May 18, 2018

Every single Chilean bishop in Rome has offered their resignation to the pope following a sexual abuse cover-up scandal in their country, the Catholic Herald reports. While it is not yet clear if Pope Francis will accept the 32 bishops' resignations, the move follows a three-day "crisis meeting" this week where he accused the bishops of destroying evidence of Father Fernando Karadima's sex crimes against children.

Pope Francis had previously defended Bishop Juan Barros, who allegedly covered up the abuse allegations against his mentor, Karadima. After the publication of a 2,300-page investigation and meeting with victims, the pope admitted he was wrong and that he had been "part of the problem."

The pope's decision regarding the resignations is expected in the coming weeks, Crux reports. "We have put our positions in the hands of the Holy Father and will leave it to him to decide freely for each of us," the Chilean bishops said in a statement. Jeva Lange

May 17, 2018
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The Senate on Thursday voted 54-45 to confirm Gina Haspel as the director of the CIA. She will be the first woman to lead the spy agency.

Haspel had faced fierce criticism for her involvement in previous CIA torture programs, including at a "black site" in Thailand in 2002. Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was absent from the vote as he undergoes cancer treatment away from the Senate, had urged his colleagues to vote against Haspel, calling her previous actions "disqualifying." McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war after he was captured in Vietnam.

During her testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Haspel had declined to say the CIA's actions were "immoral." But she was more explicit in a letter released earlier this week, saying that "the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken." Kimberly Alters

May 16, 2018

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced Wednesday that it has reached the conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election with the specific aim of electing President Trump, The Washington Post reports. The report confirms findings by the intelligence community, but conflicts with the conclusions reached by House Republicans in April, which were called "highly partisan" and "incomplete" by former CIA Director John Brennan.

The Senate committee additionally released some 2,000 pages of documents related to a heavily-scrutinized meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Kremlin-linked lawyer at Trump Tower, although Wednesday's report does not weigh in either way on the question of if the Trump team colluded with Russia. Such a determination will come in the Senate's final report.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said in a statement that "there is no doubt Russia undertook an unprecedented effort to interfere with our 2016 elections." The dispute between the House and Senate GOP "sets up a clash … over which record of events is most accurate," The Washington Post writes. Jeva Lange

May 16, 2018

Michigan State University has reached a $500 million settlement with hundreds of victims of Larry Nassar, the former school physician who has been accused of sexual assault by scores of women, the Detroit Free Press reports. The settlement, announced Wednesday, requires the school to immediately pay out $425 million while reserving $75 million should other Nassar victims come forward.

Nassar remained employed by Michigan State for years after his abuse was first reported to school officials; university president Lou Anna Simon and athletic director Mark Hollis have both resigned in the wake of Nassar's legal reckoning. Nassar was also a longtime team doctor for USA Gymnastics, and several athletes spoke out about his abuse at his sentencing earlier this year, including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber.

In January, Nassar, 54, was sentenced by Judge Rosemarie Aquilina to 40 to 175 years in prison on seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. Kimberly Alters

May 15, 2018

Eight-time All-Star Robinson Cano has been suspended for 80 games, effective immediately, for violating Major League Baseball's drug agreement, Z Deportes' Héctor Gómez and The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal report. Cano, who won a World Series with the New York Yankees and now plays second base for the Seattle Mariners, said in a statement: "Recently I learned that I tested positive for a substance called furosemide, which is not a Performance Enhancing Substance. Furosemide is used to treat various medical conditions in the United States."

Cano said he was given the medication by a doctor, and that he is accepting the suspension "given that I do not dispute that I was given this substance."

Furosemide is a diuretic, which is banned by MLB due to the fact that it can be used to mask the use of performance-enhancing drugs. Jared Diamond, a baseball writer for The Wall Street Journal, tweeted: "Every player knows to talk to somebody with his team before taking any new medication, even if prescribed by a doctor. It's standard protocol. Robinson Cano has been in the majors since 2005. At absolute best, he's guilty of extreme negligence." T.J. Quinn, a writer for ESPN, added that Cano wouldn't have been suspended if MLB had not been able to prove he was using furosemide to mask a banned substance.

The report has many questioning Cano's once-likely Hall of Fame status. His suspension will end in mid-August, Rosenthal reports, and he will be ineligible for the postseason. Read his statement in full below. Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange

May 15, 2018
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The Trump administration is apparently moving ahead with its plans to separate children from their parents in cases where the family has crossed the border illegally, The Washington Post reports. The controversial plan is part of a new "zero tolerance" policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this month when he said, "If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally."

The Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the underage migrants, is apparently making site visits at military bases in Texas and Arkansas as possible places to house the children until an adult relative can take them into custody. No decisions have been made, although the locations being considered include the Army's Fort Bliss, Goodfellow Air Force Base, and Dyess Air Force Base — all in Texas — as well as the Little Rock Air Force Base.

The Department of Homeland Security did not have an estimate of how many children it would need to hold, although the Post suggested it could be "thousands." Jeva Lange

May 15, 2018
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Influential journalist and author Tom Wolfe died Monday at the age of 88, The New York Times has confirmed. Wolfe was best known for his novel Bonfire of the Vanities, which was adapted into a movie starring Tom Hanks and Melanie Griffith, as well as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff.

Wolfe left his mark on the nonfiction genre with his contribution to New Journalism, which emphasized literary techniques and individual subjectivity over classical, objective fact-based reporting. "He is probably the most skillful writer in America — I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else," National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr once wrote of Wolfe. Jeva Lange

May 15, 2018
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The United States has blocked the United Nations Security Council from issuing a call for an independent investigation into the deaths of dozens of Palestinians who were killed Monday along the Gaza border, CNBC reports.

The drafted statement would have read: "The Security Council expresses its outrage and sorrow at the killing of Palestinian civilians exercising their right to peaceful protest. The Security Council calls for an independent and transparent investigation into these actions to ensure accountability."

The violence came in a surge of protest against Monday's opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, a city claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital. President Trump decided last year to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In remarks at the dedication of the embassy on Monday, Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said that the protesters "provoking violence are part of the problem and not part of the solution." His comments were apparently later removed from the White House's official transcript.

Nearly 60 people were killed in Gaza on Monday, including eight children under the age of 16, and some 2,000 or more people were injured, local monitors report. Global human rights watchdog Amnesty International called the violence "a shameless violation of international law, in some instances constituting war crimes." The White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been reluctant to characterize the Palestinian protests as "peaceful," though, with Israel saying it acted in self-defense against terrorists. Jeva Lange

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