August 7, 2014

On Thursday, a United Nations–backed tribunal in Cambodia convicted the two remaining senior Khmer Rouge leaders of war crimes and genocide, and sentenced them to life in prison. They will likely be short sentences — Khieu Samphan, the head of state during the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror in the 1970s, is now 83, and Nuon Chea, its chief ideologue, is 88.

More than 1.7 million people — a quarter of Cambodia's population — died in the Khmer Rouge "killing fields," purges, and forced relocations between 1975 and 1979. The tribunal's chief judge, Nil Nonn, said the men are guilty of "extermination encompassing murder, political persecution, and other inhumane acts comprising forced transfer, enforced disappearances, and attacks against human dignity." Both men said they would appeal, but they will stay in detention during the process.

During the trial, which started in 2011, Khieu Samphan blamed the killings on top Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998; Nuon Chea defended the regime and blamed Vietnamese troops for the massacres. Two other senior regime leaders were put on trial at the same time, but one of the defendants died in 2013 and the other was declared unfit for trial due to dementia in 2012.

"The victims have waited 35 years for legal accountability," conceded tribunal spokesman Lars Olsen, but "now that the tribunal has rendered a judgment, it is a clear milestone" as well as "a historic day for both the Cambodian people and the court." Peter Weber

8:45 p.m.

In a searing op-ed, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said Fox News host Tucker Carlson is questioning her patriotism in order to distract Americans from President Trump's incompetence.

Carlson and Trump are "desperate for America's attention to be on anything other than Donald Trump's failure to lead our nation," she wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Thursday. Trump needs people to think about her rather than "mourning the 130,000 Americans killed by a virus he claimed would disappear in February" or remembering he is a "failed commander-in-chief" who has "still apparently done nothing about reports of Russia putting bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan."

An Army veteran, Duckworth lost both her legs while serving in Iraq. Earlier this month, she "expressed an openness to a 'national dialogue' about our founders' complex legacies," and in response, Carlson said on his Monday night show she is a "deeply silly and unimpressive person" and one of several top Democrats who "actually hate America."

Duckworth said that "even knowing how my tour in Iraq would turn out," she would "do it all over ago," because of the "importance of protecting our founding values, including every American's right to speak out." She will fight "to defend every American's freedom to have his or her own opinion about Washington's flawed history," Duckworth continued, and Carlson needs to understand "we can honor our founders while acknowledging their serious faults, including the undeniable fact that many of them enslaved Black Americans." Read the entire op-ed at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

7:09 p.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden pitched his "Buy American" plan Thursday in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, which his campaign says would create at least five million jobs in manufacturing and innovation.

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's plan narrows restrictions on what can be considered an American-made good and calls for investing $400 billion in manufacturing and $300 billion in research and development for several diverse industries, Politico reports. "America can't sit on the sidelines in the race of the future," Biden said. "The Chinese are spending multiple billions of dollars trying to own the technology of the future while we sit with our thumb in our ear."

Biden said President Trump has been all talk and no action, and "after three-and-a-half years of big promises, what do the American people have to show for all of the talk? He promised health care, a health care plan, but never even offered his own bill as he continues to try to wipe out Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic." While Trump has spent the coronavirus crisis "almost singularly focused on the stock market," Biden promises that if elected, he will be "laser focused on working families." Catherine Garcia

5:47 p.m.

The forced resignation turned firing of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman wasn't the first time Attorney General William Barr tried to push Berman out of his job, he says.

Barr announced last month that Berman had resigned from his job, and, after Berman said he hadn't done so, Barr had Trump fire Berman at his direction. Berman gave written testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday telling his side of the story, and it reveals a deeper campaign to get Berman out of office, Politico reports.

Berman got an unexpected message from Barr on June 18, and had a 45-minute meeting with the attorney general the next day, Berman's testimony reads. "The attorney general began the meeting by saying that he wanted to make a change in the Southern District of New York," Berman wrote, and suggested Berman take a job in the Justice Department's Civil Division. Barr wanted to slot Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Jay Clayton into the role, Berman testified.

