U.S.-Israel Tensions Over Judicial Overhaul Burst Into Open

In response to sharp criticism by President Biden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would make its own decisions.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel responded defiantly on Wednesday to sharp criticism from President Biden over his government’s contentious judicial overhaul plan, declaring that Israel was “a sovereign country” that would make its own decisions.

As weeks of quiet diplomatic pressure burst into an open dispute between the allies, Mr. Netanyahu’s opponents in Israel accused him of endangering the longstanding and critical relationship with the United States that could harm the country’s ability to face daunting security challenges, including Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

“I have known President Biden for over 40 years, and I appreciate his longstanding commitment to Israel,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a statement posted in English on Twitter. But, he added, “Israel is a sovereign country which makes its decisions by the will of its people and not based on pressures from abroad, including from the best of friends.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s remarks, first issued by his office at the unusual time of about 1 a.m. in Israel, came after Mr. Biden told reporters that he was “very concerned” about the events in Israel. The president’s comments came after suggestions on Tuesday by the U.S. ambassador in Israel that Mr. Netanyahu would be welcome in Washington sometime soon.

But Mr. Biden made it clear that a much coveted invitation was not about to be issued.

When asked whether Mr. Netanyahu would be invited to the White House, the president replied bluntly: “No. Not in the near term.”

The hard-right coalition led by Mr. Netanyahu has sought to exert more political control over Israel’s Supreme Court, setting off the worst domestic crisis in decades.

“They cannot continue down this road, I’ve sort of made that clear,” Mr. Biden said. “Hopefully the prime minister will act in a way that he can try to work out some genuine compromise, but that remains to be seen.”

The extraordinary exchange came after Mr. Netanyahu on Monday delayed his effort to push the judicial plan through Parliament to allow for dialogue, and hours after negotiating teams for the government coalition and the opposition held a preliminary meeting hosted by Israel’s mostly ceremonial president, Isaac Herzog.

The judicial overhaul has divided the country between those who see it as a power grab by the ruling majority that will destroy Israeli democracy and those who have long viewed the Supreme Court as overactive and want to give more power to the elected legislature.

The plan set off weeks of mass protests and turmoil, culminating in a nationwide work stoppage that brought the country, and its airports, to a halt on Monday after Mr. Netanyahu summarily dismissed his defense minister, who had called for a pause in the legislation to allow for talks and compromise.

Mr. Netanyahu’s announcement of a delay in the legislation largely calmed the stormy atmosphere in Israel and had also been expected to ease tensions with Washington. But Mr. Biden’s blunt remarks indicated that the United States remained guarded about Mr. Netanyahu’s plans and would wait to see the outcome of the negotiations in Israel in the coming weeks.

Mr. Biden’s criticism and Mr. Netanyahu’s response set off a political uproar in Israel, even as Mr. Herzog, the president, continued meetings on Wednesday morning with representatives of some of the smaller opposition parties.

Benny Gantz, the centrist leader of the opposition National Unity party and a former minister of defense and military chief, excoriated Mr. Netanyahu for mishandling Israel’s relationship with the United States.

“President Biden sent an urgent wake-up call to the Israeli government tonight,” Mr. Gantz wrote on Twitter. “Damaging relations with the United States, our best friend and our most important ally, is a strategic attack. The prime minister must guide his negotiating teams regarding the judicial legislation, act quickly to repair the situation and preserve the Israeli democracy that is at the basis of these values.”

Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting from Rehovot, Israel.


Man Slammed Over ‘Obnoxious’ Outfit Choice for Meeting Girlfriend’s Parents

A 28-year-old man has been slammed on Reddit for what he chose to wear to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

In the post on the AmItheA****** subreddit—”a catharsis for the frustrated moral philosopher in all of us, and a place to finally find out if you were wrong”—user Relevant_Rip_2674 explains that he and his girlfriend have been dating for a few months.

“Things have gone well; we get along well so far and I really care about her and hope things work out with us,” he said.

He goes on to explain that his 23-year-old girlfriend lives with her parents, who are “Indian immigrants to the U.S, and I am white,” and that his outfit of choice included an Iron Maiden T-shirt.

“That’s just how I dress and that shirt just happened to be clean that day,” he said. “I went and met her parents and thought we’d had a good meeting.”

“Personally, I think the boyfriend should have asked, not assumed that it was OK to wear such a casual outfit,” Jenny Mahlum, a psychotherapist based in New York, told Newsweek. “While you’d expect your partner to tell you if there were any major no-no’s, it’s also your responsibility to ask it there are topics or behaviors that may be received poorly by the parents.

“Similarly, communicating any worries or questions with your partner could reveal you share similar concerns, bringing you closer together in the relationship.”

The boyfriend revealed that his girlfriend was not happy with him.

“She feels as if me dressing in a T-shirt rather than a nicer button-up shirt was bad enough, but that wearing a shirt with skulls on it was—in her words—’just obnoxious,'” he said.

The girlfriend believed that her boyfriend was “obviously stupid and inappropriate,” while the OP said: “I think that if she had certain standards that she should have communicated them to me beforehand”.

According to a study by dating app Hinge, most millennials introduce a new partner to their parents after 10 or more dates, or a little more than two months into the relationship on average. In an article in Psychology Today, Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. suggests that it takes roughly six months to really get to know and feel comfortable with someone.

A stock image of a man arriving with gifts. A 28-year-old man has been slammed on Reddit for what he chose to wear to meet his girlfriend’s parents for the first time.
Deagreez/Getty Images

“While it’s important to be yourself, it could be a good idea to ask your partner to help you choose, as this is a special occasion where first impressions matter” said Mahlum. “I also advise making the implicit explicit, asking your partner what expectations they have for the first meeting, and talk openly about any misaligned expectations or needs.”

Mahlum shared her top five tips for meeting parents:

  1. Ask thoughtful questions: This requires good listening as well, don’t be in a rush to talk about yourself.
  2. Be grateful and courteous: Don’t go overboard or you might sound insincere, but “please” and “thank you” go a long way.
  3. Be specific and genuine with any compliments you give: Again, use these sparingly, but employ them when you really mean them.
  4. Let your personality shine through so they can get to know you too.
  5. Be kind and respectful toward everyone—the parents, your partner, anyone else in the environment.

Reddit users voted the OP an a******, with one commenting that he was too old to be acting as he was: “That’s what got me. He’s 28! A full-grown adult who should know how to act in various adult situations.”

One user was more sympathetic though: “I’m 48 years old and my first impression would have been that my daughter’s boyfriend has excellent taste in music.”

Newsweek has reached out to Relevant_Rip_2674 via Reddit for comment.

Have you noticed any red flags that made you end a relationship? Let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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Trump Lawyer Claims Hush Money Probe Is ‘Dead’ as Investigation Continues

A lawyer for Donald Trump has claimed the hush money investigation into him is “dead,” one week from the day the former president claimed he would be arrested as part of the probe.

Trump attorney Lindsey Halligan told Newsmax that the “weak” case against the former president is ending with no indictment for the Republican. Halligan’s claim appeared to be more of a suggestion rather than an indication from authorities, adding that if Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg‘s inquiry is not “dead” then “it should be.”

Trump made an uncorroborated claim that he would be arrested in New York on Tuesday, March 21, as part of the investigation into whether the $130,000 he arranged to be paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels to keep an alleged affair the pair had a secret before the 2016 election amounted to a campaign violation. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and denies having an affair with Daniels in 2006.

It is widely believed that a grand jury in New York who have been hearing evidence would soon be voting on the historically significant decision on whether to indict the former president. However, NBC reported, citing unnamed sources, that the grand jury will not meet on Wednesday as scheduled and any indictment vote will not take place this week.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the New Hampshire Republican State Committee’s Annual Meeting on January 28, 2023 in Salem, New Hampshire.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

“I think they just are trying to keep the case alive—but it looks like the case is dead,” Halligan said. “If not, it should be. Bragg needs to wrap this case up, stop focusing on someone who doesn’t even live in New York City, and focus on protecting those living in New York City from the violent crime going on there.”

On Monday, David Pecker, the former head of the company that publishes the National Enquirer tabloid who was said to have turned down the chance to buy Daniels’ story about the alleged affair, testified for the second time to the grand jury as part of the investigation.

Halligan said that Pecker answering questions for the second time shows that the case is “weak” and that there is “chaos” from the D.A.’s office.

Halligan also said Bragg’s investigation into Trump is politically motivated, while noting how much the 2024 Republican candidate can still draw a crowd.

