The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held awards show honoring itself for 86th straight year. Yes, the Oscars aired Sunday. Find a complete list of winners and losers here. Did you win the office betting pool?
There are more lady billionaires than ever before, according to the Forbes 2014 World’s Billionaires list. Forbes records 1,648 billionaires, 172 of whom (or roughly 10 percent) are women. With the 268 billionaire newcomers to the Forbes list comes Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg, who’s apparently worth $1.05 billion. Guess it pays to Lean In.
Regulators fine power giant Duke Energy following massive coal ash spill. The ash is a byproduct of combustion from the company’s coal-powered plants; it contains arsenic, mercury, and other toxic heavy metals and is usually stored in landfills. On Feb.2, a pipe carrying coal ash from a Duke Energy plant in North Carolina ruptured into a river that supplies drinking water to nearby towns. The river is now toxic sludge as the plant spilled 35 million gallons of ash into the water. This is the third most disastrous ash spill ever recorded. After a review of Duke’s facilities throughout the state, regulators this week cited violations at five of its plants. Also early this week, federal prosecutors issued more than 20 subpoenas to Duke employees and the regulators themselves, who have admitted to knowing about Duke’s violations since 2010 and doing nothing. Read on here for more information on coal energy in the U.S. and its alternatives.
Is U.S./Israeli friendship souring? While Obama hosted Israeli prime minister Netanyahu at the White House Monday, the President urged continuing the dual state conversation. As reported by The Guardian, Netanyahu insisted, ““Israel has been doing its part and I regret to say that the Palestinians have not.” Obama later expressed his concern to the press about what might happen if Palestinians were entirely denied the hope of their own state. Meanwhile, Israel continues to condemn the Iran nuclear deal (here’s a refresher on that deal).
Venezuela and Russia BFFs, probably have secret socialist handshake. Things between Venezuela and Russia have always been warm; they share numerous military and economic trade agreements. Russia’s incursion into Crimea has changed none of this. On Monday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua sat down for a friendly meeting with Russian diplomat Sergey Lavrov. During the meeting, Lavrov showed support for ending the month-long confrontation with Venezuelan protesters, and Jaua expressed hopes that Venezuela and Russia would grow even closer. Yeesh, get a room. This could spell trouble for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who’s been working his diplomacy all over the place to mediate the month-long protests in Venezuela that have left 18 dead so far. However, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro maintains that the uprisings were backed by U.S. to destabilize the government. Admittedly, if the U.S. were trying to destabilize the Venezuelan government, now would be a good time. Maduro’s only been in office about a year, following the death of popular leader Chavez. Protests continue in Venezuela.
420 Blaze It, DC! The U.S. capitol officially joined cities and states around the country in passing more lenient marijuana legislation on Tuesday. However, the often confusing federal and district jurisdiction in the city raise questions over enforcement. Don’t harsh my mellow, Obama.
U.S. move to sanction Russia. The stated reason is in response to a possible military campaign in Crimea, an ethnically Russian area of Ukraine, but also probably has to do with feeling left out of the Caracas-Moscow BFF circle. Although sanctions have not been put in place, they have been used as a threat to halt Russian troop movements in Crimea. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a $1-billion aid package for Ukraine while in Kiev on Tuesday.
Putin should stop giving press conferences. The latest press conference by the Russian president was fairly stunning, even given his previous, “Everyone calm down, I know gay people,” presser. Putin told the media that, in fact, there were no Russian troops in Crimea. Despite there being pictures of Russian soldiers in Crimea. And soldiers in Crimea saying they were Russian. Seriously, Putin, are you even trying?