Factbox: Power of Trumps endorsements faces test in 12 key 2022 elections – Reuters.com


May 18 (Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to demonstrate his power over the Republican Party with more than 150 endorsements of candidates ahead of a midterm election on Nov. 8 that will determine control of Congress for 2023 and 2024.

Twelve picks in primary elections taking place stand out among the many. Some are Republicans opposing incumbent members of his party.


Ted Budd

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* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for North Carolina vacated by retiring Republican Senator Richard Burr

A rank-and-file member of the House of Representatives, Budd had little statewide name recognition before he sought the Republican nomination for what is expected to be a tight race in November. But following Trump’s endorsement, he surged in public opinion polls and easily defeated former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory in the May 17 primary.

In November, Budd will face Democrat Cheri Beasley, a Black woman who formerly served as the state’s chief justice.

J.D. Vance

* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for Ohio vacated by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman

Trump-backed Vance triumphed in a crowded May 3 Republican primary and is favored to win in November against Democrat Tim Ryan, currently a U.S. Representative for Ohio, although some political observers expect a stiff challenge from Ryan.

Vance is best known as the author of best-seller “Hillbilly Elegy” which documented the descent of factory towns in states like Ohio into poverty and drug abuse. He has styled himself as an angry populist in the Trump mold, seeking to shed his prior reputation as a Trump critic.


Mehmet Oz

* Seeks U.S. Senate seat for Pennsylvania vacated by retiring Republican Senator Pat Toomey

Oz, a celebrity doctor whose endorsement by Trump divided Republican leaders in Pennsylvania, remained locked on Wednesday in a race with former hedge fund CEO David McCormick that is so tight it might automatically trigger an official recount.

Votes were still being counted in the May 17 Republican primary. The eventual winner will face Democrat John Fetterman in what is expected to be among the tightest races of the November election.


Herschel Walker

* Seeks to defeat incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia

* May 24 Republican primary

A retired football star, Walker is favored to win the Republican nomination contest and public opinion polls already point to a close race in November against Warnock, a pastor. But Trump-endorsed Walker, who has never held elected office, has vulnerabilities including past allegations of domestic abuse. Groups backing Walker’s Republican primary opponents are planning ad campaigns that argue Walker cannot beat Warnock because of his baggage.

David Perdue

* Seeks to defeat Georgia incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp

* May 24 Republican primary

In 2021, Perdue conceded that he lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Jon Ossoff, but in March 2022 reversed himself, voicing false claims that the election was stolen, although the evidence of fraud that he cited was part of a case that was ultimately dismissed by a judge. Kemp angered Trump by dismissing the former president’s false statements about election fraud but holds a double-digit lead over Perdue in opinion polls.

Katie Arrington

Rally hosted by former U.S. President Donald Trump in Selma
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during his rally in Selma, North Carolina, U.S., April 9, 2022. REUTERS/Erin Siegal McIntyre/File Photo

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Nancy Mace

* June 14 Republican primary for South Carolina’s 1st congressional district

The South Carolina state representative is challenging a sitting Republican lawmaker who voted against Trump’s impeachment. Mace irked the former president shortly after taking office in January 2021 when she said Congress should consider censuring Trump for his role in his supporters’ assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Arrington has trailed Mace in public opinion polls.

Russell Fry

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Tom Rice

* June 14 Republican primary for South Carolina’s 7th congressional district

Trump’s pick to unseat Rice, one of a handful of Republicans who voted to impeach the former leader, is a state representative whose campaign had nearly a half million dollars in the bank on March 31, pointing to a potentially competitive race with Rice.

Loren Culp

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Dan Newhouse

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Washington’s 4th congressional district

Trump’s pick to challenge Newhouse is former small-town police chief Loren Culp, who in March called for the execution of a Black man accused of badly injuring a woman by throwing her down the stairs of a train station. Trump had endorsed Culp in February, angered by Newhouse’s 2021 impeachment vote.

John Gibbs

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Peter Meijer

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district

A former housing official under Trump, Gibbs’ nomination to head the U.S. Office of Personnel Management floundered after lawmakers from both parties questioned his history of inflammatory tweets, including references to baseless conspiracy theories about Democrats and Satanism. His opponent Meijer, who voted to impeach Trump, is far ahead in fundraising. The winner of the nomination contest will face a Democrat in what is expected to be among the tightest House races in November.

