×
July 11, 2018

Our ancestors may have lived on continents other than Africa much earlier than scientists previously thought.

Archaeologists recently excavated stone tools in Shangchen, China, that were made about 2.12 million years ago, LiveScience reported Wednesday. While the common theory is that hominins didn't leave Africa until about 1.8 million years ago, the finding would suggest that they were in fact on the move much earlier.

"It suggests a way earlier migration out of Africa than we ever would have imagined," Michael Petraglia, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, told LiveScience.

The researchers, from China and the U.K., found quartz stones that nearly look like naturally produced sediment formations. But upon closer inspection, the stones flaked in such a way that suggests they were shaped by human hands. Scientists are still working to determine exactly how old the artifacts are, and to verify that they really are evidence of a human presence in ancient China.

Homo erectus, or even some earlier species of hominin, had to have migrated out of Africa roughly 10,000 generations earlier than scientists thought, the finding suggests. "It really opens all sorts of questions with respect to migrations out of Africa and the ability of these humans to adapt to various ecological circumstances," said Petraglia. Read more at LiveScience. Summer Meza

7:50 a.m.

In the face of a damning report from The New York Times, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is holding firm.

Zuckerberg told CNN in an interview Tuesday that he has no plans to step down as Facebook chairman, a move some had called for after a recent Times investigation. "That's not the plan," Zuckerberg said, adding that he's "not currently thinking that that makes sense." He also said COO Sheryl Sandberg isn't going anywhere, either, as he's "really proud of the work we've done together" and he hopes "we continue to work together for decades more to come."

This interview comes after The New York Times reported that Facebook was alerted to Russian hacking on its platform in spring 2016, long before sharing this information with the public or with its board of directors and before Zuckerberg publicly dismissed the idea that Facebook played a role in the presidential election. It also alleged that Facebook hired an opposition-research firm to downplay "the impact of the Russians' use of Facebook" and to discredit Facebook critics by linking them to billionaire financier George Soros, an effort spearheaded by Sandberg.

Zuckerberg once again denied knowing about this lobbying until he read the Times article, saying he wasn't "particularly happy about that piece of it" while offering a mild defense by saying that "the intention was never to attack an individual." Despite all of these cascading problems, Zuckerberg also said that Facebook is still "a positive force." Watch the interview below. Brendan Morrow

1:41 a.m.

The Camp Fire swept through Paradise, California, on Nov. 8, becoming the deadliest fire in state history, and now there are questions surrounding the city's decision to narrow the main evacuation route from four lanes to two.

In 2008, a fire ravaged parts of Paradise, destroying 200 homes. There are only four routes out of Paradise, and as everyone in town tried to evacuate, the streets became clogged with cars and thousands were trapped. It took three hours for people to get out of Paradise, and a grand jury later told city officials they needed to create additional evacuation routes, the Los Angeles Times reports.

To protect pedestrians, the city decided in 2014 that Skyway, the main road going through town, should be narrowed from four lanes to two, and records show two other roads also lost lanes. The city was warned that by narrowing the roads, in case of a wildfire or other emergency, it would be hard for people to get out quickly; on Nov. 8, with thousands of people trying to evacuate, some were killed when their cars were engulfed by flames.

On Tuesday, Mayor Jody Jones told the Times the evacuation started at 7:46 a.m and was finished by 3 p.m., and she doesn't think "there's any town in the world prepared with a roadway infrastructure that could evacuate their entire town all at once. They're just not built to do that." At least 81 people were killed in the fire, and nearly 700 remain missing. Catherine Garcia

12:43 a.m.

Over the course of three years, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker received more than $1.2 million working for a charity called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, The Washington Post reports, a conservative nonprofit that does not reveal its donors.

Whitaker started at FACT in 2014, and served as president. The organization says its mission is to expose unethical conduct by public officials, and Whitaker made regular appearances on political TV and radio shows, often criticizing Hillary Clinton and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The New York Times reports that since 2014, FACT has raised nearly $3.5 million, with its largest single expense Whitaker's salary.

The Post analyzed incorporation and tax filings, and found that in 2012, FACT was created under a different name and applied for tax-exempt status by saying the organization would study how environmental regulations impact businesses. A man named in the IRS filings as a board member told the Post this incarnation of FACT "only existed on paper."

A conservative foundation named DonorsTrust, which gives other conservative foundations cover to hide their giving, handed over $1.1 million to FACT between 2014 and 2015, but the source of that donation is unclear, the Times reports. A spokesman for FACT who asked that his name not be used told the Post that as a nonprofit, FACT "does not and is not required to release its donor information." He said the IRS was notified of FACT's name change, but did not respond to questions about whether, as required by IRS rules, FACT notified the agency about how its mission changed. Read more about FACT and its mysterious funding at The Washington Post and The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

The January 2019 issue of Glamour will be the magazine's final monthly print edition, Condé Nast announced Tuesday.

Launched in 1939 as Glamour of Hollywood, the magazine will be shifting to an entirely digital presence. Glamour has a print circulation of about two million and an online audience of 20 million, Variety reports. Last year, Condé Nast ended the print editions of Teen Vogue and Self. No layoffs are planned, and the magazine will still print special issues on occasion.

Samantha Barry, the magazine's new editor-in-chief, told staff in a memo that Glamour is "doubling down on digital — investing in the storytelling, service, and fantastic photo shoots we've always been known for, bringing it to the platforms our readers frequent most." Barry came to Glamour in January from CNN Worldwide, where she was executive producer for social and emerging media. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Taylor Energy Co. has been ordered by the Coast Guard to do something about its damaged oil platform that for the last 14 years has been leaking thousands of gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico.

The order came on Oct. 23, following The Washington Post's report that the spill was larger than the Interior Department estimated. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan destroyed Taylor Energy's former platform 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana. A Justice Department analysis found that since then, 10,500 to 29,000 gallons of oil a day have leaked into the Gulf. Previously, the government went off of reports by contractors hired by Taylor Energy, which claimed anywhere from 42 to 2,300 gallons leaked per day.

The Coast Guard's order calls for Taylor Energy to "institute a ... system to capture, contain, and remove oil" from the site or pay a daily $40,000 fine for failing to comply, the Post reports. Taylor has plugged nine of the 28 wells at the platform, but argues that because the wells are buried under 100 feet of mud, they can't be the cause of the oil spill. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Two weeks after Election Day, the final results are in for Utah's 4th Congressional District, with Democrat Ben McAdams defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mia Love by fewer than 700 votes, The Associated Press projects.

Love is the first and only black female Republican in Congress, and was seeking a third term. About 269,000 votes were cast in the election, and had Love received 20 more votes, under state law she would have been able to request a recount.

A Utah native, McAdams ran as a moderate in the solidly red state. He practiced law in New York before returning to Utah, and was elected to the state legislature in 2008. He now serves as mayor of Salt Lake County. Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) announced on Tuesday she will not challenge Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the role of speaker of the House and is offering her endorsement.

"I now join my colleagues in support of the leadership team of Pelosi, [Rep. Steny] Hoyer, and [Rep. James] Clyburn," she said in a statement. Pelosi, Hoyer, and Clyburn are the three highest-ranking Democrats.

Fudge said she was concerned about "voter protection and voter integrity," and the Democratic Party "should reflect the diversity of our changing nation and guarantee all our citizens the unfettered right to vote and to have every vote count." Pelosi, she said, has "assured me that the most loyal voting bloc in the Democratic Party, black women, will have a seat at the decision-making table" and "protections of the Voting Rights Act will be reinstated and improved."

Last week, 16 Democrats signed a letter saying they will oppose Pelosi for speaker. So far, no challengers have emerged, with House Democrats set to vote to select a nominee next week. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads