Preparation is ‘urgent and necessary’: Under the cover of farm facilities, North Korean chemists may be weaponizing some the world’s deadliest diseases—such as smallpox, Black Death and cholera—which could lay waste to millions of people if an epidemic were unleashed. A report released by the Belfer Center of Harvard University’s Kennedy School says the rogue state already has biological weapons, and the highly infectious diseases could be spread via missiles, drones, planes and sprayers. READ MORE


Was Las Vegas a wake-up call? It may take years to fully understand how the senseless attack in Las Vegas will change American society. In 2008, members of a Pakistani militant group they targeted locations containing large gatherings of people, including a café, a hospital, a Jewish community center, a movie theater, a railway station, and two hotels, killing 164 and injuring more than 300. Both the Mumbai terrorists and Stephen Paddock targeted the vulnerabilities inherent to urban environments. We must begin to take a hard look at how we secure our cities. READ MORE


The high cost of recalls: For consumers, those two words send a red-flag alert: Don’t buy the recalled food or get rid of any of it you might have in your home. To retailers and food companies, the two words can strike fear in their hearts. “The food industry’s biggest threat to profitability,” read a recent headline in an industry magazine. No surprise then that risk is part of the new profit picture. That’s where recall insurance comes into the picture. READ MORE

Two pathogens in that jambalaya: A second pathogen is in play in a northeast Louisiana outbreak thought to be caused by jambalaya served at a softball fundraising event last week. By Friday afternoon, 125 people were confirmed sick and investigators found some of them are positive for the bacterium Clostridium perfringens. Thursday state health officials said they had confirmed Salmonella in some victims. It may be a “perfect storm” in terms of foodborne illness. The recipe for such a storm includes a multi-ingredient food — especially if it includes seafood, poultry or meat — often prepared in large quantities and held and served over a period of hours. READ MORE


Oh no! A butter shortage: French pastries and butter have become so popular abroad that the increased demand led to a mini shortage of the dairy product in French supermarkets. The price of butter has risen 60 percent in a year to reach 6.7 euros ($7.9) per kilogram in August, according to official data, creating problems for pastry exporters and fears of a shortage in France of Christmas delicacies such as the traditional Yule Log dessert. READ MORE


Crime surges after Maria: More than a month after Hurricane Maria wrecked the island, Puerto Rico’s overwhelmed police force of 13,000 officers is struggling to contain crime, just as before — but now with longer shifts, against emboldened criminals and on streets cloaked in darkness. READ MORE

The psychological toll of Caribbean hurricanes: At the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, some evacuees gazed dully into the distance, reliving the horrors of brutal Hurricane Irma and struggling to come to grips with losing everything. Others spoke at great lengths about their collapsed shops on the tiny island of Barbuda, discussing them as if they were still open. READ MORE

Bad news for retirees: The U.S. retirement age is rising, as the government pushes it higher and workers stay in careers longer. But lifespans aren’t necessarily extending to offer equal time on the beach. Data released last week suggest Americans’ health is declining and millions of middle-age workers face the prospect of shorter, and less active, retirements than their parents enjoyed. READ MORE


Wildfires’ toll on marijuana farms: The deadly wildfires that ravaged communities and wineries in Northern California also severely damaged numerous marijuana farms, just before the state is expected to fully legalize the drug, in a disaster that could have far-reaching implications for a nascent industry.At least 34 marijuana farms suffered extensive damage as the wildfires tore across wine country and some of California’s prime marijuana-growing areas. READ MORE