“I think it really comes down to who else can get 20,000 or more people to go to Waco, Texas, for a 90-minute speech, who can even get 2,000 people to go watch them speak for 90 minutes,” Halligan said.

“That’s what this is all about. They hate to acknowledge that President Trump can draw a crowd. He has created a patriotic movement, and it seems that some people just can’t stand that.”

Local press reports that the true figure of the crowd size at Trump’s first public 2024 campaign rally in Waco on Saturday was around 15,000 to 18,000.

In a Truth Social post on Tuesday dismissing Bragg’s investigation, Trump said: “How do you indict an innocent man, a former very successful President who is now running and leading in the polls, that every legal scholar, and virtually every ‘hater,’ says, ‘Don’t do it, there is no case here?’ This is what happens in Third World countries which sadly, the USA is rapidly becoming!”

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been contacted for comment via email.

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Taiwan’s President Heads to the U.S., Bracing for China’s Retaliation

President Tsai Ing-wen is expected to meet Speaker Kevin McCarthy next week, risking a show of force from China, which opposes any such exchanges.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — As President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan heads to the United States, she is laying out a diplomatic agenda calibrated to strengthen ties with the West and assert her island’s autonomy, while trying to avoid moves that might ignite a crisis with China.

Ms. Tsai is stopping in the United States before continuing on to Central America, a trip aimed at raising Taiwan’s profile internationally amid intensifying pressure from Beijing, which claims the self-governing island as its territory and has sought to isolate it globally. Ms. Tsai wants to promote Taiwan’s position as a thriving democracy in Asia and shore up its security and economic ties with the United States, the island’s most important partner.

“External pressure will not hinder our determination to advance toward the world,” Ms. Tsai said before taking off on a flight to New York on Wednesday. “We are calm and self-confident, and will not yield or provoke.”

She is expected to meet Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House of Representatives, next week in Los Angeles, in what would be the highest-level in-person meeting for a leader of Taiwan in the United States since Beijing established relations with Washington in 1979.

Ms. Tsai’s 10-day tour — which includes formal visits to Guatemala and Belize, two of the 13 remaining states that maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan — is also about projecting strength at home. Ms. Tsai, who will step down next year, wants to bolster confidence in her Democratic Progressive Party, or D.P.P., before presidential elections in January.

“She wants to show that the D.P.P. has delivered a very strong Taiwan-U.S. relationship, and therefore contributed to Taiwan’s security,” said Bonnie S. Glaser, the director of the Asia Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “She also wants to show that even though Taiwan may be losing some of its diplomatic allies, the partners that is has are very strongly in support of Taiwan and its security.”

President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy is expected to meet with Ms. Tsai in Los Angeles next week.Al Drago for The New York Times

Her travels, especially the planned meeting with Mr. McCarthy, could draw a vehement response from China. China’s leader, Xi Jinping, sees the United States’ support for Taiwan as meddling in a domestic issue. Beijing has protested moves by the United States to strengthen support of Taiwan, including President Biden’s signing of a military spending bill that authorized up to $10 billion in aid for Taiwan over the next five years.

Beijing could try to punish Taiwan over Ms. Tsai’s trip by holding large-scale military exercises around the island, reprising its response from last summer, after the previous House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, visited Taipei. China fired missiles into the waters off Taiwan’s coast, four of which went high over the island, and conducted exercises close to its shores.

Last weekend, Beijing lured Honduras to abandon diplomatic ties with Taipei in what many saw as pre-emptive punishment for her trip.

Lowering Taiwan’s national flag at the island’s embassy in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, on Sunday, after the two countries broke diplomatic relations.Orlando Sierra/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Trips by leaders of Taiwan to the United States have been fraught affairs since Washington broke off diplomatic ties with the island and shifted recognition to the People’s Republic of China. American and Taiwan officials have described Ms. Tsai’s stops — the first is set in New York on Thursday — as transits rather than official visits, a practice reflecting the unofficial relationship.

How China may seek to punish Taiwan for Ms. Tsai’s tour depends in part on the details, such as whom she meets and whether her events are public. So far, she appears to be taking a low-key approach. In New York, Ms. Tsai is expected to speak at a closed-door event for the Hudson Institute, a think tank that is highly critical of the Chinese Communist Party. Mike Pompeo, a former secretary of state in the Trump administration, is a distinguished fellow at the institute.

Mike Pompeo, center, a former secretary of state in the Trump administration, met with Ms. Tsai in Taipei in 2022. Taiwan Presidential Office, via Associated Press

China is particularly sensitive about her potential meeting with Mr. McCarthy, who is second in line to succeed the president, after the vice president. On Wednesday, a spokeswoman of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office made clear that Beijing sees Ms. Tsai’s U.S. stops as more than mere transits, and said her meeting with Mr. McCarthy would be a provocation requiring a response.

“We firmly oppose this and will definitely take measures to resolutely fight back,” said Zhu Fenglian, the Chinese spokeswoman.

With relations between Beijing and Washington already strained by increasing rivalry for geopolitical and technological dominance, China may feel that it has little to lose by lashing out, as it did when Ms. Pelosi visited. In the months after Ms. Pelosi’s visit in August, Beijing kept up a heavy military presence in the Taiwan Strait.

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Taiwan has indicated that it has taken into account the risk of a military response from China. Days before she left, Ms. Tsai visited troops in the city of Chiayi. A deputy defense minister, Po Horng-huei, said Taiwan had contingency plans for potential moves by Beijing’s military during Ms. Tsai’s travels.

Ms. Tsai visited a military base in the city of Chiayi days before she left Taiwan. Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters

Beijing has reasons to avoid a pugnacious response. China has been trying to focus on reviving its economy and rebuilding relations with its international partners, and it may not want to escalate tensions at a time when it is already under pressure for its alignment with Russia despite Moscow’s war on Ukraine.

“Beijing seems to be trying to reach out to various governments in Europe, Southeast Asia and Australia while also seeking to boost its economy,” said Ian Chong, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore. “Overreacting would not help bolster these relationships and foster cooperation.”

In recent weeks, the People’s Liberation Army has dialed down its activity in the Taiwan Strait, even when large overseas delegations from the Czech Republic, Britain and Germany visited the island, visits that would normally have set off a response, according to Ben Lewis, an independent defense analyst based in Washington, who tracks Chinese military activity around Taiwan.

An excessive retaliation over Ms. Tsai’s trip could also backfire by angering Taiwanese voters and push them to support Ms. Tsai’s party in the presidential election.

Beijing has sought to contrast its criticism of Ms. Tsai with the warm welcome it has extended to her party’s rival, the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, which wants to prove to voters that it can ease tensions with China. Ma Ying-jeou, the former president of Taiwan, is on a 12-day unofficial visit to China, a trip that Chinese state media have described in flattering terms.

The former president of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, second from left, visiting the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, the founder of China’s first republic, in the Chinese city of Nanjing.CNSPHOTO, via Reuters

Ms. Tsai’s meeting with Mr. McCarthy could be a rare instance in which each side in the triangular relationship among China, Taiwan and the United States find some vindication, said Kharis Templeman, a political scientist at the Hoover Institution’s Project on Taiwan in the Indo-Pacific.

Mr. McCarthy had previously suggested he would visit Taiwan, an idea that raised concerns about giving China an excuse to increase its military activities. By holding the meeting on U.S. territory, Ms. Tsai may have given Beijing room for a more moderate response, allowing Washington to avoid worsening tensions with China.

Beijing could also see Ms. Tsai’s move to avoid a Taiwan visit by the speaker as a sign that China’s high-pressure campaign during Ms. Pelosi’s trip worked. But, Mr. Templeman said, “Taiwan will also see this as a win — they are getting a public meeting in the U.S. with the top-ranked member of Congress.”

Chris Buckley and Joy Dong contributed reporting.


‘Wordle’ Today #648 Answer, Hints and Tips for Wednesday, March 29 Game

Wordle continues to be played by thousands of loyal fans across the world each day, well over a year after it was first released to the public in October 2021. The game was invented by New York software engineer Josh Wardle, who sold it to The New York Times in January 2022 for an unspecified seven-figure sum.

Speaking to Newsweek earlier that month, Wardle admitted that, despite having invented Wordle, he still sometimes struggles with the puzzles. He said: “Well, I did create Wordle and I’m not very good at it, so there’s your answer! I’m afraid I’m not really the best.

“[My partner] and I play it on the couch together each morning. She will consistently get it in three goes, which is way, way better than I can ever hope to achieve. I normally need at least four or five attempts.”

The word game ‘Wordle’ is shown on a mobile phone on January 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Newsweek has some hints and tips to help you crack this week’s ‘Wordle’ puzzle.
Brandon Bell/GETTY

Erhan Aslan, associate professor of applied linguistics at the University of Reading in the U.K., told Newsweek social media played a key role in Wordle‘s viral spread.

He commented: “In today’s digital age, like many other things, many simple games like Wordle can be played online. I think that Wordle gains its popularity not only from its simple rules but also from its virality on social media platforms as a result of people sharing/posting their scores to demonstrate a sense of accomplishment and validation.”

The answer to today’s puzzle will be revealed at the end of this article, so scroll down with caution if you want to work it out for yourself.

‘Wordle’ #648, Clues for Wednesday, March 29

Newsweek has put together five clues to help you solve today’s Wordle puzzle.

Hint #1: The answer contains two vowels, both the same letter.

Hint #2: Synonyms for today’s Wordle include “bedevil” and “beleaguer.”

Hint #3: The second and fourth letters are the same.

Hint #4: Associated with having difficulties.

Hint #5: There is no “I” in teams. The same applies to today’s Wordle.

‘Wordle’ #648 Answer for Wednesday, March 29

The answer to today’s Wordle is “Beset.”

Well, that was a fun one! With a double vowel, in a relatively frequently used word, this certainly wasn’t the toughest Wordle we’ve yet faced, but it was still a good puzzle. Did you figure it out? Well done is so, but please don’t fret if not. Newsweek will be back again tomorrow with another round of Wordle hints and tips, and one of the best things about the game is seeing if you can improve your score over time.

What Does ‘Beset’ Mean?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “beset” as “having a lot of trouble with something, or having to deal with a lot of something that causes problems.”

For example: “With the amount of traffic nowadays, even a trip across town is beset by/with dangers.”

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Transfer Talk: Mount could reunite with Tuchel at Bayern Munich

The January transfer window may be closed around Europe, but teams are looking ahead to the summer and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Bayern could set up Tuchel-Mount reunion

Bayern Munich are considering a swoop for Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount, reports the Times.

The Bundesliga club are said to be keeping a close eye on the 24-year-old’s situation at Stamford Bridge, with hopes of being able to land him if the Blues fail to secure a contract extension.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga & more (U.S.)
– Read on ESPN+: Why Bayern Munich fired their coach

Mount will enter the final year of his deal in June, and with former Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel now in the dugout at Bayern, the Allianz Arena hierarchy would be willing to help set up a reunion.

It is understood that Chelsea would still demand a fee of £50 million despite Mount’s contract winding down, with England international deemed to be a key player for Graham Potter’s side.

Mount has contributed to five goals in 23 Premier League appearances this season and has previously been linked with Liverpool.


– A bid of €100m for RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol would be rejected this summer, according to Sky Sports Deutschland’s Florian Plettenberg. The 21-year-old Croatia international has been linked with a number of sides across Europe, but it looks as though the club’s hierarchy remain intent on keeping him at the Red Bull Arena for at least another season.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan is attracting interest from Barcelona and one other club, reveals Fabrizio Romano. Man City are reported to be waiting on the 32-year-old’s decision, with his contract set to expire in the summer, but he is taking time over his decision with belief that he would commit the final years of his career if he was to sign a new deal at the Etihad Stadium.

– Barcelona are assessing the idea of signing Chelsea forward Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang on a one-season loan, reports Sport. The 33-year-old is understood to be determined to make the switch back to the Camp Nou, and he is willing to accept a lower salary as the Blaugrana look to find ways to reinforce their squad with free transfers and loan deals.

Internazionale are set to switch their attention to signing centre-back Alessandro Bastoni to a new contract, understands Calciomercato. The 23-year-old has been a key player for the Serie A side this season, but with his terms entering the final 12 months in the summer, the latest indicates that the Nerazzurri are hopeful of reaching an agreement over a new long-term deal.

Villarreal will need to say goodbye to centre-back Pau Torres if they don’t secure Champions League football next season, writes Relevo. The club currently find themselves in sixth place and seven points behind fourth with 12 games to go in LaLiga, and it looks as though they have accepted that they may be without the 26-year-old in the next campaign to offset the loss from missing out on playing in Europe’s top competition.

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Joe Biden Jokes About Christians Being Targeted in Nashville School Shooting

President Joe Biden joked with reporters on Tuesday that he probably didn’t agree with Republican Senator Josh Hawley about whether Christians were targeted in a shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.

Biden was asked by a reporter if he agreed with Hawley that Christians had been targeted in the shooting that left three adults and three children dead and appeared to mock the idea of agreeing with Hawley.

The remarks come after Hawley called on the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to investigate the shooting as a hate crime “against Christian children and teachers.”

On the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday, a reporter asked Biden if he believed that Christians were targeted in the Nashville shooting.

“I have no idea,” Biden responded and when he was told that Hawley believes that Christians were targeted, the president said: “Well, I probably don’t then.”

“No, I’m joking,” Biden added. “I have no idea.”

Hawley shared a tweet on Tuesday from CNN reporter DJ Judd reporting on Biden’s joke and wrote: “What a disgrace.”

“There’s nothing remotely funny about hate crimes,” Hawley added in another tweet highlighting the remarks.

In a tweet earlier in the day, Hawley called for the shooting at The Covenant School to be investigated as a hate crime directed as Christians.

“I am calling on FBI Director Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas to open a federal hate crime investigation into the massacre in Nashville – targeting a Christian school,” he wrote.

Newsweek has reached out to the White House via email for comment.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Wolfspeed, a semiconductor manufacturer, as he kicks off his Investing in America Tour on March 28, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina. Biden appeared to joke with reporters on Tuesday following a question about the Nashville school shooting.

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One of the Luckiest Lightning Strikes Ever Recorded

Brazilian researchers captured on camera the brief moment when lightning rods on buildings released an upward discharge to attract incoming lightning.

Researchers in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, were able to capture upward discharges of lightning from a distance of about 150 yards with a device that records 40,000 images a second.Marcelo Saba and Diego Rhamon

Benjamin Franklin invented lightning rods in the 18th century, and the devices have been protecting buildings and people from the destructive forces of lightning ever since. But the details of how lightning rods function are still the subject of scientific research.

Although modern lightning protection systems involve extra equipment that makes them more efficient, the lightning rod itself is quite simple: a copper or aluminum rod set above the highest point of a building, with wires connected to the ground. When lightning strikes a building it will preferably pass through the rod — the path of least resistance — and then through the wires into the ground, protecting the building and its contents from the extremely high currents and voltages produced by lightning.

But a rod doesn’t wait for the lightning to strike. Less than one millisecond before the lightning touches it, the rod, provoked by the presence of the negative discharge of the lightning, sends a positive discharge up to connect to it.

Brazilian researchers recently got lucky, photographing this event with high-speed video cameras at very high resolution. They captured the electric action in São José dos Campos, a city northeast of São Paulo.

The scientists were in the right place, at the right time, and with the right equipment to capture 31 of these upward discharges as they happened. With their location, about 150 yards away from the lightning strikes, and their camera, a device that records 40,000 images a second, they were able to take clear photographs and a slow-motion video of what happens in that instant before the charge from the rod meets the charge from the lightning bolt. The scientists’ study and photos were published in Geophysical Research Letters in December.

It was not only lightning rods producing these discharges, but also various corners of the buildings and other high spots. In fact, “Any person standing in an open area can similarly launch an upward connecting discharge from their head or shoulders and be injured by lightning even when not directly struck by it,” said Marcelo M.F. Saba, a senior researcher at the National Institute for Space Research in Brazil and an author of the study.

Does one kind of lightning rod provide better protection than another?

“Some salesmen say that their lightning rods are better than the rest,” Dr. Saba said, “but this is just sales talk. There is no solid research on that. There are standards that have to be followed by those installing lightning rods. That’s the best we can do for now.”


Republican Lawmakers Question FBI on Nashville School Shooting

Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mary Miller sent a letter to the FBI Tuesday pressing the bureau to investigate the Nashville shooting as a domestic terrorist attack.

On Monday, six people were killed at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee, after 28-year-old Audrey Hale open fired at the private Christian school before being shot dead by police. Nashville Police Chief John Drake has since reported that Hale, a transgender person, once attended the private elementary school, and had targeted the school in a manifesto recovered by local law enforcement after the mass shooting.

Community members on Tuesday pay their respects at a makeshift memorial for the six people who were killed Monday in the mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee. Republican Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene and Mary Miller want the FBI to investigate the school shooting as a domestic terrorist attack.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty/Getty Images

Greene, of Georgia, and Miller, of Illinois, addressed the manifesto in their letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday, which was first obtained by the Daily Caller. The congresswomen also wrote in their one-page letter that Hale “self-identified as a member of the transgender political ideology.”

“You have claimed in prior congressional testimony that the FBI considers domestic terrorist attacks conducted based on the attacker’s race, gender, and political ideology to be the greatest threat our nation faces,” read the letter to Wray.

The lawmakers continue to ask Wray if, based on the circumstances of the Nashville shooting and his “prior testimony” about domestic terrorist threats, “Is the FBI Memphis Field Office investigating this attack on a Christian school as a terrorist attack conducted based on the attacker’s ‘manifesto?'”

Miller posted a link to the Daily Caller’s initial report on Twitter, writing: “The FBI must treat the horrific attack in Nashville as a domestic terrorist attack based on the attacker’s transgender political ‘manifesto’ & intentional targeting of Christians.”

Greene also posted about the letter on her personal Twitter account. The Georgia representative’s congressional account was reportedly suspended earlier in the day after sharing unfounded information about a “Trans Day of Vengeance,” a purportedly planned event by the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN). Greene and Miller specifically asked Wray in their letter if the FBI is “investigating organizations that are encouraging individuals to engage in violence based on political ideology, including ‘Trans Day of Vengeance’ being promoted on the internet.”

Some conservative figures have claimed that the TRAN event, reportedly planned for this weekend, is related to The Covenant School shooting, although there is currently no evidence to suggest that Hale’s actions were motivated by their gender identity or by TRAN. Newsweek has not been able to independently verify some reports about TRAN or the event, but can confirm that the group is real and its account on Twitter, which is blocked from public viewing, has around 404 followers.

The letter from Greene and Miller echoes a separate letter sent by Republican Missouri Senator Josh Hawley on Tuesday, which called on Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to investigate the Covenant shooting as a religious hate crime.

Other prominent conservative figures have also sparked debate by claiming gender-affirming drugs may have played a role in Monday’s mass shooting, include Greene, who previously raised questions on whether Hale was receiving any such medication. Greene and Miller asked Wray in their letter if Hale was taking medications for “hormone therapy” or “mental health,” and if the drugs could have had an impact on Hale’s mental and physical state.

Republican Senator John Kennedy, of Louisiana, also pressed Attorney General Merrick Garland about whether he intended to open a hate-crime investigation into the shooting while the attorney general testified before a Senate Appropriations hearing Tuesday afternoon.

“As of now, motive hasn’t been identified,” Garland responded, adding that the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were working with local police to investigate the mass shooting.

“We are certainly working full time with them to determine what the motive is and of course motive is what determines whether it’s a hate crime or not,” he added.

Hale’s manifesto has not been released to the public. While there have been some calls for law enforcement to do so, other groups advocating for LGBTQ+ rights have cautioned against the idea, warning of potential “serious consequences” if Hale’s writings were made public.

“While it would certainly give insight into the motivations of this deeply troubled individual that could help shed light into root causes, we know from tragedies like this that additional glorification of the shooter could inspire others to take similar violent acts for attention,” Charles Moran, national president of Log Cabin Republicans, previously told Newsweek.

Newsweek has reached out to the FBI National Press Office via email for comment.

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Dubs’ Green nets 17th technical, to face $5K fine

SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green picked up his 17th technical foul, which will result in a $5,000 fine.

If Green picks up an 18th technical he will be suspended for one game.

The technical foul came with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter of the Warriors’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

After Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram received the ball just inside the perimeter, Green appeared to have lowered his shoulder and shoved Ingram.

As Ingram made his way from the baseline back onto the court he approached Green and the two exchanged words, resulting in some light shoving.

They were called for a double technical and Green was also assessed with a Flagrant 1 for the shove.

About 20 seconds later, Green almost picked up another technical after an incident with Herbert Jones.

As Green went for a layup he collided with Jones, and after Jones hit the floor, Green landed on top of them. The two got tangled up, with Green’s wrapped around Jones’ torso and Jones tried to get up.

More shoving from multiple players ensued before referees and team security broke up the scrum. After a long video review, no technical fouls were assessed.

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