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Updated: 5 days 19 hours ago

Dutch Court Orders Russia To Pay $50B For Dismantled Oil Company

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 19:00

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An appeals court in the Netherlands has ordered Russia to pay $50 billion to shareholders of the now dismantled oil giant Yukos. 

The Hague Court of Appeal reinstated a 2014 arbitration ruling that accused Russia of not acting in good faith when it used tax claims to take control of the company in 2003. 

The tax claims against the company were seen as an attempt to silence the richest man in Russia at the time, Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky — a vocal critic of Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

In 2016, the Hague District Court struck down the 2014 ruling as "not correct" because the panel did not have the jurisdiction.

The Russian Justice Ministry said it will appeal this latest reversal.

Israeli Court Sets Date For Netanyahu's Corruption Trial

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 18:37

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An Israeli court has set a date for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's corruption trial.

The district court in Jerusalem said Tuesday Netanyahu's trial will begin on March 17 — just two weeks after Israel's national elections. This will be the country's third vote in less than a year. 

The court's announcement came at a bad time for Netanyahu, who's been trying to convince voters that his legal issues won't affect his ability to serve as prime minister. 

His opponent, White and Blue party leader Benny Gantz, will likely use the upcoming trial to fuel his argument to the contrary. 

Netanyahu was formally indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust in December. He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

California To Issue Apology For Internment Of Japanese Americans

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 18:24

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California lawmakers are expected to approve a resolution apologizing for the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

From 1942 through 1946, more than 120,000 people of Japanese heritage were forced into concentration camps after the U.S. government deemed them a national security threat. 

The resolution will act as California’s acknowledgment of its support of the "unjust exclusion, removal, and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, and for its failure to support and defend the civil rights and civil liberties of Japanese Americans during this period."

It also addresses other state actions against people of Japanese heritage prior to the war. 

The resolution comes amid a series of apologies California is making to different groups that have experienced oppression at the hands of the government.

Why Are More Women Dying From Alcohol Use?

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 17:58

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More women are dying from drinking alcohol, according to a recent NIH study. The research looked at death certificates from 1999 to 2017. It found 73,000 Americans died from alcohol-related illnesses in 2017, up from about 36,000 deaths in 1999.

 In 2017, Lisa Peretti entered rehab for alcohol use disorder for a second time. The mother of three said she didn’t want to become a statistic. 

SEE MORE: How Virtual Reality Could Help Patients Battling Substance Use

"I've had different doctors tell me 'your liver is a lot more sensitive than men. And even being an alcoholic genetically, your liver processes it differently,'" she told Newsy.

The largest increase in alcohol-related deaths, the NIH study found, was among white women. There was also a 10.1% increase in the prevalence of drinking and a 23.3% increase in binge drinking among women. Drinking like this can cause a lot of damage, quickly.

"They're at more risk for liver damage and heart damage," said Christian Hopfer, Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation at University of Colorado Hospital. "It could be surprising because sometimes men can drink for 10 or 20 years before they start getting organ damage. But for some women, even after six months or a year of heavy drinking, they can be surprised that they already have pretty major organ damage."

SEE MORE: How A Blood Test Could Detect PTSD In Pregnant Women

Hopfer says women's blood alcohol concentration is generally higher than men's because they typically weigh less and have lower body water percentages. There’s a psychological component, too, he says. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, which is a huge risk factor for alcohol use disorder. 

Peretti adds, as a woman, there’s more societal pressure, which led her to have anxiety.

"I was more isolated because I wasn't working. I was a stay at home mom and I also was in my thirties and I was very idealistic and wanted to have a certain image. And I think the other big piece of it was trying to be all things to all people. And, you know, I think as a woman, I was conditioned to be a nurturer and to take care of everyone," she said.

Both Peretti and Dr. Hopfer said another component — the accessibility and acceptability of alcohol and drinking — makes for an environment that is much harder for an addiction patient in recovery.  

"As a society, we do use it as a coping skill. And for those of us who respond differently to alcohol and can't necessarily moderate, that's very scary," Peretti said. 

