Last year, Dubai offered its adult residents an incentive to lose weight: The government would match the amount of weight they lost with gold, exchanging one gram of gold for every kilogram of weight lost. Now, the country is implementing a similar program for children.
"Your Child in Gold" doubles the reward, with two grams of gold offered to families for every kilogram of weight lost by in children aged two to 14. For reference, one gram of gold is worth $41.92, Quartz notes, and one kilogram is 2.2 pounds. There are, of course, stipulations: Only two children per family can participate, and children must each lose at least two kilograms of weight to be eligible. Participants visit official weigh-in sites to track their progress, and the program will run until Sept. 15.
Last year's adult program resulted in 2.8 million dirhams, or $762,340, in payouts, so the incentive may help parents encourage healthy habits in their children. A 2012 survey in the BMC Public Health journal found that the United Arab Emirates is the world's sixth most obese nation, so the incentive may help its citizens develop healthier lifestyles. (For reference, the U.S. was the world's most obese nation, according to the survey.) According to a report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, 33.7 percent of adults in the UAE are obese.
When the program launched on July 15, roughly 15 percent of the 9,200 who enrolled did so as families. More than 25,000 people have enrolled in this year's program, while last year's enrollment was roughly 9,000.
Some nutrition experts have expressed concern with the program, however. "If a child is dramatically overweight, then two [kilograms] over the course of a month is fine," Dr. Fawad Khan, a consultant in family medicine at Al Noor Hospital, told The National. "But if the child is under four and they're losing that much weight, that might pose some health concerns." Meghan DeMaria
On Friday, President Donald Trump made a speech at CPAC in which he slammed the "fake news" media for its use of anonymous sources. "They have no sources," Trump told the crowd, referring specifically to a story in The Washington Post that cited nine unnamed sources while accurately detailing former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's discussions with a Russian ambassador. Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held an informal, off-camera press briefing from which several prominent news outlets, including The New York Times and Politico, were specifically excluded.
CNN was also barred from entering Spicer's press gaggle Friday, prompting the network's anchor Jake Tapper to begin his afternoon show with a fiery assessment of the Trump administration's relationship with the press. Tapper noted that Trump seems "particularly averse to any criticism" and that his White House seems to have a "lack of basic understanding of how an adult White House functions." "It's petulant," Tapper said. "This White House does not seem to respect the idea of accountability. This White House does not seem to value an independent press. There is a word for that line of thinking. The word is 'un-American.'"
Watch Tapper's full takedown below. Kimberly Alters
— Nolan D. McCaskill (@NolanDMcCaskill) February 24, 2017
Amid town hall protests, GOP lawmaker worries: 'I don't know if we're going to be able to repeal ObamaCare now'
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks (Ala.) is starting to doubt the GOP will actually repeal ObamaCare. After witnessing swaths of angry citizens protesting at town halls across the nation, Brooks admitted in a radio interview this week that "a significant number of congressman are being impacted ... and their spine is a little bit weak."
"I don't know if we're going to be able to repeal ObamaCare now because these folks who support ObamaCare are very active, they're putting pressure on congressmen, and there's not a countereffort to steel the spine of some of these congressmen in tossup districts around the country," Brooks told WBHP 800 Alabama radio's The Morning Show with Toni & Gary.
Brooks, who insists the "monstrosity" that is the Affordable Care Act "needs to be repealed and right now," bashed President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) for wavering on a full repeal. The Alabama congressman noted Trump's previous indication of support for parts of ObamaCare, and argued that if aspects of the ACA were retained it would be "an amendment to ObamaCare," not the promised full repeal. "Remember when Donald Trump publicly stated during the campaign that he's going to make sure everybody has health insurance?" Brooks asked. "That's ObamaCare." Becca Stanek
Republican Rep. Peter King of New York said Thursday that he is done holding town hall meetings because his angry constituents "diminish democracy," CNN reports. King, speaking on AM970 The Answer, explained: "There are people who are just angry, they're angry that Trump won, that Hillary lost. There's others who are being, I guess, egged on, if you will. So I'm assuming that they're all legitimate, but to me it just does not serve a purpose. It really diminishes democracy if you're gonna show up to a meeting to just scream and yell."
