News briefs

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Trump slams Manhattan DA Bragg as an ‘animal’ as hush money indictment looms

Former President Donald Trump insisted Thursday that he is “100% INNOCENT” in the Stormy Daniels hush money case and attacked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg as an “animal.”

In his latest outburst, Trump accused Bragg of “carrying out the plans of the radical left lunatics” by investigating him for paying the porn star to keep quiet about their supposed sexual encounter in the days before the 2016 presidential election.

“He is (an) animal who just doesn’t care about right or wrong no matter how many people are hurt,” Trump wrote on his social media site. Trump added that “everybody knows I’m 100% innocent,” without elaborating.

The grand jury isn’t expected to discuss Trump’s case Thursday, meaning any further action will likely not take place until Monday at the earliest. In keeping with grand jury secrecy rules, prosecutors have not explained what, if anything, is causing a delay in deliberations.

—New York Daily News

End of the rainbow? California bill would ban sales of Skittles, other ‘toxic’ snacks

LOS ANGELES — The snack and candy aisles at your local grocery store could soon carry fewer items if a bill proposed by California Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel is voted into law.

Last month, Gabriel, a Woodland Hills Democrat, introduced AB 418, which would ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of foods containing chemicals that have been linked to health concerns including decreased immune response, hyperactivity in children and increased risk of cancer.

The bill would make California the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of foods containing the chemicals, according to a release from Gabriel’s office.

The chemicals, currently banned in the European Union, are found in numerous snack staples including Skittles, Mountain Dew, Ding Dongs (with red heart sprinkles) and a host of other ubiquitous food items.

—Los Angeles Times

Scientists uncover startling concentrations of pure DDT along seafloor off LA coast

LOS ANGELES — First it was the eerie images of barrels leaking on the seafloor not far from Catalina Island. Then the shocking realization that the nation’s largest manufacturer of DDT had once used the ocean as a huge dumping ground — and that as many as half a million barrels of its acid waste had been poured straight into the water.

Now, scientists have discovered that much of the DDT — which had been dumped largely in the 1940s and ‘50s — never broke down. The chemical remains in its most potent form in startlingly high concentrations, spread across a wide swath of seafloor larger than the city of San Francisco.

“We still see original DDT on the seafloor from 50, 60, 70 years ago, which tells us that it’s not breaking down the way that (we) once thought it should,” said UC Santa Barbara scientist David Valentine, who shared these preliminary findings Thursday during a research update with more than 90 people working on the issue. “And what we’re seeing now is that there is DDT that has ended up all over the place, not just within this tight little circle on a map that we referred to as Dumpsite Two.”

These revelations confirm some of the science community’s deepest concerns — and further complicate efforts to understand DDT’s toxic and insidious legacy in California.

—Los Angeles Times

Caribbean nations support Mexico as it targets US-based gun manufacturers with lawsuit

The Bahamas and several other Caribbean nations, including Jamaica, have banded together to support the government of Mexico in a lawsuit against gun manufacturers in the United States.

Mexico is arguing that gun manufacturers’ marketing and distribution practices are facilitating the trafficking of arms in the country and fueling powerful drug cartels. The government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador first sued U.S.-based manufacturers in August in federal court in Massachusetts, seeking to hold them responsible for the arms trafficking it argues is leading to violence in Mexico.

But the 139-page civil lawsuit seeking $10 billion in damages was dismissed in September by a U.S. judge. Mexico has since filed an appeal, which found support this week among several Caribbean countries, also struggling with an uptick in gun-related violence.

The appeal is targeting several well-known firearms manufacturing brands. They include Smith & Wesson Brands, Glock, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Beretta USA, Colt’s Manufacturing, Century International Arms and Witmer Public Safety Group.

—Miami Herald