How ”Baby Shark” Got Made (HBO)



If you’ve never heard “Baby Shark”, you’ve somehow managed to escape the most infectious song in recent memory.

The “Baby Shark” video, consisting of a simple animation of a family of cute sharks, has over 2 billion views on YouTube. It nearly outranked Lady Gaga on the Billboard charts, and there are hundreds of thousands of videos unofficially featuring the song.

And for the true fan, there’s a live show featuring every member of the Baby Shark family.

“Baby Shark” wasn’t an accidental viral hit. Pinkfong, the Korean educational entertainment brand that created “Baby Shark”, has become a toddler music juggernaut over the past few years.

Part of Pinkfong’s success is their attention to all aspects of what makes a song catch on: including creating dances tailored to the limited motor skills of pre-verbal children.

“When we're working on our choreography, we have to create something for children so that they can easily copy us,” says Paik So-young, a content creator at Pinkfong. “We study which hand movement or leg movement will be fun for the children.”

VICE News visited the Pinkfong headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, to see how baby hits are made.

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What Robert Mueller's Investigation Into Ray Rice Tells Us About His Trump Report (HBO)



The special counsel’s final report, which he submitted to newly confirmed Attorney General William Barr on Friday afternoon, appears destined to suffer a similar fate.

During Barr’s confirmation hearings, he promised to release “as much as I can” from Mueller’s report.

“I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the Special Counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend,” Barr wrote in a letter to Congress released Friday.

But Trump’s new AG has broad powers over what contents — if any — will get released to Congress and the public.

The special counsel’s investigation had already unearthed remarkable revelations about the president and some of his closest advisers. Mueller indicted 34 people, including 25 Russian nationals, and charged some of Trump’s closest advisers with crimes that promises to land some of them behind bars.

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Brexit On Edge & NYC Pollution Hero: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)



2:01 VICE News reports on what Beto O'Rourke 2020 really means

6:26 MEPs vote on whether to extend Article 50 period beyond March 29. Is a second referendum in the cards?

9:43 Friday marks the end of Le Grand Debat, an initiative of Macron’s administration to quell the national frustrations that led to the start of the Yellow Vest movement 17 weeks ago.

16:10 Earlier this year, New York City council members passed a law that likely annoyed a lot of commercial truck and bus drivers: now citizens can self report commercial vehicles that are idling for more than 4 minutes. And as a bounty for their civic heroism, the citizen doing the reporting will get 25% of the fine which can run upwards of $2000.

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China Is Using Buddhism To Dominate Global Trade While Oppressing Tibetan Buddhists (HBO)



Today, China rules with an iron-fist — making Tibet one of the least free regions in the world.

Tens of thousands of Communist cadres supervise Buddhist monasteries and villages, people are forced to replace pictures of the Dalai Lama with photos of Party Leadership, and China boasts Tibet’s capital as its “safest” city.

“One of the prime requirements for monks and nuns is that they should be loyal to the Communist Party before they are loyal to their faith” Bhuchung Tsering, the Vice-president of the International Campaign for Tibet told VICE News. “Everything is being dictated by the Chinese Communist Party.”

While China’s atheist leadership oppresses Tibetan Buddhists, it has invested big on reshaping religions, and on projecting itself as pro-Buddhist for calculated reasons. Buddhists make up a huge population in countries that China wants to connect to its Belt and Road Initiative — a multi-billion dollar project to dominate global trade.

Take, for example, Myanmar. In the last decade, China has actively worked to better religious relations with its southern neighbor, which is 88 percent Buddhist. In that same time frame, it spent 2.5 billion dollars to build oil and gas pipelines and is now negotiating multi-billion dollar port and dam deals.

“China's use of Buddhist diplomacy is significant because several of these countries are apprehensive of this Giant power — whether all the loans they are taking from China will drive them into a debt trap.” Dr. Sudha Ramachandran, a South Asia analyst, told VICE News.

The latest case of China’s “debt-trap diplomacy” is Sri Lanka.

After the Chinese helped the country’s Buddhist majority win a decades-long civil war, Sri Lanka’s president gave China a billion-dollar port deal in his hometown. Eight years after the deal was signed, Sri Lanka was unable to pay back its loans and surrendered the Hambantota port to China for 99 years as repayment.

“In all these countries you find that the public feels that "Well if we want improved infrastructure it is only the Chinese who are willing to you know extend loans.” Dr. Sudha Ramachandran told VICE News. “Yes, there is a concern, but there is no other alternative.”

