Today’s News: July 23, 2019

World News

US expands fast-track deportations of undocumented migrants

Al Jazeera – The administration of US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that it will vastly extend the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them to appear before judges, its second major policy shift on immigration in eight days.

Starting on Tuesday, fast-track deportations can apply to anyone in the United States illegally for less than two years.

Previously, those deportations were largely limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the Mexican border.

Tainted alcohol kills 19 in Costa Rica, ministry says, urging caution

Kron4 – Nineteen people have died from consuming alcohol tainted with toxic levels of methanol in Costa Rica, where the Ministry of Health issued a national alert.

Fourteen men and five women ranging from 32 to 72 years old have died in several cities across the country since the beginning of June, the ministry said.

The government has confiscated about 30,000 bottles of alcohol suspected to be tainted, affecting several brands.

The Ministry of Health advised against consuming alcohol from a number of brands because samples had tested positive for methanol adulteration.

Adulterated liquor often contains methanol, which can make people feel inebriated.

Adding methanol to distilled spirits enables sellers to increase the amount of liquid and its potential potency, according to SafeProof, a group that lobbies against counterfeit alcohol.

Methanol poisoning can cause confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and the inability to coordinate muscle movements.

Even small amounts can be toxic.

Resistant malaria spreading in South East Asia

BBC – Malaria parasites resistant to key drugs have spread rapidly in South East Asia, researchers from the UK and Thailand say.

The parasites have moved from Cambodia to Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, where half of patients are not being cured by first-choice drugs.

Researchers say the findings raise the “terrifying prospect” drug-resistance could spread to Africa.

However, experts said the implications may not be as severe as first thought.

Britain’s new leader Johnson vows to get Brexit done

Reuters – Boris Johnson, the Brexiteer who has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by the end of October, will replace Theresa May as prime minister after winning the leadership of the Conservative Party on Tuesday.

His convincing victory catapults the United Kingdom towards a showdown with the EU and towards a constitutional crisis at home, as British lawmakers have vowed to bring down any government that tries to leave the bloc without a divorce deal.

Johnson, the face of the 2016 Brexit referendum, won the votes of 92,153 members of the Conservative party, almost twice the 46,656 won by his rival, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

May will leave office on Wednesday after going to Buckingham Palace to see Queen Elizabeth, who will formally appoint Johnson before he enters Downing Street.

China tells US to remove ‘black hands’ from Hong Kong

CNA – China accused US officials on Tuesday (Jun 23) of being behind violent protests in Hong Kong and advised them to remove their “black hands” from the territory.

“We can see that US officials are even behind such incidents,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.

Hong Kong has been gripped by weeks of protests against a Bill that would allow people to be extradited from the city to stand trial in courts in mainland China.

On Sunday, some protesters vandalised Beijing’s main office in the city.

Separately, groups of men in white T-shirts, who opposition politicians suspect were linked to Hong Kong criminal gangs, assaulted some pro-democracy protesters and commuters at a train station in Yuen Long.

When asked about the US and Britain’s criticism of the violence, Hua said: “The US should know one thing, that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong, and we do not allow any foreign interference.

“We advise the US to withdraw their black hands.”

Trans Activist Who Demanded Women Shave Male Genitalia Hangs Up When Challenged During Interview

Infowars – The transgender activist who demanded female beauticians shave male genitalia hung up when challenged during a radio interview.

As we highlighted yesterday, Jessica Yaniv, who was born a man, has filed complaints with the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal against fifteen female aestheticians for their refusal to wax her male genitalia.

Having previously made predatory comments about women and girls in female changing rooms, Yaniv is also attempting to organize a topless swimming session for girls as young as 12 which parents will not be allowed to attend.

During an appearance on a radio show, Irish host Niall Boylan challenged Yaniv on why her rights as a trans person trumped those of women who do not wish to be exposed to or touch male genitalia.

Boylan made the point that Yaniv believing herself to be a woman despite being born a man was not a belief that other people should be forced to hold.

“I don’t believe in God, I’m an atheist, you believe in God, I respect the fact that you believe in God and I respect your point of view and I respect your faith in God, that doesn’t mean I have to believe in God,” said Boylan.

The host charged that Yaniv was demanding women perform a service (shaving male genitalia) that they don’t believe in.

