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In Versailles, Macron vows to reform to avoid king’s fate

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VERSAILLES, France (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron told dozens of the world’s most powerful executives on Monday that he would not follow the path of guillotined French royals and would continue to reform the French economy despite a sometimes violent popular revolt.

French President Emmanuel Macron reacts after he delivered his new year wishes to the military during a ceremony on the Toulouse-Francazal airbase in Toulouse, France, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

For the second year running, Macron hosted corporate A-listers like Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella, Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel and JPMorgan Chase & Co CEO Jamie Dimon at a pre-Davos dinner at Versailles.

Exactly 226 years after the decapitation of Louis XVI, who failed to plug the crown’s dismal finances and quell popular discontent over a sclerotic feudal society, Macron started his speech by invoking the king and his wife Marie-Antoinette.

“If they met such an end, it is because they had given up on reforming,” Macron told the guests, according to his office.

His office said earlier that foreign companies including medical products company Microport, Mars, Procter & Gamble, Cisco and others would announce investments in France totaling more than 600 million euros.

The dinner was an opportunity to reassure investors of Macron’s resolve to reform the economy after images of protesters angry at his policies attacking public monuments, boutiques, banks and riot police were beamed around the world.

“There are questions about the protests’ magnitude, about the violence, because these images are shocking for foreigners,” a source at Macron’s office said before the summit.

“Last year, the summit was in a totally different dynamic, it was all about ‘France is back’. Here we’re in a tougher part of the mandate domestically and that requires more explanations,” the source added.

On Monday, Macron told the business leaders the “yellow vest” movement was part of a bigger picture of middle-class angst over globalization that gave rise to Brexit in Britain, as well as the rise of populist parties in Germany or Italy.

“The solution to the crisis is not to roll back what we have done in the past 18 months,” he said.

Macron was elected in May 2017 against a far-right candidate on a promise to create jobs and drive growth by cutting corporate taxes, easing France’s rigid labor regulations, and developing a more skilled labor force.

He began making good on those campaign pledges in a reform blitz during the first 18 months of his presidency that has impressed investors but infuriated low-paid workers, who feel he favors big business and is indifferent to their struggle to make ends meet.

Over the past two months, that popular anger has been vented at protests across France. The unrest has convulsed Macron and his government and forced costly concessions.

Macron is not attending the World Economic Forum in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, his office says, so that he can deal with quelling the yellow vest uprising.

Below are some of the key investment pledges announced on Monday:

* Microport: 350 million euros over five years to expand a Research & Development center.

* Mars: 120 million euros invested in eight different sites including the Haguenau plant where M&Ms are produced.

* Procter & Gamble: 50 million euro investment in a new detergent production line at its Amiens plant.

* Transpod: 20 million euro investment to finance a 3-km (1.9-mile) hyperloop test line.

Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and Reuters Television; Writing by Richard Lough and Michel Rose; Editing by Catherine Evans and Sandra Maler



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Top Reasons to Make Magnesium a Priority

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30 Tips in 30 Days Designed to Help You Take Control of Your
Health

This article is included in Dr. Mercola’s All-Time Top 30 Health Tips series. Every day during the month of January, a new tip will be added that will help you take control of your health. Want to see the full list? Click here.

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and the second most common intracellular cation1 (positively charged ion) after potassium. It’s required for the healthy function of most cells in your body, but is especially important for your heart, kidneys and muscles.

According to one scientific review,2 which included studies dating as far back as 1937, low magnesium actually appears to be the greatest predictor of heart disease, and other recent research shows even subclinical magnesium deficiency can compromise your cardiovascular health.3

Low magnesium will also impede your cellular metabolic function and deteriorate mitochondrial function, and as a component necessary for the activation of vitamin D,4,5,6 magnesium deficiency may also hamper your ability to convert vitamin D from sun exposure and/or oral supplementation.

While the reasons for prioritizing magnesium could fill several books, here I’ll review how it can benefit a few really common health problems and conditions, starting with its influence over vitamin D.

Magnesium Activates and Regulates Vitamin D

Two studies published last year have shed new light on the interactions between magnesium and vitamin D, warning that low magnesium impedes your body’s ability to properly utilize vitamin D, even when it’s present.7

As noted by Mohammed Razzaque, professor of pathology at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pennsylvania, coauthor of the first study published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in March 2018,8 “By consuming an optimal amount of magnesium, one may be able to lower the risks of vitamin D deficiency, and reduce the dependency on vitamin D supplements.”

A second study,9 published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in December 2018, also concluded that your magnesium status plays an important role in your vitamin D status. Overall, people with high magnesium intake were less likely to have low vitamin D. They also had a lower mortality risk from cardiovascular disease and bowel cancer.

As explained by Dr. Qi Dai, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the lead author of this study, “Magnesium deficiency shuts down the vitamin D synthesis and metabolism pathway.”

What’s more, magnesium was found to have a regulating effect, raising and lowering vitamin D based on baseline levels. In people who had a baseline vitamin D level of 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) or below, magnesium supplementation raised their vitamin D level. However, in those who started out with higher vitamin D levels (50 ng/mL or 125 nmol/L), magnesium supplementation lowered their vitamin D.

Magnesium Is Empirically Recommended for All Migraine Sufferers

According to some statistics,10 migraine is the third most prevalent illness in the world, affecting an estimated 1 billion people. Migraine attacks are typically recurring, of moderate to severe intensity, many times occurring only on one side of your head.

Along with throbbing, piercing or “burning” pain, other common symptoms include nausea, visual disturbances, dizziness, numbness in your extremities or face, and extreme sensitivity to light, sound, smell and touch.11,12 While the root cause for migraines continues to be debated, certain nutritional deficiencies have been found to exacerbate the condition, and magnesium deficiency13,14,15 ranks high on this list, as does vitamin D deficiency.16,17

Research shows migraine sufferers are more likely to suffer from magnesium deficiency than non-migraineurs,18 and since magnesium administration is both easy and safe, researchers have noted that empiric treatment with a magnesium supplement is justified for all migraine sufferers.19

In one placebo-controlled study,20 daily intake of 600 milligrams of magnesium in the form of trimagnesium dicitrate for 12 weeks reduced the frequency of migraine attacks by nearly 42 percent, compared to less than 16 percent in the control group.

In many cases, receiving a high dose of magnesium can also abort an attack in progress. The most effective way to administer magnesium for migraine would be to get an intravenous (IV) infusion. Barring that option, magnesium threonate may be your best option for an oral supplement. It has superior absorbability compared to other forms of magnesium, and its superior ability to cross the blood-brain barrier makes it more likely to have a beneficial effect on your brain.

Magnesium More Effective Than Antidepressants for Depression

Another incredibly common health problem in which magnesium plays an important role is depression, as it acts as a catalyst for mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin. Research21 published in 2015 found a significant association between very low magnesium intake and depression, especially in younger adults.

Research22 published in PLOS ONE demonstrated magnesium supplementation improved mild-to-moderate depression in adults, with beneficial effects occurring within two weeks of treatment. In fact, the effects of magnesium were comparable to prescription SSRIs in terms of effectiveness, but without any of the side effects associated with these drugs.

Participants in the treatment group received a daily dose of 248 milligrams (mg) of elemental magnesium for six weeks, while controls received no treatment. According to the authors, “It works quickly and is well tolerated without the need for close monitoring for toxicity.” Emily Tarleton, a graduate student in clinical and translational science and the bionutrition research manager of the University of Vermont’s Clinical Research Center, told Science Daily:23

“This is the first randomized clinical trial looking at the effect of magnesium supplementation on symptoms of depression in U.S. adults. The results are very encouraging, given the great need for additional treatment options for depression, and our finding that magnesium supplementation provides a safe, fast and inexpensive approach to controlling depressive symptoms.”

Magnesium Improves Brain Plasticity

Memory impairment occurs when the connections (synapses) between brain cells diminish. While many factors can come into play, magnesium is an important one. As noted by Dr. David Perlmutter, a neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition:24

“It has now been discovered that magnesium is a critical player in the activation of nerve channels that are involved in synaptic plasticity. That means that magnesium is critical for the physiological events that are fundamental to the processes of learning and memory.

As it turns out, one form of magnesium, magnesium threonate, has the unique ability to permeate the brain and enhance the receptors that are involved in this process.”

The specific brain benefits of magnesium threonate were demonstrated in a 2010 study25 published in the journal Neuron, which found this form of magnesium enhanced “learning abilities, working memory, and short- and long-term memory in rats.” According to the authors, “Our findings suggest that an increase in brain magnesium enhances both short-term synaptic facilitation and long-term potentiation and improves learning and memory functions.”

Magnesium Boosts Heart Health

Magnesium is also important for heart health. As explained by British cardiologist Dr. Sanjay Gupta,26 magnesium supports heart health via a number of different mechanisms. For starters, it combats inflammation, thereby helping prevent hardening of your arteries and high blood pressure.

It also improves blood flow by relaxing your arteries, and helps prevent your blood from thickening, allowing it to flow more smoothly. All of these basic effects are important for optimal heart function. Indeed, low magnesium has been linked to a higher risk for:

A recent paper in the Open Heart journal warns that even subclinical deficiency can lead to cardiovascular problems. According to the authors:30

“… ‘Various studies have shown that at least 300 mg of magnesium must be supplemented to establish a significantly increased serum magnesium concentrations …’ In other words, most people need an additional 300 mg of magnesium per day in order to lower their risk of developing numerous chronic diseases.

So while the recommended … recommended dietary allowance [RDA] for magnesium (between 300 and 420 mg /day for most people) may prevent frank magnesium deficiency, it is unlikely to provide optimal health and longevity, which should be the ultimate goal.”