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The Sheriff Refusing To Enforce Washington State's New Gun Law (HBO)



The law, Initiative 1639, raises the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, expands background checks, and adds new rules for the safe storage of firearms. Some of its provisions went into effect on January 1st; the rest are supposed to start in July.

But Songer says the law is unconstitutional -- and he insists he won’t carry it out, nor, as an elected sheriff, should he be obligated to.

“Even if it was a legal law, you have discretionary power,” Songer tells VICE News Tonight. “There is no other law enforcement official in the entire United States except a sheriff is elected to office by the people.”

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Brexit Boy Band & Mississippi Water Crisis: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)



2:00 VICE News flies down to Miramar, FL to cover a local mayor who has decided to run for president begging the question, can anyone run for president these days?

7:09 Jackson, MS has a crisis of waterbilling - after upgrading to a new system in 2013, it's lost a lot of its ability to bill accurately, and collected much less in revenue. Now, the city is starting to shut off water for people who haven't paid in recent months.

14:40 On the 60th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising, VICE News examines why China is investing heavily in redefining its relationship to Buddhism worldwide, and how controlling the narrative around the Tibetan struggle is an important key to its success in becoming recognized as the homeland of the world's Buddhists.

18:29 Can a boy band stop Brexit? As the clock winds down, the Amsterdam-based Breunion Boys are hoping that good looks and witty lyrics will prevent the United Kingdom from leaving the EU.

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Why A Black Family Kept Racist Graffiti On Their House (HBO)



But instead of painting over it immediately, the homeowners decided to leave it up — to force their community to have a conversation about hate. For a week, their house became a weird tourist attraction, with people driving for hours to come take pictures and talk to the family.

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The Final Victory In The Battle Against ISIS Is Now In Sight (HBO)



After being driven out of Mosul in 2017, ISIS has been pushed back – mile-by-mile, through fierce fighting – from nearly all the territory it used to control in Syria into a tiny patch of land on the Euphrates river near the border with Iraq.

SDF commanders like Adnan Afrin say the full territorial victory they’ve spent years fighting for is finally now in sight: “this sprawling organization that stunned the world has crumbled and is close to being defeated. It's been painful, and difficult – from the day Isis started to this moment...but it's ending now.”

The SDF advance has been slowed by the number of women and children that have streamed out of ISIS-controlled areas since the bombardment started. More than 60,000 people have left during the course of the siege.

On Wednesday, SDF officials said they were in control of most of the encampment with just a small group of ISIS fighters left inside, surrounded and outnumbered. But from rooftops on the outskirts of Baghuz, SDF snipers continue to take out targets, while 50-caliber machine guns rain down fire from above and US jets patrol the skies overhead.

The battle is almost over, but for now ISIS fighters are still refusing to stop clinging on to their last tiny piece of territory.

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Racist Graffiti & Venezuela Blackouts: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)



2:13 Three weeks of protests in Algeria have pushed out the man who held onto power there for two decades, and whose party has ruled for five.

5:50 Power is slowly returning to parts of Venezuela after five days of massive blackouts. But much of the country is still without electricity or running water.

9:12 Paul Manafort will be heading back to court tomorrow to be sentenced in D.C.

13:43 Last week, someone spray painted racist graffiti — including the N-word and crude drawings of lynchings — all over the front of the house of a black family in Denver, Colorado.

19:24 After an investigation, federal prosecutors charged 50 people with carrying out a major college admissions scam. That number includes exam administrators, college coaches, and 33 parents — two of whom are actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

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Is Finland Really The Happiest Country In The World? (HBO)



But in many ways, the land of frigid temperatures and dark winter days seems like the most unlikely of choices.

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Rising Sea Levels Could Threaten U.S. Military Bases (HBO)


American Muslims Contemplate Taking Up Arms In Self Defense (HBO)


Here’s What The European Union Did To Stop Migrants From Coming



For years, migrants from West African countries used Niger as a crossing ground on their way to Libya and then onto Europe. But in 2016, under mounting pressure from the EU, Niger began criminalizing immigration and patrolling the deserts for illegal crossings.

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Macron’s Debates Are Over — Yellow Vest Protests Aren’t (HBO)



VICE News talks to people in Paris, Revin and Saint-Denis about The Grand Debates in France.

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Decoding The Racist Memes The New Zealand Shooter Used To Communicate (HBO)



The coded reference to a massacre thousands of miles away is an example of the communication system used by modern white supremacists, who employ a shared language of memes and trolling, and who often lionize acts of hatred by domestic terrorists.

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