WASHINGTON | Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over?After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. — the collective miles people drive — peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since, even though the economy is recovering and the population growing. Just this week the Federal Highway Administration reported vehicle miles traveled during the first half of 2013 were down slightly, continuing the trend.In this Aug. 22, 2013 photo, cars travel on the rebuilt Vermont Route 107 in Bethel, Vt. In what some consider a bit of an engineering marvel, a three-mile section of Route 107 between Bethel and Stockbridge, a major east-west highway that was destroyed by the storm, was rebuilt and reopened in 119 days, a job that normally would have taken two years. Driving in America has stalled, leading researchers to ask: Is the national love affair with the automobile over? After rising for decades, total vehicle use in the U.S. peaked in August 2007. It then dropped sharply during the Great Recession and has largely plateaued since. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)Even more telling, the average miles drivers individually rack up peaked in July 2004 at just over 900 per month, said a study by Transportation Department economists Don Pickrell and David Pace. By July of last year, that had fallen to 820 miles per month, down about 9 percent. Per capita automobile use is now back at the same levels as in the late 1990s.Until the mid-1990s, driving levels largely tracked economic growth, according to Pickrell and Pace, who said their conclusions are their own and not the government’s. Since then, the economy has grown more rapidly than auto use. Gross domestic product declined for a while during the recession but reversed course in 2009. Auto use has yet to recover.Meanwhile, the share of people in their teens, 20s and 30s with driver’s licenses has been dropping significantly, suggesting that getting a driver’s license is no longer the teenage rite of passage it once was.Researchers are divided on the reasons behind the trends. One camp says the changes are almost entirely linked to the economy. In a few years, as the economy continues to recover, driving will probably bounce back, they reason. At the same time, they acknowledge there could be long-term structural changes in the economy that would prevent a return to the levels of driving growth seen in the past; it’s just too soon to know.The other camp acknowledges that economic factors are important but says the decline in driving also reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile. For commuters stuck in traffic, getting into a car no longer correlates with fun. It’s also becoming more of a headache to own a car in central cities and downright difficult to park.“The idea that the car means freedom, I think, is over,” said travel behavior analyst Nancy McGuckin.Gone are the days of the car culture as immortalized in songs like “Hot Rod Lincoln,” ”Little Deuce Coupe” and “Pink Cadillac.”“The car as a fetish of masculinity is probably over for certain age groups,” McGuckin said. “I don’t think young men care as much about the car they drive as they use to.”That’s partly because cars have morphed into computers on wheels that few people dare tinker with, she said. “You can’t open the hood and get to know it the way you used to,” she said.Lifestyles are also changing. People are doing more of their shopping online. More people are taking public transit than ever before. And biking and walking to work and for recreation are on the rise.Social networking online may also be substituting for some trips. A study by University of Michigan transportation researcher Michael Sivak found that the decline in teens and young adults with driver’s licenses in the U.S. was mirrored in other wealthy countries with a high proportion of Internet users.Demographic changes are also a factor. The peak driving years for most people are between ages 45 and 55 when they are the height of their careers and have more money to spend, said transportation analyst Alan Pisarski, author of “Commuting in America.” Now, the last of the baby boomers — the giant cohort born between 1946 and 1964 — are moving out of their peak driving years.“They are still the dominant players, and they are moving toward a quieter transportation lifestyle,” he said.There’s also a driving gender gap. In a role reversal, there are now more women than men in the U.S. with driver’s licenses. And the declines in miles driven over the past decade were more widespread among men than women, according to Pickrell and Pace. Driving by men has declined in every age group except those 65 or older, where it increased slightly. Among women, driving declined only among young adults and teenagers.There are several economic factors that help explain the trends. Driving declines exactly mirror job losses among men during the recession, when male-dominated industries like manufacturing and construction were especially hard hit, researchers said. But average automobile use has declined recently even among those who have remained employed.Economists say many Americans, especially teens and young adults, are finding that buying and owning a car stretches their financial resources. The average price of a new car is $31,000, according to the industry-aligned Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.“We’re not selling to everyone. We’re selling to upper-middle class to upper class,” said Sean McAlinden, the center’s chief economist. The rest of the public, he said, buys used cars or takes the bus.Then there’s the cost of insurance, maintenance and parking. The price of gas has gone up dramatically over the past decade.The share of younger workers who can find jobs is at an especially low ebb, while the cost of a college education — and with it student loans — is soaring. Many schools have stopped offering free driver’s education to students. Owning a car is increasingly beyond the reach of many young drivers, researchers said.Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 18- to 20-year-olds were three times more likely to have a driver’s license if they lived in a household with an annual income above $100,000 than if they lived in a household with an income below $20,000.“I don’t think it’s a change in people’s preferences. I think it’s all economics,” McAlinden said. “It might last if the economics stay the same. But if they improve, I think people will come back to driving more. … Give a person a good job 25 miles away and they’ll be at the dealership the next morning.”The decline in driving has important public policy implications. Among the potential benefits are less pollution, less dependence on foreign oil, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fewer fatalities and injuries. But less driving also means less federal and state gas tax revenues, further reducing funds already in short supply for both highway and transit improvements. On the other hand, less driving may also mean less traffic congestion, although the impact on congestion may vary regionally.Phineas Baxandall, senior analyst for the liberal U.S. Public Interest Research Group, says driving declines mean transportation dollars could be put to other uses.“You just don’t want to spend money you don’t have for highways you don’t need,” he said.___Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy
DES MOINES, Iowa | U.S. companies relying on farmers for the raw materials in their products must take a more active role in ensuring the crops are grown in a way that minimizes damage to water, soil, and environment, a report released Wednesday said.Ceres, a Boston-based nonprofit network of investors, companies and public interest groups, focused in its report on climate change’s effect on corn production. It said farmers and the companies they supply must deal with drought and other weather extremes, an increase in groundwater depleting irrigation, and more fertilizer use.“Climate change and pressures on water supplies pose financial risk to our agricultural industry but it’s not just the corn belt’s problem,” said Brooke Barton, water program director at Ceres and co-author of the report, which argues that increased corn production has depleted land and water resources in some areas and contributed to increased water pollution from fertilizer runoff.“Companies that depend on U.S. corn have a big role to play in sending market signals that these issues matter,” she said.Food giants working with Ceres include General Mills and Unilever, both of which have adopted sustainability programs suggested by the organization that set specific goals for suppliers and farmers.The report calls for the establishment of corporate policies for goals to reduce the environmental impact, procurement contracts that require sustainably grown crops, and efforts to identify areas of high water stress, groundwater pollution and overuse of fertilizer.Ceres also recommends that companies substitute other grains for corn where environmental benefits are well demonstrated, and disclose to investors the company’s exposure to climate and water-related risks in its agricultural supply chain.General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, Wheaties and Green Giant vegetables, increasingly has been involved in providing money and support to improve the use of water and fertilizer since it began a sustainability program in 2005.In the Root River region of southeastern Minnesota, the company contributed $300,000 to help vegetable farmers incorporate new conservation practices to reduce erosion into the river.In Irapuato, Mexico, General Mills provided interest-free loans to farmers to help them invest in drip irrigation equipment to grow Green Giant vegetables, saving more than 1 billion gallons of water a year, the company said.Corporations are taking on the additional expense to ensure future supplies, but also because of customer demand, said Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer for General Mills.“More and more consumers are looking at what companies are doing in this area because that really demonstrates the care that a company takes with the ingredients which are the thing that a consumer cares most about in a food product,” Lynch said.Unilever, which makes products including Lipton tea and Hellmann’s mayonnaise, is working with Iowa soybean farmers on a project to use a newly developed calculator that measures fertilizer use, water quality, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions. Soybean oil is a major ingredient in mayonnaise.Farmers committed 44,000 acres to the project in 2013 and that rose to 150,000 acres this year, said Jonathan Atwood, the company’s vice president of sustainable living.“The intent is to go on-farm and try and find a collection of like-minded farmers to come in and begin to measure at a much deeper level against some of the sustainability targets we have as a company,” he said.Unilever has set a goal of 100 percent sustainably sourced commodities by 2020. Atwood said the company began at 12 percent in 2010 and achieved 48 percent globally this year.Ray Gaesser, who farms 6,000 acres of corn and soybeans in southwest Iowa near Corning, uses no-till farming, terraces on sloping land to prevent soil erosion, and has grass waterways to slow water runoff. The farm is testing cover crops that help hold the soil in place and retain nutrients.Most farmers, he said, are willing to adopt new measures if they are shown to be beneficial to the land and water and do not reduce productivity.“They want to be sure it’s being done for more than just marketing reasons or to position a company to be in a better light with their consumers,” Gaesser said. “It needs to be a sincere effort.”
