WASHINGTON (AP) — Whether they want to or not, consumers will soon know how many calories they are eating when ordering off the menu at chain restaurants, picking up prepared foods at supermarkets and even eating a tub of popcorn at the movie theater.
ATLANTA (AP) — Protesters marched and rallied in Atlanta Tuesday to protest a grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri.
A large group of students walked from Morehouse College to the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, peacefully chanting, singing and waving signs. Students at nearby Clark Atlanta University, another historically black college, held a peace rally on their campus that also included students from Spelman College and Morehouse.
Several hundred people later gathered in at Underground Atlanta, a shopping area in the heart of the city. They listened to speakers who urged them to put pressure on the justice system and waved signs with slogans including, "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Killer Cops."
As the evening wore one, protesters formed a chain and with hands up blocked cars from downtown onto Interstate 75/85. Television footage showed police trying to pull some away but they were persistent. Eventually all got off the interstate. The gathering was billed as #shutitdownatl on posters.
An hour or so later, protesters had made their way to Peachtree Street and filled the street. Some people were led away in police vans.
The protests came on the heels of demonstrations by thousands of people in several U.S. cities late Monday to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer who on Aug. 9 killed Michael Brown, who was black.
Later, Atlanta protesters marched through the streets, shouting "Hands Up. Don't Shoot." It is in reference to some witnesses who said Brown's hands were raised when he was shot.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in a statement urged everyone taking part in demonstrations to do so peacefully and also urged law enforcement to use restraint and respect the protesters' right to assemble. In Ferguson, people burned buildings and looted stores after the decision was read.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bill Cosby's record of big donations to colleges and other institutions has been a key part of his rosy public image. But even his generosity can't stand apart from the rising tide of allegations made by women accusing him of sexual assault.
A North Carolina school, High Point University, removed the 77-year-old entertainer from its National Board of Advisors, a panel that includes retired Gen. Colin Powell. The university referred to Cosby as "one of the most influential performers of our time" when it announced his appointment last July.
The Berklee College of Music said in a statement Monday that it is "no longer awarding an online scholarship in Mr. Cosby's name. The college has no further comment at this time."
More telling would be a decision by an institution to publicly renounce any of the tens of millions of dollars that he and his wife, Camille, have given over the years, or rejection of a new donation. Neither has occurred.
"I don't want to belittle the implications of the accusations, but nothing has been proven and he has not been charged," said Michael Chatman, a philanthropy expert and founder of a speakers' bureau on the field. Recipients of Cosby largesse are likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude because of that, he said.
If there was to be a verdict in a criminal or civil case, "I think you would see a devastating effect in terms of his philanthropic and charitable legacy," Chatman said. It's unlikely an institution would return a donation, he said, but new recipients could be expected to carefully weigh the implications of accepting money.
There was no response from Cosby's publicist to a request for comment. His attorney, Martin Singer, has called the growing number of sexual assault allegations "unsubstantiated" and "discredited" and accused the media of vilifying the actor and comedian once known as "America's dad" for his role as a loving patriarch on the hit sitcom "The Cosby Show."
Cosby's legacy of giving is decades-old and extensive, topped by a $20 million gift to Spelman College in 1988 and including, among many other donations, $3 million to the Morehouse School of Medicine; $1 million in 2004 to the U.S. National Slavery Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia; and $2 million from Cosby's wife, Camille, to St. Frances Academy in Baltimore in 2005.
According to Internal Revenue Service filings, more than $800,000 in scholarship grants were given through the William and Camille Cosby Foundation from July 2000 to June 2013.
Earlier this month, the Cosbys loaned works from their extensive collection of African-American art to the Smithsonian Institution for an exhibit.
There have been no discussions about any changes surrounding Cosby's gift to Spelman, the woman's college in Georgia, according to Audrey Arthur, spokeswoman for Spelman. At the time, it was the largest donation ever by a black donor to a historically black college, which later established an academic center named for Camille Cosby and an endowed professorship for visiting scholars in Bill Cosby's name.
A recent report on donations to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where Cosby received his doctorate, indicates Bill and Camille Cosby have given the school between $250,000 and $499,999. Cosby also did a benefit performance in 2004 that raised $1.5 million for Amherst, and last year was named an honorary co-chair of the school's $300 million fundraising campaign.
Cosby's status with the campaign has not changed, the university said.
Temple University said Bill Cosby remains a trustee of the Philadelphia institution, a position he's held since 1982. He's considered its most famous alum and has often spoken at commencement, drawing huge cheers.
A Temple spokesman confirmed the campus has no buildings named for Cosby but does offer a $3,000 science scholarship named for Cosby and his wife. He declined further comment on Cosby's philanthropy.
In 2006, Cosby settled a lawsuit filed by a former Temple employee who alleged he drugged and fondled her at his suburban Philadelphia mansion. Cosby was represented by Patrick O'Connor, chairman of Temple's board of trustees.
AP Writer Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia and AP Television Writer David Bauder and AP researcher Judy Ausuebel in New York contributed to this report.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Just in time for the holidays, Google is throwing its money, brain power and technology at the humble spoon.
Of course these spoons (don't call them spoogles) are a bit more than your basic utensil: Using hundreds of algorithms, they allow people with essential tremors and Parkinson's Disease to eat without spilling.
The technology senses how a hand is shaking and makes instant adjustments to stay balanced. In clinical trials, the Liftware spoons reduced shaking of the spoon bowl by an average of 76 percent.
"We want to help people in their daily lives today and hopefully increase understanding of disease in the long run," said Google spokesperson Katelin Jabbari.
Other adaptive devices have been developed to help people with tremors — rocker knives, weighted utensils, pen grips. But until now, experts say, technology has not been used in this way.
"It's totally novel," said UC San Francisco Medical Center neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem who specializes in movement disorders like Parkinson's disease and essential tremors.
She helped advise the inventors, and says the device has been a remarkable asset for some of her patients.
"I have some patients who couldn't eat independently, they had to be fed, and now they can eat on their own," she said. "It doesn't cure the disease, they still have tremor, but it's a very positive change."
Google got into the no-shake utensil business in September, acquiring a small, National of Institutes of Health-funded startup called Lift Labs for an undisclosed sum.
More than 10 million people worldwide, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin's mother, have essential tremors or Parkinson's disease. Brin has said he also has a mutation associated with higher rates of the Parkinson's and has donated more than $50 million to research for a cure, although Jabbari said the Lift Labs acquisition was not related.
Lift Lab founder Anupam Pathak said moving from a small, four-person startup in San Francisco to the vast Google campus in Mountain View has freed him up to be more creative as he explores how to apply the technology even more broadly.
His team works at the search giant's division called Google(x) Life Sciences, which is also developing a smart contact lens that measures glucose levels in tears for diabetics and is researching how nanoparticles in blood might help detect diseases.
Joining Google has been motivating, said Pathak, but his focus remains on people who are now able to eat independently with his device. "If you build something with your hands and it has that sort of an impact, it's the greatest feeling ever," he said. "As an engineer who likes to build things, that's the most validating thing that can happen."
Pathak said they also hope to add sensors to the spoons to help medical researchers and providers better understand, measure and alleviate tremors.
Shirin Vala, 65, of Oakland, has had an essential tremor for about a decade. She was at her monthly Essential Tremor group at a San Ramon medical clinic earlier this year when researchers developing the device introduced the idea and asked if anyone was interested in helping them.
As it was refined, she tried it out and gave them feedback. And when they hit the market at $295 apiece, she bought one.
Without the spoon, Vala said eating was really a challenge because her hands trembled so hard food fell off the utensils before she could eat it.
"I was shaking and I had a hard time to keep the food on a spoon, especially soup or something like an olive or tomatoes or something. It is very embarrassing. It's very frustrating," she said.
The spoon definitely improved her situation. "I was surprised that I held the food in there so much better. It makes eating much easier, especially if I'm out at a restaurant," she said.
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning at a particularly tough time for U.S. foreign and defense policy, with one war ending, another just beginning and the Pentagon struggling with the prospect of deeper budget cuts ahead.
It also raises the prospect of policy shifts as President Barack Obama seeks to sign up his fourth Pentagon chief in six years.
During a White House ceremony Monday after Hagel had submitted his resignation, Obama said he and Hagel agreed it was an "appropriate time for him to complete his service." Neither the president nor Hagel cited specific reasons for the change. Hagel aides said he had initiated private talks with the president in late October but was not leaving over policy conflicts.
Hagel, 68, never broke through the White House's notoriously insular national security team. Officials privately denigrated his ability to publicly communicate administration policy and more recently questioned his capacity to oversee new military campaigns against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Hagel is the first high-level member of Obama's national security team to step down after both a disastrous midterm election for the president's party and persistent criticism about the administration's policies in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. It's unclear whether Hagel's forced resignation signals the start of a broader shake-up of the president's team.
Obama said Hagel agreed to stay on the job until his successor has been confirmed by the Senate next year.
The timing sets up a potential confirmation fight. Republicans, who are about to take control of the Senate, have been deeply critical of the president's foreign policy.
Among leading contenders to replace Hagel is Michele Flournoy, a Democrat who served as the Pentagon's policy chief from 2009-12 and, after leaving, provided foreign policy advice to Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. Flournoy, who would be the first woman to head the Pentagon, is now chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security, a think tank she co-founded.
Flournoy is said to be interested in the top Pentagon job, but seeking assurances from the White House that she would be given greater latitude in policymaking than Hagel.
Also mentioned as a possible successor is Ashton Carter, who served as deputy defense secretary from 2011-13.
With Hagel's ouster, Obama will be the first president since Harry Truman to have four defense secretaries. Hagel's predecessors, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, complained after leaving the administration about White House micromanagement and political interference in policy decisions.
Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, suggested Obama consider his own role in his administration's foreign policy struggles rather than seeking another makeover at the Pentagon.
"When the president goes through three secretaries, he should ask, 'Is it them, or is it me?'" said McKeon, R-Calif.
In some ways, the more mild-mannered Hagel was seen by the White House as a Pentagon chief who would be less likely than Gates and Panetta to pitch policy fights with the West Wing.
Some foreign policy experts noted the irony in the White House ousting a defense secretary who largely played the role the president appeared to have been seeking. Others saw Hagel as slightly out of step with the White House.
"The focus has now shifted from budget cuts and (troop) withdrawals to new military action, especially in Syria and Iraq, and in the full course of that, he often hasn't seemed to be on the same page with the White House," said Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science at George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs.
Hagel's aides assert he is leaving at an appropriate juncture, after having brought to fruition this year several major reviews of problem areas for the Pentagon — most recently a plan for top-to-bottom changes in management of the nuclear force. He also took on reforms to the military justice system and to the military health system.
But the national security landscape looks far different than when Hagel was brought in to oversee the drawdown of the Afghanistan war and navigate the Pentagon through budget cuts. White House officials suggested the shift in emphasis was behind the need for a change in leadership.
The political skills Hagel showed as a two-term senator from Nebraska never fully translated to the Pentagon job, which is a complex mix of politics, public diplomacy, defense planning and management of a far-flung bureaucracy.
At times Hagel struggled to publicly articulate his views and the nuances of administration policy. Although he often visited military bases, he seemed reluctant to use his Vietnam combat experience as a way to connect. He was the first enlisted combat veteran to serve as Pentagon chief.
Hagel joined the Army at age 21. After completing training, he volunteered to fight in Vietnam even though the Army intended to send him to Germany as part of a classified project involving a new shoulder-fired missile.
"All my friends thought I was out of my mind" to insist on Vietnam, he said in a 2002 interview with a Library of Congress veterans history project. "Nonetheless, I just felt it was the right thing to do. A war was going on. They needed their best people, and I didn't want to be in Germany when there was a war going on in Vietnam."
Associated Press writers Donna Cassata and Nedra Pickler and AP Radio correspondent Sagar Meghani contributed to this report.