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The world is beginning to approach death differently

Southwest Pakistani Christians carrying a casket
Pakistani Christians carry the coffins of community members who were killed by a gunman. Photo: Banaras Khan/AFP via Getty Images

The death industry was a $16 billion business in 2017, but society is changing the way it thinks about loved ones' funerals as people have begun to seek out non-traditional and cheaper processes to lay them to rest, reports the Economist.

A sign of the times: More than half of all Americans are now cremated — up from just 4% in 1960 — and that number is expected to rise to 79% by 2035. Other religious European countries have begun to trend away from burials as well, but they still have much farther to go: Italy, which buried nearly all of its dead in 1995, buries 77% today.

Mike Pompeo’s first foreign trip

Mike Pompeo
CIA Director Mike Pompeo testifies on worldwide threats. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

If he is confirmed as Secretary of State tomorrow, Mike Pompeo will embark on his first foreign trip as secretary to Brussels for the NATO Summit, Axios has learned. Bloomberg first reported the contingency planning for the potential trip.

The details: “The acting secretary John Sullivan is ready to go to the NATO summit in Brussels Thursday,” a senior administration official told Axios. “The secretary-designate Mike Pompeo is prepared to travel to the meeting of foreign ministers to reaffirm our commitment to NATO and coordinate the alliance’s response to Russian aggression.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the latest developments.

Haley Britzky 6 hours ago
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Cohen is pleading the Fifth in Stormy Daniels case

Michael Cohen walking next to photographers.
Michael Cohen. Photo: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Michael Cohen is excersising his Fifth Amendment rights regarding his role in the payoff of former porn star Stormy Daniels, according to court papers he filed on Wednesday, CNN reports.

What they're saying: Cohen wrote in the filing that "[b]ased upon the advice of counsel, I will assert my 5th amendment rights in connection with all proceedings in this case due to the ongoing criminal investigation by the FBI and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York." Trump has previously said, "If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?"