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French Police Deploy Semi-Automatic Weapons and Live Ammo Against Yellow Vests

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In an unprecedented move, French riot police have hit the streets with semi-automatic weapons and live ammunition to stop Yellow Vest protesters.

Officers seen carrying Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles equipped with 30-cartridge live ammunition magazines were filmed near the Arc de Triomphe monument in Paris on Saturday, showing the extent to which Macron is willing to mete out state violence to secure his rule.

The move is just the latest sign that the government of President Emmanuel Macron is dead-set on deploying every possible repressive measure capable of stamping out the dynamic social movement, and comes as the combative protests and seemingly inextinguishable rage of the Gilet Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, approaches its 10th week on the streets of France.

The protesters have already won several demands yet they have continued to mobilize unabated for further systemic changes in the country ruled by the neoliberal right-centrist president.

Yellow Vest protesters have lambasted what they see as the implied threat that they could be sprayed with live ammunition and noted that the weapons were atypical for crowd control units of the French National Police.

“The [National Police] with the guns were wearing riot control helmets and body armor – they were not a specialized firearms unit,” protester Gillet Caron said.

“Their job was simply to threaten us with lethal weapons in a manner which is very troubling. We deserve some explanations.”

The G36 is a common rifle in NATO countries’ militaries and is more commonly used by the specialized squadrons of the police and anti-criminal brigades in France, who are the equivalent of the special weapons and tactics or SWAT teams among their U.S. police counterparts.

The deployment of the assault rifles comes after conservative former minister Luc Ferry demanded that the state be given more largesse to use extraordinary measures and decisively rub out the Yellow Vest movement. The former education minister told reporters last week:

“What I don’t understand is that we don’t give the means to the police to put an end to this violence.”

When told that the guns would lead to grievous injuries or worse among protesters, Ferry responded:

“So what? Frankly, when you see guys beating up an unfortunate policeman on the floor, that’s when they should use their weapons once and for all. That’s enough!”

The French National Police, known by their French acronym CRS, has already earned widespread revilement for their heavy-handed use of plainclothes officers and excessive use of less-lethal weaponry including tear gas canisters, stun grenades and flash-ball projectiles.

On Saturday’s Day of Rage, which marked the 9th consecutive week of protests, fireman and father of three Olivier Beziade was shot in the back of the head by police officers as he participated in demonstrations while wearing the high-visibility jacket associated with the movement.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPWjwEE9bRE

Beziade is now in a medically-induced coma after suffering a grievous brain injury from the flash-ball and may have lifelong complications due to the blow.

According to his wife Cindy, Beziade was trying to escape clouds of teargas before the police appeared around a corner and began firing at fleeing protesters.

“They shot at us like rabbits,” she said.

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Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings

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People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.

However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.

In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.

“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”

The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.

In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.

Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.

The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.

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Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone

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A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.

Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.

Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.

“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.

As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.

“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.

Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.

Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.

“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.

From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.

The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.

“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.

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