Magnesium Is Required for Hundreds of Biochemical Reactions

The importance of magnesium becomes even more evident when you consider it is involved in more than 600 different biochemical reactions in your body, which play important roles in:

















Creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of your body31,32

Metabolism of calcium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous, iron, sodium, hydrochloric acid, acetylcholine and nitric oxide, as well as 300 enzymes, and the activation of thiamine33

Vitamin D activation and regulation

DNA, RNA and protein synthesis and integrity,34 and the creation of chromosomes35

Mitochondrial function and health. Magnesium is required both for increasing the number of mitochondria in your cells and for increasing mitochondrial efficiency

Regulation of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, which is important for the prevention of Type 2 diabetes36,37,38,39 (In one study,40 prediabetics with the highest magnesium intake reduced their risk for blood sugar and metabolic problems by 71 percent)

Normalizing blood pressure

Detoxification, including the synthesis of glutathione, considered by many to be your body’s most powerful antioxidant

Muscle and nerve function, including the action of your heart muscle

Antioxidant defense via a number of different mechanisms, including anti-inflammatory activity and support of endothelial and mitochondrial function41

Maintenance of ionic gradients — keeping intracellular sodium and calcium low and potassium high — and maintaining cellular and tissue integrity42

Catalyzing mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps prevent anxiety and depression

Lowering the damage from electromagnetic fields (EMF) by blocking voltage gated calcium channels

Supporting healthy brain function. Magnesium acts as a buffer between neuron synapses, particularly those involved with cognitive functions (learning and memory).

Magnesium “sits” on the receptor without activating it, protecting the receptor from overactivation by other neurochemicals, especially glutamate, an excitotoxin that can harm your brain if it accumulates

Providing mental and physical relaxation; considered an important stress antidote43

Preventing headaches by relaxing blood vessels in your brain and acting as a calcium channel blocker44

Other Health Problems Associated With Magnesium Deficiency

Considering the widespread influence of magnesium, it’s no great surprise that deficiency can snowball into significant health problems. In addition to what’s already been mentioned, other common pathologies associated with magnesium deficiency include:45,46,47












Kidney and liver damage

Recurrent or persistent bacterial infections such as sinus, vaginal, middle ear, lung and throat infections due to low levels of nitric oxide

Fungal infections due to depressed immune function

Impotence (also associated with low nitric oxide levels)

Conditions associated with peroxynitrite damage, such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and Alzheimer’s disease

Premenstrual syndrome, mood swings, aggression and anxiety

Impaired hearing

Osteoporosis

Muscle cramps and muscle weakness

Type 2 diabetes48,49 — Estimates suggest nearly half of all diabetics are magnesium deficient.50 Low magnesium levels also affect insulin resistance, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.51 High levels of insulin in the blood, common with insulin resistance, also lead to further loss of magnesium52

Increased risk of death from all causes — One 2016 meta-analysis53 found increasing magnesium intake by 100 mg per day lowered participants’ all-cause mortality risk by 10 percent

Are You Deficient in Magnesium?

When it comes to measuring your magnesium level, keep in mind that a regular serum magnesium is a poor choice, as only 1 percent of the magnesium in your body is actually found in your bloodstream. Your best bet is to get an RBC magnesium test (which measures the amount of magnesium in your red blood cells) and track your signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency.

Checking your potassium and calcium levels can also be helpful, as low potassium and calcium are common laboratory signs of magnesium deficiency.54 Among the more common signs and symptoms of magnesium insufficiency are:55,56








Seizures; muscle spasms, especially “charley horses” or spasms in your calf muscle that happen when you stretch your leg, and/or eye twitches

Numbness or tingling in your extremities

Insulin resistance

High blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and/or coronary spasms

Increased number of headaches and/or migraines

Low energy, fatigue and/or loss of appetite

The Trousseau sign57 — To check for this sign, a blood pressure cuff is inflated around your arm. The pressure should be greater than your systolic blood pressure and maintained for three minutes.

By occluding the brachial artery in your arm, spasms in your hand and forearm muscles are induced. If you are magnesium deficient, the lack of blood flow will cause your wrist and metacarpophalangeal joint to flex and your fingers to adduct. For a picture of this hand/wrist position, see Wikipedia58

A more exhaustive list can be found in Dr. Carolyn Dean’s blog post, “Gauging Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms,”59 which will give you a checklist to go through every few weeks. This will also help you gauge how much magnesium you need to resolve your deficiency symptoms.

Most People Can Benefit From Magnesium Supplementation

Unfortunately, magnesium insufficiency or deficiency are extremely common around the world, both among adults60 and teens,61 in part due to the fact that most people don’t eat enough plant foods.

If you frequently eat processed foods, your risk of deficiency is magnified. However, even if you eat plenty of greens (magnesium is actually part of the chlorophyll molecule responsible for the plant’s green color), you are unlikely to get enough, due to most foods being grown in mineral depleted soils.

Magnesium absorption is also dependent on having sufficient amounts of selenium, parathyroid hormone and vitamins B6 and D, and is hindered by excess ethanol, salt, coffee and phosphoric acid in soda.

Sweating, stress, lack of sleep, excessive menstruation, certain drugs (especially diuretics and proton-pump inhibitors) also deplete your body of magnesium.62 For these reasons, most people probably need to take supplemental magnesium. Taking a magnesium supplement is particularly advisable if you:63









Experience symptoms of insufficiency or deficiency64

Have hypertension

Engage in strenuous exercise on a regular basis. Research shows just six to 12 weeks of strenuous physical activity can result in magnesium deficiency,65 likely due to increased magnesium demand in your skeletal muscle

Are taking diuretics or medication for hypertension, especially thiazides, which have been shown to induce undetectable magnesium deficiency66 (while patients may have normal or even high serum magnesium, their bodies are actually depleted of magnesium)

Have had or are planning heart transplant or open heart surgery

Are at risk for or have had a heart attack, or if you experience ventricular arrhythmia

Are insulin resistant or diabetic (as this increases magnesium depletion)

Have congestive heart failure

How to Boost Your Magnesium Level

The RDA for magnesium is around 310 to 420 mg per day depending on your age and sex,67 but many experts believe you may need 600 to 900 mg per day.68 Personally, I believe many may benefit from amounts as high as 1 to 2 grams (1,000 to 2,000 mg) of elemental magnesium per day, as most of us have EMF exposures that simply cannot be mitigated, and the extra magnesium may help lower the damage from that exposure.

When it comes to oral supplementation, my personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier. Other effective ways to boost your magnesium level include:

Taking Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) baths, as the magnesium will effectively absorb through your skin

Using a topical solution — I prepare a supersaturated solution of Epsom salt by dissolving 7 tablespoons of the salt into 6 ounces of water and heating it until all the salt has dissolved. I pour it into a dropper bottle and then apply it to my skin and rub fresh aloe leaves over it to dissolve it. This is an easy and inexpensive way to increase your magnesium and will allow you to get higher dosages into your body without having to deal with its laxative effects.

Magnesium can be taken with or without food. If you’re also taking calcium, take them together. If you exercise regularly, consider taking your calcium and magnesium in a ratio of one part calcium to two parts magnesium with your pre-workout meal.

While the ideal ratio of magnesium to calcium is thought to be 1-to-1, most people get far more calcium than magnesium from their diet; hence, your need for supplemental magnesium may be two to three times greater than calcium.

Eat More Magnesium-Rich Foods

Last but not least, while you may still need magnesium supplementation (due to denatured soils), it would certainly be wise to try to get as much magnesium from your diet as possible. Dark-green leafy vegetables lead the pack when it comes to magnesium content, and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake. Greens with the highest magnesium levels include:




Spinach

Swiss chard

Turnip greens

Beet greens

Collard greens

Broccoli

Brussel sprouts

Kale

Bok Choy

Romaine lettuce


Other foods that are particularly rich in magnesium include:69






Raw cacao nibs and/or unsweetened cocoa powder — One ounce (28.35 grams) or raw cacao nibs contain about 65 mg of magnesium.

Avocados — One cup of avocado on average (values differ depending on whether they come from California or Florida) contains about 44 mg of magnesium. Avocados are also a good source of potassium, which helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium.

Seeds and nuts — Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds score among the highest, with one-quarter cup providing an estimated 191 mg, 129 mg and 41 mg of magnesium respectively. Cashews, almonds and Brazil nuts are also good sources; one-fourth cup of cashews contains 89 mg of magnesium.

Herbs and spices — Herbs and spices pack lots of nutrients in small packages and this includes magnesium. Some of the most magnesium-rich varieties are coriander, chives, cumin seed, parsley, mustard seeds, fennel, basil and cloves.

Organic, raw grass fed yogurt and natto — Choose yogurt made from raw organic grass fed milk with no added sugars; 1 cup of natto yields 201 mg of magnesium.



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Super Bowl 2019: Patriots will face Rams in Super Bowl LIII

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The Rams never led in regulation, but with a 57-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein in overtime, Los Angeles has advanced to Super Bowl LIII with a 26-23 win, shocking the Saints in the NFC title game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Sunday.

But that’s not the only game that needed extra time.

The Rams will face a Super Bowl mainstay in the New England Patriots, who held off the Kansas City Chiefs to win the AFC Championship 37-31 in overtime.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are back in a very familiar place.

They’re heading back to another Super Bowl, winning on the road at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

The Patriots join the Buffalo Bills (1990-1993) and Miami Dolphins (1971-1973) as the third team to appear in three consecutive Super Bowls. They also extended their NFL record for Super Bowl appearances to 11.

It will be the ninth time in the big game for Belichick and Brady.

Belichick has won five Super Bowls as a head coach, the most Super Bowl wins by a head coach in NFL history. Should he win a sixth, he would join George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only NFL coaches with six championships since the league began postseason play in 1933.

Brady is the only quarterback with five Super Bowl wins. The only other NFL player to have won that many is Hall of Fame defensive lineman Charles Haley.

This was the Chiefs first appearance in the AFC championship game since 1994. Their lone Super Bowl title was in 1970, at Super Bowl IV.

Zuerlein kicks into history

The Rams’ franchise, which originated in Cleveland in 1937, played in Los Angeles from 1946-1994 before leaving for St. Louis for 21 seasons. During that stretch, they reached two Super Bowls, winning Super Bowl XXXIV against the Tennessee Titans in Atlanta at the now-demolished Georgia Dome.

The location of this season’s title game on February 3 happens to be where the Rams last won: Atlanta. And while it’s not at the same site, the venue, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is right next door to where the Dome once stood.

“Our team demonstrated great mental toughness,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said to Fox Sports. McVay, who turns 33 on Thursday, is the youngest head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

Zuerlein’s kick was the longest game-winning field goal in playoff history.

