Putin on Syria, Pentagon Blames Russian Trolls, Egg Recall, and More!

This is the transcript for The Morning Brew for April 16, 2018.

You can see it for 14 days on Twitch here.

Archived and edited on YouTube here.

Putin predicts global ‘chaos’ if West hits Syria again

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Friday night, President Trump at 9:01 PM EST announced that he ordered a “precise” attack in Syria. In the hour long attack, both France and Britain joined in with the U.S.. In all 105 missile were launched to destroy Syrian’s chemical warfare capabilities. They targeted and destroyed a research facility, a manufacturer plant and storage facility. This was in response to an April 7 alleged chemical attack in Douma. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions on Monday. The Western countries blame Assad for the Douma attack that killed dozens of people. The Syrian government and its ally Russia have denied involvement in any such attack. The bombings marked the biggest intervention by Western countries against Assad and it’s ally Russia.The United States, France and Britain have said the missile strikes were not aimed at toppling Assad or intervening in the civil war. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday that he had convinced Trump, who previously said he wanted to take U.S. forces out of Syria, to stay for “the long term.” President Trump still wants troops to come home that is after Isis is defeated and other countries in the region help and step up so the United States is no longer needed in Syria.

Assad told a group of visiting Russian lawmakers that the Western missile strikes were an act of aggression, Russian news agencies reported. They also quoted the lawmakers as saying that Assad was in a “good mood,” had praised the Soviet-era air defense systems Syria used to repel the Western attacks and had accepted an invitation to visit Russia at an unspecified time.

France, the United States and Britain circulated a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council late on Saturday that aims to establish an independent inquiry into who is responsible for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The mechanism would look at cases where the OPCW fact-finding mission has established chemical weapons were used or likely used. Diplomats said negotiations on the draft resolution would begin on Monday and it was not immediately clear when the United States, France and Britain wanted to put it to a vote.


Pentagon claims 2,000% increase in Russian trolls after Syria strikes. What does that mean?

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The Pentagon claimed a 2,000% increase in Russian troll activity on social media following the U.S.-led missile strikes against Syria Friday night. Spokeswoman Dana White said in Saturday’s Pentagon briefing that the activity escalated during the 24 hours following the strike. “The Russian disinformation campaign has already begun,” White said. Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy  says her organization’s Hamilton 68 dashboard has tracked “a concerted campaign to present alternative narratives to sow doubt about the evidence that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack. It is good that the Pentagon is tracking this and raising awareness about it, a key step in raising our defenses,” she said in an email. “But it remains unclear what the U.S. is doing to combat Russia’s disinformation efforts, which continue unabated in an effort to shape American’s (and European’s) debates on a wide range of issues.” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. said in a statement Saturday.Americans need to understand that the wars of the future will look more like this: Russia is investing significant resources to create propaganda and disinformation,” “The fog of war will not be limited to our situation rooms and battlefields. Our enemies will work to create confusion and distrust among Americans here at home.”


Dangerous South Carolina prison secured after ‘mass casualty incident,’ officials say

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(Breaking News.)

One of South Carolina’s most dangerous prisons was secured early Monday after a “mass casualty incident” involving multiple inmates at several housing units, officials said. Lee Correctional Institution was secured at around 2:55 a.m. after incident involving inmates in three housing units, the South Carolina Department of Corrections wrote on Twitter. The incident started at around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. All prison staff and responding law enforcement were safe after the incident. In March, inmates at the prison held an officer hostage after taking control of a dorm room, The State reported. The inmates held the officer for about 25 minutes before it was secured by law enforcement. In February, an inmate was killed by another inmate in a fight.


Storms unleash tornadoes in U.S. east, record snow in Midwest


Deadly slow-moving storms generated record or near-record snowfall and low temperatures in the U.S. Midwest and tornadoes further east on Sunday, leaving airline travelers stranded and thousands without power. In Michigan about 310,000 homes and businesses were without power because of an ice storm, most of them in the southeast of the state. Large areas in Detroit are also without power and DTE Energy said it wouldn’t be till Tuesday till the electricity is restored.  The worst of the snow was focused on the upper Great Lakes, with Green Bay, Wisconsin, seeing its second largest snowstorm ever after 23.2 inches (60 cm) fell as of Sunday afternoon. For the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, the April monthly record for snowfall of 21.8 inches (55 cm) was surpassed on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Two tornadoes tore up trees and ripped apart homes in Greensboro and in Reidsville, North Carolina, killing a motorist who was hit by a tree, according to Greensboro’s city manager, local media reported. The storms stretched from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest and were moving into the Northeast and New England.

On Friday, the weather system produced 17 reports of tornadoes in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Texas, with four people injured and 160 buildings damaged in a possible tornado in northwest Arkansas, local media reported. The weather was blamed for two traffic deaths in western Nebraska and Wisconsin. The storms also killed a one-year-old girl when a tree fell on a recreational vehicle where she was sleeping, the sheriff’s office in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, said. By Sunday night, 1,804 flights had been canceled into or out of U.S. airports, the website flightaware.com reported, including 148 flights in or out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.


