Microsoft announces tablet models

first_imgHere are the specs for both tablets:Windows RT version of SurfaceWeight: About 1.5 lbs. (676 grams)Thickness: 9.3 mmScreen: 10.6 inches (diagonal) with ClearType HD DisplayConnections: microSD, USB 2.0, Micro HD Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae (for wireless communications)Storage options: 32 Gigabytes and 64 GigabytesExtras: Runs Office ‘15’ Apps, Touch Cover, Type Cover, VaporMg Case and Stand‚Äî Windows 8 Pro version of SurfaceWeight: About 2 lbs. (903 grams)Thickness: 13.5 mmClear: 10.6 inches (diagonal) with ClearType Full HD DisplayConnections: microSDXC, USB 3.0, Mini DisplayPort Video, 2×2 MIMO antennae (for wireless communications)Storage options: 64 GB and 128 GBExtras: Touch Cover, Type Cover, Pen with Palm Block, VaporMg Case and Stand On June 25, Microsoft Corp. announced the Surface, a tablet computer it believes will compete with Apple Inc.’s dominant iPad. There are two models of the Surface, one with an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and another with an Intel processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. Two important things Microsoft didn’t specify: How long the Surface’s battery lasts on a single charge and the prices the tablets will carry when they hit stores this fall.last_img read more

Studies take early look at health law’s premiums

first_imgWASHINGTON  | Coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law won’t be cheap, but cost-conscious consumers hunting for lower premiums will have plenty of options, according to two independent private studies.A study released Thursday by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation found that government tax credits would lower the sticker price on a benchmark “silver” policy to a little over $190 a month for single people making about $29,000, regardless of their age.FILE – In this June 8, 2010 file photo, President Barack Obama listens as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks in Wheaton, Md. About half the people who now buy their own health insurance_ and potentially face higher premiums next year under President Barack Obama’s health care law_ would qualify for federal tax credits to offset rate shock, according to a new private study. Many others, however, earn too much money to be eligible for help, and could end up paying more. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)By pairing their tax credit with a stripped-down “bronze” policy, some younger consumers can bring their premiums down to the range of $100 to $140 a month, while older people can drive their monthly cost even lower — well below $100 — if they are willing to take a chance with higher deductibles and copays.A separate study released Wednesday from Avalere Health, a private data analysis firm, took a wide-angle view, averaging the sticker prices of policies at different coverage levels.Before tax credits that act like a discount, premiums for a 21-year-old buying a mid-range “silver” policy would be about $270 a month, the Avalere study found. List-price premiums for a 40-year-old buying a mid-range plan will average close to $330. For a 60-year-old, they were nearly double that at $615 a month.Starting Oct. 1, those who don’t have health care coverage on the job can go to new online insurance markets in their states to shop for a private plan and find out if they qualify for a tax credit. An estimated 4 out 5 consumers in the new markets will be eligible for some level of tax credit.Come Jan. 1, virtually all Americans will be required to have coverage, or face fines. At the same time, insurance companies will no longer be able to turn away people in poor health.The Obama administration, which is running the markets or taking the lead in 35 states, is not expected to release final premiums until close to the Oct. 1 launch date. But the two private studies provide an early look at the emerging market.Caroline Pearson, lead author of the Avalere study, said it will be competitive, but there will be big price differences among age groups, states and even within states.The bottom line is mixed: Many consumers will like their new options, particularly if they qualify for a tax credit. But others may have to stretch to afford coverage.“We are seeing competitive offerings in every market if you buy toward the low end of what’s available,” said Pearson, a vice president of Avalere.However, for uninsured people who are paying nothing today, “this is still a big cost that they’re expected to fit into their budgets,” Pearson added.The Obama administration said consumers will have options that are cheaper than the averages presented in the Avalere study. “We’re consistently seeing that premiums will be lower than expected,” she said. “For the many people that qualify for a tax credit, the cost will be even lower.”The Kaiser study found that while premiums will vary significantly across the country, they are generally coming in lower than forecast by the government’s own experts. It cautioned against comparing premiums under Obama’s law to what individually insured people currently pay, because the new coverage is more robust.Avalere crunched the numbers on premiums filed by insurers in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Kaiser analyzed 17 states and the District of Columbia. Both studies included a mix of states running their own insurance markets and ones in which the federal government will take charge.The states analyzed by Avalere were California, Connecticut, Indiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.In addition to those, Kaiser included Colorado, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Oregon.No data on premiums were publicly available for Texas and Florida — together they are home to more than 10 million of the nation’s nearly 50 million uninsured people — and key to the law’s success.However, Pearson said she’s confident the premiums in the Avalere study will be “quite representative” of other states, because clear pricing patterns emerged.Four levels of plans will be available under Obama’s law: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Bronze plans will cover 60 percent of expected medical costs; silver plans will cover 70 percent; gold will cover 80 percent and platinum 90 percent.All plans cover the same benefits, but bronze features the lowest premiums, paired with higher deductibles and copays. Platinum plans would have the lowest out-of-pocket costs and the highest premiums.Mid-range silver plans are considered the benchmark, because the tax credits will be keyed to the cost of the second-lowest-cost silver plan in a local area.And there’s another important detail for consumers to be aware of: People with modest incomes may come out ahead by sticking with a silver plan instead of going for the lower premiums with bronze. Additional help with out-of-pocket costs like copays will only be available to people enrolling in a silver plan.Although the sticker price for premiums rises dramatically above age 40, the tax credits are shaping up as a powerful equalizer for older consumers. That’s because they work by limiting what you pay for premiums to a given percentage of your income.For example, someone making $23,000 would pay no more than 6.3 percent of his or her annual income — $1,450 — for a benchmark silver plan. The amount you pay stays the same whether the total premium is $3,000 or $9,000.However, those tax credits taper off rapidly for people with solid middle-class incomes, above $30,000 for an individual and $60,000 for a family of four.The Avalere study also found some striking price differences within certain states, generally larger ones. In New York, with 16 insurers participating, the difference between the cheapest and priciest silver premium was $418.last_img read more

