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Trump tells U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe to never disrespect the White House

34 0 26 Jun 2019

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that he will invite the U.S. women’s national soccer team to the White House following this year’s Women’s World Cup — whether or not they win the mega sporting event.

But his attempt at extending a level of courtesy toward the women’s team came with a rebuke for co-captain Megan Rapinoe, who said in a video clip shared Tuesday on social media that “I’m not going to the f—ing White House.”

“I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets, at first tagging the wrong Twitter account for Rapinoe.

“We haven’t yet invited Megan or the team, but I am now inviting the TEAM, win or lose,” Trump added. “Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team. Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”

The president also said that sports teams “love” coming to the White House.

Rapinoe said in an interview this month in Eight by Eight magazine that “no f—in’ way will we be invited to the White House.” She surmised that Trump doesn’t invite teams that he knows will decline or “like he did when the Warriors turned him down, he’ll claim they hadn’t been invited in the first place.”

After the Golden State Warriors became the NBA champions in 2017, the team said it would not go to the White House, prompting Trump to tweet that “going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

Megan Rapinoe, right, kneels next to teammates as the national anthem is played before an exhibition soccer match against the Netherlands on Sept. 18, 2016, in Atlanta.John Bazemore / AP

Rapinoe’s teammate, Ali Krieger, came to her defense Wednesday and said Trump simply has a problem with women.

“In regards to the ‘President’s’ tweet today, I know women who you cannot control or grope anger you, but I stand by @mPinoe & will sit this one out as well,” tweeted Kreiger, 34, a defender from Dumfries, Virginia.

Rapinoe, 33, from Redding, California, has become one of the more prominent athletes outside of the NFL to speak out against police brutality and injustice across the country. She has notably kneeled during the national anthem.

During this year’s World Cup in France, she has stood motionless when the anthem plays at pregame ceremonies.

“I haven’t experienced over-policing, racial profiling, police brutality or the sight of a family member’s body lying dead in the street,” she wrote in 2016 about why she decided to protest. “But I cannot stand idly by while there are people in this country who have had to deal with that kind of heartache.”

Trump told The Hill this week that her continued protest is inappropriate.

Meanwhile, he remains an overall fan of the sport. The U.S. women’s team is favored to repeat as World Cup champions, and will take on France this Friday in a much-hyped quarterfinal match.

“I love watching women’s soccer,” Trump also told The Hill. “They’re really talented.”

When asked whether he thinks the U.S. women’s soccer team should be paid on the same level as their male peers, Trump said he would need to study the issue further.

In March, more than two dozen members of the U.S. women’s team filed a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation, saying “institutionalized gender discrimination” exists in their pay, medical treatment, travel arrangements and overall workload.

The federation has declined to comment on pending litigation, but said that any pay disparity is “based on differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams and/or any other factor other than sex.”

Senate passes separate version of emergency border funding bill

41 0 26 Jun 2019

WASHINGTON — The Senate passed an emergency funding bill for humanitarian aid Wednesday afternoon to provide relief for the influx of children and families seeking asylum on the southern border, but the measure’s path to the president’s desk for signature is still uncertain.

The $4.6 billion measure, which passed with overwhelming and bipartisan support in a vote of 84-8, must now be reconciled with the measure that passed the House of Representatives Tuesday and was voted down by the Senate earlier today, before President Donald Trump can sign it.

With Congress hoping to pass a funding bill before they leave town for more than a week for the July Fourth holiday, time of the essence for the House and the Senate to come to an agreement as overcrowded conditions on the border worsen for migrants as federal agencies are running out of money.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to work out the differences between the House and Senate bill. The fifteen-minute call took place just moments before the president left for Osaka for the G-20 conference.

“I just spoke with Nancy Pelosi, and we had a good conversation having to do with the bill, humanitarian aid at the border, for the children mostly, and we are moving along very well with a bipartisan bill in the Senate,” Trump said on the South Lawn. “We’re doing very well. It’s very far along, and I believe the House is going to also be getting together with the Senate. Hopefully they can get something done.”

