Canadian officials are warning that this year could be the country’s worst-ever in terms of wildfire destruction as millions of Americans are being impacted by
Canada warns of record 2023 wildfire destruction as traveling smoke impacts millions of Americans
Canadian officials are warning that this year could be the country’s worst-ever in terms of wildfire destruction as millions of Americans are being impacted by smoke from the blazes that is drifting south.
There are currently 413 active wildfires across Canada, 249 of which are deemed out of control, according to Reuters.
“The distribution of fires from coast to coast this year is unusual. At this time of the year, fires usually occur only on one side of the country at a time, most often that being in the west,” the news agency quoted Michael Norton, an official with the Natural Resources Canada ministry, as saying.
“The rate of increase of area burned is also high… if this rate continues, we could hit record levels for area burned this year,” he added.
CANADA WILDFIRE SMOKE SURROUNDS YANKEE STADIUM AS NEW YORK ISSUES HEALTH ADVISORY
As of Sunday, around 8.15 million acres have already burned in Canada, which is nearly 13 times the 10-year average, Reuters reports. It also said collectively the fires have temporarily forced more than 120,000 Canadians from their homes.
“Over the last 20 years, we have never seen such a large area burned so early in the season,” said Natural Resources Canada researcher Yan Boulanger.
Quebec is currently the hardest-hit province in Canada following a series of wildfires sparked by lightning strikes, according to Norton.
“This wildfire season has already been devastating for communities across the country. We’re taking action to keep people safe, to support those affected, to make sure the provinces territories have the assistance they need,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on his Twitter account Tuesday.
CANADIAN WILDFIRE SMOKE DISRUPTING AIR QUALITY FOR MILLIONS OF AMERICANS: ‘CAN TRAVEL DEEP INTO THE LUNGS’
An interactive map from Natural Resources Canada says as of Wednesday, parts of Quebec, Ontario, Alberta British Columbia face the greatest fire risk.
The smoke from the fires in eastern Canada has drifted south into the northeast United States, prompting health alerts in New EnglNew York City.
On Wednesday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency is reporting that air quality in upstate New York, in cities such as Rochester Syracuse, is “very unhealthy” in some cases “hazardous.”
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It is warning the nearly 150,000 people living in the city of Syracuse to “avoid all outdoor physical activity” until conditions improve.
The EPA is also reporting “very unhealthy” air quality in parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware Marylon the perimeter of the Washington, D.C., area.
Survey: When Denied a Credit Card, a Third Point to Low Credit Scores | Credit Cards
- All respondents had been denied for a credit card. Among those who knew their credit score, over 46% had a score between 580 669, which is a fair score. And more than 25% had a score between 300 579, which is considered a poor credit score.
- About 44% say they read the adverse action notice that the card issuer sent to them, which states why the application was denied.
- Nearly 42% had applied for a credit card to help them build credit.
- More than one in four, 27.8%, say their credit had been damaged by a parent who had done something such as putting a credit card or a bill in a child’s name.
In late May, U.S. News & World Report conducted a survey that focused on individuals who had been rejected for a credit card. Survey respondents were asked why their application was rejected, here are their responses:
- Credit score too low: 31.2%.
- Not enough credit history: 17%.
- Using too much credit: 11.2%.
- Too much debt compared with income: 10.5%.
- Don’t know why: 7.7%.
- Too many late payments: 7.5%.
- At least one account in default: 7.2%.
- Too many recent credit card applications: 6.4%.
It’s not surprising that low credit scores were an issue. Among those who knew their score, over 46% had a score between 580 669, which is a fair score. And more than 25% had a score between 300 579, which is considered a poor credit score.
What Steps Did You Take After Your Application Was Denied?
Survey respondents were asked what, if any, steps they took after their credit card application was denied. Here are the findings:
- Did nothing: 53%.
- Called the reconsideration line: 13.2%.
- Applied for a different credit card: 32.5%.
- Other: 1.2%.
