Newsworthy – January 10th, 2019

Body temperatures are decreasing, the cost of child birth is increasing, executives are bracing for an economic slowdown.

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

Science and Environment

  • An intriguing study shows that body temperatures seem to be dropping by 0.03°C per decade — which over the last century, makes for quite a sizeable difference.

    Scientists believe that this is mostly due to improved living conditions which means that it’s less likely for our bodies to experience inflammation, which raises body temperature.

    – ZME Science
  • The Australian government and indigenous communities have agreed to kill approximately ten thousand camels because they are drinking too much water. The initiative, which is set to happen in the state of South Australia, will be the first major cull of feral animals in the area. The plan was received with mixed responses, although most communities were in favor of the cull.

    Camels were brought to Australia in the 1860s.

    – ZME Science
  • Igniting two months earlier than the usual start of the fire season, the flames in Australia have torn through an area about the size of West Virginia—killing at least 20 people, shrouding cities in choking haze and stretching firefighters to a breaking point.

    The fires have burned so hot that they created their own thunderstorms and lightning—similar to conditions during a volcanic eruption or atomic bomb blast.

    – The Wall Street Journal

Health and Society

  • According to a new study, the average out-of-pocket health care spending for maternity care in the US was $4,569 in 2015, up from $3,069 in 2008.

    In 2015, the standardized cost for vaginal birth was approximately $23,000 and for a cesarean birth around $44,000. However, the share that families had to cover out of their pocket increased from 13% in 2008 to 21% in 2015 for vaginal births and from 10% in 2008 to 15% in 2015 for C-sections.

    – ZME Science
  • In recent weeks, Republican legislators in at least five states have drafted measures aimed at preventing athletes from competing in categories different than their biological sex.

    Lawmakers say they are specifically concerned about female athletes facing unfair competition.

    – The Wall Street Journal

Business and Economics

  • Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa is giving away $9 million to his Twitter followers in what he says is a “social experiment” to see if the payment boosts their happiness.

    He tied the giveaway to the idea of basic income, or the theory of providing a periodic no-strings-attached payment to all citizens.

    – Reuters
  • The West African nations of Ivory Coast and Ghana, which combined produce more than 60% of the world’s cocoa, have banded together to form their own chocolate-coated version of the Organization of OPEC.

    The decision by the world’s top two cocoa producers to join forces is expected to raise the cost of candy bars, ice cream and cake.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • American Dream — a 3 million-square-foot mall in New Jersey’s Meadowlands that’ll be fully open in March — is just 45% retail. The rest will be entertainment options, from an indoor ski slope to a hockey rink to an amusement park.

    The developers plan a second location in Miami.

    – Axios
  • The Census Bureau is raising pay, boosting advertising and stressing flexible hours to attract applicants to fill 500,000 jobs for the 2020 count.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Chief financial officers are bracing for an economic slowdown this year, according to Deloitte’s quarterly survey of nearly 150 executives at top North American companies.

    Multiple surveys showed plunging optimism among top executives last year, thanks largely to trade-war uncertainty.

    – Axios
  • New research confirms what economists have said for years: State and local economic incentives for megacompanies are a waste of money.

    There is “no evidence” that state-and-local tax incentives to individual companies increased economic growth.

    – Axios

Government and Politics

  • Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at U.S. forces at two bases in Iraq, the Pentagon said. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said the attack was to avenge the targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani by the U.S.

    A U.S. official said the attacks caused no casualties but that a damage assessment was still under way.

    – The Wall Street Journal
  • Responding to a U.S. airstrike that killed a powerful Iranian general, Iran said it no longer will comply with limits on uranium enrichment under its 2015 nuclear pact, meaning Tehran could install new centrifuges and further ramp up the purity of the fuel it produces closer to weapons-grade.

    – The Wall Street Journal

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