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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

1:15 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Former first lady Laura Bush is criticizing the Trump administration's policy of separating parents accused of illegally crossing the border from their children, and believes the United States government "should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores" and "tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso."

In an op-ed for The Washington Post published Sunday night, Bush noted that as someone living in Texas, a border state, she can "appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart." From April 19 to May 31, the Department of Homeland Security sent nearly 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care, and Bush said photos that have emerged showing kids at these detention centers are "eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

People of all political stripes "agree that our immigration system isn't working," she continued, "but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer." Bush believes Americans have "an obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents — and to stop separating parents and children in the first place," and is certain that the country can "find a kinder, more compassionate, and even moral answer" to the crisis. Read the entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

12:10 a.m. ET
STR/AFP/Getty Images

A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit Monday morning north of Osaka, Japan, causing walls to collapse and fires to break out around the city.

Authorities say at least three people were killed — two elderly men and a 9-year-old girl who died at school after a concrete wall collapsed on her — and more than 40 injured. Flights were canceled and train and subway service suspended so officials could look for any possible damage. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake struck shortly after 8 a.m. at a depth of about eight miles. Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2018
Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images

Conservative Ivan Duque of the Democratic Center party is the next president of Colombia, after winning 53.9 percent of the vote in a second round runoff election Sunday.

Duque campaigned against the peace deal the government signed with FARC rebels in 2016, which ended 52 years of civil war. He vowed to modify parts of the deal that were controversial, like giving former militants guaranteed seats in congress. His opponent, Gustavo Petro, is the former mayor of Bogota and was once a leftist militant; he supports the peace deal.

When Duque takes office on August 8, shortly after his 42nd birthday, he will become the country's youngest ever president. He worked at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, D.C., before returning to Colombia in 2014 at the insistence of former president Alvaro Uribe to fill a seat in the senate. Critics say Duque is Uribe's puppet. Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2018
Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Pixar's Incredibles 2 exceeded all expectations for its opening weekend, bringing in an estimated $180 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and breaking the record for biggest opening for an animated film.

The previous record holder was another Pixar flick, Finding Dory, which opened in 2016 with $135 million. Analysts predicted that Incredibles 2, out 14 years after the original Incredibles, would bring in anywhere from $120 million to $140 million during its opening weekend.

"You don't get to numbers this big without getting everyone, but we were really pleased with all of the demos," Cathleen Taff, Disney's distribution chief, told the Los Angeles Times. "It's a multigenerational crossover event where adults are just as excited to see it themselves as they are to introduce their kids to it." Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2018
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

In her first comments on the Trump administration's policy of separating parents from their children at the border, first lady Melania Trump said she "believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN on Sunday that the first lady "hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform."

The Trump administration is arresting every adult found crossing the border illegally and charging them with a federal crime, resulting in their children being taken and placed in government custody. People who are following legal procedure and trying to seek asylum are also being arrested at the border and separated from their children. Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2018
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Brooks Koepka on Sunday won the 118th U.S. Open at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York.

Koepka also won the U.S. Open in 2017, his first major title, and is now the seventh golfer to win the national championship in back-to-back years and the first since 1989. The 28-year-old, ranked No. 9 in the world, had a final round 2-under-par 68, beating Tommy Fleetwood by one shot.

"The U.S. Open just takes so much discipline," he said. "You have got to be a great putter and just kind of let things roll off your back. I enjoy the test. I enjoy being pushed to the limit. Sometimes you feel like you are about to break mentally, but that's what I enjoy. I enjoy hard golf courses." Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2018
Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

When Mexico's Hirving Lozano scored a goal against Germany during World Cup play on Sunday, fans back home were so excited that they made the ground shake, setting off seismic detectors.

Mexican officials said an "artificial quake" reported in Mexico City was likely caused by 
"massive jumps during the goal from the Mexico national soccer team." Lozano scored in the 35th minute of the game, the lone goal of the match. It was a major victory for Mexico, defeating the World Cup's defending champion 1-0. Catherine Garcia

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