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Business News

  • Emmy Award viewership plunged to 6.9 million people, a drop of 32% from last year. The Nielsen company says it's the first time ever that viewership for television's biggest awards show has slipped below 10 million viewers. The show, telecast Sunday night on Fox, had no host and competed with a popular NFL game on NBC. The ratings illustrate a growing disconnect between the TV-viewing public and television academy voters. While a popular series like HBO's 'Game of Thrones' won best drama, the less-seen Amazon series 'Fleabag' earned best comedy. Last year's Emmys, with 10.2 million viewers, had been the previous least-watched edition of the Emmys.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron has annoyed Poland and irritated France's climate activists by urging them to move their protests from Paris to Poland, a European Union nation that is heavily dependent on coal. Poland, which relies on coal for some 80% of its energy, is treading cautiously on cutting coal. The country has a long tradition of coal mining, a major employer that offers tens of thousands of jobs in the southern Silesia region. The plan is to eliminate coal by 2050. Poland also needs to develop more renewable energy sources. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek said Monday that Macron 'is aware' that his country was trying hard to reduce carbon emissions. He hoped that 'in this area as well as in other areas, he will refrain from this kind of lecturing which, in his case, has become tiring.' Later Monday at the United Nations, Macron defended his comments. 'I'm not stigmatizing anyone. But I want to convince our Polish friends that it's good for them to move on this,' he told a news conference. The spat began with Macron's comments on a flight to the United Nations on Sunday, when he said Poland had blocked his efforts to make the EU commit to carbon neutrality in 2050, along with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Estonia. 'Marching every Friday to say that the planet is burning, that's nice, but that is not the problem,' Macron told reporters, adding people should 'go protest in Poland! Help me move those I cannot push forward.' Macron also suggested that activists do 'big operations to clean rivers or Corsica beaches' instead of protesting. Poland's Minister for European Affairs Konrad Szymanski responded that his country was serious about climate issues, but wanted clear rules on burden sharing in the EU. Macron's comments also prompted some indignation at home. Far-left political leader Jean-Luc Melenchon tweeted that 'the king of disdain has spoken.' Macron presents himself internationally as a champion of environment issues, but climate activists claim he has failed to take enough concrete measures at home to fight climate change. __ Scislowska reported from Warsaw, Poland. Jennifer Peltz contributed from the United Nations.
  • Victims of a diabetes drug suspected in hundreds of deaths pleaded for justice as a massive trial involving more than 4,000 plaintiffs opened Monday for French pharmaceutical giant Servier Laboratoires and France's medicines watchdog. The company and the oversight body stand accused of involuntary manslaughter, fraud and other charges in their handling of the drug Mediator. 'My life is just not the same,' said Paquita Guardiola, who suffered severe health complications requiring a heart transplant after taking the drug. 'Now it's hard for me to even get dressed. My children dress me, my husband dresses me. He helps me in the shower, he does everything.' Although marketed as a diabetes drug, Mediator was also prescribed as a hunger suppressant and was taken by millions of people before sales were suspended in France in 2009. A 2010 study said Mediator was suspected in 1,000-2,000 deaths, with doctors linking it to heart and lung problems. The closely watched trial that opened in Paris is expected to last six months and is one of France's biggest in years. The trial dossier runs to nearly 700 pages — with around 300 pages taken up by plaintiffs' names. The trial was spread across five rooms, connected by video-link, at the Paris courthouse. Nearly 400 lawyers were working on the case. Guardiola, who has already received compensation from Servier, will testify as a witness. She said the drugmaker 'ruined my life.' Irène Frachon, a lung specialist who was among the first in France to sound the alarm about Mediator, said the scandal could not be simply brushed aside. 'You can't 'Put it behind you' when 2,000 people died,' she said. 'I'm really counting on this criminal case to put an end to this collective blindness to white collar crimes, especially with regards to what I call pharma-criminality.' She added: 'Whatever the financial stakes, there are red lines that need to be redrawn and that's why this trial is crucial.' Investigating magistrates concluded that Servier for decades covered up Mediator's harmful effects on patients. The national medicines agency is suspected of colluding in masking its dangers. François de Castro, a lawyer for Servier, said the pharmaceutical firm wasn't aware of risks associated with Mediator before 2009 — 33 years after it first went on sale. Speaking at the courthouse, the president of Servier, Olivier Laureau, expressed 'our deepest and sincerest regrets' to 'the patients who have suffered from Mediator' and 'to their families who have gone through a tragedy.' Servier is being tried on charges of manslaughter, unintentional harm, fraud and deceit about the chemical makeup of Mediator and the risks of taking it. France's medicines agency, meanwhile reformed and renamed, is also accused of manslaughter by negligence and causing unintentional harm. Also on trial are 12 representatives of the pharma giant and the medicines agency. 