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Former MP Eric Joyce appears in court on child porn charge

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former mp eric joyce appears in court on child porn charge

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has appeared in court charged with making an indecent photograph of a child. 

Joyce, 59, who was MP for Falkirk in Scotland between 2000 and 2012, was given unconditional bail.

He will next appear at Ipswich Crown Court for a pre-trial hearing on July 7. 

The former shadow minister, of Worlingworth, Suffolk, was arrested in November 2018.

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has appeared in court charged with making an indecent photograph of a child

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has appeared in court charged with making an indecent photograph of a child

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce has appeared in court charged with making an indecent photograph of a child

The charge against Joyce, pictured, alleges that between August 7, 2013, and November 6, 2018 he made an indecent photograph of a child.

Prosecutors allege that the file, found on a device, was a movie file classed as a Category A image. 

He left Labour to serve as independent MP for Falkirk in 2012, stepping down before the 2015 general election. He spent 21 years in the army, rising to major, 

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Secret blueprints for Covid-19 vaccine trials revealed by Moderna and Pfizer

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secret blueprints for covid 19 vaccine trials revealed by moderna and pfizer

US biotech firm Moderna, one of nine companies in the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, became the first to publish the complete blueprints of its study following calls for greater transparency.

Pfizer, the other American company currently carrying out Phase 3 trials in the US, followed suit a short time later and there is now added pressure for the remainder to do the same.

Only Moderna laid out a likely timetable within which a successful vaccine could be discovered, estimating it will be before the end of the year. 

Yet President Trump claimed on Tuesday that there could be one as early as four weeks time, before his November re-election attempt.  

US biotech firm Moderna, one of nine companies in the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, became the first to publish the complete blueprints of its study on Thursday

US biotech firm Moderna, one of nine companies in the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, became the first to publish the complete blueprints of its study on Thursday

 US biotech firm Moderna, one of nine companies in the late stages of clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, became the first to publish the complete blueprints of its study on Thursday

He even forced Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to walk back testimony to the Senate that masks work better than a vaccine on Wednesday after blasting the comments as ‘mistaken’. 

The president said he had called Redfield to set the record straight and said the CDC boss had agreed he ‘answered that question incorrectly’ about the masks. 

The secret blueprints were released in the hopes that the companies will win the trust of the public and scientists anxious about the safety of an early vaccine. 

The details are generally kept under wraps but Moderna and Pfizer bowed to public pressure amid concerns from Americans that the quick discovery of a vaccine has become too much of a political issue to be deemed safe. 

Phase 3 is the final stage before approval, in which a vaccine and a placebo are tested on thousands of participants to verify the medicine is safe and effective. 

Both companies blueprints detailed the comprehensive road map for the trials, as well as details on how participants are being tested and monitored. 

The plans also layout the conditions under which problems would stop a trial early and how evidence is being used to determine whether those who receive the vaccine are being protected from Covid-19. 

Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel said on Thursday his company would know whether their vaccine works by November. October is possible but unlikely, he told CNBC.

Final analysis may not take place until the spring of next year, however.  

The trial protocol published Thursday, which runs to 135 pages and is marked ‘confidential,’ fixes the parameters of the experiment.

The most important of these is how it will judge whether results are conclusive.

The reality of an immunization trial is that it’s necessary to wait until a certain number of volunteers become naturally infected, in order to compare outcomes in the placebo group against the group given the vaccine.

So the decline in the rate of infection in the US could theoretically delay the results, possibly until December, said Bancel.

Pictured, a sign is pictured outside Pfizer Headquarters in New York

Pictured, a sign is pictured outside Pfizer Headquarters in New York

Pictured, a sign is pictured outside Pfizer Headquarters in New York

A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts

A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts

A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts

As of Thursday, Moderna had recruited 25,296 volunteers. Among them, 10,025 had received their second dose, 28 days after the first.

It’ll take a few more weeks to recruit the full quotient of 30,000 participants and for them to receive their second doses.

Only Covid-19 infections recorded two weeks or more after the second dose are counted, to give the vaccine sufficient time to take effect.

Interim analyses by a committee of independent experts are planned over the course of the trial to verify whether a high statistical threshold of effectiveness has been reached, and to monitor for serious side effects.

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33327834 8746467 image a 29 1600407950588

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated its bar for approval is a vaccine that reduces the risk of falling sick with Covid-19 by 50 percent.

The Moderna trial protocol ‘has the key information (for) stopping rules, interim analyses and efficacy assumptions. Applaud their transparency,’ Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Institute and one of the critics leading the charge against possible political interference, told AFP.

Moderna also said that 28 percent of its participants were from racial minority groups.

Having sufficient participants among black and Hispanic people in particular is crucial in obtaining statistically representative results for these communities that have been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.

The decision by Moderna, which has received $2.5billion in US government money, left a spotlight on Pfizer, whose CEO has repeatedly said the company will have its results by the end of October, which is in line with Trump’s wishes.

Moderna should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works in November, CEO Stephane Bancel said on CNBC

Moderna should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works in November, CEO Stephane Bancel said on CNBC

Moderna should have enough data from its late-stage trial to know whether its coronavirus vaccine works in November, CEO Stephane Bancel said on CNBC

Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree living in Ormond Beach, has his temperature checked by Clinical Research Coordinator Angela Hammerle before receiving his first injection as a participant in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna

Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree living in Ormond Beach, has his temperature checked by Clinical Research Coordinator Angela Hammerle before receiving his first injection as a participant in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna

Tony Potts, a 69-year-old retiree living in Ormond Beach, has his temperature checked by Clinical Research Coordinator Angela Hammerle before receiving his first injection as a participant in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial sponsored by Moderna

A spokeswoman told AFP Pfizer has traditionally not shared the full in-depth study protocol, but ‘the Covid-19 pandemic is a unique circumstance and the need for transparency is clear’.

‘As a result, the company is making the full protocol for its self-funded Covid-19 vaccine pivotal study available to reinforce Pfizer’s longstanding commitment to scientific and regulatory rigor that benefits patients.’

The other frontrunner is AstraZeneca, which has co-developed a vaccine with the University of Oxford.

The medicine’s global trials were suspended last week after a participant had an unexplained illness, but were later restarted in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa. 

The US remains the exception for reasons that aren’t yet known.

A spokesperson told the New York Times that the company intended to publish its protocol shortly. 

At least one expert has raised questions about the currently released blueprints already, according to the New York Times. 

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33327832 8746467 image a 38 1600408072901

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‘I want to acknowledge a good deed done,’ said Peter Doshi, a faculty member at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in Baltimore. 

‘They have opened up, for the first time, the ability for researchers not involved in the trial to form their own independent judgment about the design of this study.’

The vaccine race has become deeply politicized in the US in the run-up to the presidential election in November, as President Donald Trump touts a quick vaccine in response to criticism of his handling of the pandemic. 

Trump repeated on Wednesday that the first vaccine would be approved by October, increasing concerns that the White House will place pressure on the approval body, the FDA.

‘I don’t trust Donald Trump,’ his rival from the Democratic party Joe Biden said.

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Experts and officials in the Trump administration agree that it’s not possible to predict the results of the trials that are underway, and it’s highly unlikely to have strong data before the end of 2020. 

Vaccine doses will be initially very limited, according to health authorities.

The timeline laid out by Moderna lines up with that suggested by Dr. Redfield. 

He told senators on Wednesday that a vaccine would not be widely available until the middle of next year. Hours later, Trump said that his comments were a ‘mistake’.  

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‘Forrest Gump’ author Winston Groom dead at 77

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forrest gump author winston groom dead at 77

Winston Groom, the writer whose novel ‘Forrest Gump’ was made into a six-Oscar-winning 1994 movie that became a soaring pop cultural phenomenon, has died at age 77.

Mayor Karin Wilson of Fairhope, Alabama, said in a message on social media that Groom had died in that south Alabama town. A local funeral home also confirmed the death and said arrangements were pending.

‘While he will be remembered for creating Forrest Gump, Winston Groom was a talented journalist & noted author of American history. Our hearts & prayers are extended to his family,’ Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. 

‘Forrest Gump’ was the improbable tale of a slow-witted but mathematically gifted man who was a participant or witness to key points of 20th Century history – from Alabama segregationist Gov. George Wallace’s ‘stand at the schoolhouse door,’ to meetings with presidents.

Winston Groom (pictured), the novelist who wrote Forrest Gump, has died in Fairhope, Alabama, this week at the age of 77

Winston Groom (pictured), the novelist who wrote Forrest Gump, has died in Fairhope, Alabama, this week at the age of 77

Winston Groom (pictured), the novelist who wrote Forrest Gump, has died in Fairhope, Alabama, this week at the age of 77

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33329248 8746201 image m 19 1600409184355

Groom’s best known book was Forrest Gump, a 1986 novel that was transformed into a major Hollywood movie eight years later. Pictured: Tom Hanks as the titular character Forrest Gump

It was the best known book by Groom, who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965, according to a biography posted by the university.

‘We are saddened to learn of the passing of one of our Legends, Winston Groom,’ the university wrote on Twitter.

Groom served in the Army´s Fourth Infantry Division from 1965 to 1969, the university said. His service included a tour in Vietnam – one of the settings for ‘Forrest Gump.’

He wrote 16 books, fiction and nonfiction. One, ‘Conversations with the Enemy,’ about a American prisoner of war in Vietnam accused of collaboration, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, according to the university.  

It was ‘Forrest Gump’ – and the success of the 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks in the iconic role of Gump, as well as Sally Field and Gary Sinise – that earned him widespread fame and some financial success.

The original novel has sold at least 1.7million copies since the initial publication.  

Groom (pictured) was a military veteran who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and later graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965

Groom (pictured) was a military veteran who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and later graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965

Groom (pictured) was a military veteran who grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and later graduated from the University of Alabama in 1965

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wrote on Thursday that 'Alabama lost one of our most gifted writers' and credited him with being a 'talented journalist & noted author of American history'

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wrote on Thursday that 'Alabama lost one of our most gifted writers' and credited him with being a 'talented journalist & noted author of American history'

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wrote on Thursday that ‘Alabama lost one of our most gifted writers’ and credited him with being a ‘talented journalist & noted author of American history’

The University of Alabama expressed their condolences in a Twitter post following Groom's death

The University of Alabama expressed their condolences in a Twitter post following Groom's death

The University of Alabama expressed their condolences in a Twitter post following Groom’s death 

The novel is considerably different from the film. Don Noble, University of Alabama professor emeritus of English, and a 40-year friend of Groom´s told The Tuscaloosa News that the novel was ‘darker’ and ‘richer’ than the movie.

‘You can make a lot of money as a comic writer, but you can´t get no respect,’ Noble said. ‘But “Forrest Gump” is really actually quite a fine novel. It´s more subtle and more complicated … richer than the movie.’

The movie, which also starred Robin Wright and Mykelti Williamson, became deeply embedded in the American psyche and has remained an enduring television staple and huge cultural phenomenon since.

‘It touched a nerve,’ Groom told the Tuscaloosa News in 2014.

The film dominated the 1995 Academy Awards, winning six Oscars including best picture, best director for Robert Zemeckis and best actor for Hanks.

The film Forrest Gump garnered critical acclaim for its cast, including Sally Fields as 'Mrs. Gump' and Tom Hanks as 'Forrest Gump'

The film Forrest Gump garnered critical acclaim for its cast, including Sally Fields as 'Mrs. Gump' and Tom Hanks as 'Forrest Gump'

The film Forrest Gump garnered critical acclaim for its cast, including Sally Fields as ‘Mrs. Gump’ and Tom Hanks as ‘Forrest Gump’

Gary Sinise (left), who played Lt. Dan Taylor, starred in the movie alongside Mykelti Williamson as  Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue (center) and Tom Hanks (right)

Gary Sinise (left), who played Lt. Dan Taylor, starred in the movie alongside Mykelti Williamson as  Benjamin Buford 'Bubba' Blue (center) and Tom Hanks (right)

Gary Sinise (left), who played Lt. Dan Taylor, starred in the movie alongside Mykelti Williamson as  Benjamin Buford ‘Bubba’ Blue (center) and Tom Hanks (right)

Actress Robin Wright (left) played the role of Jenny Curran, the childhood friend and eventual love interest for Tom Hank's Forrest Gump (right)

Actress Robin Wright (left) played the role of Jenny Curran, the childhood friend and eventual love interest for Tom Hank's Forrest Gump (right)

Actress Robin Wright (left) played the role of Jenny Curran, the childhood friend and eventual love interest for Tom Hank’s Forrest Gump (right)

It was 1994´s No. 2 grossing film at the box office, second only to ‘The Lion King.’

