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Top news: (4/4-4/10)

Here are the top stories for this week all summarized so you can stay informed and save time!

All sources are at the end of the post.

Jackson will join more diverse and conservative high court:

Members of the Supreme Court pose for a group photo at the Supreme Court in Washington, April 23, 2021. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times via AP, Pool, File)

Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson has been confirmed to the US Supreme Court. She became the first-ever Black woman confirmed to the body after a vote in the Senate which voted 53-47 in her favor. She will not join the court for several months as Justice Breyer intends to finish his ongoing work on cases set to be settled this summer such as the verdict on whether the Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion will be overturned. This leaves Jackson in the unprecedented situation of being confirmed to the Supreme Court months ahead of taking on casework as a Justice, whereas others were working within days of their confirmation. She is unlikely to sway many decisions during her time on the court due to its conservative-leaning, but she will offer a unique perspective that could ultimately make a difference.

Food prices soar to record levels on Ukraine war disruptions:

Prices for food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever recorded as of last month. This is largely due to the supply disruptions caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Food Price Index by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, which calculates the international price for a basket of commodities, rose by 12.6 % from February to average 159.3 points. The FAO has blamed the war ongoing in Ukraine for the 17.1% rise in the price of grain. Together Russia and Ukraine account for roughly 20% of all corn exports and 30% of all wheat exports worldwide. It is currently unknown how much of these increases in price are due to the war and how much is due to other factors such as poor weather conditions in the US and China. Whatever their reason, massive food shortages threaten countries in the Middle East, Africa, and parts of Asia where people already have too little to eat. The United States, Canada, France, and other large grain producers are working to ramp up production but face increased fuel and fertilizer costs, drought, and supply chain disruptions.

Tiny Yorkshire Terrier Detects Breast Cancer in Woman, Jumping Up and Down on Her Chest in Alarm:

11-year-old Bella-Boo by Karena Kirk-Drain/ SWNS

A Yorkshire Terrier saved her owner’s life after jumping up and down on her chest to alert her to a cancerous lump. Eleven-year-old pooch Bella Boo wouldn’t settle in her usual sleeping place and kept trying to lie on Karena Kirk-Drain’s chest despite being pushed away. The dog’s odd demeanor continued over the next three weeks, and she even started to cry. When she wouldn’t stop weeping, it left Karena concerned about her health, but baffled vets confirmed that she was fit and healthy. Karena called it “a heartbreaking cry,” and thought the dog was “obviously trying to tell me something.” She continued licking and hopping on the 53-year-old’s chest and then doctors confirmed the lump being jumped on was breast cancer. The Blackpool, Lancashire woman then underwent life-saving treatment and believes the disease would have been missed if it wasn’t for Bella-Boo’s actions.

Researchers Find New Strategy for Preventing Clogged Arteries:

Scientists have successfully minimized artery-narrowing plaque in mice and published their findings this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine did so by boosting chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA), a cellular housekeeping process discovered in 1993 and named in 2000. CMA keeps cells functioning normally by selectively degrading the many proteins that cells contain. Dr. And Maria Cuervo has deciphered many of the molecular players involved in CMA and shown that, through its timely degradation of key proteins, it regulates numerous intracellular processes including glucose and lipid metabolism, circadian rhythms, and DNA repair. She also found that disrupted CMA allows damaged proteins to accumulate to toxic levels, contributing to aging and when the toxic buildup occurs in nerve cells to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. The study, published in PNAS, is the first to show that turning up CMA could be an effective way to prevent atherosclerosis from becoming severe or progressing. The CMA-boosted mice used in the experiments had greatly improved blood lipid profiles, with markedly reduced levels of cholesterol compared with the control mice.


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