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6 Speed Reads: Coffee Prices Going Up?

Image: Nicaraguan workers carry sacks of freshly harvested coffee beans

Nicaraguan workers carry sacks of freshly harvested coffee beans on a plantation on the slopes of the Poas Volcano, northwest of the capital of San Jose, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007. Kent Gilbert / AP FILE

1. US to Battle Coffee Fungus in Latin America

The U.S. government is stepping in to make sure your favorite cup of joe remains affordable. Right now, a fungus called coffee rust is causing more than $1 billion in crop damage to Arabica coffee in Latin America, and that could cause the price of some of the most popular specialty coffees in America to skyrocket. On Monday the U.S. Agency for International Development is expected to announce a $5 million partnership with Texas A&M to try to eliminate the fungus. So far, major U.S. coffee companies have avoided price hikes for these higher-end blends, but without a breakthrough in fighting the fungus, prices will inevitably rise.

2. Michael Jackson Hologram Performs at Billboard Music Awards

First, there was the hologram of Elvis on American Idol. Then, there was the one of Tupac Shakur at Coachella. But does this weekend’s Billboard Music Awards take the cake with its hologram of Michael Jackson? The virtual performance had the late singer moonwalking through a slew of pyrotechnics to the newly released song, “Slave to the Rhythm,” which is on Jackson’s posthumous “Xscape” album. A Jackson family lawyer says the costly hologram was in the works since late 2013. Nearly five years have passed since the King of Pop died of a drug overdose.

3. Google Celebrates Rubik’s Cube’s 40th Birthday

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube and to celebrate, Google put together one of its most impressive doodles yet. It’s an incredibly addictive virtual cube for you to play with. And in case you’re wondering who “Rubik” is – his first name is Ernőand he is a Hungarian sculptor and professor of architecture who invented the cube in 1974. Good luck getting work done today.

4. Baller Status: Kid’s ‘Chivalrous’ Move at Baseball Game

Austin Chaney, 10, was at the Blue Jays-Rangers game over the weekend and pulled off the smoothest con to win over a group of older women sitting behind him. Chaney was sitting right along the fence and managed to catch a ball thrown into the stands by a player. And without missing a beat, he whipped around and appeared to give ball to a pretty woman sitting behind him. She and her friends smiled, clearly taken back by his generosity. But the eagle-eyed announcer noticed something fishy: Chaney was holding on to another ball the whole time and he swapped it before handing the girl what she thought was a freshly caught prize. Smooth.

5. World’s Oldest Cat Eats KFC

Poppy, the British kitty from across the pond, set a world record on Monday by becoming the world’s oldest cat. At 24-years-old, Poppy mainly eats canned food and biscuits, but sometimes indulges in a few treats, such as KFC chicken, kebab meat, and fish and chips, according to her owner, Jacqui Corner. Corner says she believes a “good diet” and “lots of exercise” are tied to Poppy’s longevity. This cat has lived through five prime ministers -- and now that’s she’s a senior citizen, she spends her life just like any other cat: relaxing and lying around. Happy birthday, Poppy!

6. Time-Lapse Video Shows Supercell Storm Brewing in Wyoming

YouTube channel BasehuntersChasing caught this brilliant time lapse video of a spinning supercell storm in eastern Wyoming Sunday evening. Skip ahead to 40 seconds to see the wrath of Mother Nature. Oh, and don’t try this at home.