Most of my teenage years and early 20s, I was ashamed of who I was, constantly focused on my shortcomings and ridden with self-hate,” she wrote in the letter. “NXIVM changed that. I learned a sense of who I am beyond my faults and the tools of how to transform things I didn’t like about myself into traits and behaviors I do. I started to embrace myself and turn outwardly to care for and help others.”
Hartstein says Bronfman may have “a very hard time” shaking the life she had within the cult.
“There isn’t much research on how everyone fares,” Hartstein adds. “Some are more psychologically damaged as they reenter the world at large, learning how to interact. With support through therapy and within their families, many can learn how to recover and reengage.”
Reversing the effects of brainwashing in cult-like organizations can take time.
“It can be very hard to undo the programming that someone has had when being part of a group like NXIVM. It requires helping that individual let go of the beliefs that they had, and to really see the damage that was done,” Hartstein explains. “It requires a lot of psychotherapy to educate the member on the negative and harmful teachings that they might have experienced.”
Hartstein says it also requires “family members to be open and available and nonjudgmental. Most of all, it requires patience as the individual learns to think about their former life critically.”
Bronfman said her family doesn’t understand her refusal to renounce Raniere.
“Many people, including most of my own family, believe I should disavow Keith and NXIVM, and that I have not is hard for them to understand or accept,” she noted in her letter.
Whether the judge will take any mental health factors into consideration when sentencing Bronfman remains to be seen. Wednesday’s hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. in Brooklyn Federal Court.
More — Amanda Knox signs petition in support of NXIVM’s Keith Raniere:
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Oppenheimer: These 2 Stocks Are Poised to Surge by Over 100%
When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets… We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.Brickell Biotech (BBI)Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company’s lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI’s SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI’s ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra’s lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap’s mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap’s positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded. For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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