In the press

'A shocking example of research misconduct': The Lancet retracts hydroxychloroquine paper


IN THE PAPERS - Friday, June 5: Donald Trump's threat of a military crackdown on protesters has drawn a strong reaction from cartoonists, many of whom contrast it with China's Tiananmen Square massacre. It's also drawn a strong reaction from the military, notably the US president's former defence secretary, General James Mattis. We then look at the retraction of a key paper on the drug hydroxychloroquine, plus how a French dairy farmer accidentally invented a new type of cheese during lockdown! 


Many cartoonists are comparing Donald Trump's threat to deploy the US army against protesters to an historic crackdown against demonstrators that marked its anniversary on Thursday: the June 4, 1989 massacre in China's Tiananmen Square. In this cartoon by Theo Moudakis of the Toronto Star, we see Trump looking at that iconic "tank man" photo from the Tiananmen demonstrations, while he himself dreams of running down Black Lives Matter protesters.

There are many variations of that iconic image coming from cartoonists. For Bill Bramhall of the New York Daily News, the "tank man" is this November's election. The cartoonist seems hopeful that it could succeed in halting the US president's advance.

Meanwhile, the US president is also seeing major pushback from military leaders. In this cartoon from Kevin Siers of the Charlotte Observer, we see a Republican senator clutching a copy of the New York Times, where he published a very controversial op-ed calling to send in the troops. Former defence secretary General James Mattis responds that he's reporting for duty – but that duty is to publicly rebuke Trump. Mattis has accused him of trying to divide the country by militarising the response to the protests.

In other top stories today, the medical journal The Lancet has retracted a paper that had warned of dangerous side effects of the drug hydroxychloroquine. As the Guardian writes, that paper led to trials of the drug being halted amid concerns. The authors of the study are now saying they can no longer vouch for the data's accuracy. The editor of The Lancet calls it "a shocking example of research misconduct in the middle of a global health emergency".

Finally, a story of one small positive creation to come out of the coronavirus crisis: a new type of cheese! A dairy farmer here in France left 60 wheels of unsold munster in his cellar for a month and the result was a cheese with a whole new flavour. It has been dubbed "le confiné" – the confined. Unfortunately we'll have to wait to taste it, as it's all sold out for now!

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