The basic outlines of Gump´s life are the same as they are in the book: Gump plays football under Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant at the University of Alabama, serves in Vietnam and starts a major shrimp business.

But the film made major departures. Gump was not a math savant as he was in the book, and was a more saintly soul. 

The film took away Gump´s size – Groom said he envisioned John Goodman playing him – along with his profanity, and most of his sex life.

They ‘took some of the rough edges off,’ Groom told the New York Times in 1994.

Groom also wrote non-fiction on diverse subjects including the Civil War, World War I and Alabama’s Crimson Tide football.

In 2005, Groom released ‘1942: The Year That Tried Men´s Souls,’ which chronicled the first year of U.S. involvement in World War II.

Pictured: Winston Groom signs copies of 'Gump & Co.,' the sequel to 'Forrest Gump',  at a New York City bookstore in August 1995

Pictured: Winston Groom signs copies of 'Gump & Co.,' the sequel to 'Forrest Gump',  at a New York City bookstore in August 1995

Pictured: Winston Groom signs copies of ‘Gump & Co.,’ the sequel to ‘Forrest Gump’,  at a New York City bookstore in August 1995

In 2009 he released ‘Vicksburg 1863,’ an account of the Union siege that brought a novelist´s touch to historical figures like Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman and Jefferson Davis, president of the confederacy.

His most recent novel, El Paso, was published in 2016.

Groom got $350,000 for the rights to ‘Forrest Gump’ plus 3 percent of the net profit of the movie. But he got into a serious dispute with Paramount Pictures when they told him a film that had earned over $600 million was in the red after expenses.

But years later he wasn´t bitter.

‘They did an excellent job,’ he told the Tuscaloosa News. ‘I would have probably preferred my version of it, but that thing never would have opened.’

The book became a major best-seller in the wake of the film, and Groom got a much better deal for the follow-up novel, 1995´s ‘Gump and Co.’

‘I´m happy as a pig in sunshine,’ he told the Mobile Register.

Nonetheless, sequel-addicted Hollywood somehow never made the new movie.

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Man who murdered his pregnant wife three decades ago caused Ohio investigators to reopen the case

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man who murdered his pregnant wife three decades ago caused ohio investigators to reopen the case

An Ohio man who murdered his pregnant wife three decades ago inadvertently caused investigators to reopen the case after he mentioned her alleged suicide ‘outta the blue.’

Scott Purk was found guilty of murder and tampering with evidence in the death of his first wife, Margaret, in November 2015. He was convicted of arson and serving a separate prison sentence at the time.

Margaret had been 24-years-old and expected to give birth to their first child just days before her death in March 1985.

Prosecutors say Purk put a belt around Margaret Purk’s neck and strangled her before trying to make it look like she hanged herself in their Akron apartment.

The death was originally ruled a suicide, and may have remained that way had Purk not spoken about Margaret’s death to Lt. Ken Mifflin of the City of Stow Police Department years later.

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Scott Purk (left) was convicted of murdering his wife, Margaret (right), nearly three decades after her death was ruled a suicide

Scott Purk (left) was convicted of murdering his wife, Margaret (right), nearly three decades after her death was ruled a suicide

Scott Purk (left) was convicted of murdering his wife, Margaret (right), nearly three decades after her death was ruled a suicide 

In a new NBC Dateline episode scheduled for Friday at 10pm ET, Lieutenant Ken Mifflin said that he was motivated to re-investigate Margaret’s death while responding to a house fire. 

In March 2009, authorities dispatched to a fire at a residence Purk shared with his second wife and two children.

Purk, now 62, would later serve a 28-year prison sentence for arson related to insurance fraud, but at the time investigations had just begun.

Mifflin had been speaking to Purk about the house fire when the man unexpectedly brought up his deceased wife.

‘Scott just outta the blue says to me, well, his first wife had committed suicide – in 1985. And she was pregnant, nine months pregnant,’ Mifflin told Dateline.

Lt. Ken Mifflin (pictured): 'Scott just outta the blue says to me, well, his first wife had committed suicide - in 1985. And she was pregnant, nine months pregnant'

Lt. Ken Mifflin (pictured): 'Scott just outta the blue says to me, well, his first wife had committed suicide - in 1985. And she was pregnant, nine months pregnant'

Lt. Ken Mifflin (pictured): ‘Scott just outta the blue says to me, well, his first wife had committed suicide – in 1985. And she was pregnant, nine months pregnant’

He added that he was caught off guard by the admission since it had nothing to do with the house fire or their conversation at the time.

‘I was shocked at and – it made me wonder, “Okay, now I need to look into this.” I I’m looking at someone who I believe is an arsonist,’ said Mifflin.  ‘Now I’m wondering, “Okay, was he a murderer?”‘

Following that conversation, authorities in Stow launched parallel investigations into Purk.

Mifflin would reexamine Margaret’s alleged suicide in Akron, while now-retired arson investigator Jim Liedel would look into the fires in Stow.

Stow authorities launched a parallel investigation that saw Mifflin (left) reexamining Margaret's death, while arson investigator Jim Liedel (right) would look into the fires

Stow authorities launched a parallel investigation that saw Mifflin (left) reexamining Margaret's death, while arson investigator Jim Liedel (right) would look into the fires

Stow authorities launched a parallel investigation that saw Mifflin (left) reexamining Margaret’s death, while arson investigator Jim Liedel (right) would look into the fires

Both Mifflin and Liedel told NBC Dateline reporter Josh Mankiewicz that they had a good working relationship throughout the case.

‘He knows exactly what he’s doing,’ Mifflin said about Liedel.

But the two investigators would need to bypass a number of obstacles, including the fact that Margaret’s death happened many years ago and that she died in Akron – an entirely different jurisdiction than Stow.

When asked by Mankiewicz how they approached Akron authorities, Mifflin said it was done with caution but they two departments are on good standing with each other.

‘You have to approach it very carefully. But we have a good working relationship with the police department in Akron And I – you have to make the phone call,’ said Mifflin.

Pictured: Scott Purk

Pictured: Scott Purk

Pictured: Scott Purk

Pictured: Scott Purk

Scott Purk (left and right) was serving a 28-year prison sentence related to arson when he was convicted of Margaret’s murder 

According to Record-Courier, authorities had suspected Purk of setting his own home on fire for the insurance money, but did not have the evidence to convict him.

It wasn’t until one year later, when Purk set fire to a duplex, that authorities noted that the fire resembled the one at Purk’s home.

Mifflin told the publication that he visited the Bridgewater Parkway apartments where Purk was staying with his family.

There, he discovered a vital clue that linked Purk to the fires.

‘That’s when things really started to unravel for him because that morning it was like 23 degrees, it was freezing,’ Mifflin told Record-Courier.

‘And every car in the parking lot by his apartment all had ice on it and frosted windows except for one car and it ended up being one of the Purk’s cars and that was the car he used to drive to commit the fire.’

‘He wanted us to think there was a serial arsonist in the neighborhood,’ Mifflin added.

It was around this time that the murder investigation in Akron hit a stride regarding the autopsy report.

Margaret was exhumed for a second autopsy that found she had marks consistent with ligature strangulation — not suicide by hanging as the first autopsy determined.

Mifflin: 'Had he not said anything, had he not told me anything, I would have had no reason to have looked into [Margaret¿s death], let alone known that his first wife had died' Pictured: Scott Purk

Mifflin: 'Had he not said anything, had he not told me anything, I would have had no reason to have looked into [Margaret¿s death], let alone known that his first wife had died' Pictured: Scott Purk

Mifflin: ‘Had he not said anything, had he not told me anything, I would have had no reason to have looked into [Margaret’s death], let alone known that his first wife had died’ Pictured: Scott Purk 

Photos from the 1985 autopsy clearly showed what happened, prosecutors said.  

Purk told police and paramedics that he used a knife to cut his wife down from the rope, then tried CPR to revive her, Hicks said.

Police and prosecutors didn’t have the rope, the knife, the original crime-scene photos or the recording of the 911 call. 

‘He really thought he was a smart criminal,’ Mifflin told Record-Courier.

‘Had he not said anything, had he not told me anything, I would have had no reason to have looked into [Margaret’s death], let alone known that his first wife had died.’    

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