This legendary Marine sniper made the Corps’ longest known kill shot more than 50 years ago with a machine gun

carlos hathcock marine sniper
Carlos Hathcock taking aim in Vietnam.

  • Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock holds the Marine Corps record for the longest confirmed sniper kill shot.
  • The late Marine sniper set the record in 1967 with a M-2 .50 caliber Browning machine gun.
  • With 93 confirmed kills, Hathcock is one of the deadliest snipers in the Corps’ history.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A Marine sniper killed an enemy soldier 1.4 miles away in 1967 with a .50 caliber Browning machine gun. To this day, it remains the Corps’ longest confirmed sniper kill shot.

The tales of Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock’s exploits in the jungles of Vietnam are legendary. With 93 confirmed kills and around 300 unconfirmed, he is one of the deadliest Marine Corps snipers in history.

The enemy gave Hathcock the nickname Long Tra’ng du K’ich, “White Feather Sniper,” because he notoriously hunted with a white feather tucked into the band of his bush hat.

Hathcock learned of the nickname after the Viet Cong put out a hit on him, offering to pay handsomely any soldier who killed Long Tra’ng and his commanding officer, Capt. Jim Land. The bounty on each of their heads was three years officer’s pay.

Many snipers tried to best Hathcock and claim their prize, but none succeeded. There were some close calls though.

One enemy sharpshooter came dangerously close to killing Hathcock in an intense battle near the firebase at Hill 55. In the final moments of the fight, the two snipers had each other in their sights, each man ready to end the other’s life, but Hathcock was faster on the trigger. He put a bullet clean through the man’s scope, killing him instantly.

Carlos Hathcock
Carlos Hathcock

‘The longest-reaching sniper weapon’

And that was far from Hathcock’s only outstanding shot. During the war, Hathcock also set a US military record for the longest confirmed sniper kill shot. That record held for almost four decades.

From a hill in Duc Pho, Hathcock shot an enemy in the head at 2,500 yards with an M-2 .50 caliber machine gun known as “Ma Deuce,” Charles Henderson wrote in “Marine Sniper,” his novelized biography of Hathcock.

“This is the longest-reaching sniper weapon, the M-2 .50 caliber machine gun,” Land, Hathcock’s CO, told a group of war reporters at one point, according to Henderson. He said the weapon was “effective out to three thousand yards,” well beyond Hathcock’s Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle.

Marine snipers could equip the Browning machine gun with either a Unertl Optical Company or Lyman Gunsight Corporation eight-power scope, the same ones the snipers put on their rifles, and provide “a battalion commander the benefit of extra long-range sniper fire,” Land said.

Hathcock’s longest confirmed kill shot before he was sent to Duc Pho for combat operations in early 1967, was at less than 1,200 yards, Henderson, a former Marine sniper, wrote in the follow-on book “Silent Warrior.”

Use of the M-2 machine gun as a sniper weapon began during the Korean War and continued during the Vietnam War.

While the Marine Corps still uses heavy machine guns, its snipers generally do not. “Scout Sniper platoons are not equipped with these assets in their internal sections but have the ability to request or utilize them if the mission requires,” the Corps told Insider.

“In the formal Scout Sniper curriculum, Marines are only trained on the prescribed Scout Sniper Rifles that are organic to their units’ table of equipment,” it said.

The Scout Sniper community does not officially keep records ranking its confirmed kills by distance, though the Marine Corps was able to confirm for Insider that Hathcock still holds the service’s record for the longest confirmed sniper kill shot.

As for why it does not keep official records, the Corps said that “close range or long range is little concern to Scout Snipers as long as an enemy combatant is neutralized.”

Hathcock, who helped build and shape the modern Marine Corps Scout Sniper program with his former commanding officer, Land, and others, held a similar view, considering numbers and records largely meaningless.

Carlos Hathcock Marine Sniper
A commanding general presents the Silver Star to Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hathcock

‘A meaningful thing about numbers’

For many years, Hathcock was thought to have the most confirmed kills of any Marine Corps sniper. It is actually Sgt. Charles “Chuck” Mawhinney, but even when it was believed to be Hathcock, that never mattered to him, according to Henderson.

During a discussion about his kill count, Hathcock once told a fellow Marine that “you can take those numbers and give ’em to someone who gives a damn about ’em.”

“It’s my job,” he said. “If I don’t get those bastards, then they’re gonna kill a lot of these kids dressed up like Marines. That’s the way I look at it.”

Hathcock is probably the Marine Corps’ most famous sniper, but his success was not measured simply in bodies or yards. Hathcock prided himself on doing his job well, not ending the lives of as many as 400 enemy troops.

“You would have to be crazy to enjoy killing,” he often said, according to Henderson. “I never enjoyed it. It was my job. It was important that I did it well.”

The sniper said that “if there was a meaningful thing about numbers, it would have been the number of lives I saved. Not the number I took.”

Although the Vietnam War did not end until the mid-1970s, it ended for Hathcock in 1969 after he suffered severe burns across most of his body while pulling Marines from a burning troop carrier that struck a mine.

Hathcock, his body on fire as he did it, saved the lives of seven of his fellow Marines. For his heroism, he eventually received the Silver Star.

Hathcock’s 2,500-yard shot in Vietnam is among the top seven longest known sniper kill shots worldwide and is the second longest in the US military.

His record for the longest confirmed kill shot by a US military sniper was broken by a US Army Ranger in 2004, roughly five years after he died of multiple sclerosis.

The disease, together with his injuries from war, did what his enemy in Vietnam never could, but not before Hathcock left a lasting impact on the Marine Corps.

Hathcock trained hundreds of snipers. He spent his life demonstrating and teaching, as Henderson wrote, “that the deadliest thing on the battlefield is one well-aimed shot.”

When Hathcock left the Marine Corps at just under 20 years of service, a commanding officer presented the legendary sniper with an M40A1 sniper rifle.

He was also presented with a plaque that read: “There have been many Marines, and there have been many marksmen, but there has been only one sniper – Gunnery Sergeant Carlos N. Hathcock. One Shot – One Kill.”

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NASA’s Perseverance rover is preparing to drop a helicopter from its belly and watch it fly on Mars

mars rover perseverance helicoper ingenuity skitch
An artist’s illustration shows NASA’s Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter on Mars.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is about to drop a four-pound helicopter from its belly, then record footage of it flying over Martian plains.

The $85 million rotocraft, called Ingenuity, could pioneer a new approach to exploring other planets. Though for now just a technological demonstration, the drone is set to conduct up to five test flights this spring. Two cameras on its underside should record to Martian surface from above as it flies.

NASA announced on Wednesday that its helicopter team has picked a location for these flights. The first takeoff could happen as soon as the first week of April. The agency plans to share more details in a press conference on Tuesday.

mars helicopter ingenuity nasa gif

If it succeeds, Ingenuity could beam back some incredible video. Perseverance is expected to follow the flights with its own cameras as well.

Success would bode well for future missions that seek to explore the watery moons of Jupiter and Saturn using helicopter technology.

However, since nobody has ever flown a helicopter on Mars, unknown factors could thwart Ingenuity’s attempts. In January, another pioneering Mars technology – a “mole” on NASA’s InSight lander that was programmed to hammer deep into the planet’s crust – was unable to complete its mission due to unexpectedly thick soil.

“The helicopter Ingenuity is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor,” Matt Wallace, the Perseverance deputy project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a briefing ahead of the rover’s landing. “There’s always going to be some probability of an issue. But that’s why we’re doing it. We’ll learn from the issue if it occurs.”

Spinning through the thin Martian atmosphere

After it landed in an ancient Martian lake bed in February, Perseverance began checking out its systems and testing its tools. Now the rover is entering a new phase of its mission: It’s helicopter time.

mars helicopter ingenuity nasa gif

Because communicating with spacecraft on Mars takes a few minutes, ground controllers on Earth can’t direct Ingenuity’s flight in real time. So engineers have designed and programmed the helicopter to carry out up to five flights autonomously, within a span of 30 Martian days (roughly one Earth month).

To catch enough air in the thin Martian atmosphere, the helicopter’s four carbon-fiber blades have to spin in opposite directions at about 2,400 revolutions per minute – about eight times as fast as a passenger helicopter on Earth. Solar panels on top of the spacecraft should power that spinning.

Ingenuity’s first flight will just test that the helicopter can get a few feet off the ground, hover for about 30 seconds, and touch back down. From there, each test will be more difficult than the last, culminating in a final flight that could carry the helicopter over 980 feet (300 meters) of Martian ground.