DENVER |Colorado health authorities suggested banning many forms of edible marijuana, including brownies and cookies, then whipsawed away from the suggestion Monday after it went public.The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment told state pot regulators they should limit edible pot on shelves to hard lozenges and tinctures, which are a form of liquid pot that can be added to foods and drinks.The suggestion sparked marijuana industry outrage and legal concerns from a regulatory workgroup that met Monday to review the agency’s suggestion. Colorado’s 2012 marijuana-legalization measure says retail pot is legal in all forms.“If the horse wasn’t already out of the barn, I think that would be a nice proposal for us to put on the table,” said Karin McGowan, the department’s deputy executive director.Talking to reporters after the workgroup reviewed the department’s proposal, McGowan insisted the edibles ban was just one of several proposals under review by pot regulators.Lawmakers have ordered state pot regulators to require pot-infused food and drink to have a distinct look when they are out of the packaging. The order came after concerns about the proliferation of pot-infused treats that many worry could be accidentally eaten by children.Statewide numbers are not available, but one hospital in the Denver area has reported nine cases of children being admitted after accidentally eating pot. It is not clear whether those kids ate commercially packaged pot products or homemade items such as marijuana brownies.The Health Department’s recommendation was one of several made to marijuana regulators.“We need to know what is in our food,” said Gina Carbone of the advocacy group Smart Colorado, which says edible pot shouldn’t be allowed if it can’t be identified out of its packaging.Marijuana industry representatives insisted that marking pot won’t prevent accidental ingestions.“There is only so much we can do as manufacturers to prevent a child from putting a product in their mouth,” said Bob Eschino of Incredibles, which makes marijuana-infused chocolates.Even health officials worried that an edibles ban would not stop people from making homemade pot treats, with possibly more dangerous results.“Edibles are very, very popular. And I do worry that people are going to make their own. They’re not going to know what they’re doing,” said Dr. Lalit Bajaj of Children’s Hospital Colorado.The meeting came a few days after Denver police released a video about the danger of possible Halloween candy mix-ups.“Some marijuana edibles can be literally identical to their name-brand counterparts,” the department warned in a statement, urging parents to toss candies they don’t recognize.The edible pot workgroup meets again in November before sending a recommendation to Colorado lawmakers next year. The revised edible rule is to be in place by 2016.___
NEW YORK | For U.S. moms, the typical time between pregnancies is about 2½ years but nearly a third of women space their children too close, a government study shows.Experts say mothers should wait at least 18 months to give their body time to recover and increase the chances the next child is full-term and healthy.The study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that about 30 percent of women who’d had a child became pregnant again within 18 months.“That is actually pretty high and very problematic,” said Heike Thiel de Bocanegra, a reproductive health researcher at the University of California, San Francisco. She was not involved in the new study.In this March 3, 2015 file photo, a couple holds up their 2-year-old daughter in Seattle. According to a study released on Thursday, April 16, 2015, for U.S. mothers, the typical time between having babies is about 2 1/2 years, according to the first government study of its kind on the subject. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)The report is based on 2011 birth certificates from 36 states and the District of Columbia, representing about 83 percent of the nation’s births that year. It was the first such report by the CDC so researchers don’t know if pregnancy spacing has changed over time.The study found:—The median time to next pregnancy was 2 years, 5 months. About half fell in the 18 months to 5 year range. About 20 percent had babies more than 5 years apart.—White women had the shortest spacing — about 2 years, 2 months on average. Black and Hispanic women typically waited 2½ years or longer.—The older the mom was, the longer the spacing between a birth and her next pregnancy.Of course, miscarriages, illnesses or other factors can affect a couple’s plans.Lhamo Ellin of New York had her daughter about 12 years after her son.“I tried. It didn’t happen,” said Ellin. She works as a nanny in a Brooklyn neighborhood that is a magnet for young families, where she said siblings seemed to be about three to five years apart.New Yorker Reis Goldberg and his wife had twin boys and then a daughter 3½ years later.“As soon as we got the twins under control, we were ready to have another one,” he said.Goldberg, who is only about a year younger than his brother, agreed with the experts.“Second kid suffers. A lot runtier. He was like double my size when I was younger,” he said.Online:CDC report: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/
