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    Disney World reveals plans for a phased reopening

    Theme parks, resorts, and shops are all included, but so are a new set of guidelines for ticketing and safety precautions

    Get out your mouse ears -- Disney World is gearing up for a reopening.

    In a pitch to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida on Wednesday, Disney proposed a phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort theme parks that is planned to begin on July 11.

    With Shanghai Disney Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort already reopened and operating smoothly, Disney feels it has all the proper safety and sanitation measures in place to move things forward.

    The new timeline

    Pending Orange County and state approval, here are the dates Disney World attractions will reopen:

    Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. A phased reopening for the general public will begin July 11.

    EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. July 15 is the requested date for those two park sections. 

    Expect changes

    Disney’s devotees may not get the same exact experience they had the last time they visited a park if they plan to go during the reopening. The company said that visitors should expect changes on how the theme parks will be managed all the way down to how cast members will engage with guests and “create magical Disney memories.”

    Its list of modifications goes like this:

    Deliberate approach. Disney is not simply opening the gates and letting everyone in. It’s taking a phased approach with limits on attendance and controlled guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. 

    Until further notice, experiences that draw large group gatherings, such as parades and nighttime spectaculars, are on hold. The “high-touch” like makeovers, playgrounds, and character meet and greets are also temporarily unavailable. Nonetheless, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Snow White will still be roaming the park grounds to entertain and bring some smiles.

    New reservation system. There will be no more going to the ticket window when you get there and buying an admission on the spot. Attendance will be managed through a new reservation system that will require all guests to secure their reservation in advance. 

    No new ticket sales or hotel reservations. For visitors who have an existing ticket, they’re good to go. However, the resort is pausing new ticket sales and Disney Resort hotel reservations. Additional details are available on the Disney Parks Blog.

    Resorts and campgrounds reopen June 15 and June 22. Disney Vacation Club resorts in Vero Beach, Florida, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, will open to members and guests starting on June 15. Vacation Club resorts at Walt Disney World and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground plan on reopening June 22.

    Shopping and dining. The World of Disney retail shop at the Disney Springs shopping and dining complex at Walt Disney World has already reopened. The remainder of those venues will be phased in over the next month or so. 

    Enhanced safety protocols. Disney is taking its responsibility in this area seriously and asks guests to do the same. “Our destinations will continue to follow enhanced safety protocols based upon applicable guidance from health authorities and government agencies,” the company said in a news release. 

    Those new protocols include anyone 3 years old or older -- even cast members. Here are the new requirements:

    • Face coverings: Guests will be required to wear appropriate face coverings in theme parks and common areas of resort hotels. 

    • Temperature checks: All guests will undergo temperature screenings prior to entering a theme park. To add another layer of safety for visitors, cast members will also have temperature checks. 

    • Paying for things: Cashless transactions are preferred. 

    Get out your mouse ears -- Disney World is gearing up for a reopening.In a pitch to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida on Wednes...
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    Not all children grow out of being picky eaters

    Researchers say these preferences are typically set before elementary school

    Though many studies emphasize the need for variety when it comes to introducing new foods to picky eaters, a new study found that for some kids, being a picky eater could be more than just a phase. 

    Researchers from Michigan Medicine found that kids who aren’t adventurous eaters could stay that way beyond childhood. However, parents shouldn’t worry about how their kids’ eating choices affect their health, as even the pickiest eaters fell into a healthy weight range. 

    “Picky eating is common during childhood and parents often hear that their children will eventually ‘grow out of it,’” said researcher Dr. Megan Pesch. “But that’s not always the case.” 

    Developing eating habits

    To understand how kids develop their eating preferences, the researchers followed over 300 pairs of mothers and their children for four years. The children were four when the study began, and for each year the study took place, the mothers reported on both their own attitudes around food and their children’s typical eating habits. 

    The study revealed that picky eating was established by the time kids entered elementary school. Those who were picky by the time they entered kindergarten didn’t grow out of those habits. 

    The researchers also learned that parents could have an impact on their children’s palates. Picky eating was more common among kids whose parents tried to keep them away from certain foods. 

    “We found that children who were pickier had mothers who reported more restriction of unhealthy foods and sweets,” said Dr. Pesch. “These mothers of picky eaters may be trying to shape their child’s preferences for more palatable and selective diets to be more healthful. But it may not always have the desired effect.” 

    Less controlling may be best

    As for how these eating choices could affect their health, the researchers learned that picky eaters were less likely to develop obesity and typically had lower body mass indices (BMIs) than those who had more varied appetites. 

    Though the researchers believe more work needs to be done in this area, they hope that parents continue to experiment with their young ones’ food preferences. 

    “We still want parents to encourage varied diets at young ages, but our study suggests that they can take a less controlling approach,” Dr. Pesch said. “We need more research to better understand how children’s limited food choices impact healthy weight gain and growth long term.” 

    Though many studies emphasize the need for variety when it comes to introducing new foods to picky eaters, a new study found that for some kids, being a pi...
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    Trump plans to sign executive order taking aim at social platforms

    The president has accused Twitter of engaging in censorship by adding a contextual label to false claims he made

    President Trump intends to sign an executive order that would promote “fairness” on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. 

    Just a few days after Twitter began fact-checking some of his tweets, Trump tweeted that he plans to sign an order encouraging the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) to crack down on companies that engage in “deceptive” acts of communication. 

    Under the order, the FCC would be allowed to write rules pertaining to how and when social media platforms can remove content. Additionally, a working group of state attorneys general would be tasked with reviewing state statutes on the matter. 

    The order would also ensure that the White House reestablishes a “tech bias” reporting tool. The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would review reports deemed by the administration to be unfair, and the FTC would be required to make a public report of complaints and “consider taking action” against social media companies that “restrict speech.”

    “This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

    Would impact liability protection

    Twitter -- which announced earlier this year that it would start labeling tweets containing false information, even if the tweet was put out by a government official -- added a contextual label to false claims Trump made about the 2020 election process. Trump then accused Twitter of engaging in censorship. 

    A draft version of the executive order implies that the administration would take aim at a law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that protects online platforms from legal liability for the content published by users. 

    The draft order claims that the liability protection aspect of the law means that “an online platform that engaged in any editing or restriction of content posted by others thereby became itself a ‘publisher.’” 

    Twitter CEO responds 

    In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that his company’s fact-checking initiative was established to help people clearly see conflicting statements so that they can judge for themselves. 

    “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth,’” he wrote. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.” 

    He added that Trump’s tweets were subject to receiving clarification under Twitter’s Civic Integrity policy, as the tweets may have misled people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot.

    “We’re updating the link on @realDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear,” Dorsey said.

    Democratic FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted on Thursday morning that while “social media can be frustrating,” she doesn’t believe an executive order is the best course of action.

    “An executive order that would turn the FCC into the president’s speech police is not the answer,” she said. “It's time for those in Washington to speak up for the First Amendment. History won't be kind to silence.”

    President Trump intends to sign an executive order that would promote “fairness” on social media platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Just...
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      Social isolation during COVID-19 could impact children's well-being

      Researchers are worried about how young ones will handle extended time alone

      While many consumers are struggling to adjust to life at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study is exploring the effect that stay-at-home orders could have on children. 

      Researchers from Flinders University found that a lack of social interaction during this time could have a negative impact on kids’ overall well-being. 

      “Play is a key aspect of children’s well-being from their perspectives,” said researcher Jennifer Fane. “The closure of playgrounds, schools, and the fear and worry associated with being in public spaces has likely had significant impacts on children during this time.” 

      Effects of social isolation

      The researchers interviewed preschool-aged children for this study as a way of learning firsthand how long periods of time at home -- and away from their classmates and friends -- has affected them. 

