Posts tagged with "CNN"

Mochi ice cream goes mainstream

December 10, 2019

Walk into any supermarket today and you’ll find what used to be exotic edibles: They are called mochi—and they are small, frozen, bite-size balls of ice cream encased in rice dough.

In just the past three years, this finger food confection has evolved from an exotic niche dessert to a mainstream product, popping up nearly everywhere, including malls, street fairs, and major supermarket chains, CNN reports.

Mochi was invented in the United States nearly three decades ago, and was originally made using ice cream flavors with an Asian flair.

“It’s been around since the 1990s, but mochi ice cream was mostly available in specialty Asian food stores or on menus of Japanese restaurants in flavors like green tea, red bean and mango,” said Russell Barnett, a food industry veteran and chief marketing officer of Los Angeles-based My/Mo Mochi.

To help bring it to the masses, My/Mo created a flavor list most consumers felt instant familiarity with, such as chocolate sundae, S’mores, cookies & cream, strawberry, double chocolate and mint chocolate chip.

“I grew up eating vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream. Green tea and red bean weren’t a common part of the flavor profile in most households,” he told CNN.

Barnett recognized the inherent appeal of mochi ice cream to Millennials, a group he calls “a snacking generation.” Mochi is a portion-control snack of about 110 calories per ball, easy to hold and eat on the go. “We just retooled and adjusted it for today’s consumers,” he said.

My/Mo Mochi ice cream (which is gluten-free with some dairy free varieties) is produced at a manufacturing facility in Los Angeles and sold in packages of six, CNN reports. They’re also sold individually in portable freezers that Barnett calls self-serve “ice cream bars.”

Currently, My/Mo Mochi is now available in 20,000 stores nationwide. “We are in Target, Kroger, Walmart and everything in-between,” said Barnett. “We are reaching the masses where they shop.”

Competing mochi ice cream brands include Bubbies, Maeda-En and Mr. Mochi, but the My/Mo Mochi brand has captured close to 90% of market share, according to data from Nielsen. The brand’s sales were $175 million in annual revenue in 2019, according to Barnett.

Research contact: @CNN

Wanted: 10,000 dogs for the largest-ever study on canine aging

November 18, 2019

Every dog has his day—but they simply don’t get enough of them as far as we’re concerned. Most of our beloved pooches only live for about 11 years, according to the American Kennel Club.

But now, a group of researchers is hoping to lengthen the life expectancy of canines, as well as their overall quality of life, CNN reports.

Teams from the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), are being funded by the National Institute of Aging, a division the National Institutes of Health.

The study promises to be the largest-ever study on aging in dogs, according to the cable news outlet—and it may have implications for humans, too. .

“Dogs truly are science’s best friends,” the research team told CNN in a joint statement. “Though they age more rapidly than humans, they get the same diseases of aging, have a rich genetic makeup, and share our environment.”

“By studying aging in dogs,” they said, “we can more quickly expand our knowledge of aging not just in dogs but also in humans.” They added that the team is optimistic that its findings could lead to better

Dogs from all 50 states—and of all ages, sizes, and breeds—may apply with the help of their owners. The researchers will even consider dogs with chronic illnesses, because they are hoping to include as much genetic diversity as possible.

Applications to the project are officially open. Owners can visit the Dog Aging Project’s website to nominate their pooches. The submission process takes less than ten minutes, and generally consists of questions about your pet that will help the researchers to determine whether he or she is the right fit.

Have more questions? Here’s a helpful FAQs.

Research contact: @CNN

Hiccupping actually helps babies to develop

November 14, 2019

Most of us don’t know why we get the hiccups. They arrive as unexpected and annoying interludes in our otherwise orderly days—and we use a variety of questionable (and even silly) methods to get rid of them.

However, now scientists at University College London have discovered that hiccups might play a crucial role in our early development—by helping babies to regulate their breathing, MSN reports.

In a study led by Lorenzo Fabrizi, a specialist in Neuroscience, Physiology, and Pharmacology at the university, researchers who monitored 13 newborn babies found that hiccupping triggered a large wave of brain signals that could aid in their development.

Indeed, Fabrizi said in a statement, this brain activity might help babies “to learn how to monitor the breathing muscles,” eventually leading to an ability to control breathing voluntarily.

He added: “When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns.”

Since the babies involved in the study were pre-term and full-term, ranging from 30 to 42 weeks gestational age, the scientists believe this development could be typical of the final trimester of pregnancy.

According to the researchers, fetuses and newborn infants often hiccup, MSN reported.

The phenomenon is seen as early as nine weeks into pregnancy, and pre-term infants—those born at least three weeks premature—spend approximately 15 minutes hiccupping every day.

The pre-term and full-term newborns involved in the study had electrodes placed on their scalps and sensors on their torsos to monitor for hiccups.

The researchers found that contractions in the babies’ diaphragms produced three brainwaves, and believe that through the third brainwave babies may be able to link the ‘hic’ sound of the hiccup to the physical contraction they feel.

Kimberley Whitehead, the study’s lead author, told CNN: “The muscle contraction of a hiccup is quite big

Most of us don’t know why we get the hiccups. They arrive as unexpected and annoying interludes in our otherwise orderly days—and we use a variety of questionable (and even silly) methods to get rid of them.

However, now scientists at University College London have discovered that hiccups might play a crucial role in our early development—by helping babies to regulate their breathing, MSN reports.

In a study led by Lorenzo Fabrizi, a specialist in Neuroscience, Physiology, and Pharmacology at the university, researchers who monitored 13 newborn babies found that hiccupping triggered a large wave of brain signals that could aid in their development.

Indeed, Fabrizi said in a statement, this brain activity might help babies “to learn how to monitor the breathing muscles,” eventually leading to an ability to control breathing voluntarily.

He added: “When we are born, the circuits which process body sensations are not fully developed, so the establishment of such networks is a crucial developmental milestone for newborns.”

Since the babies involved in the study were pre-term and full-term, ranging from 30 to 42 weeks gestational age, the scientists believe this development could be typical of the final trimester of pregnancy.

According to the researchers, fetuses and newborn infants often hiccup, MSN reported.

The phenomenon is seen as early as nine weeks into pregnancy, and pre-term infants—those born at least three weeks premature—spend approximately 15 minutes hiccupping every day.

The pre-term and full-term newborns involved in the study had electrodes placed on their scalps and sensors on their torsos to monitor for hiccups.

The researchers found that contractions in the babies’ diaphragms produced three brainwaves, and believe that through the third brainwave babies may be able to link the ‘hic’ sound of the hiccup to the physical contraction they feel.

Kimberley Whitehead, the study’s lead author, told CNN: “The muscle contraction of a hiccup is quite bigit’s good for the developing brain because it suddenly gives a big boost of input, which helps the brain cells to all link together for representing that particular body part.”

She added that hiccups have no known advantage for adults, and suggested they could be an example of “a hangover from early periods of our life that persists into later life.”

The same researchers have previously theorized that a baby’s kicks in the womb may help it to create a mental map of its own body.

Their new findings may show the same process occurring internally.

Research contact: @MSNi

Clinton is hinting: Is Tulsi Gabbard being groomed as Russia’s third-party candidate for 2020?

October 23, 2019

RepresentativeTulsi Gabbards clash with 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton suddenly has propelled her struggling 2020 presidential campaign into the spotlight—and not in a good way, CNN reported on October 21.

The heated squabble with Clinton—who said  on October 17 that Gabbard is “the favorite of the Russians” and is being groomed for a third-party run—also has raised doubts about Gabbard’s future in Democratic politics, the cable news outlet said.

The speculative statement from Clinton came during a podcast she was taping with former Obama adviser David Plouffe.

Gabbard, of Hawaii, has remained at single digits in the polls and is staring down an increasingly difficult path to the Democratic Party’s nomination. Back at home, she also faces the most formidable challenge to her House seat since she was elected in 2012, when she enjoyed a majority of the vote, CNN said.

On television, Gabbard has received a significant amount of coverage from Fox News, where she is often praised for her anti-establishment message. She made an appearance on Friday night with host Tucker Carlson to respond to Clinton and made a plea to Carlson’s viewers to support her candidacy.

“I am staying in the Democratic Party, and I’m fighting to take our Democratic Party back, out of the hands of Hillary Clinton and the war-mongering establishment, and put it back into the hands of the people, so our party can truly be a champion for the people,” Gabbard told The Daily Iowan on Friday.

