By Chris Kirkham (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced sweeping new restrictions on flavored tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes popular among teenagers in an effort to prevent a new generation of nicotine addicts. The much-anticipated announcement will mean that only tobacco, mint and menthol e-cigarette flavors can be sold at most traditional retail outlets such as convenience stores. Other fruity- or sweet-flavored varieties can now only be sold at age-restricted stores or through online merchants that use age-verification checks. The FDA also plans to seek a ban on menthol cigarettes, a longtime goal of public health advocates, as well as flavored cigars. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the moves are meant to prevent young people from continuing to use e-cigarettes, potentially leading to traditional cigarette smoking. "I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes," Gottlieb said. The agency has faced mounting pressure to act on e-cigarettes amid their surging popularity among U.S. teenagers in recent years. One of the most popular devices, made by San Francisco-based Juul Labs Inc, has become a phenomenon at U.S. high schools, where "Juuling" has become synonymous with vaping. E-cigarettes vaporize a liquid containing nicotine, the addictive stimulant that gives smokers a rush. They are widely believe to be less harmful than combustible cigarettes, but the long-term health consequences of using the devices are unknown. Data released on Thursday by the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a 78 percent increase in high school students who reported using e-cigarettes in the last 30 days, compared with the prior year. More than 3 million high school students, or more than 20 percent of all U.S. high school students, used the products, along with 570,000 middle school students, according to the survey. SUPPORT TO RESTRICT YOUTH ACCESS Juul and tobacco giant Altria Group Inc had announced measures to pull flavored e-cigarette products from retail outlets, after the FDA threatened in September to ban Juul and other leading e-cigarette products unless their makers took steps to prevent use by minors. Juul, Logic, a unit of Japan Tobacco Inc, Altria, which makes e-cigarettes under the MarkTen brand, British American Tobacco Plc (BAT) and Imperial Brands Plc, the maker of blu e-cigarettes, all said they supported efforts to reduce youth access. Altria said it believes the devices have the potential to be "less harmful products that can deliver nicotine to adults who want them." Imperial said it was developing a technology that can lock the devices if an underage person tries to use it. BAT said that while "flavors play an important role in an adult smoker’s transition out of smoking, we understand the FDA’s concern that some flavors can play a role in increasing youth appeal." E-cigarettes have been a divisive topic in the public health community. Some focus on the potential benefit of shifting lifelong smokers to less harmful nicotine products, while others fear it will create a new generation addicted to nicotine. Last year the FDA under Gottlieb extended until 2022 a deadline for many e-cigarette products to comply with new federal rules on marketing and public health. Today's restrictions on flavors are interim measures that companies must follow before submitting detailed plans before the deadline. The new rules on e-cigarette flavors mean that many of the sweet and fruity varieties believed to be most popular among minors will only be available in stores such as vape shops or tobacco shops that do not allow under-age people inside. Stores could also have a separate, age-restricted section that allows sale of other flavors, the FDA said. FIERCE RESISTANCE TO MENTHOL BAN The agency cited survey data showing that mint and menthol flavors were more popular with adult e-cigarette users than teenagers. Anti-tobacco and public health groups commended the FDA on its proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, which data show are far more popular among young smokers and particularly young African-Americans. Any move to ban menthol is expected to face fierce resistance from the tobacco industry. Menthol cigarettes represent more than 30 percent of U.S. cigarette volumes and approximately 55 percent of BAT's U.S. volumes, through its Newport brand, according to a research note from AllianceBernstein earlier this week. The FDA must go through a rulemaking process, which requires significant public comment before finalizing any regulation on menthols. Imperial, BAT and Altria said the ban on menthols or flavored cigars was not supported by science and evidence. (Reporting by Chris Kirkham in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Marguerita Choy)
- The Independent
Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene in conspiracy laden double act designed to delight Florida’s most famous retiree – Donald Trump
Few Republicans more outspoken in support of former president than Greene or Gaetz, writes Andrew Buncombe
- The Independent
Melinda Gates is ‘haunted’ by Microsoft founder’s association with sex offender, sources say
- The Independent
Wisconsin wants $106k from lawyer Sidney Powell over ‘bad faith’ lawsuit backing Trump’s election lies
Powell pushed her fraudulent election claims so far Trump once asked his staff ‘she really is crazy, huh?’
- The Independent
Event is ‘calling on leaders to make sure vaccines are accessible for all so we can end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere’
- The Independent
“Many of us still live in fear,” the former first lady says
- LA Times
Check out pictures from Canelo Álvarez's TKO win over Billy Joe Saunders, who withdrew due to an eye injury following eight full rounds on Saturday.
- The Independent
Senior Republican ‘privately complaining’ about the ‘coronation’ of Elise Stefanik ahead of Liz Cheney purge, CNN host says
Jake Tapper confirms earlier rumours of discontent within the GOP about Liz Cheney’s potential replacement
- The Independent
Secret Russian assassination squad linked to claims of bounties on US troops in Afghanistan, report says
Release of newly declassified documents suggests disagreement among intelligence agencies over their level of confidence in reports
- Business Insider
Amazon executives sensed Bezos was poised to get divorced when he started taking an unusually keen interest in a mode of transport he had always loathed.
- The Daily Beast
ViceIn I, Sniper, Lee Boyd Malvo speaks at length about the 2002 reign of terror he and partner John Allen Muhammad carried out in the Washington, D.C., area, resulting in ten deaths. Yet despite using audio clips from his phone calls as narration, Vice’s eight-part docuseries (premiering May 10) is most notable for putting its prime emphasis on the pair’s innocent victims, and the countless friends, family members and loved ones left to cope with unthinkable tragedy. To its admirable credit, it’s a true-crime affair that seeks to understand its “monsters” while simultaneously recognizing—and highlighting—the fact that such comprehension doesn’t necessitate empathy, especially when the atrocities in question are as inexcusably heinous as these.Spearheaded by director Ursula Macfarlane, I, Sniper’s calling card is those phone conversations with Malvo from Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison, where he’s currently serving multiple life sentences. In them, the killer recounts, in exacting and chilling detail, both the sniper attacks he perpetrated as a 17-year-old, and the troubled upbringing in Jamaica that led him into the welcoming arms of Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran with a surplus of rage and a desire to unleash it on his homeland. Abandoned by his dad, abused by his mom, and eventually left to fend for himself, Malvo found in Muhammad a father figure who promised to love him as he did his own biological offspring. From the outset, though, theirs was a bond built on exploitation, with Muhammad becoming not only Malvo’s surrogate parent, but also his lover—as well as his mentor, pouring all of his long-simmering hate and resentment into the impressionable, desperate-for-acceptance teen.The Tragic End to Wrestling’s First Great ‘Madman’Muhammad’s gripes were many—he despised the military, white people, and just about every American institutional structure. However, he reserved his greatest enmity for second ex-wife Mildred, who dared to take back her kids after Muhammad had kidnapped them. The loss of his (abducted) brood seems to have been the proverbial match that lit Muhammad’s homicidal spark, and he soon began molding Malvo into his instrument of destruction. Friends and relatives suspected that something was up with their relationship, but no one foresaw what was to come: the cold-blooded murder of Keenya Cook, the niece of Mildred’s friend in Tacoma, Washington, followed by violent robberies, shootings and slayings in Arizona, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. All of those initial acts were merely a test run for Malvo and Muhammad’s grand scheme in Washington, D.C., the epicenter of American power, and thus Muhammad’s venue of choice to strike fear into the heart of the republic by proving that everyone was vulnerable—even children.What transpired was a 22-day nightmare in which 13 individuals (white and Black, young and old, well-off and working-class) were shot, 10 of them fatally, in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Because Malvo and Muhammad’s intention was to terrorize in increasingly escalating fashion, each victim was chosen at random at gas stations, on street corners, and in parking lots that afforded the killers ideal vantage points and easy escape routes. They committed these crimes in a customized 1990 blue Chevy Caprice, with Malvo lying in the trunk and firing through the rear keyhole. It was a stealthy plot, and the two benefited from the fact that an early eyewitness said they’d seen a white box truck near the scene—thereby sending police, for the better part of the next three weeks, on a wild goose chase for the wrong vehicle. With no other ballistics-related leads, law enforcement was stymied, which proved to Malvo that Muhammad was right: no one could stop them from exacting their revenge.The question, of course, is revenge against what? I, Sniper connects the dots of Malvo and Muhammad’s troubled pasts and despicable 2002 presents, but no convincing argument is made that Muhammad—the mastermind behind this madness—had suffered losses that weren’t of his own making. Be it his unhinged military tenure, his marital craziness, or his transformation of Malvo into an assassin, Muhammad comes across as a man righteously angry over things that were his own fault. As for Malvo, his cold, clinical recitation of his murderous conduct (and claims of remorse) neuters any sorrow one might feel for his adolescent travails. His present-day compunction is far too little, too late, just as the case he makes for his own victimhood vis-à-vis Muhammad sounds like an accurate and yet insufficient explanation. He knew that gunning down men, women and children was dreadfully wrong, and yet in order to maintain Muhammad’s affection, he actively, and enthusiastically, chose to do it—and even got a thrilling kick from it, as he explains that post-shooting sex with Muhammad was exceptionally exciting.Malvo and Muhammad’s rampage of “retribution and punishment” was unforgivable; as Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose says, “There’s just no excuse for their behavior. None whatsoever.” To hammer home that point, I, Sniper consistently juxtaposes Malvo’s recollections with prolonged, heartrending interviews with the wives, brothers, aunts and friends of the duo’s victims, as well as some of those who survived their encounters. Those accounts turn out to be vital, providing an up-close-and-personal view of the anguish and trauma that Malvo and Muhammad brought about, and the lingering scars left by this ordeal. They’re the human face of this awful tale, stricken with grief, regret, guilt and fury over senseless crimes that robbed them of loved ones who were simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.Comprised of news reports, crime scene footage, 911 calls, Malvo-penned illustrations, maps and chats with patrolmen, detectives, reporters and doctors, I, Sniper is comprehensive enough to earn the description “definitive.” Yet more than its insight into the mind of its young subject—and, by extension, Muhammad, who was executed in 2009 by lethal injection—what separates it from much of the true-crime pack is its dogged refusal to forget the real, incalculable horror at the center of its story. Malvo is frequently heard but never seen, while the countenances of his and Muhammad’s victims (and those close to them) remain front-and-center throughout. That directorial decision is critical and commendable, allowing the series to pay fitting tribute to the individuals who deserve to be remembered, while keeping its central villain largely faceless, in the dark and out of sight, where he chose to live and kill with his murderous mentor, and where he’ll now remain for the remainder of his days.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
Close allies to Donald Trump told the Washington Post they wish he was working to protect policies from his term as opposed to holding grudges.
- Business Insider
Elon Musk calls the meme-crypto Dogecoin the 'future of currency,' predicts it will 'take over the world' on 'SNL'
Musk also referenced the popular catchphrase "To the moon," popularized by the Reddit group Wall Street Bets.
- Business Insider
After Tesla increased the price of a Solar Roof project by more than $30,000, the customers explain why they have filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract
After waiting six months for their new Solar Roof, a Pennsylvania couple said Tesla informed them of a significant price hike.
James looks almost unrecognizable in the transformation shots as the "Baywatch" star.
'SNL' star Michael Che says he knew of Elon Musk but doesn't know majority of show's white celebrity hosts
The "SNL" cast member told Wendy Williams that when he found out Elon Musk was hosting, he thought: "Oh, I know who he is at least."
- Business Insider
'SNL' cast members have been accused of 'getting a little too big for their britches' by an industry insider, following swipes at Elon Musk
Tensions remain present behind the scenes, ahead of the Tesla CEO's "SNL" hosting debut, an industry source told the New York Post.
