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HOUNDS_Entertainment Music

Chris Cornell did not want to die, says wife

The widow of rock star Chris Cornell insisted yesterday that he did not intentionally kill himself, saying the recovering addict’s judgment may have been affected by prescription drugs.

Authorities said Cornell was found hanging in his hotel room in Detroit shortly after he finished a show on Wednesday with his main band Soundgarden.

Wayne Country’s medical examiner ruled the grunge rock icon’s death a suicide.

But his widow, Vicky Cornell, said the 52-year-old musician gave no indication that he wanted to die.

Vicky stated that her late husband –who struggled with depression and substance abuse most of his life but sobered up a decade ago –had been taking Ativan, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety.

“Chris’ death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled,” Vicky said in a statement.

She added that what happened is inexplicable, and voiced her hope that further medical reports will provide additional details.

Vicky added that Cornell loved their children, and he would not hurt them by taking his life.

The rocker’s second wife, with whom he had two children, said that he had flown back from his tour for Mothers Day on Sunday, and had returned only hours the show to maximize family time.

“When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do,” she said.

Vicky revealed that when she spoke to the musician after the show, she noticed that he was slurring his words. She contacted security and asked them to check on him after he admitted to having taken an “extra Ativan or two.”

Cornell posted on Twitter pictures of flowers for Mothers Day and hailed Vicky, a music publicist he met in Paris, as “an angel and lioness.”

Kirk Pasich, a lawyer for the family, said that Ativan could lead to paranoia and suicidal thoughts.

“The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing…” Pasich said.

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CELEB HOUNDS_Entertainment Music NONE TV

Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs accused of sexual misconduct by former cook

A woman who worked for rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs has accused him and his friends of exposing themselves to her.

She also accused the rapper and his pals of engaging in improper sexual behavior in her presence.

The woman, Cindy Rueda filed a sexual harassment lawsuit on Monday. In the lawsuit, Cindy details her experience working for the Hip Hop mogul from January 2015 to her termination in May 2016.

According to Variety, Rueda alleges she was “regularly summoned by Mr. Combs to prepare and serve entrees and appetizers to him and his guests, while Mr. Combs and/or his guests were engaged in or immediately following sexual activity.”

The professional cook mentioned an incident in which the rapper, while naked, enquired if she was attracted to his body after asking her to prepare a meal for him after sex.

She also claimed that a male house guest approached her while she was working and asked her to admire his genitalia.

In response, a spokesperson for Combs told TMZ that accusations are a frivolous lawsuit by a disgruntled ex-employee who was fired for cause.

The complaint says that Rueda starting working for Combs part-time on weekends, before being hired to be his lead chef at his California home.

In addition to sexual harassment, Rueda is also seeking compensation for being asked to work long hours for little pay.

She says she often worked from 9.am until midnight or later for $150 a day.

She claimed that when she complained to Comb’s estate director about her working conditions and the inappropriate activity, she was accused of stealing a watch and was fired.

Rueda claims that the watch was a gift from the housekeeper, and the theft allegations were cooked up to legitimize her termination.

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CELEB HOUNDS_Entertainment Music NONE

Chris Cornell passes away

Rockstar Chris Cornell has died aged 52, just hours after his concert in Detroit.

The rocker, who gained fame as lead singer of Soundgarden and later Audioslave, passed away on Wednesday.

The singer’s representative, Brian Bumbery, said that the death was “sudden and unexpected,” adding that his wife and family were shocked by it.

Bumbery said that the family would be working closely with the medical examiner to find out the cause of Cornell’s death.

He also asked for privacy.

The news of the star’s death came just eight hours after he posted his last message on Twitter, in which he talked about his concert in Detroit.

Famous for the song such as You Know My Name – for James Bond movie Casino Royale – was married to Vicky Karayiannis for 13 years.

They are parents to Toni, 12 and Christopher, 11.

The Grammy Award winner and Golden Globe-nominated musician also founded the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing poverty and abuse.

In 2012, he told Detail magazine: “When I met my wife Vicky’s family, I had to go out of my way to convince them – to show them – that I wasn’t anything like their idea of a musician.”

He also told the magazine that he’d met many musicians that he would not let date his son or daughter.

Cornell was previously married to Susan Silver. They have a daughter, Lilian Jean, 17.

Susan managed both Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. They had divorced before Cornell married Vicky.

Soundgarden split in 1997 and reunited in 2010. Their last record was King Animal in 2012.

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CELEB HOUNDS_Entertainment NONE TSC_Global Politics

Dome Karukoski is set to direct his first movie in the United States

40-year-old Karukoski is the brains behind the recently released Tom of Finland film. He has also directed some modern domestic classics.

A US online website released the news.

Karukoski says he would have preferred the announcement to remain secret, but the film’s US production company, PalmStar, wanted to quash online speculation surrounding the choice of director.

A script by writer Matt Harris entitled The Starling will be used to produce the movie.  The director terms the film as a ‘comedy about sorrow.’

“It’s one of the best scripts I have read in years,” Karukoski says.

Superstar Keanu Reeves and Australian comedy actress Isla Fisher are pegged to headline the flick.

According to Karukoski, the two actors seem invested in the project, but contract talks are ongoing.

“Agents negotiate with agents in Hollywood,” said Karukoski, likening such talks to buying a house.

Karukoski has been invited to Hollywood before. International interest in him spiked after his 2013 film, Heart of a Lion. The movie was about a neo-Nazi who changes his ways for the sake of a biracial child.

The director has however declined all offers, until now.

Karukoski has been on record saying that he does want to be a wheel in a huge Hollywood machine, doing nothing more than yell ‘action’ and ‘cut.’ He wants to have complete control, and PalmStar came closest to agreeing to his terms, giving him a say in the casting.

Karukoski is currently marketing his newest film, Tom of Finland.

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SPORT SPORT_NBA

Draymond Green says Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player

Golden State Warriors forward, Draymond Green, said that Boston Celtics forward, Kelly Olynyk, is a dirty player.

“He’s dirty, a dirty player,” said Green on an episode of the Uninterrupted podcast, “Dray Day.” “I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not the greatest basketball player of all time, so maybe he feel like he got to do that, but you don’t have to do that. Just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He’s dirty.”

According to Green, Olynyk sets flagrant screens on opposing players. Green pointed to an Olynyk screen on Washington Wizards forward, Kelly Oubre, during Game Three of their NBA Playoff series. Oubre was knocked down by the screen. He jumped up, rushed at Olynyk, and forearmed him, which resulted in Oubre being ejected from the game and suspended for Game Four of the series.

“Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player, man,” reiterated Green. “Olynyk caught [Oubre] in the face and the neck with a couple of elbows. That’s what I don’t understand. You let people get away with stuff, and then when somebody finally react … you penalize that guy. But you are not going to penalize [Olynyk] for continually elbowing him the face. … I don’t get that. You’ve seen what he’s done. Everybody’s seen what he’s done. I don’t really need to go [further] on that. Come on, man. There’s more cameras in these arenas now than it’s ever been. Everybody sees what goes on.”

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NATURE NONE SCI Science

Ancient stone structures uncovered in Saudi Arabia

Australian archaeologist David Kennedy used Google Earth to uncover nearly 400 strange stone structures on ancient lava domes in Saudi Arabia, according to a study set to appear in Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy

Scientists believe the odd, wall-like structures — which sit in the Harrat Khaybar region — date back thousands of years. The remains appear like other short, thick connecting walls found in the Middle East that are known as “Gates.” However, the new ones are different than any other on record. That is because they vary greatly in size — some are just 42 feet in length, while others measure 1,700 feet long — and they are spaced out in odd ways.

In fact, while researchers can now get a good look at the remains, they are unsure of why they were first constructed.

“Identification, mapping and preliminary interpretation imply an early date in the sequence of the works—perhaps the very earliest—but no obvious explanation of their purpose can be discerned,” Kennedy states in the study, according to Newsweek.

Kennedy discovered the walls with a mapping system he created known as the Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology. Though he was worked with the process for years, it was not until Google Earth and Bing Maps allowed him to expand the database that he could find the previously undiscovered structures.

The Bedouin people know the structures as “Works of the Old Men”, and they could be the earliest example of such remains. Researchers are not sure of the gates’ age, but they believe the stone structures are the oldest “Works of the Old Men” ever found. 

To expand on that, the team plans to conduct fieldwork and excavate the area. The gates are built on volcanic lava flows known as lava domes. While the volcanoes are no longer active, some of the structures have traces of lava on them. As a result, the volcanoes must have still been active after the gates were built, giving researchers an idea of their age.

They hope further study will shed light on the construction and help explain why the gates were created in the first place.

“What were they for? Nothing…suggests any obvious explanation for these strange and often very large structures,” the team asked in the study. “With almost 400 now known and found in profusion in some areas, they were plainly of significance to the builders.”

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NONE SCI Science

New prehistoric species could reveal crocodile ancestry

Researchers from Edinburgh University have discovered an ancient marine predator that could help shed light on the origin of modern crocodiles, a new study published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology reports.

The 10-foot-long reptile — known as Ieldraan melkshamensis — is an ancient species that existed roughly 163 million years ago in what is now Europe.

Scientists first discovered the animal by looking at a heavily damaged fossil that has been kept in the archives of the Natural History Museum for almost 150 years. The prehistoric reptile lived in the warm, shallow seas that covered prehistoric Europe. It had powerful jaws and large, serrated teeth that helped it become one of strongest predators in the oceans of Jurassic Britain.

Previously, scientists believed that Geosaurini — the sub-family of crocodiles the new species belongs to — first emerged during the Late Jurassic period, sometime between 152 and 157 million years ago. However, the study shows that the group arose millions of years earlier during the Middle Jurassic.

The fossil in the study, which scientists first uncovered in 1875, is considered a new species because of the distinctive features in its skull, lower jaw, and teeth.  

“It’s not the prettiest fossil in the world, but the Melksham Monster tells us a very important story about the evolution of these ancient crocodiles and how they became the apex predators in their ecosystem,” said lead author Davide Foffa, a PhD student in Edinburgh University’s school of geosciences, according to BBC News.

While the specimen was completely covered in a hard rock nodule, the team managed to uncover the specimen after weeks of painstaking work. It is not easy to dig such a fossil out of rock, but the results could lead to new research about crocodile ancestry. 

“This unyielding matrix had to be removed by force, using carbon steel tipped chisels and grinding wheels encrusted with industrial diamonds,” said stud co-author Mark Graham, senior fossil preparator at the Natural History Museum, according to Sky News. “The work took many hours over a period of weeks, and great care had to be taken to avoid damaging the skull and teeth as they became exposed. This was one tough old croc in life and death.”

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NONE SCI Science

New procedure could one day repair embryo mutations

A new type of “chemical surgery” has managed to successfully remove a blood disorder from human embryos, according to a new report published in Protein and Cell.

The procedure comes from researchers at Sun Yat-sen University, who used a technique known as base editing to correct one error among three billion letters of genetic code. To do this, they altered lab-made embryos in a way that removed a life-threatening blood disease known as beta-thalassemia — which is caused by a change to a single base.

In order to edit genes, scientists need to alter one of the four DNA bases: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. All of those building blocks are essential to life and help properly run the human body.

The team conducted their experiment with tissues taken from a patient and in human embryos created through cloning. They then removed the disease by scanning DNA for the error and moving a G to an A.

This new process is exciting because it could be used to treat a wide range of inherited diseases. It could also lead to new ways to treat patients and prevent children being born with beta-thalassemia. The process has also proven to be more efficient than Crispr — another popular gene editing technique — and it comes with less side effects as well.

“About two-thirds of known human genetic variants associated with disease are point mutations,” said David Liu, a researcher at Harvard University who not involved in the study, according to BBC News. “So base editing has the potential to directly correct, or reproduce for research purposes, many pathogenic [mutations].”

While the study is controversial, it is a great example of how new advancements are allowing scientists manipulate human DNA to fight diseases. However, it is unlikely the new process will be used clinically anytime soon. Not only do researchers need to get approval, but they also need to make sure the procedure is completely safe before opening it up to larger trials.

“This powerful study sheds new light on precise gene correction for single gene disorders,” said Helen Claire O’Neill, a researcher at University College London who was not involved in the study, according to Phys.org. “It remains to be seen whether the efficiency… can be improved upon.”

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NATURE NONE SCI Science

Butterfly gene alteration reveals the secrets behind wing diversity

An international research team working at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama has managed to disable a control gene in the DNA of seven different butterfly species, giving them new insights into the insect’s diversity and color patterns.

Butterfly wing patterns are extremely unique from an evolutionary standpoint. Not only are they diverse, but they are also great indicators of both natural and sexual selection. As a result, the new study sheds light on their features and could give researchers a better idea of how certain species adopted certain patterns over time.

In the study, researchers used a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR to analyze and rewire the WntA gene, which is conserved signaling molecule that helps influence both body plans and wing patterns. By changing the protein, the team managed to create different patterns and program butterflies to look exactly how they wanted.

“Imagine a paint-by-number image of a butterfly,” explained study co-author Owen McMillan, a staff scientist at  the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, according to Phys.org. “The instructions for coloring the wing are written in the genetic code. By deleting some of the instructions, we can infer which part says ‘paint the number two’s red’ or ‘paint the number one’s black. Of course, it is a lot more complicated than this because what is actually changing are networks of genes that have a cascading effect on pattern and color.”

The team created their lab-grown insects by injecting butterfly eggs with an RNA probe that attached to and shut down the WntA gene. The scientists then let the altered butterflies grow up and compared them to ones with original wing patterns.

This showed that gene alteration had vastly different effects on each studied species. For example, changing the gene in Monarch butterflies altered fine precision along the wing veins, while in Heliconius — a group known for vivid wing patterns — the gene triggered bold brush strokes from the tip to the base of the wing. Further study showed that it could also affect color pigments as well as the way light reflects off the wings.

This new information provides insight into butterfly evolution and could one day help scientists better understand the colorful insects. The team next plans to expand on their research in order to figure out how butterfly diversity and different wing patterns developed throughout time.

“For us who are studying butterflies, which are non-traditional organisms for a laboratory, CRISPR is opening a treasure chest of opportunities we haven’t had before,” said study co-author Arnaud Martin, Assistant Professor of Biology at George Washington University, according to Nature.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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NATURE NONE SCI Science

Fire ant venom could one day be used to treat skin conditions

Researchers from Emory and Case Western University have discovered that certain compounds found in fire ant venom could help reduce the skin thickening and inflammation that comes with psoriasis, according to new research in Scientific Reports.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disease that is typically treated with topical steroids. While the medication works, it usually comes with many rough side effects, including skin thinning and bruising.

To get around such problems, the team in the study used mouse models of psoriasis to test the compound solenopsin, which acts as the main toxic component in fire ant venom. Though this may seem like an odd remedy, the looked at the ants because their venom chemically resembles ceramides, the lipid-like molecules that help maintain the barrier function of skin.

In the study, researchers created a pair of ceramide-like solenopsin analogs that are able to convert ceramides into an inflammatory molecule while also not degrading into sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). The team then administered two creams — an active one and a control — to the rodents over a 28 day period.

The results showed that mice given the active cream had 50 percent fewer immune cells infiltrate their skin and 30 percent less decreased skin thickness when compared to the control group. Not only that, but when they applied the compound to immune cells in a culture it decreased the cells’ production of the inflammatory signal IL-22 and increased production of anti-inflammatory IL-12.

“We believe that solenopsin analogs are contributing to full restoration of the barrier function in the skin,” said lead author Dr. Jack Arbiser, a professor of dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine, according to UPI. “Emollients can soothe the skin in psoriasis, but they are not sufficient for restoration of the barrier.”

The study showed that the analogs turned down genes that are turned up by current treatments. As a result, the new compound could lead to easier and more effective skin treatment in the future and may provide a way to eliminate harmful side effects.

However, the study is still in its early stages. While the results of the research are promising, more trials need to be run to see if there are any other long-term effects that come with using the venom compounds.

‘The findings are not at a stage where we can determine how clinically relevant these observations are or will be in the treatment of psoriasis,” said Dr Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation who was not involved in the study, according to Daily Mail UK.