Also in the news this Tuesday: what Jeffrey Epstein's famous friends knew and the continuing court battle over Obamacare.
Legal weed for adults may lower teens' odds of smoking it
New research suggests legalizing recreational marijuana for U.S. adults in some states may have slightly reduced teens' odds of using pot.
One reason may be that it's harder and costlier for teens to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries than from dealers, said lead author Mark Anderson, a health economist at Montana State University.
The researchers analyzed national youth health and behavior surveys from 1993 through 2017 that included questions about marijuana use. Responses from 1.4 million high school students were included.
Thirty-three states have passed medical marijuana laws and 11 have legalized recreational use — generally for ages 21 and up, many during the study years. The researchers looked at overall changes nationwide, but not at individual states.
There was no change linked with medical marijuana legislation but odds of teen use declined almost 10% after recreational marijuana laws were enacted.
The study was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.
Previous research has found no effect on teen use from medical marijuana laws, and conflicting results from recreational marijuana laws. The new results echo a study showing a decline in teen use after sales of recreational pot began in 2014 in Washington state.
The results "should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up. This is an important piece when weighing the costs and benefits of legalization," Anderson said.
But Linda Richter, director of policy research and analysis at the nonprofit Center on Addiction, questioned the new findings. The center is a drug use prevention and treatment advocacy group.
"It sort of defies logic to argue that more liberal recreational marijuana laws somehow help to dissuade young people from using the drug," Richter said.
Other studies have found that, in states where use is legal, fewer teens think it is risky or harmful than the national average, she said. And teens in those states still have access to marijuana.
Principal reassigned after expressing doubt of Holocaust as 'factual' event
The principal at a Florida high school is being reassigned to a position with the school district after revelations that he wrote emails to a parent that seemed to cast doubt on the historical veracity of the Holocaust.
"It is out of an abundance of concern and respect for the students and staff of Spanish River Community High School that School District Administration has decided to reassign Principal William Latson effective immediately," the School District of Palm Beach County wrote in a statement.
In April 2018, a parent contacted William Latson, the principal at Spanish River Community High School in Boca Raton, with a question about how the school handles the Holocaust in its curriculum.
"I can't say the Holocaust is a factual, historical event because I am not in a position to do so as a school district employee," Latson responded, according to the school district.
The Palm Beach Post published the excerpts from the emails on Friday after obtaining them via an open records request.
According to the paper, Latson went on to write, "Not everyone believes the Holocaust happened. And you have your thoughts, but we are a public school and not all of our parents have the same beliefs."
However, the school district said Latson's email wasn't just "offensive," it was totally out of step with its education efforts, adding that the system is and always has been "working diligently to be a leader in mandatory Holocaust education for students in grades K-12."
"The District's curriculum is based on historical fact," the statement added.
CNN has tried to contact Latson and the district for further comment.
In a statement to the Palm Beach Post, Latson said, "I regret that the verbiage that I used when responding to an email message from a parent, one year ago, did not accurately reflect my professional and personal commitment to educating all students about the atrocities of the Holocaust."
The school district said it "counseled" Latson "about the choices he made in responding" to the parent's emails and instructed him to "further expand" his school's Holocaust curriculum.
Latson traveled to Washington to visit the US Holocaust Museum and learn more about the mass genocide perpetrated by the Nazi regime that took the lives of 6 million Jews in Europe.
Ceremonies across the world mark the Holocaust in Day of Remembrance
Ceremonies across the world are remembering the victims of the Holocaust with ceremonies and marches. In Washington, D.C., a Days of Remembrance Ceremony was held at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. In Poland, people gathered at the former German Nazi Death Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. And, in Jerusalem, Israelis stopped all activity to stand in a moment of silence.
Man accused of killing teen for listening to rap music
An Arizona man accused of fatally stabbing a 17-year-old in the throat at a convenience store told police he felt threatened because the teen had been listening to rap music.
The incident occurred in Peoria, Arizona, near Phoenix, early Thursday.
Witnesses told police that the man, who's been identified as Michael Paul Adams, 27, walked up behind the teen, grabbed him and stabbed him in the neck, according to a probable cause statement obtained by CNN affiliate KPHO/KTVK.
Family members said the teen, Elijah Al-Amin, had gotten off of work about 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday and had spent some time with his girlfriend before stopping at the store.
Police said a witness was trying to help Al-Amin by applying pressure to his neck when they arrived at 1:42 a.m. Police and fire personnel provided medical care and he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:05 a.m.
