While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 28

Gun not thoroughly checked before Baldwin fired fatal shot

A .45 caliber Colt pistol used on the set of the film Rust was not thoroughly checked before being given to actor Alec Baldwin, who fired a live lead bullet in an accidental fatal shooting last week in New Mexico, according to officials and a new court filing.

New details about the incident emerged on Wednesday during a news conference by Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies and in an affidavit filed by the local sheriff’s department.

Mendoza also told reporters there was a complacent attitude towards safety on the set before last Thursday’s shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a rehearsal.

Hannah Gutierrez, the crew member in charge of weapons on the set, told investigators that she had checked guns there but found no “hot rounds” – apparently meaning live ammunition – before the shooting, according to the affidavit filed by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department.


Top US general confirms Chinese hypersonic weapons test

The top US military officer, General Mark Milley, has provided the first official US confirmation of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American missile defences.

The Pentagon has been at pains to avoid direct confirmation of the Chinese test this summer, first reported by the Financial Times, even as President Joe Biden and other officials have expressed general concerns about Chinese hypersonic weapons development.

But Milley explicitly confirmed a test and said that it was “very close” to a Sputnik moment – referring Russia’s 1957 launch of the first man-made satellite, which put Moscow ahead in the Cold War-era space race.


US issues first passport with ‘X’ gender

The United States on Wednesday announced its first passport with “X” for gender, a landmark step for people outside the binary male or female categories.

The State Department said it had issued a first passport with “X” for gender and would make the option routinely available by early 2022 both for passports and birth certificates of Americans abroad.

“I want to reiterate, on the occasion of this passport issuance, the Department of State’s commitment to promoting the freedom, dignity, and equality of all people – including LGBTQI+ persons,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.


DNA confirms man is Sitting Bull’s great-grandson

A man’s claim to be the great-grandson of Sitting Bull has been confirmed using DNA taken from the Native American leader’s scalp lock – billed as the first time genetic evidence has corroborated a family relationship between a historic figure and a living descendant.

The breakthrough was made possible by a new technique that can yield useful genetic information from a tiny or fragmented sample of ancient DNA, developed by a team of scientists led by Professor Eske Willerslev of the University of Cambridge and the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre in Denmark.

Their findings were published in a paper in Science Advances on Wednesday. The same methods can now be deployed for investigating other historical figures, from outlaw Jesse James to the Russian tsar’s family, if old DNA is available.


Football: West Ham end Man City’s four-year hold on League Cup

West Ham ended Manchester City’s four-year hold on the League Cup on Wednesday as Liverpool and Tottenham booked their places in the quarter-finals.

City’s record run in the competition came to an end at the London Stadium as the Hammers emerged 5-3 winners from a penalty shootout after both sides were guilty of missing plenty of chances in a 0-0 draw.

Phil Foden was the only man to miss from the spot as Mark Noble, Jarrod Bowen, Craig Dawson, Aaron Cresswell and Said Benrahma all found the net for David Moyes’ men.


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