Posts tagged with "CNN"

Hardee’s partners with young YouTube influencer to relaunch kids’ meals

June 12, 2019

The fast food chain, Hardee’s, is partnering with a seven-year-old YouTube star, Ryan—the influencer and star of the popular Ryan ToysReview channel—to bring back its kids’ meals.

Ryan, who goes by his first name only for privacy, was the top-paid YouTube star last year, according to Forbes. His channel has over 19 million subscribers.

The partnership is a first for Hardee’s, and it’s one that could help the venerable, 59-year-old hamburger stands to reach consumers, particularly families, in an entirely new way, CNN reported on June 11.

The meals being introduced will include four exclusive, new toys from Ryan’s World, a brand of toys. Later this summer, toys   animated YouTube show, HobbyKids Adventures, also will be distributed via the meals.

YouTube is an important channel for Hardee’s. “Our consumers are digital-first,” Jenna Folk, Hardee’s director of Brand Marketing, told CNN Business. “We want to connect with them where they are.” She added that the video platform in particular is “an exciting space for us.”

The burger chain stopped selling its Star Pals kids’ meals eight years ago. But since then it has noticed an increase in families eating at quick-service restaurant chains, Folk said. She cited a University of Connecticut study that found that in 2016, 91% of parents said they had purchased lunch or dinner for their kids at a major fast food chain—up from 79% in 2010.

The return of the kids’ meal could encourage parents to choose Hardee’s. And the brand is hoping a collaboration with family-friendly YouTubers will make the meal even more attractive.

Ryan will feature the four toys on his YouTube channel, Folk said. The Hardee’s Star Pals kids’ meals, which include a choice of chicken tenders or a burger, plus an optional side and drink and start at $3.99 per meal, will become available for purchase next week. The toys will also be available in kids meals from Carl’s Jr., which has the same parent company as Hardee’s.

Research contact: @Hardees

Two groups reach the peak of human endurance: extreme athletes and pregnant women

June 11, 2019

While pregnant women are often said to be “in a delicate condition,” the truth is, many of them have the mettle and stamina of a top athlete.

The average person can burn up to 4,000 calories—a limit that a group of international scientists considers to be the peak of human performance—before depleting the body’s energy stores. And while extreme distance runners reach maximum performance during high-intensity races, expectant mothers often expend the same amount of energy at a lower intensity over a longer period of time.

The research—published in the journal, Science Advances, on June 5—found that athletes who participated in endurance events such as the 140-day Race Across the USA, were able to maintain their intensity for short periods of time—but when competing in longer, high-intensity events, they weren’t able to replenish the calories they burned throughout the day.

“You can do really intense amounts of work for a day or so,” Herman Pontzer, a Duke University researcher who co-led the study, told CNN in an interview for a June 6 story. “But if you have to last a week or so, you have to maintain less intensity.”

Longer pushes require lower intensities, but over a short period of time, the human body can successfully exert 4,000 calories on average before hitting the wall. That’s 2.5 times the basal metabolic rate, or amount of calories a body needs to operate while at rest.

The average person won’t reach those limits in a typical workout (except maybe CrossFit, Pontzer told CNN), but pregnant women and extreme athletes cut it close. Weeklong races and nine-month pregnancies similarly push the body to its limits, often burning calories at a rate the body can’t keep up with.

Research contact: @CNN

Sports Illustrated’s ‘brand and intellectual property’ are sold for $110 million by Meredith

May 29, 2019

The brand and intellectual property of Sports Illustrated magazine have been sold by Des Moines-based Meredith—which also owns such major media properties as People, Real Simple, Parents, Instyle, Entertainment This Week, and Eating Well—to the New York City-based marketing company Authentic Brands Group for $110 million.

Meredith announced the sale on Tuesday, May 28. In an unusual arrangement, Meredith will continue to publish the Sports Illustrated magazine and website, CNN reported.

The structure of the deal suggests that the Sports Illustrated brand is much more valuable than the storied magazine.

Authentic Brands—which owns the brands of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, will assume the marketing, business development and licensing of Sports Illustrated’s intellectual property, the news outlet said.

Jamie Salter, CEO of Authentic Brands Group, said in a statement that Sports Illustrated’s “trusted name and fiercely devoted following set the stage for the brand to become a leader in lifestyle and entertainment.”

According to the companies, potential new business opportunities include events, conferences, gambling and gaming products; as well as video and television, CNN said.

Meredith, which is paying Authentic Brands Group an undisclosed fee to publish the Sports Illustrated magazine and website, said it would maintain the publication’s editorial independence.

Research contact: @MeredithCorp

More than 100 CNN staffers accept buyouts as AT&T pares down debt

April 8, 2019

More than 100 employees of CNN have opted for buyouts, a spokesperson for the network confirmed to Variety; as its parent company, AT&T,  works to shed approximately $170 million in debt following its purchase of the former Time Warner.

AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner last June–bringing together global media and entertainment leaders Warner Bros., HBO, and Turner with AT&T’s leadership in technology; and its video, mobile, and broadband customer relationships.

The new company, called WarnerMedia, consolidates the three media businesses. AT&T’s other divisions include AT&T Communications, AT&T International, and AT&T’s advertising and analytics platforms.

CNN Worldwide recently offered a voluntary buyout option to staff, the spokesperson told Variety, and “just over 100” chose to exercise an option to use it. No staffers were laid off, this person said. Buyouts also have been offered within other divisions of WarnerMedia.

Major personalities, including Anderson Cooper, will stay on.

CNN is in the midst  of other transitions. The news network this week began broadcasting some of its program from new WarnerMedia headquarters at the Hudson Yards complex, which is located in Manhattan’s West Side. The company had previously been housed at Time Warner Center in midtown.

Research contact: @WarnerMediaGrp

Schiff says Barr misled the American public and ‘should step down’

May 2, 2019

The attorney general of the United States is a liar and he should resign. So said the Chairman Adam Schiff  (D-California) of the House Intelligence Committee on May 1, following the release to The Washington Post of a March 25 letter written by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In that correspondence, the Russia investigator voiced grave concerns about the nature of the four-page summary of his team’s report written by AG William Barr and released the day before.

“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this Office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote in the letter, which he also saved to his files for posterity.

“We communicated that concern to the Department on the morning of March 25,” Mueller continued, noting, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.”

The special counsel went on to urge the attorney general to distribute the executive summaries of the report prepared in advance by his team. “Release at this time would alleviate the misunderstandings that have arisen and would anser congressional and public questions about the nature and outcome of our investigation,” he said.

Mueller also followed up his correspondence with a call to Barr, during which he expressed similar concerns.

However, not only did Barr refuse to release the executive summaries in a “piecemeal” fashion, but, according to a May 1 report by the Post, “he disclaimed knowledge of the thinking of Special Counsel Robert Mueller” during two separate, back-to-back hearings on April 9 and April 10.

“No, I don’t,” Barr said, when asked by Representative Charlie Crist (D-Florida) whether he knew what was behind reports that members of Mueller’s team were frustrated by the attorney general’s summary of their top-level conclusions.

“I don’t know,” he said the next day, when asked by Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) whether Mueller supported his finding that there was not sufficient evidence to conclude that President Trump had obstructed justice.

Now, Schiff has a case against AG Barr:  “I think his statement is deliberately false and misleading, and yes, most people would consider that to be a lie,” Schiff said on CBS This Morning, as reported by The Hill.

“Look, there’s no sugar- coating this, I think he should step down,” Schiff said. “It’s hard, I think, for the country to have confidence in the top law enforcement official in the country if he’s asked a direct question as he was and he gives a directly false answer, so this is serious business.”

“After two years and work and investigation implicating the president of the United States, for the attorney general to mislead the public for an entire month before releasing that report is inexcusable.” 

Schiff is the highest-ranking Democrat on Capitol Hill so far to call for Barr to step down. He follows Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s call for Barr to resign.

Tuesday’s revelation upped the ante for Barr’s appearance Wednesday morning in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and led to a cavalcade of criticism from House and Senate Democrats, The Hill reported.

“The Special Counsel’s concerns reflect our own. The Attorney General should not have taken it upon himself to describe the Special Counsel’s findings in a light more favorable to the President. It was only a matter of time before the facts caught up to him,” Representative Jerry Nadler (D-New York), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Tuesday, demanding that Barr hand over Mueller’s letter to Congress by 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

According to Politico, in a separate statement on Wednesday, on CNN claimed Barr’s statements might be considered perjury “for an ordinary citizen.”

“It’s worse when it comes from the attorney general of the United States because it means the public cannot have confidence in what he says,” Schiff said. “It means that we cannot have confidence in how he administers justice.”