While both measures provide funding for the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Homeland Security to provide services for children and families, the House provides more stringent and specific guidelines for humanitarian standards. It also allows for unannounced visits by members of Congress with oversight and it mandates that “influx” centers comply with humanitarian standards within six months instead of 14 months, which is the timeline included in the Senate bill.

House Democratic leaders made two rounds of changes to their bill to garner the support of many progressive and Hispanic Caucus members. The Republican-controlled Senate voted on the House version of the legislation earlier Wednesday but it failed by a vote of 37-55, forcing the two bodies to reconcile the two bills.

Two more Broward County deputies fired for neglect during Parkland school shooting

27 0 26 Jun 2019

Two more deputies have been fired for alleged inaction during the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, the Broward County sheriff said Wednesday.

Sheriff Gregory Tony said Edward Eason and Josh Stambaugh were fired Tuesday following an internal affairs investigation into the department’s response to the Feb. 14, 2018, shooting.

“In essence, it was neglect of duty. We lost 17 people,” Tony said during a brief news conference Wednesday. He did not provide more details, but said a report would at some point be released to the public.

A public safety commission that investigated the shooting said last year that body camera footage showed Eason did not immediately enter the building, contrary to the deputy’s report. The commission revealed that former student Nikolas Cruz had already killed the 17 and wounded 17 others by the time Eason arrived, but some people inside needed immediate help.

“Deputy Edward Eason could have stopped the Parkland shooter TWICE and did NOTHING,” Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack, a student who died in the attack, wrote on Twitter in December. “During the shooting, he was one of 8 deputies hiding outside as kids died.”

A state commission found that Stambaugh did not move toward the school, despite hearing the final gunshots.

Two other deputies have already been fired for neglect of duty during the shooting, including Scot Peterson, who was arrested earlier this month on charges of child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury. He was the only person at the school with a firearm when the gunman opened fire.

Peterson’s lawyer said he will fight the charges. He said in a June 2018 interview on NBC’s “Today” show that he didn’t go into the building because of a miscommunication.

“I didn’t get it right,” he said. “But it wasn’t because of some, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go into that building. Oh, I don’t want to face somebody in there.’ It wasn’t like that at all.”

Scott Israel, the sheriff at the time of the shooting, was also removed from office by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Jeff Bell, president of the Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association, has said Israel changed the wording in the department’s active-shooter policy to say that deputies “may,” rather than “shall,” proceed into an active-shooter scene. Bell said the new language gave deputies the license to stay outside.

Israel is appealing the decision in front of the state Senate.

No action will be taken against three other deputies who were investigated after the shooting, Tony said.

Cruz has pleaded not guilty to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder, but his public defenders said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Prosecutors want the death penalty and have rejected that offer.

Federal funds for legal help to child migrants at border are running out

38 0 26 Jun 2019

MIAMI — Immigration lawyers are sounding the alarm that federal funds that have long guaranteed child immigrants in U.S. custody the right to free legal representation — their best shot at staying in the U.S. — are in danger of running dry.

Under U.S. law, children, though not adults, are entitled to a lawyer free of charge when they claim asylum in the U.S. Unless Congress agrees to an emergency spending bill, that right could be endangered. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that funds would be cut off unless a bill was passed and signed by the president.

Those impacted would be children brought into expanding HHS facilities, including one near Phoenix that plans to hold 50 children under the age of five. Without a lawyer, children as young as infants could be placed in front of immigration judges to make their case for asylum on their own. Lawyers also help children stay in touch with their families and ensure that they are being treated well while in the custody of the government.

Child legal services provider Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigration Defenders Law Center, said recent reports of poor conditions for children inside border stations have highlighted the importance of lawyers for children in immigration custody.

“If the last few weeks have taught us anything, it is the importance of access to lawyers in protecting the rights of children in government custody. Unaccompanied children arrive often having survived unspeakable trauma, and to contemplate sending these vulnerable children into court alone, without access to a lawyer who can make sure they understand what is happening and protect their rights, is unconscionable,” Toczylowski said.

Until Congress passes and the president signs a border appropriations bill now being debated, attorneys servicing new facilities, including two on military bases in Texas and Oklahoma, will not be funded.

Late Tuesday, the House passed a version which would restore funding, but the Senate has yet to pass its version of the bill, which the President must then sign.

The White House has threatened to veto the House version of the bill because it does not include funding for border security.

A spokeswoman for HHS said “under federal law, only services to address the emergencies involving the safety of the life of the child can continue to be funded,” if Congress does not pass the bill.

She added that the agency does not want to make these reductions to legal services, but “the law requires us to do so until Congress appropriates additional funds.”

Shaina Aber, the program director of the Vera Justice Institute, sounded the alarm in an e-mail to legal service providers.

The Vera Justice Institute provides the legal services under a contract with HHS’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

“Vera’s priority is to ensure uninterrupted legal access and representation for every child placed in ORR custody,” she wrote. “We are NOT willing to compromise on this point and we do not concede that makeshift solutions, such as a recorded [know your rights] video, are an adequate replacement for the vital services you provide.”

According to the letter, “ORR’s counsel has reached the conclusion that the Anti-Deficiency Act bars them from entering into ‘any new legal commitments,'” which a spokeswoman for the agency confirmed.

On a tour of the Casa Padre Shelter in Brownsville at the height of family separations, NBC News was shown a kiosk where flyers advising child migrants of their rights and contact information were posted next to telephones used to phone attorneys and family members. If funding runs out, or at the new temporary facilities being set up to alleviate overcrowded HHS facilities, lawyers would not be paid for providing legal services to migrant children.

“This is clearly not acceptable, and we have conveyed as much to ORR,” Aber continued in her letter. “We disagree with ORR’s narrow interpretation of its available choices under the executed contract and we are working with our counsel to request clarity as well as to ensure that, regardless of financial obligation/remuneration, legal access is not denied and that NO CHILD is placed in a facility that attorneys cannot access.”

She also pushed back on restrictions to counsel inside the new temporary facilities, saying “the notion that children — many with acute trauma — would be detained and denied legal services at an ERC when we have at least a month’s worth of funding available to provide services is illogical and unacceptable to us.”

Julia Ainsley reported from Washington.

Eric Trump says employee at Chicago bar spit on him

38 0 26 Jun 2019

Eric Trump says he was spit on by an employee at a cocktail lounge in Chicago on Tuesday night.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet that officers responded to the incident that occurred at The Aviary bar around 8:30 p.m. last night.

“CPD was on scene and assisting the United States Secret Service with a law enforcement matter,” Guglielmi said.

Chicago police directed all further inquiries on the incident to the Secret Service.

The Secret Service told NBC News “We have no comment on the matter.”

Trump condemned the spitting to NBC News, calling it a “disgusting act.”

Eric Trump, President Donald Trump’s third child, currently serves as the executive vice president of the Trump Organization.

House passes border funding bill to address humanitarian crisis

42 0 26 Jun 2019

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday passed a $4.5 billion supplemental border funding bill to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border as reports surface of worsening conditions at detention facilities.

Lawmakers approved the bill in a 230-195 vote, with most Democrats voting in favor and most Republicans opposing the measure.

The vote came as House Democratic leaders had sought to appease members of their caucus only hours earlier with changes to the legislation.

On Monday evening, several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Progressive Caucus took issue with parts of the bill and expressed concern about giving the Trump administration more funding to keep holding migrant families in detention.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told lawmakers at a closed-door caucus meeting Tuesday morning that the legislation is “not an immigration bill, so we cannot make any immigration promises in the bill — it is an appropriations bill, saying to the world, these children — they don’t have hygiene, they are not, in many cases, in their parents’ arms. We can make a big difference for them.”

Pelosi has warned that the Senate’s version of the bill, negotiated between Democrats and Republicans, doesn’t provide as many protections for migrants.

Pelosi also warned her members, “A vote against this bill is a vote for Donald Trump and his inhumane, outside-the-circle of civilized attitude toward the children.”

The Office of Management and Budget recommended that Trump veto the House bill because it “does not provide adequate funding to meet the current crisis, and because it contains partisan provisions designed to hamstring the Administration’s border enforcement efforts, the Administration opposes its passage.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Republicans would not support it but signaled they would back the Senate bill.

The Senate is expected to take up its version of the bill Wednesday, McCarthy said after speaking with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and pass it by the end of the week before senators leave for a weeklong July 4 recess. The House and Senate will still need to reconcile the differences between their measures.

NBC News reported Monday that about 300 migrant children were removed from a border patrol facility in Texas after there were reports of lawyers describing “appalling” and potentially dangerous conditions that included inadequate food, flu outbreaks, and young children and teenagers not having showered for days or weeks.

Alexandra Bacallao contributed.

Questions raised about study linking cellphones to bone spurs in the skull

47 0 26 Jun 2019

A study that made recent headlines about a possible link between excessive cellphone use and bone spurs in the skull contained significant flaws, according to several reports.

One concern, reported Tuesday in The Washington Post, is that one of the lead authors, a chiropractor named David Shahar, of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, may have had a conflict of interest — an undisclosed business venture selling pillows to help posture. Another report, published by PBS.com, raised another problem: the authors hypothesized about the link between the skull bone growths and technology, but didn’t measure the subjects’ phone usage.

The study, which was originally published in 2018 in the respected peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports, caused a sensation last week after being brought to light first in a recent BBC article and then The Washington Post. (Scientific Reports is a part of Nature Research, which also publishes the renowned science journal Nature.) NBC News reported it Thursday, noting that the Australian study highlighted how little is known about the effects of excessive technology use on the human body.

When reached Tuesday by NBC News via email, Shahar said he was aware of the concerns about conflict of interest. He responded that his research “never suggested any specific treatment” to participants as a result of their bone growths and that “we simply suggested that based on our conclusion, posture maintenance from an early age is prudent.”

According to Scientific Reports, authors are required to declare “any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in relation to the work described.”

Typically, any potential benefit for study authors that may conflict with the study’s results are disclosed by the researchers involved. Shahar told NBC News that he has offered a disclosure statement to the journal “to be included in the document should they choose to add it.”

Studies are typically peer-reviewed, meaning they are looked over by several other experts in the field before an article is published, as a way to ensure its quality and accuracy. This way, they are more likely to be scientifically valid and reach reasonable conclusions. Nature, which uses this practice, reviewed the study and signed off on its publication.

There has been little scientific research on the physical effects of long periods of cellphone use, especially among young people. In response to criticism, Shahar acknowledged that the researchers speculated about the cause of the bony growths. In the study, they wrote, “Although the ‘tablet revolution’ is fully and effectively entrenched in our daily activities, we must be reminded that these devices are only a decade old and it may be that related symptomatic disorders are only now emerging.”

But Shahar said that he and co-author Mark Sayers didn’t claim they had actually studied their subjects’ technology use.

“We simply pointed out the surprising prevalence and magnitude of these bony growths in the young adult population,” he said in the email to NBC News on Tuesday. “Not speculating in the discussion what may be a cause would have left this discussion incomplete, as most similar studies do so.”

According to the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, Sayers has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and has presented at more than 30 national and international conferences. The 2018 study was Shahar’s first paper with senior authorship.

NBC News reached out to Scientific Reports for comment about the published study. A spokesperson for the journal earlier told PBS Newshour that it was looking into the paper and would “take action where appropriate.”

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Robert Mueller to testify publicly before House committees on July 17

41 0 26 Jun 2019

WASHINGTON — Former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify in public about his two-year Russia investigation at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee on July 17. The announcement came from the chairmen of the two panels, who issued a subpoena compelling his testimony.

In a news release issued late Tuesday, Judiciary Committee Chairmen Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said that Mueller had agreed to testify next month.

“Pursuant to subpoenas issued by the House Judiciary and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence tonight, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III has agreed to testify before both Committees on July 17 in open session,” the chairmen said in a statement.

“Americans have demanded to hear directly from the Special Counsel,” the statement said, “so they can understand what he and his team examined, uncovered, and determined about Russia’s attack on our democracy, the Trump campaign’s acceptance and use of that help, and President Trump and his associates’ obstruction of the investigation into that attack.”

The chairmen suggested in a letter to Mueller on Tuesday accompanying the subpoena that they understand that Mueller may limit what he plans to share with lawmakers, with Schiff and Nadler writing that they know “there are certain sensitivities associated with your open testimony.”

“In particular, the Special Counsel’s Office referred several criminal investigations to other offices at the Department of Justice, and certain matters are ongoing. Your office, moreover, admirably limited public comment while the Special Counsel’s Office’s work was ongoing. You have also explained that you prefer for the Special Counsel’s Office’s written work to speak for itself,” they wrote.

Mueller did not want to testify, but will respect the subpoena to testify in open session, Schiff said on “The Rachel Maddow Show” Tuesday night on MSNBC. Mueller’s staff will speak to the committees in a closed session after Mueller’s public testimony.

“Clearly this is something, I think from his perspective as prosecutor, he is reluctant to come, as a prosecutor normally would be,” Schiff said. “But as Bob Mueller was the first to point out in his own report, he did not make a traditional prosecutorial judgement.”

Congress did not feel it sufficient to rely only a written report without the ability to ask follow-up questions, Schiff said, and believed that it was appropriate for the House to flesh out questions, Schiff said.

“It seemed like such an obvious step, from my own point of view, if you’re going accept the role as special counsel in one of the most significant investigations in modern history, you’re going to have to expect that you’re going to be asked to come to testify before Congress,” Schiff said.

Earlier this month, Nadler said he was “confident” that Mueller would eventually testify before Congress. Ever since the 448-page redacted report was released in April, lawmakers had been in talks with Mueller so that he could testify before Congress publicly. When Mueller spoke publicly for the first time about the Russia investigation in late May, he indicated that he did not want to testify before Congress. “I hope and expect that this is the only time that I will speak to you in this manner,” he said then.

“There has been discussion about an appearance before Congress. Any testimony from this office will not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis and the reasons for the decisions we made,” he added. “The work speaks for itself. The report is my testimony.”

Jay Sekulow, one of President Donald Trump’s attorneys, referenced those comments from Mueller after the planned testimony was announced. Mueller said his testimony was his report, Sekulow said. We expect that his testimony will be his report.

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani also seemed unconcerned, telling NBC News of the former special counsel’s testimony, “who cares.”

“I think his testimony is going to be just like his press conference, totally useless with him repeating ‘I can’t make up my mind,’” Giuliani said.

“Mueller said he put anything he was going to say in his report. So I have no idea why he’s testifying,” Giuliani said.

He also said he was not worried that the testimony would add to calls for impeachment, saying “Mueller had his chance to make his case, and he didn’t,” and “Bob Mueller is old news.”

Trump, too, seemed to weigh in on the announcement, in a tweet Tuesday night: “Presidential Harassment!” he wrote.

The forthcoming testimony by Mueller comes as those backing the initiation of an impeachment inquiry of Trump continues to increase, with 76 Democrats in favor as well as one Republican.

Phil Helsel contributed.

CBP says its not low on supplies after claims of appalling conditions for migrant children

49 0 26 Jun 2019

A Customs and Border Protection official said Tuesday the agency was not running low on supplies in response to reports that people looking to make donations were being turned away from its facilities in the wake of claims that children were held in “appalling” conditions at a Texas border station.

The official said the agency had put out a data call to sectors to see what supplies were needed and in the future it would consult with its office of legal counsel to decide whether it can legally accept any donations from the public.

“But what I would add is, we’re not running low on those things,” the official said when asked about reports of people looking to donate hygiene products and food. “We’re using operational funding to provide those things, but those things are available now and they have been continuously.”

The official added that while CBP was looking into the possibility of using some donations going forward, “those items, it’s important to note, are available now, we’ve used our own funding to buy those things.”

Lawyers who visited a Border Patrol facility in Clint, Texas, described “appalling” and overcrowded conditions, including children wearing dirty clothes and who had not been able to shower, inadequate food, flu outbreaks and a lack of access to soap or toothpaste.

“I have never seen conditions as appalling as what we witnessed last week,” Elora Mukherjee, the director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, said Monday.

The Texas Tribune reported that after reading the media reports of the squalid conditions at the facility, people have been trying to drop off donations of items such as diapers, wipes, soap and toys at the site but have been turned away.

“It makes me feel powerless knowing there’s children taking care of toddlers and little kids,” Gabriel Acuña told the Texas Tribune. “Knowing what’s happening in your community and that you can’t give these kids supplies to clean or clothe themselves — it’s heartbreaking.”

“For God’s sake, they’re kids, man,” he said.

CBP moved about 300 migrant children from the border station to a tent detention camp in Tornillo on Monday. The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Monday night that last week, it identified shelter space for 249 migrant children at the Clint facility and that those children should all be in the agency’s care as of Tuesday.

On Tuesday morning, CBP said it transported a group of about 100 children to the Clint facility.

It was not clear how many of the new arrivals were previously held at the same facility.

The official said allegations of inadequate food and sanitation were being “taken seriously” and being investigated.

“I personally don’t believe the allegations,” the official added.

CBP said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that Border Patrol carried out existing contingency plans to manage the number of migrant children by expanding capacity in additional facilities in the El Paso sector. Because many of the children transferred out of the Clint facility were transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency resumed using the Clint facility to hold migrant children.

On Tuesday, acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders told employees he would be stepping down July 5. Sanders did not provide a reason for his departure.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that while he was “very concerned” about the conditions at border facilities, “it’s in much better shape than it ever was.”

Questions raised about study linking phones to bone spurs in the skull

45 0 26 Jun 2019

A study that made recent headlines about a possible link between excessive cell phone use and bone spurs in the skull contained significant flaws, according to several reports.

One concern, reported Tuesday in The Washington Post, is that one of the lead authors, a chiropractor named David Shahar, of the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, may have had a conflict of interest — an undisclosed business venture selling pillows to help posture. Another report, published by PBS.com, raised another problem: the authors hypothesized about the link between the skull bone growths and technology, but didn’t measure the subjects’ phone usage.

The study, which was originally published in 2018 in the respected peer-reviewed journal, Scientific Reports, caused a sensation last week after being brought to light first in a recent BBC article and then the Washington Post. (Scientific Reports is a part of Nature Research, which also publishes the renowned science journal Nature.) NBC News reported it Thursday, noting that the Australian study highlighted how little is known about the effects of excessive technology use on the human body.

Shahar said he was aware of the concerns about conflict of interest when reached Tuesday by NBC News via email. He responded that his research “never suggested any specific treatment” to participants as a result of their bone growths and that “we simply suggested that based on our conclusion, posture maintenance from an early age is prudent.”

According to Scientific Reports, authors are required to declare “any competing financial and/or non-financial interests in relation to the work described.”

Typically, any potential benefit by study authors that may conflict with the study’s results are disclosed by the researchers involved. Shahar told NBC News that he has offered a disclosure statement to the journal “to be included in the document should they choose to add it.”

Studies are typically peer-reviewed, meaning they are looked over by several other experts in the field before an article is published, as a way to ensure an article’s quality and accuracy. This way they are more likely to be scientifically valid and reach reasonable conclusions. Nature, which uses this practice, reviewed the study and signed off on its publication.

There has been little scientific research on the physical effects of long periods of phone use, especially among young people. In response to criticism, Shahar acknowledged that the researchers speculated about the cause of the bony growths. In the study, they wrote, “Although the ‘tablet revolution’ is fully and effectively entrenched in our daily activities, we must be reminded that these devices are only a decade old and it may be that related symptomatic disorders are only now emerging.”

But Shahar said that he and Sayers didn’t claim they had actually studied their subjects’ technology use.

“We simply pointed out the surprising prevalence and magnitude of these bony growths in the young adult population,” he said in the email to NBC News on Tuesday. “Not speculating in the discussion what may be a cause would have left this discussion incomplete, as most similar studies do so.”

According to University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia, co-author Sayers has over 60 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and has presented at more than 30 national and international conferences. The 2018 study was Shahar’s first paper with senior authorship.

NBC News reached out Scientific Reports for comment about the published study. A spokesperson for the journal earlier told PBS Newshour that it was looking into the paper and would “take action where appropriate.”

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