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Over a dozen Xbox Series X games were showcased at Microsoft’s Xbox Game Studios-driven online-only event on Thursday. That involved a new Halo, Forza Motorsport, Fable, Stalker, State of Decay, and Psychonauts. There are major updates coming to Destiny 2 and Phantasy Star Online 2. And there were more first-party titles from the makers of Life Is Strange, The Outer Worlds, SteamWorld, and beyond. The best news is that all the announced Xbox Series X games will be part of Microsoft’s subscription service, Xbox Game Pass. These are the 15 biggest titles from the Xbox Games Showcase.

Halo Infinite

Microsoft opened its Xbox Series X games showcase with nine minutes of single-player campaign gameplay from the next Halo title, featuring Master Chief jumping, elbowing, driving into, and shooting at enemies — the Banished — in a bid to regain control of the Ring. Halo Infinite will be available on Xbox Series X, Windows 10, and Xbox Game Pass.

Forza Motorsport 8

The previous entry — Forza Motorsport 7 — was a bit of a microtransactions nightmare, so hopefully Turn 10 Studios will correct its ways with the self-proclaimed “reimagining” of its simulation racing franchise, which is currently in “early development”. As with many titles, it’s promising fluid 4K 60fps gameplay. Forza Motorsport 8 will be available on Xbox Series X, Windows 10, and Xbox Game Pass.

Fable

Remember Forza Horizon developer Playground Games said it was working on an open world action RPG? Well, that’s Fable — a reboot of the series that hasn’t produced a mainline entry since 2010. It entirely skipped Xbox One but it’s coming to the Xbox Series X, Windows 10, and Xbox Game Pass as “a new beginning” with fantastical creatures and wondrous places.

Stalker 2

It’s been eleven years since the last Stalker game — or S.T.A.L.K.E.R., if you prefer — and Ukrainian developer GSC Game World is bringing the PC franchise to Xbox Series X as an open world with an open narrative resulting in many different endings. Having been cancelled multiple times between 2010–2012 before being resurrected in 2018, it’s been a long time coming. There’s still a bit of wait: Stalker 2 releases in 2021.

State of Decay 3

Undead Labs gave us a very tiny peek at its next open world zombie game, featuring an armed woman encountering an undead deer that’s feasting on another animal. Oh my. It’s currently in development and hence, there’s no release date. And given the five-year gap between the first and the second, which released in 2018, we might be in for a bit of a wait.

Everwild

Sea of Thieves developer Rare is promising an “unforgettable magical world” with its all-new IP, in which you play as an “Eternal” and build bonds with the world around you. The Everwild trailer reveals the game won’t strive for realism but rather a moving artwork look. Everwild will be available on Xbox Series X, Windows, and Xbox Game Pass.

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Destiny 2 is coming to Xbox Game Pass in September, giving you access to all standard edition expansions. And it will be followed by the game’s next chapter in November with Destiny 2: Beyond Light, which finds you and your fellow Guardians wielding the Darkness to take on the empire. Sorry, is this Destiny 2 or Star Wars? And oh, Destiny 2 will be optimised to run at 4K 60fps for Xbox Series X.

Tell Me Why

Life Is Strange makers Dontnod Entertainment’s next game is an Xbox Game Studios exclusive. Set in small-town Alaska USA, you’ll play as twins Tyler and Alyson Ronan who share a supernatural bond that allows them to look through past memories. Spread across three weekly chapters, Tell Me Why begins August 27 on the Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass. It will also be available on Xbox Series X.

Psychonauts 2

Jack Black’s voice is part of Double Fine’s next Psychonauts adventure inside our minds, which follows a rookie agent called Raz as he must help friends and use his powers to learn about his family origins and uncover mysteries about the Psychonauts. Psychonauts 2 will be available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass.

Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis

It took eight years for Sega’s online action RPG to leave Japan after it did so earlier this year, and now Microsoft is ready to add to that with an Xbox Series X version in 2021, that promises “limitless adventure and unparalleled character customisation.” Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis is out in 2021.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

Having delivered two first-person experiences with Vermintide in 2015 and 2018, Swedish developer Fatshark is now bringing a four-player co-op adventure in Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, available in 2021 on Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass.

As Dusk Falls

A multi-generational tale that kicks off with two families and a hostage situation set in the American Southwest — that’s the premise for this interactive drama that seems to be a series of graphic book drawings brought to life. As Dusk Falls will be available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass.

Avowed

Lord of the Rings meets Elder Scrolls meets Doctor Strange rings seems to be the pitch for this first-person RPG from Obsidian Entertainment, though all the developer is willing to say that it’s set in the fantasy world of Eora. The Avowed trailer reveals you’ll be playing with a sword and aided by some superpowers.

The Gunk

SteamWorld creators will task you with figuring out a forgotten planet’s mystery (read: solve puzzles) and then saving it (read: deal with monstrous enemies) on their new game, available on Xbox Series X and Xbox Game Pass.

Tetris Effect: Connected

Did someone ask for Tetris with local and online co-op and competitive modes? Well, it’s here nonetheless. Tetris Effect: Connected drops in late 2020, which means it might be a launch title for the Xbox Series X.

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Facebook, Twitter Arbitrarily Censuring ‘Nationalistic’ Content: Tejasvi Surya

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BJP member Tejasvi Surya on Wednesday raised the issue of social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook allegedly arbitrarily censuring content posted by users, especially those with a “nationalistic approach” and sought government intervention for protection of such content.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, Surya said for a long time there have been many “credible” allegations made against Twitter, Facebook and their affiliates of “arbitrary and unilateral regulation and censuring” of content posted by third party users, especially those with a “nationalistic approach”.

“This poses a significant constitutional challenge not only on the grounds of unreasonable restriction of free speech but also amounts to illegal interference during elections,” he said.

The MP said Facebook, Twitter and similar platforms claim themselves to be intermediaries within the meaning of the term under the IT Act, 2000.

He said the key element of this definition is that the role of the said intermediaries is limited to processing, storing and transmitting data of third party users and does not include intervention on content of the users.

Therefore, Section 79 of the Act provides these intermediaries exemption from liability. An intermediary receives protection that a regular publisher does not receive, he said.

Surya said while this is the explicit spirit of the statute, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, while laying down what sort of third party content must be prohibited by the privacy policy and terms and conditions of the intermediary, goes far beyond the remit of Article 19(2) of the Constitution read with Section 79 and 69 of the IT Act.

Article 19(2) of the Constitution authorises the government to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions upon the freedom of speech and expression “in the interests of… public order”, whereas section 69 of the IT Act allows the government to intercept any information and ask for information decryption.

Surya said the guidelines essentially empower private party intermediaries to remove on the basis of user complaints or suo moto any content deemed to be in violation of its guidelines.

He said these guidelines are not only ultra vires the parent statute but also unconstitutional as the grounds they provide are too wide and will fail the standards of constitutionality set out by the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal case while striking down Sec 66A of the IT Act (which provided police the power to arrest a person for posting “offensive” content online).

The guidelines are problematic because they empower private enterprises performing essentially a public function to act as censors of free speech without government oversight, thus effectively and severely impacting safeguards of the fundamental right to free speech, he said.

“I therefore urge the government to repeal such unconstitutional guidelines and issue new ones to govern social media platforms, thereby protecting the fundamental right to free speech of our citizens and protect our democracy from foreign interference,” he said.


Are Apple Watch SE, iPad 8th Gen the Perfect ‘Affordable’ Products for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Google adds a COVID-19 layer to Maps app to show health status at county and state levels

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The new layer is color-coded, includes a count of new cases per 100,000 people, and indicates whether the count is going up or down.

A new layer in Google maps shows coronavirus case levels at the county and state levels.

Google Maps now has a COVID-19 layer that tracks how cases are trending at a county level on the mobile version of the app. You can see how cases are increasing or decreasing in your area as well as any places you may be visiting.

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Google Maps added a COVID-19 data layer to the mobile app.

To see COVID-19 data for a particular location, tap the layers button on the top right-hand corner and click on COVID-19 Info. You’ll see a number and “increasing” or “decreasing.” 

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

This number is the seven-day average for the number of new cases per 100,000 people. The layer’s colors indicate:

  • Grey: Less than 1 case
  • Yellow: 1-10 cases
  • Orange: 10-20 cases
  • Dark orange: 20-30 cases
  • Red: 30-40 cases
  • Dark red: 40+ cases

This count includes both confirmed and probable cases in some locations. Probable cases are identified by public health officials and use criteria developed by government authorities. Some areas may not have data because local authorities haven’t published data or haven’t done so recently.

If you zoom out to the state level on a map of the US, there is a count for each state and an increasing or decreasing indicator with a matching color code.

In Europe, there is more data for some countries than others. Germany is gray, and the COVID-19 map layer shows data for individual states within the country. In France, there is data at the country level only with a rate of 14.8 cases per 100,000 which is increasing. Most of Asia is gray. 

The data comes from these sources:

  • Wikipedia
  • The New York Times
  • Johns Hopkins University CSSE COVID-19 Data
  • Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation

The Kaiser Family Foundation lists 34 states as coronavirus hotspots. Utah’s positivity rate is 9.1% with a 104.5% change in cases over the last 14 days. If you zoom in to the county level, you can see that Utah County (65.5, increasing) is in worse shape than Salt Lake County (28, increasing). Many of the state’s rural areas are gray and show few cases. Overall the state is light orange.

In June, Google Maps added more information about transit conditions to help travelers avoid crowded metro and train stations. When you look up public transit directions for a trip, the recommended routes show relevant alerts from local transit agencies. These alerts can help you prepare accordingly if government mandates impact transit services or require you to wear a mask on public transportation. Transit alerts rolled out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S. where we have information from local transit agencies. 

This update also included driving alerts about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along certain routes, such as national borders (starting first in Canada, Mexico, and the US). Maps users see an alert on the directions screen and after starting navigation if the route is impacted by these restrictions. 

