Saudi Arabia denies it hacked Jeff Bezos' phone after crown prince implicated

    Summary
    A forensics team hired by Jeff Bezos has concluded with medium to high probability that a hack of the Amazon CEO's mobile phone originated from an account controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to a source.

    This year, at least six states are trying to restrict transgender kids from getting gender reassignment treatments

    Summary
    State lawmakers can't stop fighting about the rights of their transgender citizens: Their access to bathrooms. The sports they can play in school. Whether businesses can turn them away because of their gender identity.

    A homeless veteran with no known family was treated to a burial with full honors in Florida

    Summary
    He was known around town as the friendly homeless man who would happily chat about anything -- the weather, sports or whatever passersby wanted to talk about. But when John Meade died in St. Augustine, Florida, late last year, police realized he had rarely talked about himself. They had no one to call to deliver the news.

    Supreme Court considers Montana ruling blocking government subsidies for religious schools

    Summary
    The Supreme Court will take the bench Wednesday to consider a dispute that could open the door to more state funds going toward religious education.

    DNC begins multi-million 'battleground' investment in six states won by Trump

    Summary
    The Democratic National Committee will begin to pour millions of dollars into six battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona -- in preparation for a general election fight against President Donald Trump, the committee announced Wednesday.

    Storm Gloria: Sea foam engulfs streets of Spanish town

    Summary
    Marine foam brought ashore my Storm Gloria floods streets in Tossa De Mar in Spain.

    Storm Gloria floods major river delta in eastern Spain

    Summary
    A storm surge ruins rice paddies on Spain's Ebro River and beach resorts are damaged.

    Davos: Greta Thunberg & Donald Trump clash on climate change

    Summary
    The Swedish climate activist and the US president gave very different speeches at Davos.

    South Korea transgender soldier to sue over dismissal

    Summary
    Byun Hui-soo accuses South Korea's military of intolerance after it said she had broken regulations.

    Pre-Hispanic sweat lodge uncovered in Mexico City

    Summary
    The remains of the sweat lodge still has the part where the tub or pool for the steam bath was located.

    Javid stands by proposed digital tax in face of US threats

    Summary
    Chancellor Sajid Javid has vowed to go ahead with the UK's digital service tax despite threats of US retaliation.

    World's oldest asteroid crater 'could have thawed Ice Age'

    Summary
    The world's oldest asteroid crater has been discovered in Western Australia, which could have ended an Ice Age, according to scientists.

    Trump on trial: Republicans block testimony by former national security adviser

    Summary
    Republican senators have blocked a move by Democrats to compel Donald Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton to appear as a witness in the impeachment trial.

    Man arrested in Denmark over murder of London 'gangster'

    Summary
    A man has been arrested in Denmark over the Christmas Eve murder of a suspected gangster in front of his wife and child in south London.

    Screening in UK as China warns deadly virus is 'mutating'

    Summary
    The new virus that has killed nine people in China is mutating and could spread further, health officials have warned, as Britain announced measures to monitor flights arriving from the country.

    Trump and the Teenager: A Climate Showdown at Davos

    Summary
    President Trump and Greta Thunberg dominated the first full day of the annual gathering of the rich and powerful in the Swiss Alps.

    This 3-Year-Old May Be Smarter Than You

    Summary
    Muhammad Haryz Nadzim became the youngest current Mensa member after scoring 142 on an I.Q. test. Above 145 is considered “genius or near genius.”

    Trump, in Davos to Talk Trade, Lashes Out at Enemies Back Home

    Summary
    The White House hoped the president’s trip to the World Economic Forum would shift attention away from impeachment, but an impromptu news conference often turned to the drama in Washington.

    Impeachment, Coronavirus, Terry Jones: Your Wednesday Briefing

    Summary
    Here's what you need to know.

    ​South Korea Discharges Soldier Who Underwent Sex-Change Surgery

    Summary
    In a first for the country, an active-duty South Korean soldier faced a military panel that decided whether she was fit to serve after a gender-reassignment operation.

    Facing economic crisis, Lebanon's government weighs options

    Summary
    Lebanon's Hezbollah-backed government will walk a political tightrope as it moves to urgently secure foreign funding to ward off financial collapse and could look to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.

