An alarming situation, Pakistan’s current account deficit peaks at $17.99b

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The current account deficit, which remains the single largest challenge for economic managers, shot to a record high of $17.994 billion (5.7% of GDP) at the end of fiscal year ended June 30, 2018 mainly due to exorbitant imports and less-than-projected inflows.

This is 44.7% higher than $12.44 billion recorded in the previous fiscal year 2017.

State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Tariq Bajwa said last week that the deficit has grown to an “unsustainable level” due to soaring aggregate demand in the economy.

To tame demand, the central bank has let the rupee fall by close to 22% to Rs128 to the US dollar since December 2017, and made borrowing expensive by increasing the benchmark interest rate by 175 basis points to 7.5% in the last six months.

“The Real Effective Exchange Rate (rupee-dollar parity) and monetary policy (the benchmark interest rate) are two effective tools available with the central bank to deal with the situation,” he said. “We are using both of them.”

Rest can be done by the government to deal with the situation like imposing regulatory (additional) duties on imports and announcing an export package, he said.

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The deficit is close to double the set target of $9 billion (2.9% of GDP) for FY18. Surprisingly, it is also much higher than the one estimated at around $16 billion by independent economists many months ago.

The gap has widened mainly due to the country’s exorbitant foreign expenditure (mainly imports and debt repayments) and sluggish income (mainly export proceeds and workers’ remittances).

The fall of the rupee over time has helped the country achieve 13% higher exports and slightly higher (1.4%) workers’ remittances. However, it has failed to offset the impact of record high imports and debt repayments.

The growing deficit has pushed the country near a default-like situation. The country’s foreign currency reserves have dropped to an alarming level of less than two months of import cover. They stood at $9.06 billion on July 13, a four-year low.

Pakistan’s current account deficit widens to record high

To tackle the situation, the caretaker government has kick-started the process of seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to enable the incoming government to move along quicker if it chooses to exercise the option.

The SBP also said on Thursday that imports have surged 14.71% to $55.84 billion compared to $48.68 billion last fiscal year.

Exports have increased 12.59% to $24.77 billion compared to $22 billion. Workers’ remittances improved 1.41% to $19.62 billion compared to $19.35 billion last fiscal year.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in different sectors of the economy has slightly improved by 0.8% to $2.76 billion in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018, compared to $2.74 billion last fiscal year.

Prostate cancer screening: Pros and cons of new recommendations

The PSA test, which measures the level of prostate-specific antigen in blood, has been controversial since its arrival in the late 1980s.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel, made a bold move in 2012 when it recommended against routine PSA testing and said it should be abandoned because it can lead to surgeries and biopsies that are unnecessary.

But the panel recently softened its stance, recommending the PSA screening test for men 55 to 69, adding that taking the test is still the patient’s choice.

Dr. Vipul Patel, a urologist and robotic surgeon at Florida Hospital Global Robotics Institute, discussed the pros and cons of the most recent recommendations.

What do you think of the task force’s most recent recommendations?

It’s a step in the positive direction. Prostate cancer still kills approximately 30,000 men each year in the U.S., and it remains the second-leading cause of cancer death in men after lung cancer.

The panels’ 2012 recommendation was surprising because there was a 40 percent reduction in death rate from prostate cancer since the PSA test became available in the 1980s. You can’t draw a direct link between PSA screening and the drop in cancer deaths, but during that period, the only thing that had changed was the arrival of PSA testing.

So what’s the controversy?

The panel looked at the overall prostate cancer data and said that PSA testing didn’t impact patients’ survival. Still, some cancer organizations didn’t abolish the screening after the panel issued its recommendation. They just limited the screening to certain populations at risk.

Are you expecting any negative outcomes from the 2012 recommendations?

A recent study showed that prostate cancer rates have leveled off, instead of continuing their steady decline in the past three decades. The study also showed that there are more new cases of late-stage prostate cancer, which could be because those cancers weren’t caught early.

I expect that now that the rates have stopped falling, they’re going to start increasing. We’re now going to start seeing the negative effects of recommendations from 2012.

What do you think of the new recommendations?

The recommendation is to do PSA screening in men between 55 and 69 years old. Now the question is why not screen men younger than 55? The panel said they didn’t include that group because they didn’t have the data.

Also, there’s some discussion that 69 is not an old enough age to stop PSA screening because men are now living longer.