This image released by ABC shows Sean Giambrone, left, as Adam and Natalie Alyn Lind as Dana kissing in a scene from the comedy series, “The Golbergs.” The series is based on creator Adam Goldberg’s 1980s childhood. (Tony Rivetti/ABC via AP) This image released by ABC shows Sean Giambrone, left, as Adam and Natalie Alyn Lind as Dana in a scene from the comedy series, “The Golbergs.” The series is based on creator Adam Goldberg’s 1980s childhood. (Tony Rivetti/ABC via AP) NEW YORK | A kiss is just a kiss, but as time goes by the first one can be everlasting.“I can tell you the exact date,” declared stylist and fashion designer Nicole Grays Owens of Atlanta. “It was Aug. 16, 1985, three days after my sweet 16th. He was my first true love and I his.”We all have a first-kiss story, from the playground, park or basement, most likely. But do we all know what happened to the people with whom we shared that delicate snip of time? Do we care?Writer Rachel Vail of Manhattan may not have been in capital L-love with the first boy she kissed, but they WERE a thing, elementary school style. She was a fifth-grade Kim to his sixth-grade Hugo in their suburban New York school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” There was supposed to be a kiss between the two in the play. This being elementary school, there was not.Then came curtain call opening night.“We met at center stage. He had a bouquet of flowers and he leaned forward and kissed me in front of a packed auditorium, in front of our parents and teachers and everybody else,” Vail recalled. “It was a sweet, chaste kiss, but I wiped it right off my mouth. My dad filmed the whole thing.”Vail, 50, has worked a few memorable kisses into some of the more than 30 books she has written for young people. In real life, there was a big twist to her first.Though it left her a “little shaken,” she took her spot at the end of the stage as planned during bows. And that put her next to the boy who played her father. And it was he, years later, who became her husband. They’ve been married 24 years come spring.“More than sex, that idea of kissing, connecting with somebody, it can be very innocent and it can be so very powerful,” Vail said. “It’s that first thought of yourself as a romantic and eventually a sexual being. First kisses can knock you down and make you feel so different about yourself and about the world.”Owens, 47, feels the same. She and her first beau, back in Los Angeles where she grew up, courted over scoops of mint chip at the ice cream shop where he worked.“It was awkward, tentative at first, then it morphed into everything I’d seen in a movie or on television,” she said. “It was passionate, romantic and seemed to go on forever. Maybe passionate is too heady a word for two virginal teenagers, but it felt like passion to me.”The two drifted after high school, but she doesn’t have to wonder what became of him. Through social media she has learned that he’s the married father of four, a police officer in a small California town. She keeps her distance out of respect.“He was the greatest first everything I could have had and I still possess every picture, card, love letter,” Owens said, “and the dress I wore to his senior prom, which still fits, by the way.”For David Rivera, a 62-year-old doctor in suburban Chicago, the first is now bittersweet.The date: “May 27, 1968, behind the hedges in front of the house where she was baby-sitting! Life was never the same after that. Her name was Cheryl and we used to leave notes for each other tucked into the post for a stop sign near her house,” he said.They exchanged Christmas cards occasionally over the years. She had a long-term temp job about a mile from where he lives.“I saw her in 2004 for the first time in 32 years. We met for lunch. That would be the last time,” Rivera said. “She died in December 2012. I didn’t know until I had dinner with three other friends from high school a couple of years later.”Dana Marlowe, 40, also reconnected with her first kisser, 25 years after the act.She’s a federal agency IT consultant in suburban Washington, D.C., and new software to access a payment portal included the security question: “What is the name of your first kiss?” Marlowe treated her assistant to the story behind the answer since she’s the one who had to input the name.The scene: A summer camp in Pennsylvania one hot July night in 1989, near the tree line. Marlowe was 12. Adam was 13.Marlowe was so tickled by the crush reminder that she tracked him down on Facebook, where they had a couple of old camp friends in common, and privately messaged him his new security role in her life.“He wrote back within seconds and we wound up chatting,” she said. “He said, ‘If you think that’s funny, I’ve got a story for YOU, Dana.’”Adam is Adam Goldberg, a Hollywood writer and producer. At the time they reconnected, he was pitching a TV series based on his 1980s childhood, “The Goldbergs,” which was picked up by ABC and includes a noteworthy young kiss and the pursuit of same in a story line involving a character he left as Dana.Goldberg uses real-life home movies and other memorabilia to end each episode and it was Marlowe’s turn that time around, in a short snippet of young them.“So, that’s what happens when you look up your first kiss, courtesy of needing to get paid by the government,” Marlowe said.
FILE – In this Feb. 15, 2017, file photo, Rumor, a German shepherd, poses for photos after winning Best in Show at the 141st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, in New York. German shepherds hold the second spot in America’s most popular dog breeds for 2016 according to the American Kennel Club Tuesday, March 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File) NEW YORK | Labrador retrievers have extended their record run as America’s most popular dog breed, leading the American Kennel Club’s new rankings for a 26th straight year. But Rottweilers are enjoying renewed favor, and some other dogs have been striding up the popularity ladder. A closer look at some of the rungs revealed Tuesday: FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2013, file photo, a bulldog named Munch, left, and a puppy named Dominique attend a news conference at the American Kennel Club in New York. Bulldogs grabbed the No. 4 spot in the American Kennel Club’s list of most popular dogs for 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File) FILE- In this Feb. 14, 2012 file photo, Perry Payson, of Bixby, Okla., handles Pilot, a Rottweiler during at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York. Rottweilers own the No. 8 most popular breed spot of 2016 according to the American Kennel Club. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, File) THE TOP 10In 2013, Labs grabbed the record for the longest stretch at No. 1, and they haven’t let go. Affable, relatively easy to train and eager to please, they’re popular partly because “you don’t have to be an expert dog owner to own a Lab,” says AKC Vice President Gina DiNardo. But for those seeking more than a family pet, the breed has proved itself at everything from bomb sniffing to guiding the blind.The rest of the top 10, in order: German shepherds, golden retrievers, bulldogs, beagles, French bulldogs, poodles, Rottweilers, Yorkshire terriers and boxers.The stats reflect puppies and other newly registered dogs in the AKC’s 189 recognized breeds. They don’t encompass the nation’s millions of mixed-breed dogs or such deliberate hybrids as Labradoodles and maltipoos.ROTTWEILERS’ RISEAt No. 8, the Rottweiler posted its highest ranking in almost 20 years. Renowned for their loyalty, confidence and protective instincts, Rotties were America’s second-most-popular dog in 1997 but faded to 17th within a decade, as some small breeds surged for a time. But Rottweilers muscled their way back into the top 10 in 2015.Alexandra Niles is among the new Rottweiler enthusiasts. Seeking a big, sturdy dog, she got Talos four years ago, promising his breeder she’d learn to show him. He’s now a show champion, is working toward a therapy-dog certificate and competes in obedience and other dog sports. He has even herded sheep.As strong dogs with guardian tendencies, Rottweilers need good, early training, socialization, activities and their people’s companionship. “They aren’t a breed for everyone,” says Niles, of Scotch Plains, New Jersey. “But whatever you put into them, they give back to you a millionfold.”MOVERS AND SHAKERSSeveral breeds in the top 10 have been there for a decade or more, but French bulldogs were ranked just 36th a decade ago. The quizzical, push-faced dogs had been out of the top 10 for nearly a century before making it back the past two years, while their larger bulldog cousins have hit their highest-ever ranking.Some other breeds making sizeable moves in the past decade: Siberian huskies, up from 25th to 12th; great Danes, from 24th to 14th; and Australian shepherds, from 34th to 16th.And keep an eye on the Belgian Malinois, which sprang from 90th to 47th as it became increasingly visible in the U.S. as a police dog.RARE BREEDSSome rare breeds simply haven’t had much time to build a following. Those such as the Cesky terrier and the sloughi earned AKC recognition only within the past 10 years. But last year’s scarcest breed was the venerable American foxhound, part of the AKC’s roster since 1886.DiNardo encourages people to give rarer dogs a look. “Breeders are there, trying to preserve and protect those breeds,” she notes.A breed’s popularity can reflect anything from ease of grooming to exposure from celebrity owners. Some familiar breeds that once held the top spot, such as collies and cocker spaniels, aren’t in the top 10 today.The only breed to rank in the top 10 every decade since the AKC’s 1880s founding? The beagle.PUREBRED POPULARITYThe AKC doesn’t release raw numbers, only rankings. But DiNardo says the total number of registered dogs grew 8 percent last year.People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and some other animal-rights activists deplore the pursuit of purebreds, saying it fuels puppy mills and diverts people from adopting mixed-breed dogs. The AKC says conscientious breeding helps owners predict what dog will be right for them to make a lasting match.Whether purebred or mixed-breed, “there’s a right dog for everyone,” DiNardo says. FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, file photo, a Labrador retriever named Shayna attends a news conference at the American Kennel Club in New York. According to the American Kennel Club Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Labrador retrievers have extended their record run as America’s most popular dog breed for 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
