Friday, February 23

Author: Oscel P. Merlo

Menthol Cigarette Bans Can Reduce Smoking Rates, Study Finds
Health

Menthol Cigarette Bans Can Reduce Smoking Rates, Study Finds

Nearly a quarter of menthol cigarette smokers quit in the year or two after a ban on menthol went into effect, according to a study published on Wednesday.Researchers found that about half of the menthol smokers switched to other cigarettes and another quarter managed to keep smoking menthols. The rate of menthol smokers who quit was higher in nations that imposed bans, in contrast with cities or states, since it was harder for people to drive a few miles to keep buying menthol cigarettes, according to the study.The Food and Drug Administration has been urging the Biden administration to impose a ban on menthol cigarettes, a goal that has generated intense opposition from retailers and tobacco companies alongside concerns in a presidential election year that it could alienate Black voters....
The Debate Over Ethnic Studies in California
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The Debate Over Ethnic Studies in California

As an education reporter, I’m always looking for good news on my beat. So I perked up back in 2016 when sources in California started buzzing about a study out of Stanford University showing that ethnic studies classes in San Francisco had helped improve grades and attendance among teenagers who were at risk of dropping out.That research was persuasive to policymakers, and, after years of flirting with the idea, California education officials started to write a state curriculum in ethnic studies. In 2021, state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted a law requiring high schools to offer an ethnic studies course by 2025, and making the subject a requirement for graduation from high school starting with the class of 2030.Over the last month, I’ve been checking in on how that mandate is roll...
U.S. Warns Allies Russia Could Put a Nuclear Weapon Into Orbit This Year
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U.S. Warns Allies Russia Could Put a Nuclear Weapon Into Orbit This Year

American intelligence agencies have told their closest European allies that if Russia is going to launch a nuclear weapon into orbit, it will probably do so this year — but that it might instead launch a harmless “dummy” warhead into orbit to leave the West guessing about its capabilities.The assessment came as American intelligence officials conducted a series of rushed, classified briefings for their NATO and Asian allies, as details of the American assessment of Russia’s intentions began to leak out.The American intelligence agencies are sharply divided in their opinion about what President Vladimir V. Putin is planning, and on Tuesday Mr. Putin rejected the accusation that he intended to place a nuclear weapon in orbit and his defense minister said the intelligence warning was manufact...
At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral
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At Harvard, Some Wonder What It Will Take to Stop the Spiral

When 70 university presidents gathered for a summit at the end of January, the topic on everyone’s mind was the crisis at Harvard.The hosts of the summit treated the university, battered by accusations of coddling antisemitism, as a business-school case study on leadership in higher education, complete with a slide presentation on its plummeting reputation.The killer slide: “Boeing & Tesla Have Similar Levels of Negative Buzz as Harvard.”In other words, Harvard, a centuries-old symbol of academic excellence, was generating as much negative attention as an airplane manufacturer that had a door panel drop from the sky and a car company with a mercurial chief executive and multiple recalls.Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor at Yale’s School of Management, organized the summit. “Despite near ...
Study of Patients With a Chronic Fatigue Condition May Offer Clues to Long Covid
Health

Study of Patients With a Chronic Fatigue Condition May Offer Clues to Long Covid

Jennifer Caldwell was active and energetic, working two jobs and taking care of her daughter and her parents, when she developed a bacterial infection that was followed by intense lightheadedness, fatigue and memory problems.That was nearly a decade ago, and she has since struggled with the condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, or ME/CFS. Ms. Caldwell, 56, of Hillsborough, N.C., said she went from being able to ski, dance and work two jobs as a clinical research coordinator and a caterer to needing to stay in bed most of every day.“I haven’t been right since, and I haven’t worked a day since,” said Ms. Caldwell, whose symptoms include severe dizziness whenever her legs are not elevated.The condition has also “messed me up cognitively,” she said. “I can’t re...
Middle East Crisis: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza
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Middle East Crisis: U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Calling for a Cease-Fire in Gaza

At a hearing before the U.N.’s highest court, South Africa on Tuesday called Israel’s policies toward Palestinians an “extreme form of apartheid” and argued that its occupation of territory sought for an eventual Palestinian state was “fundamentally illegal.”The hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague is one of two matters being heard about Israel, part of a concerted effort to leverage the authority of the court and the global reach of the U.N. to stop the war in Gaza and examine the legality of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.Starting this week and lasting six days, the court is hearing arguments on Israel’s conduct, following a request by the United Nations General Assembly more than a year ago. In the other matter, a case, which began in January, South Afri...
He Wanted to Play Basketball. He Finally Got the Chance.
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He Wanted to Play Basketball. He Finally Got the Chance.

Good morning. Today we’ll find out about the improbable story of how someone went from playing pickup basketball to being a star at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. We’ll also look at former Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to torpedo a state ethics commission.Last week, Arthur Dukes Jr., a 26-year-old student at LaGuardia Community College, was named player of the year by the City University of New York Athletic Conference. It was a remarkable capstone to a year that had begun with Dukes working as a security guard at a Foot Locker store and playing a pickup game at a Harlem public school. It ended with him reigning as the captain of LaGuardia’s team and as the leading scorer among all players in Division III of the National Junior College Athletic Association.I asked Katherine Rosman, wh...
How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health
Health

How Sleep Affects Your Mood: The Link Between Insomnia and Mental Health

It started with mild anxiety.Emily, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she was discussing her mental health, had just moved to New York City after graduate school, to start a marketing job at a big law firm.She knew it was normal to feel a little on edge. But she wasn’t prepared for what came next: chronic insomnia.Operating on only three or four hours of sleep, it didn’t take long for her anxiety to ramp up: At 25, she was “freaking nervous all the time. A wreck.”When a lawyer at her firm yelled at her one day, she experienced the first of many panic attacks. At a doctor’s suggestion, she tried taking a sleeping pill, in the hopes that it might “reset” her sleep cycle and improve her mood. It didn’t work.Americans are chronically sleep deprived: one-third of adults ...
Why South Korean Doctors Have Walked Off the Job
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Why South Korean Doctors Have Walked Off the Job

More than 1,500 medical interns and residents in South Korea walked off the job on Tuesday, disrupting an essential service to protest the government’s plan to address a shortage of doctors by admitting more students to medical school. While South Korea takes pride in its affordable health care system, it has among the fewest physicians per capita in the developed world. Its rapidly aging population underscores the acute need for more doctors, according to the government, especially in rural parts of the country and in areas like emergency medicine.The protesters, who are doctors in training and crucial for keeping hospitals running, say the shortage of doctors is not industrywide but confined to particular specialties, like emergency care. They say the government is ignoring the issues th...
Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism
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Wife of Investor Who Pushed for Harvard President’s Exit Is Accused of Plagiarism

Accusations of plagiarism appear to be the newest weapon in the raging battle over the leadership and direction of elite universities.For weeks, William Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager, has campaigned on social media against Claudine Gay, who resigned as Harvard’s president amid accusations of plagiarizing other scholars and of not taking a strong enough stand against antisemitism on campus.But that battle was brought home after Business Insider, an online publication, posted similar accusations of plagiarism against Mr. Ackman’s wife, Neri Oxman, an architect and designer, who holds a Ph.D. in design computation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Business Insider said on Friday that Dr. Oxman “stole sentences and whole paragraphs from Wikipedia, other scholars and t...