Who should shoulder the blame for fueling the opioid addiction epidemic in the United States? Jury selection began today in the federal trial that could make that decision.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has the internet buzzing with propaganda photos of him on horseback.
And Grease is getting a second act with a spinoff television series.
Here’s what you need to know in the daily roundup.
TOP STORY: Jury Selection Began Today In a Massive Federal Trial Over Who Is to Blame for the Opioid Crisis
Who is to blame for the nationwide opioid addiction crisis and who should pay the billions of dollars needed to fix it? A jury of 12 people will help to make that decision in a northern Ohio federal courtroom. Jury selection began today in the consolidated case known as the National Prescription Opiate Litigation.
Simply put, the defendants in the federal lawsuit are accused of fueling the opioid epidemic by promoting addictive drugs in order to make large profits for themselves, without concern for the wellbeing of patients. Major pharmaceutical companies such as Cardinal Health, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen are named in the case as well as individual doctors and pharmacies. The full list of defendants can be viewed here.
The trial is taking place in the Northern District of Ohio and overseen by U.S. District Court Judge Dan Polster. Prescription and illegal opioids have been blamed for the deaths of more than 400,000 people in the U.S. since 2000.
According to surveys conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 40 percent of Americans know someone who is addicted to prescription painkillers. About 69 percent of respondents feel that doctors are to blame for fueling the epidemic, and 60 percent believe the drug companies played a role as well. 68 percent responded that people using the drugs share the blame as well.
WHAT’S BUZZING THAT HAS EVERYONE TALKING: A ‘Grease’ Spinoff Series Is Coming to HBO Max
Grease is getting a spinoff series. The original music hit, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, debuted in 1978 and was set in the 1950s.
WarnerMedia has revealed that a new series called Grease: Rydell High will premiere on its new streaming service HBO Max. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the show will still be set in the 1950s. Some of the characters from the original film will be included, as well as some of the original songs. A writer has not yet been chosen and it’s unclear how many episodes will be ordered for the freshman season.
The head of content at HBO Max, Sarah Aubrey, explained in a prepared statement, “This is high school and life in small-town USA told on the scale of a big rock ’n’ roll musical. It’s Grease 2.0 but with the same spirit, energy and excitement you immediately think of when you hear any of these iconic songs.”
HBO Max is scheduled to launch in the spring of 2020. The streaming service has already announced that it will include popular series such as Game of Thrones, Friends, and the Big Bang Theory along with a reboot of Gossip Girl.
OFF-BEAT: North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un Did a Photo Shoot On a Horse
Kim Jong-un may have been trying to create a viral moment similar to the one Vladimir Putin stirred when he was photographed shirtless astride a horse. The North Korean leader was fully covered as he rode a white horse at Mount Baekdu, a volcano that separates North Korea and China. As explained by the New York Times, the mountain has sentimental significance because it’s believed to be the “mythical birthplace of the Koreans.”
Jokes aside, the propaganda may serve as a message that Kim Jong-un is planning some sort of policy change. The U.S. has attempted to restart denuclearization discussions with North Korea, but the negotiations have not been successful.
The North Korean state news agency described the leader’s horseback ride this way: “Having witnessed the great moments of his thinking atop Mount Paektu, all the officials accompanying him were convinced with overflowing emotion and joy that there will be a great operation to strike the world with wonder again and make a step forward in the Korean revolution.”
DAILY NEWS ROUNDUP
- Who do you think “won” the Democratic debate last night? Vote here.
- A Dutch family has been rescued after living in a farmhouse basement for 9 years to await the “end of times.”
- A man was sentenced to 15 years in prison for cocaine possession, but the substance turned out to be powdered milk.
- Grandfather Shay Bradley planned a prank on his family by pre-recording a hilarious message that was played during his funeral.
- Actress Gina Rodriguez has apologized for posting a video during which she dropped the n-word while singing along to the Fugees song “Ready or Not.”
CHECK THIS OUT
The last known Tasmanian tiger died in captivity in 1936 and the species was considered to be extinct. But officials in Tasmania say that over the past three years, several witnessed have reported seeing animals that resemble the tiger out in the wild. You can read those detailed reports in full here.
The Tasmanian tiger was killed in large numbers by humans, reportedly because they may have hunted farm animals. The animal’s official name is the “Thylacine.” The Australian Museum describes the animal as a “large carnivorous marsupial” that was primarily nocturnal. Its head was considered similar to that of a dog or wolf. Females had a back pouch that was used to carry their babies.
The museum reports that the Tasmanian tiger was once “widespread over continental Australia, extending north to New Guinea and south to Tasmania. In recent times it was confined to Tasmania where its presence has not been established conclusively for more than seventy years.”
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