Study suggests they’re a harbinger of climate change: Palm trees are popping up in more locations than ever before, and can serve as signposts since they can only grow in certain climates. If you’ve got a palm tree that survives year-round, that tells you something about the local climate. To learn more, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory took a closer look at the gentle, picturesque palm tree. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Meat trade group warns about tariff’s effect on farmers: Media reports say that China’s Commerce Ministry has released a list of more than 120 U.S. products targeted for tariffs if the two countries fail to resolve their trade differences. The Washington Post said a 25 percent tariff could be imposed on items including pork and aluminum and a 15 percent levy placed on other goods such as wine and fresh fruit. As a result, a meat trade group warns of harmful consequences for American agriculture. READ MORE

TERRORISM

Terrorist attack at Travis AFB: A driver breached the main security gate at Travis Air Force base Wednesday evening and then crashed and died when his vehicle exploded into a massive fireball. Investigators are treating the incident as an act of terrorism. Law enforcement sources said the vehicle carried propane tanks which the driver deliberately ignited after crashing through the security gate. READ MORE

Gunman attacks French market: At least two people were killed and about a dozen others injured after a gunman claiming allegiance to ISIS opened fire and took hostages at a supermarket in southwest France on Friday, according to reports. The attacker — reported to be a Moroccan national who was known to authorities — killed the two people at a Super U store in the town of Trèbes, a security source told Agence France-Presse. The gunman is dead, shot by police. Read more  HERE and HERE.

FOOD SAFETY

Listeriosis caused by frozen corn: Week-old speculation about frozen corn being responsible for a three-year listeriosis outbreak in Europe, which has had an 18.75  percent fatality rate, is probably correct. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) jointly published a rapid outbreak assessment today (March 22) that says frozen corn  is the “likely source of an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes” involving Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom since 2015. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Mapping pathogen risks: Geographic mapping of pathogen emergence risk, as recently done for viral haemorrhagic fever in Africa, provides an important tool for targeting interventions. More comprehensive preparedness and prediction systems that increase surveillance and forecast infectious disease outbreak growth and spread in real time are also needed. READ MORE

Costs of treating antibiotic-resistant infections have doubled: Antibiotic-resistant infections are a global health care concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 23,000 Americans with these infections die each year. Rising infection rates add to the costs of health care and compromise the quality of medical and surgical procedures provided. Little is known about the national health care costs attributable to treating the infections. READ MORE

When antibiotics turn toxic: Commonly prescribed drugs called fluoroquinolones cause rare, disabling side effects. Researchers are struggling to work out why. READ MORE

How influenza might spread on a plane: In the classic 1995 disaster flick Outbreak, an Ebola-like virus mutates and becomes airborne. In one of the most sobering scenes of the movie, the pathogen is sucked up into the ventilation system of an airplane, infecting almost everyone on board. Such scenes of plane-contracted illness are not easy to shake, leaving the creeping feeling that flying is a game of cold-and-flu Russian roulette. READ MORE

HUMANITARIAN CRISES

Buying votes with food: Venezuela is an economic basket case, with hyperinflation and shortages of nearly everything. So how do its Socialist rulers keep winning elections? By controlling the food supply.  Sara Meza is just the kind of voter Venezuela’s opposition could once count on at the ballot box. A 32-year-old teacher, she’s fed up with President Nicolás Maduro’s government. Her salary has fallen to the equivalent of $2 a month with Venezuela’s currency collapse. She struggles to feed her 10-year-old son and is unable to treat the small tumor on her breast because the health-care system is in shambles. Still…  READ MORE

THE FUTURE