Thoughtful young biracial girl using smart phone while sitting alone in suburban train, curly african teenage female having online chat with her sister in train

CYBER SECURITY

Why do ads coincide with conversations? A couple years ago, something strange happened. A friend and I were sitting at a bar, iPhones in pockets, discussing our recent trips in Japan and how we’d like to go back. The very next day, we both received pop-up ads on Facebook about cheap return flights to Tokyo. It seemed like just a spooky coincidence, but then everyone seems to have a story about their smartphone listening to them. So is this just paranoia, or are our smartphones actually listening? READ MORE

More Facebook criticism: Facebook Inc faced criticism on Wednesday from Republican and Democratic U.S. lawmakers who demanded that the social media company be more forthcoming about data it has shared with four Chinese firms. The bipartisan criticism reflected rising frustration in Congress about how Facebook protects the privacy of the more than two billion people who use its services worldwide. READ MORE

DNA testing service data breach: One of the largest DNA testing services recently uncovered a breach that affects more than 90 million customers. MyHeritage, an Israel-based DNA testing service, reported the breach in a blog post yesterday. A security researcher found, on a private server, the email addresses and hashed passwords of every customer that signed up for the service before Oct. 26 of last year. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Groups create produce traceability task force: Following the multi-state E. coli O157:H7 outbreak linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona region, several groups have come together in the hopes of preventing future outbreaks. Despite the fact that the FDA announced that the outbreak was likely over weeks ago, four more deaths have occurred (bringing the total to five dead), and three more states have reported ill people. Now the Arizona and California leafy greens industries, the Produce Marketing Association, Western Growers, United Fresh and other groups have created a special task force to improve food safety systems across the supply chain. READ MORE

South African farmers prepare for violence: In South Africa, ownership of the land has emerged as the most explosive issue faced by the country’s leaders.  The government has pledged to redistribute land from white farmers to millions of black people who work on it. But groups representing white farmers say the dispute is inflaming violence in rural areas. An Israeli special forces soldier is teaching South African farmers how to defend themselves. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Border authorities plan mass arrests: U.S. border authorities, in a significant escalation of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, are planning to introduce a fast-track prosecution program to criminally charge more people who cross the border into California illegally, according to attorneys in San Diego. Under the program, called Operation Streamline, migrants will be moved through the criminal justice system in group hearings, with cases handled in a matter of hours, from arraignment to sentencing. READ MORE

More on Mexican tariffs: Mexico slapped the U.S. hard by placing tariffs on products ranging from steel to bourbon to pork. Reuters reports that the duties are in retaliation against the tariffs the Trump Administration placed on steel and aluminum imports. The list contains a 20 percent tariff on US pork legs and shoulders, apples and potatoes and 20 to 25 percent duties on types of cheeses and bourbon, Reuters reports. The country is also placing a 25 percent tariff on a range of American steel products. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Mystery illness strikes more consulate workers: A U.S. medical team was screening more Americans who work at the consulate in southern China as the State Department confirmed evacuating a number of government employees who experienced unexplained health issues like those that have hurt U.S. personnel in Cuba and China. The evacuations of workers in Guangzhou followed medical testing that revealed they might have been affected. READ MORE

Beheaded snake still bites: A Corpus Christi man is still recovering after he was bitten by a rattlesnake, even after the snake had already been beheaded. A man was doing weekend yard work when she spotted a four-foot rattlesnake. She said her husband quickly took his shovel and severed the snake’s head, but moments later when he bent down to dispose of the snake, the snake’s head bit him. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Guatemala volcano buries entire towns: Giant clouds of superheated smoke and ash burned people alive and buried entire towns in a deadly volcanic eruption in Guatemala that killed almost 100 people. Shocking satellite photos of before and after Sunday’s eruption show whole suburbs wiped off the map as hundreds of houses collapsed when tons of falling ash crushed them. What was once a collection of green canyons, hillsides and farms was reduced to grey devastation by fast-moving avalanches of super-heated muck that roared into the tightly knit villages on the mountain’s flanks. READ MORE

Hawaiian volcano wipes out neighborhood: Volcanic activity wiped out an entire neighborhood on Hawaii’s Big Island, as lava rolled into the ocean and hardened to formed new land. Molten magma destroyed homes in the Vacationland neighborhood Wednesday, the latest downturn on the state’s largest island, which has been rocked by eruptions for more than a month. Many of the 279 homes in Vacationland and neighboring Kapho are believed to have been destroyed by the rolling lava. READ MORE

ANIMAL FEED SAFETY

Pet food company infested with cockroaches: The Mars Petcare U.S. Inc. low-acid canned pet food production facility in Columbus, Ohio, was crawling with an infestation of German cockroaches between October 2016 and July 2017, according to FDA documents obtained by Food Safety News. Mars markets wet dog and cat foods in cans, plastic tubs, and laminated pouches under the Pedigree, Cesar, Whiskas, Nutro and IAMS brands. Pet food from the plant also generated multiple consumer complaints about finding hard plastic pieces and a complaint about a elastic material in Mars’ pet foods. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Gangs in rural communities: A University of Arkansas at Little Rock professor is shedding light on gangs in rural communities that have a connection to urban gangs in Chicago. Timothy Brown, a sociologist and associate professor of criminal justice at UA Little Rock, is studying rural gang activity in a small town in the Mississippi Delta region with ties to gang affiliates in the Windy City. READ MORE

UPS may go on strike: UPS could soon face the largest labor stoppage the U.S. has seen in decades. More than 90 percent of the shipping company’s union members voted in favor of going on strike if a deal is not reached before the current labor contract expires on August 1, according to CNN. At issue is how workers will be compensated if UPS begins to offer delivery seven days a week. READ MORE