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    The partial government shutdown could make those relentless robo-calls even worse! Federal agencies are closed, and federal regulators aren’t around to administer the nation's anti robo-call rules.  The FTC and FCC, two agencies that help prevent unwanted phone calls, are shut down while Congress debates funding for the proposed border wall. The complaint portal for each website is also down, including the federal government’s “do not call list' application. Some scam artists already appear to be trying to target Americans about the shutdown itself. WSB Consumer expert Clark says, 'right now robo-callers rotate to whatever seems to be the hot sector to take advantage of you and they're going to look for every possible angle involving the IRS and any federal related activity to try and con you.'  Beware of emails, claiming to be from a government office. They tell intended victims that their federal benefit direct deposits will be cut off unless they verify their bank information.  The person is instructed to click on a link to a site that downloads malware. Scam artists are also calling people with this same scam, even threatening if they don't give them the information they want, you could lose your Medicare benefits.   Howard says, 'don't fall for any of that, don't respond to any robo-call, in fact don't answer your phone if you don't recognize the number.' 
  • With the partial government shutdown dragging on, WSB consumer expert Clark Howard has some advice for furloughed federal workers. 'There is ray of hope,' says Howard. He says many credit unions are offering zero percent loans if you can prove that you work for the federal government. Some banks also are waiving certain fees and allowing customers to break certificates of deposit early.
  • Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens found teens with more family routines during adolescence had higher rates of college enrollment and were less likely to use alcohol in young adulthood, among other positive outcomes. They analyzed data collected from more than 500 rural African American teens beginning when they were 16 and continuing until they were 21. The teens whose primary caregivers reported more family routines – such as regular meal times, consistent bedtimes and after school schedules – reported less alcohol use, greater self-control and emotional well-being and higher rates of college enrollment in young adulthood.
  • Fewer Americans are dying from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. The nation’s cancer death rate was increasing until the early 1990s. It has been dropping since, falling 27 percent between 1991 and 2016. That translates to about 2.6 million fewer cancer deaths if death rates stayed at their peak, according to the study. Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Len Lichtenfeld says, 'that's a very significant and important accomplishment.' He says one of the major reasons in the decline in the use of tobacco.
  • Shingles is a viral infection that can cause blisters and severe nerve pain brought on by the varicella-zoster virus. Anyone who's had chickenpox may develop shingles. It isn't known what reactivates the virus. It causes a painful rash that may appear as a stripe of blisters on the trunk of the body. Pain can persist even after the rash is gone. A new vaccine, Shingrix appeared to be very effective. In two clinical trials show it’s efficacy was determined to be 97 percent for people ages 50 to 59 and 60 to 69 and over Ninety percent effective for people 70 years and older. Its efficacy remained at 85 percent for people age 70 and older four years after vaccination.
  • Researchers at Georgia State University discovered rare-earth elements in Georgia Kaolin mines. 'When we saw the results, it put smiles on both myself and my grad students, Daniel Gardner's face, and said wow we've got something really good here,' says Dr. W. Crawford Elliott, senior author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Georgia State.
  • Veterinarians are at higher risk of suicide, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study finds female veterinarians are 3.5 times as likely to take their own lives, and male vets were more than 2 times more likely that the general population. 75 percent of the veterinarians who died by suicide worked at a small animal practice. Most vets work long hours, struggle with balancing work and home life and have access to euthanasia.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration sends out a warning to parents about the safety risks that jewelry used for relieving teething pain pose for children. The items should not be used to relieve teething pain in children or to provide sensory stimulation to persons with special needs, such as autism or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The FDA has received reports of death and serious injuries to infants and children, including strangulation and choking, caused by teething jewelry, such as amber teething necklaces.
  • Researchers at Georgia State University say a skin vaccination using a micro-needle patch that contains the inactivated respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and a compound that stimulates immune responses to the virus have been found to enhance protection against this serious disease. It also reduces inflammation in the body after exposure. It was tested in mice. The findings are being called promising.
  • The high cost of insulin is putting a strain on many Americans. Some are having to make life-threatening decisions, to buy their insulin or pay for food and shelter. The cost of insulin nearly tripled from 2002 to 2013 and has doubled again since then. 56-year-old , Philip Anderson is a type 2 diabetic. He says his insulin has gone up 100 percent over the past 3 years. 'My insurance was paying less and less so my out of pocket was more and more each time,' says Anderson.