Even one short flight would be a major achievement.

“It will be truly a Wright Brothers moment, but on another planet,” MiMi Aung, project manager for the helicopter team, said in a pre-landing briefing. “Every step going forward will be first of a kind.”

After Ingenuity finishes its flights, Perseverance will begin its main mission: driving across a former river delta and searching for signs of ancient alien microbes.

Read the original article on Business Insider

NASA’s Perseverance rover recorded the screechy sounds of its own driving on Mars

Perseverance rover
A photo of NASA’s Perseverance rover taken by its onboard Navigation Camera, March 7, 2021.

NASA’s Perseverance rover has started taking joy rides on Mars – and recording what those drives sound like.

The agency released a 16-minute audio clip on Wednesday in which Perseverance’s wheels can be heard crunching over the Martian surface. The sounds aren’t pleasant. Odd scratching noises can be heard on the recording as the rover shakes, rattles, and rolls through the Jezero Crater.

According to Vandi Verma, a senior NASA engineer and rover driver, some of the bangs and screeches can be chalked up to Perseverance’s metal wheels.

“When you’re driving with these wheels on rocks, it’s actually very noisy,” she said in a press release.

NASA scientists think the scratching noises could either come from electromagnetic interference from one of the rover’s other instruments, or just road noise as the rover’s wheels and suspension do their jobs.

“If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” Dave Gruel, NASA’s lead engineer for Perseverance’s camera and microphone systems, said in the release. “But if you take a minute to consider what you’re hearing and where it was recorded, it makes perfect sense.”

Here’s a 90-second audio clip of highlights from a 90-foot drive Perseverance took on March 7.

Audio of Martian wind and rock-vaporizing lasers

These aren’t the first sounds Perseverance has beamed back to Earth.

A few days after it landed on February 18, the rover captured sounds of a Martian breeze. The clip was the first audio recording scientists had ever collected from Mars’ surface.

Engineers equipped Perseverance with two microphones. The Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) Cam microphone is the one that recorded the rover’s driving sounds. The mic was primarily meant to record sounds from the landing, but it failed to do so. The second microphone is attached to the rover’s SuperCam instrument and was designed to collect audio of Perseverance’s lasers zapping Martian rocks.

Last week the SuperCam mic recorded audio of 30 such laser impacts. The staccato pops on the recording below are the sound of the laser vaporizing rocks.

By having the rover zap the Martian surface in this way, scientists can learn more about how hard Martian rocks are and what they’re made of.

According to Gruel, both microphones will continue collecting audio during the rest of the rover’s mission. The robot is poised to spend the next two years scouring the Jezero Crater for signs of ancient alien life and collecting rock samples.

perseverance mars rover jezero crater
An illustration of Perseverance exploring Mars’ Jezero Crater.

Perseverance is NASA’s fifth and most sophisticated Mars rover. The agency previously equipped two Martian spacecraft with microphones: the Mars Polar Lander and the Phoenix lander. But the mic on the former failed, and the latter never turned on its microphone.

NASA’s InSight lander, which touched down on Mars in 2018, also enabled scientists to listen to the Martian wind, but in a different way. The lander is equipped with a seismometer to study Mars quakes, so the tool can sense vibrations that wind causes as it gusts across InSight’s solar panels.

The low-pitch sounds of these vibrations are audible to the human ear.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tanzania’s president, missing for three weeks and rumored to be sick with Covid-19, has died

TZ Magufuli green 2
Tanzanian President John Magufuli at an event in August 2020.

  • Tanzania announced the death of President John Magufuli, ending weeks of mystery about his health.
  • Magufuli declared Tanzania Covid-free last May and stopped releasing data about new infections.
  • Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan will become Tanzania’s first female president since independence.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tanzanian President John Magufuli-who has not been seen for three weeks and was widely rumored to be sick with Covid-19, a virus he has downplayed for months-has died, the country’s vice president said in a televised address on Wednesday.

Magufuli emerged as one of the world’s most prominent Covid-deniers last May, when he declared his country was free of the virus following three days of national prayer. He later scoffed at wearing masks, criticized regional neighbours for imposing lockdowns, and rejected coronavirus vaccines until his government independently verifies them.