More Than 200 Million Eggs Recalled Over Salmonella Fears

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Here is the FDA Announcement and all the products affected at this link, https://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm604640.htm

A company has recalled more than 200 million eggs after an outbreak of salmonella was traced to one of its farms in North Carolina. The federal Food and Drug Administration reported Friday that eggs from the affected farm were distributed to nine states — Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia — and were likely connected to 22 reported cases of salmonella infections. The agency learned about a cluster of salmonella outbreaks in multiple states last month, Their investigations led them to an egg farm in Hyde County, N.C., owned by Rose Acre Farms of Seymour, Ind. The affected farm has paused its egg distribution and the F.D.A. urged consumers to check their purchases and avoid eating eggs that might be contaminated. Eggs from the North Carolina farm were sold to restaurants and in supermarkets under multiple brand names, including Coburn Farms, Country Daybreak, Food Lion, Glenview, Great Value, Nelms and Sunshine Farms. The egg cartons affected by the recall should be labeled with the plant number P-1065, with packing dates ranging from 011 through 102. (That is according to the Julian number system that many egg companies use to record packing dates. It means Jan. 11 through April 12.) The C.D.C. estimates that salmonella infections — the vast majority of them from food — cause about 1.2 million illnesses and 450 deaths every year in the United States.


R. Lee Ermey, ‘Full Metal Jacket’ Golden Globe Nominee, Dies at 74

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R. Lee Ermey, best known for his Golden Globe-nominated portrayal of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in “Full Metal Jacket,” has died. He was 74. Ermey’s longtime manager announced the news via a tweet to Ermey’s official Twitter account.

“It is with great sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (‘The Gunny’) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us,” the tweet reads.

In addition to his role in Stanley Kubrick’s Oscar-nominated film, which earned him a best supporting actor Golden Globe nod, Ermey had several other mostly authority figure roles to his credit, including Sheriff Hoyt in 2003’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” a police captain in “Se7en,” and the voice of the plastic army men’s leader Sarge in “Toy Story.” Ermey was a former United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and honorary gunnery sergeant, and served as a drill instructor during his tenure from 1961-1972. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for one year until 1968, when he was moved to Vietnam and spent 14 months in country. His first film role occurred when he was studying in the Philippines, and he played a First Air Cavalry chopper pilot in “Apocalypse Now,” also serving as a technical adviser to Francis Ford Coppola. He had a series of other small roles until his casting in 1987’s “Full Metal Jacket.”

Ermey was originally meant to function only as a technical adviser to Kubrick, but when Kubrick was impressed by an instructional tape Ermey put together in which he went on long rants at extras, he instead cast him in the role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. Kubrick allowed Ermey to improvise and write or edit his dialogue, and he said Ermey often only needed two or three takes to finish a scene — both unusual for Kubrick films. All told, Ermey had roles in some 60-plus films, as well as several voice credits, including “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Simpsons,” and “Family Guy.” On top of his voice acting, he hosted two programs for the History Channel: “Mail Call,” in which he provided expertise on military issues, both modern and historic, and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey,” which focused on the development of different types of weapons.


Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

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“Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care,” spokesman Jim McGrath said in a news release. She has been treated for decades for Graves’ disease, which is a thyroid condition, had heart surgery in 2009 for a severe narrowing of her main heart valve and was hospitalized a year before that for surgery on a perforated ulcer. Bush, who is at home in Houston, is one of only two first ladies who was also the mother of a president. The other was Abigail Adams, wife of John Adams, the nation’s second president, and mother of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president. Bush married George H.W. Bush on Jan. 6, 1945. They had six children and have been married longer than any presidential couple in American history. Eight years after she and her husband left the White House, Mrs. Bush stood with her husband as their son George W. was sworn in as the 43rd president. Her 93-year-old husband, the nation’s 41st president who served from 1989 to 1993, also has had health issues in recent years. In April 2017, he was hospitalized in Houston for two weeks for a mild case of pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. He was hospitalized months earlier, also for pneumonia. He has a form of Parkinson’s disease and uses a motorized scooter or a wheelchair for mobility. Before being president, he served as a congressman, CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s vice president.


Australia flesh-eating ulcer ‘a mystery’ 

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Victoria has seen a spike in recent cases of the Buruli ulcer, Doctors in Australia have called for urgent research into why a flesh-eating ulcer has become a “worsening epidemic” in the state of Victoria. It is a skin disease most commonly found in Africa,that have surged by 400% in the last four years, experts say. Infections have also become more severe and spread to new areas. Doctors do not know how to prevent the disease, which is caused by bacteria that breaks down tissue.

A record 275 new infections were recorded in the state last year, marking a 51% increase on 2016.

What is the Buruli ulcer? A skin disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium ulcerans. The bacteria emits toxins that destroy skin cells, small blood vessels and the fat under the skin, leading to ulcers forming and skin loss. The ulcer gets bigger with time and can lead to permanent disfigurement or disability. It usually affects limbs but can also be found on the face and body. Doctors do not know how the disease is transmitted to humans but it’s believed to arise from the environment and soil. There are also theories that mosquitoes can carry the bacteria. The ulcers are difficult to treat and patients often experience a recovery period of between six and 12 months. Many people also have to undergo reconstructive surgery. Victorian health authorities say they have spent more than a $1 million (£550,000; $780,000) on researching the disease, and have started education campaigns to raise awareness about it.

Until a few years ago, infections were more commonly reported from tropical regions in Queensland with occasional cases in other states. The disease is more commonly found in rural West Africa, Central Africa, New Guinea, Latin America and tropical regions of Asia. In the developing world, the disease is associated with wetlands and stagnant water, however in Australia cases have largely been reported from coastal regions.


Black bear cubs rescued by Virginia trooper after mother killed in crash

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Two black bear cubs have their full lives ahead of them thanks to the help of a Virginia State Trooper on Thursday. The law enforcement agency said Trooper DH Cepelnik rescued the cubs after their mother was struck and killed by a vehicle in Franklin County, located south of Roanoke. Cepelnik was “#JustDoingHisJob” when he rescued the two small animals, police posted on Twitter. The two cubs are now safe and sound, and are receiving care at the Wildlife Center of Virginia.



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