winter is coming
August 10, 2020

Infectious disease experts are warning Americans to rethink their priorities with winter approaching more swiftly than people would like to think, bringing with it the possibility of an even worse coronavirus crisis.

The problem is many people aren't taking advantage of the breathing room summer provides to curb the virus' spread, opting instead to return to pre-pandemic routines, Stat News reports. "We just continue to squander every bit of opportunity we get with this epidemic to get it under control," said epidemiologist Michael Mina, an assistant professor in Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health and associate medical director of clinical microbiology at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. "The best time to squash a pandemic is when the environmental characteristics slow transmission. It's your one opportunity in the year, really, to leverage that extra assistance and get transmission under control."

There's still time do that, per Stat, but if Americans don't act quickly, they can expect bleaker-than-usual winter months. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, predicted that, without a new lockdown or barring an effective vaccine before the end of the year, winter will force people indoors and exacerbate the pandemic, which he said will see peaks "by far" exceeding the one the U.S. just experienced in recent weeks. Read more at Stat News. Tim O'Donnell

April 1, 2019

For nearly four minutes on Sunday night, there was a touch of Westeros in Las Vegas.

In celebration of the upcoming Game of Thrones season premiere, the world-famous fountains at the Bellagio resort put on a special performance. Imagery familiar to viewers, like the Night King and dragons, was projected onto the water, and composer Ramin Dhawadi put together a soundtrack for the show. As an 800-foot-long water wall rose up from the lake, jets formed the shape of a crown and throne.

There weren't any spoilers for the eighth — and final — season, but for the first time in hotel history, the water was set on fire, The Associated Press reports. The special fountain show will go off nightly through April 13. Catherine Garcia

January 14, 2019

For Game of Thrones fans, winter is looking especially dark this year.

HBO on Sunday released the first teaser trailer for the series' eighth season, which features Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) visiting the crypts of Winterfell and encountering statues of themselves that signal their own future deaths.

This being Game of Thrones, the cryptic teaser naturally spawned tons of fan theories. For instance, viewers immediately noticed that Jon's statue appears to age him, whereas Sansa's and Arya's come closer to capturing their present-day likenesses. Perhaps Harington's face was just difficult to accurately chisel, but could this alternatively symbolize the fact that Arya and Sansa will perish in Season 8, whereas Jon will live much longer?

There's also the question of Bran Stark's absence in the trailer, which some fans are taking as evidence of a particularly wild long-standing theory: that Bran will actually become the Night King after getting stuck back in time at the end of the series. Of course, it could also be that Bran isn't here simply because he has fully become the Three-Eyed Raven and will never truly be a Stark again.

The teaser certainly shouldn't be taken as gospel, as the footage is really meant to symbolize what lies ahead rather than depict a scene from the show. But with three back-to-back clips being played that all tie into Jon Snow's parentage in some way, expect his realization of his lineage to be a massive turning point in the series.

Game of Thrones will return for its eighth season on April 14. Watch the teaser below. Brendan Morrow

August 29, 2018

President Trump has been able to have serious discussions about impeachment with his lawyers, but other times he will get angry when people bring up what he calls "the i-word," Trump allies with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post on Wednesday.

The Post spoke with 26 White House advisers, officials, lawyers, and strategists, and several said Trump does not have a strategy in place should Democrats take over the House and have subpoena power. It's possible Democrats could pursue impeachment charges, and Trump's legal team does not have the experience to handle such matters, people told the Post; he's talked with advisers about having Abbe Lowell, the defense lawyer representing son-in-law Jared Kushner, come on board if necessary.

White House Counsel Don McGahn, who will leave in the fall, and other aides remind Trump about the possibility of impeachment when they want to keep him from doing something they find troublesome, the Post reports, and many people are worried because Trump has not asked his lawyers or aides to put together an action plan. "Winter is coming," one Trump ally told the Post. "Assuming Democrats win the House, which we all believe is a very strong likelihood, the White House will be under siege. But it's like tumbleweeds rolling down the halls over there. Nobody's prepared for war." Catherine Garcia

November 30, 2017

Beleaguered Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) had a very eventful Thursday morning. Hours after one of his accusers spoke to the Today show about his alleged sexual harassment, Conyers was hospitalized with a "stress-related illness." Now, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants Conyers to resign from his congressional seat.

"The allegations against Congressman Conyers, as we have learned more since Sunday, are serious, disappointing, and very credible," Pelosi told reporters. "Congressman Conyers should resign."

An hour later, Conyers' lawyer fired back that "Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman and she sure as hell won't tell the congressman to leave."

Earlier Thursday, Marion Brown, a former staffer for the Democratic congressman, told the Today show that he "asked me to satisfy him sexually. He pointed to areas of, genital areas of his body and asked me to, you know, touch it." After BuzzFeed News reported last week that Brown — who was unnamed in the piece — settled a wrongful termination suit against Conyers for allegedly firing her after she rejected his sexual advances, two more former staffers came out with allegations of sexual misconduct against the Democratic congressman. Conyers maintains his innocence.

Pelosi initially sided with the congressman, calling him "an icon in our country" who had "done a great deal to protect women." The next day she said in a statement that she had spoken to one of Conyers' accusers and believed the allegations, but she stopped short of asking for his resignation.

You can watch Pelosi have a final change of heart below: Kelly O'Meara Morales

November 15, 2017

A woman who spoke to AL.com on Wednesday claims that she was groped by Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in 1991. Tina Johnson is the sixth woman to accuse Moore of sexual misconduct in the last week, as the former judge has been accused of courting three teenagers and sexually assaulting two minors when he was in his 30s.

Johnson's account of her encounter with Moore is the first accusation against him that does not involve a teenager. Johnson told AL.com that she was 28 years old when Moore grabbed her rear-end and asked if her young daughters were as pretty as she was. "He didn't pinch it; he grabbed it," Johnson said. Moore was married at the time of the alleged assault.

Another woman, Kelly Harrison Thorp, told AL.com that she was a 17-year-old high school senior when she met Moore in 1982, at the Red Lobster where she worked. Thorp said that Moore asked her out on a date and when she asked in response if he knew how old she was, he replied, "Yeah. I go out with girls your age all the time."

Moore has denied the allegations of sexual assault. By way of additional defense, he told Fox News' Sean Hannity in an interview last Friday that he never dated girls without permission from their mothers.

Just before AL.com published its story, lawyers for Moore tried to cast doubt on the allegations leveled by Beverly Young Nelson on Monday. Nelson accused Moore of sexually assaulting her in a locked car when she was 16 and submitted her high school yearbook as evidence of Moore's flirtation with her, showing a fawning note written and signed by Moore. Moore's lawyers claimed Wednesday that the signature was forged.

Read the full account at AL.com. Kelly O'Meara Morales

November 14, 2017

During a House Administration Committee hearing Tuesday regarding congressional policies on sexual harassment, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said that two current congressmen — one Republican and one Democrat — had sexually harassed congressional staffers. Speier listed additional instances of alleged harassment by lawmakers that included groping, unwanted exposure, and in one case, a member asking a female staffer, "Are you going to be a good girl?"

Speier spoke on behalf of the victims, saying, "All they ask ... is to be able to work in a hostile-free work environment. They want the system fixed and the perpetrators held accountable."

In a follow-up interview with MSNBC, Speier explained the labyrinthine process victims of sexual harassment must undergo when reporting an incident related to Congress, which includes enduring one month of legal counseling, signing a nondisclosure agreement, going through another month of mediation, and then taking a month-long cooling off process before filing a formal sexual harassment complaint.

On Tuesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced the House would introduce mandatory sexual harassment training, though he did not yet offer details about the new policy. Last week, Speier and two other representatives co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that would call for mandatory training; the California congresswoman also plans to introduce a bill to reform the congressional complaint process for sexual harassment. Kelly O'Meara Morales

November 17, 2016

A white winter wonderland is nothing but a dream for most Americans in the Lower 48, where snow cover is at its lowest point ever for November, modern records indicate. "How unusual is this?" the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration writes. "National snow analyses have been compiled by NOAA's National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center since 2003 and, during that time, never have the first two weeks of November shown such small amounts of snow."

In NOAA's illustration above, "the map on the left shows average snow cover from 1981 to 2010 for the second week of November. The image on the right shows the current amount of snow cover as of Nov. 14, 2016." Snow only covers the ground in 0.2 percent of the country, and is isolated to the high Sierra Nevada, Rocky, and Cascade mountains. Denver even had an 80-degree day Wednesday, The Washington Post reports.

But despite 2016 likely being the hottest year on record, winter is coming. A snowstorm is developing in the Rockies this week and is expected to sweep the High Plains and into northern Minnesota, with blizzard warnings issued for eastern South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. Jeva Lange

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