Inside Jamaica’s Biggest Quiz Show (HBO)


Imagine a spelling bee, but with questions about math, Bible verses, and Jamaican proverbs. Now, imagine that everyone in the entire country is watching you.

Even that doesn’t quite do “School’s Challenge Quiz” justice, but it’s a start.

SCQ is the longest running TV show in Jamaica, and people take it very seriously: a few years back, a scoring dispute between two schools went all the way up to the Supreme Court.

For the spectators, it’s all about bragging rights. This year, hundreds of people showed up outside the studio wearing the school colors of their alma mater, as legendary boys’ high school Kingston College and cross-town underdogs St Jago High faced off in the finals.

The students also want to make their classmates, and alumni, proud. But a win is also a chance at a scholarship – and for some, it could be a rare opportunity to attend college.

VICE News went to Kingston to watch students from both schools prepare – and see just how heated the real competition gets.

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Kurdish Hunger Strike & Foxconn Abandonment: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)


This is the May 9, 2019, FULL FREE EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

2:17 As Maduro moves against the opposition in Caracas, the opposition is moving against Maduro in Washington D.C.

7:57 Imam Cis, a Kurdish activist living in the Welsh Kurdish Community Center, has now been on the longest hunger strike in UK history.

11:23 A town in Wisconsin was promised billions of dollars and thousands of jobs by Chinese manufacturer Foxconn. 78 homes were torn down to make room for what was supposed to be a Mid-West tech hub. So far, nothing's there, except for one remaining home.

16:47 How the Mooch got his mojo back at SALT conference.

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There's a Mental Health Crisis Among Florida's Kids | VICE News Special (HBO)


Florida ranks 44th in the country for access to mental health care. And one of the quickest and easiest ways to get it is by invoking a 1971 law called the Baker Act. It allows for anyone threatening to harm themselves or others to be involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility for 72 hours. Committed, a VICE News Tonight special report, delves into the experiences of three families in crisis, each struggling with a child's mental illness, whose lives intersect for 72 hours at Gracepoint Wellness, one of the largest and oldest children's crisis facilities in Florida. Isobel Yeung speaks with counselors, families, law enforcement, and school officials to investigate how the Baker Act's patchwork system of short-term commitments is increasingly becoming a stand-in for a more comprehensive and long-term mental health care system.

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Women in Georgia Are Battling the New Restrictive Abortion Laws (HBO)


Progressives are rallying to protest the restrictive abortion laws recently passed in Georgia and other states in the South. VICE News visits presidential hopeful Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s roundtable discussion in Atlanta.

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This Yemeni Boy Survived An Airstrike That Killed 45 Kids (HBO)


Hussein al-Ejri was too excited to sleep on the morning of August 9, so he woke up early in anticipation of the field trip planned for him and about 65 of his Islamic seminary classmates. Hours later, the 11-year-old was one of the few kids on the trip still alive.

That day had started like any other. The group performed early-morning prayer with their teachers and stopped at a busy market near the farming village of Dahyan in northwest Yemen so people could purchase snacks before setting off.

That's where Hussein was when he heard the loud thud of an explosion and saw the bus blown apart.

A few days after the strike, the boy stood atop what was left of the bus and pointed out what was once there.

"One of my friends was sitting here. And another one here, and another there,” Hussein told VICE News. "They were all injured. After the explosion, I found one of my friends killed here but couldn't find the rest of my friends, just this one.”

Of the 54 people killed in that attack, 45 of them were children between the ages of 6 and 15. Hours later, Saudi coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said on TV that the strike was made in retaliation against a Houthi rebel militia missile attack on the Saudi-Yemeni border the night before, telling Al-Arabiya that Houthi “operatives” were aboard alongside the children.

In a subsequent internal investigation, the Saudi government ultimately concluded that the “timing” of the strike was a mistake.

But since 2015, the Saudi-Emirati coalition has been waging a brutal campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in an effort to curb Iran's creeping influence in the Arabian Gulf. In the process, they’ve launched more than 18,000 airstrikes, at least a third of which have hit civilian targets, according to the Yemen Data Project. Many of them, including the Dahyan airstrike, used American-made weapons: at least 13 so far, according to documentation from the Yemeni human rights group Mwatana.

At the Dahyan airstrike, witnesses found remnants of a MK 82 Lockheed Martin bomb, probably made at a factory just outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. The discovery of American bomb fragments at airstrike sites in Yemen has become fairly common, fueling public anger at not only the Saudi-Emirati coalition but also its main weapons supplier, the United States. In a rare show of bipartisan accordance, the U.S. has so far agreed to sell more than $110 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in proposals reached under both the Obama and Trump administrations.

But it’s not just weapons Saudi Arabia buys from America. The U.S. has also provided the coalition with intelligence, mid-air refueling and even Green Berets to assist on the border.

Even so, the news of American involvement in the killing failed to make a splash for months — that is, until the high-profile murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi prompted American politicians to reexamine their role in the Saudis' efforts.

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Michael Cohen’s Prison Doesn’t Sound Half Bad


Larry Noodles figures Michael Cohen will be OK at Otisville. That’s the federal prison where Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer just started his three-year sentence for tax evasion and campaign finance violations. And Larry — real last name: Dressler — probably knows more about Otisville than anyone.

The Otisville Federal Correctional Institute, located about 80 miles north of midtown Manhattan in the Catskill Mountains, has a particular distinction: It’s got the largest population of white-collar Jewish criminals of any federal prison. Dressler did 18 months there for mortgage fraud, kept a diary every day of his stay, and still runs a gossip blog about the prison under his prison nickname, Larry Noodles (he smuggled in pasta from the warehouse where he worked).

To hear him tell it, the place isn’t half bad for Jewish inmates like him and Cohen: There’s Shabbat services, monthly trips to a Mikvah bath, and Kosher commissary options like gefilte fish and rugelach.

"I think with Michael Cohen... well, according to the inmate code, you’re not allowed to give advice to someone who is quote-unquote a rat. But I don’t think they would give him too hard of a time. Because they know he is high-profile," Dressler said.

VICE News interviewed the former Otisville inmate about what Cohen can expect at this special upstate slammer.

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Migrants at the Border Feel They Have No Choice But to Enter the U.S. Illegally (HBO)


EL PASO, Texas — In the two hours before sunset on a recent afternoon, Border Patrol agents working the line between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso saw more than 100 migrants step over the Rio Grande and into the United States.

They were nearly all families traveling together from Central America seeking asylum, and they crossed in groups ranging from six people to 40. When they spotted Border Patrol vehicles, they calmly walked over to turn themselves in — the first step to requesting asylum for those who enter the country illegally.

Carlos, a migrant from Honduras who crossed the border carrying a pale and coughing toddler, said he had initially planