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Dead pigs in China’s Shanghai river now exceed 13,000

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The number of dead pigs found in a river running through China’s commercial hub Shanghai has reached more than 13,000, state media said Monday, as mystery deepened over the hogs’ precise origin.

Shanghai had pulled 9,460 pigs out of the Huangpu river, which supplies 22 percent of the city’s drinking water, since the infestation began earlier this month, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Shanghai has blamed farmers in Jiaxing in neighbouring Zhejiang province for dumping pigs which died of disease into the river upstream, where the official Xinhua news agency said another 3,601 dead animals had been recovered so far.

The Jiaxing government has said the area is not the sole source of the carcasses, adding it had found only one producer that could be held responsible.

Shanghai said it had checked farms in its southwestern district of Songjiang, where the pigs were first detected, but found they were not to blame, the Shanghai Daily said.

The scandal has spotlighted China’s troubles with food safety, adding the country’s most popular meat to a growing list of food items rocked by controversy.

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Samples of the dead pigs have tested positive for porcine circovirus, a common swine disease that does not affect humans.

“Due to some farming households having a weak recognition of the law, bad habits, and lack of increased supervision and capability for treatment have led to the situation,” the national agriculture ministry’s chief veterinarian Yu Kangzhen said.

Yu attributed a higher mortality rate among pigs to colder weather this spring, though he ruled out an epidemic, the ministry said in statement posted on its website over the weekend.

The thousands of dead pigs have drawn attention to China’s poorly regulated farm production. Animals that die from disease can end up in the country’s food supply chain or improperly disposed of, despite laws against the practice.

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In Wenling, also in Zhejiang, authorities announced last week that 46 people had been jailed for up to six-and-a-half years for processing and selling pork from more than 1,000 diseased pigs.

China faced one its biggest food-safety scandals in 2008 when the industrial chemical melamine was found to have been illegally added to dairy products, killing at least six babies and making 300,000 people ill.

In another recent incident, the American fast-food giant KFC faced controversy after revealing that some Chinese suppliers provided chicken with high levels of antibiotics, in what appeared to be an industry-wide practice.

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Hope Hicks told Congress that Trump has cut her out of his life — he virtually never calls her anymore

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Former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks was broadly considered to be one of President Donald Trump's favorite staffers.

But when she left the administration in 2018, the president virtually cut off ties to her, and has only spoken with her five times since then, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday:

In her interview, Hope Hicks says she has only spoken to Trump between five and ten times since she left the White House in February 2018. (He used to call that much in a day.) They last spoke in April, when they had dinner. Our story from yesterday:https://t.co/3gzVY21c3z pic.twitter.com/VMZqhnbgib

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Elections regulator warns foreign intrusion into US campaigns is already happening

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In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Federal Elections Commission is warning that there is already foreign intrusion in the U.S. campaigns.

FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub was forced to issue a statement after President Donald Trump said that he wasn't sure what he would do if a foreign government approached him with "dirt" on his political opponent. He said that he "might" tell the FBI but would likely hear what they had to say. He said that it wasn't illegal, but Weintraub issued a statement reiterating that it is illegal.

"I am particularly concerned about the risk of illicit funds and foreign support influencing our political system. Foreign dark money represents a significant vulnerability for American democracy. We do not know the extent to which our political campaigns receive foreign dark money, but we do know that the political money can be weaponized by well-funded hostile powers," the letter warned.

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Trump’s anti-abortion rule attacking Planned Parenthood can go into effect in 49 states: appeals court

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According to the Associated Press, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that President Donald Trump's domestic "gag rule" can take effect while litigation proceeds, potentially making it far harder for low-income women to access abortion care.

District judges in California, Oregon, and Washington previously blocked the rule from taking effect. But a three-judge panel in San Francisco today said that the rule was "reasonable" as an interpretation of federal law, and lifted the injunction preventing it from being enforced. The rule can now take effect in every state except Maryland, where another federal judge's order has still enjoined the policy.

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