What to Know
- Tech companies plan to tell Congress they have found additional evidence of Russian activity on their services surrounding the 2016 election
- U.S. regulators want to remove a health claim about the heart benefits of soy from cartons of soy milk, tofu and other foods
- Netflix is pulling the plug on "House of Cards" following an accusation that Kevin Spacey allegedly made sexual advances on a teen boy
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Russian-Backed Election Content Reached 126 Million Americans, Facebook Says
Major tech companies plan to tell Congress they have found additional evidence of Russian activity on their services surrounding the 2016 U.S. election. Facebook, for instance, says a Russian group posted more than 80,000 times on its service during and after the election, potentially reaching as many as 126 million users. The company plans to disclose these numbers to the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to a person familiar with the testimony. The person declined to be named because the committee has not officially released the testimony. Twitter plans to tell the same committee it has uncovered and shut down 2,752 accounts linked to the same group, Russia's Internet Research Agency, which is known for promoting pro-Russian government positions. That number is nearly 14 times larger than the number of accounts Twitter handed over to congressional committees three weeks ago, according to a person familiar with the matter. This person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the new findings ahead of the hearing.
Lost Sailors Did Not Activate Emergency Beacon, Coast Guard Says
The U.S. Coast Guard announced that the two Hawaii women who say they were lost at sea never activated their emergency beacon, adding to a growing list of inconsistencies that cast doubt on the women's harrowing tale of survival. U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Scott Carr told The Associated Press that their review of the incident and subsequent interviews with the survivors revealed that they had the Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon aboard but never turned it on. The women said they chose not to activate the device because they never feared for their lives. Parts of their story have been called into question, including the tropical storm the two say they encountered on their first night at sea in May. National Weather Service records show no organized storms in the region in early May. When asked if the two had the radio beacon aboard, the women told the AP they had a number of other communications devices, but they didn't mention the EPIRB.
Lack of Compromise Led to Civil War, Chief of Staff John Kelly Says
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly weighed in on the continuing debate over the removal of Confederate monuments, saying that "The lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War," NBC News reported. Speaking in an interview with Fox News's Laura Ingraham, Kelly commented on the decision by Christ Church, an Episcopal congregation in the Washington suburb of Alexandria, Virginia, to remove plaques honoring President George Washington and Robert E. Lee, the commander of Confederate forces during the Civil War. "Well, history's history," said Kelly. "You know, 500 years later, it's inconceivable to me that you would take what we think now and apply it back then. I think it's just very, very dangerous. I think it shows you just how much of a lack of appreciation of history and what history is." Kelly also called Robert E. Lee "an honorable man," adding that "the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War."
FDA Moves to Ax Claim for Heart Benefits From Soy Foods
U.S. regulators want to remove a health claim about the heart benefits of soy from cartons of soy milk, tofu and other foods, saying the latest scientific evidence no longer shows a clear connection. The announcement by the Food and Drug Administration marks the first time the agency has moved to revoke a health food claim since it began approving such statements in 1990. The claim that soy protein can reduce heart disease appears on about 200 to 300 products in the U.S., according to industry figures, including popular brands like Silk soy milk. Calls to WhiteWave Foods Company, which markets Silk brand soy products, were not immediately returned. The FDA first approved the language about the benefits in 1999 based on studies suggesting soy protein lowered a type of heart-damaging cholesterol in the bloodstream. But some later studies have failed to show a clear link. One 2005 study by the U.S. government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that soy products had little effect on bad cholesterol. The FDA began reevaluating the food claim in 2007 and said "the totality of the evidence is inconsistent and not conclusive."
“House of Cards” Canceled as Fallout Continues for Spacey
The fallout facing Kevin Spacey widened following an accusation that he allegedly made sexual advances on a teen boy, with Netflix pulling the plug on his hit show "House of Cards" and "deeply troubled" producers of the political thriller arriving on set to comfort cast mates. Executives from Netflix and the show's producer, Media Rights Capital, said they arrived in Baltimore, where the show is shot, to make sure actors and crew "continue to feel safe and supported." Spacey was not scheduled to be on set. Though the decision to end the series was announced, the decision to end the series was made several months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision. Spacey is the latest Hollywood man to be named in widening allegations of sexual harassment and abuse in entertainment, media and other industries.