      The researchers emphasized that nationwide closures and limitations are necessary for consumers’ health and well-being, but it’s also important to be aware of how this time can affect young children. 

      Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this study is how aware children are of how their typical day-to-day activities have shifted. While children of this age are used to answering to their parents and following their rules, the pandemic has provided another set of rules that has limited what they’re allowed to do even further. 

      The study revealed that children, even at this young age, are aware of how little independence they have and how their opportunities to try new things have been limited. 

      “Young children interviewed in the study told us of the importance to their lives of trying new things and having a say about play,” said researcher Colin MacDougall. “As the world takes baby steps to ease these life-saving restrictions, and move into an uncertain future, we must take the time to think about very young children.” 

      Important to stay active

      Though typical playtime activities are halted for the time being, other recent studies have highlighted the importance of keeping kids active during this time. Building in time for children to engage their playful side, while also engaging in physical activity, can keep their spirits high while still at home.  

      Moving forward, the researchers hope that these findings can be beneficial for both parents and government officials as they work to find ways to best suit kids’ needs. 

      “As children return to school, and life starts to resume as it did pre-COVID-19, focus and attention to children’s opportunities for play -- and their ability to exercise reasonable ‘agency’ during this time of significant transition -- are two key aspects that can support their well-being during this difficult time,” said Fane.  

      While many consumers are struggling to adjust to life at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study is exploring the effect that stay-at-home orders co...
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      BMW recalls various BMW and Mini vehicles

      The airbags may not deploy in a rollover crash

      BMW of North America is recalling 76 model year 2020 X1 xDrive28i, X1 sDrive28i, X2 xDrive28i & X2 sDrive28i, model year 2020 MINI Clubman Cooper S All4, and model year 2021 MINI Hardtop 2 Door (Cooper, Cooper S, John Cooper Works & Cooper S E), and MINI Hardtop 4 Door (Cooper & Cooper S) vehicles.

      Due to a problem with the rollover sensor within the airbag control unit, the head air bag, seat belt pretensioners and other safety systems may not activate in a crash.

      If the safety systems do not deploy as intended in a roll over crash, the risk of injury may increase.

      What to do

      BMW will notify owners, and dealers will replace the air bag control unit free of charge.

      This recall is expected to begin on July 13, 2020.

      Owners may contact BMW customer service at (800) 525-7417 or MINI customer service at (866) 825-1525.

      BMW of North America is recalling 76 model year 2020 X1 xDrive28i, X1 sDrive28i, X2 xDrive28i & X2 sDrive28i, model year 2020 MINI Clubman Cooper S All4, a...
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      Vantage-modified Dodge Grand Caravans recalled

      The fuel pump gasket may leak

      Vantage Mobility International is recalling122 Vantage-modified model year 2016-2019 Dodge Grand Caravans.

      The fuel pump gasket may deteriorate, allowing fuel to leak.

      A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source can increase the risk of a fire.

      What to do

      Vantage will notify owners, and will provide parts and reimbursement to owners for repair facilities to replace the fuel tank gasket free of charge.

      The recall began May 19, 2020.

      Owners may contact Vantage customer service at (800) 488-9082.

      Vantage Mobility International is recalling122 Vantage-modified model year 2016-2019 Dodge Grand Caravans. The fuel pump gasket may deteriorate, allowin...
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      Our 7 favorite office chairs, from least to most expensive

      From basic chairs that do the job to customizable, comfortable godsends

      We selected our 7 favorite chairs from Amazon to help those of you wanting to make the leap from your awkward kitchen chair to an ergonomic chair designed for comfort.

      An affordable, basic look

      If you want an inexpensive chair, this is a good one to choose. It works well for an office, gaming center or just surfing the web at your desk. This is an excellent chair for those on a budget, and the only complaints via reviews have been customers wishing it could lean back a little further.

      • $72.87
      • Mesh back, ergonomic design

      Buy on Amazon

      Basic and cushy with great reviews

      This chair is another economically priced seat with a high star rating from Amazon. Buy a version with adjustable arms or no arms at all (the armless version is cheaper). The seat and back are cushy for those who prefer that to mesh support. Choose from 4 different colors — there’s even a camo version for the adventurer in all of us.

      • $90.60
      • Waterfall seat, arms or no arms

      Buy on Amazon

      A little out there, but this one helps improve posture

      This is one of the more interesting chairs we’ve found, but we like it a lot. Once you’ve found the correct height and setup for your build, it’s comfortable, and it helps you to sit up straight to improve your posture.

      • $199.95
      • Three-inch cushion, wheels

      Buy on Amazon

      Mesh support for comfort

      Some of us were hesitant to purchase a chair for the listed price, but when you consider you sit in your office chair more than you sit in your car, an investment in comfort and productivity is worth it. We like the mesh and adjustable headrest that make it much more comfortable.

      • $214.99
      • Adjustable headrest and armrest

      Buy on Amazon

      The midcentury look

      This chair looks a bit different from our other picks, and we like that. The midcentury vibes are classy, and the faux leather looks and feels great. Swivel, lean back and roll from left to right as you channel your inner executive.

      • $222.99
      • Faux leather

      Buy on Amazon

      A chair with high customizability

      We like that this chair has customizable, well, everything. Adjust the headrest, tilt back, adjust the lumbar support, play with the armrests and roll around to your heart’s content.

      • $299.99
      • Aluminum base, one-year warranty

      Buy on Amazon

      An executive option

      Our final pick may be the most expensive chair on our list, but its the most highly rated. We like that the chair supports up to 330 pounds and has several customizable parts.

      • $329.99
      • Mesh back, supports 330 pounds

      Buy on Amazon

      From basic chairs that do the job to customizable, comfortable godsends...
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      8 great hiking accessories for the trail this summer

      We chose some clever gadgets to make hiking more fun, plus a few products for cyclists

      Whether you’re a newbie hiker who wants to take up the activity or an experienced hiker with thousands of miles of trails behind you, we’ve chosen some awesome hiking accessories that you’ll love.

      Water purifier

      For those longer hikes where you might run out of water, it’s great to have a water purifier. This ingenious purifier only takes 8 seconds to make any freshwater good to drink. The filter removes pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals and everything else that compromises the drinkability of water.

      • 24 ounces
      • Simple to use

      Buy on Amazon

      Lightweight hammock

      Have you ever been on a long, tough hike when overwhelming sleepiness hits you? Or maybe you found a peaceful clearing where you just wanted to hang out for a bit? Kick back and relax in a hammock! Even if you don't use it on your hike, this hammock is so lightweight that there's really no harm in taking it with you.

      • Lifetime warranty
      • Supports up to 400 pounds

      Buy on Amazon

      Hiking boots (for everyone)

      Tennis shoes are okay for hikes, but they wear out quickly and often aren't waterproof. It's a lot more fun to have a dedicated set of hiking boots for when you hit the trail. You'll feel like a true explorer, and you'll be less afraid to cross that shallow stream with some new waterproof duds.

      Comfortable backpack

      Everyone on a hike should wear a comfortable backpack. Fill it with snacks for the long trek, or a blanket and a book to read when you find a pleasant meadow to sit and relax.

      • 55-liter capacity
      • Lumbar pad and molded channels for comfort

      Buy on Amazon

      First aid kit

      Taking a first aid kit on a hike is a great idea. Besides being critical in emergencies, a first aid kit can help with little things like minor cuts and bruises. This kit also attaches to a vehicle headrest for easy access and storage when not outdoors.

      • Pre-stocked
      • Lifetime warranty

      Buy on Amazon

      Walking sticks

      Walking sticks are an accessory that makes things a lot more fun as you trek up and down your favorite trails. The ones below are super light and have comfortable handles, making long hikes that much easier. If you’re feeling less mobile but don’t want to limit your movement, walking sticks may help.

      • Extendable, one size fits all
      • Anti-slip cork grip

      Buy on Amazon

      Bike hitch rack

      Tired of walking the same old trails? Why not try biking a few new ones? This bike rack is easy to install and carries two bicycles, so you and a friend can go, too. Because the rack tilts away from the car, you can still access the trunk even while the bikes are loaded.

      • Carries two bikes
      • Folds up when not in use

      Buy on Amazon

      GPS bike computer

      This GPS bike computer is an incredible piece of technology if you’re looking to hit the trails on a bike. It downloads bike trails, measures your heart rate and helps cyclists reach their goals. It’s also aerodynamic and can sync with your phone so that you can receive calls and texts.

      • 15-hour battery life
      • Waterproof

      Buy on Amazon

      We chose some clever gadgets to make hiking more fun, plus a few products for cyclists...
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      Coronavirus update: Second wave of virus could be avoided, Teamsters concerned about Minnesota warehouse

      Major League Baseball may pay players a lot less

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)

      Total U.S. confirmed cases: 1,684,173 (1,667,154)

      Total U.S. deaths: 99,123 (98,371)

      Total global cases: 5,626,047 (5,534,728)

      Total global deaths: 351,815 (347,587)

      Fauci: Second wave of the virus ‘not inevitable’

      Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force, has warned that the coronavirus (COVID-19) would likely return in a “second wave” in the fall. Now he appears to be more optimistic.

      In an interview on CNN today, Fauci said a second wave is “not inevitable” in the fall. But he says that all depends on how the U.S. reopens after the current first wave. 

      “Don’t start leapfrogging over the recommendations of some of the guidelines because that’s really tempting fate and asking for trouble,” he said.

      Total U.S. deaths approached the 100,000 mark at midday today, reaching 99,123, as reported by Johns Hopkins University.

      Teamsters raise food supply chain concern

      The Teamsters Union is expressing concern about mitigation efforts to control the coronavirus at the large United Natural Foods INC (UNFI) warehouse in Hopkins, Minn. The union’s Local 120 is asking state health officials to step in and is warning that the state’s grocery supply chain could be at risk.

      "Last week, UNFI brought in temporary workers from all over the country to pick orders; literally, from all over the country,” said Teamsters Local 120 Business Agent Troy Gustafson. “To our knowledge, they were not tested or quarantined prior to coming in, and they are not social distancing or following established safety protocols at the warehouse.”

      Gustafson says the warehouse is producing an increasing number of positive cases of the coronavirus. Local 120 President Tom Erickson says there were no confirmed cases at the warehouse two weeks ago. There are currently four confirmed cases and several more suspected cases.

      "This could escalate quickly if the company doesn't wake up," Erickson said.

      Play ball?

      If there is a shortened baseball season this year most players would earn a lot less than they expect. Major League Baseball (MLB) has presented a plan to its players’ union which would reduce the salaries of the highest-paid players the most.

      The proposal would cut salaries for the highest-paid players by up to 80 percent while the lowest-paid players would only have to give up 10 percent of their scheduled pay. But it’s not clear how the proposal will be received by players. Some have expressed dissatisfaction on social media.

      If the players’ union rejects the deal and an alternative isn’t worked out, it’s likely the 2020 baseball season would suffer the same fate as the NBA and NHL seasons, which were canceled in March. For its part, the MLB said the proposal is “consistent with the economic realities facing our sport.”

      Keeping the virus out of police cruisers

      Ford Motor Company says it’s helping police departments using its Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Utility vehicles to keep them free of coronavirus germs. The company said they’re doing it with a simple software update.

      The software enables a temporary rise in interior temperatures upward of 133 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Ford says that will help reduce the viral concentration inside the vehicle by more than 99 percent.

      The software update is available immediately on all 2013-2019 vehicles. Once activated, the vehicle’s powertrain and climate control systems work together to raise passenger compartment temperatures. 

      Live debate

      Tensions over the coronavirus boiled over on live television this morning as Joe Kernen and Andrew Ross Sorkin, two of the three anchors on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” shouted at one another over the nation’s death toll from the virus.

      Kernen accused Sorkin of panicking throughout the pandemic, saying “You panicked about the market, you panicked about COVID, you panicked about the ventilators, you panicked about the PPE, you panicked about ever going out again…”

      In turn, Sorkin accused Kernen of consistently underplaying the severity of the virus in order to help President Trump, accusing Kernen of “abusing” his position.

      Around the nation

      • Massachusetts: While protesters in some states argue that reopening plans are moving too slowly, Massachusetts activists staged a funeral procession protest in Boston to argue that the state is reopening too quickly. They contend that reopening prematurely puts minority communities at heightened risk.

      • Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott has increased the number of services and businesses that can operate in the state. Food courts in shopping malls will reopen immediately, and Abbot is giving the green light for water parks to begin operations with limited capacity starting Friday.

      • Ohio: The state’s Bureau of Motor Vehicles has reopened for the first time since late March, resulting in long lines outside most locations. The state has extended expired drivers licenses for an additional 90 days.

      Coronavirus (COVID-19) tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)Total U.S. confirmed cases: 1,684,173 (1,667,15...
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      COVID-19 vaccine unlikely to be widely available by end of year, former FDA chief says

      More testing will help health officials get closer to a working treatment

      Vegas hasn’t placed any odds on when the coronavirus will be out of our lives -- or if it’ll return for an encore. But the former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is betting that one thing we won’t see is a large-scale rollout of a coronavirus vaccine this year. 

      Dr. Scott Gottlieb is also laying odds that there’s another cycle of COVID-19 still to come. 

      “I think we’ll have to have one more cycle of this virus in the fall, heading into the winter, before we get to a vaccine,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I really think a vaccine is probably a 2021 event, in terms of having wide availability of a vaccine for the general population.” 

      If another outbreak happens...

      While Gottlieb’s prognostication runs contrary to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s recent perspective, he thinks that if a new, “emergency” outbreak erupted in a local or regional setting, it’s likely a vaccine would be made available to fight that isolated battle. However, predicting where those outbreaks might happen is a shot in the dark. 

      “You have to really guess right now what city you’re going to have outbreaks in, because if you start doing a trial in Dallas and there’s an outbreak in Houston in the fall, or you do a city like Boise, which has been largely unexposed, and it ends up being outbreaks in Little Rock, you haven’t deployed the vaccines in the settings where you’re going to get an early answer,” he said. 

      Being prepared calls for more testing

      With the constant growth of vaccine manufacturers, Gottlieb feels that there’ll be enough vaccine on-hand by the end of the year to reach tens of millions of people.

      “What I think we’re gonna have in the fall is, hopefully, multiple manufacturers that have cleared early stage safety trials and have millions of doses that can be deployed,” Gottlieb told CBS’ Face the Nation.

      However, the sticking point for the former FDA chief is that the perfect vaccine hasn’t been found yet, and all the various trials haven't produced anything close to a definitive answer.

      “You’re going to have to test these probably in 30,000-patient clinical trials to have a reasonable data set to tell both safety and effectiveness,” he told CNBC. “With a virus where 20 to 40 percent of people develop asymptomatic disease, you have to vaccinate a lot of people to be able to discern whether or not it’s working.” 

      “Look, the more effective the vaccine is, the earlier we’re going to get a reading on whether or not it’s working,” the former FDA chief concluded.

      Vegas hasn’t placed any odds on when the coronavirus will be out of our lives -- or if it’ll return for an encore. But the former head of the U.S. Food and...
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      Some low-income consumers make more money from coronavirus stimulus benefits than normal work

      Republicans and Democrats disagree on whether the benefits should be extended

      University of Chicago researchers have found that two-thirds of laid-off workers (68 percent) would take home more money from their state unemployment insurance and $600 weekly supplement from the government than they would if they were working.

      One out of every five workers eligible to receive stimulus benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act) would take home money amounting to at least double their lost earnings, according to the study. 

