An Amazon tribe thought to be lost has reappeared — and some of its members have contracted influenza.
Brazil's government department FUNAI, which oversees the affairs of indigenous peoples, recently announced that at least seven members of a long-isolated Amazon tribe are infected with the flu after contact with the outside world. Researchers fear those with influenza will spread the disease to other tribe members who aren't immunized and haven't built up any natural immunity due to their isolation. FUNAI announced that a government-sponsored medical team treated the infected tribe members, but their return home is alarming for the others.
"We can only hope that [the FUNAI team members] were able to give out treatment before the sickness was spread to the rest of the tribe in the forest," Chris Fagan, executive director at the Upper Amazon Conservancy in Jackson, Wyoming, told Science magazine. "Only time will tell if they reacted quickly enough to divert a catastrophic epidemic."
Last month, some of the tribe's members left the forest of the Upper Envira River in Brazil, presumably to escape from illegal loggers and cocaine traffickers in a Peruvian park, Science reports. Their emergence marked the first time in recent history that an uncontacted tribe left its home to visit a settled population, The Independent reports. According to FUNAI's announcement, the group claimed to have been attacked by outsiders, and the Xinane River village "lies along a major route used by cocaine smugglers."
The Rainforest Rescue Coalition speculates that the tribe may be part of a group of Chitonahua people. Researchers estimate there could be as many as 4,000 uncontacted people in the region, making the spread of influenza extremely worrisome. Survival International is currently urging the Peruvian and Brazilian governments to protect the uncontacted tribes. Meghan DeMaria
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and former Republican Senator Rick Santorum all said in interviews Sunday that calls for a special prosecutor to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election are premature. The possibility of such an appointment was raised Friday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who argued it is inappropriate for the investigation to be performed by someone, like new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a political appointee.
"The Justice Department over the course of time has shown itself, with the professionals that are there, to have the ability to investigate these type of things," Christie said in a conversation with CNN's Jake Tapper. "When a special prosecutor gets involved, the thing gets completely out of control."
"I think that's way, way getting ahead of ourselves here," Cotton said while talking with Chuck Todd on NBC. "There's no allegations of any crime occurring, there's not even an indication that there's criminal investigations underway by the FBI as opposed to counterintelligence investigations, which the FBI conducts all the time."
"The rush to a special prosecutor is always a dangerous thing," Santorum said in a different segment of Tapper's show, contending that appointing a special prosecutor would usurp congressional power. Watch comments from all three below. Bonnie Kristian
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) February 26, 2017
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) February 26, 2017
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) February 26, 2017
Oscar-nominated actress Meryl Streep has accused Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld of defamation for comments, published Thursday in Women's Wear Daily, in which he said she declined to wear his dress to Sunday's the Academy Awards ceremony because another designer offered to pay her for the exposure.
"Don't continue the dress. We found somebody who will pay us," Lagerfeld said he was told after beginning work on Streep's gown. He added, "A genius actress, but cheapness also, no?"
Streep denied Lagerfeld's account Thursday, and Chanel issued a statement confirming her claim that "there was no mention of the reason" she chose a different designer. But late Saturday evening, Streep issued a vehement second statement. "Karl Lagerfeld, a prominent designer, defamed me, my stylist, and the illustrious designer whose dress I chose to wear, in an important industry publication," she said. "That publication printed this defamation, unchecked. Subsequently, the story was picked up globally, and continues, globally, to overwhelm my appearance at the Oscars, on the occasion of my record breaking 20th nomination, and to eclipse this honor in the eyes of the media, my colleagues and the audience."
Streep ended her statement with a demand for an explicit apology from Lagerfeld: "He lied, they printed the lie, and I am still waiting." Bonnie Kristian
Emmy-winning actor Bill Paxton died Saturday due to complications from surgery, his family confirmed Sunday morning. He was 61 years old.
Paxton was known for his appearances in films including Terminator, Aliens, Apollo 13, Twister, and Titanic. He had a lead role in HBO’s Big Love and was shooting a new cop drama for CBS called Training Day.
