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Trump and Senate leaders are "talking," the dogs of Chernobyl, your weekend longreads. The BuzzFeed News newsletter, Jan. 25.

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Shoot someone in a major US city, and odds are you’ll get away with it

A yearlong investigation by BuzzFeed News and The Trace lays out some startling truths about violent crime in America: In cities from coast to coast, the odds that police will solve a shooting are abysmally low and dropping.

Homicides and assaults carried out with guns lead to arrests about half as often as when the same crimes are committed using other weapons or physical force.

As low as those numbers are, they are even lower if a victim survives — those crimes tend to be assigned to detectives whose caseloads are exponentially higher compared to their colleagues in the homicide department.

Even though the overall crime rate has plummeted, the percentage of shooters who escape justice has soared.

More on this: 5 things to know about cities’ failure to arrest shooters.

Donald Trump and Senate leaders are “talking” about how to end the government shutdown after two more plans failed

On Thursday, the Senate failed to pass two bills to reopen the government. One of them was President Trump’s bill that included $5.7 billion for a wall along the southern border.

In practical terms, the vote sends the message that Trump’s plan cannot pass the Republican-controlled Senate or the Democrat-controlled House.

The bills were bound to fail, but Congress has been under pressure to take literally any step to end the partial shutdown affecting 800,000 federal workers.

Now a group of 16 senators, evenly split between both parties, are calling for a short-term deal to open the government.

Meanwhile: Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who is worth $700 million, said he doesn’t understand why furloughed workers are going to food banks.


China has blocked Bing, the only foreign search engine its citizens could access. This makes Bing the latest foreign internet service to be cut off by the “Great Firewall,” a system of censorship controls employed by China’s government to prevent citizens from using most foreign online services.

Four 12-year-old black girls were allegedly strip searched at a middle school in New York. According to advocates, the students were questioned and then searched by the nurse and an assistant principal at East Middle School after officials suspected they were in possession of drugs.

Amanda Knox has been awarded $20,000 in damages by a European court. Knox was convicted of making false statements during the investigation into the murder of her British roommate in Italy. A court ruled her statements had been made in an atmosphere of “intense psychological pressure.”

Angola has decriminalized gay sex. The southern African country’s parliament also declared it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation, instituting a two-year jail term for violations.

Jeff Bridges teased a return of “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski but it might just be a Super Bowl ad. A lot of people online were thrilled to see the return of their favorite slacker, even just in this short clip. “Can’t be living in the past, man,” Bridges tweeted alongside the video. “Stay tuned.”

Puppies from radioactive Chernobyl are starting new lives in North America

In 1986, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant blew up, killing 28 and spewing the largest amount of radiation ever recorded.

The catastrophe poisoned the land, as well as the people, animals, and trees that lived on it, for decades to come. It left many people sick for life.

As the region in northern Ukraine grapples with the fallout, an organization called the Clean Futures Fund is helping the dogs of Chernobyl that wander into the disaster exclusion zone.

The area’s dogs have a low chance of surviving the exclusion zone. This is not because of the radioactivity — it’s blatantly untrue that the dogs are radioactive — but because food and shelter can be so sparse in the harsh winters.

So CFF is working to change that by finding these puppies a way out of one of the strangest places on Earth, and a home in the US or Canada. Read Jane Lytvynenko’s extraordinary report on the dogs of Chernobyl.

(Yes, there are many pictures of adorable pups.)

Take a breather and get lost in these thoughtful essays

The Gym Isn’t Usually A Safe Space For Fat Women, But It’s Become My Sanctuary. Maybe all your body wants to do is prove you wrong. Fancy Feast wrote a great piece about how lifting weights transformed the gym from an intimidating place to a haven: “I have spent many years diminishing myself for the comfort of others. ...The weight room is a place to begin unlearning that which does not serve me.”

I Built My Masculinity From Pieces Of The Boys I’ve Loved. Jamie Beckenstein wrote a moving essay on assembling an expression of masculinity from the spare parts of ex-partners, from stolen phrases to shaving gel: “My wanting to consume boys was in equal parts my desire to be with them and my desire to be them.”

How Do You Calculate The Emotional Cost Of Ghosting Someone? Have you ever been ghosted? Or did you do the ghosting? Either way, you’ll wanna read Lam Thuy Vo’s elegant breakdown of how we ghost, why we ghost, and the emotional debt we owe the people we date: “Not only is it easier to stop responding, it’s also easier to forget that we owe them anything at all.”

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