Joe Kent

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler

* Aug. 2 Republican primary for Washington’s 3rd congressional district

Former special forces officer Kent has campaigned with far right U.S. representative Matt Gaetz of Florida and told Oregon Public Broadcasting he held a social media strategy call with white nationalist Nicholas Fuentes, though he said he disagreed with Fuentes’ “ethno-nationalism.” Kent’s campaign had more than $1 million in the bank on March 31, setting up a strong challenge to incumbent Herrera Beutler, who voted to impeach Trump.

Kelly Tshibaka

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

* Aug. 16 open primary contest

Trump is backing Tshibaka, a former Alaska state administration commissioner, to unseat Murkowski, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in 2021 on charges he incited insurrection. The Alaska contest has taken on the shade of a proxy war between Trump and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell, who vowed to do everything possible to help the campaign of Murkowski, one of the Senate’s few Republican moderates.

Harriet Hageman

* Seeks to defeat incumbent U.S. Republican Representative Liz Cheney

* Aug. 16 Wyoming at-large-district Republican primary

Trump threw his backing behind Hageman, a land-use lawyer, in September 2021, looking to punish Cheney, who was stripped of her role as the No. 3 House Republican for voting to impeach the former president on a charge of inciting insurrection. Hageman led Cheney by 20 percentage points in a December poll.

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Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Howard Goller

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Warren Buffetts Woodstock for Capitalists a smaller affair after pandemic – Reuters.com


OMAHA, Neb., April 28 (Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N) will hold its annual shareholder meeting in person on Saturday for the first time since before the pandemic, but the extravaganza dubbed “Woodstock for Capitalists” is likely to see fewer people and pared-back events.

Buffett, 91, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire, and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger, 98, will answer shareholder questions for roughly five hours when the meeting convenes in Omaha, Nebraska.

Shareholders likely will address issues such as recent investments, a still-swollen cash pile, share buybacks, rising inflation and supply chain disruptions, and even whether someone other than Buffett should chair the company. read more

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Joining them will be Vice Chairmen Greg Abel, Buffett’s designated successor as CEO, and Ajit Jain.

Many shareholders, however, go for more than just the meeting.

Events around the city over three days include a 5-km run(3.11 miles), shareholder shopping from dozens of Berkshire-owned businesses at the downtown CHI Health Center arena where the meeting takes place, and several private investing conferences.

“You’re selling as fast as the cash register will ring,” said Phillip Black, co-owner of the Bookworm, the only non-Berkshire business selling at the arena. He said weekend sales have topped $100,000 in past years. “You’re kind of glad when it’s over so you can get a little rest.”

Still, shareholders will notice changes, beyond needing proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend events.

Berkshire expects attendance to be “considerably less” than the 40,000, many from overseas, common to recent meetings. The 2019 meeting, the last in-person meeting before the pandemic, added $21.3 million to Omaha’s economy.

“I attended for 25 years in a row before COVID,” said James Armstrong, a principal at Henry H. Armstrong Associates in Pittsburgh. “But I’m just not going to make the trip. I’m not doing much flying yet.”


Occupancy rates in the Omaha area’s 15,608 hotel rooms, as measured by data firm STR Inc, may fall short of the usual 90% to 95%, with more rooms at lower rates beckoning late travelers.

Borsheims won’t pitch its familiar outdoor tent with live entertainment and a buffet smorgasbord at the mall housing the Berkshire-owned jeweler, though cocktails will be available.

And a shareholder favorite–the newspaper toss where Buffett displayed skills he once used as a paperboy–has been scrapped.

Armstrong, like many others, plans to watch the meeting online at cnbc.com. Berkshire first webcast meetings in 2016.

Still, the weekend nonetheless should add many millions of dollars to Berkshire’s coffers.

Shareholders can buy a pontoon boat from Berkshire’s Forest River unit and designed by “Margaritaville” singer Jimmy Buffett (no relation).

Frugal shoppers can again spend $5 at Oriental Trading for cherubic Buffett and Munger rubber ducks. And those not on a diet can scarf up the 21,085 pounds (9,564 kg) of peanut brittle and other treats that See’s Candies is bringing.

Deborah Ward, executive director of Visit Omaha, said “the energy in the city was lost” when Berkshire moved its 2020 and 2021 shareholder meetings online.

“It will be nice to have that energy back,” she said. “Being associated with Berkshire helps Omaha’s brand a great deal. Warren Buffett could live anywhere in the world. He chooses to live here.”


David Brown, who retires next week after 19 years leading the Greater Omaha Chamber, said many businesses not affiliated with Berkshire schedule events around the weekend.

“Berkshire has for us been the annual Super Bowl of business,” he said. “That means they’re filling up bars, restaurants and stores. You can feel the lift it gives.”

Marta Keller, general manager of the downtown M’s Pub, said some Berkshire customers book a year in advance. M’s creates a special menu for them.

“There will be a rib eye, a beef tenderloin. Everybody talks about Nebraska being about beef,” Keller said. “We keep it simple, but we’re trying to be creative because food has gotten so expensive.”

At the Bookworm, all books have Buffett’s seal of approval.

New this year are Nancy Rips’ updated “My New Berkshire ABC” for children (A is for Apple, a big Berkshire investment), and a book on Berkshire’s evolution from a failing textile mill that Buffett finally closed in 1985, twenty years after taking over.

“Mr. Buffett likes to educate shareholders,” Black said. “It will show how he put his capital into something that really wasn’t good and reallocated it in a more productive way.”

Borsheims Chief Executive Karen Goracke said the jeweler sells as much during the week as in the Christmas season. She and other CEOs of Berkshire businesses will again dine together this weekend.

“I saw Warren about a week ago,” Goracke said this week. “He’s in great spirits, and just happy to have the meeting in person again. He loves to do it. He’s energized by it.”

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Carolina Mandl in Omaha, Nebraska; editing by Megan Davies and Diane Craft

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Sanofis Dupixent wins U.S. approval for bigger use – Reuters.com


Sanofi logo at the company’s headquarters during the annual results news conference in Paris, France, February 4, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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May 20 (Reuters) – Sanofi (SASY.PA) on Friday won expanded U.S. approval for its best-selling Dupixent injection to treat an allergic inflammation of the esophagus, the Food and Drug Administration said.

There are more than 160,000 patients in the United States living with eosinophilic esophagitis, according to Sanofi.

The chronic condition typically requires repeated treatments such as corticosterioids and diet change to ease the symptoms and Dupixent is the first treatment that targets the underlying cause.

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Anti-inflammation drug Dupixent, jointly developed with Regeneron (REGN.O), is already approved for a range of other uses including atopic dermatitis, also known as eczema, and severe asthma.

Sanofi said in March it expected peak annual sales of more than 13 billion euros ($13.77 billion) for the drug, up from a previous target of over 10 billion euros. read more

That excluded the potential use in COPD, sometimes called smoker’s lung, where trial results are expected next year.

Dupixent, with 2021 sales of 5.25 billion euros, accounted for 13.9% of group revenue, by far Sanofi’s best-selling product.

Sanofi’s first-quarter adjusted earnings gained 16.2% on sales growth of the blockbuster drug and a rebound in demand for prescription-free drugs. read more

First-quarter revenue from Dupixent jumped over 45% to 1.61 billion euros, beating an analyst consensus, on prescriptions in dermatitis, asthma and certain nasal infections.

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Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Additional reporting by Eva Mathews; Editing by Maju Samuel

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In Chiles Atacama, lithium mining stirs fight over flamingos – Reuters


ATACAMA DESERT, May 19 (Reuters) – On the white plains of Chile’s lithium-rich Atacama desert, bright pink flamingos enliven the sprawling salt flats where sporadic blue pools provide much needed hydration.

But flamingo numbers are falling, with a new study linking this to the water extracted by mining firms to pump up brine filled with lithium, the metal used to make batteries for mobile phones, laptop computers and electric vehicles.

Miners contend their operations do not affect flamingo herds and say the studies are based on unreliable data.

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The stand-off underscores growing tensions in the Andean nation over water use and mining’s impact on local communities and the environment. Tougher regulation is a risk for firms in the world’s No. 2 lithium producer and No. 1 for copper.

“You can explain the effects specifically from lithium extraction,” said Cristina Dorador, co-author of the study in the Royal Society’s Proceedings B journal, referring to findings that flamingo numbers dropped as more water was used up.

The scientists examined salt flats throughout Chile to measure the effects of other variables on water levels. Satellite imagery of mining ponds on the Atacama, home to most of Chile’s lithium, was used to calculate how much water was extracted.

Flamingos reproduce less with less water, which over time could impact herd numbers, said co-author Nathan Senner, a researcher of ecosystems and environmental change.

“It’s not like they all die at once, but if you’re not reproducing all of a sudden, even things that live as long as flamingos start to die. And that’s where numbers really start to tumble quite rapidly.”

In other salt flats without mining, flamingo populations remained steady over the last decade despite natural water variations linked to rainfall and climate shifts. In the Atacama, though, James and Andean flamingos declined 10-12%.

Chile’s National Mining Society declined to comment. Albemarle Corp (ALB.N), one of the main two lithium miners in Chile, did not respond to a request for comment.

SQM (SQMA.SN), the other main lithium miner, disagreed with key parts of the study, saying in a statement that its own monitoring indicated that “flamingo populations have remained stable.”

SQM said satellite analysis could considerably over- or under-estimate water use, and called for more research on the ground.

Dorador, a scientist from the region and an elected official working on Chile’s new constitution, said locals have noticed a decline in flamingos in the salt flats affected by mining for years.

“They are incredibly important because they’re one of big tourist attractions of San Pedro de Atacama,” said Dorador.

Dorador said indigenous elders collect flamingo eggs on the flats for their regular diet, while the birds regulate the ecosystem eating plankton, crustaceans and microorganisms, helping avoid damaging bacterial blooms on the water.

Chile’s flamingo numbers overall have held up, thanks to herds on other flats not affected by mining. But the consequences could be severe as demand spikes for lithium batteries powering electric vehicles, Dorador warned.

“We have to think where these materials come from, because we’re not always aware. We buy all these things but we often don’t know what had to happen to make that product.”

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Reporting by Alexander Villegas and Cristian Rudolffi; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Richard Chang

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US PGA Championship: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm on playing Southern Hills


Wanamaker Trophy
Phil Mickelson will not defend the Wanamaker Trophy at Southern Hills this week
Venue: Southern Hills Country Club, Tulsa, Oklahoma Date: 19-22 May
Coverage: Live text updates of all four rounds on BBC Sport website. Radio 5 Live updates of rounds one and two. Saturday’s round three live on Radio 5 Sports Extra from 20:00 BST. Sunday’s final round on 5 Live from 21:00

The second major of the 2022 will begin on Thursday as Southern Hills Country Club hosts the US PGA Championship.

Phil Mickelson, who became the oldest major champion by winning the event in 2021, has not played since February and will not defend the Wanamaker Trophy.

The American, 51, has not featured since criticism of his comments about the Saudi-backed LIV Golf series.

Tiger Woods, winner here in 2007, will head out in a marquee group including Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth.

The world number 818 made his return at last month’s Masters, 14 months after a career-threatening car crash that left him unable to walk for three months, and insists he can win a 16th major title at the Oklahoma venue.

“I feel like I can, yeah, definitely,” said the American. “I just have to go out there and do it, do my work. It starts on Thursday and I will be ready.”

World number one Scottie Scheffler won the Green Jacket at Augusta National to claim his first major, and fourth victory of 2022, and is having to get used to being in the limelight.

“When I show up to tournaments, it’s a little bit different,” said the 25-year-old. “There’s more people hollering at me when I’m playing a practice round wanting to get signatures or whatever it is.

“At home, I’ve been recognised a few more times than I did in the past. But Istay in my own little bubble. Not much has changed the way I practice. When I show up to tournaments, I don’t feel any different.

“Golf is really chancy. It’s not consistent like other sports. We play outside, there’s bad waves, bad bounces, all kinds of stuff that can happen – (I’m) just trying to keep my head down and play good golf.”

Alongside Mickelson’s absence, one the main talking points in the build-up has been the cost of food and drinks for spectators, with Justin Thomas among those to express his surprise.

“I just saw it and I was blown away,” said the American world number nine. “You want people to come to the tournament.

“I was just blown away because I’ve never seen a beer $18 or $19 in my life. Guys have been talking about it, so I had to stand up for the fans. Felt like it was right.”

‘No hiding’ at restored Southern Hills

Tiger Woods at Southern Hills
Tiger Woods won at Southern Hills in 2007

Southern Hills Country Club was not initially due to host this year’s championship. It was chosen at short notice after the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, was stripped of the event days after supporters of former US President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol in January last year.

The par-70 Tulsa venue is hosting its eighth major and first since staging the PGA in 2007. It has undergone some reconstructive work since then and now plays at 7,556 yards, more than 300 yards longer than when Woods won on the site 15 years ago.

Built by Perry Maxwell during the Great Depression in 1936, the course was restored in 2018 by Gil Hanse and Jim Wagner, who set about discovering its former glory by removing trees, adding bunkers, widening fairways and taking away patches of rough for the reopening in 2019.