"I responded that I loved my job and my colleagues at the Southern District," and that "there were important investigations in the Office that I wanted to see through to completion," Berman continued. But Barr's prodding didn't stop, and eventually he said Berman would be fired if he didn't step down, Berman wrote. Berman then left the meeting and prepared to take legal action if he was ousted.

Berman, a Trump appointee, previously led the investigation into hush-money payments made to two women who alleged affairs with Trump, as well as probes into other Trump associates. He was also heading the investigation into financier and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:18 p.m.

Former CDC Director Thomas Freidan and Education Secretary Arne Duncan of the Obama administration, along with former President George W. Bush's Education Secretary Margaret Spelling, teamed up for an article in The Atlantic weighing in on how to safely reopen schools. "We need to reopen schools this fall," the officials argue, and go on to list eight very specific steps to ensure doing so doesn't "backfire."

The officials start by acknowledging "severe illness from COVID-19 in children is rare." That's why it's more important to focus on "how well communities control the coronavirus throughout the community," and how schools fit into that puzzle. And to be sure, "in places where the virus is spreading explosively," reopening may not be possible for a while.

But where it is, schools should start by "shielding the most vulnerable" and keeping at-risk students and staff at home. For those who are at school, we should "reduce risk wherever possible" by cutting certain high-risk activities like team sports and choir. Barring nonessential visits will help "keep the virus out," the officials say, and wearing masks is essential. Class sizes will also need to shrink, perhaps into smaller "pods" and split schedules that "reduce mixing among students and staff" and "reduce occupancy" as a whole. "New health and safety protocols" will be key, and above all else, schools need to "prepare for cases" and be ready to close at any time.

But as Brown University Economics Professor Emily Oster noted to NPR on Thursday morning, all of those things will take supplies and money that many public schools simply don't have. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:09 p.m.

Kylie Jenner might be busy ignoring California's nonessential travel ban, having popped over to Utah with her friends, but you can rest assured that she's taking all precautions.

Late Wednesday, Jenner posted photos of herself wearing an elaborate, beaded outfit made from thousands of "healing crystals." According to the designer, Erika Maish, who spoke with British Vogue, the "tangerine quartz" ensemble "symbolizes perseverance and strength" and "promotes creativity and acceptance of change," which sounds helpful during a raging national health catastrophe.


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special kind of energy.

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Maish added that her collection "explores this archetype of people leaving the city trying to find themselves in nature and new-age living," to say nothing of people leaving their states against the recommendations of their local governments. Jeva Lange

5:04 p.m.

All I want for Christmas is … Mariah Carey's memoir. Thankfully, no one will have to wait quite that long: On Thursday, "the greatest female artist of all time" announced that her memoir, The Meaning of Mariah Carey, will finally be released on September 29, People reports.

"It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments — the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today," Carey wrote on Instagram, adding that "it's been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or 10-minute television interview."

Are you obsessed yet? You can preorder a copy here. Jeva Lange

4:10 p.m.

President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, managed to avoid falling for one of Sacha Baron Cohen's pranks just weeks after the Who Is America? star successfully duped a crowd at a far-right rally into a racist sing-along.

On Wednesday, Giuliani was invited for an "interview," supposedly about the administration's response to COVID-19, when "a guy comes running in, wearing a crazy, what I would say was a pink transgender outfit," Giuliani recounted to Page Six. "It was a pink bikini, with lace, underneath a translucent mesh top, it looked absurd. He had the beard, bare legs, and wasn't what I would call distractingly attractive."

Giuliani didn't immediately recognize Cohen, and called the police, but later said he "felt good" because he didn't fall for the prank. "I am a fan of some of his movies, Borat in particular, because I've been to Kazakhstan," Giuliani explained. Jeva Lange

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