Singer Lana Del Rey poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Singer Rita Ora poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) LONDON | Shawn Mendes beat Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran to win the best-artist prize Sunday at the MTV EMAs, while U2 were proclaimed global icons in a show that celebrated London’s diverse culture, from pubs to pirate radio.Mendes, the 19-year-old Canadian star, also won the best-song trophy for “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” to the delight of fans standing in a polite onstage mosh-pit at the city’s SSE Arena. Fittingly, he also took the prize for best fans. Singer Zara Larsson, centre, performs onstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Singer Liam Payne poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Singer Demi Lovato poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Singer Kesha poses for photographers backstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Rapper Travis Scott performs onstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Singer Rita Ora performs onstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Singer Shawn Mendes performs onstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Soccer players Mathias Pogba, from left, Paul Pogba and Florentin Pogba poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Grime artist Stormzy performs onstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP) Singer James Bay poses for photographers upon arrival at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) Singer Liam Payne poses for photographers backstage at the MTV European Music Awards 2017 in London, Sunday, Nov. 12th, 2017. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP) The show, formerly known as the MTV Europe Music Awards, opened with a clip of Eminem performing his new single “Walk on Water” in a London pub. He then emerged onstage in jeans and a black hoodie to perform the slow-burning number live, with Skylar Gray filling in on the duet duties Beyoncé performed on the recording.Eminem was also named best hip-hop artist, and proclaimed surprise.“I don’t know how I got this because I haven’t had an album out in a few years,” he said.Sunday marked the awards’ return to London for the first time since 1996, and locally bred singer Rita Ora was a suitably chipper host. Taking the stage clad in a bathrobe and towel, she kept things moving, changed outfits every few minutes and gamely joshed in video clips with the stars of pirate-radio sitcom “People Just Do Nothing.”The show featured plenty of visual dazzle, from the 50 dancers accompanying Demi Lovato on “Sorry Not Sorry” and “Tell me You Love Me” to the giant animatronic bird carrying Travis Scott onto the stage.Singer Camila Cabello, who won the best-pop prize, performed “Havana” with a troupe of dancers dressed as bathing beauties around a realistic projection of a pool. London grime artist Stormzy arrived in a police car and left in a blaze of fireworks after performing the rousing “Big For Your Boots.”Performers ranged across genres and generations, and included singer-songwriter Kesha, electronic act Clean Bandit, rapper French Montana, rockers The Killers and former One Direction heartthrob Liam Payne.Kendrick Lamar won best video for “Humble,” a lavish clip laced with religious and art-history imagery.Coldplay was named best rock act, while the best-alternative prize went to Thirty Seconds to Mars. Frontman Jared Leto thanked Europe, adding that the U.S. is a land of immigrants and “we welcome you with open arms.”British singer-songwriter Dua Lipa was named best new artist.Apart from the occasional hint of marijuana smoke wafting across the arena, there were few of the unscripted-feeling moments that made past shows stick in the memory. There was no equivalent of Kanye West crashing the stage after losing in 2006 or Miley Cyrus smoking a joint in Amsterdam in 2013.U2, who played an MTV-sponsored concert in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday, received the Global Icon award from Leto, who said “U2 changed my life.”“Their songs are prayers, their concerts a church,” he said. “They challenge us, they inspire us.”The Irish band dedicated the award to label boss Chris Blackwell of Island records, who signed them almost 40 years ago. And in a nod to a new generation of artists, Bono crooned an a capella version of Stormzy’s “Blinded by Your Grace.”The awards are held in a different European city each year, with winners selected by fans across the continent. Next year’s ceremony will be held in Bilbao, Spain.
Census bureau director Steven Dillingham, center in blue jacket, rides behind Dennis Kashatok, left, as they arrive to conduct the first enumeration of the 2020 Census Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020, in Toksook Bay, Alaska. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) 1 of 3 In this Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 image, Lizzie Chimiugak, right, gets a hug from her granddaughter Janet Lawrence at her home in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Chimiugak, who turned 90 years old on Monday, is scheduled to be the first person counted in the 2020 U.S. Census on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) In this Monday, Jan. 20, 2020 image, Lizzie Chimiugak looks on at her home in Toksook Bay, Alaska. Chimiugak, who turned 90 years old on Monday, is scheduled to be the first person counted in the 2020 U.S. Census on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull) TOKSOOK BAY, Alaska | Lizzie Chimiugak has lived for 90 years in the windswept western wilds of Alaska, born to a nomadic family who lived in mud homes and followed where the good hunting and fishing led.Her home now is an outpost on the Bering Sea, Toksook Bay, and on Tuesday she became the first person counted in the U.S. Census, taken every 10 years to apportion representation in Congress and federal money.“Elders that were before me, if they didn’t die too early, I wouldn’t have been the first person counted,” Lizzie Chimiugak said, speaking Yup’ik language of Yugtun, with family members serving as interpreters. “Right now, they’re considering me as an elder, and they’re asking me questions I’m trying my best to give answers to, or to talk about what it means to be an elder.”The decennial U.S. census has started in rural Alaska, out of tradition and necessity, ever since the U.S. purchased the territory from Russia in 1867. The ground is still frozen, which allows easier access before the spring melt makes many areas inaccessible to travel and residents scatter to subsistence hunting and fishing grounds. The mail service is spotty in rural Alaska and the internet connectivity unreliable, which makes door-to-door surveying important.The rest of the nation, including more urban areas of Alaska, begin the census in mid-March.On Tuesday, Steven Dillingham, director of the census bureau, conducted the first interview after riding on the back of a snowmobile from the airport to Chimiugak’s home.“The 2020 Census has begun,” he told reporters after conducting the first interview with Chimiugak, a process that lasted about five minutes. “Toksook Bay isn’t the easiest place to get to, and the temperature is cold. And while people are in the village, we want to make sure everyone is counted.”Dillingham was hours late getting to Toksook Bay because weather delayed his flight from the hub community of Bethel, about 115 miles (185 kilometers) away. Conditions didn’t improve, and he spent only about an hour in the community before being rushed back to the airport.After the count, a celebration took place at Nelson Island School and included the Nelson Island High School Dancers, an Alaska Native drum and dance group. Later, the community took over the commons area of the high school with a potluck of Alaska Native foods, including seal, moose and goose soups, herring roe served with seal oil and baked salmon.Robert Pitka, tribal administrator for Nunakauyak Traditional Council, hopes the takeaway message for the rest of the nation is of Yup’ik pride.“We are Yup’ik people and that the world will see that we are very strong in our culture and our traditions and that our Yup’ik language is very strong,” he said.For Chimiugak, she has concerns about climate change and what it might do to future generations of subsistence hunters and fishers in the community, and what it will do to the fish and animals. She talked about it with others at the celebration.“She’s sad about the future,” he eldest son Paul said.Chimiugak was born just after the start of the Great Depression in the middle of nowhere in western Alaska, her daughter Katie Schwartz of Springfield, Missouri, said. Lizzie was one of 10 siblings born to her parents, who lived a nomadic lifestyle and traveled with two or three other families that would migrate together, her son said.Lizzie and her 101-year-old sister from Nightmute, Alaska, survive.In 1947 Lizzie married George Chimiugak, and they eventually settled in Toksook Bay after the town was founded in 1964 by residents of nearby Nightmute. There are five surviving children.He worked maintenance at the airport. She did janitorial work at the old medical clinic and babysat.Like other wives, she cleaned fish, tanned hides and even rendered seal oil after her husband came home from fishing or hunting. Her husband died about 30 years ago.She is also a woman of strong Catholic faith, and told her son that she saved his life by praying over him after he contracted polio.For her own hobbies, she weaved baskets from grass and remains a member of the Alaska Native dance group that performed Tuesday. She dances in her wheelchair.She taught children manners and responsibility and continued the oral tradition of telling them stories with a storyknife.Chimiugak used a knife in the mud to illustrate her stories to schoolchildren. She drew figures for people or homes. At the end of the story, she’d use the knife to wipe away the pictures and start the next story with a clean slate of mud.“She’s a great teacher, you know, giving us reminders of how we’re supposed to be, taking care of subsistence and taking care of our family and respecting our parents,” her granddaughter Alice Tulik said. “That’s how she would give us advice.”AP photographer Gregory Bull contributed to this report.