He was last seen in public on Feb. 24. Following news reports that he might had contracted the coronavirus, and statements from the country’s opposition leader making the same claim, #WhereIsMagufuli began trending on Twitter in the country.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced that the 61-year old leader had died.

“Today, March 17th this year, at 6pm, we have lost our courageous leader, President John Magufuli,”she announced on state broadcaster TBC1.

TZ VP
Tanzania’s Vice President Samia Hassan Suluhu and President John Magufuli taking a call together in July 2019.

Under Tanzania’s constitution, Hassan, 61, will become the East African nation’s president and finish the remainder of the presidential term until next elections are held in 2025.

Hassan, a moderate politician from the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago, is set to become the country’s first female president since it’s independence from Britain in 1961.

Hassan said Magufuli, 61, died at a hospital in commercial capital Dar es Salaam from “chronic atrial fibrillation, a condition that he has had for more than 10 years.” She declared 14 days of national mourning where flags will fly at half mast.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Investment firm Apollo wants to spin off PR software firm Notified

Good morning and welcome to Insider Advertising for March 18. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

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Apollo is planning to sell Notified, one of the biggest PR software companies

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Private-equity firm Innovatus Capital just snapped up 3 ad agencies and said it wants to take on the big ad holding companies

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FuboTV’s CEO breaks down the company’s sports-betting strategy, which has spurred both investor enthusiasm and stock volatility

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Why COVID-19 and its side effects are riskier for pregnant people than a vaccine

pregnant pregnancy expecting mother womb child parenting diet exercise workout fitness junk sleep sex covid medical doctor motherhood birthing maternal belly depression work stress illness 238
  • Getting COVID-19 while pregnant puts you at higher risk of severe disease and death from the virus.
  • The vaccine hasn’t led to increased risks among the 30,000 vaccinated pregnant women being tracked.
  • COVID-19 and the vaccine can lead to symptoms, but the virus’s can be longer-lasting and severe.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Risk getting COVID-19 – or accept the unknown risks of the COVID-19 vaccine? That’s the question many pregnant people are asking.

On the one hand, while most people who contract COVID-19 in pregnancy end up doing fine and delivering healthy babies, they’re still at higher risk for hospitalization, ICU admission, and even death than infected non-pregnant women.

On the other, the coronavirus vaccine may come with its own risks, most of which are unknown since pregnant people weren’t enrolled in the clinical trials that led to the vaccines’ emergency-use authorization. (A trial looking at the Pfizer vaccine in this population is underway.)

But based on what we know so far, the risks of getting COVID-19 in pregnancy seem to outweigh the potential risks of the vaccine. Here’s a breakdown showing why.

COVID-19 in pregnancy is linked to serious complications

If infected, pregnant people are at increased risk for serious complications when compared to nonpregnant women with the disease, a November report out of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – the largest of its kind to date – found.

The analysis looked at data from about 400,000 15- to 44-year-old women who had symptomatic COVID-19 between late January and early October. They found that pregnant women with COVID-19 were nearly four times as likely to need ventilation and twice as likely to die than nonpregnant women with COVID-19 of the same age.

COVID-19 in pregnancy is also linked to an increased risk of preterm delivery.

The overall risks for COVID-19 complications in pregnancy were low: 1.5% of pregnant women went to the ICU, 0.29% needed ventilation, 0.07 required life support, and 0.15% died.

A study presented in January 2021 including 1,200 infected pregnant women across 33 US hospitals found that the 12% with critical or severe symptoms tended to be most at risk for complications and death, and were also more likely to have other risk factors like a higher body mass, asthma, diabetes, and hypertension.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy is not linked to complications or worse side effects

By contrast, there is no evidence of the COVID-19 vaccine leading to death in anyone, pregnant or not. And pregnant women in particular haven’t suffered any worse side effects from the vaccine than in non-pregnant women, according to the latest CDC vaccine safety report, published March 1, which includes over 30,000 vaccinated pregnant women.

There hasn’t been an uptick in pregnancy-related complications, like stillbirth and miscarriage, among pregnant women who’ve gotten the shot, either.

“We do have science that clearly indicates that vaccination does decrease disease process, disease progression, and death,” OB-GYN Dr. Jessica Shepherd told ABC. “Risk vs. benefit, in the end at this point, is transmission and death vs. protection.”

