Morning Update: I'm Dreaming Of A Blood Forest Christmas

The story of an iconic image, prosecutors say Manafort lied, understanding radicalization. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Nov. 27.

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The mother in the iconic photo of Sunday’s teargassing was thinking only of getting her children to safety

After a confrontation between US authorities and migrants traveling with the caravan ended with tear gas, a photo was widely published. It shows a mother, clutching her twin daughters’ arms, running away from the gas.

We tracked down the woman — Maria Meza, 39, of Honduras — and spoke with her. She told us said she was standing by the border fence with her five children when Border Patrol agents fired at least three tear gas canisters at them.

She also told us she feels like crying when she looks at the image. “I thought my kids were going to die with me because of the gas we inhaled.”

The image, below, was taken by Kim Kyung-Hoon of Reuters. It was used across the world to illustrate the chaotic scene at the US–Mexico border when what had been a peaceful march turned to chaos in minutes.

On the power of photography, we gave six kids in the caravan cameras and taught them how to use them, so they can show what the world looks like for them.

Prosecutors claim Paul Manafort lied to Robert Mueller’s office and the FBI after signing his plea deal

A quick refresher here: Manafort is the former Trump campaign chair. Back in September, he entered a plea deal with federal prosecutors in one of the two criminal cases filed against him.

As part of his plea, he agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, with his sentencing delayed while he works with prosecutors.

Prosecutors from Mueller’s office said Manafort lied to them and to the FBI, but did not specify the information he gave that was allegedly false — only saying it “covered a variety of subject matters.”


NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars to explore the planet’s interior after “seven minutes of terror.” The suitcase-sized spacecraft traveled more than 300 million miles at speeds of 6,200 mph before touching down for its billion-dollar mission. Only about 40% of all missions to Mars are successful, according to NASA, and the United States is the only country whose spacecrafts have survived a landing on the planet.

Trump said “I don’t believe it” about his government’s climate change report finding, and scientists are dismayed. More than 300 experts, including government employees, concluded in a report that climate change is already impacting the US. The president said, “I’ve seen it. I’ve read some of it. It’s fine. I don’t believe it,” a sentiment not dissimilar to how I felt about my report cards. Scientists are disappointed.

Christine Blasey Ford said she is donating extra money raised for her security to help trauma survivors. A crowdfunding campaign was set up on behalf of Ford, who publicly alleged that Justice Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her, to help cover the cost of private security. It raised $647,610 in two months, far surpassing the goal of $150,000. Ford shut down the campaign page and said all unused funds “will be donated to organizations that support trauma survivors.”

HIV researchers slammed the scientist who made genetically engineered babies. The researchers say they are incensed that the first reported use of gene editing in human embryos was aimed at conferring HIV immunity, criticizing the move as reckless and unnecessary. Meanwhile, DNA experts said the babies may carry dangerous genetic mutations.

A former Border Patrol chief said you could put pepper spray on your nachos, and experts said nope, no, you cannot. Ronald Colburn was talking about the agency firing pepper spray at migrants trying to cross the southern US border when he falsely claimed on Fox News that the gas was edible. A medical expert told us consuming pepper spray “would make you very, very sick.”

We now have the video from when a gender-reveal party started a massive wildfire in Arizona, and it’s wild. The Sawmill fire destroyed 47,000 acres of grasslands in 2017. It was sparked when Border Patrol agent Dennis Dickey and his pregnant wife were throwing a party to announce the gender of their baby. Turns out Dickey filled a target with a powder that would explode either blue or pink, but also added Tannerite, a highly explosive but perfectly legal substance. In the video, a huge, blue-powdered explosion quickly transforms into a giant fire. But hey, it’s a boy!

Melania Trump decorated the White House with “blood trees” and people think they’re spooky AF. The first lady unveiled the Christmas decor, which included classic holiday touches like golden trees. But then one item in particular, a blood-red forest, caught people’s attention. Twitter had jokes. I have chills. Just look:

The unsatisfying truth about hateful online rhetoric

By now, it comes as no surprise that there are a lot of people steeped in the dark corners of the internet — the places where hateful, violent speech thrives.

As we all deal with this reality, one of the necessary narratives to untangle is figuring out when online vitriol leads to real-life violence, and when it doesn’t.

Our reporter Joseph Bernstein, who spends a lot of time studying these parts of the internet, returns with a gripping tale of two men who traveled down the same path to the extreme-right internet. One committed murder. The other walked away.

What emerges is a fascinating character study and a close examination of the way we talk about hateful online speech. We make it far too simplistic, Bernstein argues.

Read Bernstein as he questions our understanding of radicalization — the nuances he raises are worth recognizing.

8 ways to have better sex while taking antidepressants

Antidepressants can be lifesavers, but for some, they can really be libido killers.

Having your sex life impacted by medication can be frustrating and feel incredibly isolating, but you're far from alone.

We talked to experts in the field and put together this handy guide for navigating a healthy sex life while taking antidepressants.

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