North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has reportedly traveled on his secret, bullet-proof train to China, even as former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visits the country to secure the release of a jailed American. The visit stoked speculation in the South Korean media that Kim may have been seeking the support of his country’s closest and most powerful ally for his heir-apparent son, Kim Jong-un.
Two new brands have been added to the sprawling, nationwide egg recall that has sickened thousands with Salmonella. Wright County Egg, the company that produced the majority of the recalled eggs, announced that new brand, Cardenas Market eggs, had been contaminated as well. Trafficanda egg ranch is also recalling certain eggs. Meanwhile, fresh eggs from the farms responsible for the recall were still being processed and sold to consumers as of Thursday morning.
The number of out-of-work Americans making new claims for jobless benefits fell last week by more than expected, declining by 31,000 from the previous week to a total of 473,000. The decline was good news and cheered some traders on the stock market, but others point out that the overall number remains high, and isn’t likely to boost confidence among Americans in the economic recovery.
No need to wrap that copy of Playboy in a brown paper bag this month. Lydia Davis’ new translation of Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary” is excerpted in the September issue, on stands now. Playboy founder and resident literary critic Hugh Heffner weighed in on Twitter with this succinct assessment: “A great read.” The Penguin edition is slated to drop on September 23.
The FDA has begun the process to approve “frankenfish,” or genetically modified salmon (above), for public consumption. Eric Hallerman, head of the wildlife sciences department at Virginia Tech University, told the L.A. Times earlier this month, “This is the threshold case. If it’s approved, there will be others.”