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  • Andrew Hsieh

AAMPLIFY Roundup: A cure for sepsis, an ESPN mishap, and a new American Girl

Every week, AAMPLIFY brings you the week in Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander news.

Indian American discovers possible cure for sepsis

Thanks to fifteen years of research, sepsis has a new potential cure in Dr. Pinaki Panigrahi's new findings. Published in last week's issue of the journal Nature, Dr. Panigrahi has discovered that infants can reduce rates of sepsis by up to 40 percent when fed a particular strain of bacteria. In India, where Dr. Panigrahi held a large clinical trial, hundreds of thousands of newborns die from sepsis every year, so this is a huge step forward.

Next steps include repititions of the clinical trial, though Dr. Panigrahi warns that it may not be possible to hold as rigorous and wide a trial as he held in India. Scientists, however, are highly optimistic, if a little cautious that the treatment is too good to be true.

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ESPN prevents Asian American named Robert Lee from broadcasting

An Asian American named Robert Lee has been prevented from announcing the University of Virginia's first football game next month, because his name is almost the same as that of Robert E. Lee's, the Confederate general whose statues are being taken down around the country.

The game will take place in Charlottesville, where white supremacists and Nazis protested earlier this month. As such, said ESPN, Robert Lee was assigned to a different game for his safety. ESPN says it made the decision together with Lee.

Online, the decision drew ridicule from both the left and right, with commenters saying it was ridiculous to assume people couldn't differentiate between the two. For his part, Lee had no comment.

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Hellboy film casts white actor in Japanese role

The new Hellboy film, "Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen," has cast British actor Ed Skrein for the role of Major Ben Daimio, a Japanese American ex-Marine in the original comics. This is another whitewashed casting in a long line of whitewashed films, including the recent Scarlett Johansson adaptation of "Ghost in the Shell."

This casting is particularly egregious due to the background of Major Daimio. The character's grandmother is a Japanese Imperial assassin in World War II, and serves as a person of color in the U.S. Army. With a Caucasian Briton in the role, both aspects are diminished.

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Marshall Islands leader passes away

Marshall Islands and climate activism leader Tony A. de Brum passed away this Monday, after a lifetime of government leadership and climate change outreach. de Brum helped organize for the Marshall Islands' independence from the U.S. in 1979, served as the new country's foreign minister, and after 50 years of government work, advocated for climate change reform.

Twice de Brum made his case to the UN Security Council: once for the independence of the Marshall Islands and twice for the UN to speak out on climate change. Though the latter attempt failed, de Brum became a vital proponent of the Paris climate agreement, rounding up representatives from over a hundred countries to show their support for more stringent climate change regulations.

de Brum died in the Marshallese capital of Majuro. He was 72.

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Native Hawaiian doll joins American Girl doll line

Nanea Mitchell likes hula, accessorizing and helping at her grandma's store in Hawaii. She is also eighteen inches tall, and the latest addition to American Girl, a doll line featuring high end dolls connected with particular stories that resonate throughout history. In Nanea's case, it's the attack on Pearl Harbor. (Don't worry. She's okay.)

Nanea is American Girl's first Native Hawaiian doll, and one of the few Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander dolls in the collection. Fortunately, a five-member advisory panel was on hand to make sure Nanea's 1940s clothes, hula outfit and other accessories were culturally accurate.

"We hope Nanea's powerful story of resilience, responsibility to others, and contributing for the common good — or kokua, as it's known in Hawaii — will resonate with girls and show them they have the power within to face the obstacles that come their way," said Katy Dickson, president of American Girl.

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