Dems: baby formula maker’s greed to blame for sick babies, shortage – National & International News – WED 18May2022

Senate Democrats say Abbott Laboratories put its profits ahead of infants' health, leading to deaths and baby formula shortage.



Dems: Abbott’s greed to blame for sick babies, baby formula shortage. DHS predicts violence ahead of SCOTUS abortion decision. Deadly China plane crash likely intentional, US says.




Dems: baby formula company Abbott’s greed to blame for sick babies, shortage

Senate Democrats are advancing a probe of Abbot Laboratories, makers of baby formula brands Similac, Alimentum, and EleCare. Abbott initiated a voluntary recall of its products after four babies that consumed their formula became sick and two died. All four babies had been exposed to cronobacter sakazakii, which can cause meningitis and other serious health problems. Abbott insists that its formula was safe, but the FDA is still in the process of inspecting an Abbott factory in Michigan for bacterial contamination.

A former employee at Abbott says that a likely source of contamination at the factory was a drying machine that had long been in need of repair. Democrats allege that rather than replacing and updating machinery to keep its products safe, the company chose instead to spend $8 billion buying back its own stocks. Once illegal, the prohibition on stock buybacks was rolled back during the Reagan administration. Stock buybacks allow executives to both juice up the price of company stock in their personal portfolios and consolidate control over the company.

Democratic lawmakers also see the increasing domination of the industry by only a few firms as contributing to the problem. They also intend to take a wider look at monopolies in general and their role in perpetuating inflation and income inequality.

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DHS predicts violence ahead of SCOTUS abortion decision

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security say they are monitoring a growing number of violent threats in connection with the Supreme Court’s pending decision on Roe v. Wade. DHS has referred at least 25 cases of online threats to state and local law enforcement.

A DHS memo to law enforcement says the agency has detected online threats including “burning down or storming the U.S. Supreme Court and murdering Justices and their clerks, members of Congress, and lawful demonstrators”. The memo also referenced threats to “government, religious, and reproductive healthcare personnel and facilities and ideological opponents”.

The memo stated that both pro- and anti-abortion extremists could potentially take violent action, whether against officials or institutions or against their rank-and-file ideological opponents.

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Deadly China plane crash likely intentional, US says

Back in March, a China Eastern flight between the southern Chinese cities of Kunming and Guangzhou nosedived almost vertically into a remote hillside, killing all 132 souls on board. The recovery effort and onsite investigation was difficult due to the explosive nature of the crash and the rugged terrain. Investigators eventually recovered both “black boxes” from the Boeing 737-800, the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

Both recorders were heavily damaged and Chinese authorities accepted help from US investigators and Boeing in analyzing them. Now, anonymous US sources close to the investigation have told the the Wall Street Journal say it appears that the crash was intentional. The report has since appeared in various other news outlets.

The sources say that investigators found no mechanical or technical faults in the plane. Rather they say the plane responded to inputs from someone on board. This leak is likely to irritate the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), which has repeatedly downplayed reports that the crash was intentional.

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