- The Guardian
According to a lawyer for an alleged Capitol rioter, his client was brainwashed by Fox News into participating in the 6 January attack Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington DC on 6 January. Photograph: Julio Cortez/AP Fighting Foxitis For decades a debilitating disease has been spreading across America. Risk factors include being over 65, Republican and white. Symptoms include unhinged muttering, delusional thinking and an irresistible urge to storm the Capitol. The disease is called “Foxitis” and a lawyer called Joseph Hurley, who is representing alleged US Capitol rioter Anthony Antonio, wants us to believe his client is suffering from it. Antonio lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic and spent the next six months sitting at home watching Fox, Hurley told a DC court on Thursday. “He became hooked with what I call ‘Foxitis’ or ‘Foxmania’ and … started believing what was being fed to him.” According to Hurley, Fox brainwashed Antonio into believing Trump wanted him to march on Washington as part of a patriotic movement.” Now Antonio is facing five charges over his role in the January riot. It seems unlikely that Hurley’s inspired defense will get Antonio off the hook. Particularly as a number of alleged Capitol rioters have, in a similar move, already unsuccessfully tried to blame the former president for their actions: a tactic that has become known as the “Trump defense”. (Gotta love rightwingers! While they love to talk about individual responsibility, they seem incapable of taking any themselves.) That said, while it may not end up getting a judge’s seal of approval, “Foxitis” is no joke. Unlike affluenza, another disease-defense dreamed up by a lawyer, Foxitis is something we should all take very seriously indeed. Fox may not be able to take over your brain and force you to do things in the same way that weird parasite that turns ants into suicidal zombies does, but it is hard to overstate the network’s outsize influence. A number of studies suggest that Fox News’s coverage of the pandemic, which was characterized by racism and misinformation, may have caused its viewers to take the coronavirus less seriously, for example, with consequences to public health. Now Tucker Carlson, who was one of the few Fox News hosts who actually took the pandemic seriously early on, is diversifying his usual racist rants with dangerous anti-vaxxer propaganda. Weirdly, he never seems to mention that his boss, Rupert Murdoch, was one of the first people in the world to get the vaccine. Murdoch got his jab in the UK in December 2020: the King of Misinformation got vaccinated three weeks before the Queen of England. Fox isn’t just a danger to public health, it’s a danger to democracy. It spent months amplifying Donald Trump’s lies about the integrity of the 2020 election; it may not have forced people to storm the Capitol, but it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t in some way responsible for inciting the riots. Antonio and his fellow alleged rioters shouldn’t be the only ones on trial: Fox should be too. And, to some degree they are, the network has been sued for $1.6bn by the North American voting machine company Dominion, which has accused the network of defamation. Media Matters has also started a campaign, unfoxmycablebox.com, urging people to ask cable carriers to drop Fox News from their packages. Ultimately, however, lawsuits and protests are not going to be enough to fully eradicate Foxitis. Particularly as the disease has multiple variants, including the particularly nasty Facebookitis. Misinformation will never go away. However, we can and must inoculate people against it. How? By heavily investing in education and media literacy. I’ve quoted Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s digital minister before, but I don’t think this point can be stressed enough: misinformation is a virus and the only way to get it under control is to build what Tang calls “nerd immunity”. Texas is trying to pass an extreme abortion ban The state that supposedly loves small government is attempting to pass a draconian law banning abortions after just six weeks of pregnancy. To be clear: that’s two weeks after a woman misses her period. What’s more, Texas wants to allow private citizens to be able to sue doctors or anyone else who may have helped someone get an abortion after that time limit. So to recap: rightwingers think gun control is oppressive government overreach but extreme uterus control is totally fine. New Ugandan sex crimes law may undermine LGBTQ+ rights Uganda’s sexual offences bill has been praised for outlawing sexual harassment but it also criminalises gay sex and sex work. Apple’s new AirTags could be used by stalkers Apple recently came out with a small $30 tracker you can clip on to things like keys so you can locate them. Which is basically a dream product for a controlling partner. “I don’t expect products to be perfect the moment they hit the market, but I don’t think they would have made the choices that they did if [Apple] had consulted even a single expert in intimate partner abuse,” one cybersecurity expert told the Washington Post. Tech companies seem to have a blind spot when it comes to women’s safety. *cough* My book is now for sale *cough* We interrupt this newsletter to bring you a shameless plea to pre-order my new book. It’s called Strong Female Lead and it’s about how we desperately need to reassess what effective leadership looks like. Looking for other feminist books to read in the meantime? I can recommend Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons by Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Also: White Feminism by Koa Beck; See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill. The latter is also now a documentary series. Malian woman gives birth to nine babies The nonuplets are all doing well, thankfully. As for the mother? If I were her I’d be having a mini panic attack. I do hope she’ll be getting a lot of help! The week in panicarchy As if a pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with, an out-of-control Chinese rocket is due to crash back down to Earth this weekend. Nobody knows where it’s going to land, but it’ll probably be the ocean. Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University, summed up the situation for the Guardian in layman’s terms: “It’s potentially not good.”
- Lexington Herald-Leader
In the transfer portal and on the coaching carousel, UK has become quite the nemesis to the Big Ten.
- Business Insider
Arizona's top election official details 'a constant barrage of harassment' during unprecedented GOP-backed ballot recounting
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs told Insider that "the so-called audit" of 2.1 million ballots "is making a mockery of everything we do."
- Business Insider
Dogecoin plummets during Elon Musk's 'Saturday Night Live' hosting gig as Robinhood experiences issues
Robinhood said crypto trading was "back up and running" about 30 minutes after reporting difficulties.