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U.S. alleges Russian operatives sought to undermine U.S. election agency

U.S. prosecutors have accused Russian operatives of seeking to interfere with a federal agency charged with policing American elections, as part of their case relating to interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential contest, saying the group aimed to interfere with a ban on some election spending by foreign nationals.
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Andrew Yang joins CNN as political commentator
The former candidate joins a stable of presidential also-rans at CNN.
politico.com
Lark Voorhies 'a bit slighted and hurt' by 'Saved by the Bell' reunion snub
Lark Voorhies has shared how she is feeling about not being invited to participate in "Saved by the Bell" reunion events.
edition.cnn.com
Watch the New Trailer for There’s Something in the Water, Ellen Page and Ian Daniel’s Documentary About Environmental Racism in Canada
And meet the women who have dedicated their lives to fighting it
time.com
What the coronavirus could mean for airline emissions
Poll: Climate not top priority — California's water whispers
politico.com
Review: Oscar steps into artist Joe Sola's sly Hollywood hall of mirrors
The naked swordsman depicted in the Academy Award gets a digital once-over as Narcissus in new Joe Sola work on view.
latimes.com
What to watch in tonight's debate
Trump could give sensitive medical data to Silicon Valley — Voters remain focused on health costs
politico.com
Allegations of misogynistic and sexist comments loom over Michael Bloomberg's first 2020 debate
When Michael Bloomberg takes the 2020 debate stage for the first time Wednesday night, allegations of sexist and misogynistic behavior will loom over the former New York City Mayor.
edition.cnn.com
Tech giants set to win lobbying battle on open data
Exodus from HHS’s CTO office — Tech pitches in to combat coronavirus
politico.com
Florida vs. the Feds on timber aid
USDA vs. Congress on drones — China offers ag tariff waivers amid outbreak
politico.com
WGC-Mexico Championship picks: Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood and more
Because of the more compacted PGA Tour schedule, players have to pick their spots to play and take some events off. Several notables have taken a pass on the World Golf Championship event in Mexico City, including Brooks Koepka (No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking), Patrick Cantlay (No. 6), Tiger Woods (No. 9),...
nypost.com
Bloomberg’s debate stage debut
DOJ puts Section 230 under the microscope — Europe unveils trio of digital policy proposals
politico.com
TIME Announces Expansion Plans and Speaker Lineup for the 2020 TIME 100 Summit
(New York, NY) — TIME will expand its TIME 100 Summit, the live event extension of the annual TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world, to a two-day event in 2020. The second annual event, to be held on April 21 and April 22, will convene the TIME 100 community and…
time.com
Charles Yu knows the world isn't black and white
Steph Cha shares a meal and some notes on performing identity with the "Interior Chinatown" author
latimes.com
Billions in cuts coming to pay for bigger Navy, memo says
Coast Guard commandant talks budget ups and downs — State Department reining in Chinese media
politico.com
Tesla hacking heightens auto industry's cybersecurity worries
DOT’s role in NYC's congestion pricing push — Risk reduction rule finalized for freight railroads
politico.com
Bloomberg pitches 'justice centers' at HBCUs ahead of first debate
Pence plans visit to Hampton University today — Nonprofit mounts new legal challenge to DeVos' 'borrow defense' rule
politico.com
'Medicare for All' splits unions ahead of Democratic primary
Kickstarter employees unionize — USCIS official references asylum report as 'Hunger Games'
politico.com
Should emotional support animals be allowed on a plane? Make your voice heard
The fur has been flying about whether emotional support animals should be allowed on planes. Your thoughts?
latimes.com
The 2020 Olympic threat
Cybersecurity researchers test Tesla — Health care data breaches on the rise
politico.com
Netflix: Everything coming and disappearing in March 2020 (including 'Ozark')
Ready to Netflix and chill?  Here's what's new to the streaming service ("Ozark Season 3") and what's exiting ("Marvel's Black Panther").        
usatoday.com
What's up with expensing?
Bloomberg on Wall Street — More OECD bumps
politico.com
Trump’s counterprogramming Democrats with campaign blitz
Buttigieg and Klobuchar’s existential threat — Tiffany wins GOP primary in WI-07 special
politico.com
WGC-Mexico Championship: Best Picks, Latest Odds and Sleepers for PGA Tour Event
Rory McIlroy begins the week as the man to beat in Mexico, closely followed by Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas.
newsweek.com
Trump's big little India trade deal
Shea shines spotlight on trade deficit with EU — USTR: No China request yet for purchase flexibility
politico.com
The Couples Who Share the Cost of Birth Control
In 2017, Taylor Kay Phillips was debating two things: whether she wanted to switch from the pill to an IUD, and, if she did, whether she should ask her boyfriend, Felipe Torres, to help pay for it. At the time, Phillips—now a comedy writer in New York City—was unemployed, and her insurance plan wouldn’t cover the $1,100 bill. But she was hesitant to ask Torres to pitch in. Phillips didn’t know anyone else who had split the cost of birth control with a partner, and she had questions. If her boyfriend paid for part of her IUD, would that mean she had less autonomy over her own body? They had been dating for only a few months, and copper IUDs, the type that Phillips wanted, typically last for up to 12 years; if she and Torres broke up, would she need to reimburse him? But when they sat down to talk about the IUD, he offered to pay for half before she could ask. “It just seemed like the fair, right thing to do,since I was also reaping the benefits,” Torres told me.During their conversation, they acknowledged that while both of them would be responsible for an unwanted pregnancy, much of the burden—physical, but also emotional—would fall on Phillips. They wanted to balance out that burden, financially. Although I wasn’t able to find any statistics on the exact number of couples who share the cost of contraception, many of the researchers and individuals I spoke with said that, in their experience, cost-sharing is not the norm among heterosexual couples.[Read: The different stakes of male and female birth control]Under the Affordable Care Act, many women in the United States have gained access to free birth control, but some still have to pay in certain circumstances. Insurance companies don’t need to cover brand-name contraceptives, just generic versions. Short-term, often low-cost insurance plans aren’t required to cover contraception at all. Religious employers can apply for an exemption that allows them to drop contraceptive coverage from their plan. And women without insurance have no choice but to pay for birth control out-of-pocket, or go without.Nearly 65 percent of women ages 15 to 49 currently use some form of contraception, according to the most recent available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The cost of birth control can vary dramatically depending on the type. According to Planned Parenthood, IUDs can cost up to $1,300, and hormonal pills can cost up to $50 a month, or $600 a year. When factoring in the cost of an annual visit to a gynecologist or other doctor, the bill can be even higher.Many common forms of birth control can be obtained only through a doctor, and as a result, many women bear the brunt of the costs, in terms of both time and money, including setting up appointments, getting refills, and paying for contraception. These burdens are even heavier for poor women, especially those living in “contraceptive deserts,” areas with limited access to birth-control clinics. Sharing the cost of contraception with a partner can help alleviate some of that financial strain and symbolically demonstrate that a couple views preventing pregnancy as a joint responsibility. When Torres and Phillips decided that they were going to split the cost of Phillips’s IUD, they devised a payment plan in which Torres would Venmo Phillips $200 each month, for three months. Phillips told me that while she views sex as a “shared endeavor,” the duty to prevent pregnancy is “fundamentally unequal,” in that she “can get pregnant and he cannot.” She added: “I had to go in and have a legitimate medical procedure, cramp up, and bleed extra for a year. And he got to have condomless sex with, basically, abandon.”Katrina Kimport, a medical sociologist at the University of California at San Francisco, told me it’s not surprising that few heterosexual couples share the cost of birth control. She studies women’s experiences with abortion and contraception, and pointed out that the most highly effective, long-acting, and commonly used forms of birth control—for example, IUDs and oral contraceptives—physically operate in women’s bodies. In her research, Kimport has found that even when women visit family-planning clinics, medical professionals frame preventing pregnancy as a female responsibility. As a result, both partners in a relationship may assume by default that women should be in charge of maintaining, and paying for, contraception.[Read: Block that sperm!] Financial costs are just one of the burdens of preventing pregnancy. There are also mental, physical, and emotional tolls to consider. “It takes time to go to the doctor, go through the physicals, and go to the pharmacy,” Julie Fennell, a sociologist at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., told me. “It’s not a huge deal, but it is something that adds up, especially if you’re poor and you have limited access to these things.” Even after acquiring a prescription or getting an IUD insertion, the work isn’t done—a person may have to remember to take a pill at the same time every day or go to the pharmacy once a month. There are common side effects such as depression, weight gain, and irregular bleeding, and rare, debilitating ones such as pelvic inflammatory disease, blood clots, and ovarian cysts. “I don’t think there’s any broad social discourse that encourages empathy for the difficulty that some women face in successfully contracepting,” Kimport said. In fact, she has observed “an overall downplaying of the effects of side effects and how disruptive they can be.”For couples whose contraception is covered by insurance, the issue of cost-sharing may still come up when discussing another common type of birth control: condoms. In a 2016 survey by Trojan and the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, 65 percent of women said they had never bought condoms, although 68 percent of women didn’t think that providing them should be solely a man’s job.However, some men, such as William, a 23-year-old researcher living in Bethesda, Maryland, view buying and supplying condoms as a male obligation. William says he has never been with a female partner who bought or offered to buy condoms. (William asked to be identified by his first name only so that he could discuss his sex life openly.) He told me that when he and his current partner started having sex, they had a formal discussion about how they would pay for birth control. William’s partner pays for the pill since she takes it for noncontraceptive reasons, while he buys the condoms. He has also offered to pay for Plan B, should they ever need it, because if the condom were to break, “it’d probably be my fault,” he said. If he and his partner shared other costs such as rent or food, William said that dividing their expenses by total cost, and not by item, would make more sense. But William stressed that he wasn’t opposed to doing so in the future. “As a concept, I would be open to helping pay for it if asked. I don’t really have any strong reservations against that,” he said.Samantha McDonough, a 51-year-old living in Virginia, approaches cost-sharing differently. She is polyamorous but currently in a long-term relationship with one partner. Though she has had her tubes tied, she still uses condoms, and typically takes turns buying them with her partner. When she was seeing multiple partners, condom use was even more nonnegotiable, and she made sure that both she and her partners had them.McDonough has two daughters, and she has tried to encourage them to be proactive about using protection. Yet she told me that she “didn’t want to give them the impression that they should carry the cost on their own. I just wanted to let them know that they had to make sure that they thought about protecting themselves first and didn’t rely on someone else to do that.” She believes that while everyone, especially women, should do their part to have safe sex, looking at contraception as a shared expense has many benefits.[Read: Why are young people having so little sex?]Cost-sharing isn’t the only way that couples reallocate responsibilities surrounding pregnancy prevention. In 2007, before the ACA passed, Fennell interviewed several heterosexual couples for a paper she titled,“Men Bring Condoms, Women Take Pills: Men’s and Women’s Roles in Contraceptive Decision Making.” While some men gave their female partners money to help pay for contraception, others set alarms to remind them to take the pill at a specific time, or went with their partners to doctor appointments. Still, Fennell said that although many women wanted their male partners to take a greater interest in contraception, most still “wanted to be the [one] making the final decisions,” because they felt uncomfortable with the idea that their partners had sway over what they did with their body.Even couples who do share the cost of birth control, such as Phillips and Torres, are hesitant to prescribe it as something that every couple should do. For Phillips, splitting the cost for contraception felt natural, as they were already thinking about their finances jointly—she helped Torres, an immigrant from Colombia, pay for his visa and lawyer fees. In late 2019, they got engaged—both the IUD and the relationship have lasted. Kimport noted that cost-sharing “may not work for everyone,” and may not resolve feelings of inequality within a relationship. But, she said, “it is still a creative way of disrupting this idea that because most popular contraceptive methods operate in female bodies, they should be exclusively women’s responsibility.”
