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April 15, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) released 10 years worth of tax returns on Monday evening, showing that after the release of his book Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, his income rose to more than $1 million in 2016 and 2017.

Before that, most of Sanders' income came from the salary he receives as a senator. The returns show "that our family has been fortunate," Sanders said in a statement, adding, "I consider paying more in taxes as my income rose to be both an obligation and an investment in our country." The returns also reveal that in 2018, Sanders' adjusted gross income was $561,293, with a 26 percent effective tax rate, and in 2012 and 2013, Sanders and his wife, Jane, appeared to profit from a "small antiques business," BuzzFeed News reports.

While running for president in 2016, Sanders provided a summary of his 2014 tax returns, but he has never before released his full returns. Right after he launched his 2020 campaign in February, Democrats started pushing him to release his returns, and he promised to do so by April 15. One of his main themes on the campaign trail has been economic justice, and Sanders said that because he grew up in a family that "lived paycheck to paycheck," he knows "the stress of economic insecurity. That is why I strive every day to ensure every American has the basic necessities of life, including a livable wage, decent housing, health care, and retirement security." Catherine Garcia

4:19 p.m.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio needs a presidential primary boost. This probably won't do it.

On Monday, de Blasio tweeted an apparent text exchange between himself and his 21-year-old son Dante, in which the 2020 Democrat asks his son for advice ahead of Wednesday's primary debates. "Hey Dad, I'm glad you've asked," Dante responds in what one can only assume is the tone of an infomercial host, before going on to share some advice.

For starters, Dante tells de Blasio to relate the story of meeting his wife Chirlane McCray to "how hard it is to find, like, 'the one' on tinder." De Blasio is skeptical, so Dante suggests bringing up the universally beloved subject of dogs, and then proposes de Blasio "tell people that NYC was just Staten Island when you started your first term." For an extra hip approach, Dante also recommends the tallest candidate on the stage try "a Zion leap over the moderator to the rim."

It was in de Blasio's best interest to ask Dante for some help, given that his stellar ad for his father's 2013 mayoral race is said to have steered de Blasio to victory. Dante is also a state debate champion, as de Blasio alludes to in his carefully crafted text exchange. And while this exchange may not do the mayor any favors, Dante should at least be credited with convincing de Blasio to apparently ditch his beloved flip phone. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:04 p.m.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry would like to thank actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mark Hamill for their artistry — but he's not talking about their portrayals of Elaine Benes, Selina Meyer, or Luke Skywalker.

Instead, Kerry is talking about a their participation in a play based on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into 2016 Russian election interference. Hamill and Louis-Dreyfus will join a wide-ranging cast, including John Lithgow, Alyssa Milano, Annette Bening, Sigourney Weaver and Zachary Quinto, to perform a one-night-only show titled The Investigation: A Search For the Truth in Ten Acts. The play, which is written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert Schenkkan, is set to air in New York at 9 p.m. It will be live streamed.

Kerry, it seems, will be tuning in, and he's quite excited about it, going so far as to call the 10-act play "an act of public service."

If, for some reason, you feel the urge to see not one, but two staged performances about the Mueller report, Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., is presenting an 11-hour marathon reading of Volume 2 of the Mueller report in July, The Washington Post reports. Tim O'Donnell

4:04 p.m.

Bacteria might just be the key to making us all healthier.

A new study published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday offers new evidence that there are certain types of microbes present in the digestive tracts of athletes that help their bodies' endurance during exercise. Scientists took a look at a bacteria that is especially common in runners' bodies after a marathon, called Veillonella, NPR explained.

They then introduced that bacteria into mice, and found that those mice performed 13 percent better on an exercise wheel than mice who didn't get the boost. That's a huge effect — strong evidence that Veillonella is actually the cause of better athletic performance, not just its byproduct. This type of microbe actually feeds on lactate, a chemical that builds up in sore muscles and fatigued bodies.

While 13 percent might be a big change in mice, though, it's not confirmed that this bacteria would have the same effect on humans. It's highly unlikely that you could just take a Veillonella supplement to get a boost in your athletic performance, because "it's harder to replicate an effect" in the human body than in mice, said Morgan Langille, a microbiome researcher not involved in the research. But it's still "a really impressive study" that helps us understand more about the tiny ecosystems inside our bodies.

Further research will be necessary before a supplement could be tested on humans, but at least there's hope that someday, exercise won't need to be so much of a slog. Read more at NPR. Shivani Ishwar

4:03 p.m.

A government watchdog will criticize White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's "unacceptable" and "unlawful" behavior while testifying before Congress this week.

The Office of Special Counsel recommended earlier this month that Conway be fired for "repeatedly" violating the Hatch Act, which limits the political activities federal employees can engage in, and Special Counsel Henry Kerner will discuss this while testifying before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday, The Daily Beast reports.

