They are requesting data, plans and other information from Juul related to its popularity among youth and its relationship with tobacco giant Altria, which invested nearly $13 billion in the company late last year.
The Altria deal signaled that Juul is “more interested in padding its profit margins than protecting our nation’s children,” says the letter, signed by Democrats including Dick Durbin of Illinois, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
Juul ramped up nicotine levels, and competitors followed, study says

“Altria has a long and sordid history of spending billions to entice children to smoke through targeted campaigns that intentionally lied about the science and health effects from cigarettes,” the letter says.
The move comes as Dr. Scott Gottlieb — who took a strong stance against underage vaping as commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration — stepped down Friday, prompting questions about how aggressively the agency will continue to pursue the issue under new leadership.
“Incoming Acting FDA Commissioner [Dr. Ned] Sharpless must, on day one, work to protect our nation’s children from a lifetime of nicotine addiction by putting the full force of FDA behind this effort,” Durbin said in a statement.
“An epidemic must be dealt with immediately, not months or years from now,” he said.
The senators are pressing Juul for detailed information on its sales and ad spending; how the company plans to keep underage people from seeing its ads or buying its products; new business dealings that emerged after the Altria announcement; how the company plans to verify ages and prevent people from ordering in bulk online; and what financial ties the company has to the “conservative-leaning and anti-regulation organizations” that wrote to President Trump in February, hoping to hamper the FDA’s crackdown.
#JUUL: How social media hyped nicotine for a new generation

#JUUL: How social media hyped nicotine for a new generation

In addition, the lawmakers requested a complete list of “social media influencers” paid by Juul to publicize its brand. A CNN investigation in December shed light on Juul’s influencer program and identified several of the social media users who participated. At the time, a representative for Juul said that the company had abandoned that program, describing it as small and short-lived. But now the senators want to know whether the company conducted this business in line with Federal Trade Commission regulations.
CNN has reached out to Juul for comment on the letter, which was addressed to its CEO, Kevin Burns. The senators requested a response by April 25.
Juul has maintained that its products are intended to convert adult former smokers to what it describes as a less-harmful alternative. It says it has taken steps to curb underage use, as well. But in the wake of the Altria deal, the senators say, Juul “has lost what little remaining credibility the company had when it claimed to care about the public health.”
FDA investigates reports of seizures after vaping

FDA investigates reports of seizures after vaping

The FDA revealed in November that vaping had increased nearly 80% among high schoolers and 50% among middle schoolers since the year before. Public health experts say that Juul has largely propelled the rise, holding about 75% of the e-cigarette market in the United States.
Experts worry that e-cigarettes could put kids’ developing brains at risk, get them hooked on nicotine early in life and be a gateway to smoking and other drugs.
The FDA has been conducting its own investigation into e-cigarette companies in an effort to uncover whether they are marketing products illegally and outside the agency’s compliance policy. The agency also conducted a surprise inspection of Juul’s San Francisco headquarters in October, seizing thousands of documents, many of which relate to its sales and marketing practices.
Most of the same senators also wrote to Juul last year, pressing the company to take swift action to keep its nicotine-filled products out of kids’ hands — but they have been disappointed by the lack of progress made since then, the lawmakers said.
“While you and your investors may be perfectly content with hooking an entire new generation of children on your tobacco products in order to increase your profit margins,” the letter says, “we will not rest until your dangerous products are out of the hands of our nation’s children.”
The DHS is a sprawling giant of 22 agencies that merged together in the wake of 9/11. The department’s 240,000 employees handle everything from hurricanes to cyber security to border security to terrorism.
As secretary of homeland security, a lot of things can happen on your watch: A botched response to a hurricane, or a serious cyber attack, or a major terrorist assault, or rising numbers of migrant families trying to cross the southern border.
That’s why in the past the top job at DHS has gone to a party elder skilled in politics, such as the former governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, who served in the role during President Obama’s first term or, the former governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, who served under George W. Bush.
How border hardliners nudged out Nielsen

