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The Best of Eyetrack III: What We Saw When We Looked Through Their Eyes
By Steve Outing and Laura Ruel

Eyetrack III project managers

News websites have been with us for about a decade, and editors and designers still struggle with many unanswered questions: Is homepage layout effective? ... What effect do blurbs on the homepage have compared to headlines? ... When is multimedia appropriate? ... Are ads placed where they will be seen by the audience?

The Eyetrack III research released by The Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism & New Media, and Eyetools could help answer those questions and more. Eyetracking research like this won't provide THE answer to those questions. But combined with other site metrics already used by news website managers -- usability testing, focus groups, log analysis -- the Eyetrack III findings could provide some direction for improving news websites.

In Eyetrack III, we observed 46 people for one hour as their eyes followed mock news websites and real multimedia content. In this article we'll provide an overview of what we observed. You can dive into detailed Eyetrack III findings and observations on this website -- use the navigation at the top and left of this page -- at any time. If you don't know what eyetracking is, get oriented by reading the Eyetrack III FAQ.

Let's get to the key results of the study, but first, a quick comment on what this study is and is not: It is a preliminary study of several dozen people conducted in San Francisco. It is not an exhaustive exploration that we can extrapolate to the larger population. It is a mix of "findings" based on controlled variables, and "observations" where testing was not as tightly controlled. The researchers went "wide," not "deep" -- covering a lot of ground in terms of website design and multimedia factors. We hope that Eyetrack III is not seen as an end in itself, but rather as the beginning of a wave of eyetracking research that will benefit the news industry. OK, let's begin. ...


At the core: Homepage layout

While testing our participants' eye movements across several news homepage designs, Eyetrack III researchers noticed a common pattern: The eyes most often fixated first in the upper left of the page, then hovered in that area before going left to right. Only after perusing the top portion of the page for some time did their eyes explore further down the page.

 
Depending on page layout, of course, this pattern can vary. The image above is a simplistic representation of the most common eye-movement pattern we noticed across multiple homepage designs. (In other words, don't take what you see above too seriously.)

Now also consider another Eyetrack observation: Dominant headlines most often draw the eye first upon entering the page -- especially when they are in the upper left, and most often (but not always) when in the upper right. Photographs, contrary to what you might expect (and contrary to findings of 1990 Poynter eyetracking research on print newspapers), aren't typically the entry point to a homepage. Text rules on the PC screen -- both in order viewed and in overall time spent looking at it.

A quick review of 25 large news websites -- here's a list of them -- reveals that 20 of them place the dominant homepage image in the upper left. (Most news sites have a consistent page design from day to day; they don't often vary the layout as a print newspaper would.)

We observed that with news homepages, readers' instincts are to first look at the flag/logo and top headlines in the upper left. The graphic below shows the zones of importance we formulated from the Eyetrack data. While each site is different, you might look at your own website and see what content you have in which zones.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about homepage layout here.]


Want people to read, not scan? Consider small type

The Eyetrack III researchers discovered something important when testing headline and type size on homepages: Smaller type encourages focused viewing behavior (that is, reading the words), while larger type promotes lighter scanning. In general, our testing found that people spent more time focused on small type than large type. Larger type resulted in more scanning of the page -- fewer words overall were fixated on -- as people looked around for words or phrases that captured their attention.

This was especially the case when we looked at headline size on homepages. Larger headlines encouraged scanning more than smaller ones.

(Note: We are not advocating that you run out and reduce the size of your font across the board. You should make sure that people can read the font size you select in order to achieve the appropriate balance.

Particularly interesting was people's behavior when there were headlines and blurbs used on homepages. Eyetrack III test participants tended to view both the headline and blurb when the headline was bold and the same size as blurb text and immediately preceded the blurb on the same line.

With a headline larger than the blurb and on a separate line, people tended to view the headlines and skip the blurbs; they scanned the headlines throughout the page more than the group that looked at the smaller headlines.

Researchers believe that it is the contrast in type size that accounts for this behavior, as well as the type size itself. When a headline is larger than its accompanying blurb text, it's perceived as the important element of the headline-blurb block -- so people appear to decide that viewing the headline is sufficient and they skip the blurb.

Underlined headlines discouraged testers from viewing blurbs on the homepage:

This may be related to a phenomenon that we noted throughout the testing: visual breaks -- like a line or rule -- discouraged people from looking at items beyond the break, like a blurb. (This also affects ads, which we address below.)

When we look at news websites, we find that the vast majority of them (22 out of 25) use blurbs to accompany headlines on their homepages. It's the rare ones that use only headlines: CNN.com, NYPost.com, and ProJo.com. In terms of headline size, we observed about an even split between using larger type size for headlines vs. smaller type.

We found that 12 out of 22 news sites that use blurbs on their homepage put rules under their headlines.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about type and blurbs here and here.]


Partial viewing of headlines, blurbs found to be common

We found that when people look at blurbs under headlines on news homepages, they often only look at the left one-third of the blurb. In other words, most people just look at the first couple of words -- and only read on if they are engaged by those words.

Here's a heatmap of a blurb demonstrating this. (A heatmap is an aggregate view of all the eye fixations of our test subjects. Below, the orange area was viewed the most, the blue areas the least.)

With a list of headlines on a homepage, we can see where people looked with eyetracking -- and again, most often it's the left sides of the headlines. People typically scan down a list of headlines, and often don't view entire headlines. If the first words engage them, they seem likely to read on. On average, a headline has less than a second of a site visitor's attention.

For headlines -- especially longer ones -- it would appear that the first couple of words need to be real attention-grabbers if you want to capture eyes.

The same goes for blurbs -- perhaps even more so. Our findings about blurbs suggest that not only should they be kept short, but the first couple of words need to grab the viewer's attention.

On the 25 news websites we reviewed, there's considerable variety in blurbs. Average blurb length varies from a low of about 10 words to a high of 25, with most sites coming in around 17.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about blurbs here.]


What creates "hot spots"?

In Eyetrack III, we tested several homepage designs, watching where on the page people looked. As you would expect, lower parts of the page -- especially areas you have to scroll to view -- receive modest viewing. But that doesn't mean you can't get people to look at content low on a scrolling page.

On a couple of our test homepages, we found "hot spots" for some stories. Perhaps because our testing took place in San Francisco, research subjects were drawn to one story about the site "Craig's List" (a local online community popular since its inception in 1995). The headline for that story had an inordinate number of eye fixations compared to surrounding content, even though it was below the first visible screen of the page. We observed a similarly high number of eye fixations on a headline about clothing maker FCUK, which was placed far down on a page with a long list of headlines and blurbs.

We think this spells good news for those websites with homepages that extend well beyond the initial screen view. Eyetrack III found that people do typically look beyond the first screen. What happens, however, is that their eyes typically scan lower portions of the page seeking something to grab their attention. Their eyes may fixate on an interesting headline or a stand-out word, but not on other content. Again, this points to the necessity of sharp headline writing.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about homepage design here and here.]


Where's your navigation?

While testing several homepage designs, we varied the placement of a navigation element: top (under the flag or logo), left column, and right column.

Navigation placed at the top of a homepage performed best -- that is, it was seen by the highest percentage of test subjects and looked at for the longest duration. In a survey of 25 top news sites, we found 11 that used top position navigation. The other 14 used left navigation. Seven of the 25 used left and top navigation elements. None of the 25 sites we surveyed used right side navigation. It's rare, but you can find right navigation in the news website world.

It might surprise you to learn that in our testing we observed better usage (more eye fixations and longer viewing duration) with right-column navigation than left. While this might have been the novelty factor at play -- people aren't used to seeing right-side navigation -- it may indicate that there's no reason not to put navigation on the right side of the page and use the left column for editorial content or ads.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about navigation here.]


What about article layout, writing style?

Eyetrack III results suggests various characteristics of article writing and layout can affect a reader's viewing behavior.

For example, let's take average paragraph length. Most news sites run articles with medium-length paragraphs -- somewhere (loosely) around 45-50 words, or two or three sentences. In a survey of 25 top news sites, however, we did find seven that routinely edited articles to make paragraphs shorter -- often only one sentence per paragraph.

Shorter paragraphs performed better in Eyetrack III research than longer ones. Our data revealed that stories with short paragraphs received twice as many overall eye fixations as those with longer paragraphs. The longer paragraph format seems to discourage viewing.

Most news website article pages present stories in a single column of text, but a handful of sites -- like IHT.com and TheHerald.co.uk -- mimic newspaper layout and present articles in two or three side-by-side columns. Is this as readable as the traditional (for the Web) one-column article format?

Eyetrack III results showed that the standard one-column format performed better in terms of number of eye fixations -- in other words, people viewed more. However, bear in mind that habit may have affected this outcome. Since most people are accustomed to one-column Web articles, the surprise of seeing three-column type might have affected their eye behavior.

What about photos on article pages? It might surprise you that our test subjects typically looked at text elements before their eyes landed on an accompanying photo, just like on homepages. As noted earlier, the reverse behavior (photos first) occurred in previous print eyetracking studies.

Finally, there's the use of summary descriptions (extended deck headlines, paragraph length) leading into articles. These were popular with our participants. When our testers encountered a story with a boldface introductory paragraph, 95 percent of them viewed all or part of it.

When people viewed an introductory paragraph for between 5 and 10 seconds -- as was often the case -- their average reading behavior of the rest of the article was about the same as when they viewed articles without a summary paragraph. The summary paragraph made no difference in terms of how much of the story was consumed.

Just over 20 percent of the leading news websites regularly use summary paragraphs with articles.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about article layout here.]


Advertising

Eyetrack III tested a variety of ad placements and formats across our various hompages and article-level pages.

The first thing we noticed is that people often ignore ads, but that depends a lot on placement. When they do gaze at an ad, it's usually for only 0.5 to 1.5 seconds. Good placement and the right format can improve those figures.

We found that ads in the top and left portions of a homepage received the most eye fixations. Right side ads didn't do as well, and ads at the bottom of the page were seen, typically, by only a small percentage of people.

Close proximity to popular editorial content really helped ads get seen. We noticed that when an ad was separated from editorial matter by either white space or a rule, the ad received fewer fixations than when there was no such barrier. Ads close to top-of-the-page headlines did well. A banner ad above the homepage flag didn't draw as many fixations as an ad that was below the flag and above editorial content.

Text ads were viewed most intently, of all the types we tested. On our test pages, text ads got an average eye duration time of nearly 7 seconds; the best display-type ad got only 1.6 seconds, on average.

Size matters. Bigger ads had a better chance of being seen. Small ads on the right side of homepages typically were seen by only one-third of our testers; the rest never once cast an eye on them. On article pages, "half-page" ads were the most intensely viewed by our test subjects. Yet, they were only seen 38 percent of the time; most people never looked at them. Article ads that got seen the most were ones inset into article text. "Skyscraper" ads (thin verticals running in the left or right column) came in third place.

Reviewing 25 leading news websites, we discovered that there's a preponderance of small banner ads on homepages. And it's exceedingly common to find ads in the right column of news homepages. About half of the 25 sites we reviewed inset ads into article text.

[Read more on what Eyetrack III says about advertising here.]


Larger online images hold the eye longer than smaller images

News homepages typically use templates, many of which employ a predetermined size for a main image. Although the value of using a template-driven design can (and should) be debated, what we learned about photo size in Eyetrack III may be helpful to those who are wondering just how big a spot to leave for images.

Although we learned that most of our test participants did not look at images first, we also observed that images received a significant number of eye fixations. We also learned that the bigger the image, the more time people took to look at it.

One of our test pages had a postage-stamp sized mug shot that was viewed by 10 percent of our participants. Compare that with an average-sized photo (about 230 pixels wide and deep) that drew gazes from about 70 percent.

We found that images that are at least 210 x 230 pixels in size were viewed by more than half of the testers. Our research also shows that clean, clear faces in images attract more eye fixations on homepages.

Article-level pages seem to follow suit. Again we found that the larger the image, the more users were drawn to it.

In reviewing 25 news websites, we found that about 20 percent routinely use small images on their homepages. Four out of five sites routinely place their homepage main photo in the upper left.

And here's an interesting research tidbit: We noticed that people often clicked on photos -- even though on our test pages that got them nowhere (and indeed, clicking on photos does nothing on many real news sites).


Text for facts; multimedia graphics for unfamiliar concepts

Overall, we observed that participants were more likely to correctly recall facts, names, and places when they were presented with that information in a text fomat. However new, unfamiliar, conceptual information was more accurately recalled when participants received it in a multimedia graphic format.

So what does this mean? While overall we did see a slight, although not statistically significant, increase in information recall from text stories, we should note that most of our recall questions were about facts, names, and places. Story information about processes or procedures seemed to be comprehended well when presented using animation and text. A step-by-step animation we tested supported this idea.

We also observed that most participants attended to only two forms of media at a time. For example, in one of our testing situations users were presented with audio, still images, and written captions. We observed that they directed their attention to the audio and images. Important information in the photo captions were not read by many.

The bottom line is that the best journalists working in multimedia environments know how to make good choices about the presentation of story information. As demonstrated in this research, some information is best conveyed by the use of good, descriptive writing. Other information is better explained graphically.

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Princeton University, where he taught government and was president from 1902 to 1910, has decided to remove his name from university institutes and programs. ?Wilson?s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time,? Christopher Eisgruber, current president of Princeton, said in a statement released last week. President Trump tweeted that the move was ?incredibly stupid.?But it was not a crisis over racism that caused Woodrow Wilson to type out his resignation letter in 1916; it was a world war.By the fall of 1916, Wilson had kept the United States out of the European conflict for over two years. Despite his attempts to mediate an end to the war, the belligerent powers remained in a deadly stalemate. The battle for Verdun in France, horrific by any historical measure, started in the spring of 1916 and would continue, with unrelenting bombardments, until December. The Germans intended to ?bleed the French white.?†The human carnage was stultifying: nearly 800,000 men were killed in just 300 days of battle. The Battle of the Somme was worse. Having begun in July, it eventually resulted in a death toll of 1.3 million in just four months.Against this calamitous backdrop, Wilson was convinced that if he lost, he needed to transfer power immediately to his challenger, Republican Charles Evans Hughes. Until the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, a president-elect would have to wait four months before being inaugurated, on March 4. (The lame-duck amendment in 1933 moved the date up to January 20).Wilson had reason to be concerned that he may not be re-elected, though he had spared America any involvement in the war so far. In 1912, Wilson was elected only because Theodore Roosevelt split the Republican Party and ran against the Republican incumbent, William Howard Taft, on the Bull Moose ticket. With the Republicans ?reunited? in 1916 behind former New York governor and Supreme Court associate justice Charles Evans Hughes, the odds of Wilson winning seemed long.Recognizing this, Wilson sat down at his portable Hammond typewriter days before the election to peck out his conditional resignation. He recognized, he wrote, that if Hughes prevailed, ?I would be without such moral backing of the nation as would be necessary to steady and control our relationship with other governments.? The situation would be ?fraught with the gravest dangers.?He concluded that, in that event, he needed to appoint Hughes as his secretary of state, secure his vice president?s agreement to resign, and then resign himself. Under the rules of succession then in effect, Hughes would immediately become president.†?I would have no right to risk the peace of the nation,? Wilson wrote, ?by remaining in office after I had lost my authority.?Trump would need to recognize this same responsibility if he is rejected at the polls in November. With the pandemic still afoot and the economy a mess, there would be no time to waste at this critical juncture. But since the line of succession is different today, how could President-Elect Biden become President Biden before Jan. 20?Here?s how. Under the 25th Amendment, ratified and passed in 1967, a president can appoint a vice president in the event of a vacancy in the office, with the consent of the House and the Senate by simple majorities in each chamber. In this case, Trump would ask Pence to resign, appoint Biden as his VP, and then resign himself, allowing Biden to succeed to the presidency.A final hurdle would be the Republican-controlled Senate, which has been Trump?s lapdog under Mitch McConnell. But clearly if Trump actually did his duty and resigned, it seems improbable that the Senate would stand in the way.Of course, it is impossible to conceive of Donald Trump resigning, even with a widening crisis unfolding all around him. Then again, Richard Nixon was no quitter, as he acknowledged when he resigned. So who knows? Trump likes to sulk and feel sorry for himself?so he could say ?to heck with you? if he is humiliated at the polls.In the end, Wilson did not need to resign because he squeaked out a victory in 1916. The election was so close that Hughes went to bed election night being congratulated on his victory, and it took days for the result to finally become clear.Ironically, Wilson typed his provisional resignation letter in his erstwhile summer home in New Jersey, known as Shadow Lawn. That home burned down later, but a new Shadow Lawn was erected, located on the campus of Monmouth University. Two weeks ago, Monmouth announced that it would remove Wilson?s name from the mansion built to replace the one that was destroyed.James Robenalt is the author of The Harding Affair, Love and Espionage During the Great War and January 1973, Watergate, Roe v Wade, Vietnam and the Month That Changed America Forever. He occasionally lectures with John Dean, Nixon?s White House Counsel, on legal ethics.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • Fact Check: No, schools will not require a COVID-19 vaccine, with RFID chip, for students -

    Fact Check: No, schools will not require a COVID-19 vaccine, with RFID chip, for studentsA viral meme claims schools will require students take a deadly COVID-19 vaccine before returning. That vaccine has not yet been approved.


  • U.S. records more than 66,000 new coronavirus cases in record spike -

    U.S. records more than 66,000 new coronavirus cases in record spikeCalifornia, Florida and Texas all saw record surges in the last week.


  • New records released in Flynn case as appeals court issues stay of dismissal -

    New records released in Flynn case as appeals court issues stay of dismissalA federal appeals court on Friday delayed a decision to dismiss charges against President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and CBS News senior investigative correspondent Catherine Herridge join Elaine Quijano to discuss.


  • Russian accused of harassing Black family in Oregon was ordered deported 10 years ago -

    Russian accused of harassing Black family in Oregon was ordered deported 10 years agoThe man was ordered deported in June 2010.


  • U.S. warns citizens of heightened detention risks in China -

    U.S. warns citizens of heightened detention risks in ChinaThe U.S. State Department warned American citizens on Saturday to "exercise increased caution" in China due to heightened risk of arbitrary law enforcement including detention and a ban from exiting the country. "U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime," the State Department said in a security alert issued to its citizens in China, adding that U.S. citizens may face "prolonged interrogations and extended detention" for reasons related to state security. "Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government," it added, without citing specific examples.


  • Shooting of man by Baltimore police highlights 'total failure' of city's behavioral health response, agency says -

    Shooting of man by Baltimore police highlights 'total failure' of city's behavioral health response, agency saysBALTIMORE - After Baltimore police officers shot a man who pulled a firearm while undergoing a behavioral health crisis last week, the organization that oversees the city's behavioral health services called the current system "a total failure" that needs better integration of mental health professionals with the police. There is no indication that police dispatchers attempted to connect ...


  • Mexico asks Canada to arrest, extradite ex-investigator -

    Mexico asks Canada to arrest, extradite ex-investigatorMexico is to seek the arrest and extradition from Canada of the former chief investigator in the murky disappearance of 43 students in 2014, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Friday. Tomas Zeron, who was head of the Criminal Investigation Agency, is in Canada and work is underway to extradite him, the minister said. "There is going to be no impunity, part of our function at the ministry of foreign affairs is to guarantee that, when there are cases of this nature, extradition occurs," Ebrard said.


  • A 19-year-old aspiring astronaut is the only person who's attended every NASA space camp. She's already positioning herself for a mission to Mars. -

    A 19-year-old aspiring astronaut is the only person who's attended every NASA space camp. She's already positioning herself for a mission to Mars.Alyssa Carson is one of a group of young people who are already positioning themselves to become NASA astronauts just in time to travel to Mars.


  • Thousands of US pediatricians warn against reopening schools for in-person learning after Trump's push against CDC guidelines -

    Thousands of US pediatricians warn against reopening schools for in-person learning after Trump's push against CDC guidelinesThe American Academy of Pediatrics said officials looking to reopen schools must follow "science" and "evidence, not politics."


  • Coronavirus: Hotline to report people not wearing face masks set up in US county amid surge in Covid-19 cases -

    Coronavirus: Hotline to report people not wearing face masks set up in US county amid surge in Covid-19 casesA county in Ohio has launched a hotline so that callers can report people who do not use face masks, amid concerns over a surge in the number of coronavirus cases across the state.Armond Budish, the executive of Cuyahoga county, announced the service on Friday and said complaints would be managed by county officers and would be forwarded to local health authorities.


  • US gives the green light to Japan?s $23B F-35 buy -

    US gives the green light to Japan?s $23B F-35 buyJapan is set to become the fourth operator of the F-35B short takeoff and landing variant.


  • New York's hungry rats torment alfresco diners after lockdown famine -

    New York's hungry rats torment alfresco diners after lockdown famine* Surge in rat activity as city starts to open outdoor restaurants * ?Last night, a customer had a baby rat running on his shoe?New York City is starting to tentatively emerge from the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic but a revival in outdoor restaurant dining is facing a new hazard ? a plague of rats.Diners are facing a surge in rat activity following a lockdown period where the rodents were cut off from key food sources as businesses including restaurants and grocery stores shut down, forcing rats to battle for snacks and even eat each other.Since 22 June, New York City restaurants have been allowed to serve people again in outdoor settings, prompting sidewalks and car parking spaces to be dotted with tables and chairs. But the resumption of alfresco dining has led to people having unexpected rodent companions for their meals.Giacomo Romano, who owns Ciccio, an Italian restaurant in Manhattan?s Soho, said rats from a nearby park have been harassing diners since the outdoor meals were permitted. ?Last night, a customer had a baby rat running on his shoe, and I let you just imagine his reaction,? Romano told NBC.Romano and other business owners have called on the city to do more to reduce rat populations, as the city hauls itself out of a pandemic crisis that has claimed more than 20,000 lives. New infections and deaths have dropped sharply since April but New York City has postponed plans to allow indoor dining due to concerns over surging Covid-19 cases in other states, such as Florida, Texas and Arizona.New York City has waged a long and often fruitless war against rats, with the rodents adapting adroitly to the city?s haphazard waste collection and disposal practices. Rats are a common sight in streets and in the subway, where the rodents have proven themselves adept at spiriting away slices of pizza.The resumption of dining activity is likely to stir a wave of activity among rats following a period of relative famine, meaning interactions with people are set to continue.?Rats are designed to smell molecules of anything that?s food-related,? Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist, told NBC. ?They follow those food molecules like heat-seeking missiles ? and eventually you know they end up where those molecules are originating.?


  • Court's religious employer ruling could weaken LGBTQ protections -

    Court's religious employer ruling could weaken LGBTQ protectionsCritics say the ruling, which broadens the ?ministerial exception? in employment nondiscrimination law, could open a Pandora?s box of workplace discrimination.


  • Education Secretary wants U.S. schools open, offers no safety plan -

    Education Secretary wants U.S. schools open, offers no safety planEducation Secretary Betsy DeVos kept up the administration's push to reopen U.S. schools in the fall on Sunday, but failed to embrace any blueprint - including federal health guidelines - for how that could be done safely. DeVos also downplayed the risk of children bringing the virus home to parents, grandparents or caregivers. Asked if schools should follow the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which Republican President Donald Trump criticized last week as too stringent, DeVos said every school building is different, as is every population.


  • Carnival Corp. to sell 13 ships, resume cruises in Germany amid COVID-19 pandemic -

    Carnival Corp. to sell 13 ships, resume cruises in Germany amid COVID-19 pandemicAfter record-breaking second quarter losses, Carnival Corporation will begin cruising again during the COVID-19 pandemic in August and shed 13 of its ships by the end of the year.


  • Inventor of Israel's Iron Dome seeks coronavirus 'game-changer' -

    Inventor of Israel's Iron Dome seeks coronavirus 'game-changer'Daniel Gold, who led the team that invented Israel's Iron Dome missile defence system, has a history of safeguarding the country against what he identifies as existential threats. With the nation facing surging coronavirus cases amid a pandemic that has triggered unprecedented economic hardship, Gold is trying to replicate his Iron Dome breakthrough in protecting Israel against the virus. Gold, who heads Israel's Defence Research and Development Directorate and holds PhDs in electronic engineering and business management, has become a celebrated figure in the Jewish state.


  • In Hong Kong Security Law, China Asserts Legal Jurisdiction over the Entire World -

    In Hong Kong Security Law, China Asserts Legal Jurisdiction over the Entire WorldThe Chinese Communist Party?s new security law has criminalized any actions it deems to be subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities in Hong Kong. The law spells an abrupt end to the political freedoms that Hong Kongers used to enjoy. Authorities Friday raided the offices of a research and polling institute associated with the pro-democracy camp just ahead of primaries in which it will choose its candidates for Legislative Council elections, and there?s certainly more to come. But there?s an additional reason to be wary of the law: It is Beijing?s assertion of legal jurisdiction over the entire world.The text of the legislation?s Article 38 is blunt, and makes an unprecedented jurisdictional claim: ?The Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.? If the provision is enforced as it is written, Hong Kong authorities could charge and prosecute individuals who have never stepped foot in the city but whom Beijing deems to have violated the law. ?If mainland practice to date is any guide?and it is?then the definitions don?t matter that much,? wrote Donald Clarke, a professor at The George Washington University Law School, in an analysis. ?Anything can be stretched as necessary to cover something done by the person being targeted.?The CCP could thus use Article 38 to prosecute offenses that are illegal in China but legal in the West. Theoretically, Westerners could be arrested by security agents from Beijing?s new base in the city, then rendered to the mainland for trial ? for the crime of speaking freely in liberal democracies. Or as Clarke put it, the CCP ?is asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction over every person on the planet.?This is not just a theoretical concern, either, says Kevin Carrico, a senior research fellow at Melbourne?s Monash University. In 2015, Beijing abducted five employees of Causeway Bay Books, a store that sold works on political topics considered sensitive by mainland authorities, in violation of Hong Kong?s Basic Law. The kidnappings demonstrate the CCP?s desire for extraterritorial law-enforcement authority, says Carrico in an email, and the new law ?just gives the false appearance of legality? to its efforts to secure such authority.It?s not abnormal for countries to make legal claims that stretch beyond their borders or to punish their own nationals for crimes they commit abroad. But for a country to prosecute a foreigner for acts abroad would require harm to that country under widely accepted interpretations of international law. The other way that countries might claim jurisdiction over foreigners who live abroad is through extradition treaties. Without such treaties, says Terri Marsh, the executive director of the Human Rights Law Foundation, it would be very hard for China to reach non-Chinese citizens living in foreign countries. ?China?s incursion into our sovereignty is a demonstration of why precisely other nations who are equally sovereign should not comply or cooperate in any way shape, or form,? says Marsh.As it happens, some 20 countries have extradition treaties with Hong Kong, including several that have not inked such agreements with the mainland. The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, a group comprising legislators from 13 countries, has in the wake of the new security law?s enactment led a drive for countries to cancel these treaties. In recent days, Australia and Canada have suspended theirs, earning Beijing?s ire, and the United States could soon follow suit. Others, such as the Netherlands, have warned their citizens against traveling to Hong Kong.Although most countries will not extradite an individual based on political charges, Jerome Cohen, an expert in Chinese law at New York University School of Law, points to Beijing?s history of concocting false charges of conventional crimes, such as tax evasion, to target dissidents. Just this week, Xu Zhangrun, a prominent critic of the CCP, was arrested in Beijing on prostitution charges. Fake allegations won?t be a problem in countries with robust justice systems, such as France, but Cohen says he?s wary of countries that have voted with China on the U.N. Human Rights Council, and even of certain European countries.In addition to the risk of extradition, the high concentration of foreign journalists and businesspeople in Hong Kong would make it ?a very convenient target, if China wanted to do something to hold some Americans hostage,? says Ho-fung Hung, a professor at Johns Hopkins University. He notes the 2018 detention of two Canadian citizens in retaliation for Ottawa?s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. While hostage diplomacy had already existed as a possibility on the mainland, Americans critical of the Chinese Communist Party have generally been denied visas to visit China, ending up in Hong Kong instead. They used to enjoy immunity from Beijing?s reach there, but with the security law, Beijing could well detain and try them for speaking against the CCP in other countries. Carrico offers a dire warning: ?In traveling to China and Hong Kong today, one is in effect taking the same type of risks as someone travelling to Pyongyang.?The danger is particularly acute for Taiwanese individuals and organizations. Leaders in Taipei have watched the Hong Kong crackdown with apprehension, fearing that the CCP will turn its focus to them next. Carrico notes that Hong Kong, which despite its former autonomy from the mainland did not diverge from Beijing?s official position on Taiwan, had until now allowed Taiwanese organizations to operate in the city. But ?the [national-security law] means the end of that, and if I was in any way linked to the Taiwanese government and living in Hong Kong right now, I would leave immediately.? In fact, the law subjects foreign and Taiwan-based organizations with offices in Hong Kong to onerous regulations requiring cooperation with the city?s police commissioner. According to new rules released this week, the city police can even ask staff at ?foreign and Taiwan political organizations? in Hong Kong to provide personal and financial information about their organizations.It is important to note that until Hong Kong?s rulers release further guidelines on implementation of the law, the precise nature of the danger it poses will remain unclear. Cohen predicts that Article 38 will be interpreted more narrowly than its wording would suggest. ?Now even China?s regular domestic criminal law doesn?t go as far as this new national security law could be interpreted,? he says, noting that the mainland?s criminal code would not lead to prosecutions of foreigners over political speech legal in their own countries. He thinks that Article 38?s expansive wording was the result of a time crunch faced by those responsible for drafting it. But he is careful to emphasize that he?s only making a prediction, and that the law is already intimidating some activists into silence. ?They are already being deterred, not only in Hong Kong, but around the world,? he says.


  • As coronavirus cases climb, Trump says states with an uptick in cases are 'going to be fine' and will be back to normal 'very quickly' -

    As coronavirus cases climb, Trump says states with an uptick in cases are 'going to be fine' and will be back to normal 'very quickly'Coronavirus deaths are once again on the rise amid a surge of confirmed cases in states like Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida.


