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How brand-name sunscreens became contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical and what the FDA is doing about it

How brand-name sunscreens became contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical and what the FDA is doing about it
The companies recently pulled several sunscreens from market shelves after independent testing had found they were contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical called benzene.
“Exposure to benzene increases the risk of developing leukemia and other blood disorders,” according to the National Cancer Institute.
CVS Health also stopped selling two of its after-sun care products due to similar findings. But other sunscreens and after-sun cosmetics, which also tested positive for the toxin, remain on the market (the full list is below).
The vast majority of tested sunscreens, however, were free of benzene, and experts stress the importance of sunscreen use to protect skin from the aging and cancerous effects of the sun.
“It is NOT a reason to stop using sun protection, which is known to prevent skin cancer. To do so would be like hearing a particular car model was recalled and then committing to never drive again,” dermatologist Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a past president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, posted on Instagram.
How did brand-name sunscreens become contaminated with benzene? Should you be concerned? And what can you do to protect yourself and your family? We’ve gathered answers to these questions and more.

Which sunscreens were recalled?

All batches, or lots, of these four Neutrogena spray sunscreens and one Aveeno spray were voluntarily recalled this week by parent company Johnson & Johnson (J&J) “out of an abundance of caution”:
  • Neutrogena® Beach Defense® aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Cool Dry Sport aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Invisible Daily™ defense aerosol
  • Neutrogena® Ultra Sheer® aerosol
  • Aveeno® Protect + Refresh aerosol
“While benzene is not an ingredient in any of our sunscreen products, it was detected in some samples of the impacted aerosol sunscreen finished products,” J&J reported in a statement. “Consumers should stop using these specific products and appropriately discard them.”
Specific lots of all recalled Neutrogena and Aveeno sunscreens can be found here, and customers can call with questions and request a refund by completing this form, or calling 1-800-458-1673.
CVS also stopped selling CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera and CVS Health After Sun Aloe Vera Spray a day after the Johnson & Johnson recall was announced.
Mike DeAngelis, senior director of CVS Health’s corporate communications, told CNN the company is “cooperating with Johnson & Johnson’s voluntary recall.”
He said that “CVS products have not been recalled,” but the company has paused sales of the two CVS products, which tested positive for benzene, “out of an abundance of caution.” CVS Health is working with the supplier of the products to “take appropriate additional steps,” he added.
However, one of the CVS products on the list of benzene-contaminated products, After-sun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel, “is still for sale,” DeAngelis said.

Why were the sunscreens recalled?

The voluntary recalls and pause in sales came after an independent lab tested 294 samples from 69 brands of sprays, lotions, gels and creams designed to protect the skin from the sun or care for the skin after sun. Of those, 78 samples tested positive for benzene.
Contamination appeared in specific batches of sunscreen, rather than a specific brand, said David Light, CEO and founder of Valisure, the independent lab that ran the tests.
“The finding of benzene in sunscreen was certainly surprising to me as a scientist and a consumer. I’m quite a heavy user of sunscreen myself; I have five kids and we all use sunscreen, so it was rather concerning to find such high levels,” Light said.
Multiple samples contained “significantly detectable benzene and some batches contained up to 3.1 times the conditionally restricted limit,” according to the citizen petition asking for action that Valisure filed with the US Food and Drug Administration.
“We petitioned the FDA to recall or to request recalls of the products that are 0.1 per million and above,” Light told CNN. “It’s obvious that we shouldn’t be taking that risk, and we just wanted it cleaned up.”
Samples of three of the recalled Neutrogena spray sunscreens — Beach Defense, Invisible Daily and Ultra Sheer — and one CVS brand — After-sun Aloe Vera Soothing Spray — had levels of benzene that were 2 parts per million or higher, according to Valisure’s tests.
Another spray, Neutrogena’s Cool Dry Sport, and CVS Health’s After-sun Aloe Vera Moisturizing Gel, tested at .01 to 2 parts per million of benzene in some samples.
Aveeno’s Protect + Refresh aerosol, which was the fifth sunscreen recalled by J&J, was not tested by Valisure.
“We did not have the chance of acquiring any of the Aveeno sprays, but it certainly sounds like Johnson & Johnson’s own internal testing confirms our overall concern with benzene in the sunscreens,” Light said.
According to J&J, daily exposure to benzene in these sunscreen products “at the levels detected in internal testing would not be expected to cause adverse health consequences.”
“There is not a safe level of benzene that can exist in sunscreen products,” said Dr. Christopher Bunick, associate professor of dermatology at Yale University, in Valisure’s press release. “Even benzene at 0.1 ppm (parts per million) in a sunscreen could expose people to excessively high nanogram amounts of benzene.”

Which products were not recalled?

Samples of Eco Formula Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, Advanced After-Sun Gel by Sun Burst, Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 by SunBurnt, Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 by Goodsense, Ultimate Sheer Sunscreen Lotion SPF 70 by TopCare Everyday, and UV Aero Broad-Spectrum Full-Body Sunscreen Spray, SPF 45 by EltaMD all tested for benzene at levels of 2 parts per million or higher.
Samples of three Banana Boat products also contained levels of benzene at those levels: Kids Max Protect & Play Sunscreen C-Spray SPF 100, UltraMist Deep Tanning Dry Oil Continuous Clear Spray SPF 4 and Ultra Sport Clear Sunscreen Spray SPF 100.
To date, CNN was not able to verify that any of these products have been recalled following Valisure’s request to that effect to the FDA.
The sunscreens tested by Valisure were only a tiny sample of the more than 11,000 registered sun care products on the market.
The Personal Care Products Council, an industry association, said its members were “firmly committed” to providing products with “ingredients that have been thoroughly tested for safety and follow the requirements of the law.”
“We are aware of the study reporting the presence of benzene in some of the sunscreen products tested,” the council said in a statement. “There is nothing more important than safety. If our consumers can’t believe in a product or rely on it to do what it says, then nothing else matters.”

What is benzene?

Benzene is a natural component of crude oil, gasoline and cigarette smoke and ranks in the top 20 chemicals used for production of “lubricants, rubbers, dyes, detergents, drugs, and pesticides,” as well as “plastics, resins, and nylon and synthetic fibers,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
At room temperature, benzene is a colorless or light yellow liquid with a sweet odor. Highly flammable, it will float on water, and while it evaporates quickly, it is heavier than air and can sink into low-lying areas, the CDC noted.
Gas emissions from volcanoes and forest fires are natural sources of benzene, but the largest sources are emissions from burning coal and oil, motor vehicle exhaust, and evaporation from gasoline service stations, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Exposure to high levels of benzene in the air can cause death, the ATSDR says, but the impacts of eating foods or drinking liquids containing lower levels of benzene are not known.
“If you spill benzene on your skin, it may cause redness and sores. Benzene in your eyes may cause general irritation and damage to your cornea,” the ATSDR said.
Cigarette smoke and off-gassing from furniture wax, detergents, glue and paint are sources of indoor exposure to benzene, according to the CDC, while outdoor air can be polluted with benzene from “gas stations, motor vehicle exhaust, and industrial emissions.”

How did benzene get into sunscreens?

No one knows for sure how the toxin ended up in sun care products. Benzene was not an ingredient in any of the sunscreens, so experts suspect contamination had to have occurred during the manufacturing process.
“There are a lot of theories,” said Scott Faber, the senior vice president of government affairs for the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit consumer health advocacy group which puts out a yearly guide to safe sunscreens.
“Benzene could be a byproduct of the process of making the chemicals that companies sell to the formulators of personal care products and sunscreens. Or it could be that some of those chemicals break down into benzene, although that seems less likely,” Faber said.
“But it’s very alarming, especially since the FDA does not require companies to test ingredients for contaminants, nor does it require testing for such chemicals at a finished product stage,” he added.

What is the FDA doing?

