February 22, 2016

Charlie Sheen's November announcement that he is HIV-positive may be helping people save lives by prompting them to research prevention, a JAMA International Medicine study published Monday suggests.

The researchers found that media coverage of HIV the day Sheen made his Today announcement ranked in the top 1 percent of coverage of the last seven years. They also saw a sharp spike in the number of Google searches pertaining to HIV in the weeks after his disclosure. Many of the searches pertained to prevention methods, including terms like "condoms" and "HIV testing."

"Sheen's disclosure is the most significant domestic HIV-prevention event in the last decade, even though it was unplanned and was not framed as a public-health event," lead study author Dr. John W. Ayers told New York.

There's precedent for the so-called Sheen effect. Katie Couric's live colonoscopy screening prompted an increase in screenings and awareness of colon cancer, and Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy had a similar effect on breast cancer awareness. Julie Kliegman

5:21 a.m.

"Today was a very tense day," and "if you're looking for a way to take the edge off, may I remind you, it is 4/20," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show. "For those of you not in the know, 4/20 is the one day a year weed smokers celebrate smoking weed every other day of the year. And this April 20 is the big one, because today 4/20 turned 50."

But thanks to the big push for legalization, pot smoking looks much different now than in 1971, and 4 in 10 pot smokers say even it should be a national holiday, Colbert said. "Okay, that's insane. I mean, there's no holiday for drinking — other than St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo, New Year's Eve, the day before Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, and the whatever day this is."

Yes, "40 percent of people who smoke think 4/20 should be a national holiday, while the rest skipped work today because they thought it was a national holiday," Jimmy Fallon joked at The Tonight Show. "Right now there's so much smoke in New York City, every apartment looks like it elected a new pope. Even Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged the day's significance from the Senate floor," he said, which felt "exactly like moment everyone's parents joined Facebook."

It's true, 4/20 is "not really as edgy, is it, as it used to be," James Corden said at The Late Late Show. "Now that marijuana's legal in California, you know, it sort of feels like the equivalent of, like, white wine day. ... I hope we don't get caught up in the commercialism of 4/20 and forget the real meaning of 4/20." Willie Nelson is pushing President Biden to make 4/20 a national holiday, he said, "and he's even gone so far as to propose that 4/20 through to his birthday on 4/29 be recognized as the high holidays."

"Today is a special holiday, because it's the first 4/20 since marijuana has been legalized in New York City," Late Night's Seth Meyers said. He tried to celebrate by eating a weed gummy on air.

"According to polls, most Americans are more interested in trying edibles than any other type of cannabis product," Meyers said. "Wow, America is the only country that starts with the munchies." But Tuesday wasn't just weed day, he said. It was also "Lima Bean Respect Day. In that case, you taste like ass, good sir." Watch below. Peter Weber

4:11 a.m.

Somewhere tonight, Matt Damon is probably sitting in some tiny green room, either crushed or elated that Jimmy Kimmel has a new celebrity feud.

Kimmel began Tuesday's Kimmel Live by celebrating the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. "Today also happens to be April 20, the day on which Hitler, Killer Mike, and Joey Lawrence were born — just goes to show you astrology is dumb, it doesn't make any sense," he said. "4/20, of course, is a holiday for pot smokers and pot eaters to celebrate 4/20 by doing pretty much exactly what they do every day."

"Speaking of drugs, our new pillow pal Mike Lindell" spent yesterday "passionately ranting from 8 in the morning until 11 at night" to launch his new social media platform "for people like him who are no longer welcome on Twitter," Kimmel said. "I was glued to this, I want this Frank-a-thon to go on forever. Mike Lindell is kind of like Saul Goodman from Better Call Saul: He had a funny supporting role in one of the most incredible dramas of all time, but now that he's got his own show, you really appreciate what a character he is."

Kimmel showed parts of Lindell's telethon on Monday night's show, and Lindell reciprocated by reading a transcript of Kimmel's jokes about his telethon. "That was weird, me sitting in my kitchen while the MyPillow guy reads my jokes to his sidekick, and he's going, 'I wonder if Jimmy is watching?'" he said. "And yes, Jimmy was watching."

Lindell reminded Kimmel that their paths have crossed before — "I was at a concert with Kid Rock and Mike Lindell; little did I know it would turn out to be the holy trinity of Trump," Kimmel joked — and then accepted his invitation to come on Kimmel Live for a live interview in a pillow-heavy bed. "I haven't seen most of my friends for 13 months, I'm going to be spooning with the MyPillow guy next week," Kimmel deadpanned.

The nice thing about celebrity feuds is that everybody wins. Peter Weber

2:48 a.m.

Nobody on James Corden's Late Late Show wants to stay at Pharrell Williams' new lifestyle hotel in Miami. "I knew Pharrell had money to burn," Corden said Tuesday night. "I did not know he had open-a-hotel-during-a-global-pandemic money to burn." But "if you could pick a celebrity to open a hotel, whose would you want to stay in?" he asked his band. Drummer Guillermo Brown picked Oprah Winfrey, to general agreement, and guitarist Tim Young even came up with a name, "O-tel."

The next challenge was trying to contact Oprah, and it wasn't flawless — "Neil Patrick Harris is going to be hosting this show tomorrow!" sidekick Ian Karmel said after Corden nearly broadcast Winfrey's possible phone number to the world — or fruitless. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:07 a.m.

After a night of negotiations, the European Union agreed early Wednesday to a tentative deal that would make its 27 member states carbon-neutral by 2050.

"Our political commitment to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 is now also a legal commitment," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. "The Climate Law sets the EU on a green path for a generation."

As part of the preliminary agreement, the EU will also commit to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, The Associated Press reports. The EU's member states and legislature still have to officially sign off on the deal, but it's expected to be approved, AP says.

Starting Thursday, President Biden is hosting a two-day virtual climate summit, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has accepted Biden's invitation to attend the event; this will be their first meeting since Biden's inauguration in January. China's foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday that Xi plans on delivering an "important" speech during the summit.

The U.S. and China emit the most greenhouse gases, accounting for nearly half of the world's total emissions. China has said it will hit peak emissions by 2030, before becoming carbon-neutral by 2060, and Biden is expected to announce this week that the U.S. will cut its greenhouse gas emissions at least in half by 2030. Catherine Garcia

2:01 a.m.

Florida's House passed a bill last week that would bar transgender athletes from participating in girls and women's scholastic sports. The legislation, modeled after a bill passed in Idaho, is one of dozens of similar efforts by GOP lawmakers in 30 states. But Florida's bill "goes even further by giving schools the power to conduct genital examinations," The Hill reports.

Under the legislation, a school or rival athlete could file a complaint if they suspect a competitor in a female sporting event was not assigned the female gender at birth, and the athlete would then have to prove she was born a "biological" girl. They could "prove their birth gender via a genetic test, a test of their testosterone levels, or an examination of their reproductive anatomy by a medical professional," the Tampa Bay Times explains. "The 'reproductive anatomy' language was a major point of controversy for House Democrats, who argued the provision amounted to the state legalizing 'genital inspections.'"

Supporters of the bill argue it protects female athletes from unfair competition. Detractors say that, apart from the intrusive anatomical inspections of minors, it harms an already marginalized group of kids and, at best, tries to tackle a nonexistent problem.

The Florida High School Athletic Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association both have policies allowing transgender athletes to compete in sports, and the NCAA said last week that it will pull championships from states that limit transgender participation. "Florida is set to host more than 40 regional or national NCAA championship events between the next academic year and May of 2026," the Tampa Bay Times notes.

The House passed its version of the bill 77 to 40, mostly along party lines, but it may not get a hearing in the state Senate before the legislative session ends April 30. The Senate version of the bill allowed transgender athletes to compete if their testosterone levels were low enough, but its sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel (R), amended it Monday night to make it nearly identical to the House version — except it lets the Florida Board of Education decide how to settle disputes around a student's gender and sex. "Andy Tuck, the Board of Education's chair, is the father of the House sponsor of HB 1475, Rep. Kaylee Tuck (R)," the Tampa Bay Times adds. Peter Weber

12:59 a.m.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, but there is still another trial on the horizon — this time for the three other officers who were part of Floyd's arrest last May.

As it stands now, the trial for former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, 27, Thomas Lane, 38, and Tou Thao, 35, is set to start on Aug. 23, with the men facing charges of aiding and abetting in the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd. If convicted, they could face more than 16 years in prison. A hearing is scheduled for May 20 at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, with the state attorney general's office seeking to add a third-degree murder charge against Kueng, Lane, and Thao.

On May 25, 2020, the officers responded to a call at Cup Foods in Minneapolis, after it was reported that Floyd allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill. Footage of Floyd's arrest shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and prosecutors say Kueng, who graduated from the police academy in 2019, at one point was between Chauvin and Lane, kneeling on Floyd's back. When Floyd became unresponsive, Kueng checked for a pulse, and reported that he couldn't find one.

Lane, who had been on the police force for just a few days, was the officer who told Floyd to get out of his car, and placed handcuffs on him. Prosecutors say Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane all used their weight to keep Floyd on the ground, after he resisted attempts to get into the back of a police car. Lane asked at one point if they should roll Floyd over, and Chauvin responded, "No, staying put where we got him."

Thao, who rejoined the force in 2012 after being laid off, arrived at Cup Foods with Chauvin, after Floyd had already been handcuffed. Prosecutors say that while Thao did not have any physical contact with Floyd, he could see how Floyd was being restrained, and did not try to intervene.

All of the officers were fired and arrested following Floyd's death. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are now out on $750,000 bail. In January, their trial was split from Chauvin's due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Catherine Garcia

12:08 a.m.

A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot a teenage girl Tuesday evening while responding to reports of an attempted stabbing. The girl, identified by family members and Franklin County Children's Services as Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:21 p.m. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting.

Bryant, who is Black, was shot at about 4:45 p.m., or 15 minutes before a Minneapolis jury returned guilty verdicts in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former police officer who killed George Floyd, who was Black. Protesters quickly gathered near the home where Bryant was shot. A woman who identified herself as Hazel Bryant, aunt of the victim, told The Columbus Dispatch that Ma’Khia Bryant lived in a foster home and got into an altercation with someone at the home. The aunt said her niece had a knife, but maintained she dropped it before the officer shot her.

Columbus officials Tuesday night released body-camera footage from the officer who shot Bryant. It shows the officer firing four shots as Ma’Khia Bryant as she appeared to swing the knife at another woman. The other people at the scene erupted in angry disbelief.

"We know, based on this footage, the officer took action to protect another young girl in our community, but a family is grieving tonight and this young 15-year-old girl [sic] will never be coming home,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said at Tuesday night's news conference. "It's a tragic day in the city of Columbus. It's a horrible, heartbreaking situation," he added. "We felt transparency in sharing this footage, as incomplete as it is at this time" was critical.

Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said BCI will be in charge of the investigation, and "we want to be sure that independent review from them, that we stay out of their way, and we provide the information that they request from us." Peter Weber

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