A majority didn’t take any steps after the rejection, which is unfortunate. There are steps you can take to put yourself in a better position the next time you apply for a credit card.
Why Were You Applying for a Credit Card?
Respondents say they applied for a credit card for the following reasons:
- Start building credit: 41.6%.
- Earn rewards: 18.8%.
- Consolidate debt: 15.8%.
- Had a large purchase to make: 13.1%.
- Want a high-status credit card: 9.57%.
- Other: 1.3%.
It’s ironic that, among respondents, the most common reason for trying to get a credit card is to build credit. If there’s a silver lining with a denial, it’s that you get solid feedback about why you were turned down. If you focus on the reasons actively try to improve your credit, you’ll eventually see good results.
How to Get Approved On Your Next Credit Card Application
No one likes to be rejected. I know it’s hard not to take it personally, but it really is just a business decision based on your application not a character judgment.
The best way to feel better? Take action! Keep in mind that you might need to focus on more than one thing to get your credit in shape. The best actions to take will vary depending on your specific circumstances.
Here are the steps that respondents took before applying for a card again:
- Improved my score before applying again: 26.5%.
- Applied for a credit card with a lower credit score requirement: 25%.
- Applied for a secured credit card: 20.6%.
- Reviewed the adverse action notice: 19.4%.
- Other: 8.6%.
Improve Your Credit Score
There are several things you can do to boost your credit score. If you already have a credit card, ask for a credit limit increase. You have a credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’ve used compared with the amount you have available.
Your ratio should be less than 30%. An increase in your limit gives you more available credit, so that lowers your ratio. For a big boost, keep your ratio under 10%.
If you don’t have a credit card, just pay all of your bills on time consider getting a credit-building loan from a credit union or local bank. Do this for six months you should see improvement.
Now, one of the biggest mistakes people make is applying for a card that requires a higher score than what you currently have. If you focus on credit cards that target individuals in your credit score range, your odds of approval increase a lot.
Apply for the Right Credit Card
Start researching credit cards note what score the issuer is looking for. If you know you have fair credit, target cards that are designed for the fair credit demographic. Most websites allow you to search for cards by credit score range.
Secured credit cards are another option, many have rewards limited fees. Having to put down a deposit for the card isn’t ideal, but if it helps you build credit, it’s worth it.
Basically, don’t waste time on cards you can’t qualify for. For instance, you’ll need very good credit to get approved for some of the elite travel rewards cards. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually qualify for a great card. You just have to be patient practice good credit habits. You’ll eventually get there!
Review the Adverse Action Notice
The survey respondents were asked how they knew their application had been denied. About 44% say they read the adverse action notice that the card issuer sent to them, which is terrific. Note this information can also be sent via email or a phone call.
The adverse action notice is loaded with valuable insight. It will tell you why you were rejected offer steps to correct that. You’ll also be told which credit bureau credit score were used. Think of this notice as a blueprint for improving your credit.
How to Ask for a Reconsideration
If you believe that you should have been approved or that you’d like to explain a situation, you can call the issuer’s reconsideration line.
Before you call, prepare a list of points you want to make. Approach the call calmly state your case. Even if you still don’t get the credit card, you’ll likely come away from the call with more information about how to improve your credit.
Does Getting Denied for a Card Hurt Your Credit Score?
Being denied for a credit card doesn’t hurt your credit score, so you can stop worrying about that. However, each time you apply for a credit card, you could lose up to five points off your score.
That’s why it’s important to apply for credit cards that are within your credit range. Some issuers will allow you to ask for preapproval for a specific card. If you’re preapproved, it doesn’t mean you’re officially approved. You still must apply for the card. But taking this step can keep you from applying for a card that you’re unlikely to get approved for. And that protects your score.
The best home entertainment gifts for Father’s Day
It’s not always easy (or affordable) to wrangle kids together for a trip to the cinema. And for new parents, it’s often tough to find childcare for a date night. A better option for dads moms is a home entertainment upgrade – something that can help them relax once the kids are asleep, or to have a fun family movie night. Here are some of our favorite gift options to elevate any parent’s viewing experience.
There are plenty of soundbars out there, but few are as versatile as the Sonos Beam. It’s a sleek box that’ll instantly upgrade any TV with expansive detailed sound. But, it’s also a smart speaker with support for Amazon Alexa Google Assistant. That makes it a viable alternative to devices like the Echo. Being able to shout “Play some Sesame Street songs!” comes in really handy for new parents. Trust me.
LG C2 OLED
There’s no better home entertainment upgrade than a new TV, LG’s C2, like the company’s previous flagship OLEDs, remains one of the best. It’ll deliver astounding 4K HDR Dolby Vision content, with all of the eye-searing contrast inky blacks you’d expect from an OLED panel. While LG has a newer C3 model, we think the C2 remains a better option for most people, especially since it costs far less.
If your entertainment runs through a game console, dad just wants to kick back to watch a game or some Blu-ray discs, then he’ll appreciate navigating things with a remote instead of a gamepad. The PS5 Media Remote matches the console aesthetically, includes shortcut buttons for several popular apps. Plus, its batteries will last longer than the one in a DualSense so it will always be ready to go. Your biggest problem could be probably finding one in stock, although if you managed to snag the console then we think you’ll be able to figure this out too. For Xbox owners, the PDP Media remote works for systems from the One through the new Series X/S. Instead of shortcut keys it includes a fairly standard universal remote setup so that there’s not a lot of re-learning involved.
Roku Streaming Stick 4K
Anyone with an older TV set would appreciate Roku’s Streaming Stick 4K. It’s a $50 dongle that’ll do just about everything you’d want from a streaming device: Access a vast library of apps, offer fast performance play content in 4K (on supported TVs, it can also handle HDR Dolby Vision). Even if a TV already has built-in apps, there’s a good chance the Streaming Stick will be faster, especially if the set is a few years old. Roku’s stick also makes for a great travel companion: Instead of logging into services on a hotel TV, dad just needs to plug this in.
Apple TV 4K 2022
The latest version of the Apple TV 4K is, unsurprisingly, the best. It’s faster than ever, it’s far more affordable it includes Apple’s revamped Siri Remote, which has a responsive (clickable) circular trackpad. The new version is a solid upgrade for anyone with the original 4K model, it’s even a bigger leap for owners of the company’s older set-top boxes. Sure, Apple’s TV app is also available on many competing devices, but we still prefer the user experience of the Apple TV 4K. Consider it a must buy for any iPhone-toting parents in your life.
Sony’s latest pair of noise-canceling headphones are among the best we’ve ever seen. The XM5 are supremely comfortable, offer excellent sound quality, have far more powerful noise-blocking capabilities than before. While they’re not great for group watching, they’re the perfect pair of cans for a new dad who wants to fully immerse themselves in the latest Fast Furious movie.
Philips Hue White + Color Starter Kit
Whether the house is already leaning into automation or not, this starter kit of Philips Hue White Color lights should be a good fit. It comes with three bulbs that can glow in millions of colors, as well as a button for easy manual control a Hue bridge. The latter will be important if dad eventually wants to add to its lighting system as it supports up to 50 connected lights. He’ll be able to control his lights from anywhere using the companion mobile app, set schedules routines use Alexa, Google Assistant or Siri commands to change the lighting in the house as he sees fit. That means it’ll be easier than ever for dad to get the right ambiance for his next movie night.
BenQ HT2050AA projector
For the biggest best screen possible, you’ll always want a projector. The BenQ HT2050A is as good of an option as you’ll find, your dad can brag about how much of a deal it was at under $750. What this 1080p projector lacks in resolution dynamic range it more than makes up for in value, is a perfect choice to get someone started on live the projector lifestyle. Just find a blank wall pop this on a table for an incredible movie or game night with a few vaccinated friends. A proper projection screen, blackout shades seating upgrades are follow-up gifts that everyone will get to use.
