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Health

Searches at French baby milk maker after salmonella scare

Searches at French baby milk maker after salmonella scare

French authorities are searching five sites run by dairy giant Lactalis in an investigation into the botched mass recall of baby milk products after a salmonella scare.

The Paris prosecutor's office said sites being searched Wednesday include Lactalis headquarters in Laval in western France and the factory in Craon, where salmonella bacteria was found last year. The factory has been shut.

Government fraud and health authorities are investigating the handling of the scare and a subsequent mass recall. Recalled baby milk products remained available in French hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets weeks after they were ordered pulled from shelves.

The head of Lactalis says the recall affected over 12 million products in 83 countries.

French authorities have said more than 30 babies fell ill after consuming the products, though all recovered.

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World

Hundreds pay respects to slain Kosovo Serb leader

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Hundreds pay respects to slain Kosovo Serb leader

The Associated Press
People carry the coffin of Kosovo Serb politician Oliver Ivanovic in front of his office in the northern, Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Ivanovic was gunned down Tuesday morning in the northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica. (AP Photo/Bojan Slavkovic)

People in a northern Kosovo town paid their respects on Wednesday to the Serb politician who was gunned down in an attack that has raised fears of instability in the Balkans.

Hundreds lighted candles outside the headquarters of Oliver Ivanovic's political party in Mitrovica, where unknown attackers opened fire on him on Tuesday. Some people cried as they stood in silence at the scene.

"What can I say? It's Serb sadness, misery and misfortune," said Ljubica Pavlovic, 52, as she placed a rose by Ivanovic's photo.

An autopsy has shown that Ivanovic was shot six times in the upper torso. He was one of the key politicians in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo, a former Serbian province where tensions remain high a decade after Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a separate country. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has announced he will visit Kosovo on the weekend amid fears of renewed tensions after Ivanovic's killing, which also prompted the suspension of EU-mediated talks between Kosovo and Serbia.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov warned in the EU parliament in Strasbourg that "you saw what happened yesterday, just one bullet, and the situation changed dramatically."

"The Balkans are a very fragile construction and if it starts shaking the whole of Europe will start shaking," he said.

Ivanovic, a moderate, had enemies both among Kosovo Albanians and nationalist Serbs. He maintained relations with NATO and EU officials after Serbia lost control of northern Kosovo following NATO's 1999 bombing to stop a deadly Serb crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

A Kosovo court convicted him of war crimes from the 1998-99 Kosovo war. The verdict eventually was overturned and a retrial was underway.

Ivanovic's body will be transferred to the Serbian capital, Belgrade, where he will be buried on Thursday.

——

Jovana Gec Belgrade, Serbia, and Raf Casert from Brussels, contributed to this report.

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World

Qatar: Exiled sheikh promoted by Saudi Arabia now in Kuwait

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Qatar: Exiled sheikh promoted by Saudi Arabia now in Kuwait

The Associated Press
FILE- In this Aug. 17, 2017 file photo, released by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, Saudi King Salman, left, walks with Qatari Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani, right, at the monarch's vacation home in Tangiers, Morocco. Exiled Sheikh Abdullah, once promoted by Saudi Arabia amid its ongoing dispute with Doha, appeared in an online video posted Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, and aired by Doha-based satellite news network Al-Jazeera, claiming he's being held against his will in the United Arab Emirates, an allegation denied by an Abu Dhabi official. (Saudi Press Agency via AP)

An exiled Qatari sheikh once promoted by Saudi Arabia as a possible opposition leader amid a diplomatic dispute with Doha is now in Kuwait, authorities said Wednesday, after he had alleged that the United Arab Emirates was holding him against his will.

It's the latest chapter in Sheikh Abdullah bin Ali Al Thani's mysterious travels, after he appeared in an online video on Sunday, following months of silence, to say the UAE wouldn't allow him to leave. Abu Dhabi has denied that, saying he was free to go where he pleased.

However, it only added fire to an ongoing dispute that saw the UAE allege this week that Qatari fighter jets "intercepted" two Emirati commercial airliners, something denied by Doha.

Qatar's National Human Rights Committee told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Sheikh Abdullah was in Kuwait and "will undergo health check-ups." The committee said it confirmed that with the sheikh's family.

Kuwaiti media reported that the sheikh arrived late on Tuesday night to Kuwait City, his flight greeted by an ambulance and a convoy of vehicles that took him to a military hospital.

Kuwait's Information Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sheikh Abdullah was little-known until the Qatar diplomatic crisis erupted last June, with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE cutting off Doha's land, sea and air routes.

The four Arab nations accuse Qatar of funding extremists and having too-close ties to Iran. Qatar has long denied funding extremists, though it supports Islamist opposition movements that are considered terrorist groups by other countries in the region. It recently restored full diplomatic ties with Iran, with which it shares a massive offshore natural gas field.

Sheikh Abdullah's grandfather, father and brother were rulers of Qatar until a palace coup ousted his branch of the ruling family in 1972. His last position in government was as head of the equestrian and camel racing federation decades ago.

Since the crisis, Sheikh Abdullah has held high-profile meetings with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Those meetings came as Riyadh allowed Qatari pilgrims over the border in August for the hajj, a pilgrimage required of every able-bodied Muslim at least once in a lifetime.

The Saudis then began suggesting Sheikh Abdullah should rule Qatar as an emir in exile, while Saudi-funded television networks provided him coverage. A quickly created Twitter account in his name amassed hundreds of thousands of followers. However, the last tweet on the account came in October and Sheikh Abdullah has not been publicly seen for some time.

He remerged with an online video Sunday, immediately aired by Doha-based news network Al-Jazeera.

In it, Sheikh Abdullah says he was invited to Abu Dhabi as a guest of "Sheikh Mohammed," apparently a reference to Abu Dhabi's powerful crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who enjoys strong ties to Saudi Arabia's rulers.

"I am a guest of Sheikh Mohammed but it is not hosting now, it is now an imprisonment," Sheikh Abdullah says in the video. "They told me not to leave and I am afraid something will happen to me and they blame Qatar."

"I just wanted to let you know that Qatar is innocent in this and I am being hosted by Sheikh Mohammed and anything that happens to me after this is under his responsibility," he adds.

The report later Sunday on the UAE's state-run WAM news agency said Sheikh Abdullah was "free in his movements" while in the country.

"He expressed his desire to leave the country … all procedures were facilitated without any interference," WAM said. It did not say where the sheikh went, though it implied he flew out Sunday. It wasn't immediately clear where the sheikh has been in recent days.

———

Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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TV

Late-Night Hosts Poke Fun at Trump’s Physical Exam

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Late-Night Hosts Poke Fun at Trump's Physical Exam

In this story

Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert
Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah
The Daily Show
The Daily Show

"Despite all evidence, Donald Trump does have a heart."

Late-night hosts across the dial teed off on President Donald Trump's physical exam on Tuesday. White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, who conducted the exam, reported that he "found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes" and that Trump had scored a perfect score on a cognitive test taken last Friday.

On The Late Show, host Stephen Colbert was shocked by the news that Trump’s heart exam was normal: “Despite all evidence, Donald Trump does have a heart.”

Focusing on the president’s height and weight, Colbert calculated Trump’s body mass index and concluded he was one pound shy of obesity. “That’s awfully convenient,” Colbert noted, before launching into his Trump impersonation. "Listen, Doc, I don’t want to be obese, but I feel like this wad of cash is about one pound. Why don't you take this off my hands and weigh me again, OK?"

TONIGHT: The President's physical exam results are in and Stephen's take on the whole mess is just what the doctor ordered. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/8ZAyJ2nTHj

— The Late Show (@colbertlateshow) January 17, 2018

On ABC, host Jimmy Kimmel similarly addressed Trump's weight. "How can he be in excellent health if, when he sneezes, gravy comes out?" Kimmel asked.

Kimmel then cut to a mock-up of Dr. Jackson’s press conference in which an actor portraying Dr. Jackson said, “I can now confirm that Trump’s hair has taken over his brain.” A large hair-monster puppet then attacked the podium.

Over on Comedy Central, Daily Show host Trevor Noah was curious if Dr. Jackson had “tested for racism.”

Noting that, according to Dr. Jackson, Trump is “completely sane,” Noah said, “That makes me more worried because that means he’s doing all this shit on purpose. You ‘covfefe’ in your normal mind?”

Tonight at 11/10c, Trump's doctor finds no heart problems, no dementia, and no dentures. But did he test for racism? pic.twitter.com/KCpbYze9To

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) January 17, 2018

Over on Conan, the TBS host noted the physical in his opening monologue. "President Trump’s doctor predicted that the president will live a long life," said Conan O'Brien. “As a result, the doctor is now treating Melania Trump for depression.”

Stephen Colbert Trevor Noah The Daily Show
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Technology

Motion-sensing cameras capture candid wildlife shots

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Motion-sensing cameras capture candid wildlife shots

The Associated Press
This 2017 photo from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service motion-activated camera shows an osprey poses at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia. Motion-detecting wildlife cameras are yielding serious science as well as amusing photos. From ocelots in the desert to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies, remote cameras are exposing elusive creatures like never before. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

Photos taken by motion-detecting wildlife cameras are yielding serious science as well as amusing photos of animals.

A bighorn sheep seems to wear a huge grin. A prairie dog appears to bust a dance move. You'd think wild animals knew how to strike a pose.

But from small desert cats called ocelots to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies, remote cameras are exposing the lives of elusive creatures like never before.

Grant Harris with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico, says remote cameras show pig-like animals called javelinas in more northerly latitudes.

Wyoming migration researcher Matthew Kauffman says remote cameras supplement data from collars that transmit global-positioning signals.

Sometimes even a smart-alecky human turns up among the images — mooning the camera.

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TV

‘Shannara Chronicles’ Canceled as Paramount Network Passes on Season 3

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'Shannara Chronicles' Canceled as Paramount Network Passes on Season 3

'The Shannara Chronicles'

The first season aired on MTV before moving to Spike, which rebrands this week as Paramount Network.

The Shannara Chronicles have come to an end.

The pricey genre drama from Sonar Entertainment will not return for a third season as Paramount Network has passed on the drama.

The first season aired on MTV and was the most-expensive pilot ever produced for the younger-skewing cable network. The show, from executive producer Jon Favreau and showrunners Al Gough and Miles Millar (AMC's Into the Badlands, Smallville), was renewed for a second season at MTV after the series had an impressive DVR gains among its core 12-34 demo.

However, as Viacom shuffled its executive ranks — Chris McCarthy took over MTV, becoming its third president in three years — Shannara Chronicles moved to air on Spike TV, which is being rebranded Thursday as Paramount Network. Spike aired a marathon of season one leading into its sophomore season in a bid to boost awareness among its male-leaning audience. Season two wrapped Nov. 22, with Paramount Network — which will be Viacom's general entertainment hub — passing on a third season of the show based on Terry Brooks' Shannara book series.

Paramount Network will launch with a mix of scripted originals first picked up for Spike (Waco), TV Land (Heathers, American Woman) and developed specifically for it (Yellowstone).

TV Guide was the first to report the cancellation.

Paramount Network
Read the full article – Hollywoodreporter.com

Technology

Thai court drops royal insult charges against academic

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Thai court drops royal insult charges against academic

The Associated Press
Sulak Sivaraksa, center, arrives at the outside of a military court in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. A Thai military court has dropped royal insult charges against the 84-year old Thai historian who questioned whether a Thai king had actually defeated a Burmese adversary in combat on elephant-back over 500 years ago. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A Thai military court on Wednesday dropped royal insult charges against an 84-year old historian who questioned whether a Thai king had actually defeated a Burmese adversary in combat on elephant-back over 500 years ago.

Sulak Sivaraksa was charged in October under the draconian lese majeste law that protects the monarchy from libel and defamation. The Bangkok military court had agreed to hear views from historians and experts before it decided to drop the charges for lack of evidence.

Sulak, a veteran academic and proclaimed royalist, said he had petitioned Thailand's new king, Vajiralongkorn, for help in dropping the charges against him.

"I contacted many people for help but no one dared to. So I petitioned the king. If it weren't for His Majesty's grace, this case would not have been dropped," he said.

His case stems from a 2014 university lecture when he told the audience to "not fall prey to propaganda" and questioned whether King Naraesuan had really won the 1593 battle by defeating a Burmese prince in solo combat mounted on a war elephant. The story is one of Thailand's most celebrated historical feats and the date of the combat is marked each year with a military parade on Jan. 18.

Insulting the monarchy is punishable by three to 15 years in prison. The law in writing appears to only protect the king, queen, and heir apparent but in practice the rules are more widely interpreted.

Thailand's military government has been criticized for its frequent use of the law to silence critics since it seized power in May 2014. The law has been widely condemned including by rights groups and the U.N., which has called for it to be revoked. Some 100 cases of lese majeste have been prosecuted since the coup, according to the legal aid group Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.

Sulak has often criticized the lese majeste law and has faced at least five previous charges.

"In a dictatorial regime if people want to express opinions, to have freedom of speech, you have to be punished," he said. "And this is not the first time I have been punished."

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Health

Aced it: Doc says Trump got perfect score on cognitive test

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Aced it: Doc says Trump got perfect score on cognitive test

The Associated Press
White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Donald Trump performed "exceedingly well" on a surprise cognitive screening test administered last week, his doctor said Tuesday, as the White House continued to bat back questions about the president's mental fitness for office.

Navy doctor Ronny Jackson, who administered Trump's first presidential physical last week, said Trump received a perfect score on a test designed to detect early signs of memory loss and other mild cognitive impairment. He also reported the 6-foot-3 president weighed in at 239 pounds — three pounds heavier than he was in September 2016, the last time Trump revealed his weight to the public. That number puts Trump on the cusp of — but just under — the obesity mark.

"The president's overall health is excellent," said Jackson, who predicted Trump would remain healthy for the duration of his presidency despite a diet heavy on fast food and an exercise regime limited to weekend golf outings.

"It's called genetics," Jackson said. "I don't know. … He has incredibly good genes and that's just the way God made him."

Presidents don't typically sit for cognitive assessments during their periodic physical exams. But Jackson said Trump personally requested the test as he continues to face questions about his mental acuity for office. Such questions have escalated in the wake of an unflattering new book that paints Trump as a man-child who has trouble processing information and recognizing old friends.

But the 71-year-old president performed "exceedingly well" on the test, Jackson said, receiving a perfect score.

"He's very sharp. He's very articulate when he speaks to me," said Jackson, who works in close proximity to the president. Jackson accused doctors who have tried to diagnose Trump from afar of performing "tabloid psychiatry."

Still, Jackson said Trump acknowledged he'd be healthier if he lost a few pounds by exercising more and eating better. Jackson said he'd be arranging to have a dietitian consult with the White House chef to cut calories and would be recommending a low-impact, aerobic exercise program for Trump, with the aim of shedding 10 to 15 pounds this year.

"I would say right now on a day-to-day basis, he doesn't have a dedicated, defined exercise program," said Jackson. "The good part is that, you know, we can build on that pretty easily."

Trump's body mass index, or BMI, of 29.9 puts him in the category of being overweight for his height. A BMI of 30 and over is considered obese. A copy of Trump's New York driver's license obtained by Politico listed Trump's height as 6-foot-2, instead of 6-foot-3; the lower height would put Trump over the obesity threshold.

Trump's blood pressure was 122 over 74, and his total cholesterol was 223, which is higher than recommended, even though he takes a low dose of the statin drug Crestor. Jackson said he would increase that dose in an effort to get Trump's so-called "bad" cholesterol, or LDL level, below 120; it currently is 143.

Despite the diet and cholesterol concerns, Jackson stressed that Trump's "cardiac health is excellent." He passed a battery of heart exams, including a stress test that Jackson said showed an above-average exercise capacity for a man of his age, despite some calcium buildup in his arteries. He also takes a low-dose aspirin for heart health.

With such a bad dietary history, how can that be? Jackson said Trump has avoided some big heart risks — he's never smoked and isn't diabetic — and has no family history of heart problems.

Trump has experienced several recent episodes in which he appeared to slur his words, adding to concerns about his health. Jackson said he'd ruled out a list of possible causes, and that dry mouth caused by the over-the-counter decongestant Sudafed was likely to blame.

Trump last revealed details about his health two months before the November 2016 election, when he appeared on the "Dr. Oz" show to give details of a physical performed by his longtime physician, the eccentric Dr. Harold Bornstein. A year earlier, Bornstein had released a letter that predicted Trump would be "the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" if he won.

The Montreal Cognitive Assessment that Trump took includes remembering a list of spoken words; listening to a list of random numbers and repeating them backward; naming as many words that begin with, say, the letter F as possible within a minute; accurately drawing a cube; and describing concrete ways that two objects — like a train and a bicycle — are alike.

Cognitive assessments aren't routine in standard physicals, though they recently became covered in Medicare's annual wellness visits for seniors.

"It's not a diagnostic test, but it's pretty sensitive in picking up subtle changes in cognition," things involving memory, attention and language but not mental health issues, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, professor of family medicine at Georgetown University, who performs these types of routine physicals.

Mishori said Trump's vital signs, blood tests and physical examinations suggest "he seems to be on track, what you would want to see in a 71-year-old overweight male."

But Mishori cautioned that despite good results on his cardiac exams, Trump is at increased risk of cardiovascular disease because of his age, weight, sedentary lifestyle and cholesterol level.

———

AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard and Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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World

Big freeze: Russia’s Yakutia sees near-record cold spell

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Big freeze: Russia's Yakutia sees near-record cold spell

The Associated Press
In this photo taken on Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, Anastasia Gruzdeva, left, poses for selfie with her friends as the temperature dropped to about -50 degrees (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) in Yakutsk, Russia. Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia have dropped to near-record lows, plunging to -67 degrees Centigrade (-88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas. (sakhalife.ru photo via AP)

People living in some of the coldest places on earth are hunkering down as temperatures fall to near-record lows that are even defeating thermometers.

Temperatures in the remote, diamond-rich Russian region of Yakutia on Tuesday plunged to minus 67 degrees Celsius (minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

In Yakutia — about 3,300 miles (5,300 kilometers) east of Moscow — where students routinely go to school in minus 40 degrees, school was canceled throughout the region. Local police also ordered parents to keep their children at home.

Over the weekend, two men froze to death when they tried to walk to a nearby farm after their car broke down. Three other men who were with them survived because they were wearing warmer clothes, local investigators reported on Monday.

The press office of Yakutia's governor said Tuesday all households and businesses in the region have working central heating and access to backup power generators.

In the village of Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, state-owned television showed mercury falling to the bottom of a thermometer that was only set up to measure down to minus 50. In 2013, Oymyakon recorded an all-time low of minus 71 degrees Celsius (minus 98 Fahrenheit).

Residents of Yakutia, home to nearly 1 million people, are no strangers to cold weather, and this week's cold spell was not even dominating headlines in local media on Tuesday. Some media outlets, however, ran stories of selfies and stunts in the extreme cold. Women posted pictures of their frozen eyelashes, while YakutiaMedia published a picture of Chinese students who got undressed to take a plunge in a thermal spring.

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Health

Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

Walmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel.

The retail giant announced Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies.

The small packets, made by DisposeRX, contain a powder that is poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash.

Research has shown that surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store the drugs improperly at home

Walmart says the powder also works with other prescription drugs. The company says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time.

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