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March 14, 2014

On Thursday, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audiotape of him dismissing upcoming presidential elections as a "fraud" and foregone win for military leader Field Marshal Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. Shafik, a former general and runner-up in the 2012 presidential race, "had not planned on making his opinion quite so public," deadpans David D. Kirkpatrick at The New York Times. "But these days in Egypt, conversations are often not as private as they seem."

In confirming his private comments, Shafik didn't exactly endorse them: "My confidence that the armed forces will ensure a transparent democratic and electoral process is complete and unquestionable." He also insisted: "I say in public what I say in private." Well, here's what he said in private, according to Al Jazeera:

I know very well they will fix all the ballot boxes. I have taken myself out of this loop because the election is going to be a farce.... Of course whether other candidates withdraw will depend on the nomination of Sisi. I said if he's going to run in the presidential election I will not run but I will get my papers ready (and) if he is going to run I will not submit them.... They will fix everything for him… this is going to be a comedy show. [Al Jazeera]

The comments are especially unusual because "Shafik comes from the same military elite as Field Marshal Sisi," Kirkpatrick notes. "Questioning the field marshal's candidacy is almost heretical in the pro-military and anti-Islamist circles both officers represent." Plenty in Egypt agree with Shafik's cynical assessment of Egyptian democracy. If Shafik hadn't taken himself out of the running, it would be interesting to know if his comments would hurt him or help his presidential candidacy. Peter Weber

1:34 a.m. ET

Deep below the ocean's surface, scientists last week discovered a glowing jellyfish believed to be an ambush predator.

The almost fake-looking jellyfish was spotted on the Enigma Seamount near the Mariana Trench, 2.3 miles underwater. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) research vessel Okeanos Explorer is collecting data from the Marianas Trench Marine National Monument and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, two areas where little is known about the environment, and made the find.

Scientists believe the jellyfish, which glows red and yellow, belongs to the genus Crossota. After seeing the jellyfish stretch out its tentacles, they also think it is an ambush predator. For the next nine weeks, the Okeanos Explorer will continue to make its way around this mysterious part of the sea, looking for fish, sponges, coral, mud volcanoes, and hydrothermal vent sites. Catherine Garcia

12:53 a.m. ET

Sarah Palin has been promoting a new anti–climate change documentary, Jimmy Kimmel said on Monday's Kimmel Live, and he had some fun with her climate change denial. "I have a theory: I think Sarah Palin maybe wants global warming — it's cold in Alaska, it would be welcome up there," he said. "But the idea that she knows more than 97 percent of scientists, it's offensive, it's dangerous." Palin isn't alone — or even a minority in her party. And the conservative disbelief about climate change makes no sense, he said. "Unlike a lot of things, this isn't a matter of political opinion, it's a matter of scientific opinion," and the scientific opinion is overwhelming that humans are causing the Earth to heat up.

Kimmel compared Republicans in Congress denying the existence of climate change to him declaring he believes "yogurt is a conspiracy created by John Stamos." You would rightly call him insane, Kimmel said. "To me, the big question is, either you believe in science or you don't. Why do we believe scientists when it comes to molecules and the speed of light and Cialis, but not this?" His answer is that members of Congress take money from, and are told not to worry about climate change by, "companies that make pollution for a living."

Kimmel talked about the science of climate change a bit, and then turned the stage over to a pre-recorded video in which real climate scientists explain that human-influenced climate change is real, is not a hoax or a prank, and they they are "not f---ing with you." An adorable kid caps it off by asking adults not to "f--k this up" for his generation. And if you want to kvetch about Kimmel taking an unusually bold step into science and politics, he's ready for it. "I know I'll get beaten over the head by every wacko website, and I know there'll be a lot of 'What the hell do you know? Go back to girls jumping on trampolines'," he said. "This is not about what I know. This is about what scientists know." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:27 a.m. ET

It has been more than 50 years since he was wrongfully convicted of murder and 40 years since he was released from prison, but it wasn't until Monday that Paul Gatling, 81, was restored all of his rights, including the right to vote.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson vacated Gatling's 1964 murder conviction, saying in a statement that Gatling "repeatedly proclaimed his innocence even as he faced the death penalty back in the '60s. He was pressured to plead guilty and, sadly, did not receive a fair trial. Today, 52 years later, he will be given back his good name and receive justice here in Brooklyn."

In October 1964, a felon pointed to Gatling, then a 29-year-old Korean War veteran, as a suspect in the murder of artist Lawrence Rothbort. Rothbort's wife at first couldn't pick Gatling out of a lineup, but once she did, Gatling's family and lawyer told him to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. "The cops told me they would make sure I was convicted and the lawyers said they were going to execute me," he told NBC News. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

A Legal Aid lawyer took up his case, and in one of his last acts as governor, Nelson Rockefeller commuted Gatling's sentence in 1974, allowing him to leave prison. Gatling said because his conviction was never vacated, life wasn't easy when he got out, and when he heard about the Conviction Review Unit in Brooklyn that revisits wrongful convictions, he sent in his paperwork. "People need to know what they did to me," he said. Gatling also said he would have liked to have voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, but is looking forward to casting his ballot this November. Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2016

Claire Danes lit up the room at the 2016 Met Gala, thanks to designer Zac Posen embracing the event's technology theme.

#clairedanes #zacposen #metgala

A photo posted by @zacposen on

Posen used fiber optic woven organza from France to create a shimmering gown for Danes, powered by 30 mini-battery packs. "I went through a sequence of stages throughout the process of draping this gown, playing with motion and structure to capture the emotional engineering," Posen said in a statement. "The gown is hollow underneath with no tulle — holding its own structure." See the dress in action in the video below. Catherine Garcia

Manic moments!! Zacposen #metgala #clairedanes

A video posted by @zacposen on

May 2, 2016

The stars were out Monday night in New York City for the 2016 Met Gala. This year's fête revolved around the latest exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, "Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology." The color of the night appeared to be silver (worn by Lady Gaga, Ciara, Kanye West, various Kardashians and Jenners), and trends included dark lips (Taylor Swift, Katy Perry), liquid-like metallics (Lupita Nyong'o), lots of cut outs (Nicole Kidman, Hailee Steinfeld), buckles and straps (Emma Stone, Nicki Minaj), and subdued pops of color (Zoe Saldana). Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2016

Donald Trump has insulted her appearance, said that listening to her for more than 10 minutes will give you a headache, and called her tenure at Hewlett-Packard "terrible, terrible, terrible," but on Monday he admitted that even he would have helped Carly Fiorina up when she fell off a stage this weekend in Indiana.

Video has surfaced of Fiorina introducing Ted and Heidi Cruz during a rally in Lafayette, then suddenly disappearing from the stage. It turns out she took a tumble, and Heidi Cruz made an effort to help her back up. Ted Cruz didn't seem to notice (or, judging by the footage, just didn't care) that she was on the ground and continued to shake hands with the supporters surrounding him. "Cruz didn't do anything! Even I would have helped her, okay?" the suddenly chivalrous Trump told a crowd Monday in Carmel, Indiana. "She fell off! She just went down! She went down a long way."

Trump added that it was "really cruel" of Cruz to ignore Fiorina's fall, and accurately called it a "weird deal." Catherine Garcia

May 2, 2016
Facebook.com/TheRoyalFamily

When you are a princess and you're turning 1, you're going to get some impressive gifts, and Princess Charlotte has received presents from world leaders, organizations, and fans in 64 different countries.

Kensington Palace released a list of all of the gifts Princess Charlotte has received on the occasion of her first birthday, as well as some she was given earlier, and said that her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, are "incredibly grateful." Her uncle, Prince Harry, brought back a New Zealand Rugby sleepsuit and Wellington Rugby snowsuit from his trip to the country, while her maternal aunt, Pippa Middleton, gave her a $6 pack of biodegradable diapers. British Prime Minister David Cameron presented her with a copy of Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales, and the government of Australia sent a cot blanket made from Tasmanian merino wool, embroidered with a floral emblem by the ACT Embroiderers' Guild. In turn, the guild donated $10,000 to Healesville Sanctuary, a bushland haven for wildlife.

One of the most expensive gifts was a $45,000 18k white gold rattle studded with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires from the Natural Sapphire Company. The Canadian prime minister gifted Princess Charlotte with a book and snowsuit, and donated $100,000 in her honor to Immunize Canada, which promotes vaccinations. She also received from New Zealand Prime Minister John Key teddy bears, blankets, and booties made from Stansborough wool, and from Chinese President Xi Jinping, a set of silk figurines depicting the Chinese story Dream of the Red Chamber. During their trip to England last month, President and Michelle Obama presented her with a jigsaw puzzle and stuffed Bo dog, matching one already owned by her brother, Prince George. Kensington Palace said some of the items are being used by Princess Charlotte, while others are in storage or were "donated to organizations which could make good use of them." Catherine Garcia

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