    Romanian mayor fined for speech inciting hatred of Roma minority

    Summary
    Romania's anti-discrimination watchdog fined a city mayor on Wednesday for a speech inciting hatred after he suggested would-be parents should be screened and the rights of the Roma ethnic minority to have children restricted.

    Saudi prince had 'possible involvement' in hacking of Bezos phone: U.N. experts

    Summary
    UN experts said on Wednesday that they had information pointing to the "possible involvement" of Saudi Arabia's crown prince in the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone in 2018.

    Main Irish opposition party would boost Rainy Day Fund

    Summary
    Ireland's main opposition party Fianna Fail, leading in opinion polls before a Feb. 8 election, will boost annual contributions to the state's Rainy Day Fund if elected in an attempt to further shield the treasury from potential future shocks.

    Guinea-Bissau electoral commission confirms Embalo as president

    Summary
    Guinea-Bissau's national electoral commission confirmed former Prime Minister Umaro Cissoko Embalo as winner of the presidential ballot on Wednesday, after the Supreme Court threw the result into doubt last week.

    Millions of climate refugees may need protection, U.N. says

    Summary
    "The message is clear: Pacific Island states do not need to be underwater before triggering human rights obligations to protect the right to life," said Kate Schuetze of Amnesty International.

    Coronavirus virus case found in the U.S.

    Summary
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case in the U.S. of the deadly coronavirus. Health officials said a man in Washington state has the same virus that sickened about 300 people in China. Mark Strassmann reports.

    Trump blasts impeachment trial upon arrival at Davos Economic Forum

    Summary
    President Trump gave a speech touting his economic record after arriving at Davos and blasting the Senate impeachment trial. Mr. Trump campaigned against the global elite in 2016 and seized this opportunity to highlight the current economy and his recent trade deals with Mexico, Canada and China. Paula Reid reports on whether he can stay focused on that positive economic message and not on his frustration with the impeachment process back at home.

    CDC confirms first U.S. case of coronavirus

    Summary
    A man in Washington state is sick from the virus after returning from a trip to China.

    Malaysia returns thousands of tons of trash to wealthy countries

    Summary
    "Our position is very firm. We just want to send it back and we just want to give a message that Malaysia is not the dumping site of the world," Malaysia's environmental minister said.

    Column: You thought the Dodgers lost the 2017 and 2018 World Series? Not according to the L.A. City Council

    Summary
    What self-respecting Dodgers fan could take pride in claiming championships we didn't win?

    Harvey Weinstein trial moves to opening arguments, as chastened mogul finally has his day in court

    Summary
    18 months after his arrest on sex assault charges, Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial finally begins before a packed courtroom in lower Manhattan

    Homeless but not friendless: How a Facebook group supports people on the streets

    Summary
    A Facebook group for homeless people has more than 1,200 members. They share stories and tips on surviving on the streets.

    Magnitude 3.6 earthquake in Granada Hills shakes up L.A. region

    Summary
    Light shaking was felt in the San Fernando Valley

    Oakland bans criminal background checks on potential tenants

    Summary
    Oakland's ordinance is the strictest of its kind in the state, covering both public and private housing.

    Bill Self on 'embarrassment' of Kansas-Kansas State brawl: 'Ridiculous' it happened in in the stands

    Summary
    Punishments are expected to be handed down Wednesday for players involved in melee, which occurred in final seconds of Kansas-Kansas State.

    Where could Philip Rivers land next? Six NFL teams stand out for longtime Chargers QB

    Summary
    If Philip Rivers' move out of Southern California is any indication, his days with the Chargers might be over. But where would the QB head next?

    The 54 greatest players in Super Bowl history: How high do 49ers legend rank?

    Summary
    Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are some of the most accomplished players ever to take the field in the Super Bowl, but is either one the best ever?

    Grammys 2020 predictions: Who will win the night's biggest awards and who should

    Summary
    Pop breakouts Billie Eilish and Lizzo are expected to pull in some of the biggest prizes at Sunday's Grammy Awards, but look out for Taylor Swift.

    Nicolas Cage talks melting down in a Volvo, mutual Kesha love and missing his lost meteorite

    Summary
    Nicolas Cage is plagued by a mysterious meteorite in "Color Out of Space," but in reality, the star misses the space rock stolen from his house.

    Monty Python Star Terry Jones Dies at 77

    Summary
    (LONDON) — Terry Jones, a member of the *Monty Python* comedy troupe, has died. he was 77 and had been suffering from dementia. Jones’s agent says he died Tuesday evening. In a statement, his family said he died “after a long, extremely brave but always good humored battle with a rare form of dementia, FTD.” With Eric Idle, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, Jones formed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, whose anarchic humor helped revolutionize British comedy.

    South Korean Military Discharges Transgender Tank Driver, Despite Her Pleas to Serve

    Summary
    (SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korea’s first known transgender soldier pleaded to be allowed to continue serving after the military decided Wednesday to discharge her for undergoing gender reassignment surgery. It was the first time in South Korea that an active-duty member has been referred to a military panel to determine whether to end his or her service due to a sex reassignment operation. South Korea prohibits transgender people from joining the military but has no specific laws on what to do with those who have sex reassignment operations during their time in service. The army said in a statement that it concluded the soldier’s operation can be considered a reason for discharge. It said the decision went through due process and was based on a related military law on personnel changes. Army officials cited a provision of the law allowing the military to discharge personnel with physical or mental disabilities if those problems weren’t a result of combat or in the line of duty. After the ruling, the staff sergeant, who identified herself as a tank driver named Byun Hui-su, held a news conference at which she asked military leaders to reconsider their decision and let her serve as a female soldier. She said becoming a soldier was her childhood dream and that she now wants to serve at the tense border with rival North Korea. “Regardless of my sexual identity, I’d like to show everyone that I can become one of the great soldiers who protect this country,” Byun said, holding back tears. “Please give me that chance.” Byun said she had sex reassignment surgery in Thailand in November after suffering depression over her sexual identity for an extended period. She said in early 2019 she had the top score in an official assessment of tank driving skills among her battalion staff sergeants. *Read more:* *Don’t Forget the Dark Side of Living in South Korea* Speaking at the same news conference, rights activist Lim Tae-hoon said he will fight alongside Byun and others to transform what he called “our savage military.” Lim, the leader of the Seoul-based Center for Military Human Rights, took issue with the army’s legal justification for discharging Byun. “I can’t resist feeling wretched at the military’s vulgar mindset,” he said. South Korea’s state-run human rights watchdog recommended Tuesday that the army postpone its decision. The National Human Rights Commission said in a statement that referring the soldier to the military panel would be an act of discrimination over sexual identity and affect the soldier’s basic human rights. Public views on gender issues in South Korea have gradually changed in recent years. Several gay-themed movies and TV dramas have become hits and some transgender entertainers have risen to stardom. However, a strong bias against sexual minorities still runs deep in South Korean society. Activists say transgender people are likely to face harassment, abuse and insults, and many suffer from depression.

    Who Will Win—and Who Should—at the 2020 Grammys

    Summary
    Awards season rolls on, with the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards right around the corner on Jan. 26. And after more than six decades of music celebrating its own on the industry’s biggest night, we know better than to put *too* much stock into how the prizes are allocated; even Adele tried to give her Grammy away to Beyoncé back in 2017. But one thing the Grammys have going for them is the element of surprise: last year, underdog country singer Kacey Musgraves stunned everyone by taking home Album of the Year. Meanwhile, Childish Gambino cleaned up with his searing “This Is America” in the other top categories, while Dua Lipa was crowned Best New Artist. This year’s show arrives in a haze of turmoil, 10 days after Recording Academy President and CEO Deborah Dugan was shockingly removed from her post. But the Grammys may well rise above the fray: after all, the show will be celebrating a year in which Lil Nas X came from nowhere to dominate the charts, Lizzo resurfaced a 2017 song to boost herself to new heights and teens like Billie Eilish dominated the zeitgeist. The Grammys have always tried to balance popular appeal with more traditional tendencies, to generally mixed results. But each year is an opportunity to reset those norms. And hope springs eternal. With the show coming up, TIME writers Raisa Bruner and Andrew R. Chow consider the wide range of nominees and make their picks for who should receive the prized trophies — and who will probably get them instead. *Album of the Year* [image: Electric Picnic Music Festival 2019] Debbie Hickey—Getty ImagesBillie Eilish at the 2019 Electric Picnic Music Festival in Ireland. *I,I,* Bon Iver *Norman F–king Rockwell,* Lana Del Rey *When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go*, Billie Eilish *Thank U, Next,* Ariana Grande *I Used to Know Her*, H.E.R. *7*, Lil Nas X *Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)*, Lizzo *Father of the Bride, *Vampire Weekend *Raisa Bruner: *I’d love to see Lana Del Rey get her due this year. *Norman F–king Rockwell* was beautiful, elegiac and witty, the culmination of Del Rey’s many years exploring her sad-Americana style. It offers an alternative vision of our era, layering a veneer of pretty poetry over a decade that often felt garish. But it may be Eilish’s time to shine. *When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?* — recorded with her brother Finneas in their bedroom studio — is a precocious debut statement that reads as both experimental, nimble pop and a deadpan in-joke with the next generation. These two artists actually have more in common than not; they’re just reflecting distinct eras, with the nihilism of both deeply inscribed in their work. In between them lies Ariana Grande, whose *thank u, next* is also generation-defining. Part of that is in its timeliness, with its release dovetailing with (and providing inside information on) Grande’s tabloid presence. The other part comes down to Grande’s overall sound, which leans heavily on a light trip-hop that feels very current. While I think this is Grande’s best album-length statement yet, the Grammys may wait to award a project that showcases more of her vocal ability. *Andrew R. Chow: *Lana certainly deserves her due, but I’ve been a bit mystified this year to watch critical consensus pool around this particular record, which seems to be no stronger nor weaker than the rest of her catalog. The highs on *Norman F–king Rockwell *are blazingly high (more on that later), but some of the lyrics possess a strong “How do you do, fellow kids” energy (see: “I’ll catch you on the flip side / If you come back to California, you should just hit me up”). I think Eilish has the inside track here. *When We All Fall Asleep *was the best-selling album of 2019 and also well liked by critics — and voters were intrigued with its sonic intricacies and oddities enough to nominate Finneas for Producer of the Year. Eilish would be the youngest winner of Album of the Year in Grammys history, and rewarding the world’s biggest teen idol would make sense for an institution making a desperate bid for relevancy. But the Recording Academy voter pool is still just 22 percent women — so it also wouldn’t be surprising if Bon Iver walked home with a win in the mold of Arcade Fire (2011) and Beck (2015). The band’s creator Justin Vernon is eight years removed from the “Who is Bonnie Bear?” debacle, making him a bonafide Grammy vet; his music was just featured in a high-profile Lebron James Nike ad, and he’s a man who plays guitar and writes his own songs. And if it counts for anything, *i,**i *is a truly breathtaking album, filled with daring experimental production and accessible earworms. Record of the Year [image: WiLD 94.9's FM's Jingle Ball 2019 Presented by Capital One at The Masonic] Getty Images—2019 Miikka SkaffariLil Nas X performs at WiLD 94.9’s FM’s Jingle Ball 2019 on December 08, 2019 in San Francisco, California. “Hey, Ma,” Bon Iver “Bad Guy,” Billie Eilish “7 Rings,” Ariana Grande “Hard Place,” H.E.R. “Talk,” Khalid “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X “Truth Hurts,” Lizzo “Sunflower,” Post Malone & Swae Lee *Bruner: *“Truth Hurts” is such a joyful anthem that I want it to get some love here. But it’s been embroiled in legal questions over the origin of the song’s most memorable lyric, which could complicate things for voters. In lieu of that, I’m partial to “Bad Guy.” “7 Rings” and “Old Town Road” were the chart hits, but one is an ode to materialism (sorry, but it’s true!) and the other, while a certified banger of a song of the summer, doesn’t have the kind of gravity and production complexity that the Recording Academy tends to favor. *Chow: *I don’t see how the Grammys could ride down any other path here than “Old Town Road.” While the song’s barebones production may be less shiny than that of its competitors, its seamless genre blend of country and trap is genuinely inspired — and the Lil Nas/Billy Ray pairing is almost too on the nose for a Recording Academy that loves to trot out “Grammy Moment” odd couples every year (pun intended). And while the song is irresistible, the narrative surrounding it is even more ironclad. Lil Nas represents a feel-good underdog story and has managed to avoid cultural exhaustion thanks to his undeniable online charisma; Academy voters were surely watching this year when institutional rejections of the song (from Billboard and country radio) backfired spectacularly. If Lil Nas is looking for another viral moment, an acceptance speech on the Grammys stage would be an ideal place to make it happen. *Bruner*: It certainly would be fun to see what Lil Nas X has to say — and he’s absolutely earned a right to be there; I don’t know any artist who learned so much so quickly and managed to succeed so brilliantly along the way. If they’re going to reward innovation, then I can see him taking it home, too. Song of the Year [image: lana-del-rey-norman-rockwell-art] Interscope Records “Always Remember Us This Way,” Natalie Hemby, Lady Gaga, Hillary Lindsey & Lori McKenna, songwriters (Lady Gaga) “Bad Guy,” Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish) “Bring My Flowers Now,” Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth & Tanya Tucker, songwriters (Tanya Tucker) “Hard Place,” Ruby Amanfu, Sam Ashworth, D. Arcelious Harris, H.E.R. & Rodney Jerkins, songwriters (H.E.R.) “Lover,” Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift) “Norman F–king Rockwell,” Jack Antonoff & Lana Del Rey, songwriters (Lana Del Rey) “Someone You Loved,” Tom Barnes, Lewis Capaldi, Pete Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn & Sam Roman, songwriters (Lewis Capaldi) “Truth Hurts,” Steven Cheung, Eric Frederic, Melissa Jefferson & Jesse Saint John, songwriters (Lizzo) *Bruner: *Song of the Year is about the songwriters, which makes this one a little more complicated. Although the *A Star Is Born* soundtrack was mostly snubbed in this round of nominations, Lady Gaga did already take home an award for “Shallow” last year, so it would be a surprise to see a repeat with the less-memorable “Always Remember Us This Way.” If this is Eilish’s night, “Bad Guy” could continue picking up awards here, now with added focus on her songwriting partner and brother Finneas. *Chow: *Will you be mad if I say that the choices in this category leave me cold? “Lover,” “Someone You Loved” and “Hard Place” are pretty but fairly generic ballads. The “Truth Hurts” origin controversy certainly doesn’t help that song’s chances here. And “Bad Guy” is a better fit for Record of the Year, because, well, try singing the song out loud — it’s a nursery rhyme that barely has a melody. The category would have been much more competitive with Ariana Grande’s gloriously petty “Thank u, next” — which was perhaps forgotten due to its late 2018 release date — and viral curveballs like Ava Max’s “Sweet But Psycho” and Lil Tecca’s “Ransom.” (And that’s not to even mention some of our own picks for best of the year, from the Highwomen to Caroline Polachek.) But of the listed choices, I’m leaning towards Lana del Rey, though hesitantly. I’m a little perplexed as to why this track was the one chosen to rise out of this album — it feels more like a prelude than a standalone statement, and so many other Lana tracks this year were more ambitious and evocative (“Mariners Apartment Complex,” “The Greatest,” “Venice Bitch”). Nevertheless, the song is a worthy distillation of her sepia-toned ethos — and there was no better start to an album this year than her proclamation of “God damn man child,” followed by a hilarious and unprintable second line. *Bruner*: Honestly, you’re right — there are a lot of middling pop ballads here that, while nice in their own way, don’t really rise above. Pour one out for all the songs that got overlooked. Give me Ava Max and Caroline Polachek any day! Best New Artist [image: FOMO Festival 2020 - Auckland] WireImage—2020 Dave SimpsonLizzo performs at FOMO Festival 2020 on January 15, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Black Pumas Billie Eilish Lil Nas X Lizzo Maggie Rogers Rosalía Tank and the Bangas Yola *Chow: *Hey Raisa, remember when fun. beat Frank Ocean in 2013? Remember when Macklemore & Ryan Lewis beat Kendrick Lamar? All I’m saying is that you can count on the Grammys to make the wrong choice here. I’m going to guess Lizzo wins here for her ebullient multihyphenate act. But her astonishing rise feels like a very 2019-specific product of circumstance — a Netflix trailer, a wave of interest championing body positivity, a need for escape from a tense and divisive online moment. My money is on Eilish to have a more varied and stable career going forward. *Bruner: *Don’t make me dwell on those strange twists of awards fate, Andrew! Those choices are why Best New Artist remains a tough one to predict — not to mention the strange eligibility clauses that have brought this collection of acts into the mix. Tank and the Bangas are underdogs who deserve all the love, but are they really *new*? (Their first album came out in 2013.) Eilish seems the clearest choice — she’s young, she’s fresh, and she had an absolutely dominant year, and I agree she’s got the most solid path forward. (Hello, James Bond soundtrack choice!) Don’t count out Rogers; *Heard It In a Past Life* was the sound of an artist carving out a genre of her own, turning pop into something warmer and earthier than we’re used to hearing. Rosalía is a powerhouse who’s just getting started. And yet Lizzo — who has also been around for a minute — may make the most sense to voters in the category. As you’ve noted, she’s a full-package performer who really burst onto the scene and became omnipresent this year, and the Grammys might be in the mood to reward her generally here instead of for the specific works she put out. Best Music Video “We’ve Got to Try,” The Chemical Brothers “This Land,” Gary Clark Jr. “Cellophane,” FKA twigs “Old Town Road (Official Movie),” Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus “Glad He’s Gone,” Tove Lo *Bruner: *Give this one to FKA twigs, whose brilliant album *Magdalene* — released after the Grammy eligibility period had closed — was preceded by her stunning video for lead single “Cellophane.” In it, an ethereal, superhuman FKA twigs writhes and pole-dances her way through a cyber-dreamscape. The choreography is eye-popping, and the animation worthy of recognition. Honorable mention in this category to Sweden’s Tove Lo, whose song “Glad He’s Gone” was one of my sleeper favorites of the year, with a video that shows her casually traversing the territories of the Earth in search of her friend. That’s real love. *Chow: *To quote Lil Nas himself: “come on, now.” “Cellophane” is gorgeous, but it can’t match the reach and power of “Old Town Road.” What other cultural figure could have smashed together Chris Rock, TikTok dance crazes, the Yeehaw Agenda, a washboard-playing Diplo and a bingo game into a cohesive, unfettered, 420-million-views-garnering joy? *Bruner*: You have a point. I won’t be mad if FKA twigs loses out to the delightful Lil Nas X here — as long as she gets her due in the rest of the categories next year!

    On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Advocates Grapple With Abortion Restrictions

    Summary
    Forty-seven years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled on *Roe v. Wade*, establishing the legality of abortion nationwide. But as another case about abortion heads to a significantly more conservative Supreme Court this year, reproductive rights advocates and health care providers say they are preparing for a world in which the landmark 1973 decision is either significantly weakened or overturned. “We’re at a moment where the threat is imminent for the country,” Alexis McGill Johnson, acting director and CEO of Planned Parenthood, tells TIME. “It’s already real for many women who don’t have access” to safe abortions. In March, the Supreme Court will hear *June Medical Services v. Gee*, which challenges a Louisiana law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform the procedure. The law in question is very similar to a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016 in its ruling on *Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt*. But the make up of the Supreme Court is markedly more conservative with newcomer Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, both of whom were nominated by President Trump. The political climate is also different. In early January, more than 200 members of Congress filed an amicus curiae brief in the *June* case arguing that *Roe* and *Planned Parenthood v. Casey*, another case that reaffirmed the legal right to abortion, should be “reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.” Legal scholars have said it’s likely the Supreme Court will rule narrowly on *June *instead of completely overturning *Roe. *But even if this is not the landmark decision’s last anniversary, advocates note that access to safe, legal abortions has already become distinctly more difficult in many parts of the country. In 1976, Congress first introduced the Hyde Amendment, which banned the use of federal funds for abortion services unless the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, or threatened the life of the mother. (The amendment has been reauthorized every year; it blocks federal funds from covering abortion through Medicaid and any other federal health program.) Since then, state legislatures have also enacted a patchwork of state laws limiting when, where, how and why people can access abortion. Since 2011, states have passed more than 400 abortion restrictions, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports reproductive rights. In 2019, states passed 25 new abortion restrictions into law. Six states passed laws that would limit abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, or as early as six weeks, and Alabama passed a near total ban on abortions. “Roe has not been a reality for people struggling to make ends meet for decades because of Hyde,” says Destiny Lopez, co-director of All Above All, a coalition of reproductive rights advocates that launched in 2013. Like Hyde, state laws that restrict access to abortion tend to disproportionately affect certain groups, including poor people, people of color, Native Americans, immigrants, queer and trans people, people who live in rural areas, members of the military and federal employees. “It doesn’t matter if something’s legal if you can’t afford it,” says Quita Tinsley, co-director of Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, a fund that helps organize financial and logistical support for people seeking abortions in Southern states. “It doesn’t matter if it’s legal if you can’t get there.” ARC-Southeast is one of many abortion funds that have popped up around the country in recent years as states increasingly have clamped down on abortion access. These funds, often started by grassroots activists, guide patients through their state’s laws around abortion and develop a plan for how each person will find the money, transportation and permission they need to get the procedure. Some states, including West Virginia, have passed so many restrictions on abortion over the years that only provider remains statewide. West Virginia bans abortions after 20 weeks, bans the dilation and evacuation method of abortion, and bans telemedicine abortion. It also requires that minors notify their parents before receiving an abortion, and that providers play a phone counseling script that doctors say is biased and inaccurate 24 hours before a patient’s appointment. In November 2018, West Virginia voters also approved a ballot measure that changed the state’s constitution to say it does not guarantee the right to abortion, ending the state’s coverage of the procedure through Medicaid. (Because Medicaid is a federal-state partnership, West Virginia had previously been able to cover abortion services for Medicaid recipients with state funds.) Nearly one third of West Virginians are insured through Medicaid, and Katie Quinonez, executive director of the state’s last abortion provider, Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, said Medicaid recipients made up more than half of her center’s patients before the 2018 change. No private insurance carrier in West Virginia covers abortion either. Quinonez says her state legislature has created a “hostile environment” for abortion access. But, she adds, she and other abortion rights advocates aren’t giving up. “Regardless of the future of *Roe*, abortion access is something that we have to continuously fight for,” she says. With the future of Roe hanging in the balance at the Supreme Court, advocates say they are turning their attention to preventing red states from passing more abortion restrictions, and expanding access to the procedure in blue states and progressive cities. A new California law, for example, will require public colleges to offer medication abortion on campus. Others are hoping to better educate voters about reproductive rights and create “sanctuary cities” for abortion the way local governments have done for immigration. One advocacy group, URGE: Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, has focused on training and mobilizing youth. “Young people are not clinging to *Roe* to save them,” says Kimberly Inez McGuire, executive director of URGE. “Young folks look at a flawed system, a system that’s not working, a system that’s actually harming them, and they say, you know what, we don’t need that. We deserve better.” If the Supreme Court strikes down *Roe *entirely, McGill Johnson of Planned Parenthood says her organization will continue working with its state partners to flip legislative seats and governorships, and help people who need abortions travel to states where they can safely have them. “I also want to make it clear that flying women around the country to access abortion is not a future state,” she says. “We are in it for the long game.” One silver lining of the current political moment, advocates add, is that they see more people paying attention to — and joining — the abortion fight. “Everyone is now seeing what we’ve been seeing coming down Main Street a long time,” says Tinsley of ARC-Southeast. “We’ve seen some really restrictive anti-abortion laws coming sweeping in the South and Midwest for many years now. And we’ve been saying that this is only a matter of time before this becomes a national issue.” In 2016, the Democratic Party added getting rid of the Hyde Amendment to its national platform for the first time. This year, most of the Democratic presidential candidates have said they support ending Hyde, and polling continues to show that a majority of Americans support keeping abortion legal. A new poll out from Gallup on Wednesday found that a new high of six in 10 Americans are dissatisfied with the country’s abortion laws. “I can’t minimize the importance and the significance of *Roe* when it happened in 1973, and the catalyzing effect that it has had for people’s ability to determine how they want to live their lives,” says Kwajelyn Jackson, executive director of Feminist Women’s Health Center, which provides abortion and gynecological services in Atlanta. “At this anniversary, what I want is for folks to be thinking about what does our future look like?”

