Police officers patrol next to red chemical dust left over blood stains from a crime scene, in which a police officer killed two passerbyes, then later killed the father of his girlfriend, before finally committing suicide. Photo: AFPA 31-year-old French police officer shot three people dead before turning the gun on himself, in a killing spree sparked by a row with his girlfriend, authorities said Sunday.The news comes with France already grappling with a surge in police suicides this year.The Paris officer, Arnaud Martin, finished his shift on Saturday evening and went to meet his girlfriend in Sarcelles, a suburb north of the capital city, to discuss ending their relationship.But after an argument broke out, Martin shot the young woman in the face and killed two men, aged 30 and 44 who attempted to intervene, said Eric Corbaux, prosecutor for the Pontoise department.He then went to his girlfriend’s home just a few yards away, where he killed the girl’s father and seriously injured her mother in the throat.He also shot the woman’s sister in the leg and killed the family dog.The attacker was later found “dead from a gunshot wound to the head, his gun in his hand, in the back of the garden,” Corbaux said.His former girlfriend was in a stable condition in hospital on Sunday, while her mother was described as “critical”, he added.“According to his superiors, he was a good civil servant, a very serious former gendarme,” Corbaux said.A source close to the investigation told AFP that investigators will need to focus on whether the attack was premeditated, but said there was “no element” to suggest that at this stage.Saturday’s tragedy comes as French officials confront a sharp increase in police suicides, with more than 45 officers and 16 gendarmes killing themselves so far this year.Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told France Inter radio that the attacker was “someone who, at one point, totally derailed. He was armed, he could fire.”But Collomb said he would not backtrack on allowing officers carry their weapons when off-duty, a practice France introduced after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.“It’s something that requires a lot of attention by police supervisors,” Collomb said, though he acknowledged that most police suicides are prompted by events in their private lives.
Picture of the US embassy in Caracas taken on 22 May 2018 after president Nicolas Maduro announced the expulsion of the top two US diplomatic representatives in Venezuela. Photo: AFPVenezuela ordered the expulsion of the top two US diplomats in the country Tuesday, charging it was the victim of a “political and financial lynching” after Washington tightened sanctions over Nicolas Maduro’s re-election.Maduro announced the expulsions in a televised speech after being officially proclaimed the winner of Sunday’s election in the South American nation mired in an acute economic crisis and facing growing international isolation.The vote was boycotted by the main opposition parties and widely condemned by the international community, including the United States, which denounced it as a “sham.”The Venezuelan president declared US charge d’affaires Todd Robinson and deputy head of mission Brian Naranjo “personae non gratae.””They must leave the country in 48 hours in protest and in defense of the dignity of the Venezuelan homeland… Enough of conspiracies!” he said.The United States immediately threatened to retaliate.A State Department official told AFP that Washington had “not received notification from the Venezuelan government through diplomatic channels,” but that if the expulsions are confirmed, “the United States may take appropriate reciprocal action.”In anticipation that Venezuela’s charge d’affaires in Washington, Carlos Ron, would be expulsed, he was appointed vice minister of foreign affairs for North America.On Monday, President Donald Trump tightened sanctions against Caracas, making it harder for the Maduro regime to sell off state assets.”I repudiate all the sanctions that are sought against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, because they harm it, they generate suffering for the people of Venezuela,” Maduro said in the speech.He promised to present “evidence” that both diplomats were engaged in a political, military and economic “conspiracy.”Robinson denied the allegations.”We strongly reject the accusations against me and against” Naranjo, he told journalists in the western city of Merida, promising to return there even despite Maduro expulsing him.- ‘Threat to world peace’ -Washington and Caracas have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010, and relations between the two countries have been tense since the late leftist President Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s mentor, assumed power in 1999.The deeply unpopular Maduro was declared the winner with 68 percent of the vote, but with a record abstention rate.Days before the elections, 11 soldiers were arrested for planning destabilizing actions against Maduro, and they were ordered to prison on Tuesday, the Foro Penal group said.Venezuelans are reeling under an deepening crisis, with hyperinflation projected by the IMF to reach 13,800 percent this year and dire shortages of food and medicine.Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country to escape the growing deprivation.The foreign ministry earlier lashed out at the US sanctions, accusing Washington of intensifying a “criminal financial and economic blockade,” which it called a crime against humanity for impeding “access to essential goods.””We alert the international community to the threat to world peace represented by the supremacist, racist and interventionist regime that governs Washington today, inspired by the nefarious postulates of the Ku Klux Klan,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.It said US policy “promotes hatred, intolerance and political and financial lynching” of Venezuela.Washington has previously slapped sanctions on the president and his senior aides, and banned US entities from buying any more debt from Caracas or state oil company PDVSA.The European Union said it was also weighing new sanctions after the election was marred by “irregularities” and failed to meet international standards.Caracas is facing increasing international isolation, with the United States, the European Union and the 14 countries of the Lima Group — which includes Argentina, Brazil and Canada — refusing to recognize the election result.”Venezuela is beginning to suffer an economic boycott by the United States and its allies, and this is going to be fatal to the regime,” political analyst Carlos Romero told AFP.Maduro, a former bus driver, union leader and foreign minister, has insisted Venezuela is the victim of an “economic war” waged by the conservative opposition and external powers including the United States aimed at toppling him.Most economists attribute the oil-rich country’s economic collapse to years of mismanagement, corruption and a period of sharply lower oil prices. read more
The utility of robotics to aid mankind is currently under study at Nagayo University in Japan. The combined efforts of the University’s Departments of Micro-Nano Engineering, Mechanical Science and Engineering of the Graduate School of Engineering has developed a wearable half-robot to aid carpenters. As initially reported by Digital World Tokyo, this wing of robotic engineering research and technology may not have the cuteness factor as Asimo has garnered. Nonetheless, the design and technology will give worker´s super human abilities in performing arduous tasks.Nagayo University scientists and engineers recently published their findings including a prototype of a half-robot. The study entitled Development of a “Wearable Robot for Assisting Carpentry Worker,” was published in Advanced Robotic Systems International. The research was conducted by Junpei Naito, Goro Nabinato, Atushi Nakayama, and Kazunori Hase preeminent researchers in robotics.The study was successful in proving the utility of the half-robot theme and design in lightening man´s load in the arduous task of fitting ceiling boards in place. This particular task takes extreme brute force. Often, the work requires not only great exertion of strength. The work is inherently counter-human physiognomy as it requires multiple over-the-head manual tasks. These combined factors create varying degrees of muscle fatigue in carpentry workers. The four phases of this type of carpentry work require the following tasks:1. Lifting up of the board2. Setting the board with both hands in the proper plane3. Support the board with one hand and fix the screws4. Leave the board and fix the screws with one hand The researchers found that steps 2 and 3 cause the most muscle fatigue in carpentry workers. This is because the work is repetitive and the physical act of holding heavy boards in place with hands overhead creates fatigue. In previous studies by other preeminent robotic scientists the aim was to assist patients with neuromuscular diseases with wheel chair robotic devices. These designs enabled severely impaired patients with to perform task utilizing the arm rest robotic device. Expanding on this research work with the severely disabled, the current research on aids for construction workers was developed.The scientists at Nagayo University developed the half-robot prototype and found through various phases of experimental study that the arm half-robot did reduce muscle output force and thereby reduced muscle fatigue in workers. The comfort and mobility of the worker was taken into account and design adjusts were made. In addition, the scientists acknowledge that the experiment is confined to the arm. In order to test for overall fatigue rate reduction, modifications to the prototype will be required.Further, the scientists acknowledge that the size, mass and low adjusting speed of the current prototype will require further modifications to make it practical for every day work use. The scientists are confident these modifications can be made. The next phase of the study involves the effective operation of the half-robot For further reading See: Development of a Wearable Robot for Assisting Carpentry Workers; Advanced Robotic Systems International, Nagayo University, Naito, Obinata, Nakayama, and Hase; ISSN-1729-8806-4404, (2008). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Applied scientists and engineers at Nagayo University in Japan introduced a prototype wearable half-robotic device designed for carpentry workers. The study of carpentry workers utilizing the device in the task of fitting ceiling boards in place concludes marked reduction in muscle output force, thereby reducing arm fatigue. Further study is on going to reduce weight, size and low adjusting speed of the device. The next phase will test the overall effectiveness of the half-robot aid to workers. Prototype of Half-Robotic Device Citation: Wearable Robotics Aid Construction Workers (2008, February 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2008-02-wearable-robotics-aid-workers.html read more