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Immune Protein IL-17A Responsible for Lethal Side Effects of Gastric Cancer

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The formation of scar tissue, or fibrosis, as gastric cancer disseminates throughout the peritoneum can be more lethal than the cancer itself and can interfere with chemotherapy. Researchers from Kanazawa University have now found that proinflammatory cytokine IL-17A from mast cells heavily influences the degree of fibrosis and causes structural changes in peritoneal cells. Preventing mast cells from releasing IL-17A may therefore be a promising treatment strategy for gastric cancer patients with peritoneal dissemination.

Immune Protein IL 17A Responsible for Lethal Side Effects of Gastric

Fig. 2 Expression of FAP was found in HPMCs treated with IL-17A using immunofluorescence staining. This means HPMCs were transformed into myofibroblast, so called CAF, by IL-17A. FAP: fibroblast activation protein as a marker of CAF. HPMCs: human peritoneal mesothelial cells. CAF: cancer associated fibroblast. Image credit: Kanazawa University

Gastric cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer-associated mortality worldwide, is renowned for its ability to disseminate throughout the peritoneal cavity. As well as causing secondary tumors in other organs, metastatic gastric cancer cells trigger extensive stromal fibrosis, or the formation of scar tissue, that can be more deadly than the cancer itself—bowel obstruction and hydronephrosis and jaundice are all common side effects of gastric cancer-associated fibrosis. What’s more, the densely packed scar tissue can disturb chemotherapy drugs from reaching their target due to intra-tumoral high pressure.

Preventing fibrosis could therefore improve the prognosis for gastric cancer patients. The problem is, researchers have yet to discover what causes fibrosis, let alone how to prevent it.

But in a study published recently in Gastric Cancer, researchers from Kanazawa University found that an inflammatory protein produced by mast cells, IL-17A, triggers cellular changes in the peritoneum, leading to stromal fibrosis in gastric cancer patients.

Lead author Katsuya Gunjigake from Kanazawa University’s Division of Cancer Medicine explains why the researchers targeted IL-17A.

“Over-stimulation of the immune system by IL-17A plays a major role in chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. It has also been associated with increased tumor growth and dissemination in various forms of cancer. Interestingly though, while studies had shown that IL-17A causes fibrosis in both Crohn’s disease and lung disease, no one had investigated the link between tissue fibrosis and IL-17A in cancer.”

By studying cancerous tissue from 70 gastric cancer patients with peritoneal dissemination, the researchers discovered that the degree of fibrosis was governed by the amount of IL-17A, and that IL-17A was being produced by a subgroup of white blood cells called mast cells.

Says Gunjigake, “Mast cells are most commonly associated with anaphylaxis but are also involved in pathogen defense and immune tolerance, among other things. They contain small particles called granules that are filled with molecules such as histamine, serotonin, and IL-17A that are released into the extracellular environment in a process known as degranulation.”

Immune Protein IL 17A Responsible for Lethal Side Effects of Gastric

Fig. 1 The number of IL-17A and MCT double positive cells correlated with the ratio of fibrotic area in the peritoneal tumors. This means IL-17A derived from mast cells may contribute tumor fibrosis. MCT: mast cell tryptase Fig. 2 Expression of FAP was found in HPMCs treated with IL-17A using immunofluorescence staining. This means HPMCs were transformed into myofibroblast, so called CAF, by IL-17A. FAP: fibroblast activation protein as a marker of CAF. HPMCs: human peritoneal mesothelial cells. CAF: cancer associated fibroblast. Fig. 3 Nude mouse was inoculated with human gastric cancer cell line MKN45-P cells intraperitoneally at day 0. Recombinant mouse IL-17A was administrated intraperitoneally at day 1, 3 and 7. Large and many peritoneal nodules were found at day 14. Fig. 4 Fibrosis in the peritoneal nodules was recognized as blue area by azan staining. Fibrous area in the tumor treated with IL-17A was wider than that without IL-17A. Image credit: Kanazawa University

The researchers then injected mice with human peritoneal cells and gastric cancer cells and examined the effects of IL-17A treatment, with interesting results.

“Not only did IL-17A increase tumor size and the degree of fibrosis, it also changed the structure of the peritoneal cells, enhancing their invasive and migratory capabilities,” explains responsible author Sachio Fushida.

“Given the obvious role of IL-17A in driving fibrosis, our results suggest that suppression of mast cell degranulation may be a promising treatment strategy for gastric cancer patients with peritoneal dissemination.”

Article

Interleukin-17A derived from mast cells contributes to fibrosis in gastric cancer with peritoneal dissemination

Journal: Gastric Cancer

Authors: Katsuya Gunjigake, Jun Kinoshita, Takahisa Yamaguchi, Hiroto Saito, Daisuke Fujimori, Toshihide Horiike, Shinichi Harada, Hidehiro Tajima, Itasu Ninomiya, Tetsuo Ohta, Sachio Fushida

DOI: 10.1007/s10120-020-01092-2

Funder

This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 16K10494.

Source: Kanazawa University




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