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August 10, 2018

Even though it was rap and hip hop artists reading mean tweets about themselves on Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, they still read their insults under the dulcet and melancholy arpeggios of R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts." 50 Cent turned his mean tweet in to a PSA, Eve showed off a tattoo, Remy Ma offered to fight her mean-tweeter, and other musicians pulled faces or offered mild protest. T-Pain took his lumps with a grin and no auto-tune, but he had some technical difficulties near the end. Watch below. Peter Weber

9:14 a.m.

2018 was a year of "justice" for all, according to Merriam-Webster.

The dictionary company named "justice" its word of the year for 2018 after it saw a 74 percent spike in lookups compared to 2017. Merriam-Webster noted in its announcement that justice was at the center of a number of important conversations this year, from issues concerning racial justice and social justice to stories about the Department of Justice and conversations about Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. "For many reasons and for many meanings, one thing's for sure: justice has been on the minds of many people in 2018," Merriam-Webster says. The company's word of the year in 2017 was "feminism."

Merriam-Webster also listed 10 other words that saw notable spikes in lookups this year, all of which center around a key news story. One is "nationalism," which spiked 8,000 percent after President Trump in October declared himself a nationalist. Another is "pansexual," which spiked in April when singer Janelle Monáe identified herself as such in an interview.

"Lodestar" was also a notable lookup after the word was used in a damaging New York Times op-ed written by an anonymous member of the Trump administration, with some readers taking it as a clue pointing to Vice President Mike Pence, who often uses the word in speeches.

Additionally, "epiphany" spiked when the band BTS used it in a song; "feckless" spiked after comedian Samantha Bee used it in a vulgar monologue about Ivanka Trump; "laurel" spiked as people everywhere debated whether an audio recording was of a person saying "laurel" or "yanny"; "pissant" spiked when a radio DJ used the word to describe Tom Brady's daughter; and "respect," "maverick," and "excelsior" spiked after the deaths of Aretha Franklin, John McCain, and Stan Lee respectively. Read more at Merriam-Webster. Brendan Morrow

8:36 a.m.

A second actress has accused actor Geoffrey Rush of sexual harassment.

Yael Stone, who plays Lorna Morello on Orange is the New Black, accused Rush of misconduct in an interview with The New York Times Sunday. When they both starred in the play The Diary of a Madman in 2010 and 2011, Stone says Rush "danced naked in front of her in their dressing room, used a mirror to watch her while she showered, and sent her occasionally erotic text messages." At the time, Stone was 25 and Rush was 59. Three people who worked with Stone on the play backed up her story, as did several friends and family members.

Rush denied Stone's allegations, saying they are "incorrect" and "in some instances have been taken completely out of context." He characterized the situation as Stone being "upset on occasion by the spirited enthusiasm I generally bring to my work."

Because of Australia's strict defamation laws, Stone told the Times she was terrified to come forward and only did so because a law firm has agreed to represent her pro bono. Rush was previously accused of sexual harassment by an actress he worked with on a play in 2015 and 2016. Eryn Jean Norvill told The Daily Telegraph in 2017 that Rush touched her without her consent and sent her inappropriate text messages; she wasn't originally named in the story, which has since been removed from the publication's website. Rush denied that allegation and sued The Daily Telegraph for defamation. A decision in that case has not yet been reached.

Stone told the Times she is "not looking for punishment" by coming forward but that she hopes "to change my industry and to work toward healing and growth." Brendan Morrow

7:29 a.m.

With great Spider-Man movies comes great box office returns.

Sony's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse topped the box office this weekend with a solid $35 million debut, per Box Office Mojo. This was slightly below projections that pegged it closer to $42 million, but still a fine start for the animated flick, which critics have hailed as one of the best movies ever to feature Marvel's iconic web-slinger.

Sony hopes the movie will attract crowds during the lucrative holiday season, but it will face some tough competition. The 2018 holiday season is among the most competitive in years, with Mary Poppins Returns, Bumblebee, and Aquaman all opening shortly before Christmas.

