Newsworthy – Dec 19th, 2019

Donald Trump has become the third president of the United States to become impeached, obesity and undernutrition are becoming increasingly connected, almost half of American workers are stuck in low wage jobs, Congress to raise legal age to purchase tobacco products.

These, and more, are the newsworthy stories from this past week.

Science and Environment

  • Information about a neolithic woman’s appearance, diet, lifestyle, and even medical history was extracted from a perfectly preserved 5,700-year-old “chewing gum”.

    She had dark hair, dark skin, and blue eyes. Her last meal was duck and hazlenut. She was also lactose intolerant, more evidence that lactase persistence only appeared in adults fairly recently after the introduction of dairy farming.

    – ZME Science

Health and Society

  • Obesity and undernutrition have become increasingly connected in recent decades, a new paper reports. It explains that modern food systems are negatively impacting the health of people around the world, with the poorest being particularly affected.

    – ZME Science
  • An experimental drug from Amylyx Pharmaceuticals slowed the progression of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in a clinical trial.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • A devastating disease spreading from China has wiped out roughly one-quarter of the world’s pigs, reshaping farming and hitting the diets and pocketbooks of consumers around the globe.

    China’s unsuccessful efforts to stop the disease may have hastened the spread — creating problems that could bedevil Beijing and global agriculture for years to come.

    – The New York Times
  • Royalty, U.S. and European officials attended ceremonies to mark the 75th anniversary of one of the most important battles in military history — the Battle of the Bulge, which began at dawn on Dec. 16, 1944, and stopped Adolf Hitler’s last-ditch offensive to turn the tide of World War II.

    – AP

Business and Economics

  • FedEx cut its earnings targets for the fourth time in 2019. The delivery giant is struggling to adapt to a world where fewer packages are being flown around the globe and more are being delivered to people’s homes from warehouses.

    The challenge has become acute as Amazon flips from FedEx customer to competitor.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Netflix said 90% of its subscriber growth comes from overseas.

    Europe, the Middle East and Africa—grouped as a region in Netflix’s data—has more than doubled in subscribers since the start of 2017, and is the largest non-U.S. region. Latin America has also posted sharp growth, while Asia is promising but still a small portion of the overall business.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • The U.S. economy is besting expectations for job growth, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest in several decades — but the other side of the story is that millions of jobs out there just aren’t good enough.

    Almost half of all American workers are stuck in low-wage jobs that often don’t pay enough to support their lives, lack benefits and sit squarely inside the automation bullseye.

    – Axios
  • Chinese TV pulled coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League match against Manchester City after a player criticized Beijing’s brutal mass crackdown on ethnic Muslims.

    Beijing is successfully strong-arming Western businesses over the slightest dissent. The Chinese government exacted costly retribution on the NBA after a general manager tweeted an image supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

    – AP

Government and Politics

  • Congress voted to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21 as part of a $1.37 trillion spending measure that now awaits President Trump’s signature.

    – The New York Times
  • Congress passed the most significant changes to the nation’s retirement system in more than a decade.

    One prominent provision of the legislation, which President Trump is expected to sign, encourages 401(k) plans to replicate a feature of old-fashioned pensions by offering products with guaranteed income payments.

    The legislation also seeks to expand retirement plan coverage by making it easier for small companies to join together to offer 401(k) plans and share costs.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • 51 years after President Andrew Johnson, and 21 years after President Bill Clinton, Trump became the third president to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

    – Axios
  • A recent study of the attitudes of almost 500,000 individuals worldwide suggests that interventions to install democracies will likely fail unless a country’s citizens have already adopted values that accompany democracy.

    – Science News Magazine
  • Protests spread in India against a new citizenship law that disadvantages some Muslim immigrants, with critics assailing what they call Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to rewrite India’s secular political underpinning.

    – The Wall Street Journal

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