Archive for August 22nd, 2019

First case of vaping-related lung illness confirmed in Colorado – The Denver Channel

August 22nd, 2019

DENVER – State health officials on Thursday confirmed the first case of sudden and severe lung illness tied to vaping that has sent at least one person to the hospital.

The Colorado case is just one of 120 others reported in 15 states across the nation, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) officials said in a news release. The confirmed case was reported to health officials on Tuesday.

A second reported case from Colorado which was reported this Thursday has not been confirmed.

The cases of sudden and severe lung illness appear to be linked to e-cigarettes and other vaping liquids or oils that contained either nicotine, marijuana, CBD, synthetic marijuana, or a combination of these, a CDPHE official said in the release.

“This is a serious situation, and people who vape should be on high alert, as should medical providers treating patients who vape,” said CDPHE’s chief medical officer Dr. Tista Ghosh. “Since the department has been actively notifying providers and hospitals of the symptoms, we expect we may get more reported cases.”

Health officials note Colorado is among the states with an “unusually high” rate of teen and young adult vaping, and advised clinicians, parents and those who vape to be aware of the vaping-related illness and its symptoms, which include:

  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Possible fever

They also advised those who vape or who currently have lung illness or who may have had it in the past three months, to contact their doctor or local health department.

The agents causing sudden and severe illness could possibly be pesticide contamination, residual solvent contamination, additives with unknown inhalation effects, or heavy metals contamination inhaled from vaping products, health officials said in the news release.

If you suspect you may be suffering from this illness, you’re asked to contact CDPHe’s Disease Reporting Line at (303) 692-2700 or (303) 370-9395, if you’re calling after hours. CDPHE personnel will conduct a medical record review and contact the patients to administer a thorough investigation questionnaire.


EU will soon stop importing cherries, other fruits from Canada: CFIA – Global News

August 22nd, 2019

The European Union will halt imports of Canadian cherries and other fresh fruits starting Sept. 1 as it enforces new import requirements related to pests, according to a Canadian government document sent to industry on Thursday.

READ MORE: After canola, other Canadian exports see obstacles in trade with China

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In the notice, which was seen by Reuters, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said the restrictions also apply to families of fruits that include apples, pears, cranberries, blueberries, peppers, potatoes and tomatoes. It was not clear if other countries are affected.

“Please note that the CFIA is working with industry to propose pest risk mitigation measures to the EU for these commodities, which may allow exports to resume,” said the notice.

The new European Union rules do not apply to frozen and dried fruit. There should also be no issues with sea containers that arrive in the EU with export documents dated before Sept. 1, the agency said.

WATCH: The end of an era for big international trade deals?

The EU office in Ottawa and Canadian Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Canada’s agriculture sector already faces other trade disputes, including an ongoing spat with China over Canadian canola, pork and beef.

Beth Cavers, a program administrator with the B.C. Cherry Association, said the pending EU ban should not affect this year’s cherry harvest, which wrapped up on Thursday, as the fruit is packed and shipped immediately.

READ MORE: With WTO blocked, Canada and Europe agree to establish body for trade disputes

It could, however, have serious implications for the 2020 harvest if unresolved, she added.

“There were some indications that they were reviewing this, but we didn’t know they were just going to shut down the border to cherries like this,” Cavers said by telephone when asked if industry had received prior notice.

In 2018, Canada shipped approximately C$3.1 million in cherries to the EU.

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Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron agree: Amazon wildfires are an ‘international crisis’ – Global News

August 22nd, 2019

Consider Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emmanuel Macron to be on the same page when it comes to the wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest.

Both agree the fires represent an “international crisis” that should be discussed at a G7 meeting set to take place this weekend.

WATCH: Aug. 22 — Record-breaking wildfires scorch Brazil’s Amazon rainforests

“Our house is burning,” Macron tweeted Thursday.

“The Amazon rainforest — the lungs which produce 20 per cent of our planet’s oxygen — is on fire. It is an international crisis.”

Trudeau re-tweeted Macron’s post, saying, “I couldn’t agree more.”

“We did lots of work to protect the environment at the G7 last year in Charlevoix, and we need to continue this weekend. We need to act for the Amazon and act for our planet — our kids and grandkids are counting on us.”

The Amazon rainforest has seen over 74,000 fires this year.

That represents an increase of 84 per cent over the same period last year, and the most that the rainforest has seen since record keeping started in 2013.

The wildfires have not been blamed on natural factors.

READ MORE: Amazon rainforest fires — what caused them and why activists are blaming Brazil’s president

Scientists have singled out deforestation as a cause of the blazes, with cattle farmers purposely starting fires so they can create more land for ranching.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, have blamed policies pushed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has taken a pro-business stance in office and said he would boost the economy by finding more uses for the rainforest.

Farmers, critics say, have been emboldened to clear more land for cattle ranches.

WATCH: Activists are blaming Brazil’s president for Amazon’s rainforest fires

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However, in raising awareness of the wildfire, Macron — and subsequently, Trudeau — helped to spread a photo that has existed on the internet since 2018.

As noted by Mother Jones, the photo that Macron tweeted was attached to an article on the website CarbonBrief in February 2018.

The G7 meeting is set to take place in Biarritz, France this weekend.

READ MORE: Brazil says it is target of smear campaign over role in Amazon fires

Canada, meanwhile, is itself being criticized for its action on climate change before the meeting happens.

A report by the Climate Action Network said Canada’s climate plan is among the worst in the G7.

Canada, the report said, has policies consistent with global warming topping four degrees Celsius, over pre-industrial levels. The U.S. and Japan were similarly criticized.

WATCH: Aug. 21 — What is causing the Amazon rainforest wildfires?

The Paris climate agreement called for signatories to keep warming as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.

A spokesperson for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna noted that Canada is working to wean the planet off of coal power generation and putting money into projects to limit climate change in the developing world.

  • With files from Rachael D’amore and the Canadian Press

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The Amazon wildfires are real, but this photo isn’t – CTV News

August 22nd, 2019

A record number of wildfires are burning across the Amazon rainforest, raising alarm bells from conservation groups and sparking deeper fears about the future of our planet.

But amid the crisis lies misinformation. A photo of smoke billowing from the rainforest has been widely shared online after a tweet from French President Emmanuel Macron, an Instagram post from actor Leonardo DiCaprio and a retweet from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.


The problem: the image is outdated. A simple reverse-image search shows that the photo was taken by Loren McIntyre, who died in 2003, and appeared in news articles and stock image websites dating back years.

While the image is outdated, the ongoing fires are real. But some groups online are trying to use the image as evidence that the problem is being over exaggerated, as Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has suggested.

Wildfires in the Amazon rainforest are rare because of the wet weather, but activity begins in July and August due to the arrival of dry season, which lasts until November. These fires can occur naturally, but humans also illegally set the forest ablaze to make room for farmland.

Even so, this year’s fires are worse. A staggering 74,155 fires have been recorded in Brazil, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). That’s an 84-per-cent spike from last year’s fires.

Germany and Norway decided to withhold more than $60 million for sustainability projects in Brazilian forests, citing Brazil’s lack of commitment to tackle deforestation.

Bolsonaro has accused conservationists – without providing proof — of setting the wildfires themselves in a bid to undermine his leadership. Bolsonaro’s chief of staff, Onyx Lorenzoni, said European countries are exaggerating the crisis for economic purposes.

“There is deforestation in Brazil, yes, but not at the rate and level that they say,” Lorenzoni told the Brazilian news website

The outdated photo is now being shared by some users – many of whom appear to support Bolsonaro – to back up the claim that the forest fires are being blown out of proportion. Some Twitter users have labelled the event “fake news.”

Images from NASA show the blaze visible from outer space. The INPE, which tracks the rainforest’s size, found that more than 1,500 square kilometres of rainforest has been destroyed over the past year.

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s biggest tropical rainforest, covering over 5.5 million square kilometres. Hundreds of Indigenous tribes live in the forest, which supplies more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen.

With files from CTV’s Ben Cousins and The Associated Press

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Did social media overreact to Boris Johnson putting his foot on Macron’s table? – CTV News

August 22nd, 2019 writer, with files from The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 22, 2019 12:11PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 22, 2019 10:49PM EDT

Images of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson putting his foot on a table in the French president’s official residence during Brexit talks drew the ire of critics, but was it an overreaction?

Johnson met Emmanuel Macron in Paris on Thursday in the plush surroundings of the Elysee Palace with the world’s media watching.

Johnson sat in a low chair and briefly — for less than a second — put his right foot on a coffee table, after joking that it looked like a footstool.

Macron, facing his guest from a couch on the other side of the small round table, appeared unperturbed and smiled at the move. Johnson apologized with a wave and laugh.

But still images seemed to tell a different story, freezing Johnson at the moment his foot touched the table and giving added weight to the gesture.

“Rude and embarrassing. Imagine if Macron put his foot on the table at Buckingham Palace?” wrote Sonia Purnell, Johnson’s biographer.

“Boris Johnson is an entitled, opportunistic, venal bluffer. Brexit is embarrassing our nation on so many levels,” David Jennings tweeted.

It didn’t help Johnson that he has a long history of political controversies from his time as a columnist with The Telegraph newspaper.

In one of his more slapstick moments, Johnson, then mayor of London, got stuck on a zip wire to promote the 2012 Olympics.

Three years later in a game of street rugby Johnson was filmed ploughing through a 10-year-old schoolboy in Toyko.

The Elysee called Thursday’s encounter with Macron “complete” and “constructive.”

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Fact or Fiction: Roswell Park doctor answers vaping questions – – News 4

August 22nd, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New York State has issued a health advisory about severe lung disease associated with vaping.

News 4 first shared the story on August 21, and it generated a lot of debate, so the following night, News 4 took some of the debated statements to a Roswell Park doctor to help separate fact from fiction.

Dr. Andrew Hyland is Chair of the Department of Health
Behavior. He also helps run the tobacco program and is invested in both
cigarette and vaping research.

FACT OR FICTION: Vaping saves lives

Dr. Hyland says maybe. The issue is a two-sided coin. It
might save the 60-year-old who couldn’t quit smoking throughout her whole life
any other way until vaping, but it’s not good for the teenager who decided to
start vaping.

“Some cigarette smokers vaping actually is a reason not
to quit smoking, It’s like ‘oh, I’m vaping, I’ve reduced my cigarette smoking, it’s
okay not to quit cigarettes,’ and that’s actually problematic,” Hyland saud. “But
there are a lot of other people who are vaping, and they’ve quit completely. I
hear story after story after story.”

FACT OR FICTION: Vaping is safe

Dr. Hyland says not quite.

“I would say safer [than cigarettes], certainly, but
there are toxins that are in there. There’s some formaldehyde, some other
toxins that are there,” he said. “Certainly, I’m not ready to go out on ‘safe,’
that’s a pretty aggressive statement to me.”

Hyland says vaping is safer than smoking cigarettes, but
that doesn’t make it safe.


On Wednesday, Erie County’s Health Commissioner said vape
products are not FDA regulated, but pro-vapers say they are. Once again, Dr. Hyland
says yes and no. Vape products are regulated in terms of their package labeling
and distribution, but they are not regulated for what’s in them.

“There’s actually warning labels on them about the
addictiveness of nicotine, but there’s a lot that’s not yet done. They’re not
regulated in quite the same way that cigarettes are,” Hyland said.


That’s what the New York State Department of Health and the CDC are investigating and why the agencies are asking healthcare providers to get detailed vaping histories of diagnosed patients and even samples of the products they used.

Dr. Hyland says although it’s not certain, some early
evidence suggests some of the cases may have used of black market cannabis, not
commercial products.

“It suggests that this may be more of, basically, a
tainted cannabis oil that people are using their tanks and their mods and their
e-vapor devices to ingest, and then that’s why they’re getting sick,” he said.


“Anybody that’s taking medical marijuana for their
specific medical condition, it’s done under doctor supervision. If they have
any issues, I mean, that’s the first thing, like anything, you’d call your
doctor and say, hey, what’s going on,” Dr. Hyland said.


4 burned in fire caused by ‘misadventure’ – CityNews Toronto

August 22nd, 2019

Four people have suffered burns after a fire caused by “misadventure,” according to Toronto Fire.

Crews were called to the scene at 22 Park Street just before 10 p.m.

A group of people were having a bonfire when patio furniture reportedly caught on fire. One person reportedly jumped in a nearby swimming pool after the fire broke out.

Two women in their 50s suffered severe burns and are being rushed to a trauma via two emergency runs. Two other women suffered minor injuries.

By the time fire crews arrived, the blaze had been put out.

The Ontario Fire Marshall has been called into investigate and determine what caused the fire, but police say they don’t believe, at this point, it was criminal in nature.