Trump Administration Waives Federal Laws For Border Wall Construction

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 17:33

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The Trump administration has a plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border more quickly.

The Associated Press reports the Homeland Security Department is waiving 10 federal contracting laws to speed up construction of the border wall in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf used a 2005 law that allows him to waive regulations for building border barriers in areas that see large numbers of illegal border crossings. The waivers dismiss laws requiring open competition, justifying contractor selections and receiving bonds from builders before construction begins.

Wolf said in an interview with "Fox and Friends" Tuesday, "We hope that will accelerate some of the construction that's going along the Southwest border."

The Trump administration has promised to build a total of 450 miles of border wall by 2020. U.S. Customs and Border Protection says 119 miles have been completed so far.

As the AP points out, the waivers are expected to draw criticism that the department "is overstepping its authority," but any legal challenges would likely fail.

Additional reporting by Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press.

Boris Johnson Aide Resigns Over Controversial Comments

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 16:32

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An aide to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resigned as public outrage over his previous controversial comments continues to grow.

Andrew Sabisky announced his resignation in a tweet Monday. He said the "media hysteria" surrounding his past assertions are "mad," and he doesn't want it to be a distraction for Johnson's government. Sabisky's Twitter account has since been deleted.

Not long after Sabisky was appointed, critics pointed to multiple online comments he made and called for his removal. 

Back in 2014, Sabisky suggested in an online post that black Americans have a lower IQ than white Americans.

That same year, he posted another comment arguing enforced contraception at the onset of puberty could prevent "creating a permanent underclass" with unplanned pregnancies.

And in a 2016 interview, he said the benefits of giving children mind-enhancing drugs for educational purposes are "probably worth a dead kid once a year." He also expressed support for eugenics — the widely denounced idea of selectively breeding humans.

The prime minister's office refused to comment on Sabisky's remarks.

Judges To Hold Meeting After DOJ's Intervention In Roger Stone Case

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 15:06

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A group of federal judges is gathering for an emergency meeting Tuesday to discuss the Justice Department's involvement in politically charged cases. 

The president of the Federal Judges Association told USA Today that the group "could not wait" until its annual spring conference to discuss the issue.

The association — which includes more that 1,100 federal jurists — called for the meeting after the DOJ overruled the initial sentencing recommendation for President Trump's longtime associate Roger Stone. 

The president had criticized the initial recommendation of 7 to 9 years in prison as a "miscarriage of justice."

All four federal prosecutors have since stepped down from Stone's case. He's scheduled to be sentenced Thursday for lying to Congress, obstructing a congressional investigation and witness tampering. 

Meanwhile, more than 2,000 former DOJ officials and prosecutors have signed an open letter calling on Attorney General William Barr to resign. 

The president of the Federal Judges Association gave no hint as to how the group might respond to the DOJ's actions. 

Contains footage from CNN.

Mike Bloomberg Qualifies For Democratic Debate

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 14:04

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Mike Bloomberg has qualified for the Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas. 

Wednesday's event will be Bloomberg's first chance to face other presidential candidates in a debate after he met the polling threshold of 10% required to participate.

According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading with 31 percent support, followed by Bloomberg with 19 percent.

In a statement, Bloomberg's campaign manager said, "Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he's the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump and unite the country." He added, "The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process."

Bloomberg's debate qualification comes just days before Nevada caucuses, which he will reportedly be skipping in order to focus on connecting with other states ahead of Super Tuesday.

Boy Scouts Of America Files For Bankruptcy Protection

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 12:36

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The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy overnight. 

The organization said the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing will allow it to create a compensation fund for sexual abuse victims. 

The BSA is facing hundreds of lawsuits from men who allege they were sexually abused when they were Boy Scouts. The bankruptcy filing now temporarily halts those lawsuits and blocks any new ones. 

BSA's president and CEO Roger Mosby said in a statement Tuesday, "While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process — with the proposed Trust structure — will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA's important mission."

According to a 2019 deposition, the BSA's records show that more than 12,000 children in the program were allegedly abused by more than 7,800 leaders between 1944 and 2016. 

The BSA is also facing declining membership numbers. More than 4 million boys were Scouts during its heyday in the 1970s. But that number has now fallen to under 2 million after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints split from the organization earlier this year. 

BSA's bankruptcy filing is expected to have little to no impact on local troops, as those organizations are financially independent.

Contains footage from CNN.

What To Expect During The 'First In The West' Caucus

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 12:00

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Nevada will be the third state to weigh in on the 2020 presidential candidates with its "first in the West" caucuses. 

The state's Democratic caucuses will work largely the same way as Iowa's. Anyone who will be 18 years old by Election Day is allowed to participate, and they must be registered as a Democrat.

On Feb. 22, caucusgoers will gather at more than 250 locations around Nevada. Participants will divide into groups around the room to declare who they think the party's nominee should be. That first vote will determine candidate viability, and 15% support will be the minimum in most locations. Anyone standing with a candidate who's deemed non-viable will then be able to change their support to another presidential hopeful. The results of the second alignment will be used to award the state's delegates.  

But Nevada has one major difference from Iowa — early voting. From Feb. 15-18, Democrats could fill out a paper ballot indicating their first through fifth choices for the nomination. Those ballots will be counted with the voter's home precinct. On Caucus Day, if an early voter's first-choice candidate doesn't reach viability at their home precinct, that's when the alternate choices will be counted.

The Nevada Democrats say their process for reporting the results will avoid the chaos that happened in Iowa. Using party-provided iPads, caucus officials will plug results into a Google form. That form will have a built in "caucus calculator" to help eliminate human math errors. Each precinct location will also have paper copies of the results. 

On the other side of the aisle, with President Trump in the White House, Republicans in Nevada are not caucusing this year.

The results of Nevada's Democratic caucuses will ultimately determine how 36 of the state's delegates are split up at the national convention. 

Petitions Demand Investigation Of Tabloids After Reality Star's Death

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 02:47

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A petition urging the British government to investigate the British media has garnered more than 600,000 signatures. The petition was created after the death of British TV personality Caroline Flack.

Flack, who hosted the popular reality show "Love Island" for five seasons, was found dead in her London home Saturday. Her family confirmed she died by suicide.

Flack had been under public scrutiny after she was charged with assaulting her boyfriend in December. She was accused of hitting him over the head with a lamp.

After the charges were announced, Flack left "Love Island" and British tabloids began to increasingly target her and her case. Her management said Flack was "vulnerable" and that the media attention was too much. One tabloid, The Sun, ran a story just a day before Flack's death mocking her assault case. The story has since been taken down.

Since Flack's death was first reported, the phrase "Caroline's Law" has been trending on Twitter. It references several petitions urging the U.K. government to investigate how tabloids report on celebrities and to create laws against publishing stories that tabloid writers know to be false. One petition has garnered more than 600,000 signatures

The British media has been accused of "bullying" more than once in recent months.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been vocal about the way tabloids have covered them. They're currently suing one British tabloid and recently announced that they'll "step back" from their royal duties to spend more time in North America.

Prince Harry addressed the media directly in an open letter, saying, "There is a human cost to this relentless propaganda, specifically when it is knowingly false and malicious, and though we have continued to put on a brave face — as so many of you can relate to — I cannot begin to describe how painful it has been."

Flack appeared on "Strictly Come Dancing" and "The X-Factor," as well as other shows. Laura Whitmore, the current host of "Love Island", said in a radio tribute that Flack was "vivacious, loving and had a passion for life." Flack was 40 years old.

If you need to talk to someone, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. 

Apple Says iPhone Production, Sales Are Down Due To Coronavirus

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 02:22

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Apple told its investors Monday the coronavirus outbreak is taking a toll on iPhone production and sales. The company said it won't meet the revenue guidance it sent out last month. 

