The increase is set to take effect in April, though a 4.3 percent exigency surcharge will expire a few weeks after that. “[This] is good news in general for publishers,” says David LeDuc, senior director of public policy for the SIIA. “But a publisher should not assume [1.34 percent] will be their increase. No one is yet able to determine the true effect by running the mail list using the old rates and new rates with the new rules. A back-of-the-envelop calculation results in a 9-percent increase for a light publication with low advertising and a national distribution with 25,000 copies. Of course, other periodicals will fare better in some circumstances.” Publishers got a shock when the USPS announced a rate hike for periodicals of close to 2 percent last month, but it turns out the blow won’t be that bad. A calculation error discovered by the Postal Regulatory Commission last week, and acknowledged by the USPS on Wednesday, means the average increase for periodical delivery will be 1.34 percent, instead of the 1.965 percent originally announced. Dead Tree Edition first reported the finding. “The Postal Service’s intention was to increase Periodicals prices by 1.965 percent,” the statement reads. “[However,] the prices noticed in the January 2015 filing unintentionally reflect a percent price increase for Periodicals that is below the goal of 1.965 percent.”
19 Photos Pod people: CNET’s favourite podcasts Now playing: Watch this: Comment Soundtrap, a music-making program that Spotify bought in 2017, is releasing a new version of its software designed for podcasters. Getty Next up in Spotify’s podcasting binge: A program that makes mixing and mastering a podcast easier than putting together a Powerpoint presentation. Soundtrap for Storytellers, launching today globaly, is an online program meant to make podcasting accessible for anyone who believes they everything it takes to be a top podcaster except any sort of audio-engineering skills. One of its slickest tricks is interactive transcripts that synch with your audio recording, allowing you to edit the spoken-word audio file as you would in a text document. The program has a two-week free trial and offers access to many of its tools, with limitations, free. To unlock the full suite, a monthly subscription is $15 a month. Paying upfront for an annual plan breaks down to $12 a month. You can also sign up for a $18-a-month bundle that includes Storytellers and all of Soundtrap’s music-making tools. Digital Media Music Spotify buys Gimlet and Anchor on its march to rule podcasts CNET Apps Today And as music culture has shifted to streaming, Spotify and Apple Music have emerged as the leaders in the race to dominate subscription tunes. Spotify remains the biggest streaming service by both subscribers and those who listen for free by far. But Apple Music has been growing quickly, and its iTunes service remains the world’s de facto place to find and download podcastsPeople who create their podcasts on Soundtrap for Storytellers aren’t locked into Spotify for any kind of publishing exclusive. The tool has a tool to publish quickly and easily on Spotify, but podcasters are free to download their final mixes and publish them anywhere they like. The program also has a a pseudo-Skype inside the program itself to record interviews with remote guests, and because it’s cloud-based, multiple people can work on the same podcast even if they’re scattered around the world. It also has a big library of free sound effects and built-in instruments and looping tools to make your own jingles. The program lets you publish your podcast transcript to make it easier for people to find it on search engines. Some caveats about the transcripts: A paid Storytellers subscription gives you 8 hours of interactive transcripts a month. During the free trial, you get 30 minutes of interactive transcripts, and the free version of the software doesn’t include it at all. The Storytellers program is available to use globally, but the interactive transcripts are only available for English. The company said other languages are coming but didn’t specify a timeline. The free version of the programs also lacks features like remote-interview recording, the ability to download a high-quality file of what you’ve created, publishing directly to Spotify or saving a library of your own loops.But the podcasters present for Emanuelsson’s demo last week were intrigued by the tool. “Most podcasters are not music makers,” Alex Ikhehedu of the Need to Know podcast said in an interview. But aspiring podcasters are often faced with professional programs made by Adobe or music-geared software like Garage Band with “crazy confusing presents that no one knows how to use,” he said. “It’s really interesting to get something all in one place, all in one shot,” he said. “It makes it simple … for a user, especially for people who are new to the industry.” Share your voice Tags 1 Spotify acquired Soundtrap at the end of 2017. Sometimes called the Google Docs of music, Soundtrap focused on a music-making program designed to let normal humans record and mix tunes without being an audio engineer. Or, as Soundtrap cofounder and managing director Per Emanuelsson put it last week, you shouldn’t need to know how to use software that “looks like the cockpit of an airplane.””So many people are trying to be creative but they didn’t think they could do it themselves,” Emanuelsson said last week in an interview after presenting the Storytellers product to a group of professional podcasters. Soundtrap’s music-creation tool was designed in the hope of democratizing recorded music production. “That’s what we hope we’ll see here in the podcasting space as well,” he said. Spotify itself is on a serious podcast binge, as it looks for ways to lure in new and different listeners. Earlier this year, the company bought podcast companies Gimlet and Anchor, part of a $400 million to $500 million podcast investment effort this year. Podcast users spend almost twice the time on Spotify, CEO Daniel Ek has said. “By having unique programming, people who previously thought Spotify was not right for them will give it a try.” 2:28 Spotify
12 Photos Comments Meet the smart vapes: App-enabled vaporizers seek to cash in on cannabis Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: In a statement, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said, “…the nicotine in these products can rewire an adolescent’s brain, leading to years of addiction.”But, he continues: “Make no mistake. We see the possibility for electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products like e-cigarettes and other novel forms of nicotine-delivery to provide a potentially less harmful alternative for currently addicted individual adult smokers … But we’ve got to step in to protect our kids.”How did the company get its start? Juul Labs spun off from Pax Labs in 2015. Founders Adam Bowen and James Monsees co-founded the company when, as former smokers, they decided they wanted a better alternative to cigarettes than anything that was already on the market. Their idea of “better” manifested as Juul’s high nicotine content and slim design that puts off very little vapor compared to other vapes. Since its debut, Juul has grown to dominate more than 50 percent of the market share.In December 2018, Altria — one of the largest companies in the world that produces tobacco products — bought a 35% stake of Juul for $12.8 billion dollars. Altria owns Phillip Morris, which owns the brands Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Parliament and other cigarette brands.Juul copycats Candy and dessert-flavored e-juice is enticing to kids who might be otherwise turned off by vaping or smoking. Zonk E Liquid Juul’s staggering success prompted many e-cigarette brands to follow suit with high nicotine content and new designs. The FDA isn’t happy with these copycat brands, and neither is Juul, who filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission for patent infringement. Everyone should be concerned about copycat Juuls, especially those that openly market to children using enticing flavors like Blue Slushie Lemonade and strawberry whipped cream. The attributes of these vapes — attractive, compact and free of odor — make them popular with young people because they can easily hide them from authority figures, like teachers and parents. Juul’s popularity and the influx of similar products raises concern that this new “pod mod” class of e-cigarette products is not just a trend and will influence the decisions and habits of adolescents for their entire lives.Staying true to its stance on nicotine use among minors, Juul announced that they are going after companies who do market to children and teens, but the FDA warns that this is an ongoing battle. Watch genetically modified T-cells kill cancer cells Get your vitamins by vaping 1:40 Juul pods currently come in eight flavors; cucumber, creme, mint, mango, menthol, fruit, Virginia tobacco and classic tobacco. It’s worth noting that the FDA’s Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act banned flavored cigarettes in 2009, so it’s possible that this might come into play for vapes one day, too. How much nicotine does a Juul deliver?The Juul charger and pods look like USB drives. Natalie Weinstein / CNET Juul measures nicotine content by weight, which is different from most brands, which usually measure by volume. Juul originally only sold pods with 5 percent nicotine by weight, but started offering 3 percent pods in August 2018.According to an older version of Juul’s FAQ page, one 5 percent pod contains roughly the same amount of nicotine as one pack of cigarettes, or about 200 puffs. However, this information is no longer available on Juul’s website, and there’s no precise information about 3 percent pods, either. However, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine says that the 5 percent pods contain a concentration of 59 milligrams of nicotine per milliliter of liquid. In contrast, most vapes pre-Juul frenzy contained roughly one to three percent nicotine by volume. A study in the journal Tobacco Control notes that the new average seems to be rising to that 5 percent mark. Juul’s creators increased the nicotine because they felt other vapes on the market couldn’t compare to the sensations delivered by regular cigarettes. Enlarge ImageAn older version of Juul’s FAQ page disclosed precise information about the nicotine content in Juul pods. However, this information is no longer on the site. truthinitiative.org Is it addictive? Is it more addictive than cigarettes?Nicotine is a known addictive substance, and Juul is no exception. There are no studies that prove whether or not Juul is more addictive than regular cigarettes, I certainly know people who seem as addicted to their Juul as they are to their iPhones, and I’ve watched friends throw fits when their pod runs dry. Nicotine is a harmful drug, regardless of delivery method. It’s linked to various changes in the body and brain, and public health officials worry that most people, especially youth, aren’t aware of the potential consequences.What are the risks of vaping?Many people consider vaping a safer alternative to smoking because it eliminates tobacco, which is a known carcinogen. But cigarettes contain many chemicals beyond tobacco, and e-cigarettes contain some of the same. Studies have detected acetamide (a compound used in industrial solvents), formaldehyde and benzene (another known carcinogen) in various e-cigarettes brands. Not all e-cigarette liquids contain all of these toxic compounds, and even in those that do contain them, the concentration isn’t always high enough to present concern. No studies to detect these chemicals have been conducted specifically on Juul e-liquid. The real issue arises when companies don’t disclose what’s in their products. Juul openly states its e-liquid ingredients, all of which appear to be safe in reasonable doses — except the nicotine. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that causes cravings and bonafide withdrawal symptoms when those cravings are ignored. Whether or not vaping is a “gateway” to cigarette smoking is irrelevant because vaping itself is an addictive habit. Nicotine isn’t just addictive, but it’s also toxic. It stimulates your adrenal glands, spiking adrenaline production and leading to a series of bodily reactions: Users experience a release of glucose and an increase in heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure. The drug seems to act as both a stimulant and a depressant at the same time, as it’s linked to increased alertness but also increased relaxation. Use of nicotine is also associated with a number of side effects on organs and organ systems, including:Increased risk of blood clotsAtherosclerosisPeptic ulcersChanges in heart rhythm Lung spasms Nicotine can also alter or harm the development of the brain in children and teens. “The prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for decision-making, logic, personality expression, and many other traits integral to one’s personality, is not fully mature until around the age of 25,” Dr. Lawrence Weinstein, Chief Medical Officer of American Addiction Centers, told CNET. “Introducing nicotine to the brain 10 years prior to that, without speaking of the massive amount of nicotine contained in each cartridge, will undoubtedly alter that developing brain.”Looking beyond nicotine, using e-cigarettes — Juul or otherwise — comes with many health risks, including the possibility for seizures, heart attacks, lung damage and birth defects.Dentists have also been noticing that their patients who vape are experiencing more cavities, tooth damage and dental issues. Especially when it comes to the enamel on your teeth, once damage is done it cannot be reversed.Lastly, e-cigarettes work by heating a liquid into an aerosol that the user inhales. While the amount of aerosol in a single puff isn’t likely to harm anyone, it’s worth noting that inhaling aerosols is associated with impaired judgment and functioning. Can vaping cause heart disease?The Stanford School of Medicine released a study in May 2019 that suggested the e-liquids in Juuls and other vapes could increase a person’s risk of heart disease. When inhaled, the e-liquid affects a certain kind of cells, called endothelial cells, that line the inside of blood vessels. Researchers found that endothelial cells exposed to e-liquid or to blood collected from people who smoked e-cigarettes exhibited DNA damage and cellular death. Damage occurred even in the absence of nicotine, which means other compounds in the e-liquids are harmful. Interestingly, the severity of the damage varied by flavor, with cinnamon and menthol found as the most harmful. The endothelial cells the researchers tested were grown from stem cells, but the implications still mean a lot for human endothelial cells. “This study clearly shows that e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes,” said Joseph Wu, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, in a press release. “… We saw significant damage. The cells were less viable in culture, and they began to exhibit multiple symptoms of dysfunction.”Why is Juul so popular, especially among teens?Juul’s starter kit contains the Juul device, a USB charger and four Juul pods for $50. juul.com Although Juul demands age verification upon navigating to its website and holds a firm stance against minors’ use of Juuls, these vapes are still wildly popular with teens. Depending on the state, no one under 18 or 21 is supposed to be able to purchase e-cigarettes, or any tobacco products. But according to a report from the CDC, e-cigarette use is rising among middle school and high school students, and more than 3.5 million of them used e-cigarettes in 2018.Advertising is part of the problem. According to the CDC, more than 18 million high school and middle school students combined were exposed to e-cigarette ads in 2014. And Stanford researchers point out that Juul’s marketing hasn’t been congruent with its adults-only stance. One can guess it’s so popular for a few reasons:It’s relatively inexpensive: You can buy Juul’s “starter kit,” which includes the e-cigarette, USB charger and four pods for $50. After that, packs of four pods cost $21.It’s discreet: People may be more inclined to use Juul because its compact design is easy to hide from parents, teachers and other authority figures.It doesn’t smell like a cigarette: Cigarette smoke permeates the air in a relatively large radius. Juuls, on the other hand, don’t give off the smell of tobacco or smoke.It comes in many flavors: Juul’s sweet flavor options make it a more palatable option than regular cigarettes and many other e-cigarette options. One CDC survey notes that 31 percent of survey respondents (all students in grades six to 12) chose e-cigarettes because of “flavors such as mint, candy, fruit, or chocolate.” The explosive popularity of Juul and others like it among kids is particularly troubling because they often do not see it as harmful. A report showed that 63% of people aged 14 to 25 aren’t even aware that vaporizers like Juul contain nicotine at all.What’s the FDA’s stance on Juul?Well, the FDA doesn’t love Juul. In April 2018, the FDA demanded that Juul submit marketing and research documents, and explain what Juul knows about the use of its products among teens. A month later, as part of the FDA’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Plan, the agency also requested information from several other e-cigarette manufacturers. And in October 2018, FDA visited Juul’s San Francisco headquarters to gather information on the company’s sales and marketing tactics.Despite the fact that selling tobacco products to minors is illegal, the FDA has so far uncovered 40 violations for illegal sales of Juul products to young people. Warning letters were issued for those violations. The company also shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts in November 2018 to avoid promoting its product to teens and non-smokers — two groups that Juul specifically says it does not want to become customers. Now playing: Watch this: Eva Hambach / AFP/Getty Images Vaping has become one of the biggest public health issues of our time, and at the center of it is San Francisco-based e-cigarette company Juul. While there are many vaporizers on the market, Juul has gained popularity (especially among teenagers) for its sleek design and easy-to-use pods. Even after the company was forced to shutter its social media presence while the FDA investigated concerns that Juul was promoting underage use of tobacco products, Juul continues to prove popular with rising sales and affectionate nicknames, such as the “iPhone of vaporizers.”But what exactly is Juul, and is it safe to use one? Here are all the details you need to know about Juul. Read more: How to quit Juuling, according to addiction expertsWhat is it?Juul is like many other e-cigarettes, but with a couple caveats that set it apart. First, this vape is sleek and hardly noticeable: It’s USB-drive design can be enclosed in the palm of a hand, and it doesn’t produce a massive plume of vapor like some other e-cigarettes. Second, the nicotine content in its cartridges or “pods” set a new precedent for the e-cigarette market. E-cigarettes work by converting liquid nicotine into a vapor that the user inhales. They’re battery operated and intend to provide a similar stimulus to that of smoking regular cigarettes. Juul is small and discreet Portland Press Herald/Getty Developed by two former smokers, Juul’s mission is to “improve the lives of one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.” One way the company encourages the switch from cigarettes to Juul is with their Juul calculator, where people can estimate how much money they’d save if they used a Juul instead.How does Juul compare to other e-cigarettes?Juul’s high nicotine content used to be an anomaly in the e-cigarette market, but now researchers note it seems to be the rule. After Juul’s surge in popularity, other e-cigarette manufacturers began bumping up the nicotine content in their products.Juul uses a closed system, which means users can’t refill the pods themselves, a helpful factor for quality control. Some e-cigarettes, such as the Suorin Drop, use open systems that allow users to refill the vape themselves with bottles of e-liquid or e-juice.Juul’s small size, compact design and minimal plume make it more discreet than many other brands. With no buttons or switches — just disposable, snap-on cartridges — Juul is simple, and its built-in temperature regulation prevents you from experiencing a “dry hit.” Dry hits occur when vape cartridges get too low on liquid or when they overheat, and produce a burnt taste and throat irritation. The Juul e-cigarette uses closed cartridges of “juice.” The Washington Post/Getty What is in the liquid that the Juul turns to vapor?The Juul comprises two parts. There’s the e-cigarette itself, which contains the battery, temperature regulator and sensors that read the charge level. The pod contains Juul’s patented e-liquid formula. A mixture of nicotine salts, glycerol, propylene glycol, benzoic acid and flavorings.Glycerol serves as a humectant, which means it adds moisture to the solution. Glycerol is classified as “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, so it’s approved for consumption. Propylene glycol is a synthetic compound commonly used in polyester production, but it’s also approved as an additive for food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. Benzoic acid occurs naturally in many plants, but its synthetic form is also widely used as a food additive and preservative. It’s “generally recognized as safe” for those uses, but can be an environmental and health hazard in large quantities.Flavorings is an ambiguous term, but most often refers to various natural and synthetic ingredients that companies use to flavor their products. For example, Juul doesn’t specify what’s in it’s mint-flavored pod, but it probably contains peppermint extract or oil. The nicotine salts in Juul pods are a type of nicotine that supposedly feels more like a cigarette when inhaled, as opposed to other vapes that use freebase nicotine. Freebase nicotine, which can cause coughing and leave a film in people’s throats, is harsher and commonly used in cigars. 21 4:37 Tags Wellness
Christian priest William Walter Rosario rescued by South Surma police on Friday. Photo: Prothom AloChristian priest William Walter Rosario, who went missing on 27 November from Natore, has been rescued in Sylhet.Sylhet police said they rescued the priest at 3:00pm on Friday from Kadamtali Bus Terminal in South Surma.”He was found sitting in the terminal. He has already been sent to Dhaka. Dhaka police will inform newsmen more about his rescue,” said South Surma police station officer-in-charge Khairul Fazal.Assistant priest of Jonail Borny Church and headmaster of St Lewis High School William Walter Rosario went missing nearly five days ago.He started from his residence by a motorcycle around 5:00pm to meet his elder brother at Jonail Dharmapalli, said his family members.He remained missing ever since, they said.Rosario’s brother Premal said they suspected that he was kidnapped.
US President Donald Trump speaks during a lunch with House and Senate leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Photo: AFPDonald Trump’s muted prime-time address to Congress got positive reviews on Wednesday, but numerous questions remained about the details and costs of his ambitious agenda.Americans reacted warmly to Trump’s lengthy speech, in which he ditched the most bellicose of his rhetoric in favor of a call for national unity and a more presidential timber.A CBS News/YouGov poll showed that 76 percent of those who watched the speech approved of what they saw.Wall Street also voiced its appreciation, with the Dow topping 21,000 for the first time.It was a substantial and much needed boost for the 70-year-old Republican president, whose approval rating is at a historic low for presidents after a month in office, and his embattled White House.Trump—ever-aware of his image and popularity—fired a triumphant “THANK YOU!” message to his 25 million Twitter followers Wednesday morning.To keep the momentum, the White House postponed the unveiling of a controversial new ban on travelers from mostly Muslim countries, which would have dominated news coverage.It also pared back Trump’s public remarks and held its daily press briefing off-camera.The speech—staunchly nationalist, but delivered in a more measured tone—may help soothe a deeply divided country.In the nearly six weeks since Trump took office, political polarization in America has reached fever pitch.Trump’s supporters have flung themselves into the cause, hoping the election of an outsider will shake up the elites and insider politics in Washington.But among opponents, there is still a sense of disbelief that a billionaire with what they see as authoritarian tendencies and no political experience is in charge of the world’s pre-eminent superpower.According to Gallup, there has been a steady increase since November’s election in the number of Americans experiencing worry on any given day.‘Really pleased’An estimated 48 million people tuned in to watch Trump’s speech, according to the Nielsen ratings firm, lower than the some 53 million who watched former president Barack Obama’s first joint address in 2009.Trump’s speech was welcomed by the hundreds of mostly Republican lawmakers who witnessed it firsthand in Congress.“I think we were all really pleased last night to hear the president’s unifying message. It was refreshing for everyone after such a difficult election season,” Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor.Americans, he said, are “ready for a new start.”Trump brought Republicans and Democrats together by strongly criticizing recent threats against Jewish community centers and condemning the seemingly racially motivated killing of an Indian immigrant.He also reached out to opposition Democrats, reprising his call for a $1 trillion infrastructure bill and expressing support for paid family leave and affordable child care.Attention will now turn to how Trump can meet those pledges—along with goals to “restart” the US economy, boost defense spending and reduce violent crime.While he promised to replace his predecessor’s landmark health care reforms with a plan that would broaden choice, lower costs and improve access, he offered little in terms of how that would be achieved.Words and deedsDemocrats expressed skepticism about whether the change in tone would last.White House spokesman Sean Spicer reinforced the fear by insisting, “It was not a reset speech.”“With Donald Trump, the speeches don’t mean very much,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told CBS News.“His speeches are populist. They’re aimed at the working folks who supported him. But his governing and what he does is hard right, favoring special interests over the working class.”Trump’s plans on infrastructure, health care, and high-stakes tax reform will likely run afoul of fiscal conservatives, who are intent on bringing down the national debt, which will hit $20 trillion on Trump’s watch.He also wants to hike defense spending by $54 billion, offsetting it with cuts to foreign assistance and other non-military spending.That issue is likely to be front and center as Trump visits military shipyards in Virginia on Thursday.The “deficit spending” that Trump would likely employ set off alarm bells for lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher, who said he was dumbfounded at the lack of opposition from his fellow Republicans at the potential for ballooning spending.“The emphasis that Republicans have placed on (shrinking) the deficit is now going to be something that we will remember in the past,” he said.Some Democrats were also dismissive: “This plan doesn’t add up,” Senator Chris Van Hollen told AFP.“A third-grade math student can see that you’re going to blow a huge hole in the deficit if you do the things the president is talking about.”To square the circle, Trump—the consummate political outsider—may have to embrace Washington deal making.