The Week Unwrapped: SIDS, Tasers and Alabaman rights

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

An Australian researcher who had lost her own son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome has published a study suggesting that testing for a particular enzyme could help to identify babies at risk of succumbing to the little-understood condition. While experts in the field have welcomed the research, they have also received it with caution. The results of the test are unlikely to provide anything like a definitive prediction – and it is not yet clear how the enzyme in question is linked to the risk of sudden death.


At the Police Federation’s annual conference this week, Priti Patel announced that she was authorising Special Constables to carry Tasers for the first time. The home secretary said this would ensure that the UK’s nearly 9,000 voluntary police officers are not “at a disadvantage when facing an attacker wielding a knife or a marauding terrorist”. The move has caused concerns, with Amnesty International UK warning that it will lead to “more instances of misuse, serious harm and death”. But how dangerous are Tasers – and with public confidence in policing at rock bottom, is this really the right time to be giving officers more power?

Trans rights in Alabama

A judge in Alabama has blocked part of a law that makes it a felony to give gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to people under the age of 18. US district judge Liles Burke, who was appointed by Trump, issued a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the medication ban. It leaves in place the part of the law that bans sex-altering surgeries and prohibits school officials from keeping certain gender-identity information secret from parents. But could it mark a turning of the tide against anti-trans legislation in the US.



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