“I really wasn’t thinking much,” Zuerlein said. “I just looked up and saw it was going straight and I was happy. I knew it was going to be long enough because I thought I hit it pretty well.”

Zuerlein's 57-yard field goal was the longest game-winning field goal in playoff history.

A trembling Superdome in New Orleans

It didn’t start off well for the visitors, as the Saints jumped out to a 13-0 lead and had the throaty Superdome crowd on their side. The noise the fans made was so thunderous that reporters could feel and see the stadium quaking.

According to Julie Boudwin with NOLA.com, it appeared that part of the ceiling fell near the media workroom after Saints linebacker Demario Davis intercepted Rams quarterback Jared Goff in the first quarter.

Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate posted video to Twitter showing bottles of water shaking in the press box because of the crowd.

“The press box desk I’m working on is physically moving because the crowd is going so wild here at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome,” NFL Network reporter Jane Slater said in a tweet. “Unreal.”

Saints’ Payton on controversial play: ‘They blew the call’

But the Rams adjusted, and a 6-yard touchdown run from Todd Gurley II made it 13-10 just before halftime. The teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 20-17. A Los Angeles field goal by Zuerlein with 5:03 remaining tied it at 20.

There was plenty of time for Saints quarterback Drew Brees to orchestrate a final drive. But it stalled with a controversial no-call from officials on an incomplete pass to Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis. The crowd wanted a flag for either pass interference or helmet-to-helmet contact on a defenseless receiver by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman. It wasn’t thrown.

“It was simple; they blew the call,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said, who called the league office after the game for an explanation. “(The NFL) said it should never have not been a call. They said not only was it interference, it was helmet-to-helmet.”

The Saints settled on a 31-yard field goal by Wil Lutz with 1:41 remaining. The Rams tied it up with 15 seconds left in regulation with a 48-yarder by Zuerlein to make it 23-23.

In overtime, Brees was intercepted by safety John Johnson III, which led to Zuerlein’s game-winning kick.

“I felt like early on there, that place was loud,” Rams quarterback Jared Goff said to Fox Sports after the game. “They were loud early. We had some stuff we had to deal with early, but we fought through it, man. We fought through it. This group is special, and I’m happy to be part of it.”

At age 24, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff is heading to his first Super Bowl.

Since returning to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams have now reached the playoffs twice.

The Rams’ last Super Bowl appearance was the 2001 season, when they lost Super Bowl XXXVI to the Patriots, giving a young quarterback named Brady his first title with head coach Belichick.



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Box Office – ‘Glass’ dominates MLK weekend with $47 million

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FILE PHOTO: Actors Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy attend the European premiere of “Glass” in London, Britain January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls/File Photo

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” topped box office charts during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, collecting $40 million over the weekend for a four-day sum of $47 million.

If estimates hold, “Glass” will come in behind “American Sniper” ($107 million) and “Ride Along” ($48 million) as the third-best showing for both January and MLK holiday weekend.

The supernatural thriller, a sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2016’s “Split,” came in slightly behind Universal Pictures’ projections heading into the weekend. It’s still a solid showing, to be sure, given the movie’s $20 million budget. But given the cult status of “Unbreakable” and the surprise success of “Split,” industry watchers were anticipating a stronger start for “Glass.”

Shyamalan self-financed “Glass,” leaving marketing and distribution to Universal in the States and Buena Vista International for the overseas rollout.

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday usually sees a number of new offerings, but studios largely sat this weekend out to make room for “Glass.” With that said, a number of holdovers rounded out box office charts.

STX Films and Lantern Entertainment’s “The Upside” saw a surprisingly strong second weekend, adding another $15.67 million over the three-day frame. The film is projected to earn $19.5 million for the four-day weekend, which would put its domestic tally at $47.82 million. Overseas, the comedic drama starring Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston has made $4.1 million from 33 markets.

“The Upside’s” weekend haul was enough to secure second place, while Warner Bros.’ “Aquaman” looks to come in at No. 3. DC’s latest superhero adventure, starring Jason Momoa as the Atlantean King, crossed a major milestone in North America. “Aquaman” has now surpassed $300 million in ticket sales after adding $10 million in its fifth week of release. Globally, the aquatic tentpole has generated over $1 billion in box office revenues.

A surprise contender, Japanese anime film “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” could surpass “Aquaman” for third place when final numbers come in on Monday. The sci-fi fantasy secured a huge $7 million debut on Wednesday and is expected to bring in around $10 million over the four-day holiday for a domestic total of $20 million. “Broly,” the 20th film in the “Dragon Ball” series, has pocketed $50 million internationally.

Meanwhile, two Sony titles will duke it out for fifth place. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “A Dog’s Way Home” each pulled in $7 million over the three-day frame and should make around $9 million with Monday’s bounty. That would bring the domestic tally of “Spider-Verse” to $161 million and “A Dog’s Way Home” to $24 million.



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Gender of penguin raised by same-sex parents revealed

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Well now we have an update on the adorable trio. Sea Life Aquarium has just announced that the beloved penguin chick born in October — known as Baby Sphengic — is female.

“We’ve loved how engaged and interested the visitors from all over the world are, having followed the love story of Sphen and Magic,” Laetitia Hannan, penguin keeper at the aquarium, tells CNN Travel.

“Backup” penguin chick

Baby-Sphengic-with-Sphen-and-Magic

Baby Sphengic with Sphen and Magic.

Courtesy SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

Sphen and Magic — AKA Sphengic — are two male gentoo penguins who became inseparable last year, right before breeding season.

Visitors would often spot the pair waddling around and going for swims together, which was why they were deemed to be suitable prospective parents.

When another penguin couple laid two eggs, Sphengic was entrusted to hatch the “backup” egg.

It’s common for gentoo penguins to lay two eggs each breeding season, but the sub-Antarctic penguins usually only have enough resources to incubate and raise a single egg, so the “backup” chick may not survive.

Not in this case — on October 19, 2018, an adorable 91-gram penguin chick was born to the doting penguin parents.

Non-defined gender roles

Baby-Sphengic-1

Baby Sphengic has mastered the art of diving.

Courtesy SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

It’s important for the keepers at the aquarium to know the gender of each penguin for population management, explains Hannan.

It takes experts a couple of months — and a blood test — to determine the gender of a penguin, as the sexes closely resemble one another.

But in the penguin world, gender roles aren’t defined and parents share equal responsibilities when it comes to maintaining nests and raising the young.

The three-month-old is now a fully-fledged bird and, adorably, is receiving swimming lessons. She’s already learned to dive.

“One of the most important things when baby penguins are learning how to swim is for them to get used to having their heads underneath the water so that they can see.” says Hannan.

Turns out Baby Sphengic has a healthy appetite, too.

“The chick was born at just 91 grams — which is less than an apple — and now weighs just over 5 kilograms — the size of a watermelon — so Baby Sphengic clearly loves food,” says Hannan.

The penguin consumes about 800 grams of food daily, which is 20% of her body weight.

As for her name — Baby Sphengic’s more of a nickname. Don’t worry, staff at Sea Life Sydney say they are currently considering what she should be called.

“Baby Sphengic will be an ambassador for the species who are facing global threats such as global warming and plastic pollution and we look forward to sharing more updates with you in the coming months,” adds Hannan.



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Elon Musk warns ‘the road ahead is very difficult’ as Tesla lays off 7 percent of workforce

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Tesla announced on Friday that it will cut 7 percent of its workforce, marking the second round of job cuts in just over six months, as it faces the pressure of building and delivering its long-promised, lower-priced Model 3s at scale while keeping costs down.

The news comes just one week after CEO Elon Musk announced layoffs of 10 percent at his other company, SpaceX, in an all-hands meeting, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.

“We, unfortunately, have no choice but to reduce full-time employee headcount by approximately 7 percent (we grew by 30 percent last year, which is more than we can support) and retain only the most critical temps and contractors,” Musk wrote in an email to employees delivered at 1:20 a.m. Friday morning. It was later posted on the company’s website. In October, Musk tweeted the company had about 45,000 employees, so the cuts would eliminate about 3,150 jobs.

PHOTO: Tesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., March 31, 2016.Justin Pritchard/AP, FILE
Tesla Motors unveils the new lower-priced Model 3 sedan at the Tesla Motors design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., March 31, 2016.

“Tesla will need to make these cuts while increasing the Model 3 production rate and making many manufacturing engineering improvements in the coming months. Higher volume and manufacturing design improvements are crucial for Tesla to achieve the economies of scale required to manufacture the standard range (220 mile), standard interior Model 3 at $35k and still be a viable company. There isn’t any other way,” Musk wrote.

The electric carmaker laid off 9 percent of its staff last June.

Tesla is facing several market conditions that are challenging for the company itself, the electric vehicle industry in general and the auto industry at large. It is certainly not the only automaker laying off workers in significant numbers: GM will lay off 15 percent of its workforce and close factories, with about 14,000 employees in North America losing jobs by the end of the year. Ford is also making global job cuts in the thousands, as it eliminates product lines, particularly in Europe. Jaguar Land Rover will also cut almost 5,000 jobs, and Nissan is also making layoffs.

In the meantime, Tesla faces increasing competition in the luxury space, as traditional brands plan to enter the electric market, including Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volkswagen’s Audi and Porsche.

Musk needs to find a way to mass produce and deliver the lower-priced Model 3s he has staked the company’s future on — an affordable mid-range electric car priced at $35,000. Tesla began taking deposits for the car three years ago and has yet to deliver at that price point. Currently, the cheapest Model 3 sells at $44,000. Furthermore, Tesla hopes to deliver Model 3s to Asia and Europe in the next three months.

“It has always been hard to make affordable electric cars, that’s why all car-buyers and tax-payers have to subsidize them through taxes and government incentives,” Brian Moody, Autotrader’s executive editor, wrote in an email to ABC News. “Tesla should never have promised affordability in the first place. The real future for EVs is luxury cars like the Jaguar I-Pace and automated delivery and taxi services.”

“Starting around May, we will need to deliver at least the mid-range Model 3 variant in all markets, as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles. Moreover, we need to continue making progress towards lower-priced variants of Model 3,” Musk wrote.

“The need for a lower priced variants of Model 3 becomes even greater on July 1, when the US tax credit again drops in half, making our car $1,875 more expensive, and again at the end of the year when it goes away entirely,” he added.

The electric vehicle tax credit, which offset the price of a new Tesla by $7,500 was halved on Jan 1, making it now $3,750.

The electric vehicle tax credit applies to all manufacturers for their first 200,000 vehicles. After that threshold, it’s halved, and then halved again before it is phased out. Therefore newer entrants to the market can defray costs for consumers by $7,500, potentially swaying buyers to Tesla’s competitors. Earlier this month, Tesla dropped the price of all of its vehicles by $2,000.

PHOTO: Elon Musk speaks at a SpaceX event in Hawthorne, Calif., Sept. 17, 2018.Chris Carlson/AP, FILE
Elon Musk speaks at a SpaceX event in Hawthorne, Calif., Sept. 17, 2018.

Musk’s email was markedly somber in tone compared the fiery tweets he’s become known for — and which cost him and the company each $20 million in settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission last year. Musk had been sued for fraud and misleading investors about taking the company private.

Friday’s email confirmed many external criticisms of the company.

“This announcement is a rare moment of concession for Tesla, where the company is officially acknowledging the fact that Model 3 buyers actually do care about the tax credits, and could insinuate that demand for the vehicle is starting to wane,” Jessica Caldwell, an executive at auto research firm Edmunds, wrote in an email to ABC News.

“This is clearly big news because it’s Tesla, but it’s not unlike moves we’re seeing from other automakers as costs rise and competitive pressures increase. But when you’re talking about a company that builds tents to solve production challenges, it’s almost more notable when you see them doing something conventional,” Caldwell wrote.

The company has been struggling to be profitable its entire existence. In October, it reported a record third-quarter profit of $311.5 million, reversing Wall Street expectations. Musk referred to that 4 percent as “our first meaningful profit in the 15 years since we created Tesla.” Musk credited the higher-priced Model 3 sales.

Within Tesla’s own ecosystem, Tesla has been struggling from both production and delivery issues, which Musk admitted in a tweet last year, saying the company had gone from “production hell to delivery logistics hell.”

Tesla shares dipped dramatically on Friday, down 13 percent to $302.



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Zverev cruises past Bolt to move into fourth round

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Tennis – Australian Open – Third Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 19, 2019. Germany’s Alexander Zverev in action during the match against Australia’s Alex Bolt. REUTERS/Edgar Su

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Germany’s Alexander Zverev brandished his credentials as an Australian Open title contender by dispatching local wildcard Alex Bolt 6-3 6-3 6-2 in their third round clash on Saturday night.

The fourth seed was tested early on his serve, which was initially off-target, but was able to maintain control of the contest with a strong returning display.

Once the German’s towering serve started finding its mark, though, there was little Bolt could do to stay in the match.

Zverev, known as Sascha, will play big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round.

Reporting by Jonathan Barrett, editing by Nick Mulvenney



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Get Your Body Working For You: Week 3 Day 4

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Always wanted to try an exciting new activity, but just not sure where to start? We’re trying out the latest, greatest sports and activities for you and reporting back with our findings, so you know exactly what to expect when trying something for the first time. We tried everything from parkour to trail running and learned the basics straight from experts — and now we’re passing their secrets on to you. So go on, try that new sport for the first time… it probably won’t be your last.



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Liam Fox: Customs union ‘would not deliver Brexit’

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Liam FoxImage copyright
Reuters

Liam Fox says that staying in a permanent customs arrangement with the EU would “not be delivering Brexit”.

The international trade secretary said he did not believe the UK could have an independent trade policy if it stayed in a customs union.

The PM is meeting cabinet members in No 10 today to discuss “next steps” after her Brexit plan was overwhelmingly defeated in a vote earlier this week.

Some opposition parties have been making the case for a customs union.

Theresa May held talks with the leaders of smaller parties, including the SNP and the Lib Dems, about a way forward after she won a confidence vote by a narrow margin in the Commons on Wednesday.

She also spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the telephone on Thursday night, and will be speaking to more EU leaders over the weekend.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who wants the UK to be in a permanent customs union, has so far refused to take part in talks with the prime minister until she rules out the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal.

As many as 20 Tory ministers have also said they would quit the government unless the prime minister allows them to try to stop a no deal Brexit, according to the Telegraph.

Mrs May says ruling out no deal is impossible as it was not within the government’s power.

The UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, under the Article 50 process and the UK’s EU Withdrawal Act, with or without a deal – unless the UK chooses to revoke Article 50 and continues as a member of the EU.

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Media captionWhat did voters think of this week’s political drama unfolding?

Mr Fox, who backed Leave during the referendum campaign, said that people expected the government to honour its commitment to leave the customs union and single market, as set out in last year’s Conservative Party manifesto.

By staying in a customs union, the UK would “have to apply European trade law without having a say in how it’s made” and apply a common external tariff, which would “restrict our ability to make agreements outside the European Union’s ability to do so,” he added.

Mr Fox also backed Mrs May’s conclusion that the government could not rule out a no-deal Brexit.

Article 50 extension?

Meanwhile, former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown urged the government to extend Article 50 by a year, in order to consult the people on Brexit “and perhaps in the end put it to the people in a referendum”.

But former foreign secretary Boris Johnson said changing the date of leaving from 29 March would be “shameful”, and the public would view it as “an elite conspiracy to thwart Brexit”.

Giving a speech at JCB Headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire, he instead urged the government to use Brexit to “unite the country”.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has urged Leave campaigners to prepare for another referendum, telling a rally of Brexit supporters he believed “it is now quite possible that we will see an extension of Article 50”.



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Michigan State says Engler resignation effective immediately

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Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees said Thursday that interim president John Engler’s resignation is effective immediately.

The board acted a day after Engler said he’d step down next week amid fallout from remarks he made about some victims of former sports doctor and convicted sexual abuser Larry Nassar. When the board chairwoman announced during a special meeting that the resignation would be immediate, the crowd broke into loud applause.

“A wrong has been righted today. I’m sorry it took so long,” said Trustee Kelly Tebay, who joined the board this month. Another trustee, Nancy Schlichting, added: “Values matter. Behavior matters.”

Engler, a former Michigan governor, was brought in to help the university recover from the Nassar sexual abuse scandal and had resisted calls to step down in the past. But the final straw came last week when he told The Detroit News that Nassar’s victims had been in the “spotlight” and were “still enjoying that moment at times, you know, the awards and recognition.”

Engler submitted an 11-page letter on Wednesday to Dianne Byrum, chairwoman of Board of Trustees. The letter made no mention of recent criticism of his recent remarks and instead listed what he considered to be his accomplishments in nearly a year of service. He wrote that the university was a “dramatically better, stronger institution.”

“It has been an honor to serve my beloved university,” wrote Engler, who was in Texas attending a burial service for his late father-in-law.

The board appointed Satish Udpa as the new interim president. He currently serves as the school’s executive vice president for administration and is a distinguished professor.

Engler joins a long list of people — including his predecessor as president — who have been fired, forced out of their jobs or charged with crimes amid fallout from the school’s handling of the once-renowned sports physician stretching back decades.

Nassar is now serving decades-long prison sentences for sexually assaulting patients and possessing child pornography.

The Associated Press left messages Wednesday seeking comment from Engler, who was hired last February following the resignation of president Lou Anna Simon.

Byrum, who became chairwoman of the trustees board last week, stopped short of confirming Wednesday that she asked Engler to resign. But she told the AP he had “a decision to make” because the board was poised to name a new interim leader at the meeting. Both Byrum and Mosallam are Democrats, and Engler is a Republican.

Engler’s comments, Byrum said, make “it very difficult for the MSU community to make the changes necessary and rebuild both trust and credibility, and frankly for the survivors to heal.”

Brian Mosallam, a long-time Engler critic, said on Twitter on Wednesday that “JOHN ENGLER’S REIGN OF TERROR IS OVER.” He told the AP the board had enough votes to force Engler out during Thursday’s special meeting at the school in East Lansing.

After Engler was hired, Michigan State agreed to a $500 million settlement with 332 women and girls who said they were sexually assaulted by Nassar. Of that, $75 million will cover future claims.

In April, Engler told another university official in emails that Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to go public with accusations about Nassar, was probably getting a “kickback” from her attorney.

Denhollander told the AP on Wednesday that her hope is that the board “is signaling at least the beginning of a true change in direction and tone. And in order to do that, they have to deal with the person they put in place.”

She said who Engler was and how he operated “was no secret in Michigan.” The former board — five members remain and three are gone — picked Engler “for a reason,” Denhollander said, and it “needs to take responsibility for what they did.”

Her biggest concern with Engler’s tenure has been what he’s “communicated about abuse,” Denhollander said. “What he has communicated is that survivors who speak up will be attacked and blamed and shamed, that those who push for change are going to be accused of enjoying the spotlight, that they will be lied about.”

The elected board has five Democrats, two Republicans and an appointee who was named last month by then-Gov. Rick Snyder. The board’s makeup became more Democratic this month following the November election. Engler, a Michigan State alum, served as governor from 1991 through 2002.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, also an MSU graduate, said in a statement: “The MSU Board of Trustees now has an opportunity to build a new foundation that will provide this university with a clean slate and a brighter future. The new president should be someone who will begin the healing process and restore trust between survivors, students, alumni and the administration.”

The board is due to announce a permanent president in June.

The university fired Nassar in 2016, two years after he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation. He also worked with the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team.

Hundreds of women and girls, most of them gymnasts, accused Nassar of molesting them when they sought treatment during his time working for Michigan State and USA Gymnastics.

A special prosecutor in December accused Michigan State of stonewalling his investigation into the school’s handling of the scandal. Bill Forsyth released a report that said the school fought the release of certain relevant documents and released others that were heavily redacted or irrelevant. It said such actions hampered the investigation.

“Their biggest concern was the reputation of the university,” Forsyth said at the time.

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Williams reported from Detroit.

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For more stories on Larry Nassar and the fallout from his years of sexual abuse of young women and girls: https://www.apnews.com/LarryNassar



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