And in a separate tweet, Schiff wrote, “No one can place any reliance on what Barr says. We need to hear from Mueller himself.”

Research contact: @RepAdamSchiff

Nadler pulls rank on Barr on terms of testimony

April 30, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) has cautioned Attorney General William Barr—who has more than proven himself to be a Trump acolyte during his first six weeks in office—not to try to dictate the terms of his testimony on the Russia investigation on May 2.

“The witness is not going to tell the committee how to conduct its hearing, period,” Nadler told CNN on Sunday.

Barr is scheduled to testify to the committee on Thursday about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report on the probe—which he had thoroughly redacted before releasing it to a limited number of Congressional leaders earlier this month.

He also is expected to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 1, according to a report by Politico.

Nadler wants to allow each committee member a five-minute round of questioning. A key point of contention has arisen over Nadler’s wanting to allow for another round of questioning of 30 minutes for each party’s committee counsels, the political news outlet said. The chairman also proposed that the panel go into closed session to discuss the redacted sections of the report.

Barr has rejected both proposals, according to CNN, which cited an unidentified committee source.

Representative Madeleine Dean (D-Pennsylvania), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told Politico that Nadler’s proposed structure for the hearing was “not unprecedented.”

“It is not up to Attorney General Barr to tell our committee how to operate, and will I be puzzled if he actually decides not to show,” Dean said Sunday on CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield.

If Barr doesn’t appear on Thursday, Dean said, the committee is ready to “fully use our subpoena power.”

“The chairman has subpoena power, and we’ll have to go to a court of law and either hold him in contempt or have him come in, but I hope that cooler heads prevail,” Dean said.

Nadler has subpoenaed the Justice Department to provide an unredacted version of Mueller’s report, along with its underlying grand jury evidence and testimony, by May 1. He also sent a letter to Mueller asking the special counsel to testify before the Judiciary Committee by May 23.

Research contact: @politico

Kline is not inclined to comply with Democratic subpoena over security clearances

April 24, 2019

Carl Klinethe former head of the White House Personnel Security Office who approved Jared Kushner’s security clearance after intelligence officials nixed it—has been instructed by the Trump administration not to comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena demanding his appearance for an interview.

This is just the latest move by the president to stonewall Democratic-led investigations, CNN reports. After a day of tense negotiations, the White House late Monday, April 22, told Kline, who now works at the Defense Department, not to appear at the April 23 deposition—contending that Democrats were seeking access to confidential information that should be off limits, the cable news outlet said.

Michael Purpura, deputy counsel to Trump, argued that Cummings’ subpoena of Kline “unconstitutionally encroaches on fundamental executive branch interests,” according to a letter obtained by CNN.

Kline’s attorney, Robert Driscoll, said his client would listen to his employer .”With two masters from two equal branches of government, we will follow the instructions of the one that employs him,” Driscoll said in a separate letter obtained by CNN.

In response, the committee could seek to hold Kline in contempt—a step that Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) warned Monday he would take.

 A White House official, Tricia Newbold, told the committee several weeks ago that at least 25 individuals had been greenlighted for security clearances despite serious concerns raised during the vetting process—and alleged that Kline retaliated against her for speaking out as a whistleblower.

In another letter obtained by CNN, Cummings said White House counsel Pat Cipollone previously informed the committee that Kline would not appear on Tuesday unless the committee allowed someone from the White House counsel’s office “to appear with Mr. Kline in order to preserve and protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests.”

Cummings responded Monday: “The Committee will not permit a representative from your office to attend the deposition,” adding that Kline would be held in contempt if he didn’t comply with the subpoena.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Dems demand Trump tax returns from IRS—forcing Mnuchin to choose between fealty and duty

April 8, 2019

Although President Donald Trump claims that nobody’s interested in his tax returns—and that they are under audit anyway, so they cannot be released—House Democrats are through taking “no” for an answer—and last week, they set the stage for a major face-off with both the White House and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Massachusetts) formally requested President Trump’s personal and business tax returns on April 3, setting up what will likely become a protracted and high-profile legal battle between the administration and Congressional Democrats, The Hill reported.

Specifically, in a letter to the IRS, Neal requested Trump’s personal income taxes from 2013 to 2018, as well as the tax returns associated with eight of his business entities, and cited his oversight role to justify the request.

“Under the Internal Revenue Manual, individual income tax returns of a President are subject to mandatory examination, but this practice is IRS policy and not codified in the Federal tax laws,” Neal wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by CNN. “It is necessary for the committee to determine the scope of any such examination and whether it includes a review of underlying business activities required to be reported on the individual income tax return.”