She even turned the Clinton confrontation into a fund-raising opportunity, emailing supporters that “I challenge her” to “face me directly.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, whom Gabbard supported in 2016, defended the congresswoman on Monday, writing in a tweet that “it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that Tulsi is a foreign asset.”

Research contact: @CNN

Whistleblower complaint remains in White House hands, despite demands by House Intel panel

September 19, 2019

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire—who took over the post just over a month ago, on August 15, when Dan Coats stepped down— has refused to comply with a deadline to hand over a whistleblower complaint to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, CNN reports.

The committee had announced its intent to issue a subpoena on September 13, noting that the complaint had been deemed by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community, Michael Atkinson, to be “credible and urgent.”

At that time, Representative Adam Schiff (D-California), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee put out a statement that read: “A month ago, a whistleblower within the intelligence community lawfully filed a complaint regarding a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law, or deficiency within the responsibility or authority of the Director of National Intelligence. The Inspector General of the Intelligence Community found that complaint not only credible, but urgent. More than ten days since the Director was obligated to transmit the complaint to the intelligence committees, the Committee has still not received the disclosure from the Director, in violation of the law.

“A Director of National Intelligence has never prevented a properly submitted whistleblower complaint that the IC IG determined to be credible and urgent from being provided to the congressional intelligence committees. Never. This raises serious concerns about whether White House, Department of Justice or other executive branch officials are trying to prevent a legitimate whistleblower complaint from reaching its intended recipient, the Congress, in order to cover up serious misconduct.

“After Watergate exposed significant intelligence abuses, a critical bargain was struck: In exchange for the Intelligence Community’s willingness to reveal closely guarded national security secrets, the congressional intelligence committees and leadership promised to handle that information responsibly.  It was also of vital importance that intelligence officials have a lawful and protected means of bringing misconduct to the attention of Congress and the public. By withholding a credible whistleblower complaint that potentially deals with executive branch wrongdoing, the DNI is in violation of the applicable statute and has made itself a party to the concealment of potentially serious misconduct.”

However, on the night of September 17, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence sent letters to committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Ranking Republican Devin Nunes of California, saying the complaint “does not meet the definition of ‘urgent concern’ because it does not relate to ‘intelligence activity,’ “ CNN reported.

The complaint “involves confidential and potentially privileged matters relating to the interests of other stakeholders within the Executive Branch,” a copy of the letter, obtained by CNN, says, adding that complying with the committee’s requests “will necessarily require appropriate consultations.”

In the letter, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reveals that the complaint does not involve anyone in the intelligence community but rather “stakeholders within the Executive Branch.” As a result, its lawyer argues, the complaint is not of “urgent concern” to the committee.

The office says it plans to work with the House intelligence Committee but given that executive branch members are involved, there are “confidential and potentially privileged matters” that “will necessarily require appropriate consultations.”

What’s more, Maguire has indicated that he will not appear at a scheduled congressional hearing on Thursday; his office says he “is not available on such short notice.”

In response, Schiff said: “The IC IG determined that the complaint is both credible and urgent, which is why the Committee must move quickly. The Committee’s position is clear—the Acting DNI can either provide the complaint as required under the law, or he will be required to come before the Committee to tell the public why he is not following the clear letter of the law, including whether the White House or the Attorney General are directing him to do so. He has yet to provide the complaint in response to the Committee’s subpoena, so I expect him to appear on Thursday, under subpoena if necessary.”

According to CNN, Schiff also argued that Maguire had acted outside the authority of his post by consulting with the Department of Justice about the complaint as he involved “another entity within the Executive Branch in the handling of a whistleblower complaint.

Schiff declined to say whether he has been contacted by the whistleblower or their legal representation, saying he wouldn’t want to jeopardize them.

However, a source familiar with the situation told CNN on Tuesday that legal counsel for the unknown individual is discussing next steps.

However, the options appear to be limited.

A source familiar with the case told CNN that the Intelligence Community Whistleblowers Protection Act likely only offers one real path forward: circumventing the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and giving the complaint directly to the committee.

That route is not likely to be taken, CNN said: At the end of the day, the statute doesn’t clearly allow the whistleblower to go straight to Congress.

Research contact: @CNN

Familiar face: Trump’s ex-wife Marla Maples appears in HBO televangelist comedy

September 13, 2019

She’s Tiffany Trump’s mom and the Donald’s ex-wife—and Marla Maples finally has returned to the spotlight in a new television role, her first since she divorced the now-president in 1999.

The 55-year-old actress was down in South Carolina earlier this year, according to a report by CNN, where she shot her part in the HBO comedy series, The Righteous Gemstones.”

The show, starring Danny McBride and John Goodman, centers around a world-famous televangelist family with a long tradition of deviance, greed, and charitable work — all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Maples declined to comment through a spokesperson, but she posted an on-set photo, writing that she “couldn’t be happier.” The Georgia-born Maples said the last time she worked in the Carolinas, she was 18 years old, playing a small role in Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive.

Months before the 2016 election, Maples hit primetime as a contestant on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. However, she has taken a low profile since Trump moved into the White House; as has Tiffany, who currently is studying law at Georgetown University.

Maples appeared in roles on several television programs while she was married to Trump, including Spin City and The Nanny.

Research contact: @CNN

Cheap thrills: Dollar General’s new $5 beauty brand is going viral

September 10, 2019

Fashionistas, take note: There’s a new brand in the beauty business—and it’s not sold at swanky cosmetics counters for big bucks, or at drugstores, either.

Launched last spring, Dollar General’s humble, $5-and-under Believe Beauty cosmetics line is available at the chain’s 15,000 locations nationwide—and it has gone viral, thanks to the raves of social media beauty bloggers.

According to a report by CNN, Dollar General partnered with a beauty manufacturer on the private-label line of lipsticks, eye shadows, foundations, nail polishes, and skin care essentials; and is giving it prime real estate at stores: It’s displaying the 150-product collection in dedicated sections at the end of store aisles, making it easy for customers to find.

The aspirational brand is “an important part of our strategy,” CEO Todd Vasos told the network news outlet.

Dollar General executives say they developed the brand to bolster the company’s hold on existing customers and improve its thin profit margins. Dollar General also hopes to draw Millennials with the brand. Millennials probably won’t post online about snacks or a new mop they bought at Dollar General, but they love showing off their new makeup online, CNN notes.

Dozens of Believe reviews on by beauty vloggers on YouTube already have racked up hundreds of thousands of page views. One 16-minute YouTube review from a beauty vlogger has 125,000 views. Instagram is flooded with more than 3,000 posts using “#believebeauty.”

All that social media attention means free advertising for Dollar General. It boosts the company’s image with younger shoppers and is helping lift the dollar-store empire.

“People like those kind of videos because it’s something different,” Taylor Horn, a blogger who reviewed Believe on her YouTube channel, told CNN Business. Her channel has more than 750,000 followers.

“It’s cool when lines like Believe Beauty launch, where it’s accessible,” she said. “I think it’s more achievable and the things that your everyday consumer can afford.”

Dollar General is following a similar strategy to Walgreens, Target, Zara, Forever 21 and even 7-Eleven, CNN points out. These companies have all added their own in-house cosmetics lines in recent years.

Research contact: @CNN

Trump slams Puerto Rico, even before hurricane hits

August 29, 2019

As Dorian picks up power in the Caribbean, hurtling ever-closer to Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump is picking up the same diatribe he used against the island’s leadership and population during Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that hit the American territory in September 2017.

“We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You – Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!” Trump tweeted from the White House Wednesday morning.

Indeed, Trump and local officials—specifically, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz—have continued to trade zingers in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria over funding, the President’s disparaging remarks about the island, and more.

“Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth,” Trump tweeted later on August 28, according to a report by CNN. “Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!” he wrote, adding, “And by the way, I’m the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico!”

Trump’s lack of empathy for Puerto Ricans has been at odds with his treatment of storm victims in the continental United States during his tenure in office, prompting criticism of racism, including from some local officials defending their home, CNN said..

Tropical storm Dorian is expected to be near a Category 1 hurricane as it approaches Puerto Rico Wednesday and could strengthen to a Category 2 hurricane before making landfall in Florida over Labor Day Weekend.

Trump declared a national emergency and ordered federal assistance to Puerto Rico on Tuesday. Yulín Cruz criticized Trump on that day, as her city prepared for another storm, telling the President to “get out of the way.”

“It seems like some people have learned the lessons of the past or are willing to say that they didn’t do right by us the first time and they are trying to do their best. That is not the case with the President of the United States. We are not going to be concerned by, frankly, his behavior, his lack of understanding, and it is ludicrous,” she told CNN.

Research contact: @CNN

‘A big storm’ is coming, warns Mark Sanford, as he considers contesting Trump in 2020

August 16, 2019

Mark Sanford—the former South Carolina Republican governor (2003-2011) and representative (1996-2001) who vanished for a week in 2009 and subsequently confessed to an extramarital affair—has announced that he is considering mounting a challenge to President Donald Trump in 2020, CNN reports.

There’s a big storm coming,” Sanford says in a campaign-style video released on August 12, adding that America is “in the most precarious financial position” and “not dealing with it could crush our economy, it could wipe out whatever we’ve saved, it could even destroy our republic.”

The former congressman has been privately considering whether to run since leaving office in January. Sanford’s presidential bid would be a long-shot against Trump, who has an  88% approval rating among Republican voters, according to the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center..

Sanford told CNN’s Jake Tapper that he’s been encouraged to run for president by people who “have said we need to have a conversation about what it means to be a Republican.”

He suggested that South Carolina voters are weary of “the bully in the schoolyard routine” from Trump. “So I think something is afoot both on the financial front and frankly on the tone and tenor front,” he told CNN.

In fact, he told the cable news network, “I just got through watching two Democratic debates that offered little more than a long laundry list of new political promises that we can’t afford. [Then] … I listen to the president, who rules out action on the very things that drive our debt and spending.”

Sanford says some have suggested an advocacy group, while “others have suggested running in the Republican primary against the President as a way of elevating the issue and changing the debate.”

Sanford lost his primary race in 2018, running as a “Never Trumper” for South Carolina’s 1st Congressional District. Should he decide to run, Sanford also would take on former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who announced in April that he was officially entering the race, as a Republican to take on Trump in 2020.

Sanford has said he expects to make his decision by September.

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

Trump aides see personal malice, not political strategy, in Twitter attacks on Baltimore, Cummings

August 2, 2019

After a week during which President Donald Trump was labeled a “racist” and a “white supremacist” for his affronts to “The Squad” of women of color in the House, the activist Reverend Al Sharpton, CNN anchor Don Lemon, Democratic Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland—and the latter’s home district, Baltimore, which Trump described as “rat-infested and  a “living hell”— the POTUS was asked by the media to explain his strategy.

“There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy,” he told reporters on July 30. “It’s very simple.”

However, most political pundits believe that he did have two underlying reasons for the attacks. First, he believes that his denigration of Puerto Ricans, immigrants, blacks, and others of color builds the loyalty of his largely white base nationwide.

Second, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal,  Trump was “set off by last week’s decision by the House Oversight Committee,” which Cummings chairs, to subpoena top White House aides, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, for its probe into official emails and texts sent from personal accounts.

The news outlet also pointed to Cummings’ remarks at a news conference last week, at which he suggested further action against the administration was imminent. “There comes a point when silence becomes betrayal,” Cummings said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr.

“People know this is the president. He’s going to fight back,” said one campaign adviser. “It’s not a surprise to anyone as much as it was before.”

Cummings responded on Twitter: “I will continue to do every day what I am duty-bounded to do—help my constituents to live their best lives and serve as a check on the Executive Branch.”

While Trump’s supporters have not come out in defense of the president’s remarks, they also have not criticized him to any great degree. Indeed, the Journal reports, Trump campaign officials do not view the gibes against Cummings as damaging to the president’s odds of re-election. The campaign sees the president’s polling numbers as most vulnerable when voters perceive the White House to be in chaos, when Mr. Trump’s base of supporters dislike legislation he signs, and when the president is perceived as “punching down,” one adviser told the news outlet.

In direct opposition to what he, himself, has said publicly, the president repeatedly has  bragged about his record on behalf of African-Americans. On Tuesday, he said African-Americans had “been calling the White House” and were “happy as hell.”

Research contact: Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com