HOTTOPIC: Trump administration moves to eliminate food stamps for 700,000

The US Department of Agriculture has finalized a rule tightening work requirements for government food assistance. The administration of United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said it will make it harder for states to keep men and women in the country’s food stamp program, a move that is projected to end benefits for nearly 700,000 people. Trump has argued that many Americans receiving food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, do not need it given the strong economy and low unemployment. The program provides free…

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HOTTOPIC: How come Donald Trump won if Hillary Clinton got more votes?

Many Americans wonder why Donald Trump became president after the 2016 election, since Hillary Clinton got more votes overall.                     Curious Kids is a series for children of all ages. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to CuriousKidsUS@theconversation.com. How come Donald Trump won if Hillary Clinton got more votes? Ellen T., 8, Cambridge, Massachusetts In fact, Clinton got as many votes in 2016 as Barack Obama did in 2012. Hers were concentrated in fewer…

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HOTTOPIC: Big Oil Needs to Pay for the Damage It Caused

Climate change disproportionately affects poor people and people of color. They should be compensated for their suffering. This month in a Manhattan courthouse, New York State’s attorney general Letitia James argued that ExxonMobil should be held accountable for layers of lies about climate change. It’s a landmark moment—one of the  first times that Big Oil is having to answer for its actions—and James deserves great credit for bringing it to trial. But it comes with a deep irony: Under the relevant New York statutes, the only people that New York…

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HOTTOPIC: Hate crime violence in US hit 16-year high in 2018: FBI

The annual report found that the number of victims in anti-Latino or Hispanic hate crimes increased more than 21 percent. Violence resulting from bias or prejudice in the United States reached a 16-year high last year, the FBI said on Tuesday, with the number of victims in anti-Latino or Hispanic hate crimes rising more than 21 percent. The data coincides with an ongoing debate over President Donald Trump‘s hardline immigration policies and follows the August 2019 mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, when the suspected gunman told…

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HOTTOPIC: Fruity or minty? Vape flavors most popular with teens may be ban

Prohibition could cover all flavors, but e-cigarette advocates want to exempt at least mint and menthol for adults. Mint and menthol are among the most popular e-cigarette flavors with young users, according to U.S. government survey data that could weigh on a decision about whether or not to ban the flavors. The 2019 National Youth Tobacco Survey, produced by the Food and Drug Administration and published Nov. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows e-cigarette use remains highly prevalent among teenagers who start as early as middle…

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HOTTOPIC: Don’t get scammed by cheap clothing sites

It’s called “fast fashion” — rapidly producing for the masses the trends showcased by top designers, often using cheap materials and sketchy labor practices. Clothes appear online or in stores for hundreds less than designer brands, but their poor quality means they don’t last long. And the cycle starts again. Fast fashion brands’ ads overwhelm websites and social media. Names like Modlily, Dresslily, Lilligal and Rosegal (yep, many are soundalikes) tout images of svelte models in stunning gowns or chic girls in the latest boho looks — as well as…

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HOTTOPIC: Residents, celebrities forced to flee as California burns

As firefighters work to tackle blazes, authorities warn of worse to come with no rain and high winds forecast. Fires swept through the hills of Los Angeles where many celebrities live on Monday, destroying several large homes and forcing thousands of people to flee, as a blaze in California’s wine country in the United States exploded in size. The flames that roared up a steep hillside near the J Paul Getty Museum in the Los Angeles’ district of Brentwood showed the scale of the danger the state faces amid strong…

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HOTTOPIC: New York inmate who died of heart attack was ‘beaten by guards’

Four inmates at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility say they saw John McMillon, 67, brutally beaten by guards. Inmates at an upstate New York prison are contradicting an official report that a fellow inmate, who would soon be eligible to be released on parole after spending 25 years behind bars, died of a heart attack in January while being restrained by guards. In a report published by the New York Times on Thursday, four inmates at the Great Meadow Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Comstock, told the paper they…

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HOTTOPIC: Colleges prohibiting medical cannabis on campus face lawsuits

Students who use medical cannabis are challenging decades-old campus drug policies. Colleges in the United States are becoming a battleground in the conflict between federal and state cannabis laws as students who use medical cannabis challenge decades-old campus drug policies. In states where medical cannabis is legal, students disciplined for using it are taking their schools to court. College officials argue they could lose federal funding for failing to follow federal law that labels cannabis an illegal drug with no accepted medical use. Sheida Assar said she was expelled from…

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HOTTOPIC: For Black Friday, Lakefront Brewery adds a limited-edition $100 bottle of beer

Lakefront Brewery will offer four varieties of specialty beers during its Black Friday event this year. (Photo: Lakefront Brewery, Inc.) Lakefront Brewery switches up its annual Black Friday bottle release with four varieties of its trademark stout for $20 each and a limited-edition bottle of stout for $100 each. The limited-edition stout has been aging in barrels since 2014 — five years and 10 months, to be precise. It comes in a 750-milliliter bottle. Only 100 bottles of the limited-edition beer will be available during the sale. Lakefront, 1872 N. Commerce St.,…

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HOTTOPIC: School calls rape-awareness note bullying, suspends student

Aela, 15, is taking a Maine school district to court for suspending her over a note drawing attention to sexual assault. A 15-year-old girl was suspended for bullying after trying to draw attention to what she believed was an unaddressed problem of sexual assaults involving students at her high school. Now, she is taking the school district to court. Aela Mansmann, a 15-year-old sophomore at Cape Elizabeth High School outside Portland, Maine, has been at odds with Cape Elizabeth Schools for a month after posting a note in a toilet…

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HOTTOPIC: Find help to quit vaping and smoking

Federal and state officials have reported hundreds of total possible cases of pulmonary disease and several deaths that may be related to vaping. Yale Medicine in early September shared what it deemed a “startling” statistic: More than 3.6 million middle- and high-school students currently use e-cigarettes. The report explained vaping — to inhale vapor created from a liquid heated up inside a device — and pointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s current warnings regarding health risks: “Federal and state officials have reported hundreds of total possible cases…

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HOTTOPIC: Prevention tips for cold and flu

Definitely avoid, when possible, close contact with sick people. Many pharmacies and even grocery stores already tout signage and advertisements announcing the beginning of cold and flu season and the need for protective flu shots. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides comprehensive information on the 2019-20 influenza season at cdc.gov/flu, and emphasizes some ways to avoid getting the flu in the first place: ‒ Avoid, when possible, close contact with sick people. ‒ While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible. ‒ Especially when experiencing the…

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HOTTOPIC: US-Mexico border wall poses ‘severe environmental threat’

Bulldozers are clearing the way to build a new wall that may come with an enormous environmental cost. Bulldozers are clearing the way to build a new wall on the border between Mexico and the United States. The wall is a $5bn commitment by US President Donald Trump to stop asylum seekers getting into the US. But experts say the environmental cost of the wall may be enormous too, as well as irreversible. Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports from northern Mexico.

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HOTTOPIC: Which is more important to recognize, emojis or road signs?

If you were to take a quiz to test your ability to identify common emojis and road signs, how do you think you’d fare? According to the results from a recent survey by Mercury Insurance, 1,890 respondents did not do so well. The meaning of the “yawning” emoji was correctly identified by 85% of the respondents, but only 31% of quiz-takers correctly identified the meaning of the “lane reduction” road sign. Additionally, 71% knew the “in love” emoji, but the “keep right” road sign was correctly identified by only 51%…

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