FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
April 16, 2014
JUSTIN SULLIVAN/Getty Images

Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite New York City-based coffee junkie? A new upstart called CUPS has one intriguing possibility: A subscription-based monthly service that allows for unlimited beverages from 40 independent coffee shops scattered around the city.

A basic CUPS membership, which provides unlimited coffee and tea, will be available for $45 a month; an "unlimited espresso subscription," which includes mixed drinks like lattes and iced coffees, will set you back $85 a month. Most of the participating coffee retailers are centered in downtown Manhattan, though CUPS' official website promises that "Midtown, Uptown, and Brooklyn are right around the corner."

How is CUPS going to work? Bloomberg Businessweek explains:

To use the app, subscribers pick a coffee shop from a list, choose a drink, and retrieve a code, which the barista then uses to record the transaction. CUPS later reimburses the coffee shop for each beverage, at a discount. If the customer buys more than $45 worth of coffee per month, he comes out ahead; if he spends less, CUPS keeps the change. The coffee shops don't pay anything to participate, so in their worst-case scenario, either no one comes in or they sell a lot of discounted drinks. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

The story also explains that the average American drinks 1.7 cups of coffee per day, which sounds ridiculously low — but maybe an unlimited coffee service is just the thing to help us get those weak numbers up. Scott Meslow

2:03 a.m. ET
Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

At least 13 people were killed and more than 30 wounded during an attack on the American University of Afghanistan on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior said seven students, two police officers, a security guard, and three assailants died during the attack. It began when one assailant detonated a car bomb outside of the university, which was founded in 2006, during evening classes. Two assailants then began shooting at students, killing seven, before entering the university's main building, where they battled security forces. Students reported barricading themselves in classrooms, pushing tables and chairs against the doors. An Associated Press photographer, Massoud Hossaini, was in a classroom with 15 students when he heard an explosion outside. Hossaini told AP he "went to the window to see what was going on, and I saw a person in normal clothes outside. He shot at me and shattered the glass." Hossaini said two grenades were thrown into the classroom, injuring some students, and he was able to escape through an emergency gate. Authorities say hundreds of students were on campus when the attack began.

No group has claimed responsibility yet for the attack. Two weeks ago, two university staff members, an Australian and an American, were abducted from their vehicle by unknown gunmen, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Catherine Garcia

1:42 a.m. ET
Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images

Ryan Lochte, the 12-time Olympic medalist dropped by several sponsors earlier this week after it came to light he exaggerated an incident at a gas station in Rio, will reportedly appear on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.

A source told USA Today Sports on Wednesday that the deal was in the works before the swimmer made headlines for something that happened outside the pool. Lochte originally said that while he was in Rio for the Olympics, he was held up at gunpoint by robbers at a gas station, along with three other American swimmers. Brazilian authorities said in fact the men urinated against a building and vandalized a bathroom. Over the course of an investigation, USA Today Sports discovered there is no surveillance footage showing the men doing anything in the bathroom, and video shows their cab being stopped by a man with a badge and a guard pointing his gun at Lochte. They also found that while they were detained by armed prison guards moonlighting as security, a translator worked out a deal so the swimmers would only have to pay about $50 for damage done by Lochte to a poster.

Lochte's team says that despite being dropped by Speedo and other major brands, he is receiving inquiries from new companies interested in backing him. The 23rd season of Dancing with the Stars premieres on Sept. 12, and the cast will be revealed next Tuesday on Good Morning America. Catherine Garcia

1:29 a.m. ET

Donald Trump has still not gotten back to Seth Meyers about NBC's (fictional) offer for a scripted TV series where he plays president, if Trump drops out of the race, Meyers said on Wednesday's Late Night. Chicago President is "perfect for him, and perfect for us," he said, "because let's be honest: We all kind of want to see what he would be like as president, but ideally without any of the real-world consequences." But because Trump hasn't responded, Meyers searched for a book on how to negotiate deals, and he picked up a (very used) copy of Trump's The Art of the Deal.

"What I realized after reading it is that leverage is key in a negotiation, and I realized that right now I have all the leverage," Meyers said. "Because when we first made the offer, Trump was close in the polls, but now he's trailing badly. And so on that note, I would like to say directly to Donald Trump: We are now decreasing our original offer." The new offer is hilariously worse, but if Arizona turns blue, Trump gets to play White House janitor on Taxi TV — so at least nobody would watch his shame. Watch to see Meyers' trollish new offer below, but stay till the end, when he makes the final twist of the knife. Peter Weber

12:52 a.m. ET
Rob Kim/Getty Images

Had Glenn Beck used his trusty chalkboard Wednesday night during an appearance on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, it almost certainly would have been filled with arrows, circles, unidentifiable symbols, and scrawls of "Stephen Bannon," "despicable," "Never Trump," and "noooooooooooo!!!!!"