    House Impeachment Managers Gird for Uphill Battle In Senate Trial

    Summary
    Over the long weekend, House impeachment managers huddled in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in the heart of the Capitol, hammering out the strategy to make their case against President Donald Trump on the Senate floor on Wednesday. They honed and filed documents arguing why their colleagues in Congress must vote to remove Trump from office, and took turns standing at the lectern on the Senate floor where they would make their historic case. Handpicked by Pelosi to argue the House Democrats’ case in Trump’s impeachment trial, the group of seven impeachment managers—Reps. Jason Crow, Val Demings, Sylvia Garcia, Hakeem Jeffries, Zoe Lofgren, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff—include experienced litigators, prosecutors, and judges. Between them, they’ve been in public office for decades, taken part in at least three previous impeachment trials and logged time at the country’s top corporate law firms. But in their jobs this week, they are in uncharted territory. As they begin their allotted 24 hours of opening arguments, they will try to convince lawmakers—and the public tuning in to the proceedings—that Trump’s actions are such a danger to American democracy that he must no longer serve as President. They are arguing that he not only abused the power of his office to withhold aid to a foreign ally in exchange for a political investigation into a rival, but that he upset the balance of power laid out by the founding fathers by refusing to cooperate in the House’s impeachment inquiry. In an era of intense political polarization, that is no small task. To succeed, they must persuade at least 20 Republican Senators to take the difficult vote of convicting and removing a President from office who remains exceedingly popular with his base. Politically, few in Washington are under the illusion that the seasoned group of lawyers and politicians can pull it off, regardless of how strong their legal arguments may be. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been saying for months that he does not foresee a scenario where his majority splits to give the managers the votes they need need to convict Trump. This challenge was on display Tuesday, during 12 hours of debate about the rules that will govern the trial. Since Senators are prohibited from speaking on the floor when the trial is in session, it fell on the impeachment managers to advocate for the 11 amendments offered by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer seeking to include witnesses and documents in the trial. Every vote failed along party lines. “They know the subject matter, they have anticipated the opponents and they’ve been hitting all the right answers, but obviously [McConnell] has a grip on his caucus,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, during a break in the debate. “”We’ve known from the start they have an uphill battle.” Their case is complicated further by the fact that a Senate trial is not a typical courtroom. “For most matters tried in civil proceedings you have pages of case law and thousands of instances where the law is applied,” said Philip Bobbit, a law professor at Columbia University. “We don’t have that in impeachment.” Instead, the managers and Trump’s defense team will follow trial procedures passed on Tuesday by the Republican-led Senate. Those rules stipulate that lawmakers will only vote on whether or not to allow new evidence in the trial after opening arguments from both sides and a period during which Senators can submit written questions to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is presiding over the trial. Democrats have said they want to hear from at least four witnesses who evaded the House’s inquiry: former National Security Adviser John Bolton, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and White House officials Michael Duffey and Robert Blair. (Bolton has said he will testify in the Senate pursuant to a subpoena). In order to allow more witnesses to testify, the 47 Democratic Senators —assuming they stay united—need to peel off at least four Republican Senators to join them in voting first to allow new evidence, and again to allow for witnesses. “This is part and parcel of an effort to cover up the President’s misconduct,” Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, told reporters on Tuesday. “If McConnell makes this the first impeachment trial in history without witnesses or documents, it will not prove the President innocent. It will merely prove the Senate guilty of working with the President to obstruct the truth from coming out.” Advocating for new witnesses carries its own risks. Under the new trial rules, if Democrats are successful in calling witnesses, Republicans will be able to issue subpoenas for people they want to hear from as well. Some Trump allies have said they want Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, to testify about his role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma as a potential example of the corruption Trump asked about during a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The managers are already pushing back on this possibility. “It would not be appropriate for the President to seek to call witnesses merely to try to perpetuate the same smear campaign that was foiled when his plot was discovered,” Schiff said Tuesday morning on CBS News. “Hunter Biden, for example can’t tell us anything about whether the President withheld military aid, whether he withheld that aid to coerce Ukraine to conduct political investigations, or why he wouldn’t meet with the President of Ukraine.” Ultimately, the managers, operating in a Republican controlled-Senate, have little control over the witnesses that get called. But they’ve made clear that they will use the leverage they have to make their case.

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