A new AP-NORC poll finds 2 in 10 Americans expect a COVID-19 vaccine will be available this year.; A new AP-NORC poll finds that roughly half of Americans say they would get vaccinated for COVID-19, but many are uncertain or would refuse to do so. African Americans, Hispanics, young adults and Republicans are less likely than others to say they would get vaccinated. This May 4, 2020 photo from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection. Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a poll conducted May 14-18 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP) 1 of 3 Only about half of Americans say they would get a COVID-19 vaccine if the scientists working furiously to create one succeed, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.That’s surprisingly low considering the effort going into the global race for a vaccine against the coronavirus that has sparked a pandemic since first emerging from China late last year. But more people might eventually roll up their sleeves: The poll, released Wednesday, found 31% simply weren’t sure if they’d get vaccinated. Another 1 in 5 said they’d refuse.Health experts already worry about the whiplash if vaccine promises like President Donald Trump’s goal of a 300 million-dose stockpile by January fail. Only time and science will tell — and the new poll shows the public is indeed skeptical.“It’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.“The unexpected looms large and that’s why I think for any of these vaccines, we’re going to need a large safety database to provide the reassurance,” he added.Among Americans who say they wouldn’t get vaccinated, 7 in 10 worry about safety.“I am not an anti-vaxxer,” said Melanie Dries, 56, of Colorado Springs, Colorado. But, “to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a year or two … causes me to fear that it won’t be widely tested as to side effects.”Dr. Francis Collins, who directs the National Institutes of Health, insists safety is the top priority. The NIH is creating a master plan for testing the leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in tens of thousands of people, to prove if they really work and also if they’re safe.“I would not want people to think that we’re cutting corners because that would be a big mistake. I think this is an effort to try to achieve efficiencies, but not to sacrifice rigor,” Collins told the AP earlier this month.“Definitely the worst thing that could happen is if we rush through a vaccine that turns out to have significant side effects,” Collins added.Among those who want a vaccine, the AP-NORC poll found protecting themselves, their family and the community are the top reasons.“I’m definitely going to get it,” said Brandon Grimes, 35, of Austin, Texas. “As a father who takes care of his family, I think … it’s important for me to get vaccinated as soon as it’s available to better protect my family.”And about 7 in 10 of those who would get vaccinated say life won’t go back to normal without a vaccine. A site foreman for his family’s construction business, Grimes travels from house to house interacting with different crews, and said some of his coworkers also are looking forward to vaccination to minimize on-the-job risk.The new coronavirus is most dangerous to older adults and people of any age who have chronic health problems such as diabetes or heart disease. The poll found 67% of people 60 and older say they’d get vaccinated, compared with 40% who are younger.And death counts suggest black and Hispanic Americans are more vulnerable to COVID-19, because of unequal access to health care and other factors. Yet the poll found just 25% of African Americans and 37% of Hispanics would get a vaccine compared to 56% of whites.Among people who don’t want a vaccine, about 4 in 10 say they’re concerned about catching COVID-19 from the shot. But most of the leading vaccine candidates don’t contain the coronavirus itself, meaning they can’t cause infection.And 3 in 10 who don’t want a vaccine don’t fear getting seriously ill from the coronavirus.Over 5.5 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected by the virus, and more than 340,000 deaths have been recorded, including nearly 100,000 in the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Experts believe the true toll is significantly higher.And while most people who get COVID-19 have mild cases and recover, doctors still are discovering the coronavirus attacks in far sneakier ways than just causing pneumonia — from blood clots to heart and kidney damage to the latest scare, a life-threatening inflammatory reaction in children.Whatever the final statistics show about how often it kills, health specialists agree the new coronavirus appears deadlier than the typical flu. Yet the survey suggests a vaccine would be no more popular than the yearly flu shot.Worldwide, about a dozen COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in early stages of testing or poised to begin. British researchers are opening one of the biggest studies so far, to test an Oxford University-created shot in 10,000 people.For all the promises of the Trump administration’s ” Operation Warp Speed,” only 20% of Americans expect any vaccine to be available to the public by year’s end, the poll found. Most think sometime next year is more likely.Political divisions seen over how the country reopens the economy are reflected in desire for a vaccine, too. More than half of Democrats call a vaccine necessary for reopening, compared to about a third of Republicans. While 62% of Democrats would get the vaccine, only 43% of Republicans say the same.“There’s still a large amount of uncertainty around taking the vaccine,” said Caitlin Oppenheimer, who leads NORC’s public health research. “There is a lot of opportunity to communicate with Americans about the value and the safety of a vaccine.”___AP video journalist Federica Narancio contributed to this report.___The AP-NORC poll of 1,056 adults was conducted May 14-18 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.