This lab is working on it: In the foothills of a mountain in a rural part of Japan northwest of Tokyo, a farm called Toriyama painstakingly breeds and raises cattle to make Wagyu beef–delicately marbled meat that sells for around $100 a pound. In a lab in San Francisco, food scientists now plan to recreate Toriyama’s meat in a bioreactor. READ MORE

TERRORISM

French attacked called ‘terrorism’: Before he opened fire on a crowded Christmas market in Strasbourg, France on Tuesday, 29-year-old Cherif Chekatt yelled “Allahu Akbar,” Paris’ public prosecutor said Wednesday — the first official statement pegging the deadly shooting as an Islamic terror attack. READ MORE

ISIS threatens New Year’s ‘retribution’: ISIS supporters ushered in the holiday season by invoking the 2016 Berlin Christmas market attack and vowing “retribution” to come. The new poster distributed online superimposed a masked jihadist wielding a bloody knife over a collage of images from the attack. It states that New Year’s Day is “the date of retribution.” READ MORE

FOOD SAFETY

Farm Bill doesn’t have much for food safety: House and Senate agricultural conferees finally agreed on the 2018 Farm Bill, and by late afternoon it was sailing through the U.S. Senate on an 87-13 vote. There is little in the $867 billion bill for food safety over the 10-year-life of the proposed bill, but new mandatory funding is included for state departments of agriculture to combat animal disease. READ MORE

Check your fridge for tahini: Federal officials are again urging consumers to check their homes for recalled tahini products that are associated with an international outbreak of Salmonella infections. Product expiration dates initially reported by the recalling company were incorrect; some of the tahini doesn’t expire until 2021. READ MORE

FOOD SECURITY

Chinese dairies target SE Asia: Chinese dairy giants have now signaled their intent to set up a major presence in Southeast Asia, a region ranked the world’s sixth biggest economy. Reasons for targeting the region include its current favorable investment climate as well as the strength of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

Marriott hackers may have been working for China: Hackers behind a massive breach at hotel group Marriott International Inc. left clues suggesting they were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation, according to sources familiar with the matter. READ MORE

THE FUTURE

Walmart’s Flippy: Walmart is in the early stages of testing a kitchen robot assistant named “Flippy” at its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters. The aim is to see whether the robot is the right fit for the company’s in-store delis. Floppy is the world’s first autonomous robotic kitchen assistance powered by artificial intelligence. READ MORE

WATER 

WOTUS: Farmers and industry have long sought to rewrite the Water of the U.S. Rule, known as WOTUS. Environmental groups, on the other hand, have viewed any proposed change as an attempt to dodge the Clean Water Act and open up streams and wetlands throughout the U.S. to development. Now, the EPA and Department of the the Army have put forth a new WOTUS definition that would exempt from the Clean Water Act. many seasonal creek beds and marshlands that aren’t directly connected to navigable waterways. Read more HERE and HERE.

A good sign for California water supply: In a good sign for California’s water supply, the Sierra Nevada has been blanketed by heavy snow thanks to a series of recent storms. The snowpack measured 106 percent of average, according to the state’s snow survey taken late last week, more than double the 47 percent  of average measured on the same day last year. The Sierra Nevada is a key source of water for the state, which is recovering from years of drought. READ MORE

CYBER SECURITY

How to turn off tracking: Apple and Google can track your every move. But there are ways to mitigate this or shut it down. The tracking and snooping that Apple and Google do isn’t necessarily a nefarious plot to spy on you, and it easy to stop the tracking. Generally, disable your phone’s location services when not in use. READ MORE

JUST INTERESTING

Birds hidden in hair rollers: A passenger flying into New York from South America was caught bringing 70 live birds in a carry-on bag into John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday. The birds were found to be transported inside hair rollers in a black duffle bag, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers said in a statement. Birds can carry a number of potentially fatal diseases and parasites that can spread to humans and other animals.READ MORE

Shovel up that chocolate! Firefighters in the town of Werl in western Germany tackled an unusual emergency late on Monday when a tank at a local firm making liquid chocolate overflowed and poured about a ton of chocolate onto a street. READ MORE