Your Must-See News Headlines for Today, October 30

The vaping company Juul is accused of knowingly selling one million contaminated pods, according to a former executive who says he was fired for raising the alarm.

An Extreme Red Flag warning is in effect for parts of California as the wildfires continue to threaten communities.

And one Game of Thrones prequel is getting the go-ahead while a second bites the dust.

Here’s what you need to know in the daily roundup.


TOP STORY: Former Juul Executive Says Company Knowingly Shipped Contaminated Pods

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The American electronic cigarette company Juul is accused of sending contaminated vaping pods to retailers. The accusation was made by former Juul senior vice president Siddharth Breja. He claims in a federal lawsuit that he was fired in March 2019 after raising concerns about the tainted product.

According to the lawsuit, filed in California District Court, Breja says that executives were aware that a batch of mint e-liquid had been contaminated. The e-liquid was used in about one million pods. Breja said he pushed for issuing either a recall or, at the very least, a safety notice to consumers. Breja says that during the March meeting, chief financial officer Tim Danaher argued that recalling Juul products would hurt the company’s value.

Breja also alleges in the lawsuit that he received pushback from top executives after he proposed putting “best by” dates on the Juul products. He said that Juul was known to sell vaping pods that were up to a year old. He says that when he brought this up, then-CEO Kevin Burns responded, “half our customers are drunk and vaping like mo-fos, who the f*ck is going to notice the quality of our pods?”

This lawsuit comes as the Centers for Disease Control works to figure out what caused severe lung injuries in more than 1,600 people nationwide. At least 34 people have died in the outbreak. There was no evidence in Breja’s lawsuit that suggests that the contaminated pods were linked to lung illnesses.

The CDC also notes on its website that the “latest national and state findings suggest products containing THC, particularly those obtained off the street or from other informal sources (e.g. friends, family members, illicit dealers), are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak.”


WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Strongest Winds of the Season Fuel California Wildfires

getty fire

Only the shell of a house remains after it was completely burned in the Getty Fire on October 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Forecasters are keeping a close eye on the wind gusts as wildfires continue to rage in California. The National Weather Service has issued the first-ever “extreme Red Flag warning” for Los Angeles and Ventura counties. The alert lasts through late Thursday afternoon.

The Los Angeles Fire Department is warning communities to remain on alert while the Red Flag warning remains in effect. Officials say that wind gusts may peak “up to 70 mph throughout the Santa Monica mountains.” Severely low humidity levels elevate the threat, “meaning that conditions are as dangerous for fire growth and behavior as we have seen in recent history.”

Officials also say that the Getty Fire in southern California was sparked accidentally. A tree branch fell on a power line near the 405 Freeway, according to dashcam video from the area. The fire spread to more than 600 acres in less than 12 hours, forcing thousands of people from their homes.

kincade fire

Firefighters look on as a structure burns during the Kincade fire off Highway 128, east of Healdsburg, California on October 29, 2019.

In northern California, the Kincade Fire has burned through more than 76,000 acres. For perspective, the total area is about twice the size of San Francisco. The fire has destroyed nearly 200 structures, including at least 86 homes. Dozens of schools have been closed for the entire week because of the continuing danger and due to planned power outages.

Tens of thousands of people remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Officials say they are confident they’ll be able to contain the Kincade Fire by November 7. A Red Flag warning is also in effect for parts of northern California and was expected to expire by this afternoon.


WHAT’S BUZZING THAT HAS EVERYONE TALKING: HBO Cancels One ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Series But Picks Up a Second

Two Game of Thrones prequel shows have been in the works since the popular series came to a conclusion. But only one of those projects is getting the green light from HBO.

HBO has reportedly canceled a series that would have taken place about 5,000 years earlier than the original show, and chronicle the “world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” The project was a collaboration between showrunner Jane Goldman and author George R.R. Martin. Naomi Watts had signed on as one of the stars. But after shooting a pilot episode in northern Ireland, HBO decided against going forward with the show.

However, another prequel series focused on the Targaryen family will proceed, with the title House of the Dragon. George R.R. Martin is once again involved with this project, which is based on his book “Fire & Blood.” Fans will get a chance to see the Targaryen Civil War play out a few hundred years before the age of Ned Stark, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.


DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP

IMDBJohn Witherspoon

  • Actor and comedian John Witherspoon, best known for starring as Mr. Jones in the Friday movie series, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 77.
  • At least three people were killed and several others injured in a shooting in Long Beach, California.
  • Amazon has made grocery delivery free for Prime members.
  • A couple’s wedding photo amidst the California wildfires goes viral.
  • Rick and Morty will be streaming on HBO Max when the service launches in May but isn’t leaving Hulu.

CHECK THIS OUT

Video: Tourists film rare moment a great white shark swims UPSIDE DOWNVideo: Tourists film rare moment a great white shark swims UPSIDE DOWN 'Is that normal?' Tourists film rare moment a great white shark swims UPSIDE DOWN while on a cage diving trip.2019-10-27T03:54:58.000Z

Ever seen a shark lounging on its back? Neither had anyone else. A great white shark entertained tourists in southern Australia earlier this month and video of the encounter has been going viral.

The diving company Calypso Star Charters first shared the video to Facebook and noted that a shark swimming upside down was an incredibly rare sight. “Check out this amazing footage filmed on a trip earlier this month of this very curious female shark showing off swimming on her back! We do not see them do this very often at all, in fact it was the first time Captain Dave had seen it himself!”

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