If it wasn’t a skilled politician who took the top DHS job, it went to officials who had served at the highest levels of policy-making or the US military such as the Bush-appointed Michael Chertoff, who ran the criminal division at the Department of Justice where he oversaw the investigation of the 9/11 attacks.
During his second term Obama appointed Jeh Johnson, who had been the top lawyer at the Pentagon, while Trump appointed Gen. John Kelly, the former four-star general in charge of Southern Command, which is responsible for all US military operations in Latin America.
Kirstjen Nielsen was neither a political heavyweight nor had she served in senior policy or military roles when she took over DHS.
Nielsen had worked at the George W. Bush White House in a relatively junior role for three years and then had gone into the private sector for more than a decade. When Kelly was tapped by Trump to run DHS, Nielsen was appointed to be his “sherpa” during his confirmation process.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster exposes Trump's immigration crisis

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster exposes Trump's immigration crisis

Kelly was impressed and made Nielsen his chief of staff at DHS. When Kelly moved to the White House to serve as Trump’s chief of staff, Kelly brought Nielsen over to be his deputy. Kelly then pushed for Nielsen to take over DHS.
Like so many other top Trump officials, Kelly was eventually forced out and in December he left the White House. Kelly had served as a heat shield for Nielsen, who sometimes bore the brunt of Trump’s ire. The President blew up at her at a Cabinet meeting last spring because she was hesitant to sign a memo ordering migrant children to be separated from their parents, according to the New York Times.
In October, Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton had a curse-laden shouting match at the White House about the rising number of migrant crossings at the southern border. Bolton told Kelly that Nielsen needed to do her job, which led to the heated argument in which Kelly defended his former deputy, according to CNN.
With Kelly gone, Nielsen no longer had an advocate at the White House. She became Trump’s scapegoat for the rising number of migrant families trying to cross the southern border in recent months.
Many of those families are fleeing the violence and economic travail of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and there isn’t much that any DHS secretary can do to try to stem the flow of migrants willing to leave everything behind to seek a better future in the United States.
Almost a century ago one such desperate migrant, Mary Anne MacLeod, left the Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland, one of the most poverty-stricken parts of Europe, to find work as a servant in New York. Mary later married Fred Trump. They had five children, including a son named Donald.
Trying to dissuade migrants such as Mary Anne MacLeod from leaving countries where they see no future to seek their fortune in the United States is likely beyond the ken of any secretary of homeland security.
“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump said in a statement that described the IRGC as “the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
Iran warned this weekend that if the US went ahead with the designation, Tehran would retaliate by designating the US military as a terrorist organization in return.
Iranian parliamentarian Seyed Jawad Sadatinejad told Iran’s state-run FARS News on Saturday, “If any stupidity is carried out by the Americans, the Islamic Republic of Iran will practice reciprocity and designate the US military, which has killed many innocent people, to the list of terrorist groups.” He said Iran could then treat US troops in the region the same way they treated terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, reports FARS News.
The designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.
This story is breaking and will be updated
Recruiting a Wall Street executive is “automatically going to draw the ire of a significant percentage” of the US Senate and House of Representatives, Buffett told the Financial Times in an interview that published on Sunday. “And that’s just not smart.”
The comments from Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) owns nearly 10% of Wells Fargo, underline the deep political and reputational troubles at one of America’s largest banks. Tim Sloan stepped down abruptly as CEO late last month after failing to stop the bank’s two-and-a-half-year crisis.
Wells Fargo (WFC) pledged to find an outsider to replace Sloan, a three-decade veteran of the bank who despite efforts to fix the bank was stained by its cultural problems.
“They just have to come from someplace [outside Wells] and they shouldn’t come from Wall Street,” Buffett told the FT. “They probably shouldn’t come from JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs.”
That would exclude several individuals who have emerged in press reports or analyst chatter as replacements for Sloan.
For instance, former Goldman Sachs (GS) execs Gary Cohn and Harvey Schwartz have been linked in media reports to the Wells Fargo job. Both have denied interest.
And analysts have floated the possibility of Marianne Lake, the well-respected CFO of JPMorgan (JPM), as a replacement for Sloan. Lake would be the first woman to lead one of the big US banks.
Wells Fargo's CEO is out. Here's how the bank can end its crisis