In your office, what do you do when a patient has a high PSA score?

We take their history and physical. Then we repeat the PSA test. We also do 4Kscore Test, which is a newer version of the PSA test to see if the patient has a high-risk prostate cancer. An MRI also helps us figure out who needs a biopsy. High PSA levels are no longer the only indication for biopsy.

And what do you do when the patient is diagnosed with prostate cancer?

Not every patient with prostate cancer needs to be treated. A lot of men have slow-growing cancers and cancers that may never affect their lives. So instead of radiation or prostatectomy, we do active surveillance.

We check their PSA routinely and check their prostate via a rectal exam. Chances of surviving prostate cancer are high if it’s caught early.

What’s the bottom line for patients?

For the average male out there, the message is, if you’re over 50 years old, get PSA screening and get a rectal prostate exam. If you are an African American male and have a family history of prostate cancer then consider earlier screening. If you have doubts, talk to your doctor and make an informed decision. And remember that prostate cancer is still the second-leading cause of cancer death in men.

Man Sues CVS For Telling Wife He Had Viagra Prescription

A New York man claims the actions of a chatty CVS employee turned out to be unhealthy for his marriage.

Michael Feinberg is suing the drugstore chain for unspecified damages claiming he suffered “genuine, severe mental injury and emotional harm” after he took a prescription for Viagra to a Long Island CVS to be filled.

According to a lawsuit obtained by the New York Post, Feinberg told a store employee identified in court papers as “Aurula” that he would pay for the medicine himself ― a big investment, considering a single pill can cost $60.

A few days after that prescription was filled, Feinberg said, his wife called the CVS to discuss another prescription, only to have the on-duty pharmacist bring up the Viagra.

Feinberg said the employee “without solicitation, improperly informed [Feinberg’s] wife that [his] prescription for Viagra was not being covered by insurance,” a violation of HIPAA privacy rules, according to Fox News.

Feinberg, who calls his wife a third party who had no right to know about the drug, said, as a result of the CVS employee’s indiscretion, his “marriage has broken down,” according to the New York Post.

“CVS Pharmacy does not comment on pending claims or litigation. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that we provide medications to the correct patient.

“We also place the highest priority on protecting the privacy of those we serve, and we take our responsibility to safeguard confidential information very seriously.”

‘Remarkable’ therapy beats terminal breast cancer

The life of a woman with terminal breast cancer has been saved by a pioneering new therapy, say US researchers.

It involved pumping 90 billion cancer-killing immune cells into her body.

Judy Perkins had been given three months to live, but two years later there is no sign of cancer in her body.

The team at the US National Cancer Institute says the therapy is still experimental, but could transform the treatment of all cancer.

Judy – who lives in Florida – had spreading, advanced breast cancer that could not be treated with conventional therapy.

She had tennis ball-sized tumours in her liver and secondary cancers throughout her body.

She told the BBC: “About a week after [the therapy] I started to feel something, I had a tumour in my chest that I could feel shrinking.

“It took another week or two for it to completely go away.”

She remembers her first scan after the procedure when the medical staff “were all very excited and jumping around”.

It was then she was told that she was likely to be cured.

Now she’s filling her life with backpacking and sea kayaking and has just taken five weeks circumnavigating Florida.

Living therapy

The technology is a “living drug” made from a patient’s own cells at one of the world’s leading centres of cancer research.

Dr Steven Rosenberg, chief of surgery at the National Cancer Institute, told the BBC: “We’re talking about the most highly personalised treatment imaginable.”

It remains experimental and still requires considerably more testing before it can be used more widely, but this is how it works: it starts by getting to know the enemy.

A patient’s tumour is genetically analysed to identify the rare changes that might make the cancer visible to the immune system.

Out of the 62 genetic abnormalities in this patient, only four were potential lines of attack.

Next researchers go hunting. A patient’s immune system will already be attacking the tumour, it’s just losing the fight between white blood cells and cancer.

The scientists screen the patient’s white blood cells and extract those capable of attacking the cancer.

These are then grown in huge quantities in the laboratory.

Around 90 billion were injected back into the 49-year-old patient, alongside drugs to take the brakes off the immune system.

Dr Rosenberg told me: “The very mutations that cause cancer turn out to be its Achilles heel.”

‘Paradigm shift’

These are the results from a single patient and much larger trials will be needed to confirm the findings.

The challenge so far in cancer immunotherapy is it tends to work spectacularly for some patients, but the majority do not benefit.

Dr Rosenberg added: “This is highly experimental and we’re just learning how to do this, but potentially it is applicable to any cancer.

“At lot of works needs to be done, but the potential exists for a paradigm shift in cancer therapy – a unique drug for every cancer patient – it is very different to any other kind of treatment.”

Around 90 billion cancer-killing cells were infused back into Judy

The details were published in journal Nature Medicine.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Simon Vincent, director of research at Breast Cancer Now, said the research was “world class”.

He told the BBC: “We think this is a remarkable result.

“It’s the first opportunity to see this sort of immunotherapy in the most common sort of breast cancer at the moment it has only been tested in one patient,

“There’s a huge amount of work that needs to be done, but potentially it could open up a whole new area of therapy for a large number of people.”

All the New AR Features Coming to iPhones This Fall

Apple’s World Wide Developer conference kicked off on Monday and among the refinements that we’re seeing for iOS is increased support for augmented reality. A brand new ARKit is dropping and along with it some impressive apps and features could make mixed reality more than just a novelty.

We’re still a long way from seeing anything truly mind blowing in AR, but it’s important to keep in mind just how much this subject matters to Apple. CEO Tim Cook has said again and again that he thinks AR is one of the most important developments for Apple’s long-term future. Last year, he told Vogue, “I don’t think there is any sector or industry that will be untouched by AR.”

We’re still just seeing incremental developments right now, but it’s all part of building the software background that will fuel the inevitable AR headset that Apple may or may not release in 2019.

Here’s what the company showed off today:

USDZ File Format

Apple says it worked with Pixar to create a brand new file format for AR. It’s called USDZ and it can be used to share and interact with AR objects across the iOS ecosphere. For instance, you could send your partner a 3D coffee maker object and they could try out how it looks on the kitchen counter.

Above all, the format is designed to streamline AR sharing into a compact format that can be used for whatever million-dollar idea creators can come up with.

One creative partner that Apple has brought on to help build out USDZ’s functionality is Adobe. Adobe is putting native USDZ support into Creative Cloud suite of apps. Designers will be able to natively edit AR objects in the software they’re familiar with—perhaps as easily as if they were throwing a lens flare on a JPEG. With a new iOS app, any element can be pulled from Creative Cloud and viewed in augmented reality. More details on this new app are supposed to come later today.

 

Measure

The sound of a thousand ARKit developers crying out could be heard across the land as Apple introduced its own tape measuring app. The tape measure was a common app we saw developers testing out before the first version of ARKit formally launched. It’s basically the fart app of AR and there are a bunch of them in the app store already. But now Apple’s releasing its official “Measure” app, and no one will even need to turn to a third-party digital ruler again—unless it sucks.

News Integration

One way that Apple wanted to show off USDZ integration across the iOS platform was in how it might integrate with news articles. A magazine article about Japanese gardening was shown on the big screen and when a user scrolled down they could see a 3D rendering of a Koi fish. Tapping on a control maximized the image, it was animated, and a user could pan or zoom around it.

You’ve probably seen some form of interactive video on the occasional New York Times article, but Apple is selling this as a much simpler way of bringing original AR assets into stories. It’s also likely showing off some fancy magazine features as it pushes Texture, the Netflix-for-magazines service it acquired in March. Expect to see that app showing off AR features hard.

ARKit 2.0

Unless your a developer, most of what’s going on under the hood of the new ARKit won’t matter to you. “Better everything” is essentially what it boils down to. But the biggest takeaway should be that it’s bringing in persistent, shared experiences or, you know, multiplayer for AR. Two or more people will be able to log in to an app and see the same AR objects in the same shared space.

One example app was shown off that will be available to developers today. It showed two players facing each other and battling to knock over a bunch of fake wooden blocks on a real table. Each player used their iPad as a slingshot to knock over the wooden shapes, and a third-observer could even watch what the other players were doing from a totally different perspective.

Lego Partnership

To cap off its AR news, Apple brought out some representatives from Lego to show off how the building block giant will use AR to make a sort of Sims-style experience with its play sets. It was by far the most feature-rich demo shown on stage today.

The Lego reps presented a single, hand-built “Assembly Square” Lego set. In the demo, up to four players could open up their iPads and suddenly streets appeared around the building. More Lego buildings, characters, and vehicles were added to fill out the town. Characters were alive inside the buildings and carrying on with their lives and the characters the players controlled could drive the vehicles. Game missions like putting out fires and saving bystanders from a burning building were shown off. And the whole world that gamers created could be saved and returned to at any time.

What Microsoft buying GitHub means to open-source software development

A few years back, the mere idea of Microsoft (Microsoft of all companies!) buying GitHub, the leading open-source development hosting company, would have been seen as nuts. Today, Microsoft is buying GitHub for a cool $7.5-billion in stock. Not a bad price for a company’s that never seen a dime of net revenue.

But, Microsoft isn’t buying GitHub for revenue. It’s buying it because as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella put it: “Microsoft is a developer-first company, and by joining forces with GitHub we strengthen our commitment to developer freedom, openness, and innovation.”

People agree that GitHub is the most popular open-source version control code repository in the world. No other company or group comes close. As of March 2018, GitHub had over 28 million users and 85 million code repositories.

Sacha Labourey, CEO of CloudBees, the enterprise Jenkins continuous integration site “can’t think of a better destination for GitHub than ‘The New Microsoft.’ The New Microsoft totally gets developers. GitHub has built an amazing social network for developers who are likely not going to be in a hurry to leave this buzzing hive anytime soon for some temporary FUD.”

FUD? Former Microsoft CEO Steve “Linux is a cancer” Ballmer may have quit his job in 2014 to be replaced by Satya “Microsoft loves Linux” Nadella, but many open-source developers and supporters still hate Microsoft.

Roy Schestowitz, editor of the anti-Microsoft and software patent site, TechRights tweeted, “Microsoft is a saboteur whose sabotage relies on lies about ‘love.'” He also claims “Git hosts other than #github getting 10 times the usual load (surge) as people migrate away from GitHub.”

Indeed, Gitlab, a leading GitHub competitor, reports: “We’re seeing 10x the normal daily amount of repositories.” This is being driven not just because of old grudges against Microsoft, but because, as one Reddit writer put it, under Microsoft GitHub’s “real future is a buggy and monetized site.

Nadella may say, “We recognize the responsibility we take on with this agreement. We are committed to being stewards of the GitHub community, which will retain its developer-first ethos, operate independently, and remain an open platform.”

But, some very vocal developers don’t buy that for a New York minute. They are certain that Microsoft will “Embrace, extend, and extinguish” the programs of potential rivals. As one put it on a Google+ thread, “What does M$ have to gain from this, other than by either shutting it down in the long term, monetizing it further or by data mining folks? In just a matter of hours, they made GitHub a completely toxic entity.”

Actually, leaving aside Microsoft’s aforementioned reasons to buy GitHub, Microsoft is a huge GitHub user. Microsoft uses the Git protocol — ironically created by Linus Torvalds to manage Linux — in Visual Studio Team ServiceMicrosoft also already uses GitHub for many of its own programs. Indeed, João Pedro Martins, an Azure Architect Manager claims, “Microsoft is already the biggest contributor anyway.”

Microsoft developer, Miguel de Icaza, founder of the open-source programs Mono and GNOME, remarked, “Satya looked at Microsoft’s bill from all the code we host on GitHub and figured it would be cheaper to buy the company.”

Still other developers and companies don’t want their code being hosted on a site that now belongs to a major competitor. In response to de Icaza, Matt Van Horn, wrote, “It’s gonna be so cool that Microsoft will be able to peek into the private repos of people trying to compete with them, won’t it?”

Some open-source developers are sick and tired of treating Microsoft like it hasn’t changed its way over the last few years. Jon Masters, Red Hat‘s chief ARM architect wrote on Google+, “If you’re needlessly hating on Microsoft for buying GitHub, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but the world changed. It’s time to move forward with life and accept that in 2018, MSFT isn’t the Great Satan out to destroy all Open Source.”

James Bottomley, a Distinguished Engineer at IBM Research and a leading Linux developer, added in a blog post, “Companies with well established open-source business models and motivations that don’t depend on the whims of VCs are much more trustworthy in open source in the long term. Although it’s a fairly recent convert, Microsoft is now among these because it’s clearly visible how its conversion from desktop to cloud both requires open source and requires Microsoft to play nicely with open source.”

As for Microsoft’s bad track record, Bottomley thinks that’s a “bonus because from the corporate point of view it has to be extra vigilant in maintaining its open source credentials.”

The real battle over GitHub’s future won’t be in social media battles. It will be with GitHub’s users. Will they be moving their code out of GitHub as soon as possible? Are they comfortable with leaving their program in MS-GitHub? Only time, and Microsoft’s actions, will tell.

ISRAEL RESPONDS WITH ‘MEAN GIRLS’ GIF AFTER IRAN’S AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI’S NUCLEAR THREATS

Israel jokingly jabbed back at Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Twitter Monday in response to his calls for increasing nuclear enrichment and an ominous line challenging Israel’s very existence in the Middle East.

Khamenei sent out a series of bombastic tweets railing against Israel and the U.S. on Sunday in which Iran’s top leader said his Middle East neighbor is a “malignant cancerous tumor” in the region. In a speech Monday, Khamenei declared that any country firing a missile at Iran “will be hit by 10,” Reuters reported. But the Israeli embassy in Washington’s official Twitter account shot back with a much more comedic tone, tweeting a GIF from the 2004 movie Mean Girls.


“Why are you so obsessed with me?” asks actress Rachel McAdams’s Regina George. Responses to the Middle East Twitter spat varied from labeling it infantile to “genius,” but Khamenei’s account has continued to criticize Israel and call for nuclear enrichment preparations. “Our stance against Israel is the same stance we have always taken. #Israel is a malignant cancerous tumor in the West Asian region that has to be removed and eradicated: it is possible and it will happen,” Khamenei tweeted Sunday, prompting the Mean Girls response.

Tensions between Iran and Western allies have increased since President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. But France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China remain in support of the international accord they believe has the best shot at stopping Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon. The U.S. pulled out of the accord and Trump vowed to renew tough sanctions against Iran unless they meet strict demands not made by the other Western allies.

the Israeli embassy in Washington’s official Twitter account shot back with a much more comedic tone, tweeting a gif from the 2004 movie “Mean Girls.”SCREENSHOT: KHAMENEI, ISRAELI EMBASSY TWITTER

Khamenei’s speech Monday detailed how he had ordered Iranian atomic officials to increase the country’s nuclear enrichment capacity but at a level that would not exceed those set by the 2015 nuclear deal under the Obama administration.

But while Khamenei continued to rail against “the enemy’s plan to exert economic, psychological pressures and unrest to dominate over our beloved nation of Iran,” other political leaders in his country took a far more conciliatory approach to working with the remaining Western countries other than the U.S. to salvage the deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter last week asking “the remaining signatories and other trade partners” to “make up for Iran’s losses” created by the Trump administration’s exit from the deal. The state news agency IRNA published the letter in parts Sunday, which described the nuclear deal as being a result of “meticulous, sensitive and balanced multilateral talks” that could not be renegotiated simply because of one American administration’s political differences with another.

‘It’s all crap.’ Parents lash out in anger after Parkland cop Scot Peterson ends silence.

On Thursday, Feb. 22, eight days after Nikolas Cruz turned Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School into a killing field — reigniting the dormant debate over gun control and setting fire to the culture wars — the Broward County sheriff held a news conference and turned school deputy Scot Peterson into the face of failure.

Critics of the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s anemic response to the school shooting called him a coward — the “Broward Coward.” Peterson spent the next three months holed up in his Boynton Beach duplex, warily surveilling visitors from behind a sheet.

But on Monday, Peterson broke his silence, though it turns out he hadn’t been silent after all. Peterson, 55, who infamously stood behind a concrete wall outside the Parkland school while at least some of the 17 students and adults were slaughtered inside, had granted intimate access to his home and life to a reporter with the Washington Post.

Scot Peterson, school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, addresses a public hearing before the massacre that led to his exit from the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Peterson’s words seemed only to stoke the fury of the parents of students who died on Feb. 14 at Stoneman Douglas.

The interview published Monday — to be followed by taped segments on NBC’s Today show Tuesday and Wednesday — is a devastating account of the state’s worst school shooting and its aftermath from the lawman who is perhaps most associated with it. “It’s haunting,” Peterson tells the Post. “I’ve cut that day up a thousand ways with a million different what-if scenarios, but the bottom line is I was there to protect, and I lost 17.”

In the end, Peterson concluded there was little or nothing more he could have done to save the lives of students whom, he says, affectionately called him “Dep.”

“I’m tired of him trying to paint himself as the victim,” Fred Guttenberg, the father of 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, told the Miami Herald. “He is not a victim. He created victims. He keeps referring to them as his kids. They are not your kids, Scot Peterson! You let them die!”

“He keeps mentioning the third floor. If he had done his job, this killing wouldn’t have made it to the third floor. Those people who lost their lives, including my daughter, are victims of his inability to do his job; victims of his failure.”

Guttenberg added: “This interview makes him even more pathetic than he already was. You failed me and my daughter. If you are truly sorry, I challenge you to face me.”

Fred Guttenberg, father of slain 14-year-old Jaime Guttenberg, speaks at a public meeting.

Andrew Pollack, who lost his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow Pollack, was scornful of Peterson’s version of events in the Post story, which quoted him saying: “I couldn’t get [Cruz]. It was my job, and I didn’t find him.”

Pollack: “How could he find him if he’s hiding behind a wall?”

“I think the whole country knows he didn’t do his job and this interview was his way of him trying to live with it,” said Pollack, who has since the shooting become a national school safety activist. “He’s just a liar. It’s all on tape.”

Pollack filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson and Cruz in April, telling the Herald that Peterson was his “main target.”

“He could have stopped it. Could have saved my kid,” Pollack said. “Nobody should be able to not do their job, receive a pension and ride off into the sunset.”

As part of his severance with BSO, Peterson will receive an annual pension in excess of $100,000.

Max Schachter, who lost his 14-year-old son, Alex, told the Miami Herald he doesn’t “really care to hear that [Peterson] is having a difficult time.

“I don’t understand how he can come out and say that he did do his job. He did nothing. He stood outside. He knew the guy was inside killing our kids. It’s all crap,” Schachter said.

“He actually caused more deaths because he told officers not to go in. He should be prosecuted.”

One day after Douglas students graduated — and were surprised to see late-night comic Jimmy Fallon on stage — several of the Parkland students-turned-activists held a news conference to announce they were repurposing their anti-gun march into a voter registration drive. Called “March for Our Lives: Road to Change,” the initiative will include a two-month tour designed to spur turnout for the November midterm elections.

Several Douglas students at the event said they had not yet read the interview. Some said they planned to. A Douglas rising senior, Morgan Williams, called the former deputy an “[expletive] coward” on Twitter, and said she didn’t “care what that article says.”

“He was scared? So was I and everyone else inside that building. While I had to run across my classroom and [hide] from the shooter, he stood outside and did nothing. He gets absolutely no sympathy from me,” Williams wrote on Twitter.

Some wrote on Twitter that the interview humanized the deputy and allowed him to explain for the first time his actions that day. But parents of the victims were not comforted.

April Schentrup, the mother of slain student Carmen Schentrup, 16, told a reporter at the voter registration event that she had not yet read the interview, but was told about it early Monday. “There’s just too many failures that we cannot accept anymore,” she said.

“I can just say that my kid is no longer here,” April Schentrup said. “We understand human errors, but we don’t understand why our children are no longer here when other things could have been done, could’ve helped prevent this.”

Moments later, April Schentrup took to Twitter: “If you really wanted to ‘find’ the shooter, then you should have gone in the bldg and towards the sound of gunshots,” she wrote. “We LOST OUR kids and loved ones!”

Carmen’s father, Philip Schentrup, called Peterson “a coward and a liar.”

“He is attempting to create a narrative about him as a victim instead of the truth,” he said. “He heard the gunfire, and he knew what it was…. His training wasn’t to clear the area, it was to immediately engage the shooter and stop the killing. He must live with himself and the truth that 17 people were murdered as he stood around and did nothing.”

One of the most outspoken parents said he had little interest in what Peterson had to say.

Jeff Kasky, whose son Cameron helped organize the March for Our Lives protest and has become a ubiquitous gun control advocate after he survived the attack, said he’s only interested in looking forward to stanching the country’s assault gun epidemic — and not backward to affix blame.

“I couldn’t care less about Scot Peterson,” he said. “Whatever happened, happened in the past.”

“I can understand why people are interested in the story,” Kasky said. “But I am still laser-focused on our political action committee, and getting the NRA and dirty money out of politics.” On May 18, Kasky registered Families vs Assault Rifles PAC, Inc. as the non-profit arm of student activists’ efforts to restrict access to weapons such as the AR 15, which Cruz wielded when he entered Douglas.

“For myself, as a 20-year law enforcement officer, no operation is ever perfect. Every operation can be reviewed in hindsight, as BSO is doing, and we can learn from it,” said Kasky, who is a reserve officer in addition to practicing law.

Speaking while Christian music and the Fox News Channel played in the background, Peterson ruminated on opportunities lost and actions and inactions second-guessed. “What more could he possibly have done?” the story asked, paraphrasing Peterson’s palpable anguish. “Why had he failed to save so many lives in the exact scenario he had spent so much of his career training for — to find and kill an active shooter.”

“You’re a hero or a coward, and that’s it,” Peterson told his interviewer.

Peterson acknowledges the opprobrium with which his name now is associated. In the hours since the interview appeared, he’s been referred to on Twitter as “the disgraced former campus deputy,” the “scorned Parkland school cop,” a “dirty little coward” and “the coward cop.”

“How can they keep saying I did nothing,” the Post quotes Peterson as asking his girlfriend. Peterson had studied surveillance footage, the story says, and reviewed witness statements in an effort to understand what went wrong. “I’m getting on the radio to call in the shooting. I’m locking down the school. I’m clearing kids out of the courtyard. They have the video and the call logs. The evidence is sitting right there.”

This Feb. 14, 2018, frame from security video provided by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office shows deputy Scot Peterson, right, outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He spoke out for the first time in an interview published Monday, June 4, 2014, in the Washington Post. Broward Sheriff’s Office via AP

Suspect in six Arizona killings fatally shoots himself in hotel room as officers close in, police say

A man suspected of killing six people, including a prominent forensic psychiatrist, in the Phoenix suburb of Scottsdale, Ariz., fatally shot himself as police closed in Monday, ending a days-long manhunt that has rattled many in the legal and mental-health communities.

Police on Monday afternoon identified Dwight Jones, a 56-year-old man who had been arrested for domestic violence in 2009 and had been living in hotels in the nine years since, as the gunman who shot the forensic psychiatrist, a psychologist and two paralegals. Each of those victims was loosely connected to his divorce proceedings, Scottsdale Assistant Chief of Police Richard Slavin said. Police also suspect Jones murdered a man and woman in a home in Fountain Hills, Ariz., before killing himself.

Slavin said ballistic evidence connected the killings of Stephen Pitts, Veleria Sharp, Laura Anderson and Marshall Levin. On Sunday morning, police had identified Jones as the suspect and had taken a DNA sample from family members that linked him to the crimes. Shortly after they began surveillance, they witnessed Jones dispose of a pistol; that was not the gun used in the crimes, police say, but it belonged to the male victim in the Fountain Hills.

Officers with the Scottsdale and Phoenix police departments tracked down the suspect at an Extended Stay hotel in Scottsdale on Monday morning. Sgt. Vince Lewis, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department, told reporters that Jones fired multiple gunshots from inside his room as tactical team members were evacuating the hotel. They later found Jones with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Lewis said, adding that the officers did not fire their weapons.

The victims in the days-long killing spree worked in related fields, a fact that raised fears among some that the suspect might be indiscriminately attacking people who worked in the criminal justice or court system in the Phoenix area.

The first victim was a prominent forensic psychiatrist who had consulted in high-profile murder cases, including the 1996 killing of child beauty-pageant star JonBenét Ramsey. Police said Pitt, 59, was shot Thursday afternoon outside his office on the outskirts of Scottsdale.

As part of Jones’s divorce proceedings, Slavin said, Jones had been required to see Pitt.

Less than 24 hours later after Pitt was found, about 2 p.m. Friday, two paralegals were shot at a law firm in downtown Scottsdale, across the street from government offices. Police said one of the women, who had been shot in the head, was able to get out of the building and flag a bus driver for help before she died. Police followed her blood trail and found the other victim.

Sharp, 48, and Anderson, 49, were paralegals for the family law firm Burt, Feldman, Grenier. Jones’s ex-wife had retained Elizabeth Feldman for the divorce proceedings, Slavin said.

The fourth victim was found dead just after midnight Saturday. Police said an acquaintance found Marshall Levine, 72, a psychologist and counselor, dead of a gunshot wound in his office, about halfway between the sites of the previous shootings.

Slavin said Jones’s son, as part of the proceedings, was required to see a psychiatrist who occupied the office space that Levine is now in.

Police work on Monday at an Extended Stay hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., where a suspect wanted in several killings was staying. According to police, the suspect killed himself as tactical team members closed in.

Sgt. Ben Hoster, a spokesman for the Scottsdale Police Department, told reporters over the weekend that Pitt’s killing was connected to the shooting of the two paralegals. Police confirmed Monday that the suspect was also linked to Levine’s shooting.

Police had initially said little about the suspect, other than that he was an adult male. Earlier, Phoenix police released a sketch of what appears to be an older white man wearing a hat. On Monday afternoon, they released a photo of Jones.

Slavin said he couldn’t speak to Jones’s thinking, but evidence suggested he was attempting to right what he thought were wrongs.

Enzo Yaksic, a criminal profiler and founder of Atypical Homicide Research Group at Northeastern University in Boston, said serial murderers are generally motivated by a desire for revenge — “angry and resentful individuals who believe they are settling a grievance for perceived or actual wrongs and blame others and the systems they represent for their problems.”

The suspect in the Phoenix-area killings fits that description, Yaksic hypothesized, based on information published about the deaths.

“This offender espoused the methodical calculation of the serial killer, the vengeful nature of the mass murderer and the swiftness and exigency of the spree killer,” Yaksic said. “Few offenders are adept at cycling from one typology to the net in quick succession as was done here.”

Some speculated that Pitt, the most well known of the victims, may have been killed because of his profession, a line of work that required him to study the minds of criminals.

“When Dr. Pitt was shot, it was speculated among a good number of people that it could be tied to a case,” said Justin Yentes, a private investigator in Phoenix who works with criminal defense attorneys in the area. “We work around these types of situations. There’s always a risk that you’ve upset the wrong person, I suppose. The general belief was that there was an upset party in a case that was potentially seeking revenge.”

Yentes said he knows of several law Phoenix-area law firms that did not open Monday because of fears of being targeted, and some have talked about having uniformed officers in their lobbies.

Steve Silverman, an insurance-claim lawyer, does not know any of the victims, but he has been on edge for a few days. Levine, the psychologist, was shot and killed across the street from Silverman’s house. And the hotel where the suspect is said to have killed himself is right next to his office in Scottsdale’s Agua Caliente shopping center.

That the suspect killed the victims in their workplaces, and that he was unidentified for days, only raised fears for Silverman that he might run into the killer. Before news broke Monday morning that the suspect is dead, Silverman had contemplated not coming to work at all. The day before, he had planned to come to the office to do some work but decided to stay at home.

“To me, it drives home the importance of maintaining a sense of awareness or vigilance. I feel absolutely awful for the family members of the victims,” Silverman said.

That paralegals were attacked also struck a nerve with him.

“None of these things are rational, but it seems particularly irrational to attack paralegals. That was just beyond the pale,” Silverman said. “That was a degree of recklessness and anger and rage that was beyond what I might have expected.”

The Washington Post was unable to reach the law firm where the paralegals worked. In a statement to the Arizona Republic, the firm said both Sharp and Anderson were dedicated and treasured members of its staff. Both were wives and mothers.

Steven Pitt, a prominent forensic psychiatrist, was one of four people killed over the past few days in Scottsdale.

Pitt, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Phoenix, was known for his role in the investigation into the death of JonBenét Ramsey, a child beauty-pageant star who made national headlines in 1996 when she was found dead in her family’s home in Boulder, Colo.

Pitt also helped police as they tried to solve a string of crimes that terrorized Phoenix in 2006. Mark Goudeau, nicknamed the “Baseline Rapist” and later the “Baseline Killer” because the crimes first happened along Phoenix’s Baseline Road, was convicted of more than five dozen charges, including several counts of murder, rape and kidnapping.

biography on Pitt’s website says he also consulted and advised prosecutors in the Colorado rape case against Kobe Bryant and in the Columbine High School shooting investigation.

Levine, the fourth victim, owned a clinic called Peak Life Solutions and was a “life coach hypnotherapist,” according to his profile on Psychology Today.

“I coach because serving, fostering & supporting my clients in reaching their goals & overcoming their challenges gives purpose to my life,” Levine’s profile reads. “My clients’ fulfillment is my joy.”

The Phoenix area has seen several serial murderers over the years, said Yaksic, whose organization maintains a database on 2,700 serial killers nationwide. Most recently, a man named Cleophus Cooksey Jr. was accused of fatally shooting nine people in Phoenix, including his mother and her boyfriend, in November and December.