  • Jared Kushner said the US would be 'really rocking again' by July. 7 states are shutting back down, and new COVID-19 cases have set records 6 times in July's first 10 days. -

    Jared Kushner said the US would be 'really rocking again' by July. 7 states are shutting back down, and new COVID-19 cases have set records 6 times in July's first 10 days.In Kushner's confident Fox & Friends appearance back in April, he also proclaimed the US was "on the other side of the medical aspect" of the virus.


  • Amber Alert issued for missing 3-year-old girl from KCK -

    Amber Alert issued for missing 3-year-old girl from KCKAn Amber Alert was issued late Friday morning for 3-year-old Olivia Ann Jansen, who was last seen at her home in the 4400 block of Gibbs Road in Kansas City, Kansas.


  • Key parts of Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement amount to 'poison pill', senior Brexiteers warn -

    Key parts of Boris Johnson's Withdrawal Agreement amount to 'poison pill', senior Brexiteers warnSenior Brexiteers have warned Boris Johnson that key parts of his Withdrawal Agreement with the EU amount to a "poison pill" that should be replaced as part of post-Brexit trade negotiations. A 120-page report compiled by pro-Leave MPs and lawyers states that exiting the transition period with the current provisions of the agreement in place would have "crippling" consequences for the UK and prevent the country from becoming a "fully sovereign state". The document, which is published as the UK and EU carry out intensive trade negotiations, has been endorsed by a series of senior backbenchers, suggesting Mr Johnson could face resistance in the Commons if he fails to tackle some of their concerns. On Saturday, Mark Francois, the chairman of the influential European Research Group (ERG) of Eurosceptic Tory MPs, said: "The report argues that the remaining elements of the Withdrawal Agreement after we leave the transition period cannot be allowed to stand as they are, and particularly that there must be no remaining role for the European Court of Justice over any aspect of our national life. That is something that I and my colleagues in the ERG would very much support." The report, published by the new Centre for Brexit Policy, includes contributions from Lord Trimble, the former first minister of Northern Ireland, Martin Howe, the Brexiteer QC, and Owen Paterson, the former cabinet minister who chairs the think tank. The key elements it says make up the "poison pill" include the UK having to remain bound to some state aid laws, the creation of "burdensome EU customs mechanisms" at a border in the Irish Sea, a role for the European Court of Justice (ECJ) for another eight years, and the vast divorce payments, for amounts the report states are "not owing under international law" and are "subject to the determination of the ECJ". The report states: "Although the Government sees the revised Withdrawal Agreement (WA) as only transitional until the end of the transition period in December, there remain serious threats to UK sovereignty that will have crippling economic and strategic consequences for years to come if they are not dealt with now. "Exiting the TP with these threats still in place will not return the UK to a fully sovereign state and is unacceptable." The report urges Mr Johnson to replace the Withdrawal Agreement with a "sovereignty compliant" agreement. A chapter by Lord Trimble states that the current deal "rips the Good Friday Agreement apart? by handing law-making power over Northern Ireland to the EU.


  • Three LAPD officers face felony charges for falsely labeling people as gang members -

    Three LAPD officers face felony charges for falsely labeling people as gang membersAccording to a 59-count criminal complaint, three officers were charged with conspiracy, filing false reports, and prepping fraudulent documents for court.


  • Paik Sun-yup, major South Korean war hero, dies at 99 -

    Paik Sun-yup, major South Korean war hero, dies at 99Former South Korean army Gen. Paik Sun-yup, who was celebrated as a major war hero for leading troops in several battle victories against North Korean soldiers during the 1950-53 Korean War, has died. The South Korean army announced his death on Saturday. Born in 1920 in what is now North Pyongan province in North Korea, Paik graduated from a Japanese military academy in Manchuria when the Korean Peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule and was a lieutenant in the Japanese army during World War II.


  • Prosecutor whose star has risen under Trump named Brooklyn-based acting U.S. Attorney -

    Prosecutor whose star has risen under Trump named Brooklyn-based acting U.S. AttorneyU.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday named Seth DuCharme, a prosecutor who has risen rapidly in the Justice Department under the Trump administration, as acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. DuCharme, who for the last six months has been principal associate deputy attorney general in Washington, is swapping roles with Richard Donoghue, the current U.S. Attorney for the Brooklyn-based Eastern District. The Justice Department earlier this month announced shorturl.at/inqL3 Donoghue's move to Washington.


  • Iran's Khamenei urges fight against 'tragic' virus resurgence -

    Iran's Khamenei urges fight against 'tragic' virus resurgenceIran's supreme leader Sunday called the resurgence of the novel coronavirus in the country "truly tragic" and urged all citizens to help stem what has been the region's deadliest outbreak. "Let everyone play their part in the best way to break the chain of transmission in the short term and save the country," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a video conference with lawmakers, according to his office. Iran has been struggling to contain the outbreak since announcing its first cases in February and has reported more than 12,800 deaths since then.


