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Zimbabwe’s New President Mnangagwa Makes A Triumphant Return

23 November, by Christopher Torchia / AP[ —]

(HARARE, Zimbabwe) — Poised to become Zimbabwe‘s next president, a former confidant of ousted leader Robert Mugabe on Wednesday promised “a new, unfolding democracy” and reached out to the world, saying international help is needed to rebuild the shattered economy.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who fled Zimbabwe upon being fired from his job as vice president on Nov. 6, made a triumphant return to the country a day after 93-year-old Mugabe resigned. His departure after 37 years in power followed a week of intense pressure — from the military that staged a government takeover, from members of parliament who started impeachment proceedings and from citizens who protested in the streets.

While Mnangagwa talked in his speech about democracy and “working together,” he also recited slogans from the ruling ZANU-PF party such as “Forward with ZANU-PF, down with enemies” that are unlikely to attract Zimbabweans in the opposition.

He served for decades as Mugabe’s enforcer, a role that earned him the nickname “Crocodile.” Many opposition supporters believe he was instrumental in the army killings of thousands of people when Mugabe moved against a political rival in the 1980s.

Mnangagwa was in hiding during the political drama that led to Mugabe’s resignation. His appearance at the headquarters of the party electrified a crowd that waited for hours. Flanked by bodyguards, and dressed in a blue suit, he raised his fists and danced a little on a podium, delighting supporters who hope he can guide Zimbabwe out of political and economic turmoil that has exacted a heavy toll on the southern African nation of 16 million.

“Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new, unfolding democracy,” said the 75-year-old, who added that he had already received messages of support from other countries.

“We need the cooperation of the continent of Africa,” he said. “We need the cooperation of our friends outside the continent.”

After meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma, Mnangagwa flew in a private jet from South Africa to Zimbabwe. He indicated that his inauguration as president will be on Friday. That is “when we finish this job to legally install a new president,” he said.

Mnangagwa will serve Mugabe’s remaining term until elections next year. Opposition lawmakers who have alleged vote-rigging in the past say that balloting must be free and fair.

The party’s Central Committee had voted to remove Mugabe from his party leadership post and replace him with Mnangagwa, a former justice and defense minister with close ties to the military.

Mugabe fired his longtime deputy as the former president’s wife, Grace Mugabe, positioned herself to replace him and succeed her husband. That led the military to step into the party’s factional battle a week ago by sending tanks into the streets and putting the president under house arrest — a move that opened the door for the party and the people to turn against the leader who took power after the end of white minority rule in 1980.

The resignation was met with wild celebrations across the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. People were thrilled to be rid of a leader whose early promise, including an emphasis on education, was overtaken by economic collapse, government dysfunction and human rights violations.

Mnangagwa “faces high expectations but will have a short honeymoon while he starts the process of moving Zimbabwe forward,” the state-run Zimbabwe Herald newspaper said in a commentary.

“He has the best wishes of most Zimbabweans, at least today,” the newspaper said.

One unemployed man who heard that Mnangagwa was arriving at an air force base on the outskirts of Harare waited in vain at its entrance in hopes of seeing him.

Godwin Nyarugwa said he was “very ecstatic” about Mugabe’s resignation and that “we need change in this country, change in everything” after years of economic crisis. But he said Mnangagwa would have to produce results.

“We have to try him and see,” he said of Mnangagwa. “If he doesn’t come up with something, we need to change him as well.”

Woman Gets Prison Time for Taping Her 12-Year-Old Son to a Chair

23 November, by Associated Press[ —]

(YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio) — An Ohio woman has been sentenced to nine months in prison for taping her 12-year-old son to a chair while she took one of her children swimming.

A Mahoning County judge on Tuesday disregarded recommendations by prosecutors and 33-year-old Susan Malysa’s attorney that she receive 60 days in jail after pleading guilty to child endangering in September.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum said he wanted to make an example of Malysa, and that her conduct “will not be tolerated in our society.”

Police were called to Malysa’s home in northeast Ohio’s Boardman Township in June after a relative found the boy’s legs taped to a chair, his arms taped together and his mouth taped shut.

Malysa’s tearfully apologized in court Tuesday.

A county children’s services agency has custody of the boy.

2-Year-Old Boy Whose Transplant Was Delayed Gets New Kidney

23 November, by Kate Brumback / AP[ —]

(ATLANTA) — A potentially life-saving kidney transplant has given a Georgia family a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, nearly two months after the operation was controversially delayed.