Buffett’s comments do not rule out the possibility that San Francisco-based Wells Fargo could turn to another rumored name: Richard Davis, the former CEO of US Bancorp (USB). Davis doesn’t come from Wall Street and he’s even got roots in California.
Wells Fargo declined to comment.
Buffett continues to express optimism in Wells Fargo’s underlying business despite the harm done by the fake-accounts scandal that erupted in September 2016.
“If you look at Wells, through this whole thing they’re uncovering a whole lot of problems, but they aren’t losing any customers to speak of,” said Buffett, whose firm at the end of 2018 owned more than 400 million Wells Fargo shares currently worth about $21 billion.
But Wells Fargo’s business has been hurt by rising legal fees, a tarnished reputation and tough sanctions from federal regulators.
“This unprecedented step, led by the Department of State, recognizes the reality that Iran is not only a State Sponsor of Terrorism, but that the IRGC actively participates in, finances, and promotes terrorism as a tool of statecraft,” Trump said in a statement that described the IRGC as “the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign.”
Iran warned this weekend that if the US went ahead with the designation, Tehran would retaliate by designating the US military as a terrorist organization in return.
Iranian parliamentarian Seyed Jawad Sadatinejad told Iran’s state-run FARS News on Saturday, “If any stupidity is carried out by the Americans, the Islamic Republic of Iran will practice reciprocity and designate the US military, which has killed many innocent people, to the list of terrorist groups.” He said Iran could then treat US troops in the region the same way they treated terror groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda, reports FARS News.
The designation will be the first time that the United States has ever named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.
This story is breaking and will be updated

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The singer has signed an agreement with Adidas to relaunch Ivy Park, her athleisure line previously sold at Topshop. As part of the deal, Knowles will become a creative partner for the company, developing new footwear and clothes for Adidas.
Knowles called the opportunity a “partnership of a lifetime” in a release. Her new collection of products will be based on the singer’s “meaningful and rich storytelling.”
Her Ivy Park collection launched at Topshop in April 2016 as a joint venture. Products ranged from $25 tank tops to $265 full-length body suits.
Ivy Park bought out its remaining stake from Topshop’s parent company, Arcadia Group, last year, after Arcadia’s billionaire chairman, Philip Green, was named in the UK parliament as the subject of abuse claims. He denied the claims, saying “to the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.”
Adidas added that the partnership “respects Beyoncé’s ownership of her company which continues her journey as one of the first black women to be the sole owner of an athleisure brand.”
Retailers like Adidas sign on celebrity endorsers and partners to help attract customers to their brands. For example, Walmart partnered with Ellen DeGeneres last year to develop EV1, an exclusive clothing line. Martha Stewart has a line of home goods designed exclusively for Macy’s. And sports brands like Nike, Under Armour and Adidas sign contracts with athletes to wear and pitch their clothing.
Tech companies hire celebrity partners too: Intel hired singer will.i.am as its director of creative innovation in 2011, and BlackBerry hired Alicia Keys as a creative director in 2013.
Although it’s unclear how involved Knowles will be in Adidas’ day-to-day operations, she is more than a celebrity endorser. Knowles has her own record label and invests in women’s health startups.
Similar groups of five gathered around bodies on the other 15 tables in the anatomy class, all eager to explore the mysteries of the human body they had only seen in textbooks.
The cadaver assigned to Nielsen’s team was a 99-year-old woman who had died of natural causes. Her name was Rose Marie Bentley, but the students didn’t know that then. To honor and respect the privacy of those who offer their bodies to science, no further details are given medical students about the person who had once inhabited the body lying on the silvery slab before them.
Rose Marie Bentley, not long before she died and donated her body to science.

But as the students and their professors were soon to find out, Rose Marie Bentley was special, so special she deserved her own unique spot in medical literature and history books.
The reason? A condition called situs inversus with levocardia, in which most vital organs are reversed — almost like a mirror inside the body. That, along with a host of other weird but wonderful abnormalities, made Rose Marie Bentley a sort of medical unicorn.
“I think the odds of finding another person like her may be as remote as one in 50 million,” said assistant professor Cameron Walker, who teaches the Foundations of Clinical Anatomy class at OHSU. “I don’t think any of us will ever forget it, honestly.”

‘This is totally backwards’

On this March day the assignment was to open the body’s chest cavity to examine the heart. It wasn’t long before Nielsen’s group began to question their fledgling medical knowledge.
“Her heart was missing a large vein that’s normally on the right side,” Nielsen said.
Bewildered, he and his team called the professors over and asked: “Where’s the interior vena cava? Are we missing it? Are we crazy?”
“And they kind of rolled their eyes,” Nielsen said, “Like, ‘how can these students miss this big vessel?’ And they come over and that’s when the hubbub starts. They’re like ‘Oh my God, this is totally backwards!’ “
A typical body has a large vein called the vena cava that follows the right side of the vertebral column, curving under the liver and emptying deoxygenated blood into the heart.

Rose Marie’s vein was on the left, and instead of terminating directly into the heart, which is typical, “her vein continued through her diaphragm, along the thoracic vertebrae, up and around and over the aortic arch and then emptied into the right side of her heart,” said Walker.
“Normally speaking, none of us have a vessel that does that directly,” Walker added.
That wasn’t the only irregularity Walker and his students found in Rose Marie’s body.
Numerous veins which typically drain the liver and other parts of the chest cavity were either missing or sprouting from an unusual spot. Her right lung had only two lobes, instead of the standard three, while the right atrium of her heart was twice normal size.
“And instead of having a stomach on the left, which is normal, her stomach was on the right,” Walker said. “Her liver, which normally occurs predominantly on the right, was predominantly on the left. Her spleen was on the right side instead of its normal occurrence on the left. And then the rest of her digestive tract, the ascending colon, was inverted as well.”

The mutations in situs inversus with levocardia occur early, Walker explained, possibly between 30 and 45 days into the pregnancy. No one knows why.
The condition occurs in only one out of 22,000 babies, and is invariably associated with severe congenital heart disease. Because of the heart defects, only 5% to 13% live past the age of five; case reports mention one 13-year-old boy, and a 73-year-old who at the time was the second longest survivor.
But Rose Marie was an anomaly, one of the few born with the condition that didn’t have heart defects, Walker said.
“That is almost certainly the factor that contributed most to her long life,” he said.
And that, along with all her other exceedingly rare anatomical abnormalities, is what makes Rose Marie one in 50 million, Walker estimated.

‘Mom would have been so tickled’

Rose Marie Phelps was born in 1918 in Waldport, a small town on the Oregon coast. The youngest child of four, “she was babied,” said daughter Patti Helmig, who at 78 is the oldest of Rose Marie’s five children. “She would admit she was spoiled.”
A hairdresser by trade, Rose Marie was always fascinated by science, Helmig remembered, and believes her mother would have made a fine nurse if she had been given the opportunity to train.
“She volunteered during World War II for one of the nurse’s aid corps,” Helmig said. “And she was thrilled when someone reached out to her about doing a study on smallpox survivors, which she had as a child.”
Rose Marie with a big catch.

Rose Marie with a big catch.

Despite chronic heartburn [which would have been explained by her unusual gastric anatomy], Rose Marie never showed any negative effects from her flip-flopped innards, said 76-year-old Ginger Robbins, the third of Rose Marie’s children.
“We had no reason to believe there was anything like that wrong,” Robbins said. “She was always very healthy. She was always doing something, taking us to Campfire Girls, fishing, swimming. She was an excellent swimmer.”
The only clue anything might be unusual came when Rose Marie’s appendix was removed, said 66-year-old Louise Allee, the fourth-born child and youngest of the daughters.
“The surgeon made a note that her appendix wasn’t in the right spot when they took it out,” Allee said, “but never said anything to us. Nobody said a thing when they took her gallbladder out and did a hysterectomy, either.”
The decision to become a body donor began with Jim Bentley, Rose Marie’s husband, but she too “thought it was the greatest thing,” Allee remembers.
“There was a poem that my dad found and it was all about donating your parts,” she said. “You know, give my eyes to a man who has never seen the sunrise, and the like. He kept showing us the poem. It was really important to them.”
The poem, written by Robert Test, opens with the line: “Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face, or love in the eyes of a woman,” and ends with “If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.”
The couple’s beliefs about donation made an impact. All three daughters plan to donate their bodies for research.
Rose Marie Bentley, a one in 50 million gal.

Rose Marie Bentley, a one in 50 million gal.