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‘Fortnite’ finally nerfs the hated BRUTE mechs – Engadget

August 22nd, 2019

North Korea foreign minister calls U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo a ‘poisonous plant’ – The Globe and Mail

August 22nd, 2019

North Korea’s foreign minister on Friday called U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a “poisonous plant of American diplomacy” and vowed to “shutter the absurd dream” that sanctions will force a change in Pyongyang.

The North’s blistering rhetoric may dim the prospect for an early resumption of nuclear negotiations between the countries. A senior U.S. diplomat said earlier this week that Washington was ready to restart the talks, a day after U.S. and South Korean militaries ended their regular drills that Pyongyang called an invasion rehearsal.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made the comments to protest Pompeo’s remarks in an interview in which he said that Washington will maintain crippling sanctions on North Korea unless it denuclearizes.

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Ri said he couldn’t just let the “reckless remarks” by Pompeo pass by him because they came amid a possible restart of the nuclear talks. Ri said Pompeo is a “brazen” man because he “had begged for” North Korean denuclearization and improved bilateral ties when he visited Pyongyang and met leader Kim Jong Un several times.

In April, North Korea demanded President Donald Trump remove Pompeo from the nuclear negotiations.

Ri said North Korea is ready for both dialogue and confrontation. But he warned that North Korea will try to remain “America’s biggest threat” if the United States continues to confront the North with sanctions.

Ri likely referred to comments by Pompeo during an interview with the Washington Examiner earlier this week. During the interview, Pompeo said that the U.S. will “continue to keep on the sanctions that are the toughest in all of history and continue to work towards convincing Chairman Kim and the North Korean leaders that the right thing to do is for them to denuclearize.”

North Korea is notorious for crude and fiery diatribes against the United States and South Korea, although it lately focused its anger on South Korea rather than the U.S., particularly over the allies’ military drills.

During the drills, North Korea carried out a slew of short-range missile and other weapons tests capable of hitting much of South Korea, not the mainland U.S. Some experts said these suggest that North Korea was interested in resuming talks with Washington.

The top U.S. envoy on North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said Wednesday that the United States was “prepared to engage as soon as we hear from our counterparts in North Korea.”

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U.S.-led negotiations on North Korea’s nuclear weapons collapsed after Trump rejected Kim’s demand for widespread sanctions relief in return for partial disarmament steps during their second summit in Vietnam in February. Trump and Kim met again at the Korean border in late June and agreed to resume the talks.

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Taylor Swift (Eventually) Beats Pitchfork – Washington Examiner

August 22nd, 2019

The first album written by Taylor Swift that was ever deemed respectable enough for Pitchfork to review was performed by Ryan Adams. The music blog gave the 1989 cover album by the since disgraced rocker a 4/10. No matter that Swift, who earned her first of 32 Grammy nominations over a decade ago, and became the youngest Album of the Year winner while still a teenager, has spent more than half her lifetime becoming one of the most prolific and successful singer-songwriters of all time. It’s only now that Pitchfork has decided that Swift’s career is worth considering as part of a serious canon of modern music.

Pitchfork began with a focus on independent music, and if the site simply ignored pop and country altogether, the absence of Swift from its reviews wouldn’t have registered on any cultural Richter scale. But the same year that Pitchfork was reviewing Adams’ cover, they reviewed Purpose by Justin Bieber. The Canadian crooner barely even wrote it. If Pitchfork wanted to reward artists who don’t just perform but also create their own craft, it made no sense for them to validate Purpose, which required dozens of writers, and not any album by Swift, who’s been writing her chart-toppers on her own since her debut album at age 16.

Pitchfork finally came around to reviewing the original 1989 as well as the rest of her oeuvre retrospectively, nearly two years after describing Reputation as “sadly conventional” in its first review of a Swift album. It only took Swift selling as many records as Whitney Houston and the Rolling Stones for them to do it.

“Back then,” writes Maura Johnson at the blog of Swift’s debut, “she had doubters.”

Chief among them, the self-ordained tastemakers of the music industry. Pitchfork seems to have changed its tune on Swift, though, recognizing Joni Mitchell’s influence on the singer’s dexterous writing and artistic evolution, albeit with slight digs at Swift’s “squeaky clean” image.

Swift, of course, would have the last laugh regardless of whether or not Pitchfork decided to cave. The site will be shuttered behind a paywall by the year’s end. But still, four years after granting credence to the Adams cover, they finally covered 1989. They gave it a 7.7.

—By Tiana Lowe