  • Seattle mayor and police chief told to remedy ?unacceptable? arrest of Independent journalist -

    Seattle mayor and police chief told to remedy ?unacceptable? arrest of Independent journalistSeattle?s mayor and police chief have been told to remedy the ?unacceptable? treatment of journalists, including an Independent reporter who was arrested covering Black Lives Matter protests.Andrew Buncombe was shackled, assaulted and detained for more than six hours after being accused of ?failing to disperse? from a demonstration he had the legal right to report on.


  • The White House Made a List of All the Times Fauci ?Has Been Wrong? on the Coronavirus -

    The White House Made a List of All the Times Fauci ?Has Been Wrong? on the CoronavirusThe White House has undertaken behind-the-scenes efforts in recent months to undercut and sideline Dr. Anthony Fauci?even going so far as to compile a list of all the times he ?has been wrong on things,? according to The Washington Post. After canceling some of his planned TV appearances and keeping him away from the Oval Office, White House officials and President Trump have taken to publicly expressing a loss of confidence in the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and face of the administration's coronavirus task force. The apparent attempts to undermine Fauci come as he continues to counter the president's overly optimistic narrative on the state of the pandemic. Against this backdrop, an unnamed White House official told the Post: ?Several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.? The official attached a list of incorrect predictions Fauci had made, including his doubts early on that asymptomatic spread would play a large role in transmission and a February assurance that Americans did not need to change their behavior. Like many other public health officials, Fauci said at first that masks were not necessary but recently recommended that they be mandated nationwide.†?Dr. Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public but he has been wrong about everything I have ever interacted with him on,? Peter Navarro, the president?s trade adviser, told the Post in a separate statement.†?Now Fauci is saying that a falling mortality rate doesn?t matter when it is the single most important statistic to help guide the pace of our economic reopening. So when you ask me if I listen to Dr. Fauci?s advice, my answer is only with caution.?In recent days, the 79-year-old doctor has offered unsparing assessments of the United States? current situation. In an interview with 538 published Thursday, he was perhaps at his most blunt: ?As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don?t think you can say we?re doing great. I mean, we?re just not.? The same day, the commander-in-chief told Fox News host Sean Hannity in an interview that Fauci was ?a nice man, but he?s made a lot of mistakes.? The two haven?t spoken in months, but Fauci has reportedly not complained about that. David Barr, an AIDS activist who knows Fauci, told the Post the doctor has become exasperated that state and local officials aren?t listening to experts.?Our bigger issue with Fauci is stop critiquing the task force...and try to fix it,? another White House official told the Post. The official said Fauci?s high approval and trustworthiness ratings have upset the president as his own deteriorate.†The White House has also reportedly sought to keep Fauci out of the the public eye. A CBS anchor said last week that the White House has ignored requests to interview Fauci on air since early April, though he has spoken to print and podcast outlets. The White House maintains the authority to approve or deny interview requests for high-profile public officials and granted requests from PBS, CNN, and NBC to speak with the doctor only to cancel them after Fauci disagreed with Trump in a conversation with Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), according to the Post. The epidemiologist said that Trump?s contention of a lower death rate indicating success in tamping down the virus was ?a false narrative.? He warned against ?false complacency.? Fauci has also said he?d like to go on Rachel Maddow?s show, which routinely critiques the president, a request that was rejected.Trump himself has been wrong on the coronavirus in a laundry list of ways as he?s pushed to reopen the country, and going after Fauci is not the only time he has attempted to contravene public health guidelines. He famously told Dr. Deborah Birx, the chief medical adviser on the White House Coronavirus Task Force, to ?look into? the injection of bleach and the ingestion of sunlight as possible COVID-19 curatives. He?s also pressured the Food and Drug Administration to reinstate its emergency authorization for the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, as has his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who said doctors ?don?t know what they?re talking about.? Trump himself has said he took the drug despite FDA advisories warning it is unsafe to do so and unlikely to prevent or treat the coronavirus.The president donned a face mask for a Saturday visit to Walter Reed Hospital, one of the first and only times he has done so in public after repeatedly shrugging off their importance in recent weeks and even mocking Joe Biden for wearing one. In Dr. Fauci We TrustRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


  • A Tokyo neighborhood is offering anyone who gets coronavirus a $935 check, and some worry it could lead to a wave of deliberate infections -

    A Tokyo neighborhood is offering anyone who gets coronavirus a $935 check, and some worry it could lead to a wave of deliberate infectionsShinjuku ward in central Tokyo says it will give 100,000 yen (around $935) to any citizen in the area who contracts COVID-19.


  • Tech Tent: China and US, the great tech schism -

    Tech Tent: China and US, the great tech schismAre we facing a future where global technology gives way to two isolated blocs with different rules?


  • United or Divided States of America? 6 ways to think about removing Confederate statues -

    United or Divided States of America? 6 ways to think about removing Confederate statuesThe more difficult work will be to dismantle the byproducts of slavery, such as mass incarceration and educational inequalities for children of color.


  • Reparations for Black people in this North Carolina city could be coming. Here?s how -

    Reparations for Black people in this North Carolina city could be coming. Here?s howThe city council will vote on a resolution supporting reparations for the Black community next week.


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