A.J. Burgess, who will be 3 in January, was born without kidneys. His parents got word at around 8 p.m. Tuesday that a kidney from a dead donor was available, and the toddler had a successful transplant Wednesday morning, said Mawuli Davis, a lawyer for A.J.’s parents.

The boy will have to stay in the hospital for about a week, including the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday, but his parents are “excited about giving thanks for his new kidney,” Davis said in a phone interview.

The transplant comes after a setback last month when Emory University Hospital told the family it was delaying a transplant of a kidney from A.J.’s father, Anthony Dickerson, who was a perfect match.

Dickerson has repeatedly been in trouble with the law and was arrested again in September. That didn’t initially seem to be an obstacle. A letter to the Gwinnett County jail from Emory’s Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program requested his temporary release.

“If Mr. Dickerson could be escorted to Emory for blood work and a pre-operative appointment tomorrow, September 29, we will be able to continue with the scheduled surgery,” the Sept. 28 letter says.

But then A.J.’s mother, Carmellia Burgess, received a letter from the hospital saying the surgery would be delayed until Dickerson could provide documentation from his parole officer showing compliance for the next three months.

“We will re-evaluate Mr. Dickerson in January 2018 after receipt of this completed documentation,” the letter said.

Burgess told news outlets her child’s life was being unfairly endangered because of his father’s mistakes. The story resonated with people around the country and the local community rallied around the family, demanding justice for A.J.

Emory Healthcare officials and physicians met with A.J.’s parents, their lawyers and community supporters on Nov. 2. A statement from Emory said the meeting was meant to open the lines of communication and to have an open and honest discussion about how best to help A.J.

“In reviewing our communication with the family, Emory Healthcare wants to acknowledge and apologize for a breakdown in communication on our part,” the statement said.

Emory and the family continued to communicate, and A.J. remained on a list for a donated kidney even as his father went through the process to be able to donate his kidney, Davis said. When a kidney became available Tuesday, the doctors decided it was in the boy’s best interest to go ahead with the dead donor’s kidney, he said.

The transplant doctors said the surgery Wednesday went very well and that A.J. was in recovery and would be moved to the intensive care unit, Davis said.

9 Semitrucks Toppled by High Winds on Highway

23 November, by Associated Press[ —]

(CHEYENNE, Wyo.) — Officials say high wind speeds tipped over nine semitrucks on a highway near the border of Wyoming and Colorado.

The Wyoming Tribune Eagle newspaper reports that 60 mph (97 kph) winds toppled the vehicles Monday on Interstate 25 near the city of Cheyenne.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation says the interstate was closed for an hour to clean up the crashes.

A wind advisory was issued throughout most of the day, warning high-profile vehicles of the conditions. Semitrucks also blew over on other highways.

Drivers that ignore such advisories could face a $750 fine or face 30 days in prison.

3 Reasons Why Coffee Is So Good for You

http://www.extracrispy.com/drinks/4400/coffee-study-stroke-preventionplay episode download
23 November, by Alice Park[ —]

Coffee is increasingly earning scientists’ approval. Studies continue to suggest that the beverage may have some beneficial effects on health.

In the latest analysis, published in the BMJ, researchers scanned nearly 220 studies on coffee and found that overall, coffee drinkers may enjoy more health benefits than people who don’t drink the brew.

The scientists, led by Robin Poole from the University of Southampton in the UK, learned that people who drank coffee were 17% less likely to die early during the study period from any cause, 19% less likely to die of heart disease and 18% less likely to develop cancer, compared to people who did not drink coffee.

Other recent studies have linked coffee drinking to lower rates of heart disease, early death and diseases like liver cirrhosis, type 2 diabetes and even neurological conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Poole’s group found that the strongest benefit occurred among people who drank around three cups of coffee a day.

“I think now we can be reasonably reassured that overall, coffee drinking is a safe habit,” says Dr. Eliseo Guallar, professor of epidemiology and medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.

MORE: Here’s Another Reason to Feel Good About Drinking Coffee

Other studies have tried to tease apart which ingredients in coffee contribute to its health benefits. Those might include its antioxidants, which can combat cancer, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart conditions and even neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s, as well as the risk of liver diseases like cirrhosis and cancer.

While they say that the results support moderate coffee drinking as a relatively healthy habit, both Poole and Guallar say the findings don’t go far enough to prompt anyone to change their coffee-drinking habits in the hopes of improving their health. The study did not confirm, for example, that people who do not currently drink coffee should start adding a cup or two a day in order to lower their risk of getting heart disease or any of the other chronic conditions studied. The data also do not support the idea that current coffee drinkers should drink even more coffee to enhance whatever benefits they might be receiving. Too much coffee, the data suggest, starts to bend the benefit curve back down.

The only negative health effects the review found were among women, who were at slightly higher risk of developing fractures if they drank more coffee, and pregnant women. Pregnant women who drank more coffee tended to have higher rates of miscarriage, more premature births and more babies born with low birthweight than women who drank less coffee, the study found.

MORE: Can Coffee Make Your Workout Easier?

Poole notes that the analysis included a number of different studies, each with different designs, and not all of them may have adjusted for potential confounding effects that could skew the connection between coffee and health outcomes. Coffee drinkers, for example, also tend to smoke more than non-drinkers, and smoking has an effect on early death, heart disease and certain cancers.

The findings should be reassuring for coffee drinkers, as long as they drink in moderation, Poole says. Further studies will hopefully look deeper into the type and amount of coffee that confers the most health benefit.

Pringles Made Chips Flavored Like Every Course of a Thanksgiving Dinner

22 November, by Jennifer Calfas[ —]

Imagine a Thanksgiving meal that requires no cooking, no cleaning — and just a few of the nutrients offered in a traditional spread.

Now imagine all of those Thanksgiving flavors sprinkled onto chips.

That’s what Pringles has created this year to celebrate the holiday. The snack food company, known for its risky flavors, created a “Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner” pack, filled with chips that tasted like turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and creamed corn.

The peculiar alternative to a Thanksgiving feast is not being sold by retailers this year, and it’s only available for a limited time. But there’s a chance they could make a return next year.

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The chips come in a TV dinner-style tray, and encourages diners to make flavorful creations with the stacks of chips. That includes the “Leftover Sandwich” with the turkey, mashed potato and stuffing-flavored chips; “Holiday Sweater” with the pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce and mashed potato; and “Touchdown” with green bean casserole, mac and cheese and creamed corn.

“Pringles are known for bold flavors and endless flavor stacking possibilities, so this holiday season we wanted to introduce snack-lovers to a new way to enjoy Thanksgiving favorites,” said Kurt Simon, senior director of marketing for Pringles, in a statement last week.

Of course, the new Pringles product was met with a mixed response on social media. Some expressed anger they couldn’t go buy a pack immediately, with others saw the very creation of them as a sign of dark times.

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New York Tightens Security Ahead of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

22 November, by Colleen Long / AP[ —]

(NEW YORK) — Sand-filled sanitation trucks and police sharpshooters will mix with glittering floats and giant balloons at a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that comes in a year of terrible mass shootings and not even a month after a deadly truck attack in lower Manhattan.

New York City’s mayor and police brass have repeatedly stressed that layers of security, along with hundreds of officers, will be in place for one of the nation’s biggest outdoor holiday gatherings, and that visitors should not be deterred.

“We had a couple of tough months as a nation,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “We won’t ever accept such acts of hate and cowardice as inevitable in our society.”

A posting last year in an English-language magazine of the Islamic State group, which took credit for the Oct. 31 truck attack that killed eight people, mentioned the Thanksgiving parade as “an excellent target.” Authorities say there is no confirmation of a credible threat.

“I want to assure the people that we swore to protect that anytime something happens anywhere in the world, the NYPD works with our law enforcement partners and studies it and we learn from it and it informs our decision making going forward,” O’Neill said.

This year’s security plan includes dozens of city sanitation trucks, which weigh about 16 tons empty and up to twice that with sand, that will be lined up as imposing barriers to traffic at every cross street along the 2 ½-mile parade route stretching from Central Park to Macy’s flagship store on 34th Street.

In addition, officers with assault weapons and portable radiation detectors will walk among the crowds, and sharpshooters on rooftops will scan building windows and balconies for anything unusual.

New York officials are also asking the tens of thousands of spectators to be alert for anything suspicious.

“There will be a cop on every block,” said NYPD Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan. “Go to that cop and say something.”

The 91st annual parade begins at 9 a.m. and will be broadcast live on NBC. Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Fallon, The Roots, Flo Rida and Wyclef Jean will be among the stars celebrating, along with performances from the casts of Broadway’s “Anastasia,” ”Dear Evan Hansen” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

New balloons added this year include Dr. Seuss’ Grinch, Olaf from the smash movie “Frozen,” and a puppy called Chase from Nickelodeon’s “Paw Patrol.”

