Inside Daily Brief - December 12th, 2019

Inside Daily Brief (Dec 12th, 2019)

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1. Climate scientists Wednesday warned that the world must reach "peak livestock" in the next 10 years in order to prevent the most negative outcomes of climate change. Writing in The Lancet Planetary Health Journal, the researchers said meat and dairy production is responsible for large amounts of methane emissions, and significant reductions are necessary to prevent global temperatures from rising to 2 degrees Celsius above their pre-industrial levels. The article asks high- and middle-income countries to "declare a timeframe for peak livestock" after which production must decrease, and to replace meat production with "foods that simultaneously minimize environmental burdens and maximize public health benefits." – THE GUARDIAN

2. President Trump and his 2020 campaign team mocked Time Magazine's 2019 Person of the Year, 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg, in a series of tweets Wednesday and Thursday. The account @TrumpWarRoom, which is managed by the president's 2020 reelection team, posted claims about the president's accomplishments, followed by a mockup of the Person of the Year cover with Trump's head on Thunberg's body. On Thursday morning, Trump quote tweeted actress and producer Roma Downey, who was congratulating Thunberg, and wrote "So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!" Following the president's tweet, Thunberg updated her Twitter bio to read: "A teenager working on her anger management problem." – CNN

3. Federal prosecutors charged 10 former NFL players Thursday for their roles in an alleged health care benefit scheme. According to the indictment, the players, including former running backs Clinton Portis and Correll Buckhalter, filed claims with an NFL retiree health benefits program for medical equipment that was never prescribed. The Justice Department said it also intends to file charges against former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn. Most claims mentioned in the indictment are for between $40,000 and $50,000, and prosecutors say the defendants filed claims for about $3.9 million in total. An attorney for Portis said he was "completely taken aback by this indictment" and believes he has done nothing wrong. – ESPN

4. Troops from the New Zealand army are attempting to recover bodies from the site of a volcano eruption despite the risk of more volcanic activity, authorities said. The eruption Monday afternoon on White Island is presumed to have killed eight people, with 20 more injured and still in intensive care. Though each day that goes by without a new eruption decreases the likelihood of another one, a geological analysis has found that dangerous volcanic activity is still possible. A New Zealand Defence Force team of eight is attempting a "high-speed recovery" of the bodies. – BBC

5. "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" actor John Boyega has apologized for remarks seen by many as critical of co-star Kelly Marie Tran for her decision to leave social media in 2018. Boyega was asked in an interview for Variety about "the small subset of people" who leveled abuse at Tran after her appearance in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Boyega responded that "for those who are not mentally strong, you are weak to believe in every single thing that you read." The quote was widely shared in a since-deleted tweet by Nerdist editor Lindsey Romain, and Boyega took to Twitter on Wednesday night to clarify his comments. He wrote: "In no way was I referring to Kelly when I made my comments although the interviewer mentioned her given the topic. I was really speaking from my own perspective throughout this franchise. Sometimes I’ve felt strong and sometimes I’ve felt weak. Badly worded though. I apologize." – AV CLUB

6. Southwest Airlines has reached a settlement with Boeing regarding the grounding of the manufacturer's 737 Max, the airline announced Thursday. Approximately $125 million of the unknown settlement amount will be added to an employee profit-sharing plan, keeping Southwest CEO Gary Kelly's promise to share a portion of any financial damages with employees. Southwest had more 737 Max planes in service than any other airline, 34, at the time of their grounding earlier this year following two fatal crashes. Southwest pilots have also sued Boeing over an estimated loss of over $115 million following the 737 Max grounding. – USA TODAY

7. Lower-income Americans and millennials spend a higher portion of their income on "financial vices" like alcohol and lottery tickets, according to a survey. Americans earning under $30,000 a year spend 13 percent of their annual income on lottery tickets, according to the survey, over 10 times as much as those who earn over $50,000 annually. Millennials spend a higher portion of their income than members of other generations on things like alcohol and tobacco, which analyst Amanda Dixon believes may also be attributable to the fact that they are younger and more social. Members of the Silent Generation – typically seen as those born between 1925 and 1945 – spend the most money on alcohol: an average of nearly $8,000 a year. – YAHOO!

8. Several public health experts have suggested that anti-vaping laws could do more harm than good, in a new report in the journal Science. The article's authors, who include representatives from several schools of public health, say that blanket vaping bans may encourage users to explore the black market or turn to smoking cigarettes, which are more harmful than e-cigarettes. The report encourages replacing bans with age-restrictions on who can purchase vaping products, and making sure marketing e-cigarettes to minors is prohibited. – ABC NEWS

9. Investment app Robinhood is launching a "fractional share trading" feature that allows users to purchase tiny amounts of stock, down to a millionth of a share. Robinhood co-CEO Vlad Tenev said the feature is intended to open up investment opportunities to people who may not be able to afford entire shares of valuable stocks. The company also announced a cash management feature where uninvested funds can be placed in a brokerage account or on a debit card. Several other firms, including Charles Schwab and Square, launched fractional trading earlier in the year. – TECHCRUNCH

10. Fewer than one in 10 Americans spend over $1,000 on a smartphone, according to a report from NPD. The report suggests that the price tag for Apple's newly-released iPhone 11 Pro is too high for most consumers, though people in major urban areas are more likely to purchase one than those who live outside a city. The bestselling smartphone in 2019 is the Apple iPhone XR, released in October 2018, with a starting list price of $749. – ARS TECHNICA

Jonathan Harris is a Los Angeles-based writer. Previously, he wrote for The Huffington Post,, and the YouTube channel What’s Trending. He’s a frequent performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood. Follow him on Twitter @countrycaravan.

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