McDonald's to axe chocolate milk, cheeseburgers off its Happy Meal to cut down on kids eating rubbish

McDonald's is taking cheeseburgers and chocolate milk off its Happy Meal menu in an effort to cut down on the calories, sodium, saturated fat and sugar that kids consume at its restaurants.

Diners can still ask specifically for cheeseburgers or chocolate milk with the kid's meal, but the fast-food company said that not listing them will reduce how often they're ordered.

Since it removed soda from the Happy Meal menu four years ago, orders for it with Happy Meals have fallen 14 percent, the company said.

Hamburgers and Chicken McNuggets will remain the main entrees on the Happy Meal menu.The Happy Meal, launched nearly 40 years ago, has long been a target of health advocates and parents who link it to childhood obesity.

McDonald's has made many tweaks over the years, including cutting the size of its fries and adding fruit. Most recently, it swapped out its apple juice for one that has less sugar.

It's been especially important as the company tries to shake its junk-food image, since McDonald's is known for getting more business from families with children relative to its traditional rivals, such as Burger King and Wendy's.

McDonald's doesn't say how much revenue it makes from the $3 Happy Meal, but the company said 30 percent of all visits come from families.The latest Happy Meal changes, including new nutritional standards, will occur in the United States by June."

It's a good step in the right direction," said Margo Wootan, the vice president for nutrition at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"We would love to see many more restaurants do the same."McDonald's said Thursday that it wants all its Happy Meal options to have 600 calories or fewer and have less than 650 milligrams of sodium.

It also wants less than 10 percent of the meal's calories to come from saturated fat and the same percentage to come from added sugar.

The cheeseburger and chocolate milk didn't meet those new standards, the Oak Brook, Illinois-based company said. It is, however, working to cut sugar from the chocolate milk and believes it'll be back on the Happy Meal menu eventually - but doesn't know when that will happen.

There will be other tweaks: The six-piece chicken nugget Happy Meal will now come with a kids-sized fries instead of a small, lowering calories and sodium from the fries by half.

And bottled water will be added as an option to the Happy Meal menu, but will cost extra.

Currently, the Happy Meal menu lists milk, chocolate milk and apple juice. Soda does not cost extra.

For international restaurants, McDonald's Corp. said that at least half of the Happy Meal options available must meet its new nutritional guidelines.

The company said some are adding new menu items to comply, like in Italy, where a grilled chicken sandwich was added to the Happy Meal menu.

McDonald's Source: Associated Press

'He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot' - identities of Florida school shooting victims emerging

The identities of the victims of the deadly Florida shooting are beginning to emerge, after 17 people were killed in a US high school yesterday.

Suspected shooter 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz took an AR-15 into the school and began gunning down people. 

UK's Evening Standard reported an athletics coach and a girl and a boy were among the dead. 

It said Chris Hixon, 49, was the athletics director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said football coach Aaron Feis died protecting students. 

"He was our Assistant Football Coach and security guard. He selflessly shielded students from the shooter when he was shot. He died a hero and he will forever be in our hearts and memories," the school's football team tweeted. 

The Miami Herald reported Jamie Guttenberg among the dead, with her father posting on Facebook: "My heart is broken. Yesterday, Jennifer Bloom Guttenberg and I lost our baby girl to a violent shooting at her school. We lost our daughter and my son Jesse Guttenberg lost his sister. I am broken as I write this trying to figure out how my family gets through this."

Luke Hoyer's uncle Facebook posted: "This has devastated our family and we’re all in shock and disbelief. Our hearts are broken. Luke was a beautiful human being and greatly loved."

Gina Montalto, 14, and Nicholas Dworet, Martin Duque, 14, Alyssa Al Hadeff, 15, and 15-year-old Peter Wang, Carmen Schentrup, Joaquin Oliver 17, Alaina Petty, 14 and Cara Loughran and Meadow Pollack have been reported by the Miami Herald as victims of the fatal shooting. 


Malcolm Turnbull hammers Barnaby Joyce for 'shocking' decision to have affair with now pregnant staffer

Barnaby Joyce is under pressure from Malcolm Turnbull to quit as deputy prime minister after his "shocking" decision to have an affair with a staffer.

Mr Turnbull said the Nationals leader should "consider his position" as he takes a week off, before slamming Mr Joyce for having an affair with his now-pregnant partner Vikki Campion.

"The real issue is the terrible hurt and humiliation that Barnaby, by his conduct, has visited on his wife, Natalie and their daughters and indeed, his new partner," Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"Barnaby made a shocking error of judgment in having an affair with a young woman working in his office.

"He has set off a world of woe for those women and appalled all of us."

Mr Turnbull cannot sack his deputy because it is up to the Nationals MPs to choose their leader under the coalition agreement.

"Barnaby is the leader of the National Party, okay? They are our coalition partners. They have a coalition agreement," he said.

But Mr Turnbull said the scandal had prompted him to change the ministerial code of conduct to ban ministers from having sex with staff.

"Ministers, regardless of whether they are married or single, must not engage in sexual relations with their staff," he said.

"Doing so will constitute a breach of the standards."

Mr Joyce is living with Ms Campion and facing questions over her former political jobs, and a rent-free townhouse he was given by a friend while he sorts out his personal life.

But Mr Turnbull refused to order an investigation into the allegations.

"Those who believe he has breached ministerial standards ... should actually make the case for where the breach has occurred," he said.

After insisting all week he had confidence in Mr Joyce and saying he would be acting prime minister next week, Mr Turnbull told parliament on Thursday the Nationals leader will take leave from February 19 to 25.

Mr Turnbull, who is in Washington next week, said Finance Minister Mathias Cormann will be acting prime minister during the period, as the Liberals deputy leader Julie Bishop is overseas.

Mr Joyce's office released a statement saying he was going on leave to support his family and partner "after such intense public focus on personal matters".

Barnaby Joyce.
Barnaby Joyce. Source: 1 NEWS