Stats of our lives
April 30, 2013

Percentage of U.S.-born kids with one allergic disease

Percentage of foreign-born kids with one allergic disease

Years of living in the U.S. that caused foreign-born kids to have significantly higher odds of developing allergies Lauren Hansen

Paris Climate Summit
6:31 a.m. ET

A global climate change summit opened at a heavily guarded airport convention center outside Paris on Monday, with roughly 151 world leaders gathered to try and hammer out an agreement for 196 countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions. "Never before has a responsibility so great been in the hands of so few," said United Nations climate chief Christina Figueres in her opening remarks. "The world is looking to you."

Before the summit opened, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met and emphasized the important role their countries need to play in curbing climate change. "Nowhere has our coordination been more necessary and more fruitful", Obama said. "As the two largest carbon emitters, we have both determined that it is our responsibility to take action." You can watch Obama and Xi arrive at the summit below.

About 180 nations have already submitted their own plans to curb or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but some big disagreements remain. The biggest, The Associated Press says, is over how much developing nations will be expected to participate in cutting carbon emissions, and how to determine which countries are still "developing" — India, China, and Qatar (the world's richest nation, per capita) were classified as developing in the 1997 Kyoto climate change agreement. The U.S. and Europe insist that all nations pull their weight this time around, while India is pushing another two-tier system. Fights are also expected over how much aid poorer countries will receive to adopt clean energy sources, and what compensation, if any, small island nations will get if their land disappears due to rising sea levels. Peter Weber

5:21 a.m. ET

Tom Brady and the New England Patriots started Sunday night's game in Denver with an undefeated 10-0 record for the season. After the Patriots blew a 14-point lead and Broncos' running back C.J. Anderson ran 48 yards for a touchdown in overtime, New England walked away with a 30-24 loss on a wild, blustery, snowy night of pro football. The Pats played some great ball — forcing overtime, for example, by pushing down the field with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter to set up a 47-yard field goal by Stephen Gostowski. But Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler and Denver's running game carried the game, boosting their record to 9-2. Watch the final drive here, or in the video below. Peter Weber

History Lesson
4:17 a.m. ET

There's a growing bipartisan push to reform America's "War on Drugs" and the harsh prison sentences that came with it. When proponents of criminal justice reform want to highlight the problems with the mass incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders, they often focus on people caught selling marijuana. But Retro Report points out that the War on Drugs — declared by President Richard Nixon and given its punitive jail terms by New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R) — was spurred by a less socially acceptable drug, heroin.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, heroin addiction and the accompanying rash of thefts was widely seen as a problem of inner-city black and Latino men, and the short version of the 14-minute Retro Report video might go something like this: Now that a new spike in heroin addictions is recognized as primarily afflicting young white people in the suburbs, lawmakers are focusing more on treatment and less on locking the problem away. The video is much more nuanced, of course: We learn that Nixon's plan initially called for treating addicts, for example, and that Hollywood played a big role in drumming up fear of heroin users and burying Washington, D.C.'s successful methadone treatment experiment. People learn from past mistakes.

If you watch the video, you'll meet John Dunne, an original sponsor of Rockefeller's harsh drug laws who has since become a leading critic; Kurt Schmoke, the former Baltimore mayor who introduced needle exchanges; and Rebecca Hogamier, an official at the Washington County, Maryland, health department who started a program to treat jailed heroin users with a drug called Vivitrol. You won't really hear from anyone who thinks the War on Drugs has succeeded, but you'll probably get a better understanding of how the U.S. got here, and why this new heroin epidemic may be handled more humanely. Peter Weber

Climate change
2:37 a.m. ET

You may have heard that China is the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, the gas blamed for much of the human contribution to climate change. India is not far behind. If you are not in China or India and this makes you feel a bit smug, The Economist wants you to get a better grasp of the situation, especially if you live in the U.S. or Europe. The first issue is that China and India have much larger populations than the U.S. and Europe — so per capita carbon consumption is still much higher in the West — but that's only the tip of the (melting) iceberg.

In a series of charts, The Economist explains why understanding these issues matters, and why world leaders are feeling the urgency to act as they gather in Paris this week to try and forge a new global climate change pact. If India and China reach the European level of carbon consumption, "the Earth is in trouble," The Economist says. "If they get anywhere near the American level, the planet is toast." Watch the show video below. Peter Weber

2:15 a.m. ET

More than 30 college students headed back to school after Thanksgiving weekend were injured Sunday night when the charter bus they were on overturned on a Virginia highway.

In a statement, Virginia State Police said there were 50 passengers and the driver on board the bus when the crash took place, and 33 were taken to area hospitals; one person had life-threatening injuries, ABC News reports. The students were picked up at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and were headed to the first stop at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; the passengers were all returning to the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Radford University.

Police say the bus driver "lost control" on a highway ramp, and has been charged with reckless driving. Investigators are gathering evidence from the scene, and the bus operator, Abbott Trailways, says it is "working with police to determine what happened." Catherine Garcia

1:42 a.m. ET

It's official: Nothing in this world — not even a glittery hair tie — is safe.

Audree Kopp of Louisville, Kentucky, never thought twice about leaving a hair band around her wrist. About two weeks ago, Kopp noticed she had a bump on the back of her wrist, and when it didn't go away, she went to the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics. That didn't help, and finally, as the bump grew and became redder, Kopp went to the hospital. There, she found out she needed to have emergency surgery. "Thank God I caught it in time, or I could have had sepsis," she told WLKY.

Dr. Amit Gupta says Kopp's abscess was most likely caused by bacteria from the hair tie that got under her skin through pores and hair follicles. "Be careful, you can't put all these hair ties around the wrist, particularly because it can cause problems with the skin, it can cause infection," Gupta said. Kopp, who at first believed she had been bitten by a spider, ended up with three different types of infections, and she's vowed to never again wear a hair tie around her wrist. "It could have been a whole different ballgame," Kopp told WLKY. "Once it gets into your bloodstream, people have been known to go into a coma, your body shuts down. It could have been way worse." Catherine Garcia

Fatal errors
1:36 a.m. ET

A homeowner in Huron, California, knew something was wrong when he heard the screaming, he told Fresno County law enforcement. The unidentified homeowner called 911 on Saturday afternoon after lighting a fire in his fireplace, then quickly tried to put out the fire once he figured out the screaming was coming from the fireplace and smoke started pouring into the house. Sheriff's deputies and firefighters had to break open the chimney to get the suspected robber out, but he was dead by the time they reached him.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office spokesman Tony Botti said Sunday night that the coroner has identified the man in the chimney as Cody Caldwell, 19, and his cause of death was smoke inhalation and burns. Lt. Brandon Pursell of the county sheriff's office said that investigators believe that Caldwell tried to break into the house late on Friday night, then spent hours trapped in the chimney.

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