      The study was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research. For the study, the researchers looked at U.S. Census data on job salaries and inputted the numbers into an unemployment benefits calculator of their own design. They then compared their estimates on statewide average benefits from likely unemployment claims against average benefits from actual claimants.

      Adding that they weren’t taking a stance on whether the benefits were too little or too much, the researchers said the extra money could provide liquidity, but it also might discourage some people from reentering the workforce.

      Paying some people more than they made

      Under the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March, unemployment benefits were increased by $600 per week until July 31. Lawmakers said the benefits that would go out under the bill would “put businesses and workers in a better position to resume work and reboot the economy once the virus is contained.”

      The HEROES Act was also recently passed, and it will ensure that Americans get the same $600 supplemental unemployment benefit. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Congress will likely need to pass another bill and consider unemployment rates and the discrepancy between what people previously made versus how much they would receive under the bill.

      “We do need to fix the quirk that, in certain cases, we’re actually paying people more than they made,” Mnuchin said.

      While Republicans have argued that the benefits will stop people from returning to work, other studies suggest many people are using the extra money from the government to pay for necessities, like food and clothing. 

      Thirty-percent of people who received a stimulus check from the government said they are using the money to pay bills, according to a recent report by YouGov.

      University of Chicago researchers have found that two-thirds of laid-off workers (68 percent) would take home more money from their state unemployment insu...
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      Exposure to diesel exhaust may increase the risk for Parkinson's

      Study findings have revealed yet another way consumers can be affected by air pollution

      Many studies have already explored how air pollution negatively affects consumers’ health, but a new study conducted by researchers from the University of California Los Angeles has revealed how exposure to emissions can affect brain function. 

      The study showed that regular exposure to diesel exhaust increases the levels of the protein alpha-synuclein in the brain, which is most commonly linked with Parkinson’s

      “It’s really important to be able to demonstrate whether air pollution is actually the thing that’s causing the effect or whether it’s something else in urban environments,” said researcher Dr. Jeff Bronstein. 

      Limiting exposure

      The researchers conducted their study on zebrafish because their brains respond similarly to humans’ brains and the team could track their brain activity without harming them. They first examined the fishes’ brain activity to ensure that all functions were being carried out properly, and then they began exposing them to diesel exhaust. 

      The researchers learned that exposure to the chemicals found in diesel exhaust disrupted a key brain activity known as autophagy. This process is essentially a cleaning of the brain’s proteins that allows older proteins to be broken down while making room for newer, healthier proteins. However, one of the key signs of Parkinson’s is the inability for the brain to properly complete this process, creating a buildup of proteins. 

      Exposure to the diesel exhaust interfered with the fishes’ ability to go through autophagy and left many of them with an abundance of old or damaged alpha-synuclein proteins. As the older proteins cluster in the brain, it can begin to affect the neurons, which can then alter brain function. 

      Though they couldn’t carry out this exact experiment on humans, the researchers were able to test the effect of diesel exhaust on human cells, and they noted similar outcomes to the zebrafish. The exposure to chemicals in diesel exhaust made it difficult to regenerate new proteins. 

      “Overall, this report shows a plausible mechanism of why air pollution may increase the risk for Parkinson’s,” said Dr. Bronstein. 

      Many studies have already explored how air pollution negatively affects consumers’ health, but a new study conducted by researchers from the University of...
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      T-Mobile expands RCS messaging to Android users worldwide

      The replacement for SMS and MMS messaging is poised to grow rapidly in the coming years

      T-Mobile and Google announced Tuesday that they have partnered to expand Rich Communication Services (RCS) for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile Android customers in the U.S. 

      These customers will now get the next-generation replacement for SMS and MMS when texting with Android users on other networks around the world.

      “There’s never been a more important time to stay in touch with friends and family and enabling cross-network RCS messaging with Google is one way we can give T-Mobile customers a better experience to do just that,” Abdul Saad, Chief Technology Officer at T-Mobile, said in a statement. 

      T-Mobile says it’s the first carrier to bring a full RCS interconnect to Google’s Messages platform.

      “We were first in the U.S. to bring RCS messaging to customers in 2015 and will continue to innovate in this space. T-Mobile’s RCS customer base is among the largest in the world, and we won’t stop bringing customers ever better ways to connect,” Saad said.      

      What it means

      Subscribers who own an Android device will be able to enjoy a “rich messaging experience” -- with typing indicators, read receipts, the ability to send larger photos and videos, and more --  when messaging Android users with a compatible device.

      Unlike in years past, wireless customers seeking to take advantage of RCS won’t have to enable RCS on their device or bypass other hurdles to get the experience. T-Mobile has now adopted the Universal Profile, making it easy for customers with a compatible device to message each other using RCS.

      “Today, almost every Android phone sold by T-Mobile comes standard with RCS Universal Profile 1.0 features built into the phone’s native messaging app,” T-Mobile said in a statement.

      Nearly 40 phones on T-Mobile’s network and on its prepaid carrier, Metro, are capable of supporting RCS, and more devices will be added in the future, T-Mobile said. 

      Demand for Rich Communication Services has surged in recent years, especially lately due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent analysis by Advance Market Analytics (AMA) found that the pandemic and the world’s reaction to it has “compelled companies to radically rethink their strategies and the way they operate.” 

      The study concluded that RCS -- which has seen a slow rollout -- will experience 'explosive growth' in the coming years.

      T-Mobile and Google announced Tuesday that they have partnered to expand Rich Communication Services (RCS) for T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile Android custo...
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      Children's temperament could affect their motor skills

      Researchers say involvement in sports can also come into play

      The development of motor skills allows kids to accurately hold pens and pencils, play games, or run around the playground, and a new study explored how various factors can affect the development of such skills. 

      Researchers from the University of Jyväskylä found that a child’s temperament, along with both age and involvement in sports, can play a role in how children develop motor skills. 

      “Children who tend to have an active type of temperament, as well as children who show persistency when faced with challenges, can be motivated and persistent in learning and rehearsing motor tasks,” said researcher Donna Niemistö. 

      “Therefore, these findings were expected and logical. A child with an active temperament can react more rapidly. Consequently, the child will get more opportunities to move along with increased repetitions. Without noticing, the child will also gain more opportunities to perform motor tasks.” 

      Understanding development

      The researchers analyzed data from the Skilled Kids study, which included information on nearly 1,000 kids between the ages of three and seven. The study assessed the kids’ motor function based off of four primary components: balance, locomotor skills, coordination, and ball skills. 

      The researchers learned that several factors affected the development of motor skills, including age and temperament, with different skills being impacted by different factors. The study also revealed that kids who participate in organized sports could have a leg up on fine-tuning these skills. 

      “The development of balance and coordination skills was better in those children who were described as emotionally regulated,” said Niemistö. “On the other hand, locomotor skills were better in children whose parents had higher educational level, and the development of ball skills benefited if children had free access to sport facilities in nearby surroundings.” 

      Though kids’ temperaments don’t generally change over time, parents can adapt their approach to help encourage their young ones to work on certain tasks. This can look like eliminating distractions, or being more proactive about engaging in physical activity or sports, depending on the child’s needs. 

      Moreover, the researchers also explained that as kids grow, their motor skills naturally develop, but consistency and practice are key to achieving the best outcomes. 

      “Even though motor skills develop as a function of age, skill development still needs to be stimulated consciously,” Niemistö said. “Motor skills do not develop without practising, thus skills need reinforcement through repetition of the skills. Motor skill development is greatly supported when the child is moving in multiple ways. In a current study we found more evidence that participation in organised sports can be useful to gain more opportunities to practise and repeat essential movements.” 

      The development of motor skills allows kids to accurately hold pens and pencils, play games, or run around the playground, and a new study explored how var...
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