The Oscars
March 2, 2014
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The first award of the Oscars went to Jared Leto for playing Rayon, an HIV-positive transgendered woman, in Dallas Buyers Club. In an emotional speech, Leto dedicated the award to "the 36 million people who have lost the battle to AIDS." He also slipped in a plug for his rock band, 30 Seconds to Mars. Scott Meslow

Coming Soon
10:03 a.m. ET

Here's a very, very early tip for your 2016 Oscar pool: go ahead and check off Meryl Streep's name in the Best Supporting Actress category now. The first trailer for Suffragette — which features Streep as famed political activist Emmeline Pankhurst — seems all but guaranteed to land the actress a record-setting 20th Oscar nomination:

Suffragette follows Maud (Carey Mulligan), a young British housewife who becomes active in the political movement aimed at securing women's right to vote. "Never underestimate the power we women have to define our own destinies. We have been left with no alternative. Defy this government!" says Streep, a vocal leader of the suffragette movement, in one of several impassioned speeches featured in the trailer.

Suffragette hits U.S. theaters on October 23. Scott Meslow

9:54 a.m. ET

Unsuspecting bathers at the Fudo no Yu hot spring outside of Tokyo have been taking in more than just panoramic views: The famous onsen has reportedly turned into an orgy hotspot.

The mixed-gender bathing and privacy at the hot spring — it can only fit about 10 people and doesn't employ a supervisor — apparently proved too alluring for swingers and the adult film industry.

Local residents and other bathers had been complaining about witnessing lewd acts for about a year, but the last straw appeared to have been a succession of weekend orgies involving as many as 15 middle-aged men and several younger women... The bath, part of the popular Shiobara onsen resort, is also thought to have been targeted by voyeurs armed with cameras, the site said, citing a report in the Mainichi Shimbun. [The Guardian]

“We had no choice but to close the bath," an unidentified local told the Asahi Shimbun. It has since been drained of its water — and, hopefully, thoroughly scrubbed. Nico Lauricella

Patriot Act
9:47 a.m. ET

In a Fox and Friends interview Wednesday morning, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said America "would be much better off" if Congress had renewed the USA Patriot Act, rather than implementing the USA Freedom Act. Walker agreed, though, that the Freedom Act, which the Senate passed on Tuesday, is still better than having nothing in its place.

Walker called the Patriot Act "an important tool," adding that it was useful for monitoring terror threats after 9/11. As for the NSA's bulk data collection from phone records, Walker said the government was  "collecting the data and accessing it under a very legal constitutional process" that only took place when there was "clear evidence that someone is connected with an enemy combatant."

Walker is expected to announce later this month whether or not he intends to run for president in 2016. Meghan DeMaria

Coming Soon
9:29 a.m. ET

Following her official introduction in a Vanity Fair cover story, Caitlyn Jenner is primed for her own E! series, I Am Cait — and today, the network unveiled a first look:

"People go through life, and they never deal with their own issues, no matter what they are," says Jenner in the promo. "Ours happen to be gender identity, but how many people go through life, and just waste their entire life, because they never deal with themselves? To be who they are?"

Though the promo is brief, it does give a small glimpse into Jenner's ongoing adjustment to her new life. "Isn't it great that maybe someday you'll be normal? Just blend into society?" she says wistfully. When her friend insists that Jenner is normal, she replies: "Put it this way: I'm the new normal."

I Am Cait premieres on July 26. Scott Meslow

Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated
9:13 a.m. ET

A series of tweets from a BBC reporter mistakenly sparked rumors that Queen Elizabeth had died. Ahmen Khawaja first tweeted that the Queen had been taken to a hospital and then later that she had died, citing the BBC. The tweets were picked up by some news sources, including CNN, however, when NBC reached out to Buckingham Palace for comment, they were told that the 89-year-old monarch was not only alive, but making public appearances. The tweets were quickly deleted, and the BBC issued a statement claiming they were part of an "internal drill" rehearsing what would happen in the event of the Queen's actual death. Khawaja, for her part, claimed that the tweets were a "prank" and that her phone had been left unattended. Marshall Bright

2016 Watch
8:45 a.m. ET
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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg hasn't announced a bid for the White House in 2016, but sources told the New York Post that a group of unnamed New York Democrats want to convince Bloomberg to run.

According to the Post, Clinton has a lead among Democrats because the field lacks "a credible challenger." Sources told the Post that Democrats have approached Bloomberg to "gauge his interest" about a 2016 run. One Democrat told the Post the plan might work because Bloomberg "can't stand" Clinton.

While nothing is for certain — one source told the Post he was optimistic because Bloomberg "didn't throw him out of the office" during their meeting — Bloomberg has expressed interest in the White House in the past. In 2008, the Post notes, Bloomberg sponsored polls and said he would run for president as an independent candidate. But a source who met with Bloomberg told the Post that the former mayor said it would be "no problem" for him to become a Democrat once again. Meghan DeMaria

survey says
7:55 a.m. ET
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A new CNN/ORC poll has found that Americans once again have a favorable opinion of George W. Bush — more favorable, in fact, than President Obama.

Politico notes that the poll, released Wednesday, marks the first time Americans have been this keen on the former president since April 2005. Fifty-two percent of respondents said they viewed Bush favorably, compared to 49 percent for Obama. Bush also edged out Obama in disapproval numbers, 43 percent to 49 percent.

More granular numbers don't look good for the sitting president either: 52 percent of respondents agreed that things in America are "going badly;" 52 percent disapproved of how Obama is handling the economy; and 63 percent disapproved of how Obama has responded to ISIS.

The poll, conducted from May 29 to May 31 via phone, surveyed 1,025 Americans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Meghan DeMaria

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