Researchers Discover What Could Be World’s ‘OLDEST’ Bronze Age Shipwreck

Researchers Discover What Could Be World's 'OLDEST' Bronze Age Shipwreck

Artefacts from the freshly discovered shipwreck, which is believed to date back to the 16th century, will eventually be put on display at a new museum in the Turkish province of Antalya.

A trade vessel dating back some 3,600 years has been discovered off the western coast of Turkey’s Antalya and is believed to be the oldest commercial shipwreck that has ever been found.

The 14-metre-long ship, loaded with 1.5 tonnes of copper ingots, was found at a depth of 50 metres by Akdeniz University Underwater Research Centre teams, but its exact location has been kept secret to prevent it from being plundered.

“From the typology of the bullion, we determined the shipwreck was one of the merchant vessels of the 16th century BC. We have broken fresh ground in underwater archaeology thanks to these findings”, Hakan Oniz, one of the researchers, said.

Turkish underwater archaeologists discover a 3,600-year-old Bronze Age shipwreck, which could be the world’s “oldest,” filled with tons of copper bullion off the coast of Antalya in southern Turkey https://t.co/zHk07JgLPtpic.twitter.com/sibhpoBA3H— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) 8 апреля 2019 г.

The team determined the amount of bullion on board through three-dimensional scans of the shipwreck obtained via sonar surveys, photographic mosaic, and photo-scanning.

“It was probably caught in the middle of a storm while travelling to the Aegean region from Cyprus. It was carrying a cargo of copper bullion and the type of that bullion helped us date the ship. This may well be world’s earliest vessel carrying industrial goods”, he added.

Oniz further revealed that the university is planning to form a team with local and international experts for a five-year project to further explore the underwater finding, which has already been dubbed the Bronze Age shipwreck.

Previously, a shipwreck dating back to 1400 BC was discovered off the shores of Antalya, which was believed to be the oldest of its kind until this recent discovery.

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Angelina Jolie wants Brad Pitt back in her life? Here’s the truth

Angelina Jolie wants Brad Pitt back in her life? Here's the truth

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie parted ways two and a half years ago but the former couple has not yet finalised their divorce. As per a recent report, Angelina has had a change of heart and wants to get back with her former husband so that they can be a big family again.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were in a high profile relationship that lasted more than a decade. The couple decided to end their marriage in September 2016 and has fought over the custody of their six children for a long time. There were several reports about them coming on mutual grounds but the latest report claims that Angelina is very much keen to win back her estranged husband.

As per an alleged report by The Sun, Brad Pitt has reportedly turned down the idea of a romantic relationship with Angelina but wants a good meaningful relationship for the sake of their six children.

“Angelina has made it clear to Brad that she wants to be back in a relationship with him. She would like them to be a family again and doesn’t seem capable of moving on. That’s why she is making it so difficult for Brad with every detail of their divorce,” a source contended.

The insider further revealed that Brad Pitt’s primary goal is to be a father for his six children. The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood movie star has reportedly kept his mouth shut because he wants the best for his children

“Angelina is making it horrendous for him and drawing out the process, but it’s not going to make him consider going back. He just wants it all settled — in reality, this could have been over a year ago — but she won’t let go.”

Right after their announcement to part ways, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have led separate lives. Both stars have focused on work and on their respective health. Many fans would want to see Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt together but if Angelina wanted to stay with Brad, she wouldn’t have asked for separation in the first place. It seems like these reports of Angelina wanting to get back together with Brad Pitt are nothing but fabricated news.

Babies born out of wedlock abandoned on Saudi streets due to fears of punishment, campaigners warn

Babies born out of wedlock abandoned on Saudi streets due to fears of punishment, campaigners warn

Abortion is illegal in the middle eastern country unless a woman’s health is at risk and sexual relations outside of marriage is criminalised ( Dana Almayouf )

Babies who are born out of wedlock are abandoned on the streets in Saudi Arabia as women fear retribution and punishment for having an illegitimate child, campaigners have warned.

Abortion is illegal in the Middle Eastern country unless a woman’s health is at risk and sexual relations outside of marriage are criminalised – with unmarried women faced with prosecution and even jail if they are found to be pregnant.

Under the kingdom’s restrictive guardianship system, women are legal minors and cannot marry, divorce, travel, get a job, be released from prison or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians. Women are also forbidden from mixing freely with members of the opposite sex.