It said its iPhone manufacturing partner sites are located outside the Hubei province — where the virus was first discovered — and are back open, but that they are ramping up slower than anticipated. 

Apple also said the demand for iPhones in China is down because retail stores are either closed or "operating at reduced hours and with very low customer traffic." It said customer demand outside of China has been strong and in line with its expectations. 

The death toll from the disease, known as COVID-19, is more than 1,700. 

Contains footage from CNN

Americans Return To U.S. After Coronavirus Is Found On Cruise Ship

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 02:04

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Nearly 100 new cases were reported on the ship docked in Yokohama, Japan, this morning, bringing the total number of passengers with coronavirus to 454.

One couple, who had been quarantined on the Diamond Princess for nearly two weeks, were among more than 300 Americans transported from Japan to the U.S. early Monday morning.  

In a statement, Gay Courter said she and her husband, Phil, are grateful to be back on U.S. soil. She added, "Although we wish we could be home with our friends and family, we understand that we may have been infected."

The Courters, a novelist and documentary filmmaker, were vacationing aboard the Diamond Princess when the virus began infecting passengers aboard the ship. For more than a week, they documented their experience in quarantine.

On Feb. 16, they put in a request to participate in an evacuation to the U.S. 

"Starting today ..."

The captain announced all U.S. passengers would be screened before traveling back to America.

"The minister of health will conduct tests on guests that have not yet been tested, who have not tested positive or have not shared a stateroom with individuals who tested positive. So members of this group who test negative and do not show any symptoms will also will be allowed to disembark at the end of the quarantine period, upon the latest results being confirmed," the captain announced. 

Out of caution, those very passengers, including the Courters, were also examined after boarding the charter planes at Haneda Airport. Phil courter said, "Everyone on the flight was aware that anyone could be infected and not know it."

But he says they took their own precautions to protect each other from the virus: "We wore masks, we used sanitizer, and when we slept, we turned our heads to our partners instead of our neighbors."

Various screenings and temperatures checks were also conducted by staff throughout the 12-hour flight.

Some passengers were flown to Travis Air Force Base in California, and others, like the Courters, were sent to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where they are expected to remain under quarantine for 14 days. 

NY's Bail Reform Law Could Face Rollbacks Weeks After Taking Effect

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 01:59

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In April of 2019, New York passed major bail reform statewide, eliminating pretrial detention and cash bail for an estimated 90% of arrests. This made New York's bail system one of the most progressive in the country.

But since the law went into effect on Jan. 1, there's been constant pressure from law enforcementprosecutors and state Republicans to roll it back. 

Now, legislation focused on reforming the law is in the works, and it seems to have support from the governorthe mayor and the state Senate majority leader — notably all Democrats.

The proposed change reportedly would allow judges to take public safety into consideration while also increasing the number of crimes for which a suspect can be held.

New York is the only state in the country that does not allow judges to consider public safety when they make decisions about bail.

But this change was proposed already in 2016 and shot down for fear of introducing more bias into New York's criminal justice system.

"It was shot down because when you start to implement risk assessment, dangerousness or giving judges discretion, black and brown people are still the ones that seem to get held," DeAnna Hoskins, president and CEO of JustLeadershipUSA, said.  

DeAnna Hoskins has been a criminal justice advocate for nearly 20 years, and last year, she helped worked on the Close Rikers Island campaign.

"What a lot of people don't equate the bail legislation with was the Close Rikers campaign. … There was some state legislation that needed to be done when you looked at the population that was sitting on Rikers, and bail was one. We knew that the majority of people sitting on Rikers Island were sitting there simply because they can't afford bail."

Along with the cash bail law, New York lawmakers also voted to close the infamous Rikers Island jail by 2026 and replace it with four smaller, borough-based jails. In order to do that, New York City needs to cut its jail population by more than half, from 7,000 inmates to 3,300. Bail reform is a big part of that plan. 

Despite the backlash from activists and some state Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who proposed the compromise, still says New York will have the most "most progressive law in the nation regarding bail."

