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Detroit shuts off drinking water to schools, the US Open apologizes, and your weekend longreads. The BuzzFeed News newsletter, August 31.

Posted on August 31, 2018, at 7:56 a.m. ET

Detroit is shutting off drinking water to all schools due to concerns about lead

The back-to-school season is coinciding with a particularly hot end to the summer, but drinking water has been shut off in all 106 schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

The decision to cut off the water was made after elevated copper or lead levels were found in 16 of 24 schools tested this year. The superintendent of the district says the supply to the rest of the schools has been shut down “out of an abundance of caution,” until a long-term solution is found.

This is notable: At one school, two taps in the cafeteria — a kitchen faucet and a drinking water faucet — showed lead levels of 182 micrograms per liter and 154 micrograms per liter, respectively. Both are more than 10 times higher than Environmental Protection Agency’s action level of 15 micrograms per liter.

You may be wondering why this isn’t an all of Detroit issue. Here’s why: The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said this did not affect other residents because the water distributed by the city was tested hourly and met federal and state drinking water regulations. The department pointed to aging plumbing in the schools as a source of concern.

In case you missed it

Earlier this week, we published an explosive report — millions of American children were placed in orphanages during the 20th century. Some didn’t make it out alive.

That story took BuzzFeed News investigative reporter Christine Kenneally on a four-year-long journey to find out what really went on in these institutions, which housed at least 5 million kids. Her special investigation revealed the systematic abuse and even the alleged murder of children by nuns.

Today, we’re making Kenneally’s landmark report — part true-crime drama, part ghost story — available as an e-book, or if you’d prefer, also an audiobook.

The historic investigation cracks open a secret history of American life and adds a vast new dimension to the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Make sure you catch it.

UC Santa Cruz is asking professors and staff to house students because Silicon Valley has created a “housing crisis”

The director of housing at the University of California, Santa Cruz sent the email to faculty and staff, urging them to offer “a room for rent” in their private homes due to a “housing crisis” on campus and in the city at large.

Dave Keller, the executive director of housing services on UCSC’s campus, says there are currently several hundred incoming freshmen still without housing assignments — and a shortage of available space for them on campus. “The need is real and urgent,” he wrote.

UCSC told us the school is suffering from a Santa Cruz–wide housing crisis that's rippling from Silicon Valley. The college says while it’s creating more housing, management believe this is their most viable option for the short term.

SNAPSHOTS

The FBI has arrested a man for making threatening calls to the Boston Globe. Robert Chain, 68, from California, allegedly began making the calls to the Globe’s newsroom on Aug. 10, directly after the newspaper called for news organizations to publish a coordinated editorial response to President Trump’s continued attacks on the news media. Authorities said Chain referred to the Globe as “the enemy of the people” in his phone calls and threatened to kill newspaper employees.

The “highest levels” of NBC tried to kill Ronan Farrow’s story that brought down Harvey Weinstein, an ex-producer says. Rich McHugh, who was Farrow's producer on the investigative unit, says the network tried to thwart Farrow's award-winning investigation into Weinstein after it became clear he was making real progress toward nailing the story. McHugh says that at an important moment in the investigation, as he was about to interview “a woman with a credible allegation of rape” against Weinstein, he was ordered to stand down. He added that this was “unethical, and a massive breach of journalistic integrity.”

An outbreak of salmonella linked to kosher chicken killed one person and sickened 17. The contaminated poultry affected people in four states — Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and Virginia — leading to eight hospitalizations and at least one death in New York. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began its investigation in June, after the New York State Department of Health identified several sick people who had eaten kosher chicken. Several people who got sick reported eating Empire Kosher brand. At the moment, the CDC is not advising that people avoid eating kosher chicken or Empire Kosher–brand chicken.

The US Open has apologized for penalizing Alizé Cornet for taking off her shirt. The player was slapped with a code violation for briefly removing her shirt during a break in her match. Following an outcry over double standards in tennis, the organization apologized. US Open officials said, “We regret that a Code Violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward.”

Kylie Cosmetics will be available at Ulta Beauty stores, and people are shook. Okay, first, remember that Kylie Cosmetics has made $420 million since its launch in 2015. Now, famous fame monster Kylie Jenner has announced that her company's products will be available at Ulta Beauty stores “around the country.” Until now, the only way to buy the products was either online or in a pop-up shop. Ulta Beauty says it plans to sell Kylie Cosmetics in stores and online for the foreseeable future. People are already mourning their bank accounts.

Hillary Clinton’s server and China: what we know and don’t know

Yesterday, President Donald Trump gave new prominence to an unverified and unsupported report that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s email server.

Since Trump’s recirculating of the story, it has inspired an avalanche of new, unsubstantiated reports that are causing confusion and the spread of false information.

Here’s the thing with rumors and misinformation about a story like this: they can balloon out of control quickly and spawn further false news. So we’re tracking all of it.

For example, as of now, it’s unconfirmed that China hacked Clinton’s email server. But it’s definitely false that an FBI agent told Congress this happened. Here’s everything you need to know about what is real and what isn’t.

Longreads to spend a long while with, because it’s the long weekend

It’s been less than a year since #MeToo launched, but this week, two prominent men who were accused of sexual harassment and abuse have begun to make their return to the spotlight. Aziz Ansari did some stand-up sets in Wisconsin, and Louis C.K. made a surprise appearance at a comedy club in New York. Scaachi Koul wrote a great essay on the “unambiguous and frustrating double standard between the way we reprimand women comics like Kathy Griffin and Samantha Bee for their fuckups, and the way we reprimand their male counterparts, even when their misconduct has been more severe.”

A YMCA kicked Branson LB, a BuzzFeed News staffer, out of a locker room twice for being trans. They wrote a deeply agonizing, brave piece about the experience that you should really stop and read. From the story: “I tried to explain that the women’s locker room was where I felt the most comfortable. ‘Listen, I’m trans, but I was assigned female,’ I said. ‘I don’t know where else to go.’”

Contributor Aaron Ross Coleman wrote about the overabundance of fast food restaurants in poor black neighborhoods in the US. It’s a searing essay about how the availability of sodium-filled fast food is partly to blame for high rates of high blood pressure among black Americans. The concentration of these businesses in black neighborhoods is no accident, Coleman writes, because “for over 40 years, these restaurants have spent millions mastering the language and imagery of black life.”

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