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March 5, 2019

The MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, does not increase the risk of autism, researchers in Denmark report in a new study.

In the late 1990s, a British physician named Andrew Wakefield published a now-retracted study claiming to have found a connection between autism and the MMR vaccine. It was later revealed that he faked some of his data, and Wakefield can no longer practice medicine, but his report is still fueling the anti-vaccination crowd, which maintains a link exists.

The Danish study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, specifically focused on criticisms from people who think vaccinations are dangerous. The researchers looked at children who have a sibling with autism and those with older parents, for example, to see whether some kids are more likely to be diagnosed with autism following an MMR vaccination, The Guardian reports.

Overall, the study followed 657,461 children, 6,517 of whom were diagnosed with autism over the decade-long study; 95 percent of the children received the MMR vaccine. The team found that children who were given the MMR vaccine were 7 percent less likely to develop autism than kids who did not get vaccinated, and that kids who did not receive any vaccinations were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than kids who did get them.

They also determined that kids with autistic siblings were roughly seven times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than those who did not have that family connection. Dr. Anders Hviid of the Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen, the study's lead author, made it clear that that vaccines should not be skipped due to fear of autism. "The dangers of not vaccinating includes a resurgence in measles, which we are seeing signs of today in the form of outbreaks," he told Reuters. Catherine Garcia

9:59 p.m.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) revealed on Tuesday that U.S. fighter jets intercepted six Russian warplanes off the coast of Alaska on Monday.

The four bombers and two fighter planes were intercepted by F-22 jets after they entered an area known as the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone, NBC News reports. In a statement, NORAD said the Russian planes "remained in international airspace and at no time did the aircraft enter United States or Canadian sovereign airspace," and the U.S. jets kept an eye on the Russian planes until they left the region.

Russia's Ministry of Defense said the planes were conducting planned exercises, which took place "over the neutral waters of the Chukotka, Bering, and Okhotsk Seas, as well as along the western coast of Alaska and the northern coast of the Aleutian Islands." Catherine Garcia

9:10 p.m.

A confidential draft Internal Revenue Service memo directly contradicts Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's reason for not turning over to Congress President Trump's tax returns, The Washington Post reports.

House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) formally requested Trump's tax returns last month; under a 1924 law, he is one of a handful of top lawmakers with the authority to do so. Mnuchin has refused to give Neal the returns, claiming Congress does not have a "legitimate legislative purpose" to request the documents.

The memo, obtained by the Post, states otherwise, asserting that it is "mandatory" the returns are disclosed, as the law "does not allow the Secretary to exercise discretion in disclosing the information provided the statutory conditions are met." The only way the IRS can refuse to comply with a Congressional subpoena "would be the invocation of the doctrine of executive privilege," the memo states, which has not happened.

The IRS told the Post the draft was prepared in the fall by a lawyer in the Office of Chief Counsel, and does not represent the "official position" of the agency. Trump has not released his tax returns on his own, first claiming that he can't do so because he is under audit, and later saying no one could understand his complex filings anyway. Catherine Garcia

7:41 p.m.

A new CBS News poll finds that two-thirds of Americans do not want Roe v. Wade overturned, with 48 percent saying they would be angry if it were reversed.

The poll was conducted via telephone May 17 to 20, after Alabama passed the nation's strictest abortion law; the goal of anti-abortion lawmakers is to get a case to the Supreme Court so the justices can revisit Roe v. Wade. The poll shows that 26 percent of Americans would be satisfied if Roe v. Wade were overturned, while 23 percent don't think it would matter very much. Split by gender, 69 percent of women and 65 percent of men think Roe v. Wade should be kept as is, and 38 percent of women said they would be angry if it were overturned, compared to 24 percent of men.

Among Republicans, 45 percent say Roe v. Wade should be kept as is, while 48 percent want it overturned; 87 percent of Democrats say keep it as is, compared to 11 percent who want to see it overturned. Of the Republicans polled, 48 percent think abortion should be available but limited, while 16 percent think abortion should be generally available and 34 percent think it should be prohibited. On the Democratic side, 66 percent think abortion should be generally available, 20 percent think it should be available but limited, and 12 percent think it should not be permitted.

Pollsters spoke with a random sample of 1,101 adults nationwide. The margin of error is plus or minus four percentage points. Catherine Garcia

6:33 p.m.

President Trump will nominate Barbara Barrett as Secretary of the Air Force, he announced on Tuesday.

"She will be an outstanding Secretary!" Trump tweeted. Barrett is the former chair of the Aerospace Corporation, and was the first civilian woman pilot to land an F-18 fighter jet on an aircraft carrier, The Arizona Republic reports. She is also a former ambassador to Finland and advised former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. In 1994, she became the first female Republican to run for governor in Arizona, but did not win the nomination.

Heather Wilson resigned as Secretary of the Air Force in March, in order to become the next president of the University of Texas at El Paso. Catherine Garcia

5:32 p.m.

In public, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó remains optimistic about his efforts to remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and his United Socialist Party from power. But, privately, The New York Times reports, Guaidó and his advisers are beginning to feel the pressure from Maduro's forces after the opposition's failed military uprising in April.

"The persecution has been savage," Guaidó, who is recognized by several countries, including the United States, as Venezuela's legitimate interim president, told the Times.

Nowadays, Guaidó is often stationed inside one of several safe houses, while his deputy chief of staff Rafael Del Rosario remains in exile, after escaping Venezuela with his family by foot, aided by soldiers sympathetic to Guaidó's cause. Several other soldiers and legislators who stood by Guaidó in April are reportedly either in jail or being harbored in foreign embassies.

The situation has the opposition seriously considering negotiating with Maduro, which Guaidó had previously rejected, the Times reports. Last week representatives from the opposition and Maduro's government traveled to Norway for preliminary talks, though Guaidó maintains that the goal is to remove Maduro. Even the United States, Guaidó's most fervent supporter, has taken a step back from the situation, as President Trump has turned his attention more heavily toward Iran in recent weeks, making it even more unlikely that the Venezuelan opposition could secure U.S. military support if the situation intensifies. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

4:41 p.m.

More subpoenas are on the way for former White House employees and Hope Hicks, once the Trump administration's communications director, is next in line.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued subpoenas on Tuesday to Hicks and Annie Donaldson, the chief of staff to former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who failed to show up to his scheduled hearing before Nadler's committee earlier on Tuesday. The two new subpoenas are part of a sprawling congressional investigation into the actions of the Trump administration, which spun off from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe into 2016 Russian election interference. Nadler wants Hicks and Donaldson to answer questions concerning possible obstruction of justice on behalf of President Trump during Mueller's investigation, Bloomberg reports.

Donaldson kept very detailed notes of her meetings with McGahn, which were frequently cited in Mueller's report on his investigation, The Hill writes, while Hicks was considered to have played a "pivotal role," in the White House, serving as one of the president's most trusted advisers.

Hicks' and Donaldson's subpoenas order both of them to turn over documents by June 4 and then testify later that month — Hicks is scheduled for June 19, Donaldson for June 24. Tim O'Donnell

4:26 p.m.

Two Hollywood productions have just scrapped plans to film in Georgia over the state's new abortion law.

Director Reed Morano told Time on Tuesday that she has called off plans to scout locations in Georgia for her new Amazon Studios series The Power following Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signing a law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks. "We had no problem stopping the entire process instantly,” Morano said. "There is no way we would ever bring our money to that state by shooting there." Location scouts had been working in Savannah for months, one of whom already bought a house there and told Time, "we're in panic mode."

Additionally, the upcoming Kristen Wiig comedy Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar has also pulled out of Georgia, a representative for Wiig confirmed to Time. Wiig will star in this film and co-wrote it along with Annie Mumolo, whom she previously collaborated with on the hit 2011 comedy Bridesmaids.

This comes after a number of producers had announced plans to boycott Georgia, which has become a popular filming location thanks to its generous tax incentives. The Wire creator David Simon was among those who said his company wouldn't film in the state over the law. The Motion Picture Association of America previously said amid these boycotts that "the outcome in Georgia will also be determined through the legal process" and that "we will continue to monitor developments."

Some have objected to the Georgia boycotts, arguing they will only unjustly hurt the thousands of members of the film industry there. Morano told Time that while "I'm sorry if the work moves away from where you live ... having this basic fundamental right for women is more important than anything in this moment in time." Brendan Morrow

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