COVID-19 can cause long-term symptoms

Pregnant or not, getting COVID-19 can mean experiencing any number of side effects, from a mild fever and aches to debilitating fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and a loss of taste and smell.

While most people recover after a few weeks, research suggests about 10% become “long haulers,” or people whose symptoms last months – or now, even more than a year – after their initial illness has passed and they test negative.

Long-haulers often grapple with fatigue, body aches, difficulty sleeping, and mental health issues including delirium, anxiety, and brain fog or memory loss.

The vaccine can lead to short-term side effects

The available COVID-19 vaccines, by comparison, can come with side effects, though they’re usually mild and last only a day or two.

Some of the the most commonly reported side effects, usually among women, include headaches, fatigue, chills, nausea, and dizziness, according to a January CDC report analyzing safety data on the nearly 13 million people who’d received a vaccine.

In about 1% of people, the vaccine leads to a fever, which, if persistent and above 102 F, can raise the risk of birth defects and miscarriage in the first trimester. For that reason, experts at the University of Massachusetts Medical School – Baystate say it’s reasonable to delay your vaccine until you’re past 12 weeks’ gestation.

However, that is not an official recommendation. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says a fever can be treated with Tylenol, which is safe in pregnancy and doesn’t seem to affect how the vaccines work.

We still need more data on the shot in pregnant people

Researchers don’t have clinical trial or long-term data on the vaccine risks to pregnant people, though research is underway.

“Based on how the [Pfizer and Moderna] COVID vaccine works, there should be very little risk to a developing baby,” Dr. Jessica Madden, a pediatrician and neonatologist who serves as medical director of Aeroflow Breastpumps, told Insider. That’s because, like the flu vaccine, the coronavirus vaccines are do not contain live virus.

“The mRNA in the vaccine acts locally, in the muscle cells surrounding the injection site,” she said. “It cannot enter into cells’ nucleus, thus it has no effect on DNA. “Plus, limited data from animal studies haven’t revealed any harms during pregnancy.”

Harvard experts say the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which is not made from mRNA but rather a harmless form of the common cold virus called adenovirus, should also be safe in pregnancy, though clinical trials still need to be conducted.

The modified adenovirus can’t can’t replicate or cause illness, did not affect pregnancy in animal studies, and similar vaccines that have been tested in pregnancy haven’t yielded any negative pregnancy outcomes.

COVID Vaccine

Ultimately, in the states where pregnancy makes you eligible for the vaccine, it’s up to women to decide if they want it, with or without the consultation of a healthcare provider.

ACOG says the decision should be informed by transmission rates in the community, as well as the individual’s risk of severe disease from COVID-19.

A pregnant person’s occupation and pregnancy complications matter too. It makes more sense, for example, for a pregnant bus driver in a city with high coronavirus rates to get the vaccine than someone who works from home in a small town where transmission is low. Likewise, a pregnant person with gestational diabetes would benefit from the vaccine more than one with a low-risk pregnancy.

Whatever you choose, Madden said, “you should feel like your decision is respected, and please know that if you choose not to get the vaccine right now, or in the future, that it is OK.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

More than 1000 stores are closing in 2021 as the retail apocalypse drags on. Here’s the full list.

empty mall for lease
A strip mall store sits empty April 7, 2008 in Ontario, California.

  • Retailers have confirmed more than 1000 store closures in 2021 so far.
  • Disney, Best Buy, and Macy’s are a few of the stores planning to close locations this year.
  • More than 8,000 US stores closed last year, and experts predict 10,000 possible closures in 2021.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Retailers have announced plans to close more than 1000 stores this year, and experts say the total could reach 10,000 stores or more.

Mass closures, referred to as the retail apocalypse, have continued over the past few years. In 2020, more than 8,300 US stores closed, following 9,300 in 2019, according to Insider analysis. Research firm Coresignt predicts this trend will continue into 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic made online orders surge over the past year, but it wreaked havoc on brick and mortar retailers. Other retailers that didn’t close filed for bankruptcy, including J Crew, Nieman Marcus, and JCPenney.

Here’s a list of stores expected to close this year.

Disney: 60 stores

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Disney store.

Disney plans to close 60 stores across North America by the end of 2021 to focus on e-commerce, the company announced.

