December 29, 2018

A terminally ill toddler named Abdullah Hassan died Friday at a hospital in California. He was just 2 years old.

Hassan's story came to national attention because his mother, Shaima Swileh, was denied a visa to travel from Yemen to visit him in his final days. The boy and his father, Ali Hassan, both held American citizenship, but the Yemeni Swileh was unable to join them in the States because Yemen is among the eight nations listed in the Trump administration's revised travel ban.

With help from the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Sacramento, the family sued the State Department for a waiver. It was granted Dec. 18, and Swileh was able to see her son.

"We are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives," Ali Hassan said Friday of his son's death. "We want to thank everyone for your love and support at this difficult time. We ask you to kindly keep Abdullah and our family in your thoughts and prayers." Bonnie Kristian

2:03 p.m.

Thought those loose ends from the Game of Thrones finale might set up spinoffs? Think again.

Casey Bloys, HBO's programming president, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter shoots down the idea that the network will follow up on the recent series finale. Asked if he's interested in exploring a sequel series, such as one centering on Arya Stark, he gave a pretty strong answer.

"Nope, nope, nope," Bloys said. "No."

The reason for this lack of interest, Bloys explained, is that he wants Game of Thrones to be "its own thing," and "I don't want to take characters from this world that [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] did beautifully and put them off into another world with someone else creating it. I want to let it be the artistic piece they've got." Therefore, "right now, a sequel or picking up any of the other characters doesn't make sense for us," Bloys said.

Of course, that's not to say HBO isn't interested in any more Game of Thrones. In fact, there are already several potential successor shows in the works, including a prequel that will take place thousands of years in the past and star Naomi Watts. But Bloys told the Reporter this project, which hasn't officially been ordered to series but will shoot its pilot next month, "feels like its own show," complete with totally different "dynamics" than Game of Thrones. The other spinoffs that are in development are also not expected to be sequels, although in a separate interview with Deadline, Bloys cast doubt on the idea that more than one of them will end up on the air.

Then again, while Bloys ruled out the idea of a sequel, he did so by hedging "right now," suggesting there might be a small chance of a direct follow-up much further down the line. Just not today. Brendan Morrow

1:44 p.m.

So-called women's issues affect everyone. It just took some women presidential candidates to make that clear.

Democratic women have entered the 2020 race in record numbers, bringing paid family leave, pay disparities, and other issues that primarily affect women to the mainstream. That's very apparent with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who introduced a "Family Bill of Rights," and with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who debuted a maternal mortality bill, both on Wednesday.

Gillibrand has by far churned out the biggest policies to benefit women and families, starting with her Senate bills tackling sexual assault in the military and in the halls of Congress. That continued in her family-focused economic policy plan, which takes on adoption discrimination, paid family leave, and rural disparities in pregnancy health care. Gillibrand pledged to address those issues during her first 100 days in the White House.

Harris also rolled out a bill Wednesday to address the 700 pregnancy-related deaths America sees every year, particularly mentioning how black women are more than three times more likely to die from those causes than white women. The bill would dedicate $25 million toward programs to fight racial bias in medicine, and another $125 million for identifying and properly handling high-risk pregnancies, CBS News reports. Harris also has a pretty extensive plan to fine companies with gender pay disparities, with proceeds going toward Gillibrand's FAMILY Act for paid leave.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) most recent woman-focused proposal rolled out last week and calls on Congress to pass laws preserving abortion rights. She also has a plan to incentivize hospitals to reduce maternal mortality rates for black women, has another plan to subsidize child care nationwide, and has spoken extensively about closing the gender pay gap. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:21 p.m.

An increasing number of impoverished students are enrolling in the for-profit education industry.

Less selective institutions have seen a rise in enrollment from students who are living in poverty, Pew Research Center found. The study, which examined enrollment across institutions from 1996 and 2016, showed that an increase in enrollment across all undergraduate educational institutions was fueled almost entirely by more low-income families and students of color enrolling.

Thirty-six percent of dependent students and 50 percent of independents at for-profit universities were in poverty in 2016. Both of these groups made up the highest income distribution bracket at for-profit schools, per the report.

For-profit universities can be an attractive option for students, but they are typically more expensive than not-for-profit institutions and present more struggles in paying off student debt, reports Axios. For-profit schools are also more likely to shut down, and some have been accused of false advertising and predatory lending, per Axios.

Across the board, students in poverty have increased at all undergraduate institutions. Among all dependent undergraduates, the percentage in poverty increased from 12 to 20 percent over the 20-year-period and from 29 to 42 percent among independent undergrads. Marianne Dodson

1:05 p.m.

Harriet Tubman's image will not be coming to a $20 dollar bill near you in 2020, as promised.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin revealed on on Wednesday that the bill's design was being delayed until 2028 to prevent counterfeiting issues, which he says is his primary duty at present. While he will focus on the security feature redesign of the bill, the imagery will likely be handled by a successor. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) grilled Mnuchin during his testimony on the international financial system before the House Financial Services Committee.

Mnuchin said he agreed with Pressley that America's diversity should be celebrated more frequently in the country's "imagery," but not necessarily currency, arguing that he cannot separate his professional duties from his personal opinions when it comes to this particular matter.

Mnuchin's boss, President Trump, said before he was elected to the office in 2016 that putting Tubman's image on the $20 dollar bill was "pure political correctness" and suggested instead her likeness be used for the rare $2 bill instead. It's worth noting that if Tubman does eventually make it on to the $20 dollar bill, she would be replacing one of Trump's favorite commanders-in-chief, former President Andrew Jackson, who is known for forcibly relocating Native Americans during his tenure.

Tubman, an African-American abolitionist and political activist who helped numerous enslaved people escape along the underground railway, was chosen for the bill by the Treasury Department under the Obama administration in 2016 after a lengthy process, which considered public opinion. It's release was scheduled to coincide with the centennial of the 19th ammendment, which granted women the right to vote. Tim O'Donnell

12:25 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she's praying for President Trump — and for the nation — after he suddenly ended a meeting to discuss infrastructure.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke to reporters following Trump reportedly walking out of their meeting five minutes in after Pelosi earlier in the day said that he is "engaged in a cover-up." Trump refused to work with the top Democrats because of what he called their their "phony investigations," also saying, "I don't do cover-ups."

"I pray for the president of the United States, and I pray for the United States of America," Pelosi said. She also speculated that Trump perhaps "took a pass" on their meeting due to "lack of confidence on his part" about their infrastructure negotiations.

Schumer subsequently said that "it's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the president's part" but that he planned to walk out ahead of time, also saying, "to watch what happened in the White House would make your jaw drop." Brendan Morrow

12:22 p.m.

Prada will be fur-free in 2020, joining a slew of other fashion houses in making more socially-conscious clothing.

The Spring/Summer 2020 women's collection will be the designer's final venture with fur, and the move to go fur-less will impact all of Prada's brands — including Miu Miu, Church's and Car Shoe, reports CNN.

The decision is in collaboration with the Fur Free Alliance, which previously led a campaign pressuring Prada to forgo fur in 2018. Prada previously came under scrutiny for not adopting a fur-free policy sooner, but the luxury brand fought back by highlighting its "gradual and concrete reduction" of fur products.

Prada's decision puts it in a group of fashion houses such as Burberry, Armani, Versaci, Gucci, Chanel and Coach that have all decided to give up fur in their products, per CNN. Marianne Dodson

12:16 p.m.

So much for that surprise bipartisan infrastructure success in April.

Weeks after President Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) cordially sat through a meeting and agreed that the government's new infrastructure package would require about $2 trillion in funding and investments, the president is putting the deal on hold. The trio met again on Wednesday, but Trump abruptly left the meeting, and as he passed reporters on the way out, told them that he would not negotiate with Democratic leadership until several House and Senate committees ceased investigating Trump and his administration.

Trump said he told Pelosi and Schumer he wanted to work with them on infrastructure, but not "under these circumstances." He then called an impromptu press conference, where he reiterated many of his opinions that he frequently shares on his Twitter account — namely that there was no collusion between Russia and his 2016 presidential campaign and that the Democratic-led investigations were part of a grand hoax. He said he respects the oversight role of Congress and the courts but claimed "what they've done is abuse." Tim O'Donnell

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