WHO Says Don’t Take No-Sugar Sweetener

After the pandemic, many Americans have gained a few pounds of weight, especially those who work from home, which is the most significant change from a few years back. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to this weight gain.

Today, WHO released a new guideline on non-sugar sweeteners (NSS), which recommends against the use of NSS to control body weight or reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

WHO says the use of NSS does not confer any long-term benefit in reducing body fat in adults or children after its findings of a systematic review of the available pieces of evidence. Results of the review also suggest that there may be unfavorable effects from long-term use of NSS, like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and mortalities in adults.

According to WHO, “Replacing free sugars with NSS does not help with weight control in the long term. People need to consider other ways to reduce free sugars [intakes], such as consuming food with naturally occurring sugars, like fruit, or unsweetened food and beverages,” says Francesco Branca, WHO Director for Nutrition and Food Safety. “NSS are not essential dietary factors and have no nutritional value. People should reduce the sweetness of the diet altogether, starting early in life, to improve their health.”

The most common NSS include acesulfame K, aspartame, advantage, cyclamates, neotame, saccharin, sucralose, stevia, and stevia derivatives. Some exception applies to personal care and hygiene products like toothpaste, skin cream, and medications or low-calorie sugars and sugar alcohols (polyols) which are sugars or sugar derivatives containing calories are not considered NSS.

The WHO guideline on NSS is for establishing lifelong healthy eating habits, improving dietary quality, and decreasing the unnecessary health risk of NCDs worldwide.

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Microbes may help Plastic Waste Management at Certain Temperature

Captured from BBC

Plastic pollution is one of the biggest headaches on this planet, as it covers from the tip of mountains to the bottom of the ocean. Every day, more than 60 million plastic waste bottles are sent to landfill or incinerated, and 10 million bottles go to the sea. Many scientists from countries have been seeking solutions to the “Plastic Problem.”

Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research WSL recently discovered that we have some help. They buried pieces of plastic in the Alps and the Artic and found that certain temperatures may be key to solving the problem. The scientists posted the study and discovery at https://www.frontiersin.org/articles.

In their studies, there are certain microbes in the Arctic and the Alps that eat up certain types of plastic left in their environment. Using microbes to break down plastics at as low as 59 degrees Fahrenheit is more cost-efficient compared with other microorganisms to eat up plastic at required temperatures of at least 86 degrees Fahrenheit to process.

As part of the research, Dr. Joel Rüthi from WSL and their team took samples of 34 types of microbes – 19 types of bacteria and 15 types of fungi – which were found growing on plastic that had been kept in the ground for one year in Greenland, Svalbard, and Switzerland. They then let these tiny organisms grow in darkness at temperatures of 15C in a laboratory before seeing if they would be able to break down plastic.

The plastics they tested included: Polyethylene (PE) – which is non-biodegradable – polyester-polyurethane (PUR) – which is biodegradable – as well as two other biodegradable plastic mixtures, polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) and polylactic acid (PLA), according to BBC.

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The “Title 42” Ends Worrying US-Mexico Border Cities of Illegal Immigrants

Photo captured from CSMonitor.com

Migrants from South American countries to the southern border of the U.S. and Mexico are surging rapidly, due to the “Title 42 expulsion” (which is preventing communicable diseases spread to the US thus migrants from the southern borders are sent back to third countries instead of processing to legal entry to the US.) which ends on Thursday. Officially ending the pandemic by CDC, May 11, 2023, is a big day for the border crossing migrants. Like flooding water demolishes a dam with power, the influx of people from the southern border is expected to bring another disaster to many states, some warn.

During the pandemic, migrants from the southern border moved to NYC and Washington D.C. and showed cities as not having enough facilities to handle the migrants moved into such cities from Texas. D.C. Mayor Bowser cried out to the federal government to get aid for the migrants through buses sent by the Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.

Many criticize Texas Governor Abbott, however, just as many Americans are blaming the Biden administration for the immigration law since he took office, which has not differed much from the Trump administration. During the presidential election debate, Biden criticized Trump’s immigration policy as being ineffective.

US Customs and Border Protection has already seen an uptick in migrants crossing the border with Mexico, with more than 8,000 daily encounters, according to a Homeland Security official – a number that officials predict could reach 10,000 once Title 42 is lifted. There are around 25,000 migrants in custody, the official said, straining processing facilities that are already over capacity. “I think that there is no question that this is going to be extremely challenging,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday in Brownsville, Texas, according to CNN.

The end of “Title 42” means alternative immigration law reform will be needed to control or maintain the influx of people from the southern border to the US. Recently, the Biden administration sent 1,500 troops to the southern border, and lawmakers are seeking solutions for this “humanitarian war.” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I- AZ) introduced a bipartisan bill to extend Title 42.

In the meantime, more than 700,000 people on the Mexico side border are going to seek a way to cross over into the U.S. border. Many Americans worry about the flooding of migrants from the southern countries to the US which might worsen living conditions for many of the low-income families already struggling under the current economic climate.

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“Persona non grata” between China and Canada

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly declared China’s diplomat Zhao Wei “persona non grata” (In Latin phrase for unwelcome person) and ordered her to leave Canada on Monday, May 9, 2023. China also ordered the removal of Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, Canada’s diplomat in its Shanghai Consulate in China as countermeasures on Tuesday, May 10, 2023. Both diplomats have 5 days to leave their respective countries.

The China diplomat Zhao Wei is accused of collecting Mr. Michael D. Chong (MP)’s family and relatives information in Hong Kong. Mr. Chong has criticized China’s Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang that abuses human rights. In 2020, Canada imposed sanctions against people in connection with the Uyghur genocide. In response, the People’s Republic of China government also imposed sanctions against Mr. Chong with countermeasures.

Canadian government imposed sanctions against many Russian officials after Russia went on invasion in Ukraine in 2022. Mr. Chong was sanctioned by the Russian government as a countermeasure.

“China reserves the right to further react,” Beijing said in a statement, according to BBC, “Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strained since the detention of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou, held in Canada on US fraud charges in 2018, and Beijing’s subsequent arrest of two Canadians on spying charges. All three were freed in 2021.” It seems China is abusing diplomatic tactics as retribution for what could be just human rights action from other nations.

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8-year-old Wisconsin Boy Found Alive and Well at the Wilderness State Park after Missing for 2 Days

The Porcupine Mountains. (2023, February 8). In Wikipedia.

An 8-year-old boy Nante Niemi from Wisconsin went camping with his family in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park and disappeared after seeking to gather firewood for a campfire for his family last Saturday around 1 p.m. Troopers and volunteers had been searching for him since he was reported missing.

Michigan State Police announced that Nante was found by a volunteer and appeared to be in good health. Nante was found around 2:30 p.m. today.

Nante told troopers that he covered up with branches and leaves for warmth and also blanketed the log he was under. He ate clean snow for hydration. According to CBS Detroit, rescue teams searched for this 8-year-old boy in the heavily snowed mountains. More than 150 personnel from MSP and local police agencies covered at least 40 square mile area on foot in a terrain that is hilly and remote with standing water. Aviation, K9, and volunteers searched for the boy from the air to water, and wilderness as weather permits.

Nante reunited with his family, and this brave little man taught us how to survive in the wilderness alone from the harsh weather conditions with wisdom, bravery, and tenacity.

The Porcupine Mountains are located at the northwest tip of the Michigan State peninsula and the Lake Superior shore. In the region, this time of the year still heavy snow accumulation from the Lake effect snow. “The closest National Weather Service station is in the coastal community of Ontonagon, where the annual average snow accumulation is about 200 inches (510 cm). Totals of well over 250 inches (640 cm) of snow annually are likely in the higher elevations. It is not uncommon to have 300-inch (760 cm) seasons in this region,” According to Wikipedia.

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An American Airlines Mechanic Convicted of Smuggling Drugs under the Electronic Compartment on Jets

An American Airlines mechanic was arrested for smuggling 25 pounds of cocaine by hiding it under the cockpit of an aircraft. Paul Belloisi (55) was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in Brooklyn of conspiring to possess cocaine, conspiring to import cocaine, and importing cocaine, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the eastern district of New York announced in a news release.

The verdict followed a one-week trial before United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry. When sentenced, Belloisi faces up to 20 years in prison. According to CBS News, Belloisi had acted as an “inside man” who abused his position at American Airlines.

Belloisi worked as a mechanic for American Airlines at JFK International Airport, and he was caught in a routine random search on Feb. 4, 2020, by agents from CBP and an anti-terrorism contraband enforcement team found 10 bricks of cocaine, weighing roughly 25 1/2 pounds, and worth up to $320,000. The cocaine bricks were stashed inside a hidden electronics compartment below the cockpit of an American Airlines flight from Montego Bay.

Richard Donoghue, then the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of New York, said in a statement that “this airline mechanic abused his position as a trusted employee and his access to sensitive areas of JFK International Airport to participate in the clandestine importation of cocaine.”

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Safest and Richest Neighborhoods in VA Beach hit by EF-3 Tornado, Left at least $15 Million Damage

Photo captured from Weather.gov

A state of emergency was declared after the first EF (Enhanced Fujita) Scale 3 tornado hit Virginia Beach, VA on Sunday around 6 p.m. EDT.

The National Weather Service confirmed the scale of the tornado was EF-3 and 145 mph, with 4.5 miles of pathway in the northeast part of the city. The most damaged, destroyed houses located in the neighborhoods were in the River Road and the Great Neck areas, where the rich and quiet neighborhoods were located at.

Luckily, no lives were lost from the severe tornado. “Our hearts go out to the Great Neck community and all those impacted by last night’s storm,” firefighters wrote on Facebook Monday morning. “We are grateful that no lives were lost.”

City officials estimated the damage from the tornado was more than $15 million and 50 to 100 houses were damaged significantly. Since 1950, at least 15 tornados have passed through Virginia Beach.

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Man Who Killed 5 People in Texas Still at Large

If you have a good neighbor, you have a good fortune. This quotation is an accurate term for the people who are residing nearby and people have settled down as a community for good vibes since humanity put its foot on earth. This became more evident at the end of April in Cleveland, Texas, when a neighbor killed 5 people right next door, and the suspect is still at large.

Anyone who gives a tip for the capture will get an $80,000 reward, the FBI said Tuesday as it expanded its search “across the border” for the suspect wanted in the deadly shooting of five neighbors, including a child, according to FOX News.

“Francisco Oropesa could be anywhere,” FBI Houston tweeted Tuesday morning. “The FBI is working with law enforcement agencies across the state, country, and across the border. We’re leaving no stone unturned. If anyone has any photos or security camera video they’d like law enforcement to see, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI.”

Oropesa, a Mexican national who previously has been deported five times, is accused of entering his neighbor’s home before midnight Friday and shooting five people dead, including a third-grade boy. Others in the household had asked Oropesa to stop firing a rifle in his yard that late because a 1-month-old baby was trying to sleep.

As More Data Centers Move East, Water Scarcity Concerns Rise for the Residents

Recently severe drought hit Virginia. In recent years, more data centers have moved from the West Coast to East Coast. This has many residents worrying about water scarcity. Data centers require electricity to run the computer equipment, and it also requires cooling down servers and maintaining a certain temperature. They currently use about 2% of the nation’s total electricity supplies. Data centers can use traditional air conditioning or use water to evaporate and cool down the servers; usually, water is preferred as the cheaper choice.

With more data centers being built across northern Virginia, residents are becoming increasingly concerned with the cutting down of trees, increase in traffic jams and congestion (even more), as well as noise (https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/verify-whats-all-the-data-center-noise-about/65-0a695ecf-9eac-44bc-93f8-9fd7f4bbfd88) from data centers to nearby neighborhoods and elementary schools.

Many residents have become concerned with the aesthetics of living next to a large, usually blocky concrete structure that emits loud noises and uses up too much water and electricity.

More than 30% of the world’s data centers are located in the United States, according to the Washington Post, and Virginia (VA) has over 300 data centers, making it the state which has the most data centers in the United States. Of this total, ~90% or 275 data centers reside in Northern Virginia, specifically in Loudoun County, Prince William County, and Fairfax County, according to a Google search (Aug 16, 2022).

Virginia is a very popular state for data centers as it offers lower taxes for the requirement of employment and meets the statutory investment. According to VEDP, “Virginia offers an exemption from retail sales and uses tax for qualifying computer equipment purchased by data centers that meet statutory investment and employment requirements. Virginia was the first state to allow the tenants of colocation data centers to receive the benefit of the sales tax exemption. In addition, local business property tax rates on computers and related equipment for data centers have been reduced by a number of localities.”

That’s great, Virginia, but Data Centers are also consuming significant amounts of water and electricity; as summer approaches and the burden on water and electricity increases, how will this impact us? Furthermore, as Virginia gets drier, who will have to bear the burden of the extensive amount of data centers now in place?

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Discovered Liquid Meth in Tequila Bottles at the Port of Manzanillo, Mexico

Photo from CDC

10 tons of liquid methamphetamine stored in 11,520 bottles of tequila for distribution to the world has seized by the Mexican Navy on Monday. Authorities used sniffer dogs and a chemical identification system to locate a container housing where at least 8,640 kilograms of the drug were bottled as tequila liquor at the Port of Manzanillo, a city located on the western coast of Mexico.

The Navy investigators of this mission took the sample of the tequila bottle to the lab, and they seized the bottles after they were confirmed to be meth. The navy seized and destroyed 114 tons of meth earlier this year. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ), 106,699 people died from Drug overdose in 2021 in the U.S. 

In 2021, 106,699 drug overdose deaths occurred, resulting in an age-adjusted rate of 32.4 per 100,000 standard population in the United States. Adults aged 65 and over had the largest percentage increase in rates from 2020 through 2021. Drug overdose death rates increased for each race and Hispanic-origin group except non-Hispanic Asian people between 2020 and 2021.

The rate of drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased by 22%, while the rate of deaths involving heroin declined by 32% between 2020 and 2021. From 2020 through 2021, the rate of drug overdose deaths increased for deaths involving cocaine and those involving psychostimulants with abuse potential.

At the end of the 19th century, the Opium War between Britain and China was brought about by the trade deficit and destabilized the Chinese empire, fueling instability in the East. It seems that again in the 21st century, opium different from that has become a weapon to infiltrate economically superior countries and gradually collapse countries and their people. Perhaps the Mexican Navy can continue to do more in preventing the spread, and those in other developed nations can follow in destroying the opium that will surely bring about instability in their own nations.

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