Beck has never been a Trump fan — the conservative commentator, radio host, and founder of TheBlaze supported Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the Republican primary — and he's also not big on Bannon, the Breitbart News executive chairman turned Trump campaign CEO. O'Donnell said he had never heard of Bannon before his new appointment, and he invited Beck, who previously called Bannon "a horrible, despicable human being," to give him the scoop.

"He describes himself as a Leninist, and I was kind of hoping it was John Lennon, but it's not," Beck said. "He is not a Marxist, he doesn't believe in Marxism or socialism or communism or anything else. What he means by that is he is a destroyer of everything. He believes that Lenin was right the way he went in; he destroyed the system, destroyed the Duma, brought down the parties, then punished his enemies." Beck said he agreed to go on MSNBC because Bannon is "dangerous" and Beck is "truly, gravely concerned about the direction of the country, and it is very important for conservatives or constitutionalists to stand up and let the left know, 'Hey guys, we're not all like that.' We have concerns and there has to be some things we come together on, basic values and principles. Let's not go into a chaos theory; that never goes well." Catherine Garcia

12:23 a.m. ET

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) is no fan of Hillary Clinton — as chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, he has been front and center in the Clinton email investigation, which he plans to keep alive with a perjury inquiry. On CNN Wednesday night, Chaffetz told Jim Sciutto that Clinton should hold a long-overdue press conference if she wants to rebut an Associated Press story about Clinton Foundation donor access at her State Department and Donald Trump's "pay to play" allegations. Sciutto turned the conversation to Trump, whom Chaffetz has pledged to support.

"Does Donald Trump's refusal to release his own tax returns — which would show his business interests and might raise questions about potential influence on his own campaign of money interests, or if he were to be elected president — does that not raise the same questions?" Sciutto asked. "Shouldn't he be equally transparent on his business relationships, his investments, etc.?"

Chaffetz agreed, colorfully. "If you're going to run and try to become the president of the United States, you're going to have to open up your kimono and show everything: your tax returns, your medical records," he said. "You're just going to have to do that. It's too important. So both candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, should show both their medical records and their tax returns. Absolutely." Clinton has released nine years of her tax returns, and both candidates have released notes from their doctors; Trump is the first major party candidate not to release his returns since 1976. Sciutto asked Chaffetz if he would be just as zealous investigating President Trump as he would President Clinton, and Chaffetz appeared to have low expectations for the honesty of either candidate: "Hey, the Government Reform and Oversight Committee is going to be the place to win no matter who wins this election." You can watch below. Peter Weber

August 24, 2016

On Wednesday, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton called Donald Trump's claims that as secretary of state she gave foreign governments and business leaders who donated to the Clinton Foundation something in return "ridiculous."

In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Clinton said that throughout her tenure as secretary of state, her work was "not influenced by any outside forces. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right." Regarding an Associated Press article from Tuesday that said more than half of 154 private citizens she met with while at the State Department made donations to the Clinton Foundation, Clinton said she knows "there's a lot of smoke, and there's no fire."

The AP report "draws a conclusion and makes a suggestion that my meetings with people like the late, great Elie Wiesel or Melinda Gates or the Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus were somehow due to connections with the foundation instead of their status as highly respected global leaders," she continued. "That is absurd. These are people I would be proud to meet with, as any secretary of state would have been proud to meet with, to hear about their work and their insights." Catherine Garcia

August 24, 2016

Astrophysicists are thrilled with the discovery of a planet outside our solar system that is within the "habitable zone" of the star Proxima Centauri, meaning water could exist there.

"Finding out that the nearest star to the sun hosts not just a planet, not just an Earth-sized planet, but one which is in the right location that it could support life — and there are a lot of caveats there — really underscores that not only are planets very common in our galaxy, but potentially habitable planets are common," Eamonn Kerins, an astrophysicist at Jodrell Bank Center for Astrophysics, told The Guardian. Named Proxima b, the planet is believed to be at least 1.3 times the mass of Earth, and is 4.2 light years away, meaning if a spacecraft left today, it would take close to 70,000 years for the probe to make it to the planet.

In the journal Nature, researchers wrote they found the planet after analyzing data based on light emitted by Proxima Centauri. It takes 11.2 days for the planet to travel around Proxima Centauri, and it orbits at 4.7 million miles, or 5 percent of the 93 million miles separating the Earth and the sun. Researchers say it's still in the habitable zone because Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf that is smaller, cooler, and dimmer than our yellow dwarf sun. It's unclear if the planet has an atmosphere, oceans, or any forms of life, but one of the authors of the study said it's possible the planet "could be detected with direct imaging within the next 10 years." For Guillem Anglada-Escudé at Queen Mary University of London, "just the discovery, the sense of exploration, of finding something so close, I think it is what makes [it] very exciting." Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads