What to Know
- The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $970 million, inching ever-closer to the $1 billion mark
- Traces of the name 'Weight Watchers' have been scrubbed from the company's headquarters on Manhattan's Avenue of the Americas, now WW
- Hundreds of people turned out at a public housing complex in Brooklyn for a chance to meet rap superstar Cardi B, who handed out coats
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Mega Millions Jackpot at $970 Million as Drawing Approaches
The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $970 million, inching ever-closer to the $1 billion mark. Officials raised the estimated jackpot for the second time due to strong sales ahead of the drawing. The prize is the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history, behind only a $1.6 billion Powerball prize won in 2016. No one has matched all six numbers and won the Mega Millions grand prize since July 24. That reflects the game's long odds, at one in 302.5 million. The $970 million refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. Most winners take the cash option, which would pay an immediate $513 million. About half of the jackpot winnings would go to taxes. Meanwhile, there was no winner in the latest Powerball drawing, leaving the jackpot to swell to an estimated $430 million. The next drawing is Saturday.
Trump Praises Montana Congressman Who Assaulted Reporter
President Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., for physically assaulting a reporter during a House race last year — remarks that come amid calls for Trump to hold Saudi Arabia responsible for the disappearance and apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "Never wrestle him," Trump said of Gianforte at a campaign rally in an airplane hangar in Missoula, Montana, NBC News reported. "Any guy that can do a body slam, he's my guy." Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault last year after he laid hands on Ben Jacobs, a reporter for The Guardian, and was sentenced to 40 hours of community service, 20 hours of anger-management counseling and payment of a $385 fine. The Guardian's U.S. editor, John Mulholland, said "to celebrate an attack on a journalist who was simply doing his job is an attack on the First Amendment by someone who has taken an oath to defend it" in a statement provided to the paper.
Dieting Is Out, Posing a Problem for Company Named Weight Watchers
Traces of the name "Weight Watchers" have been scrubbed from the company's headquarters on Manhattan's Avenue of the Americas. Purple letters — WW — now hang from the lobby announcing the $4.6 billion diet giant's new name that it unveiled in September along with its purpose: "We inspire healthy habits for real life. For people, families, communities, the world — for everyone." The cosmetic changes are the final touches on the 55-year-old company's new plan: Sell wellness instead of weight loss to its 4.5 million subscribers. CEO Mindy Grossman, who took the helm last summer, is tasked with maintaining a balance between WW's status as a weight-loss leader while trying to attract new subscribers who don't want to lose weight. She also has to persuade existing members to stay after reaching their goal.
Cardi B Gives Away Hundreds of Coats at Public Housing Complex in NYC
Hundreds of people turned out at a public housing complex in Brooklyn for a chance to meet rap superstar Cardi B, who was scheduled to distribute hundreds of coats to families. Fans waited more than for four hours outside the Marlboro Houses for a chance to meet the Bronx-born chart topper and to get a coat. "I think she's unbelievable, and I think it's great she's doing this for the less fortunate," said Dana Spear of Gravesend. This neighborhood really needs it," said another person waiting. The event was put together by a local designer and friends of the reality-turned-music superstar. Cardi B was scheduled to arrive by 5 p.m. but ended up hours later. She said it was because of a photo shoot, but was happy to meet fans and give away coats and sneakers. Crowds mobbed the rec room inside Marlboro Houses as they lined up.
Banksy Posts Video Saying Incomplete Shredding a Malfunction
Banksy posted a new video to his website implying the partial shredding of his "Girl With Balloon" at a London auction was supposed to have been complete. The video shows the famously anonymous artist constructing the shredding mechanism inside an ornate frame and pushing a button in a black box to activate the destruction at Sotheby's in London earlier this month. The act shocked the crowd, but the winning bidder, a European collector, went ahead and bought it anyway for $1.4 million, according to the auction house. Sotheby's did not name the buyer. The partial shredding drew speculation that the act was a stunt to increase the value of the painting of a young girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.