The witnesses told police that Al-Amin hadn't done or said anything to provoke the attack. One said Adams didn't say anything to the teen before stabbing him.
Police stopped Adams as he walked away from the store. He had blood on his left forearm, hand and foot, and officers found a pocket knife on him. He was taken into custody without incident.
Adams had been released from prison July 2, according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.
Adams told a detective that he stabbed Al-Amin in the back and cut his throat, according to the statement.
He said Al-Amin didn't do anything threatening but that the youth had been listening to rap music in his car in the parking lot, according to the statement.
"Adams stated rap music makes him feel unsafe, because in the past he has been attacked by people (Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American) who listen to rap music. Adams further stated, people who listen to rap music are a threat to him and the community," the report said.
He told police that he felt threatened by the music, not by Al-Amin. Adams is white, and Al-Amin was black, white and Latino.
Adams has been charged with first-degree premeditated murder and is being held at the Maricopa County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Jacie Cotterell, who represented Adams at an initial court appearance but is no longer his attorney, said Adams has a history of mental illness, according to KPHO/KTVK.
The teen's mother, Serina Rhides, said her son would have turned 18 on July 28 and was going to start his senior year in high school. He held two jobs at Subway and Taco Bell and was hoping to find a third.
Battle over 'Obamacare' back in court, again
Nearly a decade after President Barack Obama signed the legislation, and after it twice survived challenges at the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act faces a momentous test in a New Orleans courtroom this week.
Millions of Americans, including those with cancer, diabetes and other chronic conditions, cannot be denied coverage because of the ACA's sweeping insurance regulations. With this fresh case, destined to climax at the Supreme Court yet again, the stakes for the continued existence of the ACA are as high as ever.
The case, to be heard Tuesday by a three-judge appeals court panel, was initiated by Texas and other Republican-led states. Joined now fully by the Department of Justice, they want the ACA declared unconstitutional. At an earlier stage of this litigation, the Trump administration had said only certain parts of the law, tied to the individual insurance requirement, should be struck down.
The drama on this round is intensified by the overarching clash between the Republican administration of Trump, who has tried in vain to win repeal of the ACA, and the now Democratic-led House of Representatives, which has intervened to try to keep the law in the place. The administration wants the judiciary to do what it could not win legislatively: eliminate the entire 2010 law.
Ultimate resolution of the case would affect the cost and quality of health care in America. At the same time, amid rising conflicts among branches of government, the case of Texas v. United States tests lines of power between Congress and the courts.
US District Court Judge Reed O'Connor, whose decision declaring the ACA unconstitutional is before the 5th Circuit, brushed aside arguments of Congress' intentions when it passed the ACA in 2010 and amended it in 2017. He also dismissed the traditional view that judges should respect parts of a challenged law not deemed unconstitutional.
Many of the health-care industry and legal advocates who were ringside at previous ACA disputes, for and against, have joined the current fight with "friend of the court" filings to the New Orleans-based circuit.
The crux of arguments from the Trump administration and from Texas and other Republican-led states that began the case is: When the Supreme Court upheld the individual insurance mandate, the ACA linchpin, in 2012, the justices relied on Congress' taxing power. When Congress in 2017 reduced the tax penalty (for those who lacked insurance) to zero, the individual mandate could no longer be deemed constitutional. And, the challengers conclude, because the individual mandate is intertwined with a multitude of ACA provisions, its invalidity sinks the whole law.
Defenders of the ACA, which include California and other Democratic-run states, as well as the House of Representatives, counter that Congress' 2017 action affected only the amount of the tax penalty. They say that if lawmakers wanted to repeal ACA regulations, they would have done so.
The beloved Beetle bows out
Volkswagen is halting production of the last version of its Beetle model this week at its plant in Puebla, Mexico. It's the end of the road for a vehicle that has symbolized many things over a history spanning the eight decades since 1938.
It has been: a part of Germany's darkest hours as a never-realized Nazi prestige project. A symbol of Germany's postwar economic renaissance and rising middle-class prosperity. An example of globalization, sold and recognized all over the world. An emblem of the 1960s counterculture in the United States. Above all, the car remains a landmark in design, as recognizable as the Coca-Cola bottle.
The car's original design — a rounded silhouette with seating for four or five, nearly vertical windshield and the air-cooled engine in the rear — can be traced back to Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche, who was hired to fulfill German dictator Adolf Hitler's project for a "people's car" that would spread auto ownership the way the Ford Model T had in the U.S.
Aspects of the car bore similarities to the Tatra T97, made in Czechoslovakia in 1937, and to sketches by Hungarian engineer Bela Barenyi published in 1934. Mass production of what was called the KdF-Wagen, based on the acronym of the Nazi labor organization under whose auspices it was to be sold, was cancelled due to World War II.
Re-launched as a civilian carmaker under supervision of the British occupation authorities, the Volkswagen factory was transferred in 1949 to the Germany government and the state of Lower Saxony, which still owns part of the company. By 1955, the one millionth Beetle - officially called the Type 1 - had rolled off the assembly line in what was now the town of Wolfsburg.
The United States became Volkswagen's most important single foreign market, peaking at 563,522 cars in 1968, or 40% of production. Unconventional, sometimes humorous advertising from agency Doyle Dane Bernbach urged car buyers to "Think small."
"Unlike in West Germany, where its low price, quality and durability stood for a new postwar normality, in the United States the Beetle's characteristics lent it a profoundly unconventional air in a car culture dominated by size and showmanship," wrote Bernhard Rieger in his 2013 history, "The People's Car."
Production at Wolfsburg ended in 1978 as newer front drive models like the Golf took over. But the Beetle wasn't dead yet. Production went on in Mexico from 1967 until 2003 — longer than the car had been made in Germany.
The New Beetle — a completely new retro version build on a modified Golf platform — resurrected some of the old Beetle's cute, unconventional aura in 1998 under CEO Ferdinand Piech, Ferdinand Porsche's grandson. The last of 5,961 Final Edition versions is headed for a museum after ceremonies in Puebla on July 10 to mark the end of production.
Questions swirl over what Jeffrey Epstein's famous friends knew
Jeffrey Epstein has hobnobbed with some of the world's most powerful people during his jet-setting life. Future President Donald Trump called him a "terrific guy." Former President Bill Clinton praised his intellect and philanthropic efforts and was a frequent flyer aboard his private jet.
The arrest of the billionaire financier on child sex trafficking charges is raising questions about how much his high-powered associates knew about the hedge fund manager's interactions with underage girls, and whether they turned a blind eye to potentially illegal conduct.
It's also putting new scrutiny on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who, as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, was involved in a 2008 secret plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges.
The White House did not respond to repeated questions Monday about when Trump was last in contact with Epstein or if he had witnessed Epstein engage in illegal activity with underage girls.
In his most extensive known public comments about Epstein, Trump told New York magazine in 2002 that he'd known the financier for 15 years and praised him as a "terrific guy."
"He's a lot of fun to be with," Trump was quoted as saying. "It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life."
Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten has since distanced Trump from Epstein, telling Politico in 2017 that Trump "had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct."
Epstein was also an associate of Clinton's, repeatedly lending the former president his jet to travel overseas. Flight logs obtained by Fox News showed the former president took at least 26 trips aboard Epstein's Boeing 727, nicknamed the "Lolita Express," from 2001 to 2003. That "included extended junkets around the world with Epstein and fellow passengers identified on manifests by their initials or first names, including 'Tatiana,'" the outlet found.
"Jeffrey is both a highly successful financier and a committed philanthropist with a keen sense of global markets and an in-depth knowledge of twenty-first-century science," Clinton told New York magazine though a spokesman for that same 2002 story. "I especially appreciated his insights and generosity during the recent trip to Africa to work on democratization, empowering the poor, citizen service, and combating HIV/AIDS."
Clinton spokesman Angel Ureña said the former president "knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York." He said that, in 2002 and 2003, Clinton took four trips on Epstein's plane with multiple stops and that staff and his Secret Service detail traveled on every leg.
"He's not spoken to Epstein in well over a decade, and has never been to Little St. James Island, Epstein's ranch in New Mexico, or his residence in Florida," Ureña added.
Also back in the spotlight is Acosta, Trump's labor secretary, due to his role in the deal that ended an earlier investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls. The deal allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges and a possible life sentence. Instead, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges and served 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed to leave for work during the day.
"I want real justice for these underage survivors - and Acosta to finally answer for his weak plea agreement," tweeted Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was among a number of congressional Democrats who had asked the Justice Department to reopen the case.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went further, tweeting Monday night that Acosta should resign from Trump's Cabinet. "As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice," Pelosi wrote.