In an opening statement released on Monday, Kerner criticizes Conway for her "egregious and repeated Hatch Act violations," as well as her "unrepentant attitude," which he says are "unacceptable from any federal employee, let alone one in such a prominent position."

"Her conduct hurts both federal employees, who may believe that senior officials can act with complete disregard for the Hatch Act, and the American people, who may question the nonpartisan operation of their government," he writes.

Kerner goes on to again lay out why it was "inappropriate" and "unlawful" for Conway to "argue in support of President Trump's reelection and in opposition to the election of the Democratic Party's candidates for president" in her official capacity as a White House official. He also notes that the Office of Special Counsel has had to issue multiple reports about Conway's violations. "Ms. Conway's conduct reflects not a misunderstanding of the law, but rather a disregard for it," he therefore concludes.

Conway has denied that she violated the Hatch Act, saying in a Monday interview on Fox News, "they want to silence me." Trump has said he has no plans to fire Conway. Brendan Morrow

3:15 p.m.

Four people have been found dead along the Rio Grande Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said Sunday.

Two of the people found were infants, one was a toddler, and one was a 20-year-old woman, Guera continued in a Sunday tweet. They all appear to be undocumented immigrants, an FBI official told NPR.

Right now, it looks as if the four people died of dehydration and heat overexposure, and foul play is not currently suspected, the FBI said. Still, the agency will be continuing an investigation into the deaths, with a spokesperson calling it "an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often." The bodies were found close to where a section of President Trump's proposed border wall is being built, seeing as the Rio Grande is the most heavily trafficked area of the border, Customs and Border Protection told The Associated Press.

The news comes as reports reveal that migrant children are living in unsanitary, overcrowded detention facilities along the border. A recent lawsuit alleged that more than 300 children in a Clint, Texas facility — some as young as 2 1/2 years old — were living in conditions that "could be compared to torture facilities," a local physician who visited the facility said in a report. All but 30 of those children have since been taken out of the facility, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) told The Associated Press on Monday. The children were reportedly moved to a tent detention center, a Homeland Security official told NBC News. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:09 p.m.

Be prepared for a Lion King remake that does, as it turn out, include all the original songs.

The tracklist for the upcoming Disney live-action remake was released on Monday, and naturally, "Circle of Life," "I Just Can't Wait to Be King," "Hakuna Matata," and "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" are included, Collider reports. But also featured is "Be Prepared," the classic villain song that was rumored to have been cut from the movie, sparking outrage among fans.

The soundtrack additionally includes "He Lives in You," which appears in the Lion King musical and in the movie sequel The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, as well as a brand new song by Elton John — which, Variety points out, means John has two songs this year that could compete for best original song at the 2020 Oscars after one from Rocketman. "The Morning Report," the song that didn't appear in the original theatrical release but was included on the Special Edition, didn't make the cut, though.

There's also one track listed as "TBA," which seems to be the new Beyoncé song that Favreau discussed in a recent interview with Fandango, saying it "doesn't replace anything" and feels "organically a part of the new production." Similar to the way the recent Aladdin remake expanded on Jasmine's character and gave her a new song, "Speechless," Favraeu said that adding more for Sarabi and Nala in this version is "an area that we could build upon the original."

The Lion King, the last of three live-action remakes Disney is releasing this year, hits theaters on July 19. For now, check out a glimpse at Donald Glover and Beyoncé singing "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" below. Brendan Morrow

3:01 p.m.

Certain commonly-prescribed medications have been linked with an increased risk of dementia among older adults, new research has found.

A study, published on Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, discovered a strong association between a high risk of dementia and a type of medication known as "anticholinergic" drugs, CNN reported. This describes any drug that blocks the chemical acetylcholine from its function in the nervous system — and anticholinergic drugs can be used to treat a variety of conditions, from dizziness and insomnia to epilepsy and mental disorders.

In particular, the study found that certain types of anticholinergics — including antidepressants, antipsychotics, and antiepileptics — were associated with a particularly high risk of dementia when taken by adults over the age of 55 for long periods of time. In some cases, the risk increased by as much as 50 percent when patients were exposed to a daily dose of anticholinergic drugs for three years or more.

While the association has been noticed before, it's still far from confirmed that these drugs actually cause the increased dementia risk, rather than just being linked with it. "No firm conclusions can be drawn about whether these drugs cause dementia," said Carol Coupland, the study's lead author and a professor at the University of Nottingham.

More research will be required before determining whether or not there is a causal link between anticholinergics and dementia — so patients shouldn't stop taking "critical and important" medications, said Douglas Scharre, a neurologist at Ohio State University. Instead, "have a conversation with your doctor" about the risks involved with your medications, he recommended.

Read more at CNN. Shivani Ishwar

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