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August 9, 2018

Dozens are dead after a Saudi-led airstrike hit a school bus in Yemen on Thursday, and most of those killed are believed to be children.

The bus was struck while driving through Houthi rebel-held northern Syria on its way to a summer camp, The Telegraph reports. At least 43 people are confirmed dead and 61 injured, a Yemeni official told Reuters, many of them children under the age of 10, the head of Yemen's International Committee of the Red Cross estimated in a tweet.

Yemen is currently fighting the Houthi rebels who hold the area. Saudi Arabia and the United States have backed Yemen's government, while Iran backs the Houthis. A Saudi-led Arab coalition has intervened in Yemen since 2015. It recently captured Yemen's airport in a rebel-held area, and destroyed a water supply that surely exacerbated the area's cholera epidemic.

Thursday's strike was a "legitimate military action" that "conformed to international and humanitarian laws," the Saudi coalition said in a press release. It came in response to Wednesday's Houthi missile strike on a Saudi city, which killed three, per The Guardian. "Under international humanitarian law, civilians must be protected during conflict," the Red Cross in Yemen said in a tweet. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:21 p.m.

Several Game of Thrones stars took their Emmys fate into their own hands this year, and it paid off big time.

Game of Thrones on Tuesday picked up 10 Emmy nominations for its cast, which turns out to have been more than the network was even aiming for. After all, Gwendoline Christie, Alfie Allen, and Carice van Houten weren't actually entered for Emmys by HBO, the network confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.

Instead, the actors who played Brienne of Tarth, Theon Greyjoy, and Melisandre submitted themselves for Emmys, paying $225 for the entry fee in the process, according to the Reporter. Allen was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, while Christie was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and van Houten was nominated for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series.

The Reporter's Scott Feinberg notes that while it isn't unusual for actors to self-submit when they aren't thought to have much of a shot at nabbing an Emmy, "it is uncommon for those entries to result in nominations." Indeed, even for awards prognosticators, these nominations came as a surprise, and they're the very first Emmy nominations for all three actors — including Allen, whose sister in 2007 famously wrote a song about how much of a slacker he is. A lot, clearly, has changed since then.

Allen said on Tuesday that his nomination "really surprised me," Entertainment Weekly reports, while Christie similarly admitted that "I never ever thought this would happen," Variety reports. "I really didn't." Rise, Gwendoline of Game of Thrones: a nominee of the 2019 Emmys. Brendan Morrow

3:12 p.m.

Outgoing U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May gave a "valedictory" speech on Wednesday, as she and the country prepare to move on without one another. Eyes seemed to remain dry, however. Perhaps unsurprisingly, left-leaning media and politicians were largely unimpressed with the conservative's swan song.

May spoke about her concerns that absolutist politics have come to play too great a role globally and domestically. "An inability to combine principles with pragmatism and make a compromise when required seems to have driven our political discourse down the wrong path," she said during the farewell speech.

That sounded nice and the analysis is true, The Guardian wrote in an editorial, which while critical of May, did attest to the "solidity of her character." But the paper argues that ultimately the entire speech was "unoriginal" and "blunted by a characteristic lack of candor." The editorial added that it is "sad" but unsurprising that even now May "lacks the introspective capacity to draw and share valuable insights from her experience in office."

Labour Party MP David Lammy was even less forgiving in his critique.

Meanwhile, The Independent decided to "read between the lines" and provided some suggestions for what May really meant by some of her more careful word choices throughout the speech. The conclusion, per the paper? "We are all doomed." Tim O'Donnell

3:07 p.m.

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency, The Associated Press reports.

This announcement comes days after the Congolese Health Ministry said that the virus had spread to Goma, which has a population of more than one million people. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee made its decision on Wednesday after having met three other times since the outbreak began last year without choosing to declare it an international health emergency. More than 1,600 deaths have been reported since August 2018, and in June, the first death outside of the DRC was reported when a young boy died in Uganda.

Four other times has such a declaration of an international health emergency been made, AP reports, with the last one coming during the West Africa Ebola outbreak that began in 2014.

"It is time for the world to take notice and redouble our efforts," Tedros Adhanom, WHO's director general, said in a statement. "We need to work together in solidarity with the DRC to end this outbreak and build a better health system." Brendan Morrow

2:58 p.m.

Surprise, surprise, she's back!

Gossip Girl is coming to HBO Max seven years after it went off the air. WarnerMedia's new streaming service — set to launch in 2020 — has ordered 10 episodes of the rebooted series and is bringing fans back to the inner circles of the Upper East Side elite, reports TVLine.

The creative team behind the original CW hit series is set to return, with creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage executive producing and Joshua Safran stepping in as showrunner. It's unknown whether the original cast will make appearances in the reboot, but HBO Max has revealed that the series "will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years."

Based on Cecily von Ziegesar's book series, Gossip Girl ran on The CW from 2007-2012 and exposed the world to the talents of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley. The show has remained a staple in pop culture and the reboot is sure to fill many viewers' hearts with nostalgia. But, until then, xoxo. Amari Pollard

2:00 p.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a 2020 presidential candidate, tried to unanimously pass the House-passed extension of the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund without a roll call vote on Wednesday, but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stepped in to block it.

The bill, which has been the subject of testimonials from several 9/11 responders like the late Luis Alvarez, is not considered to be in danger. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said it will pass by August.

But Paul, who is known for preferring to slash budgets, said "at the very least" he wants to have a debate. "Any new program that's going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable," he said on the Senate floor.

In short, Paul is reportedly concerned about the "open-ended nature" of the bill which would provide protections for first responders until 2090. Most other Republicans reportedly consider the bill too important and are ready to spend. Tim O'Donnell

1:59 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) apparently likes bringing business into his personal life.

While joining President Trump for a round of golf this weekend, Paul asked Trump to send him to meet with Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, four U.S. officials tell Politico. Paul's plan, the officials say, is to soften the escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran — and Trump reportedly approved of it.

Paul's reported request just after Iran announced it violated enrichment levels set under the international nuclear deal Trump pulled the U.S. out of. Trump has responded with a so-called "maximum pressure" campaign on Tehran, which comes in the form of economic sanctions. Administration officials who support the maximum pressure move are "rankled" by Paul's apparent involvement in the deal, seeing as he's known to oppose foreign intervention, Politico reports. After all, Paul sent a letter alongside a bipartisan group of senators last month expressing concern over Trump's deployment of troops to the Middle East.

Zarif is in New York City this week for talks with the U.N., which is presumably where Paul would talk with him, Politico says. But Paul and his office have declined requests for comment, leaving the possible meeting up in the air. Read more at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:14 p.m.

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who served the bench between 1975 and 2010 and died on Tuesday at age 99, was known for playing a major role during a crucial era for the Court and his evolving legal views.

Described by The New York Times as a "low-key Republican" who became an "ardent champion" of the court's liberal wing, Stevens wrote the majority opinions in major cases, including one that prevented military commissions from conducting trials for Guantánamo detainees and another declaring that the Constitution does not permit executing the mentally disabled.

But the bow tie-wearing justice wasn't held in high regard for his jurisprudence alone. Stevens was also reportedly known around the court for being a nice guy, treating others "with sensitivity and respect," the Times reports.

One former law clark, Christopher Eisgruber, wrote in a 1993 essay about Stevens' actions during a party for new law clerks. An older male justice instructed one of the few female clerks present at the party to serve coffee before Stevens arrived. When he got there, Stevens walked up to the young clerk and thanked her for serving the coffee. Then he made her stop. "I think it's my turn now," he said before taking over the job.

Read more about the heartwarming anecdote and Stevens' legacy at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

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