Jewelry is a popular gift for Mother's Day, and many consider diamonds to be the ultimate gemstone. And now, the hardest substance in the world can be created in a lab.
Chinese carrier drills and stepped-up incursions into Taiwan's air defence zone in recent weeks are meant to send a message to Washington to stand down and back off, security sources in Taipei say. The increased activity - which China, unusually, described as "combat drills" on Wednesday - has raised alarm in both Taipei and Washington, though security officials do not see it as a sign of an imminent attack. Rather, according to an official familiar with Taiwan's security planning, at least some of the exercises are practicing "access denial" manoeuvres to prevent foreign forces from coming to Taipei's defence in a war.
- Associated Press
One by one, the Republican leaders of Congress have made the trip to Mar-a-Lago to see Donald Trump. Kevin McCarthy visited after the deadly Jan 6 Capitol insurrection, counting on the former president's help to win back control of the House in 2022. The chair of the Senate Republican campaign committee, Rick Scott, stopped by to enlist Trump in efforts to regain the Senate.
- Associated Press
An appeals court has overturned the sentence of Texas’ longest serving death row inmate, whose attorneys say has languished in prison for more than 45 years because he's too mentally ill to be executed. Raymond Riles’ “death sentence can no longer stand” because the 70-year-old inmate’s history of mental illness was not properly considered by jurors, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Wednesday. When Riles was tried, state law did not expect jurors to consider mitigating evidence such as mental illness when deciding whether someone should be sentenced to death.
- Business Insider
American voters overwhelmingly like the stuff the GOP wants to strip out of Biden's infrastructure plan
A CNBC survey found that just 36% of voters like Biden's infrastructure plan as it is. But they largely support measures that GOP lawmakers oppose.
- Business Insider
Top US general in Europe says there's a low-to-medium risk Russia invades Ukraine in the next few weeks
Russia has amassed roughly 80,000 troops along Ukraine's borders, raising alarm bells across Europe and in Washington.
More migrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border near Del Rio, Texas than Martinez recalls in his 13 years as Val Verde County Sheriff. Last month, he said, a resident fired his gun to scare a group of migrants walking on the outskirts of town; nearby schools were locked down in response. Tensions are rising in Del Rio, a city of 35,000, as the nation once again grapples with an increase in migrants seeking entry into the United States.
Lifting weights is the most efficient way to get a lean physique, says CrossFit competitor turned 'Wonder Woman' actress Brooke Ence
It's a myth that weight lifting makes women bulky - strength training is great for toning and strength, she said.
- The Daily Beast
CBS Photo Archive/GettyDespite her best efforts to position herself as an advocate for size inclusion and racial diversity in the modeling world over the past decade, Tyra Banks can’t escape the problematic ghosts of her television-hosting past as her critics on social media continue to rehash her most controversial and cringeworthy moments.For Gen Z consumers of television, it may be hard to imagine a beloved competition show in which women are forced to weigh themselves in front of their fellow castmates (and thus the world), are given drastic makeovers against their tearful pleas, don blackface for a challenge, are instructed by the show’s judges to lose weight, and advised to wear additional makeup if they’re not white. Believe it or not, these were once casual if not frequent occurrences on America’s Next Top Model, a show that could only thrive in an era prior to social media and the widespread adoption of social justice rhetoric on the internet.Even before its latest reassessment on Twitter, America’s Next Top Model’s legacy online, like most reality juggernauts of the early 2000s, has been that of a plentiful meme farm, from Banks’ “two women stand before me” spiel to her famous “hoe but make it fashion” tutorial to the clip of her asking “how many people were scared?” after a contestant fainted. (I would be remiss not to mention the multitude of “surprised” GIFs starring Miss Jay Alexander). For the most part, Banks has made the most out of her brand simply by doing the most. But with the addition of the show on several streaming platforms since last year, her re-circulated antics and soundbites as a host—in addition to her past beef with Naomi Campbell and her short-lived yet indelible daytime television show—have made her less of a fun, eccentric personality in the eyes of the public and more of a celebrity supervillain. How Khloé Kardashian’s #PhotoGate Exposed the Toxic ‘Body Positivity’ of Kardashian Inc.Last May, Banks apologized in a tweet after clips depicting the lack of sensitivity toward race and certain contestants on ANTM resurfaced. And a few months later, in an interview with Tamron Hall, she admitted that the show “messed up” regarding the exclusive casting of the show. Unfortunately for the Dancing with the Stars host, there’s no reliable way to put a pin in online criticism. As long as the source is still readily available online, people will continue to dissect and share it for their own entertainment or more serious analysis. Likewise, a new video currently making the rounds from cycle 3 of the series that features Banks and the show’s panel of judges, including photographer Nigel Barker and model Janice Dickinson, has raised new accusations of anti-Blackness, colorism, and outright bullying.The viral clip, which is pulled from a compilation titled “black antm models getting misjudged for 4 minutes” on YouTube, shows the panel evaluating untouched and retouched portraits of contestants Yaya DaCosta and Kelle Jacob. The premise of the photoshoot alone is baffling, in that the women are seemingly being judged for how much their natural faces match up to the airbrushed versions of the photos. To some users, the exercise felt like a smokescreen to allow the judges to point out what they considered to be the women’s flaws—one of the flaws, according to Barker, being DaCosta’s skin, which appears immaculately smooth and blemish-free in both photos but noticeably a few shades lighter in the edited version. Banks assures her that she “can get there.”Everyday I understand why Naomi wasn’t feeling her. pic.twitter.com/vRCANEmddI— $ (@2000sphase) April 12, 2021 The judge’s evaluation of Jacob’s photo is even more baffling, as Banks tells her that women of color have to wear more makeup because “we don’t reflect light.” Maybe the show’s most routinely petty judge Dickinson then goes into an animated bit having the producers switch back and forth between her untouched and retouched photos, comparing it to a Hitchcock film and mimicking horror-film violin screeches. When Jacob retorts that she has “beautiful skin,” Banks cuts her off and scolds her for “placing the blame” on the photographer.This led Twitter users to go down a rabbit hole of some of the show’s other controversies, including a lawsuit that was filed by former contestant Angelea Preston, who claimed her prize from cycle 14’s all-star season was revoked after production discovered that she was a former escort, and an episode on cycle 4 in which a contestant named Keenyah Hill claimed that she had been inappropriately touched by a male model on a photoshoot, and the judges insisted that she should’ve controlled the situation. These troubling incidents—in addition to the clip—demonstrate how much of the toxic, cruel nature that has come to define ANTM was a collective effort on the part of the producers, judges, and other people working behind the scenes in addition to Banks’ own contributions. It’s also a direct reflection of the cutthroat state of the fashion industry and the mistreatment models are expected to endure, a topic that’s been brought to light in recent years thanks to the #MeToo movement. Nevertheless, Banks, who also served as an executive producer, will always be the unmistakable face of the program and has enough problematic soundbites for the internet to map most of the show’s ethical failings onto her.The inescapable nature of Banks’ missteps on ANTM and her daytime talk show Tyra, which is another bottomless well of mind-boggling and offensive moments, are interesting to discuss in relation to one of her most recent career ventures. In 2020, she announced a new theme park called ModelLand, which borrows the name of her 2011 novel that, as described on its website, features “fashion and beauty, photoshoots and runways, shopping and theatre.” While the Santa Monica attraction has yet to open in light of the pandemic, the website promotes a space for people of all shapes, sizes, genders and races to receive the supermodel treatment.Most would argue that monetizing the fantasy of equality for marginalized people in the beauty and fashion space is not the same as dismantling oppressive beauty norms, and there’s even an obvious argument here that it’s exploitative. Nevertheless, this move is, at the very least, an expression of Banks’ new values as a beauty mogul whether or not she’s actually making a difference in the modeling industry. These beliefs certainly aren’t radical in the year 2021, when nearly every fashion brand is offering plus sizes and incorporating body-positivity language in their marketing. But like all brands attempting to stay relevant in the age of inclusivity, she simply doesn’t have a choice but to evolve.Still, it’s fair to say that the legacy Banks built for herself on television looms large over her modeling career for most millennials and especially Gen Z, whose primary reference for her is presumably memes and reaction videos. One can imagine the cycle of discovering and reacting to the worst parts of her career on social media to repeat itself every year or so.Banks took a bold risk betting on her brashness, and it looks like she’ll keep paying the price for years to come.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- The Independent
Trump supporters called Ivanka a ‘disappointment’ for getting the jab
- The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyAs Republicans castigate corporations for opposing their nationwide efforts to change voting rules, the Democratic Party’s top critics of private sector power are laughing at the notion that corporate America and the GOP have actually splintered.Republicans Can Talk Tough About ‘Woke’ Corporations—and That’s About ItLiterally.Asked on Wednesday about the idea of a rift between the GOP and big business, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) let out a chuckle.“I think the Republicans have finally been called out,” Warren told The Daily Beast. “They think that they can pass laws to keep people from voting and otherwise undermine our democracy, and so long as they cut taxes for corporate America, everything will be sunshine and roses. They’re wrong.”The former Wall Street watchdog and progressive 2020 presidential candidate didn’t exactly give corporations moral credit for speaking out against the GOP’s voting stands. They’d simply reached their limit.“All of this is about democracy,” said Warren. “Corporations are willing to get in and throw their money around to help candidates that they're aligned with, but what we're seeing now is they're not willing to take that all the way to the point of breaking our basic democracy.”That apparent breaking point was Georgia Republicans’ bill, passed in March, to restrict several avenues of voting access after high-profile Democratic victories in the state fueled conspiracies about election integrity. Big local companies like Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola spoke up strongly against that bill, and Major League Baseball pulled its scheduled All-Star Game from the state under pressure from their players and the public. CEOs of major companies like Pepsi and Paypal huddled recently to discuss coordinated pushback to bills similar to Georgia’s nationwide. And on Wednesday, the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post had an open letter signed by hundreds of corporations—including Starbucks, General Motors, and Google—condemning “any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot.”Those moves, among others, have prompted the GOP to turn on corporate America’s titans as “woke” warriors taking marching orders from Democrats, which has sparked the op-eds and headlines speculating about the schism between C-suites and the Republican Party.Not only do progressives like Warren reject the idea that this rift is real—they also reject the idea that a broader political realignment is taking place, one in which Republicans assume the role as big business’ main adversary, while Democrats gradually align with corporate interests.The de facto dean of the party’s left wing, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), put forward a simple litmus test for Republicans when asked that question. “We’ll see how they feel about asking large corporations and the wealthy to start paying their fair share,” Sanders told The Daily Beast. “Let’s see how they feel about raising the minimum wage.”The subtext for Sanders’ answer: Republicans largely don’t support those things. To pay for their proposed $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan, President Joe Biden and Democrats want to raise taxes on corporations to 28 percent, up from the 21 percent rate that the GOP codified in their 2017 tax bill. Republicans have uniformly balked at that idea.The GOP also vocally opposed an effort from Democrats to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 when Democrats pushed to add it to their COVID relief package in February. Only one Republican, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), came close to endorsing the idea, backing a minimum wage hike only for the biggest corporations. Generally, he has been one of the few Republicans willing to back up criticism for corporations’ politics with some measures to restrain their power.Republicans Can Talk Tough About ‘Woke’ Corporations—and That’s About ItHawley believes the rest of his party is catching up with him, particularly on issues of antitrust, and he argued the Democratic Party is becoming the preferred party of corporate America. “The corporatist party right now, increasingly today, is the Democratic Party,” Hawley argued to The Daily Beast. “We’re in a significant realignment right now.”Many Republicans’ recent displays of antipathy toward corporate America have been largely fueled by the sense they are targeting them in one way or another, not only through the opposition to state-level voting bills, but through endorsement of “cancel culture” or censorship of conservatives.Beyond that, the declarations from numerous large companies—such as Amazon, AT&T, Mastercard, and Blue Cross Blue Shield—that they would not contribute to the campaigns of Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of the 2020 election after Jan. 6 further rankled the party.When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently issued a surprise endorsement of the drive to form a labor union at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, he alluded to the mega-corporation’s devastating impact on small businesses. But most of Rubio’s firepower was reserved for Amazon’s supposed “war against working-class values” by banning conservative books from their marketplace, and their “citizen of the world” status, which he argued made the company complicit with China’s communist government.His 2016 presidential rival, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), has also gone after “woke” corporations but tried to shoe-horn those criticisms into a conservative-flavored argument that power, in general, is bad. In a Tuesday tweet, Cruz declared: “Big Government is bad. Big Corporations are bad. Big Tech is bad. Big Hollywood is bad. Any massive accumulation of power is bad.”Hawley, who is leading a push to strip a century-old antitrust exemption for MLB in response to the Georgia decision, disputed the idea that Republicans’ lack of support for making corporations pay higher taxes means they are not serious about holding corporations accountable. “I don’t buy that you have to support Democrats’ policy agenda in order to have a serious critique of corporate America,” he said.Progressives are deeply skeptical of this, of course. “You can't just rhetorically say, ‘We're the party of working families,’” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a leading House progressive who co-chaired Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign. “What are the policies? What is one concrete policy that Republicans in the last 30 years have passed that is directly in the interests of working families, that has increased worker power compared to corporate power?”As to Hawley’s point that Democrats are more corporate, Khanna dismissed it outright. “I think we're moving the other direction,” he said.To Warren, though, it all comes back to the issue that has expanded the daylight between Republicans and corporations: voting.“Corporate America may still be willing to line up with the tax-cut Republicans, but not over something that is fundamental to democracy,” said Warren. “So, in a sense, when you asked me about just the simple realignment in politics, that’s not what it says to me. To me, it says, here’s something bigger than politics, and that corporate America recognizes it has a responsibility in America, and that responsibility is to support our democracy.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Associated Press
It was one of the more tantalizing, yet unresolved, questions of the investigation into possible connections between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign: Why was a business associate of campaign chairman Paul Manafort given internal polling data — and what did he do with it? A Treasury Department statement Thursday offered a potentially significant clue, asserting that Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant, had shared sensitive campaign and polling information with Russian intelligence services. Kilimnik has long been alleged by U.S. officials as having ties to Russian intelligence.
- The Daily Beast
ABCOn Thursday night, comedian Jimmy Kimmel kicked off the latest edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live! by addressing the vaccine selfie that Ivanka Trump—whose father, brother, and stepmother contracted COVID-19 due to their reckless behavior—posted to her Instagram.“I’m glad she did it and posted about it, but the comments under her post are, ‘nope,’ ‘not doing it,’ ‘hard no,’ ‘pass,’ ‘you’re joking, right?’ and ‘I never will.’ What a solid fanbase this is,” cracked Kimmel, adding, “Which is it, Trumpsters? Does Donald Trump deserve credit for the miracle of vaccines, or are they useless? It can’t be both of those things!”Stellan Skarsgard Is Finally Seizing the SpotlightLater on in his monologue, Kimmel shouted out a recent Daily Beast story revealing the Venmo payments that House Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his fellow accused sex-trafficker/pal, Joel Greenberg, made to a number of women.“Meanwhile, there are more details in the sordid saga of future former Florida congressman Matt Gaetz,” explained Kimmel. “Yesterday we learned that Gaetz was involved in more wild house parties than Kid ’n Play in the ’90s. There were drugs and sex at these parties where women were given gifts of money in exchange for their participation, much of it paid through Venmo.”He continued: “So The Daily Beast got their hands on Venmo transactions from this guy Joel Greenberg, one of Gaetz’s closest friends. Greenberg is now cooperating with authorities, which is bad for Matt Gaetz, presumably as a result of more than 150 payments made to dozens of young women. At least 16 of those payments were made to a woman who later dated Matt Gaetz, and the notes—you know how you put the notes on Venmo?—they’re ridiculous. Three payments—for $500, $200, and $250—labeled ‘ice cream.’ Five other payments labeled ‘salad.’ One of those ‘salads’ cost more than $1,000. I guess they added avocado. Two of those transactions were for ‘stuff’ and ‘other stuff.’”“Of course, we know about all this because stupid Joel Greenberg made his Venmo transactions public—as did Matt Gaetz,” Kimmel said. “They didn’t check the privacy box. What’s the opposite of a criminal mastermind?”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Allison Janney says 'Mom' producers were shocked when she showed up for the final season with short gray hair
Allison Janney says she's sported a blonde wig for seven seasons on "Mom," but the producers didn't know and were shocked by her natural gray hair.
- Business Insider
Jonathan Pentland's social-media accounts list him as a drill sergeant at the Fort Jackson garrison, the Associated Press reported.
- Associated Press
India's two largest cities imposed stringent restrictions on movement and one planned to use hotels and banquet halls to treat coronavirus patients as new infections in the country shot past 200,000 Thursday amid a devastating surge that is straining a fragile health system. The soaring cases and deaths come just months after India thought it had seen the worst of the pandemic — and have forced the country to delay exports of vaccines abroad. India is a major producer of COVID-19 shots, and its pivot to focus on domestic demand has weighed heavily on global efforts to end the pandemic.
A new 'Fast & Furious 9' trailer is here, and it shows Dom and his family going to war with his long lost little brother
Universal Pictures released a new "Fast 9" trailer Wednesday morning featuring the long-awaited return of Dominic Toretto.
- The Independent
The lawsuit filed against police says the vicitm now experiences fear, trauma and anxiety whenever she leaves her home
- Business Insider
The Ever Given is fit to sail again, official report concludes - but it still can't go anywhere because Egypt impounded it
The Ever Given is "suitable for onward passage" - at least up the Suez Canal - but can't move thanks to Egypt's $900 million damages claim.
Carrie Bradshaw dated many types of guys in the six seasons of "Sex and the City," but Aidan Shaw and "the new Yankee" were a cut above the rest.
- The Independent
‘A bottle of water knocked you out? Hahahaha’