December 26, 2019

Iran wants to make sure what happens in its country stays there.

As Iranians prepared to launch another round of anti-government protests on Thursday, the government appeared to start shutting down internet and mobile service to seemingly block protesters' messages from reaching the rest of the world. Internet monitoring service NetBlocks reported an internet outage starting at 6:30 a.m., and Reuters reported it "appear[ed] to be spreading."

Iranians gathered Thursday to continue protesting rising gas prices, which influence price hikes across the economy. They also commemorated the estimated 1,500 people who had been killed in previous protests against the government. Reuters recently made that estimate via government sources, and it's about five times as high as the toll Amnesty International has predicted. In at least one case, The New York Times' Farna Fassahi reported that a family mourning the death of protester Pouya Bakhtiari was blocked from visiting his grave, and that some of his family members were arrested.

Reporter Yashar Ali, who has family in Iran, tweeted that he'd messaged several of his relatives to check in, but none of his messages were received. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:30 p.m.

Mort Drucker, the beloved artist known for his work at MAD magazine, has died at 91.

Drucker died Wednesday at his home in New York, his friend John Reiner confirmed to The New York Times. Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper his death was not thought to be related to COVID-19.

After joining MAD in 1956, Drucker's hilarious caricatures satirizing pop culture soon became iconic, and he illustrated more than half of the magazine's movie parodies from the 1960s through 2008, per the Times. In a 2000 interview with the Times, he noted, "I think I've drawn almost everyone in Hollywood."

Among Drucker's other notable work includes the poster for George Lucas' American Graffiti; according to The Hollywood Reporter, Lucas personally drove to Drucker's home on Long Island to convince him to draw it.

"The World has lost a not just an extraordinary talent but a shining example of kindness, humility and humor," the National Cartoonists Society said in a statement.

MAD fans on Thursday quickly began sharing their favorite cartoons from Drucker's legendary career, including his parodies of Jaws and Star Wars. "Many of his illustrations are as vivid in my mind as the movies and TV shows that inspired them," The New York Times' Dave Itzkoff wrote.

Reiner told CNN's Jake Tapper that Drucker's final words to him were, "I'm the luckiest man — I've had a wonderful life." Brendan Morrow

2:11 p.m.

First lady Melania Trump is officially donning a face mask during the COVID-19 pandemic, although the jury's still out on whether her husband will follow suit.

In a social media post Thursday, the first lady shared a photo of herself wearing what appears to be a surgical mask, touting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation "to wear cloth face coverings."

"Remember, this does NOT replace the importance of social distancing," she wrote. "It is recommended to keep us all safe."

Melania's masking comes one week after President Trump announced he would not be wearing a mask, despite the CDC-issued guidelines urging people to do so. At the time, Trump implied that it would be odd to be "sitting in the Oval Office, behind that beautiful Resolute Desk" while wearing a mask, so it's unclear how he's taking this news.

The photo of the first lady appears to show her wearing a surgical mask rather than the CDC-recommended "cloth face covering," the former of which is recommended only for use by health care professionals and medical first responders amid critical supply shortages.