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News Briefs: Youtube blocks Communists; Sex offenders in libraries; Russian missiles off Alaska; Autism over-diagnosed

Convicted child sex offenders holding drag queen story times

Over the past year, the Austin Public Library in Texas has allowed a sex offender to read to children during “Drag Queen Story Time,” a pro-family organization has learned. This is the latest development in a series of related findings this year.

At least three sex offenders have been exposed in Texas after having participated in “Drag Queen Story Time” — programs that seek to teach children about gender fluidity and give them queer role models through reading events in public libraries.


Russia test fires missiles off of Alaskan coast

Russia test-fired Sineva and Bulava ballistic missiles from two submarines from the polar region of the Arctic Ocean and from the Barents Sea on Aug. 24 as part of combat training, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The Sineva, a liquid-fueled intercontinental missile, was fired from the Tula submarine, while a Bulava, Russia’s newest solid-fueled missile, was launched from the Yuri Dolgorukiy submarine, the ministry said.

Autism being over diagnosed

Autism has become so over-diagnosed that in the coming years, it will grow more and more difficult to differentiate between people who have the disorder and people who don’t, a new study suggests.

Published Aug. 21 in JAMA Psychiatry, the review analyzed a total of 11 previously published studies on autism that dated all the way back to 1966. By using the medical search engine PubMed, researchers were able to gather data from past studies that “investigated group-level differences between individuals with autism and control groups,” and included important information on effect size and sample size.

Comparing the subjects of past studies with more recent ones revealed a significant difference: as time went on, the profiles of people diagnosed with autism became less and less different from the profiles of the general population.

African countries wake up to Chinese meddling

Some African countries are canceling Chinese development projects and licenses as governments wake up to the potential risks of such deals.

Over the past few years, the regime in Beijing has played a huge part in African development projects. At the same time, there have been concerns about how it carries out those projects, often luring African countries into so-called debt traps with the potential to put national assets at risk in the event of a default on repaying their loans.

On Aug. 2, the Financial Times reported that “the government of Sierra Leone has canceled and suspended the licenses of several mining projects, including the Tonkolili and Marampa iron ore mines.”

Youtube removes Communist-linked channels

Alphabet Inc’s Google announced on Aug. 22 that its YouTube streaming video service disabled 210 channels appearing to engage in a coordinated influence operation around the Hong Kong protests, days after Twitter and Facebook said they dismantled a similar campaign originating in mainland China.

“This discovery was consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter,” said Shane Huntley, one of Google’s security leaders, in a blog post. But he stopped short of identifying the origin of the channels.

Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. on Monday said that channels they had removed had engaged in a Communist state-backed effort by China to undermine the protests in Hong Kong through posts calling participants dangerous and vile extremists.