For the first time food scientists have managed to produced bacon that does not include nitrites from vegetables or curing agents. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently warns that bacon cured with nitrites is as dangerous as asbestos and smoking, because the chemicals produce carcinogenic nitrosamines when ingested. They have estimated that around 34,000 bowel and colon cancer deaths each year are directly attributable to diets which are high in processed meat. The WHO has also calculated that eating two rashers of nitrite-cured bacon per day increases the risk of contracting bowel cancer by 18 percent. read more
I don't know if Donald Trump is going to be making any New Year's resolutions for 2018, but here's a thought: How about not threatening to start a nuclear war with North Korea? It seems likely that Trump officials are, in fact, talking about a military strike in which the United States would target a symbolic location in North Korea to retaliate for a missile test, much as the administration targeted an airfield in Syria following a chemical weapons use. Still, I think the Trumpkins are bluffing. They are, to borrow a Soviet phrase, just trying to "rattle the pots and pans," hoping to frighten North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China's Xi Jinping. Of course, they may still get us all killed. read more
As China prepares to ring in the Lunar New Year, one shopping mall has declared it the year of #TrumpDog, complete with a giant statue that bears a striking resemblance to the US president. The statue sports a deep frown, an index finger pointing straight up and Trump's signature coiffure in what is believed to be his favourite colour, gold. The dog is also wearing a red kerchief, although it is significantly shorter than the power ties typically worn by the president. The People's Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party, heralded the statue's arrival, declaring "Welcome the #TrumpDog". read more
The $3 billion incentive package used to lure Foxconn to Wisconsin to build a giant factory was only the beginning. Associated sweeteners have now grown to more than $4 billion -- adding in the cost of local government incentives and various infrastructure projects, like roads and highways, sewer and power lines. ... "It's way too much money and it never seems to stop growing," [Democratic state Rep. Dana] Wachs told CNNMoney this week. "It just keeps on taking from Wisconsin taxpayers. There is a substantial negative reaction to this deal all over the state. I can't go in the grocery store without people stopping me to talk about this issue."
Years of risky hedge fund investments helped plunge Kentucky's public pension system billions of dollars into the red, making it one of the worst-funded state pension systems in the country. Now, eight current and former state employees are suing a trio of hedge fund operators and current and former members of Kentucky's pension board, alleging that they breached their financial duties to the state and its taxpayers by sinking millions of dollars into "exotic" hedge fund bets. ... Together, the defendants "chose to cover up the true extent" of the pension plans' financial shortfalls and to "take longshot imprudent risks" in an effort to make up for the funding problems, the suit contends. read more
The United States needs to strengthen its agriculture sector -- or be overtaken by China. The United States has long been the breadbasket of the world, as large swathes of fertile farmland and cutting-edge agricultural innovations have enabled it to both feed its own people and populations across the globe. However, America's agricultural leadership now faces a serious test from China. China has been making aggressive moves to boost its own agriculture sector in order to feed its population and become a major player in the global agricultural industry. With the world's population expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, requiring a 70-percent increase in food production, the agriculture industry will play a critical role in the global economy. Given that trajectory, the U.S. agricultural industry must maintain its competitive edge in the face of a strong Chinese challenge for agricultural dominance. read more
SpaceX's Falcon Heavy megarocket was rolled out on the launchpad Thursday, as the company prepares for the rocket's maiden flight, which is scheduled for next month. NASA confirmed today that the Falcon Heavy has been moved to Launchpad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The rocket will undergo various tests before it takes off; SpaceX has not yet confirmed a launch date. If all goes well, the Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket in operation, with nearly twice the lifting power of the next-most powerful rocket, according to NASA. It will be the most powerful rocket to launch from Launch Complex 39A since NASA's Saturn V, which sent astronauts to the moon, according to NASA.
He thought someone was stealing his truck on Christmas Eve, so he shot at the tailgate as it pulled away, relatives of the Alabama man say. It wasn't a thief, though. It was the man's son, borrowing the truck, family members told WIAT in Birmingham. The bullet struck 22-year-old Logan Wayne Trammell of Cullman, Ala., who died a few hours later on Christmas day. ... Family members say Trammell's father didn't know he was borrowing the truck when he drove away from his parents' home about 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
Russian submarines have dramatically stepped up activity around undersea data cables in the North Atlantic, part of a more aggressive naval posture that has driven NATO to revive a Cold War-era command, according to senior military officials. The apparent Russian focus on the cables, which provide Internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe, could give the Kremlin the power to sever or tap into vital data lines, the officials said. Russian submarine activity has increased to levels unseen since the Cold War, they said, sparking hunts in recent months for the elusive watercraft. "We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don't believe we have ever seen," said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon, the commander of NATO's submarine forces. "Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations' undersea infrastructure."
Claire's, which sells accessories and makeup aimed at young girls, announced on Twitter this week that it would halt sales of a number of products. The move came after a Rhode Island mother, who works at a law firm specializing in asbestos litigation and was working on a separate case, had some of her daughter's makeup tested. WPRI, a Providence, Rhode Island, station reported the story. Claire's, which has about 1,600 stores in North America and more than twice that globally, hasn't given its view of whether any of its products were contaminated with asbestos. To be cautious, it said it stopped sales of the items and announced today that it is having an independent lab run tests. read more
Broadway and television actress Rose Marie, best known for her role as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, died Thursday, her publicist said, citing her family. She was 94. Born Rose Marie Mazetta on August 15, 1923, in New York, she began performing at age 3 by winning an amateur contest that took her to Atlantic City, New Jersey. She soon began performing on network radio. During a career that spanned nine decades, Rose Marie -- who went only by her first name professionally -- was also famous for appearing for years on the game show The Hollywood Squares, which featured celebrities sitting in boxes on a life-size tic-tac-toe board. The website IMDb says she appeared in 629 of the show's episodes. read more
President Donald Trump has now golfed for three consecutive days, despite the fact that he vowed to get back to work on the day after Christmas. While there's nothing inherently wrong with the president golfing, it does make things awkward for Trump given his past relentless criticism of former President Barack Obama's golfing habits. Given this, Trump has repeatedly downplayed or tried to conceal his own golfing exploits, despite the fact that he has hit the links in his first year more times than Obama did during his first year in the White House in 2009. Now Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham has spotted some code in Trump's website that shows it will display an error message in the event of an internal server error that bashes Obama's golfing. "Oops! Something went wrong," the message begins. "Unlike Obama, we are working on fixing the problem ... and not on the golf course."
On Monday, Illinois will become the second state to ban the so-called "gay panic defense" in cases in which a murder defendant tries to justify their violence as a reaction to learning that their victim was gay. California banned the defense tactic in 2014, a year after the American Bar Association called for its prohibition. read more
A pair of Russian comedians appear to have successfully prank-called U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley by posing as a Polish government official. The two comedians, Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, posted a video over the weekend in which a woman identified as Haley believes she is speaking to Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. ... The man posing as Morawiecki then asks Haley about the fictional island of Binomo in the South China Sea. "You know Binomo?" the man said, to which Haley replied "yes, yes." "They had elections and we suppose Russians had its intervention," the man said. "Yes, of course they did, absolutely," Haley replies. "We've been watching that very closely, and I think we will continue to watch that as we deal with the issues that keep coming up about the South China Sea."
A majority of Americans don't think too highly of the job Donald Trump is doing as president. It has propelled him to a singular accomplishment: the lowest approval rating of any modern president in December of his first year in office. Trump's most recent approval rating, according to Gallup, is at 35 percent. Another CNN poll, which surveyed a random sampling of 1,001 adults from December 14 to 17, put him at 35 percent. They are some of his worst marks yet as president. No other modern president has come close to such failing grades from the American people at about 330 days in office. His predecessor, Barack Obama, had an approval rating of 50 percent in mid-December 2009. Ronald Reagan previously held the record for lowest approval rating for his first December in office, at 49 percent.