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Vox Sentences: There’s always another hurricane

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Several women accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of repeated sexual harassment over the years; the Gulf Coast braces for another possible hurricane; the Trump administration rolls back the Obama birth-control mandate.


“Bad behavior” is putting it mildly

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  • Prominent Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has had multiple women accuse him of sexually harassing them for the past 30 years, according to a bombshell new report from the New York Times. [NYT / Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey]
  • Weinstein is a hugely influential figure in Hollywood. He co-founded Miramax Studios along with his brother Robert and also co-owns the Weinstein Company, two studios that produced such films as Oscar winners The King’s Speech and The Artist and classics like Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting. [Vox / Aja Romano]
  • Eight women who have either gone public or pursued legal cases against Weinstein for alleged sexual harassment are named in the Times report, including actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan, and Miramax production assistants. They say Weinstein asked them for massages and requested they watch him while he showered. [NYT / Jodi Kantor and Meghan Twohey]
  • Rumors about Weinstein’s behavior have flown around Hollywood for years, as people speculated about the numbers of pretty young actresses he took under his wing and hyped up before abruptly abandoning ones whose careers faltered. [Vox / Constance Grady]
  • Like the rumors, the allegations detailed in the Times report go back for three decades, and some of them have ended in settlements for which women were paid between $80,000 and $150,000. [Business Insider / John Lynch]
  • For his part, Weinstein is denying the allegations and has started hiring lawyers, but he’s also admitted to “bad behavior” in the past. [Page Six / Emily Smith]
  • Weinstein is being represented by lawyers including Lisa Bloom, who is the daughter of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred. Allred is one of the most famous victims rights advocates in the country, and represents many of comedian Bill Cosby’s sexual assault accusers. [The Cut / Anna Silman]
  • Weinstein is also a prominent Democratic donor, and some politicians including Elizabeth Warren and Patrick Leahy have said they plan to donate contributions from the producer to charity. [Washington Post / Emily Heil]

Hurricane Nate is upon us

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  • If you thought Atlantic hurricane season was over, think again. Tropical Storm Nate is barreling through the Gulf of Mexico, and is predicted to strengthen into a hurricane over the next few days. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • Nate is supposed to intensify into a Category 1 hurricane, which is the lowest level, with 80 mile-per-hour winds. It’s expected to bring strong storm surge to parts of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
  • It's already responsible for deaths in Central America. Authorities there say flooding from the storm has caused about 22 deaths in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. [Florida Sun-Sentinel / Brett Clarkson]
  • This comes as the US is still very much recovering from an especially intense hurricane system that’s devastated Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and other US territories in the Caribbean. [NYT / Maggie Astor]
  • The hurricanes have inflicted more than $100 billion worth of damage on the US. They've wreaked havoc in other ways, too: The US economy reported a loss of 33,000 jobs today as a direct result of the storms. It’s the first time in seven years that’s happened. [Vox / Alexia Fernandez Campbell]
  • Puerto Rico, in particular, is still struggling to cope with the devastation from Hurricane Maria. Aid to the US territory was delayed for about a week, and about 50 percent of the island still doesn’t have clean drinking water. At this point, many people are just trying to leave. [Jack Healy and Luis Ferre-Sadurni]
  • Officials on the island have also been openly feuding with President Trump over the lack of resources. The most recent twist came this week, when FEMA's website removed — and then put back — statistics about how much clean drinking water and electricity had been restored to the island. [Washington Post / Jenna Johnson]

Trump gets rid of Obama’s birth control mandate

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  • The Trump administration just rolled back another Obama-era mandate that required the vast majority employers to cover birth control as part of their health insurance options. [Vox / Sarah Kliff and Dylan Scott]
  • New rules issued by the Trump administration on Friday give employers, including large, publicly traded companies, more leeway to ask for exemptions from the birth control mandate if they are religiously or morally opposed to it. [Vox / Sarah Kliff and Dylan Scott]
  • Officials from the US Department of Health and Human Services are insisting the change won’t affect “99.9 percent” of women, basing that percentage on the number of lawsuits that have been filed opposing the mandate over the years. [Washington Post / Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein, and William Wan]
  • Women's health advocates see it differently, fearing the change could leave hundreds of thousands of women without access to affordable birth control. [Stat / Lev Facher]
  • The decision is a big win for religious organizations, which were some of the most forceful opponents of the birth control mandate. There were some loopholes after the Supreme Court ruled that closely held for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby didn’t have to cover birth control. But the Obama administration found a workaround to that, allowing women to get birth control directly from their insurers for free. [The Atlantic / Vann Newkirk II]
  • The change will take effect immediately, but it’s already received a court challenge from the Massachusetts attorney general, which could slow it down. [Ema O’Connor via Twitter]
  • It’s important to point out that birth control has well-demonstrated health outcomes. In addition to allowing women to plan their pregnancies, birth control is also used to control heavy periods and conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome. [Vox / Anna North]

Miscellaneous

  • America’s obsession with pumpkin spice has officially gone too far: A Baltimore high school was evacuated yesterday after students reported a strange smell. The culprit was a pumpkin spice air freshener ... truly a strange smell. [USA Today / Ryan Miller]
  • A majority of the earth’s honey is contaminated with insecticides, which is to say, there’s more bad news for honeybees. [The Verge / Alessandra Potenza]
  • As more dockless bike-share programs come to DC, dockless bike-share vandalism is also on the rise. [Washington Post / Luz Lazo]
  • The speculum — bane of women at their OB-GYN appointments since the 1840s — is finally getting a modern update. Hopefully, this means, no more cold, pinching metal around your lady parts. [Wired / Arielle Padres]
  • Unsafe abortions are rampant worldwide; almost half of the abortions being performed across the world can be a serious threat to the health of the mother. Incidents involve everyone from inexperienced healers to the mothers themselves performing them. [NPR / Susan Brink]

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