March 9, 2019

Nation-wide blackouts have affected Venezuela since Thursday, creating even more difficulties for a country that is in the midst of a political crisis and suffering shortages of food and medical supplies. But that hasn't stopped protesters from participating in anti-government rallies on Saturday.

Offices and schools were closed throughout the country on Friday and hospitals have struggled to operate without power. At least one hospital patient died when her respirator stopped working, the BBC reported. The outages occurred ahead of planned protests against President Nicolás Muduro on Saturday, organized by Venezuela's opposition movement.

Maduro and his political adversary, opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who has declared himself interim president with international backing, have each blamed the other for causing the power failure. The blackout was reportedly caused by problems at a major hydroelectric plant. Maduro's government has called the power outage a U.S.-sponsored act of sabotage.

Some parts of Caracas and the rest of the country have had power restored intermittently, but the situation remains tenuous.

But the protests have carried on as planned, with anti-Maduro activists clashing with police on Saturday morning, Reuters reports. Maduro's Socialist Party is orchestrating its own competing march on Saturday, protesting against U.S. imperialism. Tim O'Donnell

2:10 p.m.

Jojo Rabbit just earned a key victory in the 2020 Oscars race.

The dramedy from director Taika Waititi won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival Sunday, the prize that in the past has typically gone to movies that went on to become Best Picture nominees or winners at the Academy Awards.

In fact, since 2009, the TIFF People's Choice Award winner was ultimately nominated for Best Picture nine out of ten times, and it won Best Picture three times.

One of those instances was last year, when Green Book picked up the TIFF People's Choice Award in what was, in retrospect, the first major sign of its eventual Best Picture triumph. Best Picture winners 12 Years a Slave and The King's Speech also previously won the TIFF award, which is voted on by audiences at the festival.

Jojo Rabbit wasn't as well received by critics as other TIFF films like Ford v Ferrari and Marriage Story, though. Dubbed an "anti-hate satire," the movie features Waititi playing an imaginary version of Adolf Hitler, and it currently holds a 75 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus noting its "blend of irreverent humor and serious ideas definitely won't be to everyone's taste."

The runners up for the TIFF People's Choice Award were Marriage Story and Parasite, both of which are strong contenders to become Best Picture nominees, although runners up for the audience award don't always score nominations. Of last year's runners up, one, Roma, was nominated for Best Picture, while the other, If Beale Street Could Talk, was not.

Jojo Rabbit, which also stars Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Rebel Wilson, and Alfie Allen, hits theaters on Oct. 18. Brendan Morrow

1:51 p.m.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she approves of how her successor' in the Trump administration are handling some of their foreign policy business.

In an interview with CBS' Margaret Brennan that aired Sunday on Face the Nation, Rice praised how the White House is dealing with Iran and North Korea, in particular. "Nobody's been able to solve the North Korean problem," Rice said. "I don't have a problem with how they're going about that."

As for Iran, Rice called Tehran the "most dangerous and disruptive regime" in the Middle East. In that case, she said, the administration is correct in pushing back against Iran despite some calls for a less hostile approach to resolve tensions in the region.

In the same interview, Rice was a little more critical of Trump when it comes to matters such as immigration, race, and economic isolationism, but she maintained a measured tone in her responses even then. Tim O'Donnell

1:12 p.m.

Beto O'Rourke's pledge during Thursday's Democratic debate in Houston to 'take your AR-15' still has people talking, The Hill reports. But it turns out even some Democrats aren't sure it was the smartest thing to say.

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) on Sunday told Fox News' Bill Hemmer on an appearance on Fox News Sunday that O'Rourke's comments were not particularly helpful at the moment, as members of Congress try to enact realistic gun reform. Cicilline also used the opportunity to point out that no one in Congress has proposed confiscation legislatively, and that lawmakers instead are focusing on other reform measures such as universal background checks.

O'Rourke's fellow Democratic presidential candidate, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, said Sunday he thinks O'Rourke's message could play into the hands of gun reform opponents, echoing Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) who said Friday that the O'Rourke clip "will be played for years at Second Amendment rallies."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, also appearing on Fox News Sunday, said "we're not going to allow bad actors who should not have firearms in the first place to be the excuse for a bunch of liberals and socialists to confiscate firearms from law abiding citizens." Read more at The Hill. Tim O'Donnell

12:47 p.m.

After shaking off the Week 1 cobb-webs, the NFL season is in full swing. Here are four Week 2 games to watch Sunday:

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots, 1 p.m. on CBS — This game will likely be ugly, seeing as it pits the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots against the Dolphins, who are in full rebuild mode. But it is also expected to be Antonio Brown's first game in the New England uniform. While Brown is one of the league's most exciting players on the field, he's also one of its most controversial. After a tumultuous offseason, the wide receiver is now facing sexual assault allegations.

Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. on CBS — The Titans were one of the league's most impressive teams in Week 1, after demolishing the trendy Cleveland Browns, 43-13. This divisional showdown should shed some more light on just how good Tennessee really is. The Colts, meanwhile, are coming off a close loss the Los Angeles Chargers, but it seems like they should remain competitive even without recently-retired quarterback Andrew Luck.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Arizona Cardinals, 1 p.m. on Fox — This one is all about the quarterbacks. Baltimore's Lamar Jackson was dominant against a paltry Miami defense last week — five touchdowns and a perfect passer rating are impressive no matter who the opponent is. Kyler Murray, the no. 1 pick in this year's draft, will be under center for Arizona. Murray struggled early in his debut against the Detroit Lions, but he went on to lead a comeback that ended in a tie.

Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. on Fox — New Orleans fans have been waiting for this one. The two teams met in last year's NFC championship game where it looked like New Orleans was going to the Super Bowl. But a bizarre no-call on a play that most agree should have been defensive pass interference on the Rams allowed Los Angeles enough time to force overtime and, eventually, win. Tim O'Donnell

12:15 p.m.

The United Auto Workers said its roughly 49,000 members who work at General Motors plants across the country will strike beginning at 11:59 p.m. Sunday evening.

A four-year contract between GM and the union expired Saturday and the two sides failed to reach a new agreement as talks broke down. GM said Sunday the auto company's offer to the union includes more than $7 billion in investments, more than 5,400 jobs, higher pay, and improved benefits.

"We have negotiated in good faith and with a sense of urgency," the automaker said in a statement. "Our goal remains to build a strong future for our employees and our business."

But union leaders said the sides are far apart on economic issues, despite some progress being made in the negotiation. "We are standing up for job security for our members and their families," Terry Dittes, director of the UAW GM department, said. He added that the the strike "represents great sacrifice and great courage on the part of our members."

The last time a national strike was called was 2007. It lasted for 17 hours. Read more at The Associated Press and The Detroit News. Tim O'Donnell

10:59 a.m.

President Trump is offering some of his favorite advice for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He wants him to sue.

The New York Times on Saturday reported a previously unknown sexual misconduct allegation made against Kavanaugh by a former Yale University classmate who reportedly witnessed the incident at a party during Kavanaugh's freshman year at the Ivy League school. The classmate reportedly alerted senators and the FBI about it during Kavanaugh's confirmation process last year, but the agency did not investigate the claims.

Kavanaugh, of course, faced several accusations of sexual misconduct before his confirmation, and the latest one has led to calls for a new investigation into the matter. But Trump, apparently, won't stand for that, instead chalking the news up to a conspiracy theory being pushed by the Democrats and the media in the hopes of impeaching the Trump-appointed justice.

Trump is therefore suggesting Kavanaugh defend his reputation by suing for libel. If he doesn't, the president vaguely called for the Justice Department to "come to his rescue." Tim O'Donnell

8:33 a.m.

Max Stier, a former Yale University classmate of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, reportedly notified senators and the FBI during the justice's confirmation process last year about a previously unreported sexual misconduct allegation involving Kavanaugh when he was a student at Yale.

Stier reportedly said he saw Kavanaugh — a freshman at the time — at a drunken dorm party with his pants down when his friends then pushed his penis into a female student's hands. The story is similar to an allegation against Kavanaugh made by another Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, but it is unclear if they are the same incident. It is also unclear if Stier knew the female student, or if she has verified the incident as described.

The FBI reportedly did not investigate the allegation and Stier has declined to speak about it publicly, but The New York Times reports it corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Stier.

Kavanaugh faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during his confirmation process, though only one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, was permitted to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Kavanaugh has denied the allegations. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads