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Inside Daily Brief (Feb 13th, 2018)

The Trump administration has proposed giving low-income families a box with non-perishable food instead of food stamps. The "America’s Harvest Box" program is part of the administration’s 2019 fiscal budget proposal. White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney compared the program to meal kit delivery service Blue Apron – even though it would not include fresh food. The boxes would contain "100 percent U.S. grown and produced food," including shelf-stable milk, peanut butter, canned fruits and meats, and cereal. The program would partly replace the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as Food Stamps. According to Politico, the new program would supply food to up to 16 million households. Ultimately, it would be up to Congress to decide whether the program is implemented, something experts think is unlikely. – POLITICO

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Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault has described Vice President Pence as "scary." Omarosa, who resigned in December after working for a year as assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, said that if President Trump is impeached, "we would be begging for days of Trump back if Pence became President, that’s all I’m saying. He’s extreme." She said that Pence believes that Jesus sometimes commands him to do things. She made the comments on an episode of the "Celebrity Big Brother" reality show, where she is a contestant. "Omarosa was fired three times on "The Apprentice," and this was the fourth time we let her go," White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said last week, as he sought to discredit some of her previous comments. Omarosa met Trump when she was a contestant on NBC's "The Apprentice," which was hosted and produced by Trump. – POLITICO

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California snowboarder Chloe Kim won a gold medal in the halfpipe in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. The 17-year-old earned enough points to win the competition with her first run in the halfpipe, and her second run earned her a near-perfect score of 98.25 out of 100. "There was a lot of pressure, but I'm happy I was able to do it here and do it for the fans and the family," the snowboarder said. It is the first time that Kim competed in the Olympics. She wasn't allowed to take part in the 2014 Sochi Olympics due to age restrictions, even though Team USA coaches thought that the then 13-year-old was already a strong medal contender. "I think I was a little bummed out then, but now that I look back at it, I think I'm kind of glad that I wasn't old enough to go last time," Kim told CNN. – CNN

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South Africa’s ruling party has ordered President Jacob Zuma to step down. Citing unnamed sources, media outlets including Reuters and Bloomberg have reported that the African National Congress (ANC) decided to unseat Zuma after a 13-hour meeting on Tuesday. According to the SABC state broadcaster, Zuma has been given 48 hours to resign. A senior party source told Reuters that the 75-year-old does not intend to step down. If Zuma refuses to follow the party’s wishes, the ANC would call for a vote of no confidence in Parliament. The decision to remove Zuma from office comes after the ANC chose deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to lead the party over Zuma’s preferred candidate – his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. – REUTERS

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According to a report by a U.S. Senator, opioid makers paid $10 million to advocacy groups and doctors that promoted the use of addictive painkillers. The report released by Democrat Claire McCaskill, says that the groups – which include patient advocacy organizations – lobbied against regulations aimed at curbing the sale of opioids. "These financial relationships were insidious, lacked transparency, and are one of many factors that have resulted in arguably the most deadly drug epidemic in American history," McCaskill said in a statement. Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, was the biggest contributor, donating $4.15 million to 12 groups from 2012 to 2017. The companies mentioned in the report also include Mylan, Insys Therapeutics, Depomed, and Janssen, a unit of Johnson & Johnson. There were around 42,000 opioid-related deaths in 2016, four times more than in 2000.REUTERS

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Worms that had previously only been seen in cattle were found in the eye of a woman from Oregon. Researchers believe that the 26-year-old woman became infected with the worms while horse riding. "Cases of eye worm parasitic infections are rare in the USA, and this case turned out to be a species of the Thelazia (gulosa) that had never been reported in humans," said Richard Bradbury, a researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 14 worms were removed from the woman’s left eye over 20 days. "They weren't able to remove them all at once. They had to remove them as they became present and visible," Bradbury said. All the worms were less than half an inch in length. The worm usually causes eye irritation and in rare cases can cause scarring of the cornea. – CBS

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Firearm maker Remington plans to file for bankruptcy protection. Under a deal that Remington has negotiated with its lenders, the company will reduce its debt by about $700 million, while investors will inject about $145 million in new capital. Sales of firearms have been decreasing in the U.S. since President Trump took office. In the first three quarters of 2017, Remington’s sales fell 27.5 percent to almost $467 million. Remington is one of the largest manufacturers of firearms and ammunition in the U.S., and employs 3,500 people in the country. – BLOOMBERG

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Barnes and Noble plans to lay workers off due to a sales slump. The company’s sales fell around 6 percent to $953 million during the 2017 holiday season. "Given our sales decline this holiday, we're adjusting staffing so that it meets the needs of our existing business and our customers," a spokeswoman told CNBC. The bookseller did not say how many people will lose their jobs, but estimated that the measures will lead to $40 million in annual savings. The retailer faces increasing pressure from Amazon and Walmart. Its shares have more than halved in price over the past year. CNBC

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An Israeli judge has decided that a case against a Palestinian teenager accused of assaulting soldiers will be heard behind closed doors. Ahed Tamimi, 17, was arrested in December and denied bail after a video in which she appears to slap a heavily armed Israeli soldier outside her home went viral. The charges she faces include assaulting security forces, incitement and throwing stones. Some of the charges relate to incidents that occurred years ago. Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev said: "She is not a little girl, she is a terrorist … It’s about time they will understand that people like her have to be in jail and not be allowed to incite to racism and subversion against the state of Israel." Amnesty International has called for Tamimi’s release. "Yet again the Israeli authorities have responded to acts of defiance by a Palestinian child with measures that are entirely disproportionate to the incident in question," the group said. – GUARDIAN

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Based on 25 years of satellite data, a research paper indicates that sea level rise is accelerating. At present, global sea levels are rising by 3 millimeters per year, but the rate at which the water is rising is increasing by 0.08mm per year because ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting rapidly. According to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sea levels will be rising at a speed of 10mm per year by 2100. That means that if the rate of acceleration is steady, by the end of the century, global sea levels would have risen 26 inches. But, that number "is almost certainly a conservative estimate of future sea level change," said Steve Nerem, a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the study’s lead author. "The acceleration will probably go up as ice sheets start to respond more to the warming." – NEWSWEEK

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