Gamers Have Had It with Being Scapegoated for Gun Violence

VICE News spoke with members of the gaming community who are tired and frustrated with being the distraction for politicians who would rather focus on anything other than gun policy.

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They Come For Us At Night: China’s Vanishing Muslims (Full Report)

China’s Uighur minority live a dystopian nightmare of constant surveillance and brutal policing. At least one million of them are believed to be living in what the U.N. described as a “massive internment camp that is shrouded in secrecy,” while many Uighur children are taken to state-run orphanages where they’re indoctrinated into Chinese customs.

The Uighurs’ plight has largely been kept hidden from the world, thanks to China’s aggressive attempts to suppress the story at all costs.

VICE News’ Isobel Yeung posed as a tourist to gain unprecedented access to China’s western Xinjiang region, which has been nearly unreachable by journalists.

She and our crew experienced China’s Orwellian surveillance and harassment first-hand during their time in Xinjiang, and captured chilling hidden-camera footage of eight Uighur men detained by police in the middle of the night. We spoke with members of the Uighur community about their experience in these camps, and about China’s attempts to silence their history and lifestyle under the cover of darkness.

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They Come For Us At Night: China’s Vanishing Muslims

VICE News’ Isobel Yeung goes undercover in a special report that reveals how China is oppressing the Muslim minority Uihgur people in horrific conditions.

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This Sports Network Is Trying to Uncover the Next Superstars Through Viral Videos

Overtime is a digital media network best known for their viral videos of rising basketball players like Zion Williamson, Zaire Wade, and Bronny James.

To date, the company has raised $35 million, including investments from NBA stars like Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony, and former commissioner, David Stern.

Overtime doesn’t track scores or stats. Instead, they focus on building the personal brands of promising players – ones with as much personality as skills on the court.

VICE News followed Overtime in action while covering one of their biggest finds: Jada Williams, a 14-year-old from Blue Springs, Missouri with impressive shooting accuracy and ruthless, ankle-breaking handles.

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Louisiana Is Getting an Unlimited Supply of a $24K Hep C Cure (HBO)

Louisiana has struck a deal to improve access to a Hepatitis C cure so expensive that some people only acquire the drug once they already have liver damage.

Gilead Sciences, the owner of Hepatitis C cure Epclusa, will now provide an unlimited supply of the generic version of the drug to people covered by Medicaid and in Louisiana’s state prisons. Asegua, a subsidiary of Gilead making the generic, will supply the drugs.

The list price of Epclusa is $74,760; the generic is priced at $24,000. Medicaid receives a discount price, but in many states, including Louisiana, Medicaid only approves the treatment after Hepatitis C causes severe liver damage because of its astronomical cost.

Under the deal, dubbed the “Netflix model,” Louisiana will pay for the Hep C cure up to a negotiated spending cap in exchange for an unlimited supply of the drug over five years. The state will then receive a rebate from Gilead for all its expenses above that cap.

The Louisiana Department of Health first chose Gilead as a partner for the deal back in March, after three drug companies submitted proposals to the state. Since then, negotiations stalled, to the point that the agreement nearly fell through entirely. But this week, the deal closed, Louisiana Secretary of Health Rebekah Gee confirmed to VICE News.

Gee said she hoped to not spend more than $30 million — the cost of treating only 326 people last year, according to the state’s Department of Health. The pricing cap won’t be announced until next week, but Gee told VICE News that Gilead agreed to a higher amount than that. Louisiana will hold an official signing on the deal next week, according to Gee.

“We need to get our money’s worth,” Gee said. “Our goal is 10,000 [treated people] next year, but we’ll have to hit a lot less than that to make it work.”

Gee estimated that around 40,000 people in Louisiana suffer from Hepatitis C, a chronic liver disease spread through blood. It’s the most widespread infectious disease in the U.S. The CDC estimates 2.4 million people in the U.S. were living with Hep C in 2016, the latest year with data available.

Louisiana hopes to use the deal to attempt to eliminate the disease entirely.

As Hep C most commonly spreads through shared needles, the opioid epidemic has only made its prevalence worse. The CDC estimates that 41,200 people were infected in 2016.

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4 dead, 8 hurt in church van crash in Virginia

Four people were killed and eight hurt in a crash in Virginia involving a church van. News outlets report the van carrying 11 people was turning into a church parking lot Tuesday night when a pickup truck hit it. The van flipped several times. (May 29)

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Emergency rush hour landing on Florida highway

A small airplane made an emergency landing on a Florida highway ramp during rush hour and crashed into a car. News outlets report the plane landed on an Interstate 4 on-ramp just north of Orlando. Nobody was hurt. (May 17)

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Julián Castro Thinks His Path To The Nomination Is Through Nevada And Texas (HBO)

While many of the 2020 Democratic contenders are camped out in Iowa or New Hampshire, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro is in Nevada. It’s his seventh visit to the Silver State since announcing his presidential exploratory committee.

“I see this state as just crucial to victory,” Castro said. “Out of the first four early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, I’ve always received the best response here in Nevada.”

Castro contends that he has a unique path to victory: an early win or strong showing in Nevada, followed by the same in California and Texas, both Super Tuesday states. It’s a path that plays on Castro’s supposed strengths.

The former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas argues that those Western and Southwestern states share a similar sensibility. Plus, as the only Latino vying for president, Castro believes he can mobilize the large Latino electorates in each of those states, and then do the same in the general election.

“I have no doubt that in 2020 the Latino turnout rate is going to go up because people are not just thinking about Donald Trump as a theoretical anymore,” Castro said. “They know how bad he’s been as president.”

On Friday, Castro announced he’s reached the Democratic National Committee’s debate threshold of 65 thousand individual donors, along with the other criteria. So his fundraising may have accelerated since his first quarter numbers (he only raised $1.1 million) but the latest polls still show him in the single digits.

Castro seems unfazed by those early indicators. “What can I do except go and work hard and do what a lot of families out there do every day which is to scrap and to continue to work,” Castro said.

VICE News followed Castro during two days of campaigning in Nevada.

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Life After Release From ICE Detention (HBO)

With thousands of Central American migrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol to ask for asylum each day, the U.S. is running out of space to hold them. So starting this winter ICE has been releasing them from detention into communities on the border.

Dropped into a country they know nothing about, often with no resources, their fate is left in the hands of good samaritans, nonprofits, churches, and even helpful bus station employees.

VICE News followed Brenda Del Carmen, a young mother who had never before left the Honduran village where she was born, in the days after she was released. With her four-month-old infant in tow, she tried to make her way from El Paso to Chicago, where her husband and five-year-old daughter had gone two months earlier. Like many others in their small farming community, their coffee crops had fallen sick that year.

“Honduras is really poor right now,” she said. “There is no hope.”

Facing destitution, the family gathered funds to pay a coyote to bring them to the U.S. Brenda traveled for a week with her infant Kimberly, presented herself to Border Patrol, and after a week in ICE custody, was released. She then spent more than 24 hours straight traveling through Texas, Arkansas, and Illinois to reach her family.

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The Teens Running Former Sen. Mike Gravel’s Presidential Campaign (HBO)

What happens when you mix the online snark and progressive idealism of the podcast-listening teen and the dgaf attitude of a 88 year-old lefty?

You get the Mike Gravel For President campaign.

A group of massively online college and high school students heard about Gravel a little while ago on Chapo Trap House, the podcast of record for the Bernie set. Gravel got famous in 1971 when, as senator from Alaska, he read the Pentagon Papers into the Senate record, effectively declassifying them. Then he dropped off the radar for a long while until 2008, when he ran a quixotic bid for president. He didn’t get very far, but he got far enough to create a few viral moments on the debate stage. Gravel was the anti-war conscience in the primary.

That’s the role the college and high school students want Gravel to play in the 2020 Democratic primary too. Most of them are supporters of Bernie Sanders, but they think getting Gravel on the debate stage again could help Sanders by giving him an ally and help push the entire party to the left.

So the teens talked Gravel into running again. But this time, Gravel doesn’t really want to leave his California home. He’s given the kids control of his online identity, and they’ve used it to raise thousands of dollars — and attack just about every other Democratic candidate.

VICE News met up with Gravel as he hosted the teens in real life for the first time.

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