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Super Bowl Budweiser ad highlights water donations for disaster zones

(CNN Money) — Anheuser-Busch is focusing on canned water instead of Clydesdales during this year’s Super Bowl, with ads that highlight Budweiser’s humanitarian causes.

The company’s centerpiece Super Bowl spot is a one-minute commercial that shows workers at a Budweiser plant making canned water instead of its “America” labeled beer cans. The ad lingers over footage of clear water instead of beer rushing through pipes and ends with a tractor-trailer trucking a load of canned water to a disaster zone, to the tune of “Stand By Me.”

“Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, California, wherever you need us,” says the ad, listing locations that have been hit by disasters including hurricanes, wildfires, mudslides and floods.

A spokeswoman for the company said the purpose of the ad is “to spotlight our employees, who together over the past 30 years have helped provide over 79 million cans of clean drinking water in response to natural disasters.”

This isn’t the first time the company has run Super Bowl ads that reflect current events. Last year, the company spotlighted its co-founder Adolphus Busch arriving in the U.S. from Germany in a sympathetic depiction of immigrants. The ad shows Busch, a 19th-century immigrant, arriving in America with plans to brew beer, as jeering locals demand that he “Go back home!”

Related: Budweiser falls off list of America’s three favorite beers

Anheuser-Busch is running four minutes worth of different commercials during the televised football showdown between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots on Feb. 4. In addition to Budweiser, the ads will focus on its other brands Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and Stella Artois.

The company would not tell CNNMoney how much it’s paying for the air time, but the broadcaster NBC is charging more than $5 million for 30-second spots this year.

For decades, Anheuser-Busch has been one of the most prolific advertisers during the Super Bowl, and has made a point of featuring its iconic Clydesdales nearly every year. But this year, the Clydesdales will not be making an appearance in a TV ad during the game. Instead, the horses will appear in advertisements on “social channels,” according to a company spokeswoman.

The company has had some bad news lately, as Budweiser slipped from the top three list of America’s favorite beers, and Anheuser-Busch dealt with slumping sales last year.

Saturday’s system could bring us first few inches of snow since December

Yes, snow is on the way for the weekend. While this doesn’t appear to be a big one with respect to shoveling/plowing, it will have an impact on travel.

Two cold fronts will come through before this system on Saturday. The first Wednesday afternoon will produce quite a few clouds. The second brings in Canadian air. On Saturday, an area of low pressure will produce precipitation with the cold air producing widespread snowfall across the Upper Midwest.

Early indications put this in the 1-3 inch range but the travel impacts will really be felt Saturday night as a gusty northerly wind develops. This could even produce near white-out conditions in open, rural locations. That’s something to think about if you have travel plans for Saturday evening.

Much colder temperatures are on the way beginning Sunday with highs only in the teens. Lows below zero are likely Sunday night.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen

These are the 10 costliest hurricanes in U.S. history – 3 are from 2017

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The year 2017 was the costliest ever for weather and climate disasters in the United States, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration announced Monday, totaling $306 billion. The previous record year, 2005, saw $215 billion in disasters.

Three storms, Harvey, Irma and Maria all landed in the top five on NOAA’s updated list of the costliest U.S. tropical cyclones, released last week.

Highlighted by a string of hurricanes that pounded the southeastern U.S. coast in August and September, as well as devastating wildfires that torched large swaths of Northern and Southern California, 2017 saw 16 weather events that each topped a billion dollars in damage.

This ties 2011 for the most billion-dollar weather events to occur in a single year, but their extreme nature and the breadth of disaster types really set last year apart.

“In 2017, we have seen the rare combination of high disaster frequency, disaster cost and diversity of weather and climate extreme events,” said Adam Smith, lead researcher at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

“The U.S. has endured billion-dollar impacts from six of the seven disaster categories we track,” he said: drought, flood, freeze, severe storm, tropical cyclone, wildfire and winter storm. There hasn’t been a year when all seven disaster categories have seen a billion-dollar disaster.

2017 lacked only a billion-dollar winter storm — though we almost certainly had one in the first week of 2018 with the major nor’easter termed a “bomb cyclone.”

A hurricane season for the record books

Hurricanes are the costliest weather events, responsible for about half of the total losses among all U.S. billion-dollar disasters despite accounting for less than 20% of the total events since 1980.

This certainly proved true in 2017, when the U.S. and the Caribbean islands endured back-to-back-to-back devastating hurricanes — all of them now ranking among the top five costliest disasters — which were the main drivers behind the year becoming the costliest on record.

Here are the top ten costliest U.S. hurricanes (adjusted for inflation):

This aerial view shows a church damaged by hurricane Rita in Beaumont, Texas, 25 September 2005. Hurricane Rita pounded the US Gulf Coast, leaving widespread damage and more than one million people without power, but failed to deliver the feared repeat of hurricane Katrina’s devastation four weeks ago. (HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

10. Rita (2005)

  • $23,680,000,000
  • Southwest Louisiana, North Texas

Judy Caseley retrieves photographs from a friend’s trailer that were damaged when Hurricane Wilma hit earlier in the morning October 24, 2005 in Chokoloskee, Florida. Wilma slammed into the South Florida coastline as a strong Category 3 hurricane. Caseley’s neighbor left in a hurry, leaving behind a lifetime of memories that Caseley felt she had to salvage. (Photo by Carlo Allegri/Getty Images)

9. Wilma (2005)

  • $24,320,000,000
  • South Florida

U.S. President George W. Bush walks with Orange Beach, Alabama, Mayor Steve Russo, past a destroyed condos on the Alabama beachfront as he visits the area, consoling victims, 19 September 2004, from Hurricane Ivan, the third hurricane to hit the larger area in the past month. Ivan’s devastating 12-day rampage that left at least 108 dead in the United States and the Caribbean. (PAUL J.RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

8. Ivan (2004)

  • $27,060,000,000
  • Alabama, Northwest Florida

In this handout provided by the U.S. Air Force, an Air Force Reserve pararescueman from the 920th Rescue Wing scans the landscape of Nederland, Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, 13 September 2008. Deployed with aircrews and aircraft from Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., the pararescuemen rescued 17 people Sept. 13 from the small Texas town. (Photo by Paul Flipse/US Air Force via Getty Images)

7. Ike (2008)

  • $34,800,000,000
  • Texas, Louisiana

A group of people sift 28 August 1992 through the rubble of a house that was directly in the path of a 26 August tornado spawned by Hurricane Andrew. Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards has estimated property damage from the hurricane from 70 to 100 million US dollars, and at least 200 million US dollars in damage to the sugar crop. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Andrew (1992)

  • $47,790,000,000
  • Southeast Florida, Louisiana

Destroyed trailers wait to be cleaned up at the Sunshine Key RV Resort where residents are still not allowed on September 16, 2017 in Marathon, Florida. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported that 25 percent of all homes in the Florida Keys were destroyed and 65 percent sustained major damage when they took a direct hit from Hurricane Irma. (Photo by Angel Valentin/Getty Images)

5. Irma (2017)

  • $50,000,000,000
  • Florida

Cars piled on top of each other at the entrance to a garage on South Willliam Street in Lower Manhattan October 31, 2012 in New York as the city begins to clean up after Hurricane Sandy. (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

4. Sandy (2012)

  • $70,200,000,000
  • Mid-Atlantic & Northeast

Members of the U.S. Army 1st Special Forces Command deliver boxes of M.R.E’s and water up a makeshift ladder to people that were cut off after the bridge collapsed when Hurricane Maria swept through the island on October 5, 2017 in Utuado, Puerto Rico. The neighborhood was cut off from help for about 2 weeks after the category 4 hurricane, passed through. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

3. Maria (2017)

  • $90,000,000,000
  • Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Residents evacuate by boat on September 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the city. Harvey was the first Category 4 storm to make landfall in the US since Hurricane Charley in 2004, unleashing record rainfall that quickly flooded the city. (Getty)

2. Harvey (2017)

  • $125,000,000,000
  • Texas, Louisiana

Flood waters from Hurricane Katrina cover a cemetery 30 August, 2005 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (POOL/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Katrina (2005)

  • $160,000,000,000
  • Southeast Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi

For the complete list, see the NOAA report.

CNN contributed to this article.

Man hospitalized after being struck by train in central Iowa

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a man was hospitalized after being struck by a train in central Iowa.

The Des Moines Register reports that the man was on foot when he was struck around 2:30 p.m. Monday, January 29th near an overpass in the Story County city of Nevada, which is located about 180 miles west of the Quad Cities.

He was taken to a Des Moines hospital and is expected to survive his injuries.

The man’s name hasn’t been released.

A post on the Nevada Police Department’s Facebook page indicated that crews closed the tracks “for an emergency.”

Authorities: Rare synthetic drugs found in central Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Authorities say two rare synthetic drugs that could be fatal have been found in central Illinois.

The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that local law enforcement has seized flubromazolam, with the street name of “liquid Xanax,” and etizolam. They’re both found in synthetic drug and legal to possess.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse says they fall into benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative used to treat anxiety or insomnia.

Montgomery County Undersheriff Rick Robbins says it’s likely the drugs were purchased online and sold by a local dealer and were found added to candies and sugar cubes.

Dr. Michael Wahl is the Illinois Poison Center’s medical director and says flubromazolam are etizolam are not approved for human use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because they are dangerous.

Child experts: Just say ‘no’ to Facebook’s kids app

BOSTON (AP) — Child development experts and advocates are urging Facebook to pull the plug on its new messaging app aimed at kids.

A group letter sent Tuesday to CEO Mark Zuckerberg argues that younger children — the app is intended for those under 13 — aren’t ready to have social media accounts, navigate the complexities of online relationships or protect their own privacy.

Facebook launched the free Messenger Kids app in December, pitching it as a way for children to chat with family members and parent-approved friends. It doesn’t give kids separate Facebook or Messenger accounts. Rather, the app works as an extension of a parent’s account, and parents get controls such as the ability to decide who their kids can chat with.

The social media giant has said it fills “a need for a messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want.”

“TARGETING YOUNGER CHILDREN”

But a group of 100 experts, advocates and parenting organizations is contesting those claims. Led by the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the group includes psychiatrists, pediatricians, educators and the children’s music singer Raffi Cavoukian.

“Messenger Kids is not responding to a need – it is creating one,” the letter states. “It appeals primarily to children who otherwise would not have their own social media accounts.” Another passage criticized Facebook for “targeting younger children with a new product.”

In a statement, Facebook said on Monday that the app “helps parents and children to chat in a safer way,” and emphasized that parents are “always in control” of their kids’ activity. The social media giant added that it consulted with parenting experts and families, and said “there is no advertising in Messenger Kids.”

KIDS AND FACEBOOK

A variety of experts and technology insiders have begun questioning the effects smartphones and social media apps are having on people’s health and mental well-being — whether kids, teens or adults. Sean Parker, Facebook’s first president, said late last yearthat the social media platform exploits “vulnerability in human psychology” to addict users. A chorus of other early employees and investors piled on with similar criticisms.

Many preteens have already found their way onto Facebook and more youth-oriented social media platforms such as Snapchat and Facebook’s own Instagram, despite internal rules that require users to be at least 13 years old. Those rules are based in part on federal law, which prohibits internet companies from collecting personal information on children without their parents’ permission and imposes restrictions on advertising to them.

Some companies have offered parental controls as a way of curbing unauthorized preteen use of their platforms. But Facebook’s new kid-focused app, which features animations and emojis, seems to cater to a younger audience, said Josh Golin, executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

“It looks like something that would appeal to a 6-year-old or 7-year-old,” he said.

UNCERTAIN IMPACT

Facebook wouldn’t answer questions about said how popular the messaging app has been. But App Annie, an app analytics firm, said Messenger Kids has been downloaded about 80,000 times on iOS since it launched on Dec. 4. It’s been in the top 40 most popular kids’ apps since then. That sounds like a lukewarm reception at best.

University of Michigan developmental behavioral pediatrician Jenny Radesky, who co-signed the letter, said she’s never met a parent who was clamoring to get their children onto social media at an earlier age.

“One can only assume that Facebook introduced it to engage users younger and younger,” Radesky said.

That’s troubling, she said, because younger children haven’t yet developed the cognitive skills that enable them to think about and regulate their thoughts and actions and “allow them to realize when persuasive technology design might be manipulating them.”

At the time it launched Messenger Kids, Facebook said it won’t show ads or collect data for marketing to kids. And it stressed that it won’t automatically move users to the regular Messenger or Facebook when they get old enough — though it might give them the option to move contacts to Messenger down the line.

Tide Pods locked up at some California Walmart stores

MODESTO, Calif. -The viral Tide Pod Challenge is likely the reason behind some Walmart stores locking up the product behind glass to prevent people from stealing them.

The Tide Laundry Pods kept behind a thick wall of glass, under lock and key, according to KTXL.

“I don't know what people are thinking, man, that’s kind of crazy, you know. It’s like comparing it to alcohol,” said University of the Pacific student John Kim. 

The extra security is to ward off would-be thieves, according to a Walmart spokesperson.

“It’s kind of ridiculous that they have to lock it up,” said UOP student Sang Vo. 

In Modesto and Stockton laundry pods that used to be easily accessible are no more.

Walmart spokesperson Charles Crowson gave KTXL this statement:

No retailer is immune to the challenge of crime and Walmart is no exception. The decision about which items are subject to additional in-store security is made on data gathered at the store level and often at the discretion of the store manager.

While Walmart would not say if the Tide Pod Challenge affected the decision, UOP students KTXL spoke to believe the viral trend may have had an impact.

“I mean, I mostly thought it was just a joke, so it’d be like Tide Pods in a pan and then someone would say ‘dinnertime,’” Isabel Mangaong said. 

The challenge dares people to bite into the soap on camera.

The nation's poison control center reports in this month alone, more than 130 teenagers have purposefully bitten into the pods compared with just 53 people last year.

“It’s like you want to follow everybody else, nobody else does their own thing or follow what they think is right?” Celena Walker said. 

“I think it’s very dangerous,” said Dr. Mai Le with Dignity Health Medical Group in Stockton. 

Le says the trend has dire consequences.

“Not have enough oxygen, you can have pulmonary edema and end up with stop breathing ,and you can die from that part,” Le said. 

So while it might seem funny, even entertaining, students say keep the pods in your laundry and away from your dinner plate.

“No, not Tide pods, no. You put them in your wash, every time you wash," Celena Walker said. 

Poison control says if you accidentally or intentionally ingest the pods, please call their hotline number right away at 1-800-222-1222 or text POISON to 79797

Teacher recorded telling student military members are ‘the lowest of our low’

PICO RIVERA, Calif. - A teacher and city council member in Pico Rivera, California is causing a lot of controversy after he was heard in a student’s video making disparaging comments towards members of the military, according to KTLA.

Victor Quinonez, a senior at El Rancho High School, recorded video of his U.S. government teacher Gregory Salcido ranting about the military and insulting service members' intelligence. The diatribe was apparently prompted in part by Quinonez' wearing a U.S. Marines sweatshirt.

"You better not freaking go," Salcido says in one of the videos. "Don't wear that in here."

A Connecticut woman who is a friend of the family posted the videos on Facebook on Jan. 26, and one of them has been viewed more than 6 million times as of Monday afternoon. The friend, Kimberlie Flauto, made the videos public and asked for help making them go "viral."

On Monday, Victor Quinonez told KTLA he recorded the videos because he was tired of hearing disparaging remarks about the military from the teacher. The eldest of five siblings, Quinonez is now worried about how his sophomore brother will be treated at school.

"I'm worried about the safety of my brothers right now, I'm not so worried about myself," Victor Quinonez said. "My brother had nothing to do with this. I don't understand why students have to go bringing my brother into this and bringing my other family members into this."

Standing alongside his 17-year-old son Monday, Quinonez' father Vincent expressed ire about the classroom comments made by Salcido, who is also a Pico Rivera city councilman.

"It's not ... about freedom of speech. That's fine, he can say what he wants, but to say it to the youth is wrong. To bully my son is wrong, to discriminate against people who want to be in the military is wrong," said Vincent Quinonez.

Victor Quinonez in an interview on Jan. 29, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

Vincent is a 39-year-old Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan, and two other family members have served in the military as well, relatives said.

Quinonez' mother, Karen Rodriguez, told KTLA she was keeping her son home from school Monday because he has received threats since the video was posted. She said Salcido made her son stand in front of the class to justify why he wants to become a Marine after graduating this year.

Rodriguez thinks Salcido should no longer be allowed to teach.

"I don't think that somebody with that mentality – and not being able to refrain themselves from the things that they express about – should be ... in a school environment," Rodriguez said.

In the video, which Quinonez surreptitiously recorded while the camera was mostly pointed at his shirt, Salcido repeatedly called U.S. service members "dumbsh--s."

"Think about the people who you know who are over there – your freaking stupid Uncle Louie or whatever – they're dumbsh--s. They're not like high-level thinkers, they're not academic people, they're not intellectual people; they're the freaking lowest of our low. ... They're not talented people."

He also used racist stereotypes of people in Vietnam and the Middle East, belittling the American military for failing to "beat" them.

"If you join the military, it's because you have no other options," Salcido said.

He also told students not to join the military.

Salcido was in New York City when the video was posted, the Los Angeles Times reported. He posted on his Facebook page: "I turned my phone back on to unexpectedly see a storm. I don’t think it’s wise for me to make any specific comments, but I want my friends, family, and students to know we are fine and we respect the rights of free expression for all individuals."

When contacted by the Times, he declined to comment about the video "because of the many vulgar and violent threats against my family ."

The school board said it is investigating, and Salcido's fellow City Council members have expressed dismay.

The council on Monday issued a statement, signed by the mayor and three other council members, saying they "unequivocally disagree" with Salcido's comments.

"The City Council and residents of Pico Rivera are steadfast in the recognition that the contributions by those who have served or are currently serving our country via military service are respected and we are grateful for their service," the statement read. "The City of Pico Rivera was founded upon the principles, values and sacrifices of many of our veterans who when called upon by our nation served with great pride and honor. Those men and women who have proudly served in our nation’s armed forces have proven time and again that personal sacrifice in the face of injustice and tyranny can literally change the world for the better."

El Rancho Unified School District board President Aurora R. Villon told the Times that Salcido's comments did not reflect the city's values.

"It's so traditional and so rooted in strong family values," Villon said.

Salcido, 49, was placed on administrative leave in 2012 after a parent said he smacked her 15-year-old son on the back in class. Salcido told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune he did so not with intent to harm the boy but to wake him up.

And Salcido was suspended in summer 2010 after a parent alleged the teacher threatened his daughter during a summer school class and made inappropriate comments about race, the Tribune reported.

The  Quinonez family was expected to meet with school officials Monday in hope of ensuring the safety of Victor and his siblings.

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