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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Dutch PM Suspends Search for MH17 Victims’ Remains

Dutch PM Suspends Search for MH17 Victims’ Remains


Dutch PM Suspends Search for MH17 Victims’ Remains

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:30 AM PDT

Netherlands’ prime minister suspended the search for victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on Wednesday, as clashes continued to erupt in areas surrounding the crash site.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that continuing clashes between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists posed too great of a risk to search crews who have struggled to gain safe passage into the area, the Associated Press reports.

The MH17 site is still scattered remains and belongings of the 298 passengers who were killed after a missile fired from east Ukraine struck the aircraft on July 17. The Netherlands has received 228 coffins to date, according to the AP.

Rutte praised the efforts of the Dutch-led team of international recovery workers and vowed to resume the search once hostilities in the area had subsided.

[AP]

This Magical Tree Grows 40 Different Types of Fruit

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:28 AM PDT

Add this to your truth-is-stranger-than-fiction file: an art professor in upstate New York is modifying plum trees so that each can bear not just one, but up to 40 varieties of stone fruit.

In what feels like the backdrop for a children’s tale — move over James and the Giant Peach; this is the real Giving Tree Sam Van Aken of Syracuse University has developed a years-long technique that involves grafting buds from various antique, heirloom and native fruit trees onto the branches of a base tree to create one-of-a-kind hybrids. As he explained in a recent TEDx Manhattan talk, "I take a sliver off one of the trees that includes the bud, I insert it into a like-size incision in the working tree, tape it, let it sit and heal in all winter, then I prune it back and hope that it grows." The result: a single tree that bears 40 varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries.

Sam Van Aken

“It started as an art project. I wanted to people have this experience where a tree is blossoming in all these different colors or growing all these different kinds of fruit all at once,” Van Aken told TIME. As he began researching the various stone fruits available, however, he learned that there were literally hundreds that aren’t in stores because of their size, color or short shelf life. That led to the project evolving into a conservation effort for hard-to-find varieties. Among his favorite: Greengage plums, which came to the U.S. from France and look like Granny Smith apples.

Van Aken plans to use proceeds from the trees, which he sells for around $30,000 each, to create an orchard that will serve as an archive of native an antique stone varieties. He’s also growing a small grove of the trees in Portland, Maine, where the trees — and their abundant harvests — will be available to the public. Since it takes nine years to graft branches from 40 different fruit trees onto each base tree, chances are Van Aken’s creations won’t end world hunger. But they might get you to think twice about the fruit you eat next time to you bite into a peach.

 

 

 

Montana Senator Mum on Whether He’s Leaving Race

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:15 AM PDT

(HELENA, Mont.) — Sen. John Walsh was taking personal time at his Helena home as his campaign canceled events and avoided questions about whether the Montana Democrat plans to remain in the U.S. Senate race amid allegations that he plagiarized a research paper.

Walsh was scheduled to be at a Jackson, Wyoming, fundraiser Tuesday with Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, but did not attend.

His campaign also notified Gallatin County Democratic party members that the senator would not appear at a backyard meet-and-greet in Bozeman hosted by Women for Walsh that was scheduled for Wednesday, or a Friday talk on public lands at the county party’s new headquarters.

“He took a personal day yesterday,” campaign spokeswoman Lauren Passalacqua said Wednesday. She declined to answer questions about Walsh’s plans or the postponement of campaign events.

The campaign also provided no reason to the Gallatin County Democrats, said Billy McWilliams, a member of the county party’s executive committee.

“Nobody’s talking,” McWilliams told The Associated Press.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle first reported the postponements.

Walsh has come under increasing pressure after The New York Times reported that he plagiarized portions of the 2007 research project he wrote while attending U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. The editorial boards of Montana’s three largest daily newspapers have called for him to withdraw his candidacy, while others have demanded that he apologize or that he forfeit his master’s degree.

Walsh is running against Republican Rep. Steve Daines to keep the Senate seat he was appointed to by Gov. Steve Bullock in February when Max Baucus resigned to become ambassador to China.

Walsh previously said he made unintentional mistakes in not citing others’ work in his paper on the spread of democracy in the Middle East. He also said he was being treated for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder at the time, but added he was not blaming PTSD for his mistake.

Since then, Walsh’s campaign has gone dark. His website has not been updated since July 30, and his campaign staff last sent a news release Friday. Walsh’s normally active Facebook page and Twitter account haven’t been updated since the weekend.

The Montana Democratic Party on Tuesday continued to pledge its support of Walsh. “Senator Walsh is our U.S. Senator and candidate,” party spokesman Bryan Watt said.

If Walsh withdraws, the Democrats would hold a nominating convention to select a replacement. Convention delegates would include county party committee leaders, party executive board members and statewide and federally elected officials — about 175 people, Watt said.

They would gather to nominate potential replacements and hold rounds of balloting until one person received a majority of the votes.

The Montana Secretary of State deadline for submitting a replacement candidate is Aug. 20.

Kurdistan Isn’t About to Leave Iraq Amid ISIS Fighting

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:02 AM PDT

The Iraqi Kurds' recent territorial gains have sparked widespread speculation that they may soon be able to realize the Kurdish dream of statehood. Over the past few weeks, excited Kurds around the world have rallied in support of independence. But secession is a difficult and costly course.

Many Kurds long for an independent Kurdistan, but only in Iraq has the dream come close. Since the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraqi Kurds have built a semi-autonomous region with their own regional government (the Kurdistan Regional Government, KRG), armed forces (peshmerga) and an oil-dependent economy that has attracted big foreign investors. But the KRG is still bound to Iraq, and has been restrained by its disputes with Baghdad over territory and oil exports.

The Kurds appeared to gain an edge on some of those disputes when the Islamic State of Iraq and greater Syria (ISIS) took over Mosul last June, pushing the Iraqi army to abandon many of its positions north of Baghdad. Upon the army's withdrawal, peshmerga swiftly seized most of Kirkuk, an oil-rich province contested by Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Assyrians. Many commentators have suggested that with Kirkuk in hand, the KRG could declare independence. Some even went so far as to argue that the disintegration of Iraq at the hands of ISIS would benefit the Kurds by enabling them to declare independence.

Others, still, have surmised that the Kurds will secede for financial reasons. Baghdad has slashed the KRG's budget, citing objections to its moves to unilaterally produce and export oil. Last week, an American judge ordered the seizure of a tanker carrying Kurdish oil that parked 60 miles off the coast of Texas. The judge ultimately could not enforce her order, but the incident nonetheless reinforced the U.S.'s objection to Kurdish oil sales abroad. A KRG official told Reuters that after the ruling that "buyers will now start to step back and think twice before purchasing Kurdish crude." Unable to sell oil abroad, and with a diminished budget, the thinking goes, the Kurds will secede to expand their economic options.

Yet, despite these motivations, the Kurds have not seceded from Iraq. Yes, KRG President Masoud Barzani has called for an independence referendum, much to the excitement of the largely pro-independence Kurdish population. But at the same time, more quietly, he has been overseeing negotiations to send Kurdish politicians to Baghdad to help form a new Iraqi government. The KRG is pursuing a dual track policy: bargaining to stay part of Iraq on more advantageous terms while also developing the option of secession.

Behind Barzani's populist appeals, secession is clearly the KRG's Plan B for now. A closer look at the very real danger ISIS poses to Kurdistan, the complexity of the Kirkuk question, the economic calculations of the KRG and the regional and international context reveals why.

The idea that Iraq's losses to ISIS will be the Kurds' gains in terms of statehood is a shallow one. ISIS poses a grave risk to Kurdistan's hard-won security, and could thwart Kurdish efforts to build an independent state. The group now controls significant territory on two of Kurdistan's borders – with Iraq and Syria. Although ISIS has largely set its sights on Baghdad, while targeting Christians, Shi’ites and other religious minorities to impose its will in areas it controls, the Kurds have reason to worry. ISIS has targeted Kurds in both Syria and Iraq, and last week seized three towns from the peshmerga in northern Iraq. Iraq Kurds have joined jihadis in Syria – young men who may return home and pose security risks there.

Equally rash is the idea that, with Kurdish forces now in control of most of Kirkuk, the dispute over the province has been simply "resolved overnight." Kirkuk's status has been contested for decades, and its competing communities are unlikely to give it up to an independent Kurdistan without a fight. Moreover, ISIS controls the Arab parts of the province in the south, and a growing number of peshmerga have been killed fighting to keep the group at bay. Perhaps most crucially, the fate of Kirkuk's oil remains to be decided. The Kurds seized two oil fields in the province and have started to pump Kirkuki crude into their own oil infrastructure, exacerbating the long-standing dispute with Baghdad over oil management.