Instead of appearing in person, the Long Island representative is scheduled to hold a "tele" town hall that requires anyone interested in participating to "opt-in" online, Long Island Press reports. "I am not having these town hall meetings because to me all they do is just turn into a screaming session," King said. "What I am doing, I have done every national TV show."
King added that he is meeting with people who both support and want to repeal ObamaCare, which has proved to be one of the largest motivators for town hall dissenters. King said he will "try to explain that, when you're in front of a room and everyone is screaming and yelling [and] makes no sense, [it] really trivializes democracy." Jeva Lange
The White House blocked several major news organizations from an informal, off-camera briefing Friday in White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's office, sparking protest and outrage from the White House Correspondents' Association as well as other outlets. CNN, The New York Times, Politico, the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, and much of the foreign press were not allowed in the room, CNN's Elizabeth Landers reports, although conservative outlets including Breitbart, The Washington Times, and One America News Network were allowed to attend. Networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox were also included.
Reporters from The Associated Press and Time boycotted the press gaggle in protest of their colleagues' exclusion.
Reporters held out of today's White House briefing. pic.twitter.com/8uqelMjrtp
— Noah Bierman (@Noahbierman) February 24, 2017
In a statement, the White House Correspondents' Association wrote that the board is "protesting strongly against how today's gaggle is being handled by the White House. We encourage the organizations that were allowed in to share the material with others in the press corps who were not. The board will be discussing this further with White House staff."
Some at CNN & NYT stood w/FOX News when the Obama admin attacked us & tried 2 exclude us-a WH gaggle should be open to all credentialed orgs https://t.co/8Vjcs0KCPR
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) February 24, 2017
On Thursday, chief strategist Stephen Bannon warned at CPAC: "[The press] are corporatist globalist media that are adamantly opposed to a economic nationalist agenda like Donald Trump has. Here's where it's going to get worse. He's going to continue to press his agenda. And, as economic conditions get better, as more jobs get better, they're going to continue to fight. If you think they're going to give you their country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. Every day it is going to be a fight." Jeva Lange
Leaked draft of ObamaCare replacement bill indicates Republicans plan to reduce Medicaid spending, limit subsidies
Politico shed some light on what Republicans may have in mind for their promised ObamaCare replacement plan Friday, when it published the contents of a leaked draft of a House Republican bill:
The legislation would take down the foundation of ObamaCare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people's income, and all of the law's taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high-risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020.
The replacement would be paid for by limiting tax breaks on generous health plans people get at work — an idea that is similar to the ObamaCare "Cadillac tax" that Republicans have fought to repeal. [Politico]
Though House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has promised repeal legislation will be introduced soon, Republicans have been less vocal about how they will go about replacing the Affordable Care Act, which has provided an estimated 20 million Americans with coverage. This draft suggests the GOP is "sticking closely to previous plans floated by Ryan and [Health and Human Services Secretary Tom] Price in crafting their ObamaCare repeal package," Politico reported.
Major League Baseball returns Friday with the first spring training exhibition games of the season. The pre-season games started a week earlier than normal this year due to the World Baseball Classic, which begins next month.
Going head-to-head Friday afternoon in the Grapefruit League are the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, the New York Mets and the Boston Red Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Yankees. In the Cactus League, the Cincinnati Reds will face the San Francisco Giants, and the Tampa Bay Rays will face the Minnesota Twins later Friday. For a preview of the matchups, you can visit Sports on Earth.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) February 24, 2017
Regular season baseball kicks off on April 2, with 29 teams seeking to dethrone the reigning World Series champions, the Chicago Cubs. Jeva Lange
On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order placing "regulatory reform" task forces within federal agencies to help identify "costly and unnecessary regulations." The watchdog groups created by Trump will reportedly have 90 days to examine existing regulations and identify which "can be repealed or modified," The Hill reported.
Trump signed the order shortly after reiterating his pledge to nix "75 percent of the repetitive, horrible regulations that hurt companies [and] hurt jobs" during a speech Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. At a meeting with business executives last month, Trump suggested he might cut even more than 75 percent of existing regulations.