“One of the things I loved is the way they’ve cut the run-offs, it’s very hard to putt from off the greens,” said Rory McIlroy after his practice round on Monday.

“They’re trying to get wedges in guys’ hands, which I really like. It’s forcing you to chip instead of, like whenever Pinehurst was, 2014, you could putt from sort of everywhere.”

It boasts only two par-fives but both stretch to more than 630 yards, while the par-four 18th is notoriously tricky – in seven men’s majors, only Woods in 2007 and Tommy Bolt at the 1958 US Open have managed to close out their victories with a par.

“It’s a major championship golf course,” said Spaniard Jon Rahm. “You can’t hide. You have to do everything well.”

It will however be the first time the PGA Championship has been staged at the venue in May, rather than later in the summer, though sweltering temperatures could still have an impact, with temperatures forecast to reach 33C on Thursday before cooling a little over the weekend with the threat of thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

“It was obviously a very different golf course,” said Woods about his 2007 victory.

“It was not cold that week. I remember playing behind JD (John Daly) the first day, which was awesome.

“It was, what, 109 (Fahrenheit – 42C) I think that first day? And I asked JD how many waters he drank out there, he said, ‘No, I had 13 Diet Cokes’.”

Prehistoric fossil in Peru sheds light on marine origin of crocodiles – Reuters.com


LIMA, May 17 (Reuters) – The discovery of a prehistoric crocodile fossil in Peru from around 7 million years ago has given paleontologists more clues as to how modern crocodiles, all freshwater creatures in the Andean country, first came to land from the sea.

According to a Peruvian research team that analyzed jaw and skull remains of the species, the animal likely would have probably crossed the Atlantic Ocean to the coast of South America, eventually populating what is now southern Peru.

Researcher Rodolfo Salas said his team had collected partial skeletons from the species in recent years, and that after finding a jawbone in Peru’s Sacaco desert in 2020, they understood how these animals evolved after living in saltwater.

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“The new species of crocodile that we are presenting to the world lived in Sacaco 7 million years ago,” Salas said of the species, which he dubbed Sacacosuchus cordovai. The crocodilian ancestor would have been 4 meters (13 feet) long, he added.

Sacaco is a site where skeletons of prehistoric animals have been found before. Experts say that millions of years ago the desert was a deep seabed inhabited by whales, giant sharks and crocodiles, among other marine species.

“We have concluded … that all marine crocodiles were animals with long and thin faces, and that there were two morphotypes,” Salas said. “One that fed almost exclusively on fish and another that had a much more general diet.”

The studies were published last week in British scientific journal The Royal Society.

Southern Peru is a rich source of prehistoric remains.

In March, a team of paleontologists led by Salas presented the skull fossil of a 12-meter-long (39-foot-long) “sea monster,” a predator that lived 36 million years ago in an ancient ocean along the central coast of Peru. read more

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Reporting by Carlos Valdez of Reuters TV; writing by Marco Aquino and Kylie Madry; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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Inca priests plied child sacrificial victims with drugs


Inca priests used natural antidepressants for nefarious purposes

By Nilsf – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23446041

A recent toxicology analysis of the 500-year-old remains of two small children sacrificed in a ritual atop southern Peru’s Ampato volcano showed that the children’s hair and fingernails contained traces of cocaine, as well as two chemical compounds from a flowering vine that’s a key ingredient in the psychedelic beverage ayahuasca.

The compounds in question, harmine and harmaline, are both part of a group of antidepressants called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors). The only possible place the Inca could have found these compounds is the flowering vine known to modern science as Banisteriopsis caapi—and to the Indigenous Quechua people as “liana of the dead.” Famously, the liana is one of the two main ingredients in a ritual drink called ayahuasca, which can induce hallucinations or an altered state of mind.

But the analysis found no trace of the compound DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine), which makes ayahuasca such a powerful hallucinogenic. That compound comes from the other main ingredient in ayahuasca, a shrub called chacruna (which, incidentally, is a relative of the plant that gives us coffee).

Its absence could just be a quirk of chemistry. Toxicology studies of at least one sacrifice victim from another site also found no DMT but did find a chemical compound that’s produced when the body metabolizes DMT. That supports the idea that DMT may not be one of the chemicals preserved in keratin, which means University of Warsaw archaeologist Dagmara Socha and her colleagues can’t rule out ayahuasca being given to the kids at Ampato.

Still, the lack of DMT in the Ampato victims’ hair and nails could mean that they drank something that contained the liana of the dead but not chacruna. And if that’s the case, it seems very likely that the goal wasn’t to give them religious hallucinations but to keep the children calm on the long procession toward their deaths.

“If so, this would be the first example of the conscious use of the antidepression properties of ayahuasca beverage consisting primarily, if not totally, of Banisteriopsis caapi,” wrote Socha and her colleagues in a recent paper.

They saw it coming

The two children, both between 6 and 7 years old, died as victims in an Inca ritual called capacocha. Throughout the Inca Empire, priests sacrificed young women and children as young as 3 years old to local deities called huacas.

For weeks before the sacrifice, the victims knew exactly what was going to happen to them. Victims chosen from the far-flung corners of the Inca Empire had to gather in the capital, Cusco, before setting out on long processions to the places where they would die. Sometimes that meant a long journey back home, and sometimes it meant traveling to some other province of the empire.

That experience must have been overwhelming for young children, even without the terror of the sacrifice hanging over their heads. And it simply wouldn’t do to have the intended victim, who was meant to be pure and beautiful, crying about it. Spanish colonizers, who described the rituals they witnessed, wrote that the victim’s mood was as important as their appearance; sacrifices were supposed to go happily to the huacas.

The solution? Sedate the victims with drugs and booze. According to the Spaniards, Inca priests kept their doomed victims happy and calm with a steady diet of an alcoholic drink called chicha.

Toxicology studies on the mummified remains of several capacocha victims from around Peru found evidence that they had also chewed coca leaves for weeks before their deaths, and some died with their last dose still in their mouths. Often, it seems that the children were chewing more and more coca as the ritual drew closer. In the hair of one victim at another site, archaeologists found a compound called cocaethylene, which forms when cocaine combines with alcohol in a person’s body.

In other words, Inca priests spent several weeks drugging small children into cheerful compliance until it was time to ritually murder them. The horror of that scenario isn’t offset by the fact that there was evidently a fairly advanced level of pharmacological knowledge behind the choice of drugs.

Exxon challenges California countys denial of oil trucking permit – Reuters


Signage is seen at an Exxon gas station in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., November 23, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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LOS ANGELES, May 13 (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp has gone to court seeking to force local California government officials to allow shipment of crude oil from coastal facilities to inland refineries by dozens of tanker trucks a day until replacement of a pipeline that burst in 2015, causing a major spill.

In a federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the energy giant challenged the denial of its trucking permit application by the Santa County Barbara County Board of Supervisors, calling the panel’s 3-2 vote against the plan in March a “prejudicial abuse of discretion.”

Exxon (XOM.N) claimed the board’s majority had essentially made up its mind to reject the application rather than deciding the issue on its merits, resulting in a “de facto ban on crude oil production and transportation.”

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Exxon asserts that the board’s action effectively prevents the company from restarting three offshore drilling platforms and refinery operations shut down after a badly corroded pipeline ruptured along the Pacific shoreline near Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015.

As much as 3,400 barrels of crude oil escaped from the line, owned by Plains All American Pipeline (PAA.O). It marked the worst oil spill to hit the energy-rich but ecologically sensitive coastline northwest of Los Angeles since a 100,000-barrel blowout in the Santa Barbara Channel in 1969.

Plains was convicted in 2018 on criminal charges of fouling the environment and harming wildlife. The Houston-based company later agreed to pay some $60 million to settle civil charges of violating federal pipeline safety laws.

Plains has since applied for approval to replace the pipeline, a proposal subject to extensive regulatory and environmental review.

In the meantime, Exxon has proposed hauling its offshore crude to one of two refineries under a plan to allow as many as 70 tanker trucks a day to run along California’s coastal Highway 101 and a smaller two-lane highway. Santa Barbara County has previously rejected alternative plans to transport Exxon’s oil via rail or marine tanker, the company said.

“It’s disturbing to see Exxon’s lawyers try to force through this dangerous plan to put hundreds of trucks carrying highly flammable oil on county highways,” Julie Teel Simmonds, a senior attorney with the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement on Friday.

Jennifer Richardson, an attorney in the Santa Barbara County counsel’s office, declined to comment on pending litigation.

In its lawsuit, Exxon claims the county’s denials amount to an unconstitutional “taking” of its property rights, a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s commerce clause and an illegal exercise of police powers.

When Exxon first halted offshore production from its three Santa Barbara-area platforms, output from those rigs was estimated at 30,000 barrels a day, a fraction of California’s daily crude diet of some 1.7 million bpd at the time.

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Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by David Gregorio

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My childrens picky eating is overtaking mealtime


“Me!” scream my two sons, ages 2 and 4, in unison.

I bring the water to a boil, toss in the pasta but absolutely no sauce because my kids prefer it with butter.

I ask the boys what color dinner plates they want. Without fail, my 4-year-old yells out, “I want green!” while my 2-year-old throws his hands out toward the other with excitement, “Blue, blue, Mommy!”

I toss the plates down in front of them with a side of sliced strawberries and some diluted apple juice in their sippy cups, and I pour myself a glass of wine.

My kids fight constantly: What do I do?My kids fight constantly: What do I do?

I feel accomplished, but 15 minutes later that feeling dissipates. My children haven’t touched anything on their plates minus a few berries.

“No like!” my youngest pouts. Without looking up, the 4-year-old says, “I want a Popsicle.”

Here we go again, I think to myself. The next 30 minutes consists of me bribing them to eat just a few more bites in exchange for something sweet.

I find myself giving my home-cooked meals to our dog, Franky. She’s the best-fed member in our house.

It turns out that my dinnertime drama is far from unique. Picky eating is common among young children. Up to 50% are unwilling to eat vegetables or try new foods, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Children's plates should be colorful, and parents should make mealtimes look fun, experts say.Children's plates should be colorful, and parents should make mealtimes look fun, experts say.
Putting together a meal for my children is half the battle, whether they eat it or not, psychologist Alli Delozier told me in a recent interview.

“Take the pressure off of eating at the table,” Delozier said. “Simply by putting the foods on their plates or on the table, you’re doing a great job as a parent because you’re still exposing them to those foods. They see ’em, they smell ’em, they can touch ’em, they can taste ’em. And every time they get that exposure, they’re one step closer to learning to like that food.”

Several parents in my circle of friends told me to check out an Instagram account called “Kids Eat in Color.” Jennifer Anderson, a registered dietitian, created the page, amassing more than 1 million followers seeking what she says is “evidence-based information and strategies for child feeding and nutrition.”

“This is the age where (your children’s) biggest power is to say no and to have opinions,” Anderson said. “And so, this is totally expected. You’re not doing anything wrong.”

As for my anxiety when my children don’t eat their food? Anderson said that’s normal, too.

“What happens though is when kids are saying, no, we often as parents get really concerned, like, ‘Oh my gosh, they’re not gonna eat. They’re not gonna grow. They’re gonna be sick.’ … And so out of that fear, we do a whole bunch of things,” Anderson told me.

“We put a screen in front of them so that they eat better. We make them what they want. We kind of say, ‘OK, you can eat all day. I’ll follow you around with this spoon,’ ” she added. “We’ve all done it, like chasing the toddler around, ‘Take one bite.’ We start saying things like, ‘Take one bite or I’ll take the iPad away. Take three bites before you can get down.’ And then we start requiring these things from a toddler whose biggest power is to be like, ‘You tell me to do that? No way.’ And so, we kind of fall into these habits that they really work against us in the long term.”

My kids want chicken fingers every night. Is that OK?

According to both experts, yes — feed your kids what they want to eat.

“We always want to serve a food that a kid feels comfortable with,” Anderson said. “If you know that they generally like mac and cheese, or they generally like peanut butter and jelly, or they like apples and strawberries, we always want to have something that they generally like at the table, but we also have to respect their kind of body autonomy.

They don’t have to eat it … if they don’t want to eat it, and we respect that. We’re actually setting the foundation very early on that they decide that they get to choose what is happening to their body, and it has far-reaching effects for so many things.”
Introduce your child to new foods by putting a few other options on the table.Introduce your child to new foods by putting a few other options on the table.

And make it look fun! Your child’s plate should be colorful.

“Every different color is caused by chemicals in the food that are doing specific things in our body,” Anderson said. “When we think, ‘Hey, I’m serving a wide range of colors to my child,’ I know that they’re getting nutrients without obsessing over specific things. Did they get enough vitamin C? Calcium? Did they get enough magnesium? So if they’re eating in color when they’re kids, or at least if they’re exposed to it, they’re more likely to eat a more varied diet later.”

What about introducing new foods? Yes, that’s a good idea, the experts said. You should still expose your children to new foods by putting a few other options on the table.

“Do you have to put everything on their plate? No,” Anderson said. “If you have a kid who is like, ‘I don’t like peas.’ I like to actually put what I call a micro-portion on their plate. This would be like one pea. It’s not scary, but they’re still getting that exposure.”

“And say something like, ‘These are the foods available for the meal. You can choose what to eat from what is here.’ ”

What about sweets? Delozier said that treats are fine but not to tie them in as a reward.

“It’s so easy to say, ‘Well, if you finish your green beans, you can have a Popsicle.’ We have all fallen into that trap, but letting them just have the thing and not putting it up on a pedestal and not making it like a food reward can be helpful. And then you get to decide how often feels right for your family, whether that’s having dessert every night or having Popsicles after school or having it once a week. That’s really just up to you.”

Some do’s and don’ts from ‘Kids Eat in Color’

  • Don’t make something else.
  • Don’t take it personally.
  • Let them fill up on other parts of the meal.
  • Don’t celebrate when they finish their plate.
  • Serve foods formally and consistently. Sit down at mealtimes and snack times.

I tend to let my children play with toys or watch their iPads during mealtime, but both experts told me I should stop.

“We really try to make it a calm eating environment where they can focus on the food and the connection with the family members,” Delozier said. “We don’t want to have screens at the table. We don’t want to have like toys and things like that. And that’s something that can take some time to transition away from.”

When should you be concerned?

But there are situations in which it’s more than just picky eating. At what point should you seek a medical professional?

“When you have a child who is not on their growth curve, who their pediatrician is concerned about who isn’t gaining weight, especially if they’re losing weight, those are all definitely reasons to be concerned,” Delozier said.

Are Swedish dishcloths worth it? Absolutely. Here's why (Courtesy CNN Underscored)Are Swedish dishcloths worth it? Absolutely. Here's why (Courtesy CNN Underscored)

Over the last week, I’ve stopped the bribes, and I’ve tried micro-portions. I’ve noticed a gradual increase in the amount of food my kids are eating. Ultimately what I’ve learned is that there’s no linear path to mealtime.

“As a psychologist and as a mom, I can say that so much of our beliefs about what children should eat and how we should feed our children are informed by our own beliefs about food and how we feed ourselves,” Delozier said. “Take foods off a pedestal (and) make it more neutral. (Then your kids are) more likely to then be able to tune into their hunger cues and eat based on hunger and make choices that are consistent with your family values.”

The Best Way to Bribe a Toddler to Eat Their Veggies


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Photo: Mcimage (Shutterstock)

Getting a toddler to eat anything other than chicken nuggets and French fries can feel like a superhuman, almost mythical feat of parenting. Sure, you know they should be eating a healthier, more well-balanced diet, which all the Instagram parenting “experts” would have you believe is totally possible right up until the moment when you are faced with a toddler who refuses to touch anything that isn’t fried or covered in cheese.

When it comes to a battle between a toddler and green vegetables, the toddler will always win out in the end, especially on the days when it takes over an hour just to get them to put on pants.

Study shows non-food rewards get toddlers to try more vegetables 

Times like these call for desperate measures—and as a recent study conducted by researchers at Maastricht University in the Netherlands indicates, bribing your toddler to eat their vegetables is a strategy that can work.

In this experiment, which was recently presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, researchers tested whether offering a fun, non-food reward, such as a sticker or small toy, would get toddlers to eat a wider variety of vegetables. To start, toddlers at a number of daycares in the Netherlands were divided into three groups. One group was exposed to a variety of vegetables, and given a reward whenever they tried them, one group was exposed to a variety of vegetables, but given no reward, while the third group wasn’t exposed to vegetables, and didn’t receive a reward.

At the end of the experiment, the toddlers who were offered a fun, non-food reward were more willing to eat a wider variety of vegetables compared to toddlers who didn’t receive a reward, or who weren’t exposed to a variety of vegetables.

“Rewarding toddlers for tasting vegetables appears to also increase their willingness to try different vegetables,” said researcher Britt van Belkom, who led the study, in a press release. “The type of reward is, however, very important—it should be fun but not food.”

Positive reinforcement works 

“Toddlers respond very well to positive reinforcement,” said Beth Oller, a family physician based in Plainville, Kan. This could be in the form of stickers, or it could be clapping and verbal praise. Depending on your toddler, offering a sticker or small toy could help get them to try more vegetables.

However, as Oller cautions, “it could set a precedent that you don’t want to have to continue.” One potential drawback is that your toddler might start expecting a reward for other routines, such as sitting at the table for a meal.

Still, “every parent knows their child the best,” Oller said. “If a sticker is going to get the child to try something new, there may not be much of a downside to it.”