RIP Bill Paxton. He was a kind man and a true gentlemen. His light will be missed in this world. pic.twitter.com/V6RePyhtI9
— Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieeRoars) February 26, 2017
"A loving husband and father, Bill began his career in Hollywood working on films in the art department and went on to have an illustrious career spanning four decades as a beloved and prolific actor and filmmaker," said a statement from Paxton's family. "Bill's passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable." Bonnie Kristian
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) refused during an interview on CNN's State of the Union to say he would share his presidential campaign email list with the Democratic National Committee. His evasion came less than 24 hours after his preferred candidate for DNC chair, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), lost to the establishment-supported former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.
"Where we are right now is that we are going to support and have supported and will continue to support those candidates who have the guts to stand up for working families and take on the big money interests," Sanders said in response to a question about the list from host Jake Tapper. "What we are going to do is support those candidates who have the guts to stand up to the 1 percent and fight for the 99 percent."
As Tim Murphy explained at Mother Jones earlier this month, Sanders' campaign "rewrote the rules of email fundraising during his campaign by relentlessly courting small-dollar contributors," many of them first-time political donors. The DNC is "desperate" for the list, Murphy said, though the Sanders camp believes party leadership is missing the point: "The list wasn't the campaign's secret weapon; Sanders was."
Watch an excerpt of his remarks to Tapper below. Bonnie Kristian
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) February 26, 2017
The impulse of some conservative House Republicans "to say just get rid of the whole thing" in the ObamaCare reform process is "not acceptable," Ohio Governor John Kasich argued during an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation Sunday. "Republicans have to reach out to some of the Democrats" in Congress if they are to craft a new health care program "that still provides coverage to people," the former Republican presidential candidate told host John Dickerson.
"You have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state" whose health coverage is now provided through the Affordable Care Act, Kasich said. "Where do the mentally ill go? Where do the drug addicted go?" Kasich conceded reforms are needed to make the system functional and affordable, but, he added, "we're just not going to pull the rug out from under people." Watch his comments in context below, and see this analysis from The Week's Ryan Cooper on how Kasich's fears could come true. Bonnie Kristian
Kasich on ACA: There are some very conservative Rs in the House who are going to say just get rid of the whole thing & that's not acceptable pic.twitter.com/9XUlCfMzl2
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 26, 2017
A man billed as a "Swedish defense and national security adviser" on Fox News is unknown in the Swedish national security community, The Washington Post reported Saturday afternoon. Nils Bildt appeared on a segment of Fox's The O'Reilly Factor on Thursday to argue immigration has made Sweden unsafe, but a Swedish newspaper reported the next day Bildt is not known to Sweden's military or foreign ministry.
He emigrated from Sweden in 1994 and was convicted of a violent offense in Virginia in 2014. Bildt is not his original surname; it appears to be intended to suggest relation to Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister whose brother — a different man — is also named Nils.
Bill O'Reilly will address the issue Monday. In the meantime, you can watch the segment featuring Nils not-Bildt below. Bonnie Kristian
The Democratic National Committee on Saturday chose former Labor Secretary Tom Perez as the new DNC chair in a race President Trump alleged on Sunday was stolen from the Bernie Sanders wing of the party by Hillary Clinton and her accomplices:
The race for DNC Chairman was, of course, totally "rigged." Bernie's guy, like Bernie himself, never had a chance. Clinton demanded Perez!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 26, 2017
Seven candidates were in contention for the position, but Perez, the preferred candidate of many former members of the Obama administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign, was one of two favorites along with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who was backed by progressives, including Sanders.
The chair vote was taken in two ballots — Perez was one vote shy of triumph on the first round — amid some controversy over a last-minute decision to use paper ballots instead of an electronic voting method, a change Ellison supporters viewed with suspicion. The final vote was 235 for Perez and 200 for Ellison. Bonnie Kristian