“They don’t want to handle a man’s genitalia,” said Boylan.

Yaniv argued that he was part of a protected class, to which Boylan responded, “Are those women not protected who have a right to say no?”

“Those women should also be allowed to live their lives the way they wanna live their lives,” said Boylan, to which Yaniv responded, “But not when they discriminate against the rights of others.”

Boylan argued that it wasn’t discrimination to not supply a service that includes waxing male genitalia.

Yaniv then hung up and the conversation was ended.

“Just hung up on an offensive radio interview in Ireland,” Yaniv later tweeted. “Don’t tell me that I don’t have anything when you don’t know. Jesus.”

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Israel vote will expose Democratic divisions

The Hill – The House is slated to pass legislation Tuesday to oppose the global boycott movement against Israel, a vote that will put a spotlight both on Democratic divisions and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Most Democrats in the House oppose the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, an international campaign meant to exert pressure on Israel over treatment of the Palestinians. Critics say it would isolate and harm Israel, which retains strong support in Congress from both parties.

But the BDS movement has support in Congress from some progressives, including Omar, who has offered her own resolution affirming the rights of Americans to participate in boycotts meant to promote human rights either in the United States or other countries.

Omar isn’t alone in opposing the resolution.


Another Israel critic, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), co-sponsored Omar’s resolution. Tlaib and Omar are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress.

Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, earlier this month called the resolution opposing BDS “unconstitutional,” saying it seeks to “silence opposition of Israel’s blatantly racist policies that demonize both Palestinians & Ethiopians.”

FBI Raids LADWP Headquarters, L.A. City Hall in Investigation Tied to Utility’s 2013 Billing Debacle 

KTLA – FBI agents searched the offices of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and City Atty. Mike Feuer on Monday, as part of an investigation into the city’s handling of lawsuits filed over the disastrous 2013 rollout of a new billing system at the utility — and the inaccurate customer bills that were resulted from it.

An FBI representative confirmed that warrants had been served at multiple locations, including the headquarters of the DWP, the city’s water and power utility.

The FBI would not characterize the investigation. But Rob Wilcox, Feuer’s spokesman, said the warrants issued to employees in the city attorney’s office are connected to the city’s settlement of a class action lawsuit that was filed over the inaccurate DWP bills.

Feuer also said the warrants are related to a separate lawsuit filed by the DWP and city against PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting firm that implemented the new billing software at the utility.

Comey’s White House mole identified

Washington Examiner – Former FBI Director James Comey had an inside man at the White House, feeding the bureau information about President Trump and his aides in 2017.

Now this individual, who after leaving the government was hired by BuzzFeed to verify parts of British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier, may be tied to an investigation into alleged surveillance abuses by the DOJ and the FBI being conducted by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

This previously unreported mole in the White House appears in a new report by RealClearInvestigations that explored possible misconduct by Comey for what two U.S. officials described as essentially “running a covert operation against” the president even as he was assuring Trump he was not the subject of any investigation.

Anthony Ferrante, a longtime FBI official, worked as a cybersecurity adviser on the National Security Council. Officials said Ferrante was working in the White House even while the FBI held him on reserve status. All the while, he was sharing information about Trump and his aides back to FBI headquarters.

One former National Security Council official said Ferrante’s unique position was highly irregular.

“In an unprecedented action, Comey created a new FBI reserve position for Ferrante, enabling him to have an ongoing relationship with the agency, retaining his clearances and enabling him to come back in [to bureau headquarters],” the official said, adding that the NSC division supervisor was “not allowed to get rid of Ferrante” and that the arrangement appeared to be “in direct conflict with the no-contact policy between the White House and the Department of Justice.”

Ferrante left the White House in April 2017, not long before Trump fired Comey as FBI director.

He went on to join FTI Consulting, a business-advising firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. Through this firm, Ferrante was hired by BuzzFeed to investigate the dossier composed by Steele, to try and corroborate the unverified claims about Trump’s ties to Russia that appear in the research.

Nadler: Mueller hearing to air evidence of Trump wrongdoing

AP – The House Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday that this week’s hearing with Robert Mueller will air “very substantial evidence” of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump and make a public case for impeachment. Republicans pledged sharp questioning of the special counsel about what they see as a “one-sided” Russia investigation.

Days before back-to-back hearings Wednesday, both sides seemed to agree that Mueller’s testimony could be pivotal in shifting public opinion on the question of “holding the president accountable.”

“This is a president who has violated the law 6 ways from Sunday,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. He argued that Mueller’s report lays out “very substantial evidence” that Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the constitutional standard for impeachment.

“We have to present — or let Mueller present — those facts to the American people … because the administration must be held accountable and no president can be above the law,” Nadler said.

Feeling Blue? Oregon Students Allowed To Take ‘Mental Health Days’

NPR – Oregon’s suicide rate has outpaced the national average for the past three decades. In an effort to combat stigma around mental illness, four local teen activists took matters into their own hands and championed a proposed state law.

Oregon schools will now excuse student absences for mental or behavioral health reasons, as with regular sick days. In other words, if a student is feeling down, they can stay home from school without getting docked for missing classes.

Previously, students were only allowed to miss school due to physical illness, a family member’s physical illness, doctor or dentist appointments or an emergency. According to state law, students are allowed up to five excused absences within a three-month period, the Associated Press reported. Further excused absences require a handwritten note to the principal.

The law, signed by Gov. Kate Brown last month, will take effect this coming school year and is widely believed to be one of the first of its kind in the country to treat physical and mental health equally.

The mental health of teens and young adults in the country has dropped dramatically since the mid-2000s.

“We’re not talking about ‘I just don’t feel like going to school.,’ We’re talking about real disorders, real things that have real impacts,” Chris Bouneff, the executive director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Oregon, told NPR. “It’s hard to address them systematically if they have to stay hidden because of stigma and prejudice and shame.”

David Jeremiah warns modern church is entertainment-driven social organization afraid of controversy 

Christian Post – Many U.S. churches today have “forgotten” their purpose, becoming entertainment-driven social organizations eager to blend in with secular culture instead of focusing on biblical discipleship, Pastor David Jeremiah warned.

“The Church is coming under attack; it’s forgotten what the Church is supposed to be,” Jeremiah, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries, told The Christian Post. “We’re not an entertainment service; we’re not here to see how close we can get to what the world does. But there’s so much of the world in the Church and vice versa that we can’t tell a difference. We have to hold to the truth. We have to get nourished. If it’s not happening, you’re a social organization and not a church.”

Jeremiah, who also serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, explained that amid a nationwide decline in church attendance, far too many churches have become “obsessed” with remaining relevant.

“There’s an incredible motivation on the part of everyone to be successful, and a lot of times people program their churches to see how many people will sit in the pews on Sunday,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with getting people there, as long as you share the Gospel. But there’s no glory in just a number.”

“Don’t worship at the attendance altar,” Jeremiah advised. “A lot of good things happen in churches when there aren’t huge numbers but the pastor has prepared a good message and there’s worship. We get off on this thing that we have to be bigger than the guy down the street and how to get more people in the building. When you’re focused on that, you’ll never preach anything that’s controversial and you’ll always be trying to figure out how to get more people to come.”

The New York Times best-selling author pointed out that ironically, churches that focus on entertainment and fail to present the whole Gospel are actually driving millennials and Generation Z away. He cited research from Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network which found that 67 percent of millennials prefer a “classic” church over a “trendy” one.

“Here in California, we see interest on the part of millennials and younger for the Bible and for truth,” the pastor said. “Most of the time, we see statistics about how people are leaving the Church, but in many respects, young people are demanding more truth, more teaching, and less entertainment. They’re not interested in shallow expressions of religion.”

Economy & Business

White House and Congress reach deal on US debt ceiling

FT – The White House has struck a two-year deal with Democratic party leaders in Congress to raise America’s $22tn borrowing limit, removing the threat of a US debt default and significantly raising federal spending. The deal — crafted by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives, and Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary — increases the so-called debt ceiling until the middle of 2021, meaning the next big budgetary stand-off would occur after next year’s presidential election. However, the budget increases, on top of sweeping tax cuts enacted by President Donald Trump in 2017, raised new concerns about a lack of fiscal discipline in the world’s largest economy.

In a joint statement, Ms Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the agreement “permanently” ended the threat of sequestration, or automatic cuts to federal spending passed under Barack Obama’s presidency in 2011. It is expected to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by Mr Trump in a matter of days. Mr Trump wrote on Twitter: “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!” Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer said the agreement would “enhance our national security and invest in middle class priorities that advance the health, financial security and wellbeing of the American people”. Mr Mnuchin had warned this month that the US government was at risk of running out of money to pay its bills as soon as September, triggering a rush to strike a compromise before lawmakers head home for their August recess. Many economists, as well as officials at the Federal Reserve, had pointed to the threat of a US debt default as a key “downside” risk hanging over the American and global economies.

“If this deal gets passed into law, it’s unquestionably a good thing that the debt ceiling has been addressed,” said Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center think-tank wrote on Twitter. “But the irresponsibility of fully unwinding the Budget Control Act of 2011 with no fiscal restraint in its stead is astounding.” People familiar with the deal said it would raise spending levels in both defence and non-defence areas by a total of $320bn, while cutting spending by much less than the $150bn in offsetting reductions sought by the Trump administration.

Quarter-point rate cut coming in July: Mohamed El-Erian

Fox – The Federal Reserve Opens a New Window. has set its sights on a quarter-point rate cut at the end of July to validate the rate hikes Opens a New Window. it issued throughout 2018, according to Allianz Chief Economic Adviser Mohamed El-Erian.

“They made a mistake last year. They shouldn’t have hiked four times. They did and they’re looking for justification to take it back,” he said exclusively on “The Claman Countdown Opens a New Window. ” Monday.

El-Erian said the U.S. central bank Opens a New Window. is viewed as “confused and confusing” which adds an unusual degree of uncertainty to how the market Opens a New Window. is pricing.

“We having an uncertainty of what they are going to do, why they are going to do and how they are going to do it,” he said.

Federal Vice Chair Richard Clarida Opens a New Window. , speaking exclusively with Liz Claman Opens a New Window. , hinted that an interest rate cut is coming July 31. He said the central bank will put in place a policy that will sustain a strong economy and stabilize the inflation target rate.

UBS CEO Warns of ‘Dangerous’ Bubbles Spurred by Central Banks

Bloomberg – UBS Group AG’s chief executive officer is sounding the alarm on fresh monetary easing just as European policy makers appear poised to deliver another helping to stimulus-hungry markets.

“I’d be very, very careful about growing further the balance sheet of central banks,’’ Sergio Ermotti said in a Bloomberg TV interview on Tuesday, ahead of the European Central Bank’s policy decision this week. “We are at a risk of creating an asset bubble.”

With global growth slowing, central banks have been forced to reverse course after spending much of last year leaning toward tightening monetary policy. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues look primed to cut interest rates by a quarter percentage point later this month, and the ECB is also on the verge of more stimulus.

For investors, the about-face has fueled an “everything rally” lifting both risk-on and risk-off assets. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 13% in the first half of the year, the best return in the six-month period since 1998. Bonds have also soared on the intense thirst for yield spurred by dovish monetary bets and a growing pile of negative-yielding debt.

Hard to Spot

While notoriously hard to spot before they burst, potential bubbles may now be forming in the global bond market, where $13 trillion of debt is offering negative yields, the $1.3 trillion U.S. leveraged loan market and property in hot spots such as New Zealand and Canada.

The Fed’s Powell has suggested that the last two U.S. economic expansions ended not because inflation got too high but because asset markets got too frothy. In 2000, it was stock prices, especially those of high technology companies, and in 2007, it was house prices.

China’s century? Chinese companies dominate Fortune 500 list

RT – China has overtaken its trade war rival, the US, for the first time in a new list of the world’s largest companies by revenue. Since the Global 500 debut in 1990, the list has, until now, been dominated by American firms.

As the world balance of power shifts, Chinese companies took 129 spots, including 10 Taiwanese companies, while the US came second with 121 American businesses included in the list released by Fortune on Monday.

The veteran of the rankings, Walmart, secured the top position for the sixth consecutive year, and for the fourteenth time since 1995, having generated more than $500 billion in revenue. The US retail giant is followed by China’s largest state-owned oil and gas company Sinopec Group, whose sharp gains in both revenue and profits last year managed to dodge geopolitical headwinds amid the simmering trade war between Washington and Beijing.

Apple reportedly in talks to buy Intel’s 5G modem business for $1 billion

The Verge – Apple may be closing in on a deal to buy up Intel’s abandoned smartphone modem business for $1 billion, with The Wall Street Journal reporting today that a deal could be announced as early as next week.

Intel announced back in April it was exiting the 5G mobile modem business earlier this year after Apple reached a surprise settlement with Qualcomm that would see Apple once again return to using Qualcomm’s modems in its phones. Intel CEO Bob Swan went on to clarify that Intel had abandoned the modem business directly because of the Apple settlement — without Apple as a customer, the company concluded that it “just didn’t see a path” forward.

According to a report from Bloomberg at the time, Apple reportedly decided Intel couldn’t provide a 5G modem the iPhone in a timeframe that worked with its plans to release 5G-ready smartphones, forcing Apple to reconcile with Qualcomm after years of contentious legal disputes. Now, a deal for Apple to acquire that portion of Intel’s business, covering a portfolio of patents and staff valued at $1 billion or more, could be reached in the next week, sources tell the WSJ.

Ford F-150 EV pickup prototype tows more than 1 million pounds in a demonstration

USA Today – The Ford F-150, America’s best-selling pickup, is going electric.

On Tuesday, Ford released a video demonstration that featured the body of the automaker’s 2019 F-150 with guts from its future all-electric vehicle. During the presentation, the mashup EV managed to pull 10 railcars a total distance of 1,000 feet.

The double-decker trains housed 42 full-scale F-150s for a total combined weight of well over a million pounds, Ford says.

“What we’re trying to show is the benefits of that instant torque from that electric motor,” said Linda Zhang, chief engineer of the F-150. “The electrified F-150 will be able to add new possibilities that are only possible with an electric motor.”

Energy & Environment

There’s ‘poop in the water’ at America’s dirtiest beaches. Is yours on the list?

USA Today – Gerry Klatt gazes across the beach toward a peaceful bay at Cabrillo Beach, seemingly the perfect place for his daily dip. But he won’t swim there.

Instead, Klatt braves the pounding waves about 100 yards away on the side of the beach exposed to open ocean where he believes the seawater is cleaner.

As it turns out, on many days he’d be right. The inner side of Cabrillo Beach in Los Angeles’ port town of San Pedro leads the list of California beaches that saw the highest percentage of days with a bacteria count deemed potentially dangerous. It’s part of a new report released Tuesday that lists the most troubled beaches in 29 coastal and Great Lakes states.

The study looked at the number of days in 2018 that the water had bacteria counts exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards. The Environment America Research and Policy Center report says the high counts can sicken an estimated 75,000 swimmers a year.

Most days of the year, beaches are considered safe. But researchers found bacteria counts can spike on certain days with fecal matter from people or animals as the chief culprit. It comes when sewers overflow or when fecal waste on streets washes into streams or creeks that flow to lakes or the ocean. A co-author of the study says it shows more work needs to be done to clean up lakes and oceans.

“It’s hard to believe that 47 years after we passed the Clean Water Act that we are still concerned with poop in the water when people want to go swimming,” said John Rumpler, clean water program director for the center.

In Chicago, 19 of 19 beaches sampled had at least one day last year when beaches were considered potentially unsafe for swimming. One, South Shore Beach, showed contamination on 93 of the 98 days in which samples were taken.

There are plenty of other examples in the report. The Gulfport East beach in Mississippi showed high levels on 44 out of 66 days sampled. Tanner Park in New York’s Suffolk County registered high on 48 out of 71 samples. And Cupertino Park near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was unacceptable on 40 of out 60 samples.

As for the bayside of Cabrillo Beach, it registered unsafe on 85 occasions in one section and 43 in another out of 175 samples last year, the report states. It’s not the first time it came in high, having been cited by other groups for issues more than a decade ago.

Science & Technology

Elon Musk says Hyperloop hit a top speed of 463kmh before exploding

Independent – Elon Musk‘s vision for a futuristic form of transport has achieved a new milestone after a Hyperloop test pod hit a new top speed of 288mph (463kph) before it exploded.

At the 2019 edition of the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition, student teams launch their prototype pods through a 1.2 km vacuum tube beside the SpaceX headquarters in California.

Unfortunately for the winning team, their pod exploded shortly after reaching the top speed.

“We are happy to announce that we have reached a top speed of 463 km/h today,” the team announced on Twitter.

“Although we lost some parts on the way, we were able to successful finish our run and are proud to be the winners of the 2019 SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition.”

Newly Discovered Cellular Pathway May Mean New Approach For How We Treat Alzheimer’s and Cancer

Forbes – They started out studying the immune response to brain tumors in children. But what they found may not only stop tumors from growing, but halt Alzheimer’s disease as well. Scientists at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital—the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children—have discovered a pathway that prevents the buildup of a toxic protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The findings offer a possible new approach to treatment of Alzheimer’s and cancer.

Researchers of the study—published this month in the journal Cell—named the pathway LC3-associated endocytosis or LANDO. They hope to now find compounds that will allow them to restore functioning of the pathway to treat Alzheimer’s disease or block it to treat malignant tumors.

The findings in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease offer a possible new approach to treatment of the chronic neurodegenerative disorder, which is the sixth leading cause of death in America. And since the newly identified pathway also helps regulate inflammation, the discovery could yield strategies for unleashing the immune response against malignant brain tumors.


Millions should stop taking aspirin for heart health, study says

NBC – Millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers reported Monday.

A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease.

But for the otherwise healthy, that advice has been overturned. Guidelines released this year ruled out routine aspirin use for many older adults who don’t already have heart disease — and said it’s only for certain younger people under doctor’s orders.

How many people need to get that message?

Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017, the latest data available, according to a new study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own — a doctor never recommended it.

And nearly half of people over 70 who don’t have heart disease — estimated at about 10 million — were taking daily aspirin for prevention, the researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.

“Many patients are confused about this,” said Dr. Colin O’Brien, a senior internal medicine resident at Beth Israel who led the study.

After all, for years doctors urged people to leverage aspirin’s blood-thinning properties to lower the chances of a first heart attack or stroke. Then last year, three surprising new studies challenged that dogma. Those studies were some of the largest and longest to test aspirin in people at low and moderate risk of a heart attack, and found only marginal benefit if any, especially for older adults. Yet the aspirin users experienced markedly more digestive-tract bleeding, along with some other side effects.

Mild Sauce, Clear Mind? Spicy Diet Linked To Dementia, Study Finds

Study Finds – Here’s something to consider the next time you’re thinking about ordering a spicy dish: a new long-term international study has found that a spicy diet could lead to dementia.

According to the study, older adults over the age of 55 who consumed more than 50 grams of chili per day displayed nearly double the risk of developing poor cognition and a decline in overall memory. Interestingly, slimmer adults indulging in a spicy diet exhibited even more significant memory loss.

“Chili consumption was found to be beneficial for body weight and blood pressure in our previous studies. However, in this study, we found adverse effects on cognition among older adults,” lead researcher Dr. Zumin Shi explains in a statement.

Researchers analyzed the chili intake of 4,582 Chinese adults over the course of 15 years. Fresh and dried chili pepper consumption was tracked, but sweet capsicum and black pepper were not included in the study.

“Chili is one of the most commonly used spices in the world and particularly popular in Asia compared to European countries,” co-researcher Dr. Ming Li says. “In certain regions of China, such as Sichuan and Hunan, almost one in three adults consume spicy food every day.”

Capsaicin has already been shown to speed up the metabolism, promote fat loss, and hinder vascular disorders, but this is the first time its impact on cognitive functioning has been investigated.

The study’s authors say that more research is necessary on the connection between chili pepper and dementia, and admit that other variables, such as education levels, may also play a role in cognitive decline.

The study is published in the scientific journal Nutrients.

Pet News

Autopsy confirms Valley family’s suspicions that vaccine caused dog’s death

NBC (Published: 6:37 AM MST June 15, 2017) -Five weeks after the sudden death of his beloved dog, Milo, Jason Baez is still reeling with anger and devastation over his family’s loss.

“It’s painful, it’s painful,” Baez told 12 News.

“We already knew as a family that he was a strong healthy dog,” Baez said, “there was nothing wrong with him.”

In a previous story, 12 News reported how Milo, a 1-and-a-half-year-old pit bull, died after getting vaccinated at the Banfield Pet Hospital inside the Deer Valley PetSmart.

