What to Know
- Former Vice President Joe Biden officially entered the Democratic race for president
- Measles in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year
- A judge has entered a default judgment for a woman who sued R. Kelly, accusing him of sexually abusing her when she was a minor 20 years ago
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Former VP Joe Biden Announces 2020 Run for President
Former Vice President Joe Biden, a product of the working class who became a key adviser in the Obama administration following a long career in the Senate, officially entered the Democratic race for president, four years after his son's death led him to decline the opportunity to take on then-candidate Donald Trump. A group of prominent Pennsylvania Democrats, including Sen. Bob Casey, former Gov. Ed Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, are scheduled to throw a fundraiser for Biden. The fundraiser will be hosted by seven Democratic members of Congress from Pennsylvania, and will take place at the home of David Cohen, former Rendell chief of staff and senior executive vice president of Comcast. Biden, who chased the presidency twice before, enters the 2020 primary as the frontrunner after leading most polls in the already-crowded field of Democratic candidates. But he has decades of political experience that could double as ammunition for his critics.
After Mueller, Trump Says He'll Fight Dems on All Fronts
Just say no. As House Democrats ramp up their post-Mueller investigations into President Trump, his strategy for responding is simple: Resist on every legal front. The administration is straining to hold off congressional investigators, including their efforts to obtain the president's tax returns, his business' financial records and testimony from former senior aides. "We're fighting all the subpoenas," Trump declared on Wednesday. And if House members go all the way and try to impeach him, he said he would "head to the Supreme Court" for help. Portraying himself as unjustly persecuted in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, Trump said his White House would refuse to cooperate with further congressional investigation.
Putin, Kim Discuss How to Break N. Korean Nuclear Standoff
Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said they had good talks about their joint efforts to resolve a standoff over Pyongyang's nuclear program, amid stalled negotiations with the United States. Speaking at the start of the discussions at a university on the Russky Island across a bridge from Vladivostok, Putin voiced confidence Kim's visit will "help better understand what should be done to settle the situation on the Korean Peninsula, what we can do together, what Russia can do to support the positive processes going on now." Kim's first trip to Russia comes about two months after his second summit with President Donald Trump failed because of disputes over U.S.-led sanctions on the North. Putin meanwhile wants to expand Russia's clout in the region and get more leverage with Washington. Following their one-on-one meeting at the start of broader talks involving officials from both sides, Putin and Kim said they had a good discussion.
US Measles Cases Hit Highest Mark in 25 Years
Measles in the U.S. has climbed to its highest level in 25 years, closing in on 700 cases this year in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. "This is alarming," said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. Not only is measles dangerous in itself, but its return could mean other vaccine-preventable diseases seemingly consigned to the past may be coming back as well, he said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 695 cases had been reported in 22 states this year as of Wednesday afternoon. That was up from 626 reported Monday and makes this the nation's worst year for measles since 1994, with eight months still to go in 2019. There were 963 cases in 1994. Roughly three-quarters of this year's illnesses in the U.S. have been in New York state, mainly in two ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn and suburban Rockland County. Most of those cases have been in unvaccinated people. The number of cases is likely to go even higher. Measles is highly contagious and can spread through the air when someone coughs or sneezes.
No Screen Time for Babies; Only 1 Hour for Kids Under 5, UN Says
The World Health Organization has issued its first-ever guidance for how much screen time children under 5 should get: not very much, and none at all for those under 1. The U.N. health agency said kids under 5 should not spend more than one hour watching screens every day — and that less is better. The guidelines are somewhat similar to advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics. That group recommends children younger than 18 months should avoid screens other than video chats. It says parents of young children under two should choose "high-quality programming" with educational value and that can be watched with a parent to help kids understand what they're seeing. Some groups said WHO's screen time guidelines failed to consider the potential benefits of digital media. WHO's screen time advice "overly focuses on quantity of screen time and fails to consider the content and context of use," said Andrew Przybylski, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford. "Not all screen time is created equal."
Default Judgment Against No-Show R. Kelly in Civil Case
A Cook County judge has entered a default judgment for a woman who sued R. Kelly in February, accusing the singer of sexually abusing her when she was a minor 20 years ago. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the court will enter an amount Kelly should pay next month. It ruled Kelly in default after he never responded to summonses. Separately, Kelly is charged criminally with sexually abusing three girls and a woman. He denies the allegations. Lawsuit filings aren't clear about links to the criminal case. It's unclear if Kelly has a lawyer for the civil matter. His criminal attorney, Steve Greenberg, told The Associated Press Wednesday he isn't involved in the civil case. He added: "I know nothing about it except for what I read in the papers."
Britney Spears Shares Instagram Video to Reassure Fans She’s Well
Pop singer Britney Spears, who has recently sought mental health treatment, resurfaced on social media to reassure her fans she is doing well. "I wanted to say hi, because things that are being said have just gotten out of control!!! Wow!!! There’s rumors, death threats to my family and my team, and just so many things crazy things being said. I am trying to take a moment for myself, but everything that’s happening is just making it harder for me," Spears wrote on the post. Spears continued, "Don’t believe everything you read and hear... My situation is unique. But I promise I’m doing what’s best at this moment best at this moment. You may not know this about me, but I am strong, and stand up for what I want! Your love and dedication is amazing, but what I need right now is a little bit of privacy to deal with all the hard things that life is throwing my way. If you could do that, I would be forever grateful. Love you " Spears Instagram post came a day after the hashtag, #FreeBritney, took social media by storm. Fans concerned about the singer's well-being sparked the hashtag on Twitter after she checked into a mental health facility to help cope with the stress of dealing with her father, Jamie Spears' illness.