'This trial is a victory for the victims,' said Dominique-Michel Courtois, head of a Mediator victims group. He said they want answers on how Servier obtained a license to market the drug and how it 'hoodwinked the authorities.' Headquartered in a suburb of Paris, Servier employs 22,000 people worldwide and generated 4.1 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in turnover last year.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric is considering cutting power to try to head off wildfires sparked by electrical equipment, as fall brings back dangerous fire conditions that led to the deadliest and most destructive blazes in California history. The San Francisco-based utility is expected to make a decision Monday on whether controlled power outages are needed to reduce the risk of wildfires. Some of the devastating blazes in the past two years were started by Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. power lines. If approved by the utility, outages could occur in nine northern counties later in the day. An estimated 124,000 people could be affected if power is shut off to the entire area. Strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures were forecast in the region through Wednesday, and authorities issued an extreme fire danger warning for some areas. Wind gusts could reach 50 mph (80 kmph) in the northern Sierra and foothills, and between 30 to 40 mph (48 to 64 kph) in the Sacramento Valley and near the Pacific coast, the National Weather Service said. The controlled outages could affect portions of Butte, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sutter and Yuba counties in the Sierra foothills and Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Authorities in Sonoma County have declared a state of emergency to better respond in case there is a power outage. A 2017 blaze caused by a private electrical system killed 22 people and destroyed more than 5,000 homes in the Santa Rosa area. 'Prolonged power outages could impact public safety systems, including emergency alerts,' said Chris Godley, the county's emergency manager. The utility first cut off power preemptively to thousands of customers last October, affecting some 87,000 Northern California customers. The move prompted complaints and demands for reimbursement. California regulators in May approved allowing utilities to cut off electricity to avoid catastrophic wildfires but said utilities must do a better job ramping up preventive efforts and educating and notifying the public, particularly people with disabilities and others who are vulnerable. The company in January sought bankruptcy protection, saying it could not afford an estimated $30 billion in potential damages from lawsuits stemming from catastrophic wildfires. Earlier this month, PG&E agreed to pay $11 billion to insurance companies holding 85% of the claims from fires that include a November 2018 blaze that nearly destroyed the town of Paradise, killing 86 people. The settlement, confirmed Monday, is subject to bankruptcy court approval. It's important for PG&E to pull itself from bankruptcy protection because it will be a big part of a wildfire fund set up to help California's major utilities pay future claims as climate change makes wildfires more frequent and severe, A utility in Southern California was also considering shutting off power. Southern California Edison said Sunday it was eyeing widely scattered public safety power shutdowns that would affect 10,240 customers in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties as forecasters predicted gusty Santa Ana winds.
  • The head of the European Central Bank says the economy in the 19-country eurozone is not showing signs of a rebound and urged governments to help by spending more on top of the central bank's latest package of stimulus measures. Mario Draghi said in remarks Monday before the European Parliament's economic and monetary affairs committee Monday in Brussels that recent data 'do not show convincing signs of a rebound in growth in the near future' and that risks are 'tilted to the downside.' He urged governments that were in good financial shape to 'act in an effective and timely manner.' Draghi's pleas have met a cool response from governments. Germany, the largest euro member state, has rejected the idea of borrowing more to investing in infrastructure. The central bank, which sets interest rate policy for the countries that use the euro, announced on Sept. 12 an interest rate cut and a new program of bond purchases that aim to boost lagging growth and inflation. The eurozone economy grew only 0.2% in the second quarter from the previous quarter, while Germany shrank 0.1%. That puts the country on the edge of a recession, defined as two straight quarter of shrinking output. Nonetheless, Chancellor Angela Merkel said that a package of measures announced to combat climate would not involve new borrowing and that the government would stick to its balanced budget policy.

