Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Israeli jeweler makes $1.5m gold coronavirus mask

An Israeli jewelry company is working on what it says will be the world’s most expensive coronavirus mask, a gold, diamond-encrusted face covering with a price tag of $1.5 million. The 18-karat white gold mask will be decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters at the request of the buyer, said designer and owner of the Yvel company. He said the buyer had two other demands: that it be completed by the end of the year, and that it would be the priciest in the world. That last condition, he said, “was the easiest to fulfill.” He declined to identify the buyer, but said he was a Chinese businessman living in the United States. (AP News)


Cancer-causing ‘forever chemicals,’ found in McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King food packaging

A new study found PFAS – also known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they can “linger in water and air for thousands of years” in the chains’ food packaging. PFAS have been linked to cancer, liver damage and other health issues, it reported. It said chains Sweetgreen, Freshii and Cava also had the chemicals in its packaging. 38 food packaging samples across six chains were tested, and “nearly half” tested positive for fluorine levels that indicate the presence of the chemicals. And, if you want some really sobering news, the report said most of us are exposed to PFAS through contaminated food or beverages and they “can be found in the bloodstream of 99% of Americans.” All the bowls at the salad places were “found to likely contain PFAS,” it said. According to the report, the FDA is working to phase out the use of the “forever chemicals,” in food packaging. (Safer Chemicals)


Two Peoria kids selling lemonade robbed at gunpoint

Officials from the Peoria, Illinois Police Department said two kids selling lemonade were robbed at gunpoint. Officials said two males approached the boys who were selling refreshments at their lemonade stand. Officials said one of the men was armed with a gun. They said the men robbed the boys of their money and ran away. Officials did not confirm how much money was stolen from the boys. Peoria police are investigating the incident. (CI Proud)


A grandmother in Michigan just got her first tattoo at age 103

An elderly woman had a really hard time when she was under a strict lock-down in a nursing home in Muskegon, Michigan, due to the pandemic. She was depressed and her family struggled to communicate with her because she is hard of hearing. A few weeks after being discharged from the facility, she decided it was time to start checking things off her bucket list. The first item was getting a tattoo, something she had been wanting to do for years. “All of a sudden, I decided I would like to have one. And if I could, a frog. Because I like frogs,” she said. She got a frog tattooed on her forearm and the tattooist said “she took it like a champ.” (CNN)


China has issued sanctions against 11 U.S. citizens

The sanctions against U.S. citizens include Republican Senators Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Pat Toomey, Chris Smith, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The move marks the latest chapter in a diplomatic tit-for-tat between China and the U.S. Recently the State Department rolled out sanctions against Chinese officials, accusing them of stamping out the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. Among those sanctioned was Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Last month, the U.S. and China clashed over internment camps in which China is holding up to 2 million members of religious and ethnic minorities. The State Department issued sanctions against three high-ranking Chinese officials linked to the internment camps. The Chinese government responded by issuing similar sanctions. (United States Department of Tresury)


McDonald’s has sued former CEO, claiming that he lied about his relationships with employees

The former CEO was fired in November after admitting to having had a consensual relationship with an employee. Under his termination agreement, he received $42 Million in stock-based benefits after leaving the company. An internal investigation has revealed that he engaged in sexual relationships with several other employees and that he destroyed evidence to cover up those relationships. The evidence against him includes dozens of nude or sexually explicit photos and videos of women taken in 2018 and 2019. Through the lawsuit, McDonald’s is hoping to recoup some of the compensation and severance benefits granted to him. He allegedly approved “a stock grant” worth hundreds of thousands of dollars for a McDonald’s employee with whom he was having a relationship. (CNBC)


Is Amazon taking over malls, too?

Amazon is said to be looking into turning some closed Sears and JCPenney locations into fulfillment centers, reports citing unidentified sources. The e-commerce giant began talks with mall owner Simon Property Group before the pandemic, though it’s unclear how many stores might be involved. Having more fulfillment centers near residential areas would speed up the last mile of delivery for Amazon, while Simon gives up once-prime mall space to a steady tenant. (The Wall Street Journal)


Kodak loan now officially ‘on hold’

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation has announced that Kodak’s $765 million government loan to produce pharmaceuticals to help speed production of drugs in short supply is on hold “pending probes into allegations of wrongdoing”. Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission have announced investigations into the deal. Lawmakers say they’re dubious about how Kodak, whose previous foray into pharmaceutical manufacturing failed, could suddenly produce a quarter of domestic pharmaceutical components. (Bloomberg)


Virus slams millennials’ finances

The pandemic may have more of a lasting effect on millennials’ wealth than any other generational cohort. For those born between 1981 and 1996, the economic hit of the past few months could keep them from accruing the wealth of older generations. Due to entering the workforce during the previous financial crisis, millennials started the pandemic in a weaker position than older Americans. With many working in some of the hardest hit industries by coronavirus, such as leisure and hospitality, they are now at risk of falling further behind. (The Wall Street Journal)


‘Miracle dog’ survives 9 days in Washington wilderness after falling over ridge

After an incredible nine-day journey through the backwoods around Mount Shuksan, Penny, a 3-year-old miniature Australian labradoodle, is back home in Portland, Oregon. Despite search attempts by rappelling rescue crews, a heat-sensing drone and even a psychic’s intuition, the 20-pound ball of fluff somehow made it to civilization all on her own. Penny’s adventure began July 31, when she accompanied her owners family and friends on a backpacking trip in the wilderness west of Mount Shuksan in northern Washington. After a trip to the vet, Penny was found to have some broken teeth and a gash down the bottom of her chin. Her owners aren’t sure exactly how she made it back to the trailhead parking lot, but she may have taken a 15-mile journey following two creeks along untamed forest just to make it back home to the family. (Oregon Live)


Seattle’s First Black Female Police Chief Resigns After Council Caves to BLM

Thanks to the Seattle City Council’s Monday vote to cut her salary and gut the police department, Police Chief Carmen Best is resigning, effective September 2nd. In the resignation letter she emailed her colleagues on the force, she told her fellow officers that “this was a difficult decision for me, but when it’s time, it’s time.” She also stated she was “confident the department will make it through these difficult times. You truly are the best police department in the country and please trust me when I say the vast majority of people in Seattle support you and appreciate you.” She has nearly 3 decades of service with the Seattle PD, and became the department’s first black female police chief in August 2018. Her supporters say that what the City Council did was push her out by punishing her over her defense of her officers and opposition to the cuts that were being discussed, all of which happened at a time when violent crime is on the rise and when members of the council are preaching about the importance of bringing more black voices to the table. (Red State)


Scientists uneasy as Russia approves 1st coronavirus vaccine

Russia has became the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine, a move that was met with international skepticism and unease because the shots have only been studied in dozens of people. President Vladimir Putin announced the Health Ministry’s approval and said one of his two adult daughters already was inoculated. He said the vaccine underwent the necessary tests and was shown to provide lasting immunity to the coronavirus, although Russian authorities have offered no proof to back up claims of safety or effectiveness. However, scientists in Russia and other countries sounded an alarm, saying that rushing to offer the vaccine before final-stage testing could backfire. What’s called a Phase 3 trial, which involves tens of thousands of people and can take months, is the only way to prove if an experimental vaccine is safe and really works. (AP News)


Pakistani women break dating taboos on Tinder

Casual dating for women is often frowned upon in Pakistan’s male-dominated society. However, dating apps such as Tinder are challenging norms and allowing women to take more control over their sexuality. Although casual dating for women is still frowned upon in socially conservative and heavily patriarchal Pakistan, attitudes are rapidly changing in the country’s cities. India leads South Asia’s online dating market, and Pakistan is slowly catching on. A study by the Indonesian Journal of Communication Studies found that most of Pakistan’s Tinder users come from major cities including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and are usually between 18 and 40 years old. Other dating apps are also growing in popularity. MuzMatch caters exclusively to Muslims looking for a date. Bumble, despite being relatively new to the online dating market, is a favorite among many Pakistani feminists, as women initiate the first conversation.  (DW)


Wednesday Cooks Up:

  • Congressional Startup Day
  • Home Sewing Machine Day
  • IBM PC Day
  • International Youth Day
  • Julienne Fries Day
  • Middle Child Day
  • Milkman Day
  • World Elephant Day
  • Vinyl Record Day



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