“There was nothing that he had prior to that,” said Melissa Baez, “No sickness, so it was an instant reaction to the vaccine.”

The family immediately suspected a vaccine, most likely rabies, caused it. Suspicions that were confirmed last week with the release of Milo’s necropsy report.

The report found Milo’s cause of death was likely anaphylactic shock, triggered by a vaccine.

While it isn’t uncommon for pets to have an adverse reaction to a vaccine, most are minor. Anaphylaxis is one of the rarest and most severe types of reactions.

“Yes he suffered and he suffered bad,” said Jason, “and he shouldn’t have suffered like that, no dog or animal should ever suffer like this at all.”

12 News reached out to Banfield. Dr. Ari Zabell, a client advocate at Banfield Pet Hospital, sent this statement to 12 News regarding Milo’s death:

“At Banfield, we know how heartbreaking it can be to lose a member of the family. Although Milo had received these and other vaccines in the past without any adverse reaction, and such a response remains extremely rare, we were incredibly sad to learn an anaphylactic reaction to one of the vaccines was likely the cause of his passing. We immediately reported the incident to the vaccine manufacturers and will continue to remain in contact. Our hearts go out to Milo’s family during this difficult time.”

“We’re going to fight this to the end,” said Jason.

What happened to Milo is why the Baez family is now part of a growing group of pet owners taking aim at the traditional way pets are vaccinated.

Recent studies have argued that pets may not need them as often as we think.

“It is the same debate that it is with kids,” said Melisa Gable, a spokesperson for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.

Gable says pet owners should do their research and talk to their vet about what’s needed for their pet because, while there are risks, vaccines can also save a pet’s life especially when it comes to younger pets like puppies and kittens.


Posting a negative review online can get you sued

CNBC – Posting reviews has become second nature for many consumers nowadays – 82 percent of adults say they read online reviews at least some of the time, according to a Pew Research Center Study – so when they have a bad experience with a business, up goes a review, to share it with others.

But for one man in Florida, what he thought was a simple review turned into a year-long battle in court.

“I never thought I’d be sued over anything that I write. There’s no reason to say anything but the truth,” said Tom Lloyd, of DeLand, Florida. But Lloyd said telling the truth got him in trouble.

His ordeal began when his 10-year-old poodle Rembrandt suddenly fell ill last year.  Lloyd rushed him to nearby DeLand Animal Hospital, where he says he was told the dog needed immediate surgery for what was probably a ruptured spleen.

“I said, ‘You’re going to do this right now?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,'” Lloyd recalled.

But six hours later, he says, the clinic told him to come pick Rembrandt up: that they’d been unable to find a surgeon. He took the dog to a second clinic but says he was told it was too late – Rembrandt would need to be euthanized.

“It isn’t like there’s a closure,” Lloyd said. “He deserved a chance and they didn’t give him a chance. If he would have died on the operating table, I would have understood.”

Afterwards, he posted a review on Yelp, writing “The staff had wasted six hours of Rembrandt’s life and destroyed whatever chance he may have had to live. Our Rembrandt deserved a better last day.”

Weeks later, DeLand Animal Hospital and veterinarian Thomas MacPhail sued Lloyd for defamation, alleging his statements were “false” and “published maliciously and recklessly.”

Lloyd said, “I’m finding out that isn’t always cheap to give an honest review, because if the other person has money, they can drive you in the ground.”

When “CBS This Morning” spoke with him in May, Lloyd owed $26,000 in legal bills, more than his $20,000 yearly Social Security income.

And he’s not the only person who’s been sued. Last year, a New York woman was sued by her doctor for $1 million for posting negative online reviews. A man in Kansas was sued over a three-star Trip Advisor review of a theme park, and a South Carolina woman was sued by a restaurant she claimed refused to honor a coupon.

“We’re seeing a rise in individuals being sued for speaking out online,” said Evan Mascagni, who works for the Public Participation Project. He says many lawsuits are designed simply to intimidate. They’re called “SLAPP” lawsuits (for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).

“A SLAPP filer doesn’t go to court to seek justice; they are just trying to silence or harass or intimidate a critic of theirs,” Mascagni said.

Some states have laws against SLAPP lawsuits, but there is no federal anti-SLAPP statute.