The closures will affect 20% of Disney’s 300 global retail stores before it looks at more potential closures, especially in Europe, according to CNBC. Japan and China will not be affected. Disney also acknowledged that this change would lead to layoffs but declined to say how many people will be impacted.

Best Buy: 5

Best Buy

Best Buy is closing five stores across the US in early 2021, the retailer confirmed to four local news outlets.

The retailer plans to close two Richmond, Virginia area stores, along with one store each in Syracuse, New York, Carbondale, Illinois, and Brockton, Massachusetts.

Francesca’s: 140

francesca's

Francesca’s filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in December and closed 140 of 700 total stores in January.

Read more: The CEO of Planet Fitness is preparing for a brick-and-mortar fitness boom as the company creates content to disrupt digital offerings made popular by the pandemic

Macy’s: 45

Macy's

Macy’s told employees at 45 locations that their stores would close in 2021, CNBC first reported.

The closures are part of the plan the retailer announced back in February 2020 to close 125 stores by 2023, about one-fifth of total locations. At the time, Macy’s also announced that it would cut 2,000 corporate jobs.

Bed Bath and Beyond: 43

bed bath and beynod

Home goods retailer Bed Bath & Beyond closed 43 stores in February, after 63 closures in 2020.

Paper Source: 11

Paper source store

Greeting card store Paper Source filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and announced plans to close 11 of its 158 stores.

Goodwill: 8

Goodwill store

Goodwill announced plans to close eight Bay Area stores this year.

The Children’s Place: 122

The Children's Place

Children’s retail apparel chain The Children’s Place plans to close 122 stores in 2021 to complete the 300 closure goal it previously announced, according to fourth-quarter earnings.

Justice: 200

Loft Outlet

Owner Ascena Retail Group, which also owns Ann Taylor and Loft, announced plans to close the remaining 200 Justice stores.

H&M: 350

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Shoppers walk past a H&M store in north London, UK.

Fast fashion retailer H&M plans to close 350 stores in 2021 and open 100, for a net loss of 250 stores. The company cited a rise in e-commerce.

Fossil: 65

Fossil store

Accessories retailer Fossil is closing at least 65 stores after decreased sales in 2020, BisNow reported.

DSW: 65

DSW

DSW has plans to close 65 stores over the next four years, making up 10% of total locations after a 36% drop in sales in 2020, Biz Journals reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Trading card company Topps apologizes and removes BTS card showing violent’ and ‘racist’ imagery after backlash

bts grammys 2021
BTS.

  • Trading card maker Topps has removed and apologized for its “racist” and “tone deaf” BTS trading card.
  • The card depicts BTS members getting bruised and beaten during a whack-a-mole game.
  • The card’s controversial debut happened the day of a shooting that killed six Asian women.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Trading card maker Topps has removed and apologized for its BTS sticker card after receiving a wave of backlash from Twitter users who have called the card “violent” and “racist.”

The BTS card originally debuted as a part of Topps’ “2021 Topps Garbage Pail Kids: The Shammy Awards” pack of sticker cards. The collection was unveiled shortly after the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, and featured caricatures of famous musicians, including Billie Eilish as “Buoyant Billie” and Bruno Mars as “U.F. Bruno.”

However, soon after Topps unveiled the Shammy Awards pack and its BTS card, eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in shootings across three Atlanta-area spas and massage parlors. The Atlanta Police Department is still investigating the motive behind this string of attacks, but the shootings have prompted a nationwide condemnation of hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US, which have been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic first began.

Read more: Dive Studios is trying to turn K-Pop fans into podcast listeners by grabbing their attention on social media

As a result, shortly after the pack was unveiled, people took to Twitter to air their disappointment in the BTS card, which depicted the Korean boy band getting beaten and bruised by a Grammy award in a whack-a-mole game.

BTS was the first K-pop band to ever perform its own song at the award show, but the group did not end the night with any Grammy wins.

Twitter user @almostdita, who identifies as a member of the “BTS Army” – a nickname for BTS fans –, noted that the card looked obviously different from the other caricatures in the pack, and said Topps was “supporting the hate against Asians.”

Similarly, Fatima Farha, an audience editor at USA Today, tweeted that the card was “downright racist” for its depiction of violence toward Asians.

Shortly after this barrage, Topps publicly apologized and announced it would be removing the BTS card.

“We hear and understand our consumers who are upset about the portrayal of BTS in our GPK Shammy Awards product and we apologize for including it,” Topps’ apology read.

However, several Twitter users did not find this apology to be adequate. This includes Jae-Ha Kim, a writer and columnist, who tweeted that the apology was “not accepted.”

Like Kim, Candace Epps-Robertson, an assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, tweeted that the apology did not “feel like an attempt to acknowledge and understand the issue at hand.”

Between March 19, 2020, and February 28, 2021, Stop AAPI Hate – an organization that monitors anti-Asian racism – logged almost 3,800 incidents of discrimination towards Asian-Americans, which includes: verbal harassment, shunning, physical or online assault, and civil rights violations.

Hate crimes against Asian-Americans in the US have hit an “alarming level” during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by United Nations officials. The report also placed part of the blame on former President Donald Trump, who has used racist terms like “China virus” in reference to COVID-19.

“We are further concerned by the documented increase in hate and misogynist speech, including incitement to hatred and racial discrimination in public places and online, and the contribution of the President of the United States in seemingly legitimizing these violations,” the report noted.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best online sales happening now, including deals from Zappos, Nordstrom Rack, and Casper

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Best Online Sales Deals

We rounded up the best sales and deals happening online today, including savings at Zappos, Nordstrom Rack, and Casper.

Deals in this story are subject to change throughout the day. The prices listed reflect the deal at the time of publication. For even more deals and savings across the web, check out our round-up of the best Sleep Week mattress deals and all of the best deals from Amazon.

The best deals available right now

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The best sales and discounts happening right now

Get 20% off 3 or more pairs of women’s intimates from Zappos

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Shop the Zappos underwear sale now.

Now through March 31, you can save on women’s intimates when you bundle and save. Shoppers can choose from popular labels such as Bali, Calvin Klein, Hanky Panky, Maidenform, OnGossamer, and Warner’s. To get the deal, just add three pairs to the cart — the discount will show up after you enter an address for shipping.

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Now through March 21, Nordstrom Rack is holding a huge sale featuring up to 60% off bralettes, boyshorts, robes, and other intimates. Whether you’re looking to replace some old lingerie or treat yourself to something new and cute, this sale is an excellent chance to do so. Tons of brands are included in the sale, like Calvin Klein, Natori, Maidenform, and Playtex.

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Get 15% off mattresses and 10% off pillows and frames from Casper

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For a short time, Casper is holding another huge sale featuring 15% off mattresses and 10% off pillows and bed frames. Sales from the company aren’t necessarily uncommon, but this is a great chance to pick up some of our favorite sleepytime gear at a discount. Casper makes some of our favorites, including our pillow pick for side sleepers and our hybrid mattress pick for hot sleepers.

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Get 15% off at Brooklinen

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Shop the Brooklinen Sleep Week Sale now.

It’s time to be aware of how well you sleep. March 14 through 20 is National Sleep Week and Brooklinen is commemorating the event with a sale. Now through March 20, you can use promo code INSIDER to get 15% off your order. 

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Save on Udemy online courses sitewide

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Now through March 31, new Udemy users can get top courses for as low as $12.99. The site is an excellent place to delve into a topic or learn a new skill — it has about 130,000 online courses and a ton of subjects to choose from. The promotion ends March 31.

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Get 20% off select items at Elemis

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A rare large sale from Elemis, right now you can get 20% off select items at Elemis. Use code promo code SECRET20 to get the discount — the deal lasts through March 31. A maker of tons of great skincare products, Elemis makes our favorite fast-acting under-eye mask. Though our pick isn’t included in the sale, there are a ton of other great skin and hair care items discounted. 

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Get $20 off orders of $100 or more at Pact

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Shop the Pact Sale now.

For the remainder of March, Pact is offering shoppers $20 off orders of $100 or more with promo code SPRINGFORWARD. It’s limited to only full-priced items, but it’s a great chance to get discounts on pieces that would otherwise cost much more. Pact makes beautiful and comfortable basics out of organic cotton, so you can look good and feel good about what you’re wearing. 

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Get up to 30% off at Madewell

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Madewell bestsellers are up to 50% off with code VERYMERRY.

Shop the Madewell Sale now.

Right now Madewell is offering up to 30% off a huge selection of apparel, shoes, and accessories with promo code HOWFUN. It’s not the first sale we’ve seen from Madewell by far, but it’s a great chance to pick up some fresh pieces for the incoming spring. We love Madewell’s denim and chose its jeans as the best place for petite shoppers.

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Save up to $100 at Dyson

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Now through March 20, Dyson is offering up to $100 off select Dyson v11 stick vacuums. The Outsize, our top cordless stick vacuum pick, is included in the sale. Dyson’s sale section often has worthwhile discounts on the brand’s devices, but it’s not often that so many items are available. Right now, you can nab a Dyson v11, Dyson v7, or Dyson Ball Animal 2 with up to $100 off.

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Read the original article on Business Insider

Russian proxies ‘helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network’ last year, intelligence report says

putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • An intel report said Russian proxies “helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network” in January 2020.
  • The documentary appears to have been featured on the Trump-aligned One America News Network.
  • It explored purported allegations of corruption involving the Bidens and Ukraine.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A bombshell report released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence accused the Russian government of carrying out a covert influence campaign aimed at swaying the 2020 election in favor of then President Donald Trump.

As part of that effort, the report said, Russian proxies “made contact with established US media figures and helped produce a documentary that aired on a US television network in late January 2020.” This line appears to be referencing a documentary by the Trump-allied One America News Network (OAN) that aired the weekend of January 25-26 last year, according to NBC News.

Titled, “The Ukraine Hoax: Impeachment, Biden Cash, Mass Murder,” the film purported to “expose Biden-Obama corruption” related to Ukraine. It aired at the same time Trump was facing a Senate impeachment trial for withholding military aid from Ukraine while pressuring the country to launch politically motivated investigations targeting the Bidens.

The documentary was made by Michael Caputo, a former Trump advisor who served as the spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services before he took medical leave after spreading conspiracy theories about armed “left-wing hit squads” targeting Trump’s second inauguration. He made the comments in September, when Trump and then-Democratic candidate and now President Joe Biden were still vying for the White House.

“I know Ukraine very well, and I knew that the Bidens were up to something there,” Caputo said when promoting the documentary in an interview with the right-wing commentator Jack Posobiec in January 2020. “And I knew that the former president [of Ukraine], President Poroshenko, had been involved in interfering in the American elections. I thought that I could prove it, so I flew over there in August [of 2019].”

Allegations of corruption involving the Bidens and Ukraine, as well as claims of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, were at the center of Republicans’ messaging during the 2020 race.

Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and several of their congressional allies repeatedly accused the Biden of inappropriately leveraging his role as vice president to help his son, Hunter, when the younger Biden served on the board of the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings.

They also alleged that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for meddling in the 2016 election, and that it did so to help then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. OAN, which has often been compared to a state-run media outlet because of its pro-Trump agenda, was a key player in amplifying these claims.

But as the ODNI’s report found – and as has been repeatedly confirmed by US officials, diplomats, and anticorruption activists – the allegations stemmed mainly from a Russian disinformation campaign directed by Vladimir Putin that aimed to push “misleading and unsubstantiated” narratives about Biden in order to “damage US ties to Ukraine, denigrate President Biden and his candidacy, and benefit former President Trump’s prospects for reelection.”

To that end, a “network” of pro-Russian Ukrainians like the lawmaker Andriy Derkach and the influence agent Konstantin Kilimnik “sought to use prominent US persons and media conduits to launder their narratives to US officials and audiences,” the report said. “These Russian proxies met with and provided materials to Trump administration-linked US persons to advocate for formal investigations; hired a US firm to petition US officials; and attempted to make contact with several senior US officials.”

In the last year, OAN and fellow Trump-allied network Newsmax have gained traction with the former president’s base for presenting his views without scrutiny or fact-checking. But that same loyalty to Trump also landed both outlets in legal hot water when the election tech company Dominion Voting Systems threatened to sue them for defamation.

In January, Insider’s Jacob Shamsian reported, OAN quietly scrubbed its site of Domion-related articles despite publicly doubling down on conspiracy theories about the company. It also removed stories about Smartmatic, a rival election tech company that was also a subject of the conspiracy theories and threatened legal action.

Read the original article on Business Insider