Mnuchin—a loyal Trump insider—now “will have to balance his loyalty to Trump against a request that many experts say leaves him little wiggle room,” The Hill noted. As head of the department that comprises the IRS, Mnuchin will face pressure from Trump and congressional Republicans to push back on Democrats’ request.

“[The] request tests Mnuchin’s oath of office—whether Mnuchin will faithfully execute the laws of the United States, or whether Mnuchin will bend to the will of the president,” commented Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, who testified before Congress in February about the need to request Trump’s tax returns.

Trump — the first president in decades to not voluntarily disclose any of his returns—quickly indicated his disdain for the request. “Until such time as I’m not under audit I would not be inclined to do that,” he said  last Wednesday.

When asked on April 4 if he would direct the IRS to not disclose his returns, Trump said, “They’ll speak to my lawyers and they’ll speak to the attorney general.” 

As is to be expected, Republicans leaders are critical of the request. The top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), argued in a letter to Mnuchin on April 3 that the request is “an abuse of the tax-writing committees’ statutory authority,” and he said it weakens Americans’ right to have their personal information kept private, The Hill reported.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the next day that courts have ruled that congressional requests for information need to have legitimate legislative purposes, and that he believes the Democrats have fallen short on that front.

“They don’t have a purpose,” he said, according to The Hill. “All they have are a lot of excuses.”

Mnuchin said at a Ways and Means Committee hearing last month that the Treasury Department would “follow the law and we will protect the president as we would protect any individual taxpayer under their rights.”

The Treasury Department has not commented on the tax returns request since it has been issued.

“Secretary Mnuchin should have no involvement in responding to Chairman Neal’s request for President Trump’s tax returns,” Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement on April 4, adding, “Tax returns are held at the IRS and it is Commissioner [Charles] Rettig’s job to fulfill the agency’s legal obligations. If Secretary Mnuchin inserts himself that would be blatant political interference.”

Both Mnuchin and Rettig are scheduled to testify at congressional hearings this coming week, and lawmakers are likely to press them about their response to Democrats’ tax-return request. Democrats and supporters of the request say there’s no good reason for the administration to not comply.

Democrats also took issue with Trump’s comments about not providing his returns while under audit, arguing that the statute under which they requested the tax returns doesn’t leave the matter up to him.

“With all due respect to the president, we did not ask him for the tax returns, we asked the commissioner of the IRS,” Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.), a Ways and Means Committee member, told The Hill on Thursday.

Republican strategists predict that Mnuchin will get involved and that it will be an easy decision for him to reject Democrats’ request.

“You’ve never seen a Cabinet secretary at that level not fight for the administration,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told The Hill. He predicted that Mnuchin is likely to let the issue end up in the courts.

Research contact: @thehill

As the president shirks disaster relief efforts, House lawmakers push for statehood for Puerto Rico

April 1, 2019

On March 28—the same day on which the president fatuously stated,” “Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump [since the destruction of Hurricane Maria] than by any living human being, and I think the people of Puerto Rico understand it”—Congress introduced a bill that would entitle the commonwealth to all of the disaster relief that reaches political entities on the U.S. mainland.

The Puerto Rico Admission Act of 2019, which was introduced by Representative Darren Soto (D-Florida) and Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, a Republican who represents the island in the House, would grant Puerto Rico equal civil rights and status as the 51st state within 90 days of passage.

“From the day I was sworn in as Puerto Rico’s sole representative in Congress, and filed the Puerto Rico Admission Act, I stated very clearly that I would work different strategies, across all platforms to achieve the full equality for Puerto Rico, which can only be achieved through statehood,” Gonzalez said in a news release.

According to a report by CNN, the move to sponsor legislation came as the Republican-controlled Senate considered a new disaster relief package for the territory—and as tensions continued to flare between President Donald Trump and Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who supports the bill.

“Puerto Rico’s colonial status and unsustainable relationship with the federal government has gone on for over a century, even as our citizens have contributed to the growth, culture, and social fabric of the United States; and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our fellow citizens on battlefields around the globe and under our same flag,” Rosselló, said in the release.

Indeed, the legislation is badly needed, in order to get the type of aid to the island that is needed for the infrastructure to be rebuilt, more rapidly and completely than has been done to date.

Although he expects credit from the people of Puerto Rico, President Trump still is being castigated for a visit he made to the devastated island after the hurricane, in early October 2017—during which he threw paper towels to the media and local representatives at a press conference and congratulated Puerto Rico residents for escaping the higher death toll of a “a real catastrophe like Katrina.”

Since that time, the president consistently has challenged efforts to provide more adequate disaster funding and food stamp coverage for the island. Although the territory is still recovering economically, Trump reportedly told Senate Republicans last week that he questioned the wisdom of sending the island additional disaster relief aid, CNN said.

In Thursday’s news release, Soto referenced disaster relief efforts as a reason to give Puerto Rico statehood.

“We have seen time and time again that colonial status is simply not working,” Soto said. “Look no further than the abysmal Hurricane Maria recovery efforts and the draconian PROMESA law [the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act] to prove this point all too well.”

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

Don’t ‘sleep in’ on Saturday or Sunday

March 1, 2019

Wake up, America! A study conducted at the University of Colorado–Boulder has found that trying to catch up on shut-eye over the weekend may not be such a good idea—for either your waistline or your health, CNN reported on February 28.

“Weekend catch-up sleep is not protective,” Dr. Vsevolod Polotsky, director of Sleep Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, told the cable news network, adding, “The bottom line of this study is that even if you sleep longer on weekends, if you continue to sleep poorly, you will still eat too much, and you will still gain weight.”

Study author Kenneth Wright, Jr., who directs the Sleep Lab at the UC-Boulder, agrees. “Sleeping in on weekend doesn’t correct the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar, if that weekend is followed by a workweek or [a]school week full of insufficient sleep,” he told CNN.

The study by Wright and his colleagues—published in the journal Current Biology—assigned 36 healthy young men and women to three groups that prescribed different sleep requirements over a total of 10 days. None of the participants had newborns in the home or any health impairments that would affect the quality of their sleep.

The first group had the opportunity to sleep for nine hours each night for the 10 days. The second group was restricted to only five hours of sleep a night for the same duration, while the third was restricted to five hours Monday through Friday but allowed to sleep as long as they wanted on the weekend and go to bed as early as they liked on Sunday night. Come Monday, that third group was put back on the deprived sleep schedule of only five hours a night.

Both of the sleep-deprived groups snacked more after dinner and gained weight during the study—men, much more than women, CNN reports. The sleep-deprived men showed an overall 2.8% increase in their weight, while women’s body size went up by only 1.1%. By comparison, men who slept in on the weekend showed a 3% increase in weight, while women’s body size went up 0.05%

Gaining weight while sleep-deprived isn’t surprising, Wright said. “One of the things we and others have found in the past is that when people don’t sleep enough, they tend to eat more, partly because their body is burning more calories. But what happens is that people eat more than they need and therefore gain weight.

That could be in part, Polotsky told the news outlet, because hunger hormones are affected by a chronic lack of sleep. “The hormone leptin decreases appetite, while the hormone ghrelin increases appetite,” explained Polotsky, who was not involved in the study. “We know from previous research that sleep deprivation causes leptin to drop and ghrelin to rise, so you’re hungry.”

What was surprising to the researchers is what happened to the group who slept in on the weekends. “Even though people slept as much as they could, it was insufficient,” Wright said. “As soon as they went back to the short sleep schedules on Monday, their ability of their body to regulate blood sugar was impaired.”

Why? One of the reasons the weekend group may have been more affected is because their circadian rhythm, or biological clock, had been altered, depriving the body of certain hormones.

“If you catch up during weekends, you habitually eat later, because the circadian clock is shifting,” Polotsky said. “Add in after-dinner snacks; the sleep-deprived eat much more after dinner, as well.”

Not only that, but the weekend recovery group showed increased sensitivity to insulin in both their muscles and their livers, a result not found in the second group on restricted sleep. That’s important, Wright explained to CNN, because the muscle and liver are two of the most important tissues that take up blood sugar after eating.

“That helps us understand why is it that when we don’t get enough sleep, we have an increased risk for things like diabetes,” he added, because “short, insufficient sleep schedules will lead to an inability to regulate blood sugar and increases the risk of metabolic disease in the long term.”

Metabolic syndrome is an array of symptoms such as fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure—all of which can raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

“And when we go back to getting too little sleep again,” Wright told CNN, “we’re doing things that could be negative for our health long-term.”

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night for adults and much more for children.

Research contact: kenneth.wright@colorado.edu