Meta vows to take action after report found Instagram’s algorithm promoted pedophilia content
Meta has set up an internal task force after reporters researchers discovered its systems helped “connect promote a vast network of accounts” devoted to underage-sex content, The Wall Street Journal has reported. Unlike forums file transfer services, Instagram not only hosts such activities but promotes them via its algorithms. The company acknowledged enforcement problems has taken actions including restricting its systems from recommending searches associated with sex abuse.
“Child exploitation is a horrific crime,” Meta told the WSJ in a statement. “We’re continuously investigating ways to actively defend against this behavior.”
Along with the task force, Meta told reporters that it is working on blocking child sexual abuse material (CSAM) networks taking steps to change its systems. In the last two years, it has taken down 27 pedophile networks is working on removing more. It has blocked thousands of related hashtags (with millions of posts for some) took action to prevent its systems from recommending CSAM-related terms. It’s also trying to stop its systems from connecting potential abusers with each other.
However, the report should be a wakeup call for Meta, the company’s former security chief Alex Stamos told the WSJ. “That a team of three academics with limited access could find such a huge network should set off alarms at Meta,” he said, noting that the company far better tools than outside investigators to map CSAM networks. “I hope the company reinvests in human investigators.”
Academics from Stanford’s Internet Observatory UMass’s Rescue Lab were able to quickly find “large-scale communities promoting criminal sex abuse,” according to the report. After creating test users viewing a single account, they were immediately hit with “suggested for you” recommendations of possible CSAM sellers buyers, along with accounts linking to off-platform content sites. Following just several recommendations caused the test accounts to be inundated with sex-abuse content.
“Instagram is an onramp to places on the internet where there’s more explicit child sexual abuse,” said UMass Rescue Lab director Brian Levine. The Stanford group also found that CSAM content is “particularly severe” on the site. “The most important platform for these networks of buyers sellers seems to be Instagram.”
Meta said the company actively seeks to remove such users, having taken down 490,000 accounts violating child safety policies in January alone. Its internal statistics show that child exploitation appears in less than one in 10 thousposts, it added.
However, until queried by reporters, Instagram was allowing users to search terms that its own systems know may be associated with CSAM material. A pop-up screen warned users that “These results may contain images of child sexual abuse” that can cause “extreme harm” to children. However, it then allowed users to either “Get resources” or “See results anyway.” The latter option has now been disabled, but Meta didn’t respond when the WSJ asked why it was allowed in the first place.
Furthermore, attempts by users to report child-sex content were often ignored by Instagram’s algorithms. And Facebook’s own efforts to exclude hashtags terms were sometimes overridden by the systems, suggesting users try variations on the name. In testing, researchers found that viewing even one underage seller account caused the algorithm to recommend new ones. “Instagram’s suggestions were helping to rebuild the network that the platform’s own safety staff was in the middle of trying to dismantle.”
A Meta spokesperson said it’s currently building system to prevent such recommendations, but Levine said the time to act is now. “Pull the emergency brake. Are the economic benefits worth the harms to these children?” Engadget has reached out to Meta for comment.
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Ozempic Wegovy: Everything you need to know about the semaglutide drugs
Ozempic Wegovy are brnames for the drug semaglutide. Many countries have approved Wegovy for weight loss in people who are obese or overweight Ozempic for people with type 2 diabetes.
How do these drugs work?
Drugs such as semaglutide mimic the actions of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1. These so-called GLP-1 analogues have several effects, including slowing stomach emptying, acting on the brain to reduce appetite boosting the release of insulin, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
For more than a decade, GLP-1 analogues have been used to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar some users experienced modest weight loss. “These drugs augment a system that already exists within the human body, whose role it is to suppress appetite following meal ingestion,” says Simon Cork at Imperial College London.
Why are they making headlines now?
GLP-1 analogues have started to be prescribed for weight loss in people without type 2 diabetes. They have also become available in formulations that are more potent easier to use.
Initially GLP-1 analogues were approved for use at a lower dose needed to be given by twice-daily injections. In the latest formulations they are once-weekly injections, with Wegovy’s full dose being 2.4 milligrams for weight loss Ozempic being used at a maximum dose of 2 milligrams for type 2 diabetes.
How widely available are they?
In 2021, Wegovy was approved for weight loss in several countries, including the US Canada. Praise from some celebrity users brought it widespread publicity.
Manufacturing problems meant its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, had trouble meeting global demand, so some doctors started prescribing Ozempic, which had been approved for people with type 2 diabetes in certain countries several years earlier. This led to shortages for people who required it for diabetes control.
In the UK, Wegovy was approved in 2021, but only got the nod from England’s medical guidelines body the National Institute for Health Care Excellence in March 2023, when it said the drug should be given by weight loss clinics within the country’s national health service. Wegovy is expected to become available in the UK this year, while Ozempic has been available for type 2 diabetes since 2019.
In June 2023, the UK government announced the introduction of a two-year pilot that gives people with obesity access to new drugs, such as Wegovy, outside of a hospital setting.
How effective are they?
Very. It is a cliche but obesity doctors are talking about a paradigm shift in the field of obesity management. Previously, a loss of about 5 per cent of body weight would be considered a good result for any weight loss intervention outside of stomach surgery is considered a benchmark in obesity drug trials.
Wegovy leads to about a 15 per cent reduction in body weight over a year, when combined with exercise eating healthily.
In fact, some people seem to feel that the GLP-1 analogues have caused them to become too gaunt, as reflected in the rise of the search terms “Ozempic face” “Ozempic butt”. “Ozempic doesn’t do anything specific to the skin,” says Alexander Miras at Ulster University, UK. It is the weight loss that causes these apparent side effects, with similar outcomes often also occurring after weight loss surgery, he says.
Do the drugs have any side effects?
Side effects can be mild, such as nausea, constipation diarrhoea, which tend to occur as people get used to the drug. More worrying side effects include inflammation of the pancreas, although this is relatively rare.
How about hair loss?
Hair loss has been reported by some semaglutide users. This is also sometimes seen after significant weight loss from other causes, such as stomach surgery, says Miras.
Hair loss following weight loss surgery is thought to be due to physiological stress on the body causing an increased number of hair follicles to enter their “resting” phase, which leads to the hairs falling out a few months later. It stops when the weight loss stabilises, however, the hair doesn’t always grow back, says Miras.
Do these drugs also help with addictions?
Perhaps. There have been many anecdotal reports of people taking these medicines for diabetes or weight control who lose their urge to drink alcohol or see waning of other habits that could be described as “behavioural addictions”, such as compulsive shopping.
This is supported by research in animals that found the GLP-1 analogues lower consumption of alcohol addictive drugs. A small trial in people has hinted at a similar effect from a GLP-1 analogue called exenatide, which reduced heavy drinking, but only in people who were obese.
The explanation could be connected with the way the drugs act on the brain to reduce food cravings, but the exact mechanism is unclear. We are only at the beginning of understanding how these treatments could support people with alcohol drug additions, says Daniel Drucker at Sinai Health in Toronto, Canada. “The clinical trial data is not yet in to substantiate the anecdotes.”
What happens to a user’s weight long-term?
The longest trial of Wegovy lasted two years found that people’s weight broadly plateaued in the second year.
In most countries, Wegovy has been approved for two years’ use, but if people stop taking the drug, they generally regain the lost weight – two-thirds of it after one year, according to one trial.
“The weight loss is only sustained for as long as the drug is taken because as soon as you stop the drug, all of those physiological processes that are trying to get your body weight back up kick in again,” says Cork.
This suggests that after two years of use, there will be demfrom consumers for doctors to continue prescribing the drug “off label”. “I think there’ll be a big push to try to change those guidelines,” says Cork.
Ozempic can be prescribed long-term for type 2 diabetes because the condition is usually life-long.