March 3, 2014

Capping another hectic day in Ukraine, it was reported that Russia is amassing forces on a sea crossing separating Russia from Crimea, which was taken as an indication that Russia is preparing to strengthen its hold on the peninsula. Whether it signals a broader Russian push into other areas of Ukraine remains to be seen.

Also, Ukrainian officials claimed that the Russian military had issued ultimatums calling on Ukrainian troops to evacuate bases in Crimea. However, the Russian defense ministry denied the allegation, describing it as "utter nonsense." Ryu Spaeth

10:34 a.m. ET

India is testing out a new tactic to reduce its carbon emissions: making farm animals less flatulent. Scientists at the Cow Research Institute in Mathura, located about 100 miles south of New Delhi, are experimenting with cattle feed that will make cows less gassy; fewer bovine blasts would cut back on the amount of the heat-trapping gas methane released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, scientists in the southern state of Kerala are working on a more long-term solution, as researchers there have been experimenting with a strain of miniature cattle that would produce just one-tenth the amount of methane produced by the standard Indian cow.

Silly as it may sound, The New York Times reports that they might just be onto something:

Consider the numbers: India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminant animals like sheep, goats, yaks, and buffalo. According to an analysis of satellite data from the country’s space program, all those digestive tracts send 13 tons of methane into the atmosphere every year — and pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does.

So reducing animal flatulence might actually do some good — especially in India, where there is little chance of cutting back the use of fossil fuels anytime soon. (In fact, the country expects to double its coal production by 2019.) [The New York Times]

Read the full story on cow flatulence over at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET

Same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states Tuesday after the final holdout, Mississippi, failed to appeal a recent federal ruling that deemed its ban on same-sex adoption unconstitutional. Mississippi had until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to appeal the ruling and failed to do so, effectively letting the ban die. "Mississippi was the last state in the nation that prohibited adoption by gay couples, so in all 50 states, gay couples are allowed to adopt kids, as it should be," Roberta Kaplan, one of the case's lead lawyers, told BuzzFeed News. "As far as the state is concerned, gay couples and their kids can't be treated differently than anyone else."

The law, which had been in place since 2000, was initially challenged in 2015 by four same-sex couples who wanted to adopt together or who were already raising children together. The federal court ruled in March that the ban violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. "I've been waiting 16 years to be able to adopt my son," one of the plaintiffs told Buzzfeed News, "so I'm overjoyed." Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET

Islamic State terrorists in the seaside city of Sirte, Libya, have reportedly taken to selling chickens and eggs by the roadside in an effort to raise money — while still wearing their full military regalia. It's sort of like a kid's lemonade stand, except horrifying.

"When [ISIS] took over Sirte, they seized many properties, including farms, and some of these are very large chicken farms," a former Sirte resident said. "Relatives tell me [ISIS] people can now be seen standing in the streets in their black outfits with their faces covered, selling both the eggs and the chickens. And they are selling the chickens for a very cheap price of just one or two dinars."

The terrorist organization is also demanding rent payments on shops and luxury apartments, including those owned by their occupants, as well as street cleaning and trash collection fees. Bonnie Kristian

9:33 a.m. ET
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate last week in a final gambit to edge out Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Unfortunately for the Cruz-Fiorina campaign, poll results released Tuesday indicate it didn't help.

Six in 10 voters said the addition of Fiorina to Cruz's ticket had "no impact" on their decision to support or oppose his candidacy, a Morning Consult survey revealed, while 22 percent said the veep pick made them less likely to vote Cruz. Only 18 percent report they are now more likely to be Cruz voters, suggesting the announcement may have slightly decreased Cruz's election success.

The same poll discovered Fiorina still has fairly low name recognition — more than a third of respondents did not know who she is — and among those who are aware of her, most hold an unfavorable opinion. Bonnie Kristian

9:28 a.m. ET

The United States is hosting the Copa América soccer tournament for the first time in June, and an Argentine television station decided to have a little fun with that fact.

The station's advertisement for coverage of the event is set to one of Donald Trump's "I'm going to build a wall" speeches in which he blasts "dangerous" South Americans for coming over the border. "These are total killers," Trump rants. "These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, okay?"

Of course, when set to dramatic music with footage of Argentina's greatest soccer stars, Trump's message takes on an entirely different meaning. Watch the brilliant ad, below. Jeva Lange

9:13 a.m. ET
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for CinemaCon

For the first time in YouTube history, a movie trailer has ended up on the site's list of all-time most disliked videos. In spot number 18, below Justin Bieber's "Baby" and Rebecca Black's "Friday," now rests the trailer for the new female-fronted Ghostbusters film, due out July 15. The movie, starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, and Leslie Jones, has attracted nearly 650,000 dislikes and only about 221,000 likes.

The unusually high number of dislikes is leading some to say they smell a rat. BBC says it seems like a "concerted campaign to vote down the video" and ScreenCrush has dubbed the influx of dislikes an "unhealthy fixation" for a "certain subset of people on the internet." While it's hard to say what the exact reason is for the film being so disliked, there's a chance the efforts are led by the same group raging over the director's choice to cast women in roles previously played by men.

However, director Paul Feig contends it could also be because some fans just "don't want an old property touched." Or, as the film site COS surmises, it could also simply be "some bad apples and temperamental brats abusing their right to an opinion."

Watch the trailer below, and decide for yourself. Becca Stanek

9:09 a.m. ET
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Will the Hamilton hype ever end? Not today, certainly. The Pulitzer Prize-winning musical has set a new record for Tony Award nominations, earning 16 nods on Tuesday including for Best Musical and Best Original Score, along with Best Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting, Direction, Choreography, and Orchestration.

The musical also dominated in the acting categories, with nods to actresses Phillipa Soo for Leading Role and Renée Elise Goldsberry for Featured Role. Actors Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr. were also nominated for Leading Role, with Hamilton actors also getting three of the five nominations for Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical.

See the full list of Tony Award nominations at The Hollywood Reporter. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads