Trump Says He Still Wants Gun Background Checks After NRA Talks

President Donald Trump said he is working with Republican and Democratic lawmakers to enhance background checks for gun purchases, denying reports that he had abandoned the idea after meeting with the National Rifle Association.

“We’re working on background checks. There are things we can do,” Trump said Wednesday as he left the White House for an event in Louisville, Kentucky.

The president said he had a “great” talk with NRA Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre on Tuesday, and denied reports that he had pledged not to pursue more stringent background checks.

The debate over gun control has heated up again this month after a pair of shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed more than 30 people.

Trump has chalked up the mass shootings last weekend in part to mental illness, while also saying he believes video games are a factor, despite the same games being available in other advanced nations that experience much lower rates of gun fatalities.

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Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/trump-nra-background-checks-2/

America’s Budget Deficit Is Going to Top $1 Trillion Two Years Earlier Than Expected

The U.S. budget deficit is set to widen to $1 trillion by fiscal year 2020, two years sooner than previously estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The deficit will expand faster than thought after recent legislation that raised spending levels, according to the the non-partisan group’s annual budget outlook released Wednesday. That effect was somewhat moderated by the expectation of lower interest rates, which reduces borrowing costs.

It would be the first time the deficit exceeded the $1 trillion mark since 2012, as the economy recovered from the financial crisis. The deficit breaching that threshold would come as President Donald Trump runs for re-election.

Expanding Economy

Economic growth will expand at a 2.3% pace in the fourth quarter this year, followed by 2.1% next year, up from the agency’s prior estimate of 1.7%. After that, growth will slow to about 1.8% through to 2029, the CBO said.

“Partially offsetting the budgetary effects of new legislation are revisions to our economic forecast, which pushed down deficit projections,” said CBO Director Phillip Swagel in a statement.

Economists are increasingly warning that a recession may be on the horizon, with a key segment of the yield curve briefly inverting last week in what’s historically presaged a recession. The odds of a U.S. downturn in the next 12 months rose to 35% in Bloomberg’s August survey of economists, from 31% forecast previously.

Debt Strains

The growing U.S. debt load could add to strains on the economy, now in its longest expansion on record. It’s a troubling factor amid Trump’s ongoing trade war with China that’s delaying some investment, an increasingly gloomy consumer, and slowing global growth.

“The nation’s fiscal outlook is challenging,” Swagel said in the statement. “Federal debt, which is already high by historical standards, is on an unsustainable course, projected to rise even higher after 2029 because of the aging of the population, growth in per capita spending on health care, and rising interest costs.”

$1 Trillion Deficit

The budget deficit will widen to $1.01 trillion over the 12 months through 2020, from an expected $960 billion this year. The CBO said in January that the shortfall would come in around $890 billion next year and wouldn’t top $1 trillion until fiscal 2022.

As a share of GDP, the deficit is forecast to increase to 4.6% next year from

Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/us-budget-deficit-trillion-cbo/

Laundry Pod Exposures Are Rising for the First Time Since 2015

Since a peak of 13,112 in 2015, calls to poison control centers about children’s exposure to liquid laundry detergent packets have consistently declined. Laundry pod manufacturers, led by Procter & Gamble, have pointed to this data as proof that their six-year safety intervention for the products—which are small, brightly colored, and may be mistaken for candy—is working.

But new data show that the number of calls is rising again.

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, in the first seven months of 2019, there were 5,768 calls linked to laundry pods. That’s an increase of 347, or 6.4%, when compared to the same period in 2018—and marks the first time that the number of “exposures,” as such calls are known, has risen year-over-year during that seven-month period since 2016.

Poison control calls for the year had dropped by 2,121, or 16.3%, between 2016 and 2017, and again by 1,438, or 13.2%, between 2017 and 2018.

The recent increase suggests that safety efforts may have reached their limit in further reducing exposures. The number of calls to poison control each month in 2019 has exceeded the number of calls from its corresponding month in 2018. If that trend continues through the end of this year, and exposures follow historical monthly trends, the total amount of exposures in 2019 is likely to exceed last year’s—which would be the first time the annual count has risen from the previous year since 2015.

Most people know about the dangers of laundry pods because of the Tide Pod Challenge, a viral phenomenon that emerged in late 2017 when teenagers started posting online videos of themselves eating laundry packets. But these incidents only made up a small amount of overall exposures.

The larger hazard began back in 2012, when Tide Pods launched in the U.S. Fortune reported earlier this year on how liquid laundry packets quickly caused a public health epidemic—with all laundry detergent-related annual emergency-room visits for young children tripling between 2011 and 2013 and remaining elevated since. The overwhelming majority of incidents involve children under age 6, and there have been isolated incidents of seniors with dementia dying from exposure.

Consumer advocates and child psychologists argue that the packets, most of which are colorful and squishy, are especially attractive to young children and cognitively impaired adults—and have called on the industr

Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/tide-laundry-pods-poisoning-2019/

Love It or Hate It, Autocorrect Is Coming to Gmail

Smartphone users are about to get some company in their regular refrain of “Damn you autocorrect.” Google is adding the automatic spelling and grammar functionality to Gmail.

The artificial intelligence feature is meant to ensure people don’t inadvertently fire off notes to clients, friends or loved ones that are rife with misspelled words or using the wrong tense. But autocorrect also carries the risk of carrying a note’s meaning with its well-intentioned fixes. (Just ask your friend who sends all the texts about ducks.)

“If you’re working against deadlines to write a lot of emails daily, correct spelling and grammar probably isn’t top of mind,” the company said in a blog post. These capabilities can also help you write and edit with more confidence if you’re a non-native speaker. With our AI-first approach, you can communicate smarter and faster, without sweating the small stuff.”

Google is making the feature automatically enabled for all Gmail users. The rollout started Tuesday, but won’t be complete until Sept. 12.

Spelling and grammatical suggestions will be made inline in draft emails. Sentences with grammar errors will see a squiggly blue line, letting the user decide whether or not to change it.

Misspelled words? Those will be fixed automatically (though if Google has no idea what you’re trying to say, it will mark them with a red squiggly line). Changed words will also be marked, so you can identify and undo the correction if you want.

Don’t want autocorrect or any of the other new features? It’s easy to turn off. Just head to Settings, pick “General” and turn off the elements you don’t want.

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Read more: https://fortune.com/2019/08/21/gmail-autocorrect-spelling-grammar/

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