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission began cracking down on businesses that put gag clauses in their consumer contracts in violation of the Consumer Review Fairness Act.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Trailer Sparks Controversy as Fans Notice Taiwanese Flag Missing From Tom Cruise’s Jacket

Hollywood Reporter – Some fans are alleging that Paramount made the change to avoid the risk of alienating Chinese authorities and fans — especially since Chinese Internet giant Tencent is co-financing the movie.

Tom Cruise’s surprise appearance at the Paramount presentation last Thursday to unveil the new Top Gun: Maverick trailer was one of the defining moments of Comic Con 2019. But it has also stirred up a controversy.

Over the weekend, obsessive fans began calling attention to a potentially significant difference between the classic leather jacket Cruise wears in the original film and the one he’s shown putting on in the new trailer. Two patches on the back of the jacket that originally showed the Japanese and Taiwanese flags appear to have been replaced with unidentifiable symbols in the same color scheme.

Of course, probably the biggest change to unfold in the global movie business since Top Gun was released in 1986 is the rise of China from a theatrical backwater to the world’s second-largest film market. Thus, Twitter has lit up with speculation that Paramount Pictures tweaked Maverick’s iconic jacket in reflexive pandering to Beijing.

There’s a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket – only this time it’s Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is from the new trailer)…

— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) July 19, 2019

The suspicions have been heightened by the fact Tencent Pictures, the film division of Chinese internet giant Tencent, is a co-financier of the new Top Gun movie. Tencent also is a part owner of David Ellison’s Skydance, which is co-producing the film with Paramount.

But even without the direct involvement of Chinese investors, Hollywood studios have for years avoided storylines, characters or even visual elements that could conceivably cause offense to either Beijing authorities or nationalistic segments of the Chinese audience.

Hollywood doesn’t adjust the box office for inflation, but if it did, these would be the top 10 highest-grossing films of all time in the US

NBC – As “Avengers: Endgame” has raced its way to and beyond the highest-grossing film record held by “Avatar,” questions have arisen about how Hollywood determines what movie is considered the biggest earner.

After all, “Avatar” was released in 2009, so wouldn’t a fairer comparison between the 2019-released “Endgame” be adjusted for inflation?

Well, it’s not that simple.

There’s a reason the film industry doesn’t measure the success of modern movies against those of the past — movie ticket inflation isn’t an exact science. There are so many factors behind what makes a movie a box office success and those factors have changed since the earliest days of cinema.

For one, consumers have many more choices of what to spend their money on when it comes to entertainment. Even if you exclude sporting events, concerts and at-home entertainment such as streaming services and video games, just the sheer number of options of what movie to see in theaters is so much larger than 50 years ago.

For that reason, a film like “Gone with the Wind” sold more than 200 million tickets over the course of its initial release and additional seven rereleases in the U.S. For comparison, Disney’s “Endgame” sold around 94.8 million tickets domestically since its release in April.

The content of movies has also changed drastically. Three-hour dramas about the lives of Southerners during the Civil War wouldn’t be as popular in 2019 as they were in, say, 1939. So, it would be difficult to say with certainty that a film that thrived decades ago would still do so today.

Another major reason that Hollywood doesn’t adjust for inflation is the number of foreign markets films are now released in. Analysts would have to dive into each global market to determine the inflation rate in each country, a task that is nearly impossible considering most films are released in more than 100 markets during their initial run.

Still, it’s an interesting exercise. So, CNBC contacted Comscore, a media measurement and analytics company, to work out how an adjusted figure could be determined.

10. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Estimated admissions: 109 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $982 million

9. The Exorcist (1973)

Estimated admissions: 116.5 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.04 billion

8. Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Estimated admissions: 124.6 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.12 billion

7. Jaws (1975)

Estimated admissions: 128 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.15 billion

6. The Ten Commandments (1956)

Estimated admissions: 131 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.18 billion

5. Titanic (1997)

Estimated admissions: 143.5 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.29 billion

4. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)

Estimated admissions: 147.9 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.33 billion

3. The Sound of Music (1965)

Estimated admissions: 157.2 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.41 billion

2. Star Wars (1977)

Estimated admissions: 178.1 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.6 billion

1. Gone with the Wind (1939)

Estimated admissions: 201 million tickets

Estimated adjusted gross: $1.81 billion