Beyond the pageantry, police say they have been working on security for the parade since the moment last year’s parade ended. It’s a plan that got renewed attention after a terror attack in lower Manhattan Oct. 31, when a man in a rented truck barreled onto a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight people.

Authorities said the 29-year-old suspect operated from a playbook put out by the Islamic State group. Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant, was charged with federal terrorism offenses that could qualify him for the death penalty. According to a criminal complaint, he made statements about his allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The first major event since the attack — the New York marathon, which drew tens of thousands of spectators and 50,000 runners from around the world — went off with no problems.

“We said right away New York’s response is to remain strong and resilient,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We do not back down in the face of terror threats. The city is filled with resolve.”

Cinnamon Has a Surprising Health Benefit

22 November, by Amanda MacMillan[ —]

If you love cinnamon, add an extra shake to your next meal: new research shows that the popular spice boosts metabolism in mouse and human fat cells.

In the new study, published in the journal Metabolism, researchers from the University of Michigan tested the effect of cinnamaldehyde—the essential oil that gives cinnamon its flavor—on fat cells taken from mice, as well as fat cells from four humans.

They found that exposure to cinnamon oil triggered both the mouse and the human cells to start burning calories through a process known as thermogenesis. A closer look showed that the oil increased the activity of several genes, enzymes and proteins that are known to enhance fat metabolism.

Fat cells, also called adipocytes, normally store energy in the form of lipids. From an evolutionary standpoint, that stored energy can be used by the body during periods of food shortage, or converted to heat during colder months.

But in a society where food and heat are relatively plentiful, stored energy often has nowhere to go and can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Study author Jun Wu, research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, says that consuming cinnamon on a regular basis may be one way to make fat cells burn some of that energy, rather than storing all of it.

The study looked at cinnamon’s effects on adipocytes directly—not on an actual human bodies—so much more research is needed to know if cinnamon has the same effect in real people and what the implications of increased thermogenesis really are. And while cinnamon is considered safe in quantities normally used in food, Wu says it’s still too early to determine an effective dose.

MORE: Why Cinnamon Is Insanely Good For You

Wu says that a sprinkle of cinnamon here or there may not be enough to show immediate, measurable effects on metabolism. However, “we speculate that you don’t have to eat a large amount of cinnamon all at once,” she says. “If you eat it every day, we suspect there will be a cumulative effect, and that over time you will achieve these benefits.”

This isn’t the first study to suggest that cinnamon may have beneficial effects on the body’s metabolic processes. Other research has found that the spice appears to protect mice against obesity and hyperglycemia, and that it’s associated with lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Wu says that her team’s research is another piece of evidence in cinnamon’s favor. “After this, I would recommend eating a little more than you do already,” she says. “If you already eat a lot of it, carry on—and if it’s not something you use regularly, it’s a great time to start.”

Texas Rep. Joe Barton Apologizes After Nude Photo Surfaces Online

http://time.com/4820569/steve-scalise-shooting-congressional-baseball-game-raises-money/play episode download
22 November, by Sarah Begley[ —]

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has apologized after an anonymous user posted a nude photo of him on social media earlier this week.

“While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women,” Barton said in a statement on Wednesday, the Texas Tribune reports. “Each was consensual. Those relationships have ended. I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days. I am sorry that I let my constituents down.”

Barton, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1985, announced earlier this month that he would seek reelection. In an interview with the Tribune on Tuesday, he said he was contemplating his political future.

“You’re as aware of what was posted as I am,” he said. “I am talking to a number of people, all of whom I have faith in and am deciding how to respond, quite frankly.”

It’s unclear if the person who posted the photo of Barton violated laws prohibiting the distribution of nude images without the subject’s consent, a practice sometimes called “revenge porn.”

Light Pollution Is Getting Worse Every Year. That’s Bad For Your Health

22 November, by Jeffrey Kluger[ —]

Nothing has captured the march of wealth and progress like any society’s ability to light up the night—first with campfires and torches, then with gas lamps, finally with incandescent lights. Franklin Roosevelt’s 1936 Rural Electrification Act was an effort both to bring modernity to the 90% of American farms that lacked electricity and to help jolt the American economy, which was still deep in the Depression. The modern nighttime image of the Korean peninsula as seen from space, with darkness north of the 38th parallel and brilliant light in the vibrant south, powerfully captures the connection between civilization and illumination.

Now, however, a new study of satellite images, published in Science Advances, suggests that we may have taken an undeniably good thing too far. The nighttime face of the planet is getting brighter and brighter, and that may be doing significant harm to the health of human beings, animals and the ecosystem as a whole.

If the global glare is growing, it’s no secret why. Suburban sprawl in the U.S. and other developed countries is gobbling up once dark, quiet expanses of land, while explosive growth in China has been producing entirely new cities in what was once empty countryside. The switchover from traditional sodium vapor street lights to LEDs has brightened things further, with yellow-gold urban lighting giving way to a brighter blue-white. And since LEDs are more energy efficient and therefore cheaper to operate, places that could get by without much lighting before are now being fully illuminated.

To determine just how extensive the brightening of the night has become, a team of researchers —led by physicist and ecologist Christopher Kyba of the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam —reserved time to use America’s Suomi NPP satellite, jointly operated by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The goal was to track and map nighttime illumination around the planet from 2012 to 2016—a job was a lot more complicated than simply staring at the ground and noting which square miles are lit at night and which are dark.

For one thing, cloud cover meant some parts of the planet could be seen only intermittently. For another, transient, unintended light—such as wildfires in the Western U.S. and especially in Australia during the four-year observation period—could throw off the results, with some areas appearing as if they had actually gotten darker over time, but only because the blazes had at last been extinguished. Then too there is scattered light. One of the reasons light pollution makes stargazing difficult even miles from a city is that the atmosphere acts as a sort of deflector and distributor of urban lighting, faintly illuminating the otherwise dark countryside.

A lot of the researchers’ work thus involved teasing this misleading data out of their overall findings. When they finally did, and analyzed what they had left, they came up with some revealing numbers: Over the course of the survey period, the Earth’s artificially illuminated area had grown by 2.2% per year, a rate that does not appear to be slowing. The share of that lit land that is constantly illuminated—with the nighttime lights never going off as they do, say, in shopping or dining districts, where businesses shut down only late at night—also increased 2.2% per year. Overall radiance, or the brightness of all of the lighting combined, grew by 1.8 % annually.

Some comparatively small but brilliantly lit areas make disproportionate contributions to the nighttime radiance. A single international airport, for example, can be 30 times brighter than an entire town in the American west. And rich countries, no surprise, are bigger contributors to light pollution than poorer countries. A growth in a region’s gross domestic product of 13% over the course of the observation period was reflected in a nearly matching 15% increase in nighttime lighting. The researchers broke that finding down further, showing that levels of artificial lighting increase steadily as per capita income in a given region rises from the equivalent of $2,000 or less, to $6,000, then to $17,000, and finally to greater than $17,000.

None of that need be bad news. The same satellite images that reveal how much of the Earth is lit at night also show that the large majority of the surface is still dark, meaning that you probably don’t have to travel far to escape the glare. What’s more, brighter cities and towns are safer cities and towns, and if light means wealth, it’s hard to complain when both are on the rise.

But nature is paying a price. One 2017 study found that artificial lighting near waterways draws insects up from the water surface and toward the lighting source, disrupting food chains and weakening the local ecosystem. Another study this year found an equally direct cause and effect between increased lighting over beach areas and a dramatic decline in sea turtle populations, as hatchlings are lured away from the water and toward the light, where they are snapped up by predators. Migrating birds, which navigate partly by light from the moon and the stars, can be thrown off course when light pollution washes out the sky. Vegetation is affected, too. A 2016 study showed that trees are increasingly blooming out of season, as lighting coaxes their buds to burst too soon, leaving them vulnerable to damage by cold temperatures before the true onset of spring. That could affect fruit orchards and crops as well.

Finally, of course, there is the effect on us. The American Medical Association warns that nighttime lighting, especially the blue-white LED variety, “is associated with reduced sleep times, dissatisfaction with sleep quality, excessive sleepiness, impaired daytime functioning and obesity.” Alarmingly, a Harvard study showed that artificial lighting may actually be linked to increased breast cancer rates, probably as a result of decreased levels of the hormone melatonin, which influences circadian rhythms. For now, that connection has been found only in premenopausal women who are current or former smokers, but the link is troubling nonetheless.

Certainly, no one wants to turn the world’s lights off. Humans left the state of nature for a reason, and there is little percentage in going back. But allowing more space for nature—and for the darkness and quiet that blankets it at night—could make the entire planet a healthier place.

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