Pediatricians take aim at juice, urge parents to give children fruit instead

The American Academy of Pediatrics has some new advice about juice: Kids should resist the urge to drink it.

If you’re craving something fruity and refreshing, try eating a piece of fruit instead. If you’re thirsty, you can wash it down with some water.

Sure, juice has some things going for it. It can be an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium, among other nutrients. It also contains antioxidants, which may help ward off cancer and cardiovascular disease.

All those things are true about fruit as well — plus it contains fiber. That’s good for you because it helps keep your blood sugar in check, reduces cholesterol and cleans your colon. And it can help prevent unwanted weight gain, since it takes much longer to eat a piece of fruit than it does to drink the juice it contains.

Fruit also beats juice when it comes to fighting tooth decay. When kids carry around sippy cups with juice — or worse, take it to bed with them in a bottle — their teeth are continuously exposed to carbohydrates. That leads to cavities.

Despite all this, juice remains a popular beverage for kids and teens.

—Los Angeles Times


Supreme Court finds GOP packed black voters into 2 NC districts to help win more House seats

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court rebuked North Carolina’s Republican leaders Monday for shifting tens of thousands of black voters into two congressional districts that had steadily elected black Democrats, striking down the move as racial gerrymandering.

The Constitution forbids a state from “separating its citizens into voting districts on the basis of race” without a compelling reason, the high court said in an opinion joined by its four liberals and conservative Justice Clarence Thomas.

The ruling is the third in recent years to fault Southern Republicans for packing more black voters into districts where African-Americans were already the dominant voting bloc. By concentrating black voters into a few districts, the revised state maps strengthened the GOP’s hold in the surrounding areas.

It was also the second time in two weeks the court dealt a setback to North Carolina’s Republicans. Last week, the justices let stand a ruling that struck down a 2013 law that added new restrictions on voting on the grounds the state had deliberately discriminated against its black voters.

—Tribune Washington Bureau


Nearly 40 shot in Chicago over weekend, but gun violence still behind last year

CHICAGO — Nearly 40 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, but gun violence is still slightly down from the record level of last year, according to data kept by the Tribune.

Four people were killed and 35 other people were wounded from Friday afternoon trough early Monday, according to police. In a span of just three hours early Sunday, two people were killed and seven others were wounded.

As of early Monday, the city has logged 228 homicides this year compared with 245 homicides this time last year, according to Tribune data.

The number of shooting victims has decreased by about 8 percent from last year. At least 1,278 people have been shot so far compared with 1,391 people this time last year, according to Tribune data.

—Chicago Tribune


5 chosen in first day of Cosby jury selection in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Three men and two women were chosen Monday as the first of 12 jurors who will hear Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case.

All five are white, and at least three said they had prior knowledge of the scandals that have bedeviled the 79-year-old entertainer since late 2014, but vowed to put what they had heard aside.

Their selection came on the first day of one of the most expansive jury-selection processes ever undertaken in Allegheny County: the search for 12 people and six alternates whose opinions had not been tainted by one of the most heavily covered sexual abuse scandals in history.

More than one-third of the 100 potential jurors gathered in the Allegheny County Courthouse indicated Monday that they had an opinion about Cosby’s guilt or innocence.

—The Philadelphia Inquirer


Greek deal on debt relief founders as talks stretch until June

BRUSSELS — Euro-area finance ministers gathering in Brussels on Monday failed to break an impasse on debt relief for Greece, delaying the completion of the country’s bailout review and the disbursement of about 7 billion euros ($7.9 billion) in fresh loans.

The International Monetary Fund sought more debt relief for the country, pushing euro-area creditors to ensure the sustainability of Greece’s 315 billion euros of obligations. Some nations including Germany object to a debt restructuring while also insisting that the Washington-based fund join the program to lend credibility to the bailout.

Greece doesn’t have a large maturity deadline until July, when about 7 billion euros in obligations come due, but delaying the resolution of the program review adds to months of uncertainty that have taken their toll on the Greek economy — which has slipped back into recession — and kept the country from returning to the bond market.

“This evening we had a first in-depth discussion on the topic of debt sustainability,” Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. “We’ve not reached an overall agreement on that part of the discussion. In the coming weeks we’ll continue our work on that and try to come to a definite conclusion at the next Eurogroup in three weeks time.”

The IMF and Germany disagreed over Greece’s economic outlook and the amount of debt relief required to assure economic stability, according to two European Union officials with knowledge of the talks, who asked not to be identified because the discussion was private.

—Bloomberg News

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