These aren't your grandmother's vending machines. High-tech kiosks are popping up around the country in shopping malls, gas stations, and everywhere else in between, dispensing $1,000 tins of caviar, customized burritos, and dog cupcakes.
While European and Asian vending machines have long served up all sorts of interesting items (in Japan, you can purchase lettuce that has grown under artificial lighting), U.S. machines have basically just been junk food repositories. That's all changing now: Sprinkles Cupcakes is putting "Cupcake ATMs" in all 16 of their bakeries, each machine holding up to 760 cupcakes (including treats just for dogs), and the Burritobox (now only in the L.A. area) heats up customized burritos at 195 degrees Fahrenheit. "The goal is to do what they do in fast food restaurants inside a machine," creator Denis Koci told the Los Angeles Times.
— Burritobox (@Burritobox) June 24, 2014
This is just the beginning: Koci is working on Pizzaboxes, which will heat pizzas up to 800 degrees, and San Francisco–based Momentum Machines is developing a kiosk that will be able to cook custom burgers. The goal for all the companies is to get into more locations, like schools, though Kelly Stern of Beverly Hills Caviar is focusing on high-end places. In 2010, she closed her caviar shop, saying it was too much of a hassle to deal with employees. She went the self-service way, and now has three "automated boutiques" in malls around the Los Angeles area. "If we can minimize the humans in our company, then we prefer that," Stern told the Times. "When you have physical employees, you don't have a life. Ask any restaurant or supermarket business." Catherine Garcia
While President Trump has in public enthusiastically praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's Saturday announcement that he would cease nuclear and missile testing and shutter a testing site, behind closed doors, the Trump administration is reportedly unsure of how to interpret Kim's offer.
White House aides are skeptical of the freeze proposal, The Washington Post and The New York Times both reported Saturday evening. They worry Kim's concession will create an "illusion" of cooperation without making all the changes — including total denuclearization, which many experts consider to be an unrealistic aim — the administration hopes to secure in upcoming Trump-Kim talks.
"The reality is that North Korea has nuclear weapons, and we have to deal with that reality," Toby Dalton, co-director of nuclear policy at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Post. "The gap between reality and what we're planning for is problematic," he argues, "as it creates expectations that can't be met in the summit process, and we're back to where we were." Bonnie Kristian
At least 31 people were killed and more than 50 wounded by a suicide bombing at a voter registration center in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sunday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted would-be voters lining up to receive ID cards for a parliamentary election scheduled for October.
"There were women, children," said Bashir Ahmad, who was nearby when the bomb exploded. "Everyone had come to get their identity cards." This is the deadliest attack Afghanistan has suffered since January.
Afghanistan's chief executive, Abdullah Abdullah, condemned the incident on Twitter. "I stand with those affected by this coward attack," he wrote. "Our resolve for fair and transparent election will continue and terrorists won't win against the will of the Afghan people." Bonnie Kristian
A neo-Nazi march is scheduled for Saturday in the small Georgia city of Newnan, about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta. Anti-fascist counter-protesters are expected as well, and a local church will hold an interfaith service to promote "peace and unity" during the rally.
To prepare for the event, local shopkeepers have removed anything that could be moved or thrown in public spaces, and many will not open for business to decrease opportunities for conflict. Many Newnan residents went shopping the night before to help make up the missing revenue.
Residents of Newnan have come out to write messages of love in chalk on walls and sidewalks all throughout town. pic.twitter.com/EeqCqj0MgK
— Andrew Kimmel (@andrewkimmel) April 20, 2018
And a community nonprofit invited children to make chalk drawings in the local park to undermine the neo-Nazis' message: "It will be hard for the hate group to take serious video footage when a rainbow-colored unicorn is in the shot." Bonnie Kristian
An estimated 1,500 mourners turned out for the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston on Saturday.
Her widower, former President George H.W. Bush, was joined by former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura; former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle; and former President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary. First lady Melania Trump attended without President Trump — sitting presidents typically do not go to funerals of former first ladies — who tweeted about the funeral from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida:
Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the entire Bush family. In memory of First Lady Barbara Bush, there is a remembrance display located at her portrait in the Center Hall of the @WhiteHouse. pic.twitter.com/AuJ3RLZyax
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
Heading to the Southern White House to watch the Funeral Service of Barbara Bush. First Lady Melania has arrived in Houston to pay our respects. Will be a beautiful day!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2018
Queen Elizabeth turned 92 on Saturday, marking the day with several military salutes and a concert in the evening. She is the oldest British monarch by more than a decade, easily outpacing runner-up Queen Victoria, who lived to be 81.
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 21, 2018
Though April 21 is the actual day of her birth, Elizabeth officially celebrates her birthday on June 9, a tradition that dates to King George II, who wanted to celebrate with good weather in the summer instead of his real birthday month, November. The summer birthday is marked with a large parade in London.
On Thursday, Elizabeth formally endorsed her son, Prince Charles, to be the next leader of the Commonwealth. "It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949," she said. Bonnie Kristian
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) was charged Friday with felony computer data tampering for his campaign's alleged use of "data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues," a charity Greitens founded, for "a political fundraiser."
Greitens is already charged with felony invasion of privacy. He is accused of threatening a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair that he would release an intimate photo of her if she spoke about their relationship.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday directed Americans to throw away all romaine that could have been grown near Yuma, Arizona, which is believed to be the source of E. coli contamination on the lettuce. The CDC originally warned against pre-chopped romaine only, but the caution has been expanded to include hearts of romaine and full heads of the lettuce.
Some 53 people in 16 states have been affected by the outbreak. While five have suffered kidney failure from the bacteria, no deaths have been reported so far. Read the CDC's full report on the outbreak here. Bonnie Kristian