Big cat on the street in the city

Fat cats: Like most cats, Max had a swagger in his walk. But because he was slightly overweight, the 15-year-old Maine coon began having trouble “jumping up on things,” his owner says, the extra pounds worsening his arthritis. So his owner decided her pet needed to go on a diet and a supervised exercise program that included treadmill work and running through stationary poles. READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

E tu, Chipotle? The number of potential customers that were affected by a foodborne illness outbreak at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Ohio may be much higher than initially believed. The Delaware General Health District said earlier this week that it had received a total of 518 inquiries — 95 emails and 423 calls — related to a possible outbreak stemming from a Chipotle in Powell, Ohio. READ MORE

Former Marine sues over tainted ground beef: A former U.S. Marine has filed a lawsuit against Sodexo for serving E. coli-tainted ground beef at a Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, according to documents filed in the Southern District Court of California. Vincent Grano suffered permanent brain and kidney damage and developed epilepsy as a result of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) caused by eating E. coli O151:H7-tainted ground beef, according to the lawsuit. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Wildfire smoke carries health risks: As climate change helps push up the number of wildfires in the western US, communities face losing lives and properties to the flames. But another threat also looms large – dangerous exposure to wildfire smoke. Once a forest turns into a roaring fire, plumes of sooty smoke containing gases and microscopic particles are released. This can cause a range of symptoms such as coughing, burning eyes and shortness of breath. READ MORE

WEATHER EMERGENCIES

Sahara blows north: Much of the Iberian Peninsula braced Thursday for the year’s first heatwave, with the mercury expected to soar before peaking at 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) in some areas of southern Portugal this weekend. Temperatures were being driven higher by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa, authorities said. Portuguese authorities issued a nationwide health warning, including for dust moving up from the Sahara Desert. Warnings were also issued for 40 of Spain’s 50 provinces. READ MORE

EMERGENCY RESPONSE

Emergency alerts fail to keep pace with fires: It was a week ago when the Carr fire barreled out of the foothills and took aim at this city, with hot winds launching embers well ahead of the main blaze and engulfing neighborhoods along bends in the Sacramento River. Authorities said they did everything they could to alert residents to the coming danger — using social media, reverse 911 calls and public announcements. But, officials acknowledged, there may have been shortfalls given the ferocious nature of the fire that night. READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Warnings of famine, chaos: South Africa’s white farmers have blasted the government’s decision to endorse constitutional changes in order to speed up the redistribution of white-owned land to the country’s poor black majority as “catastrophic.” President Cyril Ramaphosa said his ruling African National Congress party will push ahead with the amendment to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation. Experts have claimed the move would result in the kind of chaos  suffered in Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Whites still own most of South Africa’s land. READ MORE