News

  • A day after travelers waited nearly 90 minutes in snail-speed security lines at the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's mayor is concerned about the waits that could result when the city hosts the 2019 Super Bowl. The ongoing partial government shutdown is 'uncharted territory' amid planning for one of the world's biggest sporting events, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Tuesday. 'Obviously, we are in uncharted territory with the shutdown that's gone on this long, and we are preparing as best we can from our vantage point,' Bottoms said. The mayor and others at a Tuesday news conference said two years of planning have them well-prepared to protect the public. 'Our goal is for our officers to be visible, for the public to feel safe, be safe, and be able to position ourselves so that we can react immediately to whatever scenario we are confronted with,' Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said. 'I think that with anything you can go in with a spirit of confidence if you have prepared, and we have prepared well.' But the government shutdown is a wild card that arose relatively late in that planning process. 'Certainly there are factors that we don't control such as what's happening with our federal government shutdown and with the long TSA lines,' Bottoms said. 'We are continuing to encourage people to get to the airport very early.' The expected crush of travelers is significantly more than normal. On a typical day, 60,000 to 80,000 passengers are screened at Atlanta's airport before departing, airport statistics show. On Feb. 4, the day Bottoms calls 'Mass Exodus Monday,' about 110,000 passengers are expected to be departing from Atlanta's airport one day after the Super Bowl. The partial government shutdown has meant missed paychecks for Transportation Security Administration screeners at airports nationwide. TSA workers have been calling in sick at a rate that's been twice what it normally is, the agency has said. That's led to a shortage of screeners at some airports across the country. No-shows among screeners jumped Sunday and again Monday. The TSA had a national absence rate of nearly 7 percent Monday, compared to 2.5 percent on a comparable day a year ago, the agency reported Tuesday after getting complete numbers on the absences. A chaotic scene unfolded at Atlanta's airport on Monday, the first business day after screeners did not receive a paycheck for the first time. Mondays are typically busy for the airport as Atlanta business travelers depart for the work week, and some security lanes went unstaffed as lines backed up. Atlanta passengers led the nation Monday in terms of longest screening delays: The 'maximum standard wait time' was 88 minutes, the TSA reported. Passengers who went through TSA PreCheck — an expedited screening program which is typically faster than regular lines — waited 55 minutes, statistics showed.
  • After a dramatic ending to a sentencing hearing on Monday, Channel 2 Action News has learned former Mayor Kasim Reed’s top aide, Katrina Taylor Parks, made nearly a dozen recordings related to the bribery probe at Atlanta City Hall. As a judge read the sentence against Park on Monday, she passed out and was taken out of court on a stretcher.  In August, Parks pleaded guilty to taking bribes from a city vendor in exchange for city work.  In court, prosecutors reveled parks took $15,000 in cash and gifts over an 18-month period starting in 2013 and lied to FBI about it at least twice. Why experts say those recordings were not enough to keep her out of prison, on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m.
  • Washington state's lieutenant governor declined to preside at Gov. Jay Inslee's State of the State speech Tuesday, saying he was concerned people might bring concealed weapons to the joint session of the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat, noted that the state House of Representatives, where the speech was given, does not have a policy banning concealed weapons, The Daily Herald newspaper of Everett reported . 'There is no specific threat to me. There is no specific threat we know of, period,' Habib said. 'It's about the policy.' The House and Senate ban openly carried weapons in their galleries, and in the Senate, where Habib is the presiding officer; he extended that ban to cover concealed weapons as well. Habib, who is blind, said he was concerned the House policy leaves elected officials vulnerable. Other statewide elected officials, from the nine Washington Supreme Court justices to the commissioner of public lands, attended. In an emailed response, the office of the chief House clerk, Bernard Dean, called Habib's decision regrettable. 'Washington state law is clear: Properly licensed concealed carry permit holders are allowed to carry concealed weapons on the state capitol campus, including the galleries,' the statement said. 'Absent any specific security issue, and in accordance with the law, the House kept the galleries open so that the public could see its government in action.' Democratic Rep. John Lovick, of Mill Creek, the speaker pro tem in the House, presided over the joint legislative session for Inslee's speech in Habib's absence. Inslee, who is mulling a possible 2020 Democratic presidential bid, highlighted climate as his top issue in his annual address to lawmakers, who started their 105-day legislative session this week. ___ Information from: The Daily Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. [READ MORE: Government shutdown becomes longest in U.S. history] Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday seeking aide. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. Channel 2's Tom Jones has the full interview with Pastor Bryant on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines