×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
July 22, 2014
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When it comes to dealing with a person's online identity after they die, things are still murky — there's no right answer about turning Facebook pages into memorials or outright deleting a Twitter account. Yahoo Japan is hoping to make things more clear with its new offering, Yahoo Ending.

The service will deactivate accounts upon death, and can delete documents, videos, and photos from online storage accounts. If the person used Yahoo Wallet for subscriptions, those can also be canceled. "Yahoo Japan's job has been to solve social problems through the power of the internet and to provide services from the cradle to grave," spokeswoman Megumi Nakashima told The Washington Post. "We had services for the cradle part but not the grave part."

When a person signs up for Yahoo Ending, they receive a unique number and instructions to give that number to someone they trust, who will call Yahoo Japan upon their death. Once a cremation permit is sent over to Yahoo from a funeral home, Yahoo will send out an email written by the dead person to as many as 200 email contacts, quickly spreading the word of the person's passing. Yahoo Ending also plans funerals and can find graves. A basic package starts at $4,500, and includes the funeral, cremation, embalming, and a wake for 30 people (more are extra).

The service starts at $1.80 a month, but knowing that your online identity will be taken care of properly after death might be priceless. Catherine Garcia

7:38 p.m. ET
NASA via Getty Images

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1, and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday shared their forecast, saying they expect to see a near normal season.

The season ends Nov. 30, and hits its peak mid-August through mid-October. The scientists predict a 70 percent likelihood of 10 to 16 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, and of those, five to nine could turn into hurricanes, including one to four major ones, ABC News reports. To become a hurricane, winds must reach 74 mph or more.

The average hurricane season has 12 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes. Last year, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria slammed parts of the Caribbean and the U.S., and Puerto Rico is still trying to recover, with some residents living without power or water, and others waiting for their homes and roads to be rebuilt. Catherine Garcia

6:47 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is blasting the White House for its decision to let Emmet Flood, President Trump's attorney working on the Russia investigation, attend two classified briefings on Thursday with Department of Justice officials.

"Emmet Flood's presence and statement at the outset of both meetings today was completely inappropriate," Schiff said. A Republican-only meeting, attended by leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), was held Thursday morning to discuss information related to an FBI informant who in 2016 talked to Trump campaign advisers linked to Russia. The White House said Flood and White House chief of staff John Kelly spoke at the beginning of the meeting to "relay the president's desire for as much openness as possible," and left before it started.

After this meeting took place, Justice Department officials briefed the bipartisan congressional leaders who make up the "Gang of Eight," including Schiff, and Flood attended that meeting, too. Schiff told reporters that "nothing we heard today has changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures or protocols." Catherine Garcia

5:33 p.m. ET
robvanhal/iStock

The nation's opioid crisis isn't limited to the landbound.

Scientists near Seattle, Washington, found that some marine creatures have absorbed drugs that end up in the waters due to human drug use, KIRO News reported Thursday.

When looking for water contamination, scientists found that mussels in the Puget Sound tested positive for oxycodone and other chemicals. Sealife can get contaminated when humans ingest opioids, because people later excrete trace amounts of drugs, which end up in wastewater. The wastewater is cleaned, but not all drugs can be filtered out.

“It's telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area,” one researcher told KIRO.

Researchers found that mussels in multiple locations had absorbed not only opioids, but also antibiotics and other prescription drugs. Washington officials said that the contamination shouldn't make it unsafe to eat mussels, since shellfish in restaurants are coming from different areas. Read more at KIRO News. Summer Meza

5:04 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Roger Stone might be in big trouble. The former Trump adviser told the House Intelligence Committee last September that when he reached out to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential campaign, he "merely wanted confirmation" that Assange had information on Hillary Clinton, but emails published by The Wall Street Journal on Thursday cast this claim into serious doubt.

The emails reveal that Stone contacted an acquaintance of Assange for "information he considered damaging" to the Democratic presidential candidate, The Wall Street Journal reports. On Sep. 8, 2016, Stone reportedly asked Randy Credico, a radio host who had interviewed Assange, to approach the WikiLeaks founder for specific emails from "State or HRC" that were dated "from August 10 to August 30 — particularly on August 20, 2011." Credico allegedly replied that "I can’t ask them favors every other day," adding that Stone should "relax." Credico maintains that he never contacted Assange or his staff, but told Stone that he had to get him to stop "bothering" him, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), said he was not aware of the email exchange, but that “If there is such a document, then it would mean that [Stone's] testimony was either deliberately incomplete or deliberately false." Stone, for his part, stated that his testimony before the committee was "complete and accurate," and that he never actually got access to any of Clinton's emails.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal. Shivani Ishwar

4:34 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

There's a reason President Trump's letter to North Korea's Kim Jong Un sounded suspiciously like campaign-trail Trump — the president reportedly dictated it to White House aides.

Trump released a letter Thursday announcing that he would not travel to Singapore next month for a historic summit with Kim. While it was plenty cordial, noting Kim's "effort with respect to our recent negotiations," it also struck a few distinctly Trumpian notes, boasting of the U.S. nuclear stockpile ("so massive") and blaming Kim's behavior for the cancellation ("tremendous anger").

White House sources told The Wall Street Journal that Trump dictated the letter and then ordered staffers to release it immediately, without notifying global allies. That would explain why the South Korean government appeared so blindsided by the news, with President Moon Jae-In saying he was "very perplexed" by Trump's decision. Trump didn't tell South Korea or Japan ahead of time in an attempt to avoid the news from leaking, the Journal reports. Summer Meza

4:03 p.m. ET
Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for The Weinstein Company

Former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein will surrender to authorities and face charges of sexual abuse on Friday, NBC News reports.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are in the final stages of an investigation into allegations of sexual assault from actresses Paz de la Huerta and Lucia Evans. Weinstein has been accused of wide-ranging abuse by more than 50 women.

Weinstein has denied ever engaging in nonconsensual sex acts, but the New York Daily News reports that he will turn himself in to New York City police. The charges are expected to be brought in state court in Manhattan. A lawyer for Weinstein declined to comment. Summer Meza

2:53 p.m. ET

Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Cocaine" McConnell (R-Ky.) "enjoyed" his re-election campaign's taunt of Senate candidate Don Blankenship after the former coal executive and ex-convict lost the West Virginia Republican primary to the state's attorney general earlier this month. Team Mitch's taunt had raised some eyebrows at the time for apparently relishing Blankenship's nickname for McConnell, "Cocaine Mitch," as well as for featuring McConnell in Pablo Escobar Narcos-inspired attire:

"It sorta softened my image," McConnell reflected to Politico. "Don't you think?" Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads