flying drone in town

Devices could be used by terrorists and criminals: Civilian drones pose a “steadily escalating threat,” as the devices are likely to be used by terrorists, criminal groups or drug cartels to carry out attacks in the U.S., FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate committee. Wray’s comments come as U.S. law enforcement and homeland security agencies have just obtained legal authority to monitor drone communications and to disable them in extreme cases. READ MORE

TARIFFS

Tariffs affecting apple sales: Last year, Washington state sent eight million 40-pound boxes of apples to India rather than China amid a trade dispute with the U.S. This year, tariffs have already been implemented on the fruit by China and Mexico—and now too are planned by India. Total tariffs in China and Mexico are now 50 percent and 20 percent, respectively, Yakima Herald reports. READ MORE

WATER SAFETY

The problem with flooded crops: Fresh produce that comes into contact with floodwater can be instantly contaminated with a wide range of bacteria, viruses and parasites. The toxic composition of floodwater is such a serious food safety hazard that federal law prohibits the sale, distribution or donation of any produce or other food crops from fields that are flooded. Special inspections are required before such crops can even be used for animal feed. READ MORE

Floods carry bacteria, viruses: Hurricane Michael leaves behind a treacherous, dangerous landscape that will likely pose risks to human health for weeks to come, experts say. While the storm’s winds and rain have passed, flooding remains widespread across the Florida Panhandle, and the water itself can carry bacteria and viruses that pose a major health hazard. Authorities are pleading with residents to shelter in place, keeping the roads clear for emergency vehicles and reducing the risk of additional casualties. READ MORE

PUBLIC HEALTH

Hurricane could exacerbate red tide problem: Hurricane Michael could push this season’s toxic red tide inland, exposing more people to the dangerous health effects of a record algae bloom that has bedeviled much of Florida’s coast. The worst-hit section of the coast has seen some of the worst concentrations this year of red tide, a variety of algae that kills fish and releases toxins that cause respiratory symptoms in humans similar to tear gas. READ MORE

Typhus outbreak spreads: A typhus outbreak in Southern California has spread to a third city, and pet owners there have been surprised to hear of the uptick in the flea-borne disease. Health officials said there have been nine cases in Downtown Los Angeles, 12 in Long Beach, 20 in Pasadena and 59 in Los Angeles County. Authorities said flea-borne typhus only makes humans sick, not animals. Feral rats, possums and cats can carry the disease. READ MORE 

EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Employment agency sued for exploiting restaurant labor: An employment agency in Chicago’s Chinatown sued for allegedly exploiting Latino immigrant workers in several states will cease operations, according to a consent decree approved by a federal court judge this week. Xing Ying Employment Agency was a key target of a 2015 lawsuit saying a network of employment agencies “essentially acted as central supply houses for a buffet restaurant industry seeking to profit from illegal and exploitative wages and conditions of employment.” READ MORE

MISCELLANEOUS

Another lawsuit over spilled coffee: A McDonald’s in Multnomah County, Ore., is being sued for $1.56 million by a 14-year-old girl who claims she suffered serious burns on her abdomen and lower body by a scalding cup of hot water allegedly served and spilled on her by a restaurant employee. The lawsuit alleges that a McDonald’s employee served the minor a dangerously hot cup of water, which spilled on the teen, causing  or second-degree burns on her abdomen and lower body. READ MORE