Book explains why parenting is ‘all joy,’ ‘no fun’

first_img“All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood” (Ecco), by Jennifer SeniorParenting is a life-changing, meaning-infusing, deeply profound experience. It is also, day by day, a huge drag.“All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood” by Jennifer Senior seeks to explain this contradiction — and mostly succeeds.The book grew out of a much-discussed cover article that Senior wrote for New York magazine, where she is a contributing editor, that highlighted studies showing that parents are not as happy as their childless peers. The book is more nuanced, digging below the surface of those findings.Parents will nod in recognition as Senior writes about the impairment caused by sleep deprivation in the early days; the stress of near-constant noncompliance in the toddler years; the frenetic schedules of school-age children; and the marriage-straining struggles of the teenage years.From cradle to college, Senior explores the myriad factors at play that leave modern parents feeling conflicted, frustrated and utterly exhausted.Chief among those factors is a paradigm shift. Children who were once contributing members of the family are now shielded and protected, and assumed to be “future assets,” requiring much upfront investment.Dwindling social ties — due to sprawl, two working parents and “pervasive busyness” — have also had an adverse effect.“Without the pop-in, without the vibrant presence of neighbors, without life in the cul-de-sacs and the streets, the pressure reverts back to the nuclear family — and more specifically, to the marriage or partnership — to provide what friends, neighbors, and other families once did: games, diversions, imaginative play,” Senior writes. “And parents have lost some of the fellowship provided by other adults.”What accounts for people’s rosy global view of parenthood, then? Senior cites the gap in how we experience things versus how we remember them.“Our experiencing selves tell researchers that we prefer doing the dishes — or napping, or shopping, or answering emails — to spending time with our kids,” Senior writes. “But our remembering selves tell researchers that no one — and nothing — provides us with so much joy as our children. It may not be the happiness we live day to day, but it’s the happiness we think about, the happiness we summon and remember, the stuff that makes up our life tales.”“All Joy and No Fun” is chock-full of fascinating information from papers, studies and books on wide-ranging subjects. It feels disjointed, however, and leaves the reader with a full inventory of our many problems, with very few solutions.Still, the thought-provoking nuggets it contains are valuable for any parent seeking some perspective.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.last_img read more

Andrew Jackson home pushes 7th president’s rock star image

first_img In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, a carriage used by President Andrew Jackson is displayed in Hermitage, Tenn. “Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm” is a new exhibit that is also the first at Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, to focus on Jackson and his legacy. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, President Andrew Jackson’s artifacts and history are displayed in the new “Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm” exhibit on the grounds of Jackson’s home in Hermitage, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) NASHVILLE, Tenn. | Andrew Jackson: President. Hero. Rockstar.So reads a billboard welcoming arrivals at the Nashville International Airport, attempting to lure them from the honky-tonks of downtown Broadway to Jackson’s historic home called The Hermitage a few miles to the east. In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, mannequins wear clothing worn by President Andrew Jackson and his wife, Rachel, in an exhibit in Hermitage, Tenn. “Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm” is the first major content change to The Hermitage’s exhibition space in 25 years. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, a billboard advertising a new exhibit about President Andrew Jackson, “Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm,” is displayed at the Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tenn. The billboard labels Jackson a “rockstar,” along with “president” and “hero.” The exhibit, at Jackson’s nearby home, The Hermitage, aims to highlight Jackson’s sometimes unsung legacy. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)center_img In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, is seen in Hermitage, Tenn. Many of Jackson’s belongings have been meticulously preserved, including original furnishings, wallpaper, clothing, swords and even a carriage. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) In this Jan. 7, 2015 photo, items belonging to President Andrew Jackson are displayed in the new “Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm” exhibit in Hermitage, Tenn. The exhibit coincides with the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, in which Jackson won a brilliant victory against the British in the War of 1812. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) A new exhibit there encourages visitors to remember that the man with the lofty forehead and towering hair portrayed on the $20 bill had the star power of an Elvis Presley or Kanye West back in his day. It’s part of a broader makeover effort to move Jackson’s image from a half-remembered “Old Hickory” caricature to a man whose vision changed the presidency and the nation and whose legacy can still be felt today.“Andrew Jackson, Born for a Storm” is the first major content change to The Hermitage’s exhibition space in 25 years. Perhaps surprisingly, the new exhibit is also the first at the historic home to focus on Jackson and his legacy.It comes at a time when The Hermitage hopes to take advantage of a renewed interest in Jackson, helped along by the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography “American Lion” and Broadway rock musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”Jackson, America’s seventh president, is often remembered for his infamous campaign of Indian removal. He pushed through the 1830 Indian Removal Act, under which multiple tribes were forced away from their land.The “rock star” comparison might seem like a stretch, but take this example: Jackson’s raucous first inauguration was overrun by drunken well-wishers who tore up the White House furniture. Jackson himself had to escape from a window and his supporters were only persuaded to leave when they moved the alcohol-laced punch onto the lawn.“Jackson was the next great war hero after George Washington. People really felt like he had saved the country,” said Tony Guzzi, Hermitage vice president of preservation who helped craft the new exhibit. “They put his image on everything from plates to pitchers to coins to you-name-it.”The wild scene at the White House reflected Jackson’s populist campaign for office in which he vowed to take back the government from Washington elites.“The people really thought it was their government, and their White House,” Guzzi explained.Jackson’s presidency saw the closure of the national bank and an unprecedented use of the veto that many members of Congress criticized as exceeding his authority. His time in office was also known for the Petticoat Affair, a social catastrophe that began when members of his household and cabinet refused to socialize with the scandal-plagued wife of War Secretary John Eaton. The situation escalated and led to the dissolution of nearly Jackson’s entire cabinet.But Jackson, an outsider who grew up on the frontier, would never have become president if not for the Battle of New Orleans, in which he won a brilliant victory against the British at the close of the War of 1812.“The legacy of the battle is that Americans felt Jackson had saved them from the British. That launched the U.S. into an era of national pride,” Guzzi said. “The big, important thing is it really changed the way Americans felt about their country. They were more confident about the permanency of the U.S., which was only a few decades old.”Jackson was honored with ceremonial swords, medallions and gold presentation boxes, some of which are on display at the exhibit that opens Thursday to coincide with the battle’s 200th anniversary.The Hermitage has appointed some nationally prominent figures to its new board of directors, including “American Lion” author Jon Meacham. And the name of the board itself has changed from the quaint Ladies Hermitage Association to the solid-sounding Andrew Jackson Foundation.The association of ladies first took over the care and maintenance of The Hermitage more than 125 years ago, when Jackson’s grandson still lived there, and they have meticulously preserved original furnishings, wallpaper, clothing — even a carriage. But luring tourists into the suburbs to see the collection has been a challenge in recent years.In the 1980s, The Hermitage was the third most-visited presidential home behind Washington’s Mount Vernon and Jefferson’s Monticello, said Hermitage President and CEO Howard Kittell. But visitation has fallen from a high of about 330,000 to only about 185,000 this past fiscal year.The new exhibit is an effort to “capitalize on what makes us distinct,” he said. “It was Jackson.”If You Go…THE HERMITAGE: Andrew Jackson’s home, 4580 Rachel’s Lane, Nashville; or 615-889-2941. Open daily, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Adults, $20; children 6-12, $10; seniors, $17.last_img read more

Senator probes retailers on dubious ‘brain’ supplements

first_imgWASHINGTON | A high-ranking Senate Democrat is probing retailers and online companies about sales of dubious dietary supplements, especially those promising seniors protection from memory loss, dementia and other age-related problems.The pills, tablets and formulas targeted by Senator Claire McCaskill bear names like “Brain Awake,” ”Dementia Drops” and “Food for the Brain,” which claims to ease “forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.”In letters sent this week to 15 companies — including Wal-Mart, Target Corp., Amazon, Google and Walgreen’s — McCaskill asks executives to explain how they vet dietary supplements and weed out products making false claims. The Missouri Democrat is the ranking member on the Senate Aging Committee, which frequently investigates health scams targeting older Americans.“Frankly, I think there’s a special place in hell for someone who markets a product and says it will cure Alzheimer’s,” McCaskill told The Associated Press. “And that’s essentially what these scammers are doing and they’ve had assistance in that.”FILE – In this July 17, 2014 file photo, Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance subcommittee chair Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., questions witnesses during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCaskill is pushing some of the country’s largest retailers and online companies to drop dubious dietary supplements and vitamins, especially those promising seniors protection from memory loss, dementia and other age-related mental problems. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)This is the latest probe into the $30 billion-dollar dietary supplement industry, which encompasses thousands of products and has long been plagued by questionable advertising, marketing and manufacturing practices. Supplements have never been subject to the same Food and Drug Administration regulations as prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which must be reviewed as safe and effective before being sold in the U.S.Earlier this year, 14 state attorneys general asked Congress to investigate the herbal supplement industry. They pointed to DNA-based test results apparently showing that some store-brand supplements have none of the ingredients listed on their labels.McCaskill’s probe focuses on supplements targeting seniors who are concerned about dementia. More than 5 million people in the U.S. suffer from Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no cure and prescription drugs only temporarily ease symptoms.But rather than focusing on the supplements themselves, McCaskill’s investigation is probing how they make their way into consumers’ shopping carts and medicine cabinets.In a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon, McCaskill asks for a briefing with the company to “better understand Wal-Mart’s policies and practices related to dietary supplements.”A spokesman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said in a statement: “We appreciate the opportunity to share information about our supplement business and look forward to cooperating with the committee as appropriate.”A spokesman for the Kroger grocery chain said the company would respond to the senator. A spokeswoman for GNC did not respond to requests for comment.McCaskill also requests meetings with Internet search engines, including Google Inc.“As one of the leading search engines that now provides a retail function through Google Shopping, Google Inc. plays a pivotal role in determining what supplements are being used and trusted,” McCaskill writes in a letter to Google’s CEO, Larry Page. She requests details about how Google is compensated by supplement producers who advertise through the search engine and whether Google reviews customer complaints about such products.Google declined to comment.Companies are not legally required to comply with congressional requests, but they can be ordered to appear before Congress and turn over documents, when compelled by subpoena.The new investigation shines light on how supplement makers skirt federal rules that are supposed to stop companies from marketing their products for specific diseases and conditions. A product called Eureka Intensified Focus, sold through Amazon, claims to “support and maintain memory, concentration and focus.” Another product available on Amazon, AloeMarine, is promoted to support “increased memory and brain function.”A spokesman for Amazon Inc. declined to comment for this story.Because the FDA does not review supplements, manufacturers are technically responsible for making sure their products are safe and truthfully advertised. Products making certain types of health claims are required to carry a disclaimer that “this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA,” though many supplements do not.The FDA frequently sends warning letters to companies that appear to be violating federal rules, but the agency cannot withdraw a supplement from the market until it shows that it is unsafe. Attempts to pass new laws giving the FDA more authority over supplements have repeatedly been scuttled by industry lobbyists and their allies in Congress.Despite the FDA’s limited powers, McCaskill suggests the agency could be doing more.“They do have some authority here and we want to take a closer look at how they are using that authority,” she said.For example, the FDA can penalize companies for failing to register their manufacturing facilities with the FDA, and for not notifying the FDA of side effects reported by customers.In a letter to the FDA, McCaskill and Senate Aging Committee chair Susan Collins, R-Maine, ask the FDA to turn over a list of all FDA actions against companies violating those rules since December 2007. They also ask the FDA to turn over information about its review of new dietary supplement ingredients. The introduction of new ingredients is the one chance regulators have to evaluate supplements before they launch.An FDA spokeswoman said in a statement the agency would respond directly to the Senators.last_img read more

Adele: ‘I don’t know if I will ever tour again’

first_img FILE – In this Feb. 12, 2017, file photo, Adele performs “Hello” at the 59th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Adele told a crowd in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, March 26, 2017, that her current tour may be her final one. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File) AUCKLAND, New Zealand | Adele fans who didn’t catch her on her world tour that’s winding down may be out of luck in the future. The New Zealand Herald reports Adele told the audience during Sunday night’s show in Auckland that “touring isn’t something I’m good at” and she doesn’t know if she “will ever tour again.” The concert was Adele’s last one before she formally finishes the tour in her hometown of London with four sold-out dates at Wembley Stadium this summer.Adele sang through heavy rain at the outdoor show in Auckland on Sunday. Photos show her in a drenched dress for part of the concert and also donning a plastic poncho.She joked that she “just spent two hours in hair and makeup for nothing.”last_img read more

Oklahoma City Zoo launches webcam to show adopted tiger cub

first_imgOKLAHOMA CITY | A tiger cub who was rejected by her mother at the Philadelphia Zoo can be seen bonding with her adoptive mother and brothers in Oklahoma via live-streaming video. In this undated photo provided by the OKC Zoo, Zoya, top center, lies with other cubs at the Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat in Oklahoma City, Okla. Zoya, a tiger cub moved to the Oklahoma City Zoo after being rejected by her mother, can now be seen bonding with her siblings and adoptive mother on live-streaming video. The zoo on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017, launched its online “Tiger Cub Cam” for to offer a 24/7 look at mom Lola and her four growing cubs – Eko, Ramah, Gusti and the adopted daughter, Zoya.(Trisha McDonald/OKC Zoo via AP) The Oklahoma City Zoo launched the “Tiger Cub Cam ” Thursday, showing Zoya with her new mother Lola and brothers Eko, Ramah and Gusti playing, feeding and sleeping indoors. The cubs are expected to move outdoors in mid-September.Lola gave birth July 8 and Zoya was born July 9.Zoya is an Amur, also known as a Siberian tiger, while Lola and her cubs are Sumatran tigers. Zoya was sent to Oklahoma City because the two tiger subspecies are similar.Amur and Sumatran tigers are endangered, with fewer than 500 of each believed to be living in the wild.last_img read more

Ringo! Ex-Beatles drummer plays at Radio City Music Hall

first_imgNEW YORK | It’s the season for Beatles in New York City.Within a week of Paul McCartney playing a surprise show at Grand Central Station, Ringo Starr followed a more old-fashioned path Thursday night. The drummer and singer headlined a two-hour show at Radio City Music Hall, with thousands spending much of the performance standing and cheering along. “We love you, Ringo!” one fan called out, and Starr shouted greetings in kind.It was not a time for lamenting the state of the world. The beloved ex-Beatle wore black, but bright stars hung above the stage and peace signs beamed from behind. Starr’s message for years has been peace and love and a happy look back, whether through such Beatles and solo favorites as “Yellow Submarine” and “Photograph” or through the songs of his current set of sidemen.Since the 1980s, he has toured and served as master of ceremonies with a rotating cast of rock stars of a certain age, what he calls his “All Starr Band.” On Thursday, he shared a generous amount of stage time with Colin Hay of Men At Work, Gregg Rolie of Santana, Steve Lukather of Toto and Graham Gouldman of 10cc.Audience members spanned three generations. They may have come to be in the presence of a Beatle, but they also shared flashbacks of early MTV with such hits as Men At Work’s “Down Under” and Toto’s “Africa” and cheered on the old Santana jams “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.”At 78, Starr seems the least burned out of performers and the least changed from his prime, moving about the stage with the lightness of a man decades younger, his baritone showing no effects from his years of smoking.After joking early on about his struggles to write, he performed his self-composed “Anthem” — for “peace and love” as the song goes. But the show builds up to his real signature song, and long-running tribute to his place in the world: Lennon-McCartney’s “With a Little Help from My Friends.” He didn’t need to introduce it, and hardly needed to sing it. He held out the microphone to the crowd and everyone seemed to join in. 1 of 3 FILE – In this July 2, 2016 file photo, Ringo Starr performs at The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. Within a week of Paul McCartney playing a surprise show at Grand Central Station, Starr followed a more old-fashioned path Thursday night, Sept. 13, 2018. The 78-year-old drummer and singer headlined a two-hour show at Radio City Music Hall, in New York, with thousands spending much of the performance standing and singing along. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)center_img Musician Ringo Starr participates in the fifth annual Come Together: NYC bed-in celebration to support New York City schools and to promote the return of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus at City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in New York. Within a week of Paul McCartney playing a surprise show at Grand Central Station, Starr followed a more old-fashioned path Thursday night. The 78-year-old drummer and singer headlined a two-hour show at Radio City Music Hall, with thousands spending much of the performance standing and singing along. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) FILE – In this June 23, 2018 file photo, musician Ringo Starr performs in Tel Aviv, Israel. Within a week of Paul McCartney playing a surprise show at Grand Central Station, Starr followed a more old-fashioned path Thursday night, Sept. 13, 2018. The 78-year-old drummer and singer headlined a two-hour show at Radio City Music Hall, in New York, with thousands spending much of the performance standing and singing along. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)last_img read more

Why a salmonella outbreak shouldn’t ruin your Thanksgiving

first_img FILE – This Wednesday, April 11, 2012 file photo shows turkeys at a farm in Lebanon, Pa. To kill the possibility of salmonella, cook birds to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) NEW YORK | There’s no reason to skip Thanksgiving dinner because of a salmonella outbreak linked to raw turkey.That’s according to health officials who’ve been monitoring the year-old outbreak. But they say it’s a reminder to properly prepare your holiday bird. Cooking kills salmonella.The ongoing outbreak and recall last week of ground turkey may nevertheless leave you with a few questions when reaching for a plate of turkey.CAN MY TURKEY HAVE SALMONELLA? This combination of images provided by Hormel Foods on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 shows packaging for four types of Jennie-O ground raw turkey with a P190 designation which have been recalled due to concerns over salmonella. Salmonella in food is estimated to be responsible for 1 million illnesses a year, with symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. (Hormel Foods via AP) This image provided by Hormel Foods on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018 shows the production code information on the side of the sleeve of Jennie-O-Turkey that is being recalled. Jennie-O-Turkey is recalling more than 91,000 pounds of raw turkey in an ongoing salmonella outbreak. Regulators say additional products from other companies could be named as their investigation continues. The products being recalled include 1-pound packages of raw, ground turkey and were shipped to retailers nationwide. Regulators say the product should be thrown away and not eaten. (Hormel Foods via AP)center_img 1 of 3 Salmonella is considered widespread in poultry, and it’s perfectly legal for supermarkets to sell raw turkey that has the bacteria. Part of the rationale for allowing salmonella is that people don’t eat chicken medium rare, said Timothy Lytton, a Georgia State University law professor. In 1974, a court said that “American housewives and cooks normally are not ignorant and stupid” and that they know how to prepare food so people don’t get sick.Even though salmonella is not prohibited in raw meat or poultry, regulators check to make sure the number of samples at processing plants that test positive for the bacteria is within standards. Rules are tighter for whole turkeys, and the industry says the chances of finding salmonella in whole birds are “exceedingly low.”The turkey industry cites steps it takes to reduce risk, such as the use of antimicrobial rinses.The rules differ for other products. For instance, salmonella is not allowed in packaged foods that aren’t cooked to kill germs.WHAT ABOUT THE OUTBREAK?Since it began last year, the outbreak linked to raw turkey has caused one death and 164 reported illnesses in 35 states. Until last week, regulators hadn’t been able to tie any cases to a specific product or supplier. That’s even though investigators said 29 unidentified slaughtering and processing plants tested positive for the salmonella strain involved.The recall could be confusing because federal regulations are contradictory. The U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t prohibit salmonella but can ask companies to recall products once they are clearly shown to be responsible for illnesses. The USDA’s Carmen Rottenberg said the agency can’t take action until it has enough evidence.According to the USDA, the people who got food poisoning reported eating different kinds of turkey products and brands. Cases also included people who handled raw turkey pet food or worked with live turkeys.Salmonella spreads through animal feces. It is blamed for an estimated 1 million cases of food poisoning a year, with symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps. Whether someone gets sick depends on the strength of the strain, the amount and the person’s susceptibility, the USDA notes. But the agency says cooking should kill salmonella.WHAT WAS RECALLED?The USDA tied one illness in Arizona to Jennie-O ground turkey meat. The recall by Jennie-O was limited to turkey from a single day’s production in September from a manufacturing line in Wisconsin. The packages had use-by dates of early October but could still be in freezers.Regulators say more products from other companies could still be linked to the illnesses. Parent company Hormel Foods Corp. said it owns five of the 29 plants that tested positive for the germ.The ongoing outbreak doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more food poisoning from salmonella. Improved detection might just be discovering outbreaks that in the past might have seemed like unrelated cases, said Sarah Sorscher of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.“It’s shedding a light on a longstanding problem,” she said.WHAT SHOULD COOKS DO?Health officials say proper handling and cooking should kill any salmonella. A few points to remember:— It seems counterintuitive, but don’t rinse raw turkey — that can spread any germs.— Clean hands and cooking surfaces that come into contact with raw turkey.— Cook birds to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.Hormel’s Richard Carlson stressed salmonella in turkey is not unusual and that proper handling and cooking should get rid of it — even in the Jennie-O ground turkey recalled last week. Regulators, though, say to throw it out.Follow Candice Choi at Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.last_img read more

Europe looks to remold internet with new copyright rules

first_imgFILE – In this Saturday, March 23, 2019 file photo, people protest against the copyright bill, in Leipzig, Germany. The European Union approved on Monday April 15, 2019, a copyright law that aims to give more protection to artists and news organizations but which critics say will stifle freedom of speech and online creativity and punish smaller web companies. (Peter Endig/dpa via AP)LONDON | The European Union has approved a copyright overhaul that aims to give more protection to artists and news organizations but which critics say will stifle freedom of speech and online creativity and punish smaller web companies.Artists, celebrities and tech experts have spoken out both in favor and against the EU directive, which the 28 member states are required to adopt as law and got final approval from the European Council Monday.Here’s a look at key issues.WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE SAY?The most vigorously debated part of the legislation is a section that makes companies responsible for making sure that copyrighted material isn’t uploaded to their platforms without permission from the original creator. It puts the legal onus on platforms to prevent copyright infringement but critics say it will end up having a chilling effect on freedom of expression on the internet and could result in censorship.Another section of the bill that caused concern requires search engines and social media sites to pay for linking to or offering up snippets of news articles.HOW WILL IT AFFECT INTERNET PLATFORMS?Some sites would be forced to license music or videos. If not, sites would have to make sure they don’t have unauthorized copyrighted material. Critics worry that could lead to costly automatic filtering. And paying for links could create further costs.That could give tech giants an edge over smaller companies. Google said last year it spent more than $100 million on Content ID, its copyright management system for approved users on YouTube, where more than 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute. The figure includes both staffing and computing resources.HOW WILL IT SHAPE INTERNET CONTENT?Critics say it could act as censorship and change internet culture.They say the automatic filters are blunt instruments, deleting some material that should be allowed online. YouTube has warned of unintended consequences, saying that in cases where copyright is uncertain, it would have to block videos to avoid liability.Some consumers worry that the new rules would bring an end to parodies and viral internet “memes” that have powered online culture and are often based on or inspired by existing songs or movies or other content. The EU denies this.“The new law makes everyone a loser,” said Julia Reda, a lawmaker with the Pirate Party, which campaigns for freedom of information online. “Artists, authors and small publishers will not get their fair remuneration and internet users will have to live with limited freedoms. Artistic diversity has made the Internet colorful, but unfortunately the copyright directive will make the Internet duller.”WILL IT HELP CONTENT CREATORS?It depends on whom you ask. The music industry and other groups that collect royalties say the revamp will help give writers, artists and creators more protection of their rights and incomes, by requiring tech giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google to pay them more for their work.Some authors and artists fear they won’t earn significantly more money but their creativity will be stifled. Google estimates it has paid out more than $3 billion to rights holders through its Content ID system, which was created in 2007.HOW HAVE PEOPLE REACTED?Some high profile artists have spoken out in favor. Former Beatles member Paul McCartney wrote an open letter to EU lawmakers encouraging them to adopt the new rules.But many appear worried it will change the internet as we know it. More than 5.2 million people signed an online petition against them. Internet luminaries such as Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales have spoken out against it. So has the former frontman for the band Fugees, Wyclef Jean, who has said he is better off financially because fans can freely share his music on internet platforms.Germany wants the rules to be implemented in such a way “that upload filters be averted if possible, and that user rights — freedom of opinion, about which there has been a lot of discussion here — be preserved,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday. Last month, tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Germany to protest against the directive. Poland’s leader has said his country will not implement it, arguing it threatens freedom of speech.WHAT’S NEXT?The EU’s member countries have two years to comply by drafting their own national laws. Six countries — Italy, Sweden, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg — voted against it, so implementation is likely to be uneven, setting the stage for possible legal challenges.Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.last_img read more