News

  • If you believe cats are antisocial, think again. The animals can develop bonds with their caregivers just like children, according to a new report. >> Read more trending news  Researchers from Oregon State University recently conducted a study, published in the Current Biology journal, to explore the attachment bonds between cats and humans. To do so, they observed more than 100 cats and kittens that underwent a “secure base test,” an examination often given to infants and dogs to assess their attachment behaviors. During the test, the cats spent two minutes in a new room with their caregiver before being separated from their owner for two minutes and then reunited with them for another two minutes. After analyzing the data, they found cats with a secure attachment seemed less stressed during their reunion, compared to cats with an insecure attachment. They said cats with a secure attachment were more likely to balance their attention between their caregiver and surroundings. For example, they continued to explore the room while also interacting with their owner. On the other hand, insecure cats showed more signs of stress by twitching their tail or licking their lips. They would also either avoid the person completely or cling to them by jumping on their lap but not moving. “In both dogs and cats, attachment to humans may represent an adaptation of the offspring-caretaker bond,” co-author Kristyn Vitale said in a statement. “Attachment is a biologically relevant behavior. Our study indicates that when cats live in a state of dependency with a human, that attachment behavior is flexible and the majority of cats use humans as a source of comfort.” Overall, they said 64.3% of the animals were categorized as securely attached, while 35.7% of them were insecurely attached. The percentages remained relatively the same even when the team put the cats through a six-week training course. The goal was to determine whether socialization coaching would significantly alter their initial results. “Once an attachment style has been established between the cat and its caregiver, it appears to remain relatively stable over time, even after a training and socialization intervention,” Vitale said. The scientists said they were surprised by their findings and noted this is the first study to prove cats can display attachment styles that are similar to dogs and babies. “Cats that are insecure can be likely to run and hide or seem to act aloof,” Vitale said. “There’s long been a biased way of thinking that all cats behave this way. But the majority of cats use their owner as a source of security. Your cat is depending on you to feel secure when they are stressed out.”
  • A Missouri couple were horrified to learn their house had once been a methamphetamine lab after discovering their unborn child had tested positive for amphetamines. >> Read more trending news  Elisha Hessel and her husband, Tyler Hessel, had been trying to have a child for three years, WFAA reported. The couple were elated to learn Elisha was pregnant, but when she went for her recommended blood tests she was in for a shock: the unborn baby had tested positive. 'When they called me, I didn't know what that meant. So I asked the nurse if that meant like, drugs in general,” Elisha Hessel told WAND-TV. “She basically just said 'Yes,' and asked me if I could explain that.' Neither one of the Hessels had taken amphetamines, so after researching several scenarios, they decided to have their house tested for traces of the drugs, CBS News reported. Thinking back, they recalled some hints the neighbors had made about the home. 'Just through normal conversations as we got to know them a little better they said they were so happy to finally have 'normal' people move in next door,' Elisha Hessel told CBS News. 'They had also mentioned that the police were there for a possible drug bust type situation.' The tests showed the home's ventilator system was heavily contaminated with meth and residue used to make the drug, WFAA reported. Most states, including Missouri, require home sellers to disclose any material defects in their property to prospective buyers, according to Nolo Press, a database of legal articles. The state of Missouri specifically requires sellers to disclose if their property was used to produce meth, CBS News reported. However, state and county law does not have a penalty for anyone who fails to disclose a home’s meth contamination to a buyer or who doesn’t clean a property, WFAA reported. The Hessels said they were never told. After digging through records in Jefferson County for meth seizures, Elisha Hessel told CBS News she found her property listed in the database. On Oct. 3, 2013, authorities in Jefferson County responded to a tip at the home about a possible meth lab, WFAA reported. According to a police report, authorities found a burned barrel in the backyard when they apprehended a man at the residence, the television station reported. The barrel was full of empty allergy pillboxes, empty drain opener and camp fuel bottles and other supplies often used to make meth, according to the report. “When you look at the numbers, Jefferson County led the St Louis region, the state and the nation in meth lab seizures,” Jefferson County Undersheriff Timothy Whitney told WFAA. “We could have looked the other way, but as an agency, we decided to go headlong at the problem.” “There wasn't evidence that day at that time to suggest that distribution or manufacturing was going on,” Whitney told the television station In 2016, the house became the property of a bank, then it was sold to another buyer before the Hessels bought the property, WFAA reported. The Hessels have abandoned the house and have moved in with Elisha Hessel's mother, WAND reported. 'We have moved out and really do not know exactly what to do at this point,' Elisha Hessel told CBS News. She said the insurance company denied their claim, and their attorney says the best option is to pursue the insurance company to cover the remediation of the home. That will be expensive. The Hessels said they got an estimate of approximately $100,000 -- what the house is worth -- to clean it up. While Elisha Hessel said her blood tests have been clean lately, the baby will be tested again when she is born in January, WFAA reported. If the child's amphetamine levels are detected that day, the Children's Division of the Department of Social Services will get involved, the television station reported. “Everybody wants to have their own home when they bring their baby home,” Elisha Hessel told WFAA. “A lot of it's the disappointment and being upset over it, but I have definitely been angry over it as well.” Relatives of the Hessels have set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of cleaning up the house.
  • Four baby squirrels will survive but may be scarred after someone tied their tails together.  The incident is being called a case of animal abuse, The Associated Press reported. The Kensington Bird and Animal Hospital in Berlin, Connecticut, said someone brought in the squirrels when they were found on train tracks.  >> Read more trending news  The animals' tails had been tied together intentionally, but hospital employees do admit that tail knotting can happen naturally, according to the AP. In this case, it was a man-made object that kept the animals bound and their tails were broken and braided together. The squirrels, according to hospital employees, were 'tangled, braided, and purposefully tied together,' the AP reported.  Officials also say since the animals were found on train tracks, that could be an indicator of animal cruelty. As for the squirrels themselves, the tails may have to be amputated because of the damage done to them.
  • Authorities in California on Monday canceled an Amber Alert issued over the weekend for a 2-year-old boy in Merced County. >> Read more trending news  Officials with the Merced County Sheriff's Office said John Weir, 2, was last seen Friday with his father, Steven Weir, and that the pair might be headed for Tuolumne or Calveras County. Update 2:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: Authorities with the California HIghway Patrol said an Amber Alert issued over the weekend for a 2-year-old boy had been deactivated. Authorities did not immediately provide information on why the alert had been canceled. Original report: Authorities are searching for a missing 2-year-old boy who may be with his 'armed and dangerous' father, the California Highway Patrol and Merced County Sheriff's Office said in an Amber Alert released Saturday. According to KTLA, police believe Steven Weir, 32, abducted John Weir from Merced County, where they were last spotted Friday evening. The pair 'could possibly be heading to the Tuolumne or Calaveras County areas,' the Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Authorities described John Weir as a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy who was last seen wearing a blue T-shirt with tan shorts. Steven Weir, who is 5-foot-10 and weighs 300 pounds, has brown hair and eyes, the Amber Alert said. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with cargo shorts and may be traveling in a red 2005 Hyundai Elantra with California tag 5SKT544, police said. Authorities are urging anyone who sees the Weirs or their vehicle to call 911. Read more here or here.
  • He's lived almost 100 years and he's a member of the so-called Greatest Generation', having fought in World War II.  Now James South is asking for one thing to make his milestone birthday next month more than just another birthday. South went to Facebook with a simple request, for complete strangers to send him a birthday card -- 100 of them in fact, CNN reported.  He came from a family of sharecroppers. He joined the Army in 1940 and was sent to Normandy a week after D-Day, his son told CNN. Every day during his years of service, his girlfriend Sophie sent him a letter.  Sophie became his wife and they spent 55 years together. She died in 2001.  When he was 65, South retired but stayed active woodworking, gardening, golfing and attending church.  He finally moved into Brookdale Senior Living in the Fort Worth suburb of Watauga, Texas, at the age of 98, CNN reported.  >> Read more trending news  His only child, Jim South, said there are big things planned for his dad's big day including a three-day celebration this year, including a round of golf, dinner of chicken fried steak and catfish and spending time with family. If you want to help mark the occasion, you can send a card that will be hung on the wall in his room. The address is: James South 5800 North Park Drive Watauga, Texas 76148.
  • Federal authorities have arrested a U.S. Army soldier accused of sharing information on how to build explosives online and suggesting attacks against activists, Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O'Rourke and a major news network. >> Read more trending news  Authorities arrested Jarrett William Smith, 24, on suspicion of distribution of information related to explosives, destructive devices and weapons of mass destruction. Smith joined the U.S. Army on June 12, 2017, and most recently served as a private first class based in Fort Riley, Kansas, investigators said. Officials with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force opened an investigation into Smith in March after receiving a tip about his Facebook page. In an affidavit filed in court, FBI Special Agent Brandon LaMar said Smith shared information on constructing improvised explosive devices in several group chats and spoke about his interest in traveling to Ukraine to fight with a far-right paramilitary group called Azov Battalion. LaMar said authorities uncovered connections between Smith and Craig Lang, a man who traveled to Ukraine to fight from 2017 to 2019 with Right Sector, a group described as similar to Azov Battalion. Facebook communications showed Lang was mentoring Smith as he prepared to join the fighting in Ukraine, authorities said. Smith also spoke about carrying out an attack on the United States, authorities said. He discussed the plans in August with an unidentified, confidential source. 'Smith talked with the (confidential source) about killing members of the far left group, Antifa, as well as destroying nearby cell towers or (the) local news station,' LaMar wrote. Days later, Smith suggested an unidentified major news network would be a good target for a 'large vehicle bomb,' LaMar said. On Friday, Smith shared instructions for creating several explosive devices during a chat with an undercover agent who claimed to be targeting an unnamed Texas politician. 'You got anyone down in Texas that would be a good fit for fire, destruction and death?' the undercover agent asked Smith, according to a transcript shared by LaMar. 'Outside of Beto?' Smith replied, according to LaMar. 'I don't know enough people that would be relevant enough to cause a change if they died.' LaMar said Smith admitted to sharing details for creating IEDs in online chat rooms and that he claimed he did so 'to cause 'chaos.'' 'He told me that if chaos results in the death of people, even through information he provided, it doesn't affect him,' LaMar said.