In response to Valisure’s petition, the FDA told CNN that it “evaluates and assesses the information provided in citizen petitions of this type and, generally, initiates an independent testing and verification process.”
“While the FDA evaluates the citizen petition submitted by Valisure, we will continue to monitor sunscreen manufacturing and marketing to help ensure the availability of safe sunscreens for U.S. consumers,” an FDA spokesperson said.

How can I tell if my sunscreen is contaminated?

Because the contamination was sporadic and likely occurred accidentally, there is no way for consumers to look at a label and choose a product without benzene, Faber said.
“Sadly, consumers are screwed. There’s no way to shop around this problem,” Faber said, adding that consumers can petition for new regulations to more thoroughly test consumer care products for toxins and contaminants.
“People can tell the FDA to require over-the-counter sunscreen product companies to test for contaminants like benzene, and people can tell Congress to pass laws to modernize cosmetics safety laws,” he said.
Valisure has committed to testing additional sun care products as they have space in their lab schedules, and it is encouraging people to send in sunscreens and sun care products they have purchased to be analyzed.
If you’re interested in having your sunscreen tested in their crowdsourcing study, the full instructions on how to package and send your product can be found here.

How can I protect my family?

Benzene is not the only concern when it comes to sunscreen. A number of sunscreens have been shown to be ineffective or contain chemicals that can enter the bloodstream and disrupt hormones. In EWG’s 2021 guide to sunscreens, they analyzed over 1,800 products and found that 75% did not provide adequate sun protection — or included ingredients linked to harm. Still, there were over 200 products that did meet their safety standards.
All of this uncertainty may leave consumers unsure of what to do, and experts worry some may forgo the use of sunscreen altogether. But, experts warned, that’s an even worse idea. Melanoma, one of the most deadly forms of skin cancer, has been on the rise globally for decades. And while survival rates are getting better, melanoma is still the fifth most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.
And of course, it’s always a great choice to use common sense practices as well to protect your skin from harmful rays. Wear shorts, shirts, pants and hats to help block dangerous rays and apply safe sunscreens to exposed skin. Wisely choose your time in the sun by avoiding the most intense rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and seek shade whenever possible.

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This post originally posted here CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire to reach suborbital flight in his own rocket-powered plane. He called it ‘the experience of a lifetime.’

Getting Richard Branson to space is a two-step process — and frankly, it’s weird.

If you know anything about quirky aerospace visionary Burt Rutan and his early involvement in Virgin Galactic, you’ll understand why.

There are no NASA-esque rocket towers or launch pads being used here.

SpaceShipTwo is a winged, rocket-powered spaceplane that takes off from an airport runway, attached beneath the conjoined wings of a mammoth mothership, called WhiteKnightTwo, which is essentially a twin-fuselage airplane. That must sound strange, and that’s because it is indeed a very strange looking setup:

The Virgin Galactic founder became the first billionaire
SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity flies in New Mexico airspace in October 2020. Virgin Galactic

The two vehicles fly conjoined up to about 50,000 feet altitude, at which point the spacecraft, with its four occupants inside, drops from its mothership. SpaceShipTwo’s single rocket motor will fire up as soon as the spacecraft detaches in order to blast the vehicle up to nearly 300,000 feet in just one minute.

If all goes according to plan, of course. Though Virgin Galactic has successfully sent a crew to the edge of outer space three times, it was forced to abort a test as recently as December of 2020, when the rocket failed to ignite.

Here’s an overview of the flight path Virgin Galactic previously shared:

SpaceShipTwo, controlled by two pilots, can house up to eight paying passengers in its cabin, offering them panoramic views of the Earth and the star-speckled expanse of the cosmos through its twelve circular windows.

The SpaceShipTwo that will be used for today’s flight is VSS Unity, the only SpaceShipTwo that has previously flown to space.

How Roblox Became a Playground for Virtual Fascists

Earlier this year, Ferguson took me to Rome. Or rather, he took me to a dusty, far-flung Roman outpost called Parthia, which, for complex reasons involving a catfish and some stolen source code, is the most Malcolm ever got around to building. My avatar materialized beyond the settlement’s walls, beside some concrete storehouses. The label “Outsider” appeared next to my username. Ferguson was pacing toward me in a cowboy hat with antlers, and I hopped over a line of wooden looms to meet him.

The area appeared deserted. On a typical day in 2014 or 2015, he explained over Discord voice chat, this was where “random children” would craft weapons and tools. He gestured toward some stone barracks in the distance. “Over there,” he said, “there would be legionaries watching the barbarians and practicing formations.” A barbarian was any player who hadn’t yet been admitted into Parthia’s rigid hierarchy. Inside the outpost, the rankings got more granular—commoner, foreigner, servant, patrician, legionary, commander, senator, magistrate.

Ferguson, whose title was aedile, was in charge of the markets and the slaves. “They’re not technically slaves,” he explained. “They’re, in a sense, submitting their free will to participate in a system where they’re told everything to do.” (W, A, S, D.) Slaves could earn their citizenship over time, either through service or by signing up to be gladiators. When a Roblox employee visited the group once, he says, Ferguson helped stage a battle between two slaves in the amphitheater.

As Ferguson and I walked the rust-­colored pathways toward Parthia’s towering gate, he described the exhaustive spreadsheets that he and others had kept about the group’s economic system, military strategy, governance policies, and citizenry. Unlike other ­Roblox role-plays of its era, Parthia stored your inventory between login sessions, which meant that whatever you crafted or mined would still be there the next time. This apparently cutting-edge development enticed some players, but what kept them logging in day after day was the culture.

Another of Malcolm’s former followers, a player I’ll call Chip, joined when he was 14. He says he liked the structured social interactions, the definite ranks, how knowable it all was. “I’ve always been the kind of gamer who prefers a serious environment,” he says. As a middle schooler in Texas, he felt like a computer missing part of its code—never quite sure “how to be normal, how to interact with people, how to not be weird.”

Parthian society was a product of Malcolm’s increasingly bigoted politics and his fierce need for control, three former members say. The outpost’s laws classified support for race-mixing, feminism, and gay people as “degeneracy.” They also required one player in the group, who is Jewish in real life, to wear “the Judea tunic or be arrested on sight.” Inside Parthia, vigiles patrolled the streets. We’d be stopped, Ferguson said, for having the wrong skin tone. (My avatar’s skin was olive.) The players voted overwhelmingly to allow Malcolm to execute whomever he wanted.

We approached Parthia’s gate, which was on the other side of a wooden bridge. Ferguson faced me and stuck his hand out. “If you’re an outsider, they’d go like this to you,” he said, blocking my avatar’s path. A bubble with the words “Outsiders not allowed” appeared above his head. The gate itself was closed, so Ferguson and I took turns double-jumping off each other’s heads to scale the wall. On the other side, I got my first glimpse inside Parthia.

Ferguson and Malcolm had talked a talented ­Roblox architect into designing it. Everything was big, big, big—columned public buildings, looming aqueducts, a mud-brown sprawl of rectangular buildings stocked with endless tiny rooms. After a brief tour, we ascended a ladder into a half-dome cupola. “If you had wealth or a name, you were standing here,” Ferguson said. “You’re supposed to be admiring yourself, your success, and looking down on the barbarians.” Romans would hang out, talk, collect social status, and, in Ferguson’s words, “smell their own farts all day.”

One of the most exclusive cliques in Parthia was the Praetorian Guard, Malcolm’s personal army. According to several former members, he sometimes asked high-ranking members to read SS manuals and listen to a far-right podcast about a school shooter. (“Simple friendly banter among friends,” Malcolm says.) Chip started an Einsatzgruppen division, a reference to the Nazis’ mobile death squads—partly because he thought it would get laughs, he says, and partly to please the caesar. In one case, memorialized on YouTube, Malcolm’s henchmen executed someone for saying they didn’t “care about” the architect’s girlfriend, Cleopatra. Chip still thinks that, for a lot of people, fascism started as a joke. “Until one day it’s not ironic to them,” he says. “One day they are arguing and fully believe what they’re saying.”

When it comes to Malcolm’s fascist leanings, Chip says, “On the stand, under oath, I would say yes, I believe he actually thought these things.” Malcolm, who says he is “just a libertarian on the books,” disagrees. “It’s always been just trolling or role-­playing,” he says. “I’m just a history buff. I don’t care for the application of any of it in a real-world setting.”

Author: Cecilia D’Anastasio
This post originally appeared on Backchannel Latest

The Katherine Cheung Story: How a Chinese American woman became a pilot in the 1930s

The Katherine Cheung Story: How a Chinese American woman became a pilot in the 1930s
LOS ANGELES — To say Katherine Sui Fun Cheung was a rarity in the 1930s is an understatement.When she became the first Chinese woman to earn her pilot’s license in the United States, she was part of the one percent of women pilots in the entire country — and, as a woman of color, she was one percent of the one percent of women pilots.

Learn more about Katherine Sui Fun Cheung’s story through the immersive 360 video embedded below:

In a time when Chinese women were expected to be meek and quiet, Katherine wasn’t a typical pilot. She was a daredevil stunt pilot who raced planes.”I don’t see any valid reason why a Chinese woman can’t be as good a pilot as anyone else … We drive automobiles — why not fly airplanes,” she once said.

Born in Enping, China, in 1904, Katherine moved to the U.S. to study music in 1921. She was inspired to take flight thanks to driving lessons with her father. After practicing in a lot next to what was known as Dycer Airfield in Los Angeles, they’d park the car and watch the planes take off and land.

Katherine eventually joined the all-women air group the Ninety-Nines, founded by Amelia Earhart. She was not simply a hobbyist pilot, but one who performed death-defying stunts like loops, barrel rolls and participated in air races.

“Barnstorming Through Barriers: The Katherine Cheung Story” is a JOVRNALISM project in collaboration with ABC-owned television stations. This immersive, student-led project was produced under the guidance of USC Professor Robert Hernandez.

Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Author: KTRK

This post originally appeared on ABC13 RSS Feed

How New Mexico Became the State With the Highest Rate of Full Vaccinations

How New Mexico Became the State With the Highest Rate of Full Vaccinations

ALBUQUERQUE — Despite having one of the highest poverty rates in the country, New Mexico is surging past states with far more resources in the race to achieve herd immunity against the coronavirus.

After New Mexico put into motion one of the most efficient vaccine rollouts in the United States, more than 57 percent of its adult population has now received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Hampshire is the only state with a higher vaccination rate. Nearly 38 percent of New Mexico adults are fully vaccinated, more than any other state.

The feat is providing some relief in a state where Hispanic and Native American residents — groups that have been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus — together account for 60 percent of the population. Going into the pandemic with a dearth of financial resources compared with richer states, and vulnerabilities like having fewer hospital beds per capita than nearly every other state, the authorities in New Mexico saw the vaccine as their most powerful weapon to stave off an even more harrowing crisis.

“It was super important for us to get it right because we are a more resource-challenged location,” said Dr. Meghan Brett, an epidemiologist at University of New Mexico Hospital.

Infectious-disease experts attribute New Mexico’s vaccine success to a combination of homegrown technological expertise, cooperation between state and local agencies and a focus by elected officials on combating the virus.

Since vaccines began rolling out in December, new cases of the coronavirus in New Mexico have plunged to fewer than 200 a day from nearly 2,000. Deaths have declined to fewer than five a day from an average of more than 35. In the state’s nursing homes and assisted-care facilities, the average number of deaths each day has fallen from 10 to fewer than one.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat and former state health secretary, set the tone of New Mexico’s pandemic response over the past year by adopting significant social distancing measures from the start of the crisis, despite fierce opposition from critics. Many of those restrictions, such as mask mandates, remain in place.

Opinion surveys have shown broad support for the governor’s actions. Protests against her policies have not been as contentious as those in other states, though they have grown into a recurring feature of New Mexico’s politics over the past year. It is common to drive past storefronts in parts of the state with signs that proclaim “No MLG.”

“She’s done a really good job at managing her optics, and that’s what politicians do these days,” said Matt Simonds, the founder of an Albuquerque distillery and brewery that went out of business after social distancing restrictions were introduced, costing 11 people their jobs. Mr. Simonds said he blamed Ms. Lujan Grisham and her administration for policies that have taken a toll on his well-being.

“I’ve gained 30 pounds in the last year because of stress eating, my blood pressure and cholesterol are nowhere where they should be and psychologically I’m not in a good place,” Mr. Simonds said.

Ms. Lujan Grisham has said that she had little choice but to move aggressively against the virus, citing vulnerabilities like New Mexico’s rapidly aging population, shortage of hospital beds and sky-high numbers of residents with underlying medical conditions, like chronic liver disease.

“New Mexico’s foundational health disparities compel us to think differently than some other states with regard to pandemic response,” Ms. Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “I fully believe New Mexico can be the first state to reach herd immunity and be the first to begin operating in the new post-pandemic ‘normal’ the right way, the safe way.”

Before vaccines began getting administered last year, Ms. Lujan Grisham mobilized the New Mexico National Guard and Civil Air Patrol, whose pandemic-related missions include operating a large vaccine distribution center in Albuquerque and staffing drive-through testing sites. From the start, the authorities have made both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available in roughly equal proportions across the state, accounting for a large majority of doses administered so far.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, on the other hand, has accounted for about 3 percent of administered doses in the state. Recent reports about six cases of extremely rare blood clots led federal officials to advise pausing distribution of that vaccine, guidance a spokesman for the state health department said New Mexico would follow, which could slow some of the state’s efforts to increase its rate.

In devising its vaccine distribution plan many months ago, the health department also turned to Real Time Solutions, a small software company in Albuquerque. While other states adopted piecemeal registration approaches, resulting in chaotic rollouts, Real Time set up a centralized vaccine portal for all residents to sign up for shots.

Big challenges persist during a pandemic, including the threat of new variants and disparities in vaccine acceptance in some communities. According to the health department, Hispanics and African-Americans in New Mexico remain less likely to get the vaccine than Anglos, as non-Hispanic whites are known in the state.

But Native Americans in New Mexico, who have endured some of the most severe rural outbreaks during the pandemic, are getting the vaccine at close to the same rate as Anglos in the state. In some instances, tribal nations have done such a thorough job of vaccinating their own citizens that they have begun administering doses to people from neighboring communities, providing another boost to New Mexico’s overall vaccination rate.

Health experts say somewhere between 70 to 90 percent of people in a society need to be vaccinated to arrive at herd immunity, a situation in which most of a population is immune to an infectious disease, providing indirect protection to those who are not immune. With less than 40 percent of its residents fully vaccinated, New Mexico still has a long road ahead to reach that point.

As vaccinations continue — the state recently made anyone 16 and older eligible — epidemiologists in New Mexico are debating whether some form of herd immunity could be achieved in the state in the coming months, and what that could look like.

“It’s still quite early to know when herd immunity in the state could potentially happen,” said Sara del Valle, a mathematical epidemiologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who is part of a team that meets weekly with the state health department.

Ms. del Valle, who said she was impressed by how public health officials took the team’s recommendations “very seriously,” nevertheless cited challenges ahead such as disparities in vaccine acceptance in parts of the state.

But, in comparing the fight against Covid-19 to the battle to eradicate smallpox, Ms. del Valle said “islands of herd immunity” in New Mexico could start emerging in places with exceptionally high vaccination rates, accompanied by “islands of outbreaks” in areas where the authorities could move swiftly to prevent the virus from spreading.

Some of the discrepancies reflect the state’s political and cultural fissures. Vaccination rates are much higher in some heavily Democratic parts of the state than in conservative bastions, like oil-rich southeast New Mexico, which leans Republican.

Tracie Collins, the state health secretary, said that the authorities were examining outreach efforts that go beyond people of color in an effort to reach communities such as white evangelicals, who are among the least likely demographic groups to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“We have strategies underway right now to make sure we’re getting out to rural areas where we have pockets of folks who may not be racial minorities, but they’re skeptical about the vaccine,” Dr. Collins said. “We’re working on messaging around that.”

Simon Romero
This article originally appeared on NYT > U.S. News

Energy billionaires became $51 billion richer from 2021 oil rally

Energy billionaires became $51 billion richer from 2021 oil rally

The world’s oil billionaires became even richer in the first quarter of 2021, adding a combined net worth of $ 51 billion to their fortunes as oil prices rallied and investor confidence in excessively punished oil stocks returned.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s richest people, US oil tycoon Harold Hamm saw his net worth jump by $ 3.3 billion year to date to stand at $ 8.4 billion as of April 2.

Shares in Continental Resources that Hamm has founded have jumped by 59% year to date. 
Also on rt.com Global banks bracing for losses amid US hedge fund collapse
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani with interests in ports, commodities, and power generation saw his net worth surge by $ 23.3 billion to $ 57.1 billion in the first quarter. This was the largest increase in a billionaire’s wealth so far this year anywhere in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

In total, the energy billionaires globally saw their combined net worth jump by around 10% in the first quarter, the highest growth in wealth of any group of billionaires in the index compiled by Bloomberg.

Investors have warmed up in recent months to the energy sector, which bore the brunt of last year’s shock of crashing oil prices and oil demand. The energy sector has been the top performer in the S&P 500 index year to date. Some exchange-traded funds (EFTs) tracking oil prices have surged since the start of 2021 as investors turned their attention to industries expected to benefit the most from the economic recovery. Energy is one of those, and analysts still see upsides for energy stocks and ETFs.
Also on rt.com ‘World has never seen this much wealth created in just one year’: China tops US as home to most dollar billionaires
Some banks, including JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, said in February that they expected a new supercycle in oil, with economies rebounding from last year’s pandemic shock.  

The International Energy Agency (IEA), however, does not see a supercycle in oil on the horizon amid plentiful supply and a large global spare capacity.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section


Elvis Presley drastically changed the song which became his first single

Elvis Presley drastically changed the song which became his first single
On March 23, 1956 Elvis Presley released his first-ever album. In the USA, it was self-titled, but in the UK it was released as Elvis Presley Rock ‘n’ Roll. The King’s debut in the charts was exceptional, heading straight to the number one spot in the UK Albums Chart, the US Billboard 200 and the US Albums Chart. Information provided by Spotify has confirmed the album’s most popular track is the King’s first-ever single – That’s All Right.
That’s All Right utilised a style of rock and roll that was not widely known about at the time of its release.

The track made history with its structure and stands as one of the first songs to ever include a guitar solo.

Before Elvis released the song, it was written and recorded by American Blues singer Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in 1946. The singer later released a version of the song called That’s All Right Mama.  

Crudup later wrote the songs My Baby Left Me and So Glad You’re Mine, both of which were also recorded by Elvis during his career.

READ MORE: Elvis Presley lashed out at ‘embarrassing’ movie scenes during filming

When Elvis took a shot at recording That’s All Right in 1954, however, he dropped “mama” from the title.

He also doubled the speed of the song to give it the Elvis rock and roll feel he became known for.

Despite Crudup being credited as the composer on That’s All Right, he never received any royalties for the song.

The songwriter waged a legal battle into the 1970s and was eventually granted an out-of-court settlement of $ 60,000 in back royalties. This payment was allegedly never paid to the writer.

In 2011 the album was given platinum status by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Although That’s All Right is one of Elvis’ most iconic songs, it does not appear in his top five most popular tracks of all time.

Spotify’s data revealed the most popular song being streamed from the King is Can’t Help Falling In Love.

The track was included on the Blue Hawaii album and was frequently used as Elvis’ final song during live gigs.

Can’t Help Falling In Love is followed by Jailhouse Rock, Suspicious Minds, Blue Christmas and Hound Dog.

Blue Hawaii came second in the most popular Elvis albums, just being beaten by Elvis’ Golden Records compilation.

Also in the top five is From Elvis In Memphis, If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The Wonder of You: Elvis Presley with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The King has accumulated more than 4 billion streams worldwide on the service, with more than 450 million coming from the UK alone.