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April 1, 2014
Oleg Nikishin/Newsmakers

Here's another theory to explain Russian President Vladimir Putin's bold gobbling up of Crimea and menacing troop buildup on Ukraine's borders: He's not trying to restore Russia's former czarist (or even Soviet) glory, but rather distracting Russians from their nasty, brutish, and short lives. This theory comes from Maureen Orth, who profiled Putin for Vanity Fair in 2000 and revisited Putin's Russia at the magazine on Monday.

Specifically, Orth talked to demographers to get a sense of the numbers in Russia. "They do not make a pretty picture," she concludes. Read Orth's full post for a damning glimpse at the state of Russia, but here are a few numbers that show why Russians might appreciate a nationalistic conquest to take their minds off of things at home:

64 — life expectancy for Russian men (137th in the world)
76 — life expectancy for Russian women (100th)
30 — percentage of Russian babies who are born healthy
77 — percentage of Russians age 15 to 17 who drink vodka regularly
50 — percentage of Russian water that is safe to drink

It's not at all clear that demographic changes will soon turn Texas blue (or even purple), as Democrats fervently hope, but it seems pretty clear that an aging, sickly, hard-drinking, early-dying Russia will have a hard time regaining its stature as a global economic powerhouse, much less a military superpower. Putin had better make the small victories count. Peter Weber

12:33 p.m. ET

With seven in 10 Americans reporting they are "frustrated" with the 2016 presidential election, this year could be the Libertarian Party's big chance — and America's largest third party is holding its national convention in Orlando, Florida this weekend.

On the agenda: Picking a presidential nominee from among three contenders. Though the contest is considered close, greatest name recognition belongs to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, who was the Libertarian nominee in 2012, when he picked up more than 1 million votes. Johnson recently polled at 10 percent nationally against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and he would need 15 percent support to make it into the general election debates.

You can watch a livestream of the convention proceedings here. The nomination is expected to take place around 5 p.m. Eastern on Sunday. Bonnie Kristian

12:19 p.m. ET

Martin Short and Maya Rudolph stopped by The Tonight Show on Friday, so naturally host Jimmy Fallon had to find something totally outlandish for them to do together. The gang spoofed '80s cop shows with The Windy City Blue, a gag that gets progressively sillier — and windier — with each new bit. Hold onto your hat and watch below. Julie Kliegman

11:42 a.m. ET
Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization dismissed a call Saturday to move or cancel the Rio Summer Olympics due to the spread of the Zika virus. The U.N. agency was responding to a Friday open letter from 150 health experts urging them delay or relocate the event "in the name of public health," citing the mosquito-borne virus' link to birth defects.

"Based on the current assessment of the Zika virus circulating in almost 60 countries globally and 39 in the Americas, there is no public health justification for postponing or cancelling the games," the group's statement read.

The Zika virus is thought to have originated in Brazil. Julie Kliegman

11:39 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Speaking at Harvard University, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Friday that she expects to hike interest rates "probably in the coming months" if the economy continues to improve.

Yellen noted that "growth looks to be picking up from the various data that we monitor," referencing rising oil prices and a weaker, stabilizing dollar as the rationale for her decision, which corresponds with recent remarks from other Fed policymakers.

She argued that a gradual increase from the near-zero rate the central bank has maintained since the 2008 financial crisis "would be appropriate" to push inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent goal. Bonnie Kristian

11:15 a.m. ET
Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Things are looking good for Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, and not only because he's expected to star in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel.

James scored 33 points Friday in the Cavs' 113-87 rout of the Toronto Raptors. With the win, his team earned a spot in the NBA Finals against either the Oklahoma City Thunder or the Golden State Warriors, which would be a rematch of last year's contest.

This means, as The New York Times reports, that James is set to appear in his sixth-straight NBA Finals, and seventh overall. He's a two-time champ, both from when he took his talents to the Miami Heat. Julie Kliegman

7:54 a.m. ET

Police arrested at least 35 people Friday at a San Diego rally for Donald Trump. About 1,000 people turned out to protest the hard-line immigration policies of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Reuters reports.

Clashes between protesters and supporters were largely non-violent, but police in riot gear began pushing and pepper spraying protesters.

Trump's campaign has come under fire for its history of conflict at rallies and its subsequent handling of both protesters and reporters. On Wednesday, police arrested protesters at Trump's Anaheim rally after they reportedly pelted officers with objects. Julie Kliegman

May 27, 2016

A Home Depot employee in Staten Island, N.Y., sparked death threats by wearing an "America Was Never Great" hat to work, The New York Times reports. Krystal Lake, 22, says she wore the hat after several co-workers wore pro–Donald Trump pins. "The point of the hat was to say that America needs change and improvement," Lake said. A company spokesman said Lake has been told never to wear the hat again. The Week Staff

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