Bits n’ pieces from east, west and beyond

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East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

Reverse zoonosis: that’s when an animal that typically does not catch a flu bug from a person does so. It was first observed in 2009. Since then, cases have been reported in cats, dogs and ferrets.

Risk factors, according to online veterinarian columnist Dr. Karen S. Becker, may include staying in crowded conditions like an animal shelter or doggy day care. To avoid reverse zoonosis, she advises providing a high quality diet, avoiding unnecessary pet vaccines, and reducing environmental toxins.

The Smithsonian has compared how meeting a mate today compares to the 1940s, when most couples met through friends or acquaintances. Today, one out of four couples first meet online, with 46 percent having their first encounter in spring or summer. Other data: 15 percent of people today are in a mixed political relationship, and, in this decade, 24 percent of couples are in an interracial relationship.

The Guardian reported that Amazon made $11.2 billion in profits in 2018, but will pay nothing in income taxes. Amazon explained that “our profits remain modest” in light of various retail factors and “our continued heavy investment.”

Some 17,400 veterans needing emergency health care, according to a VA audit, have had their claims improperly rejected. That amounted to $53.3 million in 2017. The VA Office of Inspector General faulted quantity of work being prioritized over quality of work when processing claims.

What exactly is an “asset”? According to a former FBI double agent who spoke to Newsweek, a person who is a political asset is used, often unknowingly, to advance the goals of another country. Those goals are contrary to the well being of the asset’s country.

Calculations indicate there will be 15 million electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2030. The rising demand means planning for more EV charging stations is needed, says Environment America.

For many Americans, electric vehicles are less expensive. It costs less to power them and they are cheaper to maintain. And now, said the Union of Concerned Scientists, they are also becoming less expensive to purchase. Find the report at www.ucsusa.org/EV-savings.

The Family Breakfast Project suggests sharing the first meal of the day if having a family dinner is mission impossible. Studies say the advantages of eating together include lower risk for childhood obesity, drug and alcohol use, eating disorders, teen pregnancy and depression.

If early morning seems too early for family time, TIME magazine said getting to bed earlier, restricting food three hours before bedtime and curtailing use of electronic devices before sleep can make early wake-up hours more agreeable.

Kids are better off eating fruit rather than drinking juice, according to a report in TIME magazine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no juice for babies, and only occasional servings — rather than daily servings — of juice, since juice sends a surge of sugar to the bloodstream and can be tied to weight gain. Juice in a bottle or sippy cup can cause cavities.

A White House ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration said that by giving fundraising cash to members of Congress prior to his impeachment trial, President Donald Trump may be committing “felony bribery.” Richard Painter said those who accept the financial support should face criminal charges, reported Newsweek.

In North Dakota, a segment of the Keystone pipeline recently leaked 383,000 gallons of crude oil, covering a half-acre of wetland near the Canadian border, according to the state’s environmental regulators. Since 2011 there have been a total of 439,000 gallons spilled in the region.

Amidst another rash of wildfires in California, the president has threatened to cut wildfire aid to the state, claiming state officials have been negligent in their forestry practices. But, according to research conducted by the University of California, over half of California’s forests are under federal authority. The president did offer wildfire aid to Russia three months ago, according to the Kremlin’s website.

Blast from the past: 100 years ago, a year after the end of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson marked the first Armistice Day with this address to the nation: “With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought. Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.”

Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day in 1954, and dedicated as a day for honoring all U.S. veterans.

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