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March 5, 2014

Irish gambling firm Paddy Power has the dubious honor of having the most-complained about advertisement — ever. It turns out a campaign featuring a picture of Oscar Pistorius next to an Academy Award statue with the blurb, "It's Oscar Time. Money back if he walks," wasn't the firm's smartest idea.

According to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority, the campaign garnered 5,200 complaints before Paddy Power was forced to pull the ad. While the ASA usually lets a campaign run for its allotted time while it conducts an investigation, the public's backlash forced them to take the "unusual step" of telling the company to end the campaign immediately. The ASA is examining if the ad is "offensive for trivializing issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman, and disability."

Paddy Power says it was a one-off ad that only appeared in one newspaper in tandem with Sunday's Oscar show. -- Jordan Valinsky

Paddy Power
1:35 a.m. ET

"Turning 18 in the United States brings several important milestones, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to get a tattoo you will later regret," Seth Meyers said on Thursday's Late Night. "Now, if you're a guy, turning 18 also means it's time to register for the draft — of course, there's no active draft right now, but all men between age 18 and 25 have to register for selective service in case we start using one again." Soon, women could have to register, too, thanks to a bill introduced as a joke by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.): the paternalistic-sounding Draft America's Daughters Act.

"Now, Duncan is opposed to letting women serve in combat roles, and he thought that by sarcastically introducing a bill to require them to register for the draft, he would make his point," Meyers said. "But his O. Henry–style strategy backfired," and it turns out a majority of people on his House Armed Services Committee thought it was a great idea to expand the draft to women — much to Hunter's chagrin. "That is the look of a guy who suggested an open marriage to his wife, but now she's the only one getting laid," Meyers said, pointing to a photo of the congressman. "Women have been serving in essential roles in the military all along, but the ban on women serving in combat created the illusion that they were less valuable to the military than men," Meyers concluded. "Including women in the draft is controversial, but it's an important step in dismantling that narrative." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:30 a.m. ET

The 142nd Kentucky Derby is this weekend, and some of the most adorable puppies ever went on The Tonight Show to predict which contender will win the race. This segment is really just about watching these sweet puppies as they make their way to a trough of kibble, but if you're the betting type, put some money down on the predicted winner — if you're right, you can keep the fact that you took gambling advice from a dog to yourself. Catherine Garcia

12:54 a.m. ET

A Russian orchestra held a surprise concert Thursday in the Syrian city of Palmyra, just weeks after the Islamic State's retreat.

The Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra performed in an ancient Roman amphitheater, conducted by Valery Gergiev, a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin; another Putin associate, cellist Sergei Roldugin, played in the orchestra. Gergiev told the audience the concert was a protest against ISIS militants who destroyed swaths of the city and used the amphitheater for executions, Reuters reports, and Putin appeared via video. "Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing," he said. "That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much."

Word spread about the concert just a few hours before it began, and the crowd was made up of area residents and Russian and Syrian military members. After Russian airstrikes bombarded the city in March, the Syrian government was able to regain control of Palmyra. When it was secured, Russian engineers visited the city to assess the damage done by ISIS, and the Russian government has already pledged to send experts to help with the restoration process. Catherine Garcia

12:45 a.m. ET
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The FBI has quietly interviewed some of Hillary Clinton's top aides over the past few weeks as they pursue their investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, U.S. officials told CNN and several other news outlets on Thursday. Those interviewed reportedly include Huma Abedin, Clinton's longtime adviser, and investigators from the FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Virginia hope to interview Clinton herself in coming weeks. The inquiry is focused on the security of Clinton's server and her handling of classified information, and such interviews are reportedly routine in such an investigation.

Federal investigators "have so far found scant evidence that the leading Democratic presidential candidate intended to break classification rules," The Washington Post reports, and "the involvement of the U.S. Attorney's Office is not indicative that charges are imminent or even likely. One official said prosecutors are wrestling with the question of whether Clinton intended to violate the rules, and so far, the evidence seemed to indicate she did not." The investigation is not over, however, and there is no deadline for its completion.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed the leaks. "From the start, Hillary Clinton has offered to answer any questions that would help the Justice Department complete its review, and we hope and expect that anyone else who is asked would do the same," he said in a statement. "We are confident the review will conclude that nothing inappropriate took place." Peter Weber

May 5, 2016
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For the first time since 1980, North Korea is holding a ruling party congress, and leader Kim Jong Un is expected to declare his "Byongjin" policy, a push toward economic and nuclear development.

Thousands of delegates are attending the seventh party congress in Pyongyang, and a new central committee will be elected; experts say Kim loyalists will receive the most high-profile positions. On Friday morning, Kim's personal guard surrounded the hall where the congress is being held, proving that he is inside, the BBC reports. Foreign journalists have been granted permission to cover the event, but they have handlers and are not allowed to speak with citizens. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

On Thursday, entertainer Arsenio Hall filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against singer Sinead O'Connor for saying he gave drugs to Prince before his death.

On May 2, O'Connor wrote on her Facebook page that Prince was a "long time hard drug user," The Associated Press reports, adding, "Two words for the DEA investigating where Prince got his drugs over the decades... Arsenio Hall." She also wrote that she reported Hall to the Carver County Sheriff's Office, and they are "aware you spiked me years ago at Eddie Murphy's house."

The suit, filed in Los Angeles, calls O'Connor's claims "despicable, fabricated lies" and says O'Connor is "now known perhaps as much for her bizarre, unhinged Internet rants as for her music." It states that Hall has not seen O'Connor in 25 years, and even then he had "minimal contact" with her. In his suit, Hall also denies ever giving Prince illegal drugs or spiking O'Connor with any substance, and says O'Connor only met Prince a handful of times and "detested" him. Catherine Garcia

May 5, 2016

The out-of-control wildfire in Alberta, Canada, that's threatening thousands of homes and caused 88,000 residents to evacuate is so intense it has created its own weather system.

Brian Proctor, a warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, told CBC News that firestorms alter weather patterns, funnel smoke and particulates into the stratosphere, and produce lightning. "They tend to promote their own kind of conditions," he said. "That's why you'll see the winds nears fires... that are significantly stronger than the surrounding atmosphere." The smoke and heat from a fire can cause storm clouds to form that are typically larger and darker than regular thunderstorm clouds. Proctor says that when there is turbulence in the atmosphere, lightning strikes can occur, but no rain. This can then lead to more fires, and because these storm clouds don't move on like regular weather systems, the firestorm remains stagnant. "It's almost a self-perpetuating situation," he said.

The fire in Fort McMurray now covers 85,000 hectares, about 10 times the size of Manhattan. The plume is visible from space, and there is concern that the flames will reach oil sands nearby. More than 350 firefighters are on the scene, and they are beginning to make some progress. Catherine Garcia

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