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Exclusive: Planned $1 billion U.S. aid cut would hit Afghan security force funds: sources
A planned $1 billion cut in U.S. aid to Afghanistan would come from funds for Afghan security forces, according to three U.S. sources, a step experts said would undercut both Kabul's ability to fight the Taliban and its leverage to negotiate a peace deal with them.
Op-Ed: I spent my childhood preparing for calamity. No wonder the coronavirus crisis feels familiar
Some people see the coronavirus pandemic in apocalyptic terms. But let's instead take it as a push to build a better world.
Op-Ed: My life as a meme: How 'Directed by Robert B. Weide' signals satire
The signature ending of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" has inspired hundreds of memes that end with "Directed by Robert B. Weide," except he had nothing to do with them.
Flashback: Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Amy Heckerling’s '80s comedy sincerely captured how it felt to be on the cusp of adulthood.
Letters to the Editor: Gavin Newsom's eviction delay policy is fair to renters and landlords
Landlords who must continue to maintain their properties cannot go without rental income indefinitely; Newsom's eviction delay policy recognizes that.
Newt Gingrich: Coronavirus harming our economic health – but government programs can help businesses survive
As the federal government advises social distancing and governors across the country implement stay-at-home orders to mitigate the virus, Americans are not going out to spend money.
Letters to the Editor: Technology can't replace teachers, and coronavirus closures prove it
Coronavirus closures are giving school districts an opportunity to evaluate their online learning efforts and how important teachers are to those programs.
D.C.-area forecast: Warmer today and through much of the week, with occasional chances for scattered light showers
Highs reach the 60s and 70s through midweek despite plenty of clouds.
Editorial: The absurdity of life without parole for juveniles
Judges aren't wizards who can see the future, so it's absurd to grant them legal power to brand any juveniles as incorrigible.
How Divergent Author Veronica Roth Learns From Criticism
And how Kate Winslet helped.
Coronavirus, Masks, Larry David: Your Weekend Briefing
Here’s what you need to know about the week’s top stories.
Letters to the Editor: It's ridiculous to consider apartment renovation an 'essential' business
Construction workers can transmit viruses too, and apartment dwellers who are home all day don't appreciate the noise. It's time for construction work to halt.
Why the People Behind Quibi Are So Confident
It was built to be watched in stolen moments of the crowded hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.—in a pause on the subway platform, a slog through an airport-security line, a wait in an afternoon carpool queue. So what is the current rationale for Quibi, the new short-form mobile-video platform that debuts tomorrow, in the wide sea of unstructured days, enforced isolation, and social distancing due to the coronavirus?Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman say they have an app for that, or at least an argument for it. They’re the founders of the new “quick bites” streaming service, backed by Hollywood’s biggest studio players and A-list content creators with the goal of delivering filmed entertainment in installments of 10 minutes or less.“People have said, ‘I’m stuck in the house, I’m home-schooling, I need a break,’” Whitman, the former CEO of eBay and Hewlett-Packard told me on a Zoom conference call with Katzenberg the other day. “‘I’m trying to keep everyone glued together and I need a 10-minute break. And by the way, I might watch three, four, five, six episodes of something that you have to offer.’ So I think people are going to come in new ways.” Katzenberg, the veteran Disney executive and co-founder of DreamWorks SKG, added: “People have a ton of time, but as Meg said, it’s not like they’re at home doing nothing. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been working all day long.”That may well be so. But providing diversion from a pandemic was definitely not the goal when Katzenberg and Whitman raised $1.75 billion in investment capital—and sold out their entire $150 million in first-year advertising availability—to create a platform on which harried mobile-phone users could consume theatrical-quality films, documentaries, reality series, game shows, and news in easily digestible portions. What’s more, Quibi is entering a streaming-video field that is getting more crowded by the day. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is set to launch in May, and NBC’s Peacock in July, joining Disney+. But the other services will feature longer-format content, as well as such classic, proven content as Friends and Seinfeld. So Katzenberg and Whitman insist that Quibi has a chance to occupy a new and unique niche.Serial storytelling is as old as Dickens, and as current as the blockbuster best-selling novels of Dan Brown and James Patterson, whose trademark super-short chapters are designed to be read in small doses before bedtime. When I asked why he and Whitman believe there is a market for this latest blend of Silicon Valley technology and the Hollywood dream factory (at $4.99 a month with ads, $7.99 without), Katzenberg brandished his smartphone remotely on my laptop’s screen. “Because this device,” he said, “has changed everything, in a way that’s created a fantastic new opportunity. We admire the amazing creativity and entrepreneurial things that have happened around this, whether it’s YouTube or Snapchat or Instagram TV or all these different things. But what none of them have actually had the resources to even attempt to do … is to match Hollywood-style, triple-A, best-in-class storytellers with the financial resources to be able to tell these types of stories.”[Read: Escape from quarantine with a Western movie]The distinguishing feature of the platform is a proprietary technology called Turnstyle, which allows a viewer to seamlessly shift a phone’s orientation from vertical (portrait) to horizontal (landscape). In the fullest use of the technology, shifting the orientation of the phone automatically changes the view. So the user can go from seeing the same screen a character in the film is seeing on a Ring Alarm security system to then seeing a prowler at the front door—and back again. Or the content can be watched straight through all in one perspective or the other. “I think this will be big on social media,” Whitman said, “because people will say, ‘Have you seen what Quibi can do?’”Technological adaptation has been the salvation of Hollywood for the better part of a century—from talking pictures to television to video recorders to streaming digital video. But whether Quibi will turn out to be the next Netflix, an economic and creative game changer in the entertainment landscape, or the latest version of fads such as Smell-O-Vision and 3-D, is an open question.But if consumer appetite for such a service remains unproven (the core target audience is 18-to-44-year-old viewers), Quibi’s appeal for Hollywood’s creative community is already undisputed—at least in the short term. The chance to create content in a radically new format has sparked filmmakers’ imagination. The roughly two-and-a-half-by-five-inch vertical aspect ratio of an iPhone is, to say the least, not the typical frame for cinematic storytelling, but Katzenberg said directors have been stimulated by the challenge of shooting each movie two ways at once. “You make it sound like it’s a liability,” he said. “They were genuinely excited about it.”The initial investors included Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Viacom, WarnerMedia, Lionsgate, MGM, and the British ITV. “And while we’re very pleased to have their investment,” Whitman said, “what was most important was that they gave us access to their best [content] and their best show-running talent.” She added, “And they think if we’re successful, this screen—the small screen—may well be the next big era in filmed entertainment.”[Read: The pandemic is hitting one part of Hollywood especially hard]Stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Richie, Idris Elba, Liam Hemsworth, and Reese Witherspoon have all signed up. Chrissy Teigen, a longtime fan of Judge Judy, will do a courtroom show of her own (Katzenberg quoted the tagline: “There is no claim that is too small for Chrissy’s Court”). And Katzenberg’s old partner Steven Spielberg has created After Dark, “a super-scary story,” Katzenberg said, that will be available on a subscriber’s phone only after the sun has gone down in the viewer’s location.The overall content is divided into three broad groups: movies in chapters (one is a reboot of The Fugitive starring Kiefer Sutherland, in which an innocent person is framed for a terrorist act); unscripted series and documentaries (including a cooking show with Andy Samberg); and “daily essentials” (six-minute news segments produced each day by the likes of NBC News, the BBC, ESPN, and Entertainment Weekly). In all, Quibi will publish more than 30 pieces of original content every day, five days a week—plus fresh news and sports on the weekend. That’s more daily content than a prime-time network lineup.One reason Katzenberg and Whitman were determined to raise so much capital before launch is cost of quality content. Their most ambitious programming will cost about $100,000 a minute—or about $7.5 million for an hour’s worth of short segments, comparable to the per-minute cost of a TV series such as Game of Thrones. Whitman said they expect that about 75 percent of subscribers will choose the cheaper version with ads, and that the overall revenue mix will be about two-thirds subscriptions and one-third advertising. The platform is offering free 90-day trial subscriptions to those who sign up before April 20, in a bid to lure viewers.Both Katzenberg and Whitman acknowledged that while the platform’s content has been commissioned based largely on that oldest of Hollywood barometers—gut feeling—hard data will drive its future course, and its success or failure. Quibi is strictly a platform, not a studio; all its content will be produced by someone else, and Whitman said the studios were frank about the new enterprise’s potential appeal. “They said, ‘None of us could do this by ourselves; none of us could make enough content for it to be a rich and unique experience,’’’ she told me. “They said, ‘So let’s get together and see if we can create a growth opportunity for all of us.’” Together, they’ve bet almost $2 billion and a stable of top talent that they can.
How to Fix Our Voting Rules Before November
In 1979, the NBA introduced the three-point line, creating new super-stars who could hit the long-range jumper. The bigger long-term impact of the change, though, was to increase the effectiveness of the tallest players, who benefitted from stretched defenses.What is true of sports is also true of elections—even slight adjustments to the rules can tilt the game for or against certain players, and ultimately influence outcomes, sometimes in unanticipated ways.According to a new study, in 2016, Donald Trump received a 1.7 percent bump in states where he was listed first on every ballot. In some states where he received that benefit, including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, he won by less than that amount.[Jeffrey Davis: How Donald Trump could steal the election]Another recent study showed that increasing the number of days of early in-person voting particularly increased turnout among women and voters in their 20s. According to the authors, if every state in 2016 had provided 23 days of early voting, Hillary Clinton would have won Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin―and the presidency.The uncertainties caused by COVID-19 have led a number of states to examine and adjust the rules for the November elections. Thus far, most of the planning has focused on how states will handle the predicted demand for voting by mail. There is no question that voting by mail is an important part of the solution. It mitigates the problems of long lines and fosters social distancing. But the specific rules used to implement vote by mail may determine whose vote is counted and whose is not.Experience and past election results show that in order to prevent vote by mail from inadvertently disenfranchising voters, states must adopt four key safeguards:(1) Postage must be free or prepaid by the government.(2) Ballots postmarked on or before Election Day must count.(3) Signature-matching laws need to be reformed to protect voters(4) Community organizations must be permitted to help collect and deliver voted, sealed ballots.We know that lack of pre-paid postage is an impediment to voting for many lower-income and young voters, and experts have found that requiring voters to have mail ballots received by Election Day, rather than simply post-marked by Election Day, has a disproportionate impact on minority voters. In 2016, a determination that a voter’s vote-by-mail signature failed to match the signature on file was the most common reason for rejecting a ballot. Finally, experience shows that laws that prevent community organizations from assisting voters with the collection and delivery of voted and sealed mail ballots disadvantage minority voters.[Ibram X. Kendi: The other swing voter]Safeguarding vote by mail is only a part of the solution. Some voters—and in particular many minority voters—strongly prefer voting in person, either because of historical mistrust in the vote-by-mail system or because of the expressive nature of showing up at the polls. Accordingly, states must provide voters who prefer voting in-person a safe and available option for doing so.Here, too, there are specific steps states should take to avoid excluding voters.First, states must guarantee adequate staffing at polls by turning to staff at state agencies and to students. Even in the best of times, recruiting, training, and deploying enough poll workers for in-person voting is a challenge. In 2018, 68 percent of poll workers were over 60 years old and more than a quarter were over 70. Government employees should receive overtime pay for working Election Day, and college and high school students should receive both pay and course credit for their effort.Second, states should expand curbside voting for voters of all ages. This would allow voters to drive up, receive a ballot, and return it to be counted—all without leaving their car. Many states provide this service for disabled or elderly voters. It should be expanded for everyone.Third, states must expand early voting to include weekend voting. This would minimize long lines and facilitate voting for those who can’t get to the polls on Election Day.[Ken Harbaugh: The vote must go on]Fourth, all states should adopt vote-anywhere rules. Voters who show up at the wrong polling location should be allowed to vote a ballot for those offices for which they are eligible. Some states currently allow this, but others force these voters to cast a provisional ballot that, more often than not, doesn’t count.Finally, states should develop systems that allow voters to sign up to reserve a time to vote during off-peak hours. Such a system would reduce lines by incentivizing voters to show up during non-peak times.The goal should be to avoid letting the rules dictate who wins based on whose voters can participate. Only by taking these steps can we be assured that the rules of the election won’t unfairly tilt the playing field.
Fauci and Birx worked together at the dawn of the AIDS crisis. Thirty-seven years later, they are partners in fighting the coronavirus.
The two doctors say their careers, and their views about fighting disease, were shaped by watching hundreds of young men die from HIV/AIDS.
Coronavirus restrictions on movement may jeopardize the lives of the most vulnerable
Government decisions involve trade-offs and new challenges.
Fewer Calls to Domestic Abuse Hotlines and Police Stoke Fear in Italy Over Lockdown Violence and Silenced Victims
Italy's Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese announced a new app called "YouPol," which would allow victims to alert authorities without making a phone call.
Spain's coronavirus death toll rises by 674 to 12,418
Spain's coronavirus death toll has risen by 674 to 12,418 in the last day, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
UK coronavirus deaths could reach 7,000 to 20,000: Ferguson
UK deaths from the coronavirus could rise to between about 7,000 and 20,000 under measures taken to slow the spread of the virus, Neil Ferguson, a professor at Imperial College in London who has helped shape the government's response, said on Sunday.
Pokémon Go Is Thriving Even Though Everyone’s at Home
Two longtime players debate whether the game’s adjustments represent good social distancing—or profiteering.
Several Patients Test Positive For Coronavirus Aboard Hospital Ship Docked In New York After It Loosens Screening Regulations
The U.S.N.S. Comfort arrived in New York City to treat non-coronavirus patients in a bid to ease the strain on the city's hospital.
Rural hospitals rely on city safety nets. Coronavirus might take that away
Rural hospitals face a precarious situation in dealing with the pandemic because of their reliance on cities.
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Bush in 2005: 'If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare'
In the summer of 2005, President George W. Bush was on vacation when he began flipping through an advanced copy of a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic.
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How UK artists are fighting back against coronavirus
CNN's Nick Glass looks at how the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected the arts in the UK, and how artists are exploring creative new ways to fight back.
Queen will ask UK for 'self-discipline' in rare address
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will make a rare broadcast address to the nation on Sunday evening to urge people to practice "self-discipline and resolve" in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Out-of-work Las Vegas showgirls take act online, showcase Sin City performers amid coronavirus pandemic
What happens in Vegas apparently happens online now, too.
Quentin E. Hodgson: During coronavirus pandemic, can Congress members do their jobs by teleworking?
While millions of Americans bow to the threat of COVID-19 – the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus – by staying home and teleworking, it’s worth asking if the nation’s lawmakers should do the same.
Coronavirus quarantine: Mom entertains family by posing giant teddy bears around house
"It's just good to keep positive."
In Her First Adult Novel in 14 Years, Julia Alvarez Travels Home
In “Afterlife,” even privilege can’t shield a Dominican-American widow from the immigrant’s plight.
Coronavirus live updates: New Jersey city mandates all workers to use face covers
The death toll amid the novel coronavirus pandemic continues to skyrocket as more than 8,400 people in the United States have died from COVID-19.
You can now buy a bobblehead of Dr. Fauci
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has made a bobblehead of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert.
Saturday's Powerball Results: Did Anyone Walk Away With the $180 Million Jackpot?
The winning numbers for yesterday's lottery were 08, 31, 39, 40 and 43. The Powerball was 04. No one matched all six balls, but one player matched the first five balls, winning $2 million.
Stimulus check scams, sanitize food deliveries, spying bosses and more : Tech Q&Aspying bosses and more : Tech Q&A
Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital.
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Missouri coronavirus stay-at-home order starts Monday, governor says
Missouri’s governor announced a statewide stay-at-home order Friday, leaving only a handful of states without one.
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Coronavirus is closing daycare. Child care providers worry they may never reopen
The U.S, child care "system" has long been at a breaking point. Coronavirus could mean providers stay closed forever -- a crisis for working parents.       
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Tom Dempsey, legendary NFL kicker, dead after coronavirus bout at age 73
Tom Dempsey, a retired NFL kicker long known for a 63-yard field goal he kicked in 1970, died Saturday night after a bout with coronavirus, according to reports. He was 73.
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Why it would be a surprise if the Giants drafted a tight end
Stop asking. Evan Engram is returning for a fourth season with the Giants, and no, the new coaching regime did not consider dumping him. There is no doubt Engram is a polarizing player to Giants fans. His skill-set is enthralling, but his inability to stay on the field is frustrating. We get it. But he...
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Inside story of Masters winners’ favorite green jacket moments
“Seven Days in Augusta: Behind the Scenes at the Masters” (Triumph) by Post golf writer Mark Cannizzaro, who has covered the past 25 Masters (check), is on bookshelves now. It dives into everything from the par-3 contest to the lengths some will go to get tickets to the tournament’s history. This is an excerpt, from...
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What do Christians celebrate on Palm Sunday?
On Palm Sunday, Christians traditionally celebrate the day Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem days before his crucifixion. In 2020, things will be different because of coronavirus.
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Asian woman hit with umbrella on Bronx bus for ‘causing’ the coronavirus pandemic
Police are still searching for a teenaged girl they say hit an Asian woman in the head with an umbrella on an MTA bus in The Bronx  — while yelling that the woman had “caused the coronavirus.” The hate crime attack took place on a Bx13 bus on March 28, a Saturday, at around 3...
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Mark Cuban says coronavirus changes 'everything' in US -- so leaders should 'step up'
The coronavirus relief plan that President Trump signed into law is "a good program," Mark Cuban says, but he would have done things differently.
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Chinese Human Rights Lawyer Released From Prison
Wang Quanzhang, who took up sensitive cases, had been sentenced in China to four and a half years for “subversion of state power.”
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NFL Draft 2020: Thaddeus Moss an intriguing TE possibility for Jets
Tight end is one of the Jets’ strongest positions entering the 2020 season, but I still could see them using a mid- or late-round pick to secure the position going forward. Chris Herndon was expected to have a big role in their offense last year, but a suspension then two injuries limited him to one...
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Two knifed to death in France in what police are investigating as terror attack
Two people were knifed to death and five more were injured in a French town Saturday in what officials are investigating as a terror attack. The knife-wielding assailant was apprehended near the scene of the attack in Romans-sur-Isère, south of Lyon, as he was kneeling on the ground and praying in Arabic, according to France’s...
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The long lost hobbies people around the world are revisiting during the coronavirus pandemic
People around the world are revisiting old hobbies during this health crisis due to spending more time at home and as a way to cope with coronavirus anxiety.
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The long lost hobbies people around the world are revisiting during the coronavirus pandemic
When Larry Ginsberg began working from his New Jersey home last week due to the coronavirus pandemic, he never expected a faint smell of smoke and the sound of a roaring locomotive to emanate from his basement.
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Reuschel vs. Reuschel
A wealthy Florida businessman is arrested after a violent confrontation with his wife – she survived. Did his daughter’s sumptuous wedding lead to a murderous rage? "48 Hours" correspondent Peter Van Sant reports.
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Tom Dempsey, former NFL record-setting kicker, dies at 73 after battle with coronavirus
The family of Tom Dempsey says that the longtime NFL kicker — who kicked a then-record 63-yard field goal in 1970 — has died at 73.       
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