Dana Almayouf, a Saudi woman living in New York, said: “Babies are abandoned on the streets. It is not safe on the streets. Mostly our newspapers in Saudi Arabia do not shed light on the subject because it is a taboo.

“Even with premarital sex, they get rid of the baby by putting them on the street,” she claimed.

“No matter how open-minded your family is, you can’t keep the baby if you are not married.

“Sometimes they kill the girl if she has been raped – if your family is crazy conservative they will kill their own relatives. On the other hand, the men can have as much sex as they want as long as they do not speak about it.

Women in Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty’s latest human rights report, face “systematic discrimination in law and practice and were inadequately protected against sexual and other violence.”

“Families often blame the girl if her father or brother raped her,” said Ms Almayouf. “It would be her own fault. The woman gets the blame most of the time. If you are raped they look for the reason you got raped. But it is taboo to talk about rape.”

Ms Almayouf, who left Saudi Arabia in 2012, said she was too scared to return to Saudi Arabia. She has renounced Islam which is punishable by death under the Saudi system of Islamic law.

She said sometimes people put infants outside of mosques, orphanages, or hospitals due to not being able to hand in it themselves due to fear of other people asking about where the baby came from. But she said that in some cases nobody takes the baby.

Ms Almayouf, who is a photographer, said occasionally Saudi women find furtive ways to illegally have abortions but this is generally only accessible to those who are rich or well-connected.

“Some of the families who abandon the baby kill the girl and tell everyone she killed herself,” she added. “Or they will lock her in the house because they are never going to trust her anymore. She is basically in prison in the home. It is rare cases when they would not be killed or locked inside.”

Ms Almayouf, who has recently been granted a work permit by the US government but is applying for US citizenship, said that women who get pregnant outside of marriage will likely be forced to give birth inside the house because it is illegal to go to hospital to give birth to a baby who is being born outside of wedlock.

Campaigners argue Saudi Arabia profoundly discriminates against women – with women’s marital rights being effectively non-existent and marital rape not explicitly defined as a crime.

The guardianship system makes it almost impossible for victims of domestic violence or sexual abuse to seek justice or protection because the police often insist that women and girls obtain their guardian’s authorisation to file complaints even if the complaint concerns the guardian.

Saudi Arabia imposes a very strict interpretation of Islamic Law known as Wahhabism.

Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: “It is a widely known issue that babies are left on the street. It is a crime to have children outside of wedlock. If you have managed to escape the authorities noticing you are pregnant, women may choose to abandon babies to avoid crime and punishment, and the stigma and shame of being excluded from their families.

“The sad thing is the babies would not have been abandoned if it had not been a crime. Having these laws is allowing for people to abandon babies. You have got a situation where they prosecute for them for having the babies and then vilify them for abandoning them.”

Ms Begum, who specialises in the Middle East and North Africa and has extensive research on Saudi Arabia in particular, noted some babies are not abandoned and will end up in orphanages, adding that there are some charities who look after abandoned children.

The campaigner noted that even though sexual relations outside of marriage are criminalised for men and women, the crime disproportionately applies to women because they are the ones who become pregnant so display visible evidence of the crime. She also argued moral standards of behaviour are more readily applied to women than men and that women are more likely to be deemed to be transgressing them.

Women in the country find themselves in prison for having sex outside of marriage, she added.

“If you are pregnant you could end up in prison regardless of whether it was rape,” she said. ”You can be sentenced while pregnant and detained in prison during your pregnancy but you will only be subject to lashes after you have your baby.”

“You can say ‘I was raped by a person driving that car’ and they can say ‘Why were you in that car and why did you voluntarily enter a place with a man who is not related to you or is your husband?”

Saudi women and migrant domestic workers who report abuse, including rape, sometimes face counter accusations, leaving them open to criminal prosecution, according to a Human Rights Watch report.

Women may be charged with moral crimes, like khilwa (which means mixing with unrelated members of the opposite sex), or with fleeing from their homes.

Ms Begum said it is possible to get an abortion in the country if you have the “right connections” – noting that “backstreet abortions happen like in any country where abortion is criminalised”.

The male guardianship system – which confines women to a lifetime of being a minor – is another factor which prevents women from being able to travel abroad for an abortion as their male guardian may not allow them to go.

A spokesperson for UK abortion provider Marie Stopes said: “We had a woman come over from Saudi Arabia who was pregnant out of wedlock. She was 20 and she said her family would kill her if they found out she was pregnant. She managed to get on a plane to visit friends here. We booked her an appointment that suited her travel plans.”

Saudi Arabia has faced extensive scrutiny and criticism over its human rights record in the wake of its detainment of women’s rights activists. It has also been criticised for its role in the war in Yemen and over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October.

A representative for the Saudi government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump transgender military ban: 14,700 jobs at risk as controversial policy comes into effect

Trump transgender military ban: 14,700 jobs at risk as controversial policy comes into effect

AFP

Today, as President Trump’s transgender military ban takes effect, 14,700 people may lose their jobs because of their gender identity.

First announced via a series of tweets in 2017, President Trump said, “Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.”

As reported by the Palm Center, there are 8,980 transgender service people in active duty and 5,727 in the Selective Reserve.

The ban, which has been widely contested by LGBTQ+ groups and previously blocked from implementation by a federal judge, will potentially remove transgender individuals from service if there is a history of gender dysphoria and they are unable to prove ‘stability in birth gender’ for 36 months prior to enlistment or have had prior gender transitioning.

Transgender military personnel must serve as their ‘birth gender’ for the duration of their service.

There is limited exception for currently serving transgender soldiers who require gender confirmation surgery for the “protection of their health”, covering only about 900 service members.

Trump’s plan will allow transgender military members who agree to serve as their birth gender for the rest of their tenure, without medical support for gender dysphoria, to remain in the military.

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The Navy has announced that off-duty transgender soldiers may live, and dress, in a way consistent with their gender identity.

Former Navy Seal and transgender woman, Kristin Beck, used Twitter to advocate for her fellow trans service members.

She said, in a series of tweets, “I’m not sure who fights for us. Our nation is adrift in a political war of Right vs Left and the military is a PAWN.” She continues, “FACT: ‘The AMA has said repeatedly that there is no medically valid reason to exclude transgender individuals from military service.’ So this “Blanket” ban is based on FEAR… of what?”

The Queen frustrated with Meghan Markle’s influence on Prince Harry?

The Queen frustrated with Meghan Markle's influence on Prince Harry?

The Queen may be wary over the effect Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, is having over Prince Harry. It is being claimed that Prince Harry is going along with Meghan Markle rather than the other way around.

The recent announcement that Prince Harry will be working alongside Oprah Winfrey on a new documentary is being used as an example of the “Meghan-effect” on the Duke.

The Queen “won’t approve” of Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s new partnership, a royal expert has claimed citing the “Meghan-effect” over the Duke. Of the collaboration, Royal commentator Duncan Larcombe warned: “These new charities and projects he’s got involved with the partnership with Oprah Winfrey is more evidence of ‘The Meghan Effect’.”

Harry will reportedly appear on-screen during the documentary though it is not yet known if he will be interviewed by the world-famous American TV presenter. The royal expert offered a word of caution to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, saying Hollywood celebrity culture and Royal Family norms have not mixed well in the past. Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are already trying to carve their own path in the Royal Family, much to the annoyance of the Queen. The increased influence of Hollywood celebrities within Royalty could further add to the Queen’s frustration.

The royal journalist went as far as to suggest the Queen would not be best pleased because the move constitutes a “break from tradition” and the Queen is “a stickler for tradition.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are expecting their first child this month. Preparations are being made for the arrival of the Royal baby. Meghan and Harry will be moving to Frogmore Cottage once their baby arrives.

Lost river returns to Somerset 70 years after it dried up

Lost river returns to Somerset 70 years after it dried up

The tributary was severed by a dam in 1956, when the valley was flooded to form the Chew Valley. Photograph: Alex Morss

A lost river has returned to the Somerset countryside for the first time in 70 years, and with it a new habitat for several species of rare and threatened wildlife.

The unnamed tributary of the River Chew from the Mendip Hills down to the River Avon was severed by a dam in 1956, when the valley was flooded to form the Chew Valley Lake reservoir that supplies Bristol and Bath.

Downstream, the river ecosystem withered into a dry ditch and died. An important ecological corridor was lost for aquatic creatures that had been journeying along the route since the last ice age. Instead, an occasional spill from the reservoir was diverted into a concrete spillway, bypassing the old riverbed and destroying the central linking piece of the route’s ecological jigsaw.

The water has now been redirected as part of a restoration project by Bristol Water with Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (Bart) and other partners. The river’s revival has included dramatic re-engineering of reservoir overflows, redirecting water along its former path.

The restored route meanders through an abandoned 1950s poplar and alder plantation, once used for matchstick making. Dense thickets of bramble and shady canopy have been opened up to encourage the river wildlife, bringing in light and encouraging aquatic plants, and the channel has been reshaped with berms, riffles and pools so undesirable silt buildup is scoured out by the natural energy of a faster current, opening up fish and invertebrate spawning areas.

The stream is one of three connected tributaries that join the River Avon further down the valley. Vulnerable populations of water vole, eels and white clawed crayfish should be able to weave their way upstream and recolonise the area.

Fish likely to return include salmon, trout, chub, perch, bream, carp, pike, minnow and stickleback.

Otters, kingfishers, barn owls and rare bats already hunt close by. Spring forest floor flowers have reappeared on the river banks. Chattering green woodpeckers and orange-tip butterflies flash through fresh sunlight among primroses, wild garlic and bluebells.

Matthew Pitts, the catchment strategy manager for Bristol Water, hopes to see the stream billowing with clouds of mayflies, damselflies and dragonflies. A fly monitoring project staffed by volunteers will help scrutinise the river’s health.

It is hoped fish and vulnerable wildlife will recolonise the river. Photograph: Alex Morss

Pitts said: “It is the first time the river has been permanently rewetted since the 1950s and will offer a considerable environmental benefit. We were able to get an immediately visible quick win by moving the river compensation discharge, which means allowing water to return to its former riverbed. We’ve devised a new, more natural flow regime, to benefit the river ecology and instantly created half a kilometre of river. We should see a healthier river and healthier fish populations.”

The river’s return was not initially welcomed by all. Legend has it that the River Chew earned its name from a Celtic word meaning “rushing water” – which served as an ominous warning. During a storm in 1968, the waters rose so high that it was feared the reservoir dam wall would burst and release a torrent into the villages of Chew Magna and Pensford. Police evacuated the valley. Although the dam held fast, torrential rains running off the hills demolished bridges on the Chew, submerged homes and washed away cars.

Pitts said: “We’ve consulted with local people – they still remember the devastating flood in 1968, so there has been apprehension, but we have been able to reassure them, and done modelling to prove we are not going to increase flood risk.”

He added: “The old abstraction licences were based on historical priorities that included providing more water in summer and the needs of lots of mills in the Chew Valley – we had cotton, flour and gunpowder mills and lots of industry. Nowadays we would expect the ecology of the river to be first and foremost.”

Microsoft accused of complicity in human rights abuses after helping China develop ‘disturbing’ AI

Microsoft accused of complicity in human rights abuses after helping China develop ‘disturbing’ AI

A Microsoft building in Beijing ( Getty )

Marco Rubio has accused Microsoft of being “complicit” in China‘s human rights abuses after the firm’s staff worked with a Chinese university on artificial intelligence research.

Staff at Microsoft Research Asia, based in Beijing, produced three research papers on artificial intelligence and facial analysis in collaboration with researchers linked to China’s National University of Defense Technology.

The institution is run by China’s Central Military Commission, according to the Financial Times, which first reported the story.

Mr Rubio, a US senator who has repeatedly criticised China, told the newspaper that the technology giant should rethink its role in the collaboration.

“It is deeply disturbing that an American company would be actively working with the Chinese military to further build up the government’s surveillance network against its own people – an act that makes them complicit in aiding the Communist Chinese government’s totalitarian censorship apparatus and egregious human rights abuses,” he said.

“The Chinese government and Communist party poses a real and persistent threat to American national and economic security, as well as basic human freedoms.

“American companies must recognise this threat and rethink their role in aiding China.”

In February 2019 a Dutch cybersecurity expert claimed to have discovered that SenseNets Technology, a facial-recognition company, had been tracking the movements of 2.5m people in China’s Xinjiang region.

The province has become notorious in recent years after authorities led a crackdown on Muslim minorities in the area, enabled by an extensive CCTV network and technology to monitor smartphones.

Millions of Uighur Muslims are thought to be incarcerated in re-education camps, where inmates are allegedly forced to eat pork and told to renounce their faith.

China has claimed that the mass camps are boarding schools.

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Ted Cruz, the Republican senator for Texas, also warned against US companies collaborating with Chinese researchers.

“We must ensure that American business interests are not enabling the [Chinese Communist party’s] oppression,” he told the Financial Times.

“Microsoft’s researchers, who are often academics, conduct fundamental research with leading scholars and experts from around the world to advance our understanding of technology,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Independent.

“In each case, the research is guided by our principles, fully complies with US and local laws, and the research is published to ensure transparency so that everyone can benefit from our work.”

Dutch fertility doctor ‘secretly fathered at least 49 children’

Dutch fertility doctor 'secretly fathered at least 49 children'

Parents and donor children after the court ruling in February. Photograph: Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

A deceased Dutch doctor mired in a fertility scandal fathered at least 49 children, an organisation representing parents and children born through IVF at his now-closed clinic has said.

Jan Karbaat, who died in 2017, is the direct father of 49 children born after women visited his Rotterdam clinic, where he used his own sperm instead of that from a chosen donor to inseminate them, Defence for Children said.

Results of DNA tests conducted on Friday morning at a hospital in the south-eastern city of Nijmegen “showed that 49 children in the case are direct descendants of the late Karbaat”, the organisation said in a statement.

The man who may have secretly fathered 200 children

“The results confirm serious suspicions that Karbaat used his own sperm at his clinic,” Defence for Children said.

The controversial case became public after a Dutch court ruled in February that the results of Karbaat’s DNA test should be made available to parents and children to conduct their own comparisons.

Before his death, Karbaat reportedly admitted to having fathered about 60 children in his time at the discredited clinic, which closed in 2009 amid reports of irregularities.

The group of suspected “Karbaat children” dragged his family to court to force them to release his DNA profile, which was locked in a safe.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer previously told doctors that some children had brown eyes when the sperm donor supposedly had blue eyes, or that another male client physically resembled the doctor.

The Karbaat family’s lawyers argued that their clients’ right to privacy had to be respected.

“However, with the judges agreeing to the paternity test, the judge placed the children’s rights above those of Karbaat and his family,” said Defence for Children adviser Iara de Witte.

“Now, after years of uncertainty, the plaintiffs can finally close a chapter and start processing the fact that they are one of Karbaat’s many descendants,” De Witte said.

Assange Put Excrement on Walls in Sign of Protest, Ecuador’s UK Envoy Claims

Assange Put Excrement on Walls in Sign of Protest, Ecuador's UK Envoy Claims

As Julian Assange was arrested in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on 11 April, the South American country’s president, Lenin Moreno, explained his decision to revoke the diplomatic asylum granted to the WikiLeaks founder by his predecessor, accusing him of “repeated violations to international conventions and daily-life protocols”.

Speaking with the Daily Mail, Ecuador’s Ambassador to the UK Jaime Marchan has made several claims about Julian Assange’s “daily protests” during his seven-year reclusion in Ecuador’s diplomatic premises in London.

The 72-year diplomat alleged that the whistleblower’s relationship with the personnel deteriorated towards the end of his asylum to an extent that he ostensibly left excrement smeared on the walls.

“When Assange wanted to be unpleasant, he put excrement on the walls and underwear with excrement in the lavatory. We had to remind him to flush the toilet and clean the dishes. He had to be reminded of normal standards of behaviours all the time. He would always leave the cooker on”, Marchan told the media outlet.

Staff was reportedly so irritated with him, they kicked out his cat after he failed to clean up its mess; plus, they were suspicious it “may carry a device to spy on us”.Apparently, the mistrust was reciprocal for, Marchan claims, Assange played loud music because “he said it stopped anyone listening in. It was impossible for us to work”.

Marchan added that he was relieved after President Lenin Moreno withdrew Assange’s political asylum and allowed UK police to arrest the Australian journalist at the embassy in what WikiLeaks slammed as an illegal termination of asylum in violation of international law.

Moreno claimed that the decision was sovereign and motivated by Assange’s alleged “repeated violations” of international conventions and daily-life protocols, and stated that UK authorities had assured him that the whistleblower would not be extradited to a country where he could potentially face a death sentence.

Initially, British police said in a statement that Assange had been detained for “failing to surrender to the court” over a 2012 warrant, but later they confirmed that the arrest had been made “on behalf of the United States authorities”.

Hours after being dragged out of the embassy, Assange appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded not guilty to the charge of failing to surrender to a 2012 arrest warrant and skipping bail after an extradition order to Sweden. A UK judge found him guilty; Assange now faces a prison term of up to 12 months when he is sentenced at a later date.

The judge added that the United States must present all the necessary documents regarding the extradition request for Assange by 12 June.

The US Department of Justice also announced charges against the WikiLeaks founder, having accused him of conspiring with former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break into US government computers and steal classified data. If found guilty, Assange can face up to 5 years in a US prison.US prosecutors allege that Manning passed part of a password stored on Pentagon’s computers to Assange, thus allowing access to classified government materials. They further suspect that after receiving the archive with secret US cables and war logs from Manning, Assange encouraged the analyst to provide more information.

Until the morning of 11 April 2019, Assange had been residing in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years after being released on bail by UK authorities. In 2012, he was arrested in the UK at Sweden’s request, where he was being investigated in a sexual assault case.

Assange, who rose to fame after leaking classified documents of US military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, denied the rape accusations, saying that they were politically motivated and designed to have him extradited to the US, since the charges were brought up soon after the damning docs were published on WikiLeaks.

Sweden dropped the charges in 2017, but Assange never left the embassy, since British police said they intended to arrest him for violating the conditions of his bail.

Ohio bans abortion before many women realise they are pregnant

Ohio bans abortion before many women realise they are pregnant

The piece of legislation which is one of the strictest abortion restrictions in the US does not even allow women to end their pregnancy when they have been raped or in instances of incest ( AP )

A controversial bill which bans abortions before many women even know they are pregnant has been signed into law in Ohio.

The piece of legislation, which is one of the strictest abortion restrictions in the US, does not even allow women to end their pregnancy when they have been raped or in instances of incest.

Republican politicians also added a last minute addition that imposes a $20,000 (£15,300) fine on doctors who violate the law when the bill passed the state House earlier in the week.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the “heartbeat bill” into law on Thursday – making it illegal for women to receive an abortion once a heartbeat has been detected in the foetus.

This can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – a point at which many women do not yet know they are pregnant.

Mr DeWine broke with John Kasich, his predecessor who is a fellow Republican who vetoed “heartbeat” bills in 2016 and 2018, citing them as unconstitutional.

State Representative Michele Lepore-Hagan, a Democrat, cried as she talked about the harm the legislation could do during Wednesday’s House debate.

“I’m concerned that our kids are going to leave, that we’re going to lose a large amount of young people who don’t want to live in an oppressive atmosphere,” she said.

Kellie Copeland, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said lawmakers and the governor have nosedived the state into “a dystopian nightmare where people are forced to continue pregnancies regardless of the harm that may come to them or their family.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said it was planning a constitutional challenge to the law on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland and three other Ohio abortion clinics before the legislation was signed.

But the bill’s supporters are eager for a legal challenge and have long aspired to provoke a challenge with the potential to overturn Roe v Wade – the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalised abortion nationwide in 1973.

The Supreme Court has previously ruled that states cannot ban abortion before a foetus is viable – about 23 to 25 weeks.

“We literally crafted this legislation to be the arrow in the heart of Roe v Wade,” Janet Folger Porter, who was behind the first version of the Ohio legislation, said in 2016. “It is made to come before the United States Supreme Court.”

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said: “The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v Wade.”

The first version of the legislation was written by Ms Folger Porter – a far-right religious and anti-abortion activist – back in 2011 and introduced five times.

“Victory!” Faith2Action, the Ohio-based anti-abortion group that originated the heartbeat concept in 2010, said.

Seema Nanda, the chief executive of the Democratic National Committee hit out at the legislation – branding it “the latest example of how the Trump administration’s extremist, anti-women policies have emboldened legislators across the country to attack women’s access to health care.”

Ohio is the seventh state to pass legislation that bans abortion after a heartbeat is detected and legislation is pending in 11 other states. None of the signed bills have successfully become law so far.

But Alarm bells have been raised that Roe v Wade could be overturned or radically undermined with new conservative justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Abortion opponents in other states have been emboldened to attempt to provoke new legal battles that could spark Supreme Court justices to revisit the key case. But critics argue the Republicans are unnecessarily launching legal battles that will prove to be expensive and futile – with taxpayers potentially footing the bill.

Earlier this week, Texas proposed a law that would criminalise abortions and make it possible for women to receive the death penalty for having an abortion.

However, the bill appeared to have failed by Wednesday night – with the Republican state representative who allowed a hearing on the legislation announcing his opposition to it.

Last week, legislation was introduced in Alabama that would make carrying out an abortion at any stage of the pregnancy punishable by 10 to 99 years in jail – even in cases of rape and incest.

The bill, which has more than 60 co-sponsors in the 105-member Alabama house of representatives, equates legalised abortion to some of history’s gravest atrocities – likening having your pregnancy terminated to the Nazi campaign of extermination that led to the mass murders of Jews and others during the Holocaust.