In addition to the risks of secession, the KRG is confronted with tantalizing incentives to remain part of Iraq. Iraq at full export potential would be one of the most oil-rich countries in the world. The KRG, in theory entitled to 17% of the country's national budget, is keen to leave that door open for the future. Until recently, Kurdistan's receipt of that money accounted for a good part of the economic boom the region is known for today.

Regional and international interests also confine the Kurds. Iraqi Kurdistan is a landlocked region with powerful neighbors who have long been masters at power plays across borders. Iran and Turkey are opposed to Kurdish independence, fearing that their own restive Kurdish populations may be inspired by the Iraqi Kurds' example. These two regional superpowers can – and, if history is anything to go by, will – attempt to sabotage any moves toward independence. More broadly, an independent Iraqi Kurdistan would struggle to acquire international recognition — Arab states and the U.S. are defiantly opposed to any breakup of Iraq.

Erbil and Baghdad are playing a high-stakes game of chicken. The KRG is threatening independence, but in actuality is pushing to stay part of Iraq on terms that would essentially allow it to act as a de facto independent state and as a federal Iraqi region, in different situations. This would involve an agreement in which Baghdad, and in principle the U.S., lifts opposition to Kurdish oil sales abroad, recognizes Kurdish control of Kirkuk, and guarantees the deliverance of Kurdistan's full share of Iraq's budget. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, meanwhile, has not budged, and has instead inflamed tensions by accusing the Kurds of running a conspiracy to bolster ISIS. Barring a swerve, the Kurds may be pushed to pursue secession – but only as a troublesome contingency plan. At least at first, a breakaway Kurdistan may look more like Somaliland – a self-declared independent state that is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia – than South Sudan: widely recognized, including by its parent state, Sudan.

Iraq is a failing country. The Kurds are better off than the rest of the country, but their own weaknesses and limitations curb their chances of triumphantly breaking away from it – until and unless there is no longer an Iraq to break away from.

Cale Salih is an analyst specializing in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

How a Dutch Firm Plans to Find MH370 in Seabeds Less Mapped Than Mars

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 11:01 AM PDT

A Dutch firm is attempting to crack one of aviation’s greatest unsolved mysteries: how Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, a Boeing 777 carrying 239 people, vanished in an age of surveillance and technology.

The Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) said Wednesday it selected the Dutch technical consultancy Fugro to relaunch the search for MH370 after a month-long tender process that solicited bids the world’s most advanced deep sea searchers, according to the firm’s statement.

Unlike some of its fellow bidders, Fugro historically hasn’t focused on deep-sea recovery, but rather on geotechnical services like underwater mapping for off-shore oil and gas clients. Other bidders like the UK-based Blue Water Recoveries and the Odyssey Marine Exploration specialize in recovering modern shipwrecks or search-and-recovery in deep ocean exploration.

Fugro, which has pursued some underwater search missions in European waters, attributes its win not to advanced technology, but instead to a calculated balance.

“In the initial phases of the search, a number of companies deployed very accurate and very sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicles. The advantage of such technology is that it’s very accurate, but the bad side is that it takes a lot of time to cover a square meter,” Rob Luijnenburg, Fugro’s director of corporate strategy, told TIME. “What we’re doing now is a combination of sufficient resolution and the capability to survey a reasonably large seabed in a relatively short time.”

Fugro had previously worked in conjunction with Bluefin Robotics to develop the Bluefin-21 vehicle used in search efforts during April and May. At that time, officials had suspected the plane’s pinger had run out of battery, and swapped in the Bluefin-21 for the Towed Pinger Locator. Other Fugro missions devoted to search-and-recovery have involved partnerships with the UK to recover helicopters downed over water, and ship recoveries near the Netherlands.

Fugro has already been directly involved in the MH370 search, too. Since June, one of Fugro’s ships, the Fugro Equator, has been working with a Chinese ship to conduct preliminary bathymetric surveys (i.e. underwater mapping of the terrain) around the target area. While radars mounted on the two ships have already mapped nearly 60,000 sq. km—much of that area is in the designated search area—Fugro’s AUS 60 million contracted mission involve only the Fugro Equator and another of Fugro’s ships, the Fugro Discovery. The two ships will each tow sonar scans near the seabed to produce higher resolution maps and possibly locate debris.

“Previous estimates [of the seabed] are very, very rough. The resolution is not good enough to find little bits of pieces of aircraft—that we do with the [towed] sonar equipment,” Luijnenburg said.

The designated search area, about 600 miles south of the previous phase’s area, was decided in June by Inmarsat scientists after re-analyzing satellite data. The area, roughly double the size of Massachusetts, is the latest patch of ocean in what’s been a hopscotch around the largely uncharted South Pacific. Estimates indicate that existing maps of this territory are about 250 times less accurate than surveys of Mars and Venus.

To navigate such difficult underwater terrain, further complicated by treacherous weather conditions, Fugro has connected with experts including Donald Hussong, a sonar guru. Hussong, who was brought out of partial retirement to assist Fugro’s sonar towing logistics, said the two vessels will each be equipped with 9 or 10 km. of cable that will tow scanners about 100 to 150 m. above the sea floor. The existing maps, while crude approximations, will be enough to prevent the sonar from impacting the ocean floor, which could dislodge the equipment.

Hussong estimates that the relaunched search over 60,000 square km. will span approximately 9 to 10 months—a heartbeat compared to the nearly 2 years it took locate Air France Flight 447’s debris, a mere 6.5 km from the center of the search. If the Dutch firm’s towed sonars locate debris, then the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which aided in locating the Titanic’s wreckage in 1985, will contribute two autonomous underwater vehicles.

But thus far, absolutely nothing—not even a suitcase, life vest, or crumpled paper—has turned up. Fugro is hopeful that the wreckage will be located, but the Dutch firm acknowledged that there’s a chance the massive search might yet again emerge fruitless.

“If we have contrast between the hard surfaces of debris and sediments naturally on the bottom [of the ocean], then we should find it.” Hussong told TIME. “If it’s some place on a rocky bottom or the side of a cliff, it’ll be difficult.”

Inmarsat, however, the agency that dictates the search area alongside Australian and Malaysian authorities, remains more than cautiously optimistic that Fugro will solve MH370’s mystery.

“We remain highly confident in the analyses conducted,” an Inmarsat spokesperson told TIME in an e-mail, adding that the scale of the task shouldn’t be underestimated. “The next phase of the search is being handled by those trained in this sort of work and we are hopeful that evidence will be found.”

Kanye West in Deposition: ‘I’m Not Britney Spears’

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 10:58 AM PDT

Kanye West told lawyer during a deposition he’s “the smartest celebrity you’ve ever f***ing dealt with,” according to a transcript acquired by TMZ. “I’m not Britney Spears,” West added.

The transcript is part of a case in which West is accused of getting rough with a photographer and breaking his camera.

“I’m in the business of trying to make dope s**t for the world,” West reportedly told the photographer’s lawyer. “You’re in the business of representing scums and trying to make as much money as long as there’s this lapse in the law.”

When the lawyer asked West where he lives, West responded: “Earth.”

[TMZ]

Rich Moms of the First World, Stop Fighting About Breastfeeding

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 10:53 AM PDT

In 1969, my mother's obstetrician advised her not to breastfeed, claiming it was "for the natives." My older brothers and I were fed with formula. Her mother, in 1942, was not even presented with the option to nurse, pejorative or otherwise. Fashion is fashion, and people tend to follow it. When my baby was born, in 2009, we struggled. No fewer than four lactation consultants offered conflicting advice. My supply was low because his latch was problematic. His latch was problematic because my supply was low. My supply was low because I was depressed. I was depressed because my supply was low. Friends donated breastmilk, we supplemented with formula, I tethered myself to a breast pump. Eventually, we worked it out, and nursed for a good long while. How long is another minefield altogether.

Our emotionally charged, exhausting postpartum marathon seemed over-the-top to some. "No one will judge you if you give up," I was told. "Formula is fine."

But I did not want to give up. Not to prove a point, but because I felt certain that nursing was worth the struggle. The imperative to persist was fierce; my refusal to cede power and authority over my body and its capacities surprised even me. I wanted to nurse my child. I wanted to buck a rather sorry legacy of appalling misinformation. I wanted to reclaim what had been taken from and surrendered by so many women before me.

I did not favor hiding out under blankets or in another room when I nursed – to do so felt like a way of acquiescing to a specifically female brand of shame, and I was not ashamed. Nasty looks and comments and lame jokes were regularly tossed my way. So this is how much we fear and loathe and yearn to control women's bodies. So this is why America alone among 118 countries voted against the World Health Organization's 1981 campaign to regulate the marketing of infant formula.

In a history of baby feeding published in The New Yorker in 2009, Jill Lepore shared a profoundly simple insight: "When the rich eat white bread and buy formula, the poor eat brown bread and breast-feed; then they trade places."

World Breastfeeding Week aims to "focus and facilitate actions to protect, promote and support breastfeeding." A righteous and crucial goal. On the brochure, two women in colorful ethnic garb are pictured nursing their newborns. "The natives" referenced by my mother's obnoxious OB have suffered gravely thanks to the unconscionable and relentless efforts of formula marketing since the mid-twentieth century. What cruel irony.

After Birth, coming in 2015 Courtesy HMH

We're not talking about Pacific Heights or Park Slope, where women of great means and low infant mortality rates love to snipe about one another's choices for sport. We who crow about our choices speak from great privilege, and our arguments grow quickly tiresome. Information, professional guidance, and support networking for expectant/nursing moms is proliferate in the here and now; women who choose not to avail themselves of said information must be acknowledged to be making a different kind of choice altogether.

Every mother I know indulges in some degree of shame about breastfeeding. Shame, it seems, is the primary directive. Didn't nurse at all? You must be ignorant and/or selfish. Didn't nurse long? What a pity. Nurse in public? You're making others uncomfortable. Adore nursing? Keep quiet lest you become an irritating prostelytizer. Nursed too long? That's disgusting. The pendulum swings this way and that, but a constant is that women of means get to "choose" whether or not they nurse, then get grief from absolutely every angle.

The actress Olivia Wilde recently posed for photos in an evening gown nursing her 3-month-old. "Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world," she said. Wilde is educated and fortunate and has excellent choices. If a woman of her station were to choose not to breastfeed, there is clean water and room in the budget for formula. Globally, the problem has little to do with women like me nursing or not nursing or nursing in public or nursing through toddlerhood and beyond or nursing glamorously in the pages of a magazine. The problem is that everyone wants to be an authority on how women's bodies are used, and it doesn't take much more than a cursory glance at history to see what ridiculously repetitious, needless harm has come from that.

"Nothing in nature is more natural than anything else," wrote the philosopher Adam Phillips. There have always been women who couldn't or wouldn't nurse their babies; wet nurses were once highly valued professionals. Nursing may be right as rain, but so too can be, say, adoption. Not to mention the all-too human impulse to profit off attempts to subvert or "improve" upon nature. Nestlé put the wet nurses out of business, and now we have organic formula and non-toxic bottles and adorable accessories galore. Lucky us. Our babies don't often wind up with dysentery.

 

Elisa Albert is the author of The Book of Dahlia and a collection of short stories, has written for NPR, Tin House, Commentary, Salon, and the Rumpus. She grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in upstate New York with her family. Her latest novel, After Birth, is forthcoming in February 2015.

You Can Drive Mercedes Cars in Mario Kart Soon

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 10:51 AM PDT

Mario Kart 8 players who also happen to be fans of fine German engineering are in for a treat: Starting Aug. 27, three Mercedes whips — the GLA, the ’50s-era 300 SL Roadster and the ’30s-era Silver Arrow — will be available as part of an update for the Nintendo Wii U title. Traditionally, Mario Kart vehicles range from go-kartesque options to more outlandish choices, like gliders.

The Mercs come alongside other new Mario Kart features meant to celebrate the twenty-second anniversary of the first Kart title, Super Mario Kart for the SNES, back in 1992 — and as an extra bonus, that original game’s now available for download on the Nintendo eShop on Wii U.

Study: When Couples Fight, It Affects Fathers More

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 10:47 AM PDT

Men, it is frequently said, are very good at compartmentalizing—usually when they’ve done something wrong. But new research suggests women can compartmentalize too, especially around family.

A study published in the Journal of Family Psychology looked at the effect marital squabbling had on parents’ relationships with kids. The researchers found, not surprisingly, that when a couple fights, that spills over to the relationship each parent has with his or her offspring. But, interestingly, this effect does not last very long for moms.

By the next day, most mother-child relationships were back on an even keel, while the fathers still reported things were tense. “In fact, in that situation, moms appeared to compensate for their marital tension,” said the study’s lead author, assistant psychology professor at Southern Methodist University Chrystyna D. Kouros. “Poor marital quality actually predicted an improvement in the relationship between the mom and the child.”

Are the moms compensating for their lousy relationship with dad by looking for human bonds elsewhere? Are they making a pre-emptive strike, even subconsciously, in case there’s a custody battle? Do they not care so much about fights with their spouses? Or do they just need someone to talk to? Kouros says it’s not clear why the women are more able to isolate the relationship with their kids from the tension they feel toward their spouse, but there are several theories.

It could be that because women’s parenting role is more clearly defined, they don’t allow their marital woes to negatively affect other relationships in the family. Or it could be that the women are compensating and seeking support from their kids that they would normally get from their husband. “If the first theory is true, then the fact that moms don’t show the same “spillover” between their marital relationship and relationship with their child is a good thing, ” says Kouros. “However, if the second theory is true, then leaning on your child for support is not a good thing for the long-term.” In psychology this is called “parentification,” and has been linked to depression and other mental health problems in kids.

The data was gathered by asking more than 200 families to make daily diary entries for about two weeks, in which they rated how the marriage was going and how the relationship with their kids was going at the end of each day. It’s possible that what was causing the marital tension and the grumpiness with the kids was something that only affected the fathers. A bad day for a guy at work, for example, might be the source of stress in all his relationships. Kouros admits this third variable is possible, but says the study has some specific data that suggests that’s not always the cause.

“The findings of our study show that it’s men who have marital tension and their wife shows symptoms of depression that are the ones that carry over that marital tension to their relationship with their child on the next day, whereas all men appear to do this on the same day,” she says. “This is consistent with some other studies showing that when men have marital stress and some other stress, like work stress, that’s when they are more likely to compromise their relationship with their child.” The wife’s depression points to the marital tension as being the source of the man’s inability to communicate effectively with his kids.

In other words, if you have to fight with your spouse, keep it quick and fair. For the children.

Jurors Begin Deliberating in Porch Shooting Case

Posted: 06 Aug 2014 10:32 AM PDT

(DETROIT) — A suburban Detroit homeowner who opened his front door and blasted an unarmed woman on his porch should have called 911 instead of becoming “judge, jury and executioner,” a prosecutor said Wednesday in urging jurors to convict him of second-degree murder.

Prosecutors in their closing arguments repeatedly emphasized that Theodore Wafer had easier options than to directly confront 19-year-old Renisha McBride when she showed up drunk on his porch before dawn on Nov. 2. Several hours earlier, she had crashed her car into a parked car on a Detroit street about a half-mile from Wafer’s house in Dearborn Heights.

Wafer, 55, said he shot McBride in self-defense. He said he awoke to an “unbelievable” pounding on his doors and feared for his life when he fired through a screen door as someone rushed from the side of the porch.

He shot McBride in the face, killing her.

“She was a young girl looking for help,” prosecutor Patrick Muscat told jurors. “What he did had to be immediately necessary and it wasn’t. It was reckless. It was negligent. I don’t know how to describe it. It was horrific.

“How about shutting the door? … How about calling 911?” Muscat said. “No, what he does is he engages. He creates the confrontation.”

The jury began deliberating shortly before noon.

Wafer, an airport maintenance worker who lives alone, is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. The jury could convict him of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter or clear Wafer of all charges if it believes had a “reasonable and honest” belief that his life was at risk, even if he was wrong.

“He armed himself. He was getting attacked,” defense attorney Cheryl Carpenter said in her closing argument. “Put yourselves in his shoes at 4:30 in the morning.”

But another prosecutor, Athina Siringas, said a murder conviction fits the case.

Wafer “decided to be judge, jury and executioner,” she said in a rebuttal argument.

Earlier this week, Wafer testified that he was terrified by the pounding on his house. He had been sleeping in a recliner and said he couldn’t immediately find his phone to call police.

In the aftermath of the shooting, some wondered whether race was a factor because Wafer is white and McBride was black. Race hasn’t been an issue at trial, although the prosecutor noted that McBride was “African-American” while cross-examining Wafer on Tuesday.

In her closing remarks, Carpenter said race isn’t a factor for the jury. She said Wafer was just a homeowner who was aware of crime in a neighborhood that borders Detroit and wanted to protect himself.

“In the heat of the moment our instincts are to survive,” she said. “He did not know it was a 19-year-old who got in a car crash at 1 a.m. What he knew was someone was trying to get in. It’s not for a good reason — it’s to hurt me.”

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