Okla. City bombing ‘Survivor Tree’ DNA to live on

Science and technology are helping Oklahoma City to sustain the DNA and spirit of a tree symbolizing hope 24 years after the deadliest act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil. (April 19)

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North Korea looms large over US-Japan talks

The U.S. and Japan presented a united front on the complete, verifiable, irreversible, denuclearization (CVID) of North Korea as the two countries conducted security talks in Washington. (April 19)

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How Maduro Has Clung Onto Power In Venezuela (HBO)

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has had a tumultuous 2019.

He’s been locked in a power struggle with 35-year-old Juan Guaidó since January, when the young opposition leader declared himself Venezuela’s rightful interim president with the backing of 50 countries, including the U.S. He’s faced several rounds of sanctions that have crippled the country’s oil sector and sharply exacerbated an already disastrous crisis, making an economic recovery all but impossible any time soon. He’s overseen one massive power outage after another, leaving entire neighborhoods without running water for days or even weeks at a time.

In spite of all this, Maduro has managed to hang on to power. He’s done so in part by maintaining control of key political institutions, especially the military, through a combination of patronage and intimidation. But he also counts on a hard core of support among the population, which has less to do with Maduro himself than with the legacy of the man who was president before him: Hugo Chávez.

Over his 15 years in power, Chávez became a national hero of near-mythic proportions by lifting millions out of poverty: He reduced hunger and extreme poverty by half, nearly wiped out illiteracy, and transformed Venezuela’s barrios by supplying them with proper housing and basic goods and services, organizing them politically in the process. And while the catastrophic economic breakdown Venezuela is currently suffering has badly weathered support for Maduro among the poor, many still have faith in the larger chavista project, and don’t see the U.S.-led opposition as a viable alternative.

“Yes, people are disappointed, but even though they’re disappointed, they’re not with the opposition — they’re passive,” said Olga Andrade, a resident of a Caracas barrio. “Because what exactly does the opposition have to offer? How long have they been fighting for this or that, and what have they accomplished? They haven’t done anything.”

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De Niro on Trump’s America: ‘It’s a dire situation’

Robert De Niro says he’s not concerned about losing fans over his criticisms of President Donald Trump, adding that the current level of political discourse in the U.S. “is not normal.” (April 18)

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Today in History for April 18th

Highlights of this day in history: The San Francisco earthquake; What becomes known as ‘Paul Revere’s ride’; A suicide bomb hits the U.S. embassy in Lebanon; Physicist Albert Einstein dies; Wayne Gretzky plays his last NHL game. (April 18)

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ShowBiz Minute: Notre Dame, ‘GoT,’ Franklin

Celebrities react to Notre Dame fire; “Game of Thrones” season debut breaks HBO rating records in U.S.; Aretha Franklin makes history with posthumous Pulitzer win. (April 16)

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Trump: Notre Dame blaze ‘terrible sight to behold’

U.S. President Donald Trump has described the fire engulfing Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral, as “a terrible sight to behold.” The president made his remarks at the beginning of an event about the economy and tax reform in Minneapolis. (April 15)

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Pompeo prioritizes Venezuela crisis in Paraguay

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Saturday a “tyrant” who has caused the ruin of the South American country and its people. (April 13)

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What Happens Next For Julian Assange (HBO)

Julian Assange’s lawyers are digging in for a furious, last-ditch effort to block his extradition to the U.S., following his dramatic arrest Thursday morning. The WikiLeaks founder was dragged out of the Ecuadorian embassy, where he had been living since 2012.

Assange is now facing up to five years in American prison for allegedly conspiring to hack into a classified Pentagon computer system in 2010. A 2018 indictment, unsealed by the Department of Justice on Thursday, charges him with a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and alleges that he tried to help former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning gain access to the government computer system in March 2010.

Given Assange’s contentious history with Washington, the initial indictment may be an attempt to bring Assange to the U.S. before targeting him with additional charges, former federal prosecutors told VICE News. His longstanding confrontation with the U.S. government now appears destined to play out in courtrooms in London and Alexandria, Virginia.

“Once the Justice Department gets him over here, they have a lot more leverage over Mr. Assange — and the tables are turned,” said Renato Mariotti, a former U.S. prosecutor based in Chicago. “You don’t need to be a legal analyst to see why the Justice Department would probably like to charge him with all sorts of things.”

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‘Bomb cyclone’ making travel dangerous in Midwest

Heavy snow and strong winds hammered parts of the central U.S. on Thursday, creating hazardous travel conditions. (April 11)

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