Jim Bentley kept his promise and donated his body when he died of pneumonia more than a dozen years before his wife’s death. His daughters know that he would have loved to have known about Rose Marie’s peculiar insides so he could have teased her about it.
“He also would have been tickled they could teach medical students something so different and really make some great use of her body,” Allee said.
And what would Rose Marie have said about being a one in 50 million kind of gal?
“She would’ve just thought it was funny,” Robbins said.
Allee agreed: “She would have had a big smile on her face.”
The DHS is a sprawling giant of 22 agencies that merged together in the wake of 9/11. The department’s 240,000 employees handle everything from hurricanes to cyber security to border security to terrorism.
As secretary of homeland security, a lot of things can happen on your watch: A botched response to a hurricane, or a serious cyber attack, or a major terrorist assault, or rising numbers of migrant families trying to cross the southern border.
That’s why in the past the top job at DHS has gone to a party elder skilled in politics, such as the former governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, who served in the role during President Obama’s first term or, the former governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, who served under George W. Bush.
How border hardliners nudged out Nielsen

If it wasn’t a skilled politician who took the top DHS job, it went to officials who had served at the highest levels of policy-making or the US military such as the Bush-appointed Michael Chertoff, who ran the criminal division at the Department of Justice where he oversaw the investigation of the 9/11 attacks.
During his second term Obama appointed Jeh Johnson, who had been the top lawyer at the Pentagon, while Trump appointed Gen. John Kelly, the former four-star general in charge of Southern Command, which is responsible for all US military operations in Latin America.
Kirstjen Nielsen was neither a political heavyweight nor had she served in senior policy or military roles when she took over DHS.
Nielsen had worked at the George W. Bush White House in a relatively junior role for three years and then had gone into the private sector for more than a decade. When Kelly was tapped by Trump to run DHS, Nielsen was appointed to be his “sherpa” during his confirmation process.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster exposes Trump's immigration crisis

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's ouster exposes Trump's immigration crisis

Kelly was impressed and made Nielsen his chief of staff at DHS. When Kelly moved to the White House to serve as Trump’s chief of staff, Kelly brought Nielsen over to be his deputy. Kelly then pushed for Nielsen to take over DHS.
Like so many other top Trump officials, Kelly was eventually forced out and in December he left the White House. Kelly had served as a heat shield for Nielsen, who sometimes bore the brunt of Trump’s ire. The President blew up at her at a Cabinet meeting last spring because she was hesitant to sign a memo ordering migrant children to be separated from their parents, according to the New York Times.
In October, Kelly and national security adviser John Bolton had a curse-laden shouting match at the White House about the rising number of migrant crossings at the southern border. Bolton told Kelly that Nielsen needed to do her job, which led to the heated argument in which Kelly defended his former deputy, according to CNN.
With Kelly gone, Nielsen no longer had an advocate at the White House. She became Trump’s scapegoat for the rising number of migrant families trying to cross the southern border in recent months.
Many of those families are fleeing the violence and economic travail of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, and there isn’t much that any DHS secretary can do to try to stem the flow of migrants willing to leave everything behind to seek a better future in the United States.
Almost a century ago one such desperate migrant, Mary Anne MacLeod, left the Outer Hebrides islands of Scotland, one of the most poverty-stricken parts of Europe, to find work as a servant in New York. Mary later married Fred Trump. They had five children, including a son named Donald.
Trying to dissuade migrants such as Mary Anne MacLeod from leaving countries where they see no future to seek their fortune in the United States is likely beyond the ken of any secretary of homeland security.
According to CNN affiliates WICS and WRSP, the singer made an appearance at Dirty South Lounge in Springfield, Illinois, early Sunday morning.
Kelly reportedly arrived around 1:30 a.m. where he spent a little over half an hour taking selfies, chatting, dancing and smoking cigars with those who had gathered to see him.
He then grabbed a microphone, thanked his supporters and sang 28 seconds of one of his songs before the venue closed at 3 a.m., WICS and WRSP reported.
The fee had been $100 for the event, but that was reduced to $50 after Kelly arrived, it was reported.
Hours before he was set to appear Kelly announced the event on his official Instagram account and appealed to the media.
“I want the media to take it easy on me man,” Kelly said in the video. “This is how I got to get pad right now, for right now.”
The singer was released on bail last month for in case in which authorities have said he failed to pay his ex-wife child support of $161,000.
Kelly also faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse — a Class 2 felony — involving four alleged victims.
Kelly has vehemently denied any allegations of sexual misconduct.
Last month his legal team filed a request asking the court to grant Kelly permission to travel to Dubai to perform shows as they argued he needs to work to pay child support and other bills.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, told CNN in a statement about his Dirty South Lounge appearance that “Months ago a show was scheduled in Springfield, and this was the “aftershow” party.”
“Although the show was canceled the nightclub asked him to still appear,” Greenberg said. “Because a commitment is a commitment he lived up to his, made the 3 hr drive, and appeared. Promoting and pricing were up to the club.”