Hoskins disagrees and says this would be a step backward for New York and the country.  

"Other states are going to be in this situation, and other states are watching New York. … I don't want to take any steps back because any steps back are continuously holding individuals."

According to the NYPD overall crime for the month of January was up by about 17%. The Police Commissioner blames the new bail law for the spike in crime, though he hasn't cited specific evidence connecting the two. 

No bill has been officially proposed by New York Democrats, but analysts expect this fight to hit the Senate floor soon — most likely ahead of the state budget deadline on April 1. 

Forecasters Predict More Rain Following Major Floods In Mississippi

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 00:59

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Mississippi remains in a state of emergency as Pearl River floodwaters flow through and surround the state capital. Waters crested Monday at just under 37 feet, but forecasters are expecting even more rainfall between Tuesday and Thursday.

Gov. Tate Reeves declared the emergency on Saturday after days of severe weather, saying the state faced a "precarious situation" that could turn "at any moment." Authorities ordered people living in affected areas to evacuate as floodwaters continued rising to near-historic levels over the weekend.

By Sunday, officials had stabilized the inflow and outflow of the nearby Barnett Reservoir, noting that residents appeared to have heeded calls to seek higher ground. Reeves said Monday that there were no reports of flood-related injuries and only 16 search and rescue missions were necessary.

Still, he urged residents of flooded communities to stay away until evacuation orders were lifted, since it would be days before floodwaters receded. On Twitter, he thanked state and local officials for their emergency response, saying it had been a "long weekend for Mississippi" and that a "much needed end" was in sight.

But that might not be the case elsewhere in the southeastern U.S. In the last week, heavy rainfall has been blamed for a landslide in West Virginia that reportedly injured two people. And in Tennessee, authorities are warning residents along the Tennessee River to prepare for rising floodwaters.

The Tennessee Valley Authority reports rainfall in the region has been "400% above normal" this year. On Monday, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson told The Associated Press: "We have engineers on duty 24-7 trying to figure out what’s the most effective way to move this water downstream with the least impact. They feel it. I feel it."

Contains footage from CNN.

After Evelyn Yang Spoke Out, Dozens More Women Accused OB-GYN Of Abuse

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 00:56

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Nearly 40 women have come forward in the last month accusing former OB-GYN Robert Hadden of sexual assault.

In January, Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, spoke to CNN about being assaulted by the doctor in 2012, when she was seven months pregnant. She said she hoped her story would empower other survivors to speak out. And her account seems to have done just that. 

An attorney representing Hadden's former patients says he'll add the the new accusers to a suit he filed in 2019, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to about 70. In accounts spanning several decades, all of the women allege Hadden sexually abused them during exams or treatment, including fondling them and conducting internal exams without gloves. Two of the plaintiffs were minors at the time of the alleged incidents.   

Hadden used to work at Columbia University's New York-Presbyterian Hospital. As Newsy has previously reported, he was indicted on multiple felony sex charges and received a plea deal in 2016. Hadden lost his medical license and had to register as the lowest-level sex offender but didn't get any jail time.

Sexual assault survivors have called on Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to resign over the way he handled Hadden's case. One city council member said that under Vance's leadership, the DA's office "failed to protect and fight for survivors against rich, white and powerful men who committed countless sexual assaults." She said she hopes "that DA Vance will seriously consider the damage that has been done and resign.”

SpaceX Has Launched Another Batch Of Satellites Into Orbit

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 00:36

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Flames and smoke billowed from beneath the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on Monday as the booster successfully transported another batch of 60 satellites into orbit.

Falcon 9 launched from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and marked the fourth launch in the company's Starlink mission this year. The goal is to create an extensive constellation of satellites that provide worldwide high-speed internet coverage.

Following a seemingly successful launch, the Falcon 9 returned to Earth but didn't quite stick the landing. Instead of landing on a waiting drone ship, the rocket missed its mark and took a dip in the Atlantic. 

SpaceX said the rocket appeared to be intact after making a "soft landing" in the water. If the booster had docked correctly, it would have been a landmark 50th successful landing for the company.

SpaceX reportedly has about 300 satellites in orbit but plans to launch thousands more. The company has said internet service from its satellites could be available in the northern U.S. and Canada as early as this year.

Jeff Bezos Commits At Least $10 Billion To Fight Climate Change

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 00:22

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launched the Bezos Earth Fund on Monday and is pledging billions to fight climate change. 

In an Instagram post, Bezos, the richest person in the world, said he is committing $10 billion "to start" and that he'll begin awarding grants this summer.

He said the money will be given to scientists, activists, NGOs and "any effort that offers a real possibility to help preserve and protect the natural world." 

Bezos also called climate change the "biggest threat to our planet." 

Thousands of Amazon employees have pressured Bezos to do more to protect the environment. Many of them even staged a walkout in September. Just a day before the walkout, Amazon pledged to go carbon-neutral by 2040 and said it will add 100,000 electric delivery vans to its fleet by 2024. 

In response to Monday's announcement, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice said in a statement: "We applaud Jeff Bezos' philanthropy, but one hand cannot give what the other is taking away. The people of Earth need to know: When is Amazon going to stop helping oil & gas companies ravage Earth with still more oil and gas wells?"

Bezos has a net worth of about $130 billion. 

Contains footage from CNN

Nevada's New Plan For Caucusing Raises Security Concerns

Tue, 02/18/2020 - 00:15

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The Nevada State Democratic Party is hoping to avoid the chaos of the Iowa caucuses as it gears up for its own caucus day.It scrapped earlier plans to use the same mobile app that faltered in Iowa, leading to confusion and delayed results in the Hawkeye State. 

But Nevada faces a challenge Iowa did not: The state has four days of early voting in addition to its Saturday caucuses. And just days before voting started, Democrats turned to another form of technology which could make the process more vulnerable -- iPads with a Google form to check in early voters. 

Experts fear that approach leaves open security gaps -- especially because the iPads, purchased by the state's Democratic Party, could theoretically be connected to unsecured WiFi networks. 

"We put in place a number of mechanisms to ensure that every step of the way, you know, we protect the integrity of this process and that it remains secure."

Forgey says the party has been consulting with the Department of Homeland Security, the Democratic National Committee, and security experts. A Homeland Security spokesperson confirmed to Newsy that it was working with the DNC and Nevada’s Democrats, and “will continue to provide any support they request.”

Forgey says the iPads will primarily run over 4G cellular networks, and that the Google form was rolled out days ago to train volunteers.

Still. There is the uncertainty of using technology for the first time. 

"We are counting on this untested tool that we haven’t been trained on and if it doesn’t work, when I asked in the training, they said, 'Call us.'"

Nevada Democrats tell Newsy that precinct chairs will access early voter totals through the Google form, helping them do the math on caucus day -- a sort of “caucus calculator.” The party says results will be reported on a secure, dedicated hotline for precinct chairs.

But problems cropped up the first day of early voting. More than 18,000 people showed up, causing long lines. Some precincts eliminated the Google form to speed up the wait. There were also reports of technical difficulties, and concerns that volunteers may not truly understand how to tabulate rounds of voting with the digital form.

But Forgey says the party feels confident in their new tactics.

We want to make sure that the voice of Nevada Democrats is protected and the integrity of this process is protected.

Facebook Is Now Letting Political Campaigns Sponsor 'Branded Content'

Mon, 02/17/2020 - 23:29

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Facebook is now letting political candidates pay influencers to post memes. 

Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram will now allow U.S. campaigns to sponsor "branded content," meaning they can pay influencers to share supportive posts, including memes. The posts must be marked as sponsored.

A Facebook spokesperson told Politico this previously wasn't allowed but the company had been considering the change for a while after receiving inquiries from campaigns and government agencies.

However, the branded political content won't be treated like regular political ads, since Facebook won't get a cut of the profits. According to Politico, that means the posts could undergo fact-checks.

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