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5 things to know for February 26: Politics, Cardinal Pell, India & Pakistan, YouTube

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Posted: Feb 26, 2019 12:20 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2019 12:20 PM

Millions of Venezuelans are suffering from a lack of basic supplies, food and medicine because of deep political uncertainty and spiraling economic problems. Here's how you can help them. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Politics

As President Trump lands in Vietnam this morning for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, things will be getting interesting back in Washington. Michael Cohen, Trump's ex-fixer, starts three days of testimony on Capitol Hill. Today, he has a closed-door session with the Senate Intelligence Committee. Tomorrow, it will be must-see TV when he testifies publicly before the House oversight committee. Cohen will wrap things up Thursday, behind closed doors again, with the House Intelligence Committee.

Meanwhile, the other big drama will be the battle over the resolution to stop Trump's national emergency declaration, which he's using to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. The resolution is up for a vote today in the Democratically controlled House, where it's expected to pass. The resolution would then go to the GOP-controlled Senate, and that's where the fun really begins. A floor vote would be held within 18 days, according to federal law. If all Senate Democrats vote for it, they would still need four GOP votes to pass it. Two Republicans say they will vote for it, and others say Trump's actions on this concern them. But even if the resolution passes the Senate, there still may not be enough votes out there to withstand the veto that Trump has promised.

2. Catholic Church

One of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church was convicted in December on multiple child sex charges in Australia. But you're only hearing about it now because CNN and other news outlets were legally prohibited from reporting on the trial or conviction. Australian Cardinal George Pell, the Vatican treasurer and a close adviser to Pope Francis, was found guilty of one charge of sexual penetration of a child and four charges of an indecent act with or in the presence of a child. The charges date to the late 1990s. Under Australian law, all details of the trial were suppressed in case they could prejudice future juries. The restrictions were lifted because a planned second trial was called off. Pell still says he's innocent, and his legal team has already filed an appeal.

3. India and Pakistan

Keep an eye on what's going on in the disputed Kashmir region. Things are heating up there after India said it launched air strikes on an alleged terrorist training camp across the de facto border with Pakistan. It's a big escalation of hostilities between India and Pakistan, two nuclear rivals. This uptick in violence started early this month after a suicide car bomb attack in Kashmir killed 40 Indian soldiers. That was the worst attack on Indian forces in decades, and India blamed Pakistan. Kashmir has been bitterly contested by India and Pakistan since the partition of the two countries in 1947, leading to three wars and numerous other skirmishes.

4. Robert Kraft

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution. Kraft, a 77-year-old billionaire, is among 25 people charged in connection with a monthslong probe into sex trafficking at a Florida spa. Police said Kraft visited the spa just hours before the Patriots played in the AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. If convicted on the charges, Kraft faces up to a year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. His spokesperson denied that Kraft "engaged in any illegal activity."

5. YouTube Kids

Think your young kids are safe from inappropriate content when they're watching YouTube Kids? Think again. Dr. Free Hess, a mom and a Florida pediatrician, said she's found disturbing videos on the platform, which bills itself as the kid-friendly version of YouTube. Spliced into the middle of one cartoon video Hess found on the site was footage of a man giving kids instructions on how to slit their wrists. She also found videos glorifying sexual exploitation and abuse, human trafficking, gun violence and domestic violence. "There were just so many that I had to stop recording," she said. Hess wants YouTube to better screen videos and remove them when questionable content is reported. YouTube said it is "making constant improvements" to its systems and recognizes "there's more work to do."


Stepping down

Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who played a key role in the 2015 nuclear deal, announced his resignation.


Don't they have better stuff to do?

Lots of people tweeted about the Oscars, but you probably missed the ones from the CIA -- yes, that CIA -- debating the finer points of vibranium and holograms.

Wonder woman

Freshman lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is transformed into a superhero who battles Republicans and nervous Dems in a new comic book.

Ice breaker

That will be one heck of an ice cube: A piece of Antarctica that's twice the size of New York City will soon break off of the continent.

Phased out

You may not be hearing the name Merrill Lynch much anymore, now that Bank of America is phasing out the 105-year-old brand.

Take a hike

A photographer worried about the Grand Canyon hiked the entire length of it, as the national park around it turns 100.


Election Day

Voters in Chicago head to the polls today to pick a new mayor to replace Rahm Emanuel, who isn't seeking re-election. The field of candidates is large, though -- 14 people -- so there will probably be a runoff.


more than 8,000

The number of marijuana convictions in San Francisco that were dismissed with the help of a computer algorithm



Cold concert

Grab a seat and enjoy the orchestra. Oh, by the way, all the instruments the musicians are playing are made out of ice. (Click to view.)

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