Clint Eastwood's The Mule also performed well this weekend with a $17 million haul. That's a stronger start than Eastwood's last film, The 15:17 to Paris, although not as strong as Sully's $35 million debut. The film should be able to appeal to those looking for more adult-oriented fare over the holiday break; per The Hollywood Reporter, more than half its audience this weekend was over 50.

On the other hand, Universal Pictures' Mortal Engines' opening was a disaster. The fantasy film based on the popular young adult novel had an embarrassing debut of just $7 million, coming in fifth place behind movies that have been out for well over a month, like The Grinch. Mortal Engines reportedly cost more than $100 million to make, and it's expected to lose the studio about that much, per Deadline. When all is said and done, it may end up being the very biggest box office bomb of 2018. Brendan Morrow

2:09 a.m.

Nearly 21 percent of high school seniors say they vaped within the past 30 days, up from 11 percent one year ago, a new survey out Monday says.

The Monitoring the Future survey has been in existence for 44 years, asking teenagers whether they use drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke, and this was the most dramatic spike in its history. The survey is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and its director, Nora Volkow, said the report is "very worrisome. We are very concerned about the increase in vaping."

Vapors from e-cigarettes contain high levels of nicotine, and doctors fret about how this affects brains that are still developing. The survey also found that more teens now believe that they are simply breathing in flavors when they vape, not understanding that they are indeed inhaling nicotine. Catherine Garcia

1:32 a.m.

The winner of the 2018 Miss Universe pageant is Miss Philippines Catriona Gray.

The 24-year-old was crowned the winner Sunday night in Bangkok. She defeated 93 other contestants, including first runner-up Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green and second runner-up Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutierrez. This was the first year that the selection committee was comprised solely of women.

Born in Australia, Gray entered her first pageant at age five, and studied music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Catherine Garcia

12:56 a.m.

Since Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets of Budapest at night, protesting against Viktor Orban, the country's right-wing prime minister, and new laws ushered in by his Fidesz party.

Sunday's protest was the largest, with at least 10,000 people gathering to walk from Heroes' Square to parliament. During the spring election, Fidesz received 49 percent of the popular vote, but the party changed the rules so its lawmakers control two-thirds of the parliament. On Wednesday, Fidesz lawmakers approved a measure that critics have dubbed the "slave law," which lets employers ask staffers to work up to 400 hours in overtime every year. Under the law, the overtime payments could be postponed for up to three years.

Even Orban's own supporters don't agree with the law, with a new Republikon Institute poll showing that 63 percent disapprove. The protests are being organized by unions, students, and opposition parties. In addition to the law being changed, these demonstrators are calling for a free press and an independent judiciary. The protesters have been peaceful, Reuters reports, but police officers still fired tear gas into the crowd on Sunday night. Catherine Garcia

December 16, 2018

Janet Fein celebrated her retirement at age 77 by going back to college.

In 2012, Fein retired from her job as a secretary at an orthopedic hospital in Dallas, and immediately enrolled in classes at the University of Texas at Dallas. "I didn't have anything to do in retirement and I didn't think that playing bingo was up to my speed," she told The Associated Press. Fein, now 84, loved writing papers and doing homework, and didn't let anything get in her way — she kept up with everything even as she moved into an assisted living facility and had to start using a walker and oxygen tank.

This week, Fein will receive her bachelor's degree in sociology. Through a state program, Texans 65 and older can take up to six credits per semester at a public university for free, and last year, about 2,000 people participated, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board said. Fein believes in the importance of learning — after raising her five kids, she took classes for 20 years and received her associate's degree in 1995 — and has inspired one of her caregivers, Renee Brown, to go back to school at 53 to become a licensed vocational nurse. "She said, 'Renee, you can do it. If I can do it you can do it and you will feel so good about it,'" Brown told AP. Catherine Garcia

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