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Chocolate as you know and love it could disappear by 2020: scientists

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According to a recent report by two of the world’s largest chocolate makers, the gap between how much chocolate the world consumes and how much cocoa manufacturers can produce will become unsustainable in 2020.

Disease, drought, an increase in demand from Chinese markets, as well as the rising popularity of dark chocolate — which requires more cocoa to produce — have combined to create what will swell to a 1 million metric ton deficit by 2020, and a potential 2 million metric ton deficit by 2030.

Hershey has responded to this increased demand by upping the price of its bars, and other chocolate makers have followed suit, which is why cocoa prices have skyrocketed by 60 percent since 2012 — the first year in which the world consumed more chocolate than it produced.

Efforts to increase cocoa production have been hampered first by drought in West Africa, then by the Ebola epidemic, which has strangled trade even with countries not stricken by the disease, like the Ivory Coast.

A fungal disease known as “frosty pod” has also ravaged cocoa production in Central and South America, wiping out an estimated 30 to 40 percent of production capability. Many fear that it is only a matter of time before this disease, as well as witches’ broom, will make its way across the Atlantic.

But as Bloomberg’s Mark Schatzker noted, even if supply is able to keep up with demand, chocolate-lovers may not be happy with the result.

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“Efforts are under way to make chocolate cheap and abundant,” he wrote, “in the process inadvertently rendering it as tasteless as today’s store-bought tomatoes, yet another food, along with chicken and strawberries, that went from flavorful to forgettable on the road to plenitude.”

Because breeders rarely focus on the flavor of the crop they are trying to improve, the disease-resistant varieties of chocolate developed in recent decades has a flavor profile that ranges from what Ed Seguine, a chocolate expert, called “acidic dirt” to “just average.”

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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