ISIS claims responsibility: The attack by an armed gunman on the Resorts World Manila Casino, which claimed the lives of 37 people, many of them women, reinforces the importance of robust security in public venues. Although strongly denied by the Philippine government, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq media wing. The Philippines is currently experiencing significant ISIS-affiliated militant activity on the island of Mindanao. The armed gunman entered the casino, fired upon patrons and then set fire to the gambling tables. Many of the victims suffocated because of  smoke inhalation, some hiding from the gunman in a second floor restroom. CCTV security footage shows that the gunman entered from a parking ramp, where he encountered an unarmed female security guard, who panicked. Armed security were only present on the perimeter, delaying their engagement with the gunman as he moved through the casino firing what looks in the footage to be a short-barrel automatic or semi-automatic rifle (possibly M4 variant). The gunman stole chips totaling approximately 113 million pesos, causing the Philippine police to label this a robbery. The gunman was later found dead in a hotel room. CNN Philippines reported that the gunman had apparently laid down on a bed and set himself on fire. More as this develops. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Flour recall expanded to U.S.: An E. coli outbreak in Canada traced to flour produced by Colorado-based Ardent Mills Corp. has prompted Smucker Foods to recall three brands of flour distributed across the United States. Ardent Mills is a Denver-based network of 40 community mills, three bakery-mix centers and a specialty bakery, has four Canadian locations. No illnesses have been confirmed in connection to the flour recalled in the United States, but it was produced with Canadian wheat that Ardent Mills used to produce flour that has been implicated in the Canadian E. coli outbreak, which sickened 30 people at last count. The U.S. recall involves 20-pound bags of Maya Durum Wheat Atta Flour, Swad Durum Atta Flour Chappati Flour, Golden Temple #1 Fine Durum Atta Flour Blend and Golden Temple Durum Atta Flour Blend. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Cybercriminals hit Kmart: Big box department store chain Kmart informed customers on Wednesday that cybercriminals may have stolen their credit or debit card data after installing malware on the company’s payment processing systems. Kmart, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings, has not provided any information on which stores are affected and for how long hackers had access to its systems. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Don’t pee in the pool: Everyone pees in the pool. That’s the safe and well-informed assumption that many chemists studying the safety of public, chlorinated swimming pools make. People tend to trust the power of the chemicals in the water, but the chemical byproducts that result from your urine and the chlorine aren’t as benign as you may think. Urine is made up of ingredients that interact with chlorine, with uric acid and a handful of amino acids posing the biggest threat. When they react with chlorine, they create trichloraminen (sometimes called nitrogen trichloride) and cyanogen chloride. Both can be harmful in high enough concentrations. READ MORE

But is poop in the pool a problem? Up to ten grams of poop can wash off a little kid’s butt in a pool. Ten grams is a small amount, but  multiply that by the number of children in your average public pool. Think about how much poop that is. And now think about the last time you got an infection from swimming in a pool. Even if you spent most of your childhood in public pools, however, odds are you never got seriously ill from the bacteria and parasites in there. READ MORE

On the other hand: Health officials are warning that outbreaks of diarrhea caused by swallowing pool water containing parasites have doubled in the last few years. The parasite, named Cryptosporidium or Crypto, is difficult to kill and caused at least 32 outbreaks in swimming pools or water parks in 2016 compared with just 16 in 2014. It’s the most common cause of diarrhea outbreaks linked with swimming facilities because it can survive up to 10 days in chlorinated water, Reuters has reported. READ MORE

So here’s a reminder: About 1 in 4 adults say that they would go swimming in a public pool while they have diarrhea. The (disgusting) stat comes from a new survey of more than 3,000 adults on behalf of the Water Quality and Health Council, which in combination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation wants to warn pool-goers of the health risks that come from swimming in, and swallowing, contaminated pool water. Read more HERE and HERE.