theatlantic.com
The four crucial questions Jeff Bezos needs to answer about his $10 billion climate pledge
Jeff Bezos talking with Kanye West at a charity ball in 2019. | Kevin Mazur/MG19/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue The answers you deserve to know. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person in the world, has earned many rounds of applause for the commitment he made on Sunday to give $10 billion to combat climate change, but he still isn’t answering many basic questions. The $10 billion he pledged for the Bezos Earth Fund is an unprecedented contribution that affords a private citizen great power over the world’s response to the climate crisis. It’s also a donation that deprives Americans of tax dollars since it’s subsidized by the tax code. And it comes amid mounting pressure on both Amazon for its environmental impact and on Bezos for his paltry prior philanthropy. So there’s a clear public interest in knowing exactly how Bezos plans to spend this money. There are not, however, clear answers on some very important details. Such as: Over what time period will Bezos administer this $10 billion? Many of today’s philanthropy advocates — and the billionaires that have signed The Giving Pledge — want to see donors give away their money to solve today’s problems, rather than setting up perpetual foundations sustained by an endowment well after the benefactor has died. That’s especially true given the deadline the world is facing on climate change. If the plan is to merely administer about 5 percent — the standard amount that most foundations give away in a current year — that would mean distributing about $250 million a year to grantees. If the plan is to eventually spend the $10 billion down to nothing, then maybe Bezos could give as much as four times that each year over the next decade. But we don’t know how he plans to dole out the money. Teddy - It would also be worth knowing if the plan is to spend the money down over a few years (I hope so!) or hold it in an endowment (which would be dumb, while the world boils away). Please, Jeff: Get it out the door in an effective way!— Alan Cantor (@Al_Cantor) February 18, 2020 Will any of this $10 billion be eligible for policy advocacy or political campaigns? The announcement on Instagram said that Bezos would fund “scientists, activists and NGOs” and that Bezos is focusing solely on charitable giving, rather than for-profit investments. But some advocates feel that the real way to solve the climate crisis is through electing different people to Washington — or at least by pressuring politicians to take different actions once they’re in office. Bezos himself has grown more comfortable with political donations. While that’s not how people traditionally think of “charity,” it could make Bezos into a political mega-donor depending on how he defines his terms. This is good and: Any super-wealthy person who says they want to make a meaningful impact on an issue should also be directing money & attention to electoral efforts — otherwise, they’re not serious about actually making a difference. https://t.co/RhqmThsuAA— Amanda Litman (@amandalitman) February 17, 2020 Who exactly is in charge of this program? The heads of large philanthropic efforts have enormous power — and yet they are largely anonymous figures. The person that Bezos chooses will largely be acting in lieu of the Amazon founder, who has a day job. And will the Bezos Earth Fund have a board of advisers who recruit and vet possible grantees, just like Bezos’s anti-homelessness charity effort has? Who will serve on that panel? There will be many, many people who will make a gold rush for the Bezos money. The gatekeepers at his new charity will play an influential role in determining what gets funded and what doesn’t. And lastly, here’s an easy one that Amazon isn’t answering: What legal structure does this philanthropy take? Is the Bezos Earth Fund a private foundation, a donor-advised fund, an LLC; or part of Bezos’s personal holding company, Bezos Expeditions; or something else entirely? Those all have different implications for the amount of tax dollars that the US government is deprived of since the donation is tax-deductible; the amount of money that Bezos’s philanthropy will be required to spend each year; and, importantly, the amount of disclosure that the Bezos Earth Fund will be required to offer to reporters, critics, and academics. We asked Amazon all of these questions to try to gain clarity into what could safely be considered one of the most important tech gifts ever. It is hard to believe that at least some of the questions don’t already have answers. But Amazon declined to offer them: “We just don’t have further details to share on announcement at the moment,” said a company spokesperson. “Please stay tuned.” In Bezos’s defense, this fits a pattern. In September 2018, he announced on social media his first large philanthropic commitment, $2 billion for homelessness and early childhood education work, but he didn’t fill in the details with a website and the advisory committee until November. Bezos says that we’ll hear from the Bezos Earth Fund this summer, so perhaps that’s when we’ll get some answers. But it is not unreasonable to expect answers for these questions from the get-go. Bezos is enjoying some rare positive headlines about his personal wealth, but with that should come some transparency and accountability about how exactly he will spend it. Philanthropy, at this scale and with this mission, is not merely a personal matter that is none of our business. It affects us all and deserves scrutiny.
vox.com
Attorney General Barr blasts big tech, questioning its protection from liability for content
U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr on Wednesday blasted big tech, questioning whether Silicon Valley for too long has dodged accountability for dangerous, harmful content posted on their sites and services.
washingtonpost.com
How ‘Parasite’ caused a surge in Spanish potato chip maker’s sales
The family-run company's online sales surged 150%.
nypost.com
Married, off-duty cops interrupt 'date night' to stop armed robbery attempt at restaurant
Dramatic video shows a Kentucky man allegedly attempting to rob a Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers in Louisville. Then, two off-duty cops stepped in.        
usatoday.com
Demi Lovato says eating disorder relapse led to near-fatal drug overdose
“I’m tired of running myself into the ground with workouts and extreme dieting,” she said.
nypost.com
Dominican American photographer Renell Medrano's most personal series yet
In a new series, unveiled this week, photographer Renell Medrano returns home to her motherland.
edition.cnn.com
Michael Bloomberg would sell his media company if elected president, advisor says
"We will be 180 degrees away from where Donald Trump is on these issues," a campaign rep told CNN.
nypost.com
Top Pentagon policy adviser involved in Ukraine aid to resign: US official
The Pentagon’s top policy adviser has drafted a resignation letter and plans to resign, a U.S. official tells Fox News.
foxnews.com
China's Expulsion of 3 Journalists Over WSJ Coronavirus Op-ed Condemned As 'Unprecedented Form of Retaliation'
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China called the journalists' expulsion the "most alarming" measure Chinese authorities have taken.
newsweek.com
Pompeo, in Saudi Arabia, says he will likely 'bring up the issue' of American doctor on trial there
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he is likely going to “bring up the issue” of detained Saudi-American doctor Walid Fitaihi during his visit to the Middle Eastern country this week.
foxnews.com
Everything you need to start a skincare routine, based on your skin type
Skincare doesn't have to be complicated.       
usatoday.com
Pentagon policy chief to step down in latest high-level departure
John Rood departs as undersecretary of Defense for policy, one of the department's most senior posts, just over two years into the job.
politico.com
Stabbed teen stumbles into Brooklyn barbershop for help before dying
Mamadou Bah staggered mortally wounded into Gentlemen's Quarters Salon, complaining of stomach pains.
nypost.com
75,000 ill, 2,000 deaths, many thousands recovered: Can you get coronavirus twice?
With no end to the coronavirus outbreak in sight, health officials are grappling with the issue of whether cured patients can get reinfected.        
usatoday.com
10 reasons why bibliophiles need to book a trip to Baltimore
Charm City's got a surprisingly storied past      
usatoday.com
Idaho governor: Oregon conservatives want to join our state for a 'little more freedom'
Idaho's Republican Gov. Brad Little said Wednesday it's not “surprising" to hear that a group of Oregon conservatives want to merge part of the state with Idaho to flee liberal policies. 
foxnews.com
Eye Opener: Democrats get set to face Mike Bloomberg
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg will join five other Democratic presidential candidates on the debate stage for the first time Wednesday night. Also, President Trump is making news with a flurry of pardons and commutations, including one for former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. All that and all that matters in today’s Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.
cbsnews.com
Iran sees first 2 coronavirus cases in country
Authorities in Iran this week announced the country’s first two cases of the novel coronavirus — COVID-19 —  which has infected more than 75,000 people globally and killed some 2,000 others. 
foxnews.com
John Oliver endorses 'Medicare for All,' does deep-dive into idea leading up to presidential debate
Ahead of Wednesday's Democratic debate, John Oliver explained a topic that's often raised by Bernie Sanders and others: Medicare for All.        
usatoday.com
Where do criminals really get their guns?
On average, just under 40,000 people each year die across the country in a gun-related death. So where do criminals typically buy their guns? And do most criminals seek out their weapons of choice through means, not above board?
foxnews.com
Review: True crime on the reservation, starring an unlikely amateur sleuth
Sierra Crane Murdoch's account of a murder case is about so much more
latimes.com
Queen roasted for posting baby photo tribute for Prince Andrew’s 60th birthday
Even Prince Andrew's baby photos can spark outrage.
nypost.com
DNC Chair Tom Perez: 'I have a lot of confidence in Nevada' caucuses
Perez faced scrutiny amid the fallout from Iowa for the national party's role in the embarrassing episode.
politico.com