Illinois' inspector general recommended firing the director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum because a copy of the Gettysburg Address was loaned last year to an upstart museum operated by political pundit Glenn Beck.
The inspector general's report making the recommendation was released Friday. It says Alan Lowe, who was fired by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in September, also improperly received travel reimbursements from the museum. Pritzker did not give a reason at the time he fired Lowe.
The inspector general's report says the Lincoln Museum's copy of the Gettysburg Address, one of five written in Lincoln's hand, was lent to a Texas museum called Mercury One. The report says Lowe ignored the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency's standard practices for loaning items.
The report says Illinois is fortunate the Gettysburg Address "returned safely" to the Lincoln Museum.
U.S. health officials on Friday told people to avoid romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California, because of another food poisoning outbreak.
The notice comes almost exactly one year after a similar outbreak led to a blanket warning about romaine.
Officials urged Americans not to eat the leafy green if the label doesn't say where it was grown. They also urged supermarkets and restaurants not to serve or sell the lettuce, unless they're sure it was grown elsewhere.
The warning applies to all types of romaine from the Salinas region, include whole heads, hearts and pre-cut salad mixes.
"We're concerned this romaine could be in other products," said Laura Gieraltowski, lead investigator of the outbreak at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials said their investigation led to farms in Salinas and that they are looking for the source of E. coli tied to the illnesses. Salinas is a major growing region for romaine from around April to this time of year, when growing shifts south to Yuma, Arizona.
After last year's pre-Thanksgiving outbreak tied to romaine, the produce industry agreed to voluntarily label the lettuce with harvest regions. Health officials said that would make it easier to trace romaine and issue more specific public health warnings when outbreaks happen.
Officials never identified exactly how romaine might have become contaminated in past outbreaks. But another outbreak in spring 2018 that sickened more than 200 people and killed five was traced to tainted irrigation water near a cattle lot. (E. coli is found in the feces of animals such as cows.)
It's not clear exactly why romaine keeps popping up in outbreaks, but food safety experts note the popularity of romaine lettuce and the difficulty of eliminating risk for produce grown in open fields and eaten raw.
Industry groups noted that they tightened safety measures following last year's outbreaks, including expanding buffer zones between growing fields and livestock.
"It's very, very disturbing. Very frustrating all around," said Trevor Suslow of the Produce Marketing Association.
The CDC says 40 people have been reported sick so far in 16 states. The most recent reported illness started on Nov. 10. The agency says it's the same E. coli strain tied to previous outbreaks, including the one from last Thanksgiving.
The CDC's Gieraltowski said that suggests there's a persisting contamination source in the environment.
Amazon has pulled more than a dozen skin-lightening products with dangerous levels of mercury off its website after Minnesota public-health and environmental activists raised concerns.
The company's change came after two groups, the BeautyWell Project and the state branch of the Sierra Club, delivered a petition on Wednesday with over 23,000 signatures to Amazon's fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
"For a large retail company selling toxic products to individuals of color, I think it's so wrong. And these are illegal products," said Amira Adawe, founder of the BeautyWell Project, who has been educating women on the hazards of creams intended to lighten their skin for about eight years.
Amazon spokeswoman Cecilia Fan said sellers who use their site must follow the proper guidelines.
"And those who don't will be subject to action, including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available," she said in an emailed statement Friday.
Fan also pointed out the company's policy that bans suppliers from selling hazardous products, including ones containing mercury.
On the same day of delivering the petition, the organizations also took out a full-page ad in a local newspaper demanding that the Seattle-based company stop selling toxic skin-lightening creams. The ad had three words in bold print: "Dangerous, racist, and illegal."
Many such creams remain popular among some communities of color despite containing mercury. Adawe, who has worked on this issue for years locally, is now focused on targeting the retail giants.
She collaborated with the Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy group, in addition to the Mercury Policy Project to examine the skin-lightening creams sold on the Amazon site. Out of the 24 that were tested, 15 showed high levels of mercury.
Such products are not heavily regulated despite having illegal toxins in them, said Mary Blitzer of the local Sierra Club branch.
Adawe said in addition to public health concerns, "it's a racial thing that keeps encouraging that people should change their skin color, and we don't want to see that."
She added that the ultimate test is whether the products remain off Amazon's site for good. As of Thursday evening, all but one of the 15 products appeared to be removed from the site.
Hungary's National Blue Trail has been selected among National Geographic's best dream tourism destinations of 2020, local media reported here on Friday.
National Geographic picked the planet's 25 most exciting destinations for the year ahead, and Hungary's Blue Trail is among them, major Hungarian media Origo Index and HVG reported.
"Despite its lack of soaring peaks (the highest is 3,327-foot Mount Kekes), Hungary is a dream hiking destination thanks to the country's National Blue Trail," National Geographic said on its Travel website.
Meandering about 700 miles from Irottko Mountain, on the western border with Austria, to the northeastern village of Hollohaza near Slovakia, the Blue Trail (Kektura in Hungarian) is a wonderfully diverse web of paths labeled with white-and-blue-striped waymarkers, read the description on the National Geographic website.
"Originating in 1938 and recognized as Europe's first long-distance trail, it's part of the nearly 6,500-mile European long-distance walking route E4, which begins in Spain and ends (with ferry connections) in Cyprus," it added.
A three-day national art exhibition of ‘Team Obscure’ is going to take place at Gallery 27 in Dhanmondi 27 in the capital.
Obscure Artists of Bangladesh, a new group of artists, will organise the event from November 28-30, the organisation said in a statement.
The exhibition will remain open from 11am to 8pm every day.
World-renowned Bangladeshi calligrapher Mahbub Murshid will inaugurate the event as the chief guest on November 28 at 11am.
Intending to provide an organised platform and inspiration to the obscure artists of Bangladesh, a Facebook group has been set up.
The founder and admins of ‘Obscure Artist of Bangladesh’ are organising this national art exhibition along with the enthusiastic participation of the group members.
Founder of the group Mahfuzur Rahman said obscure artists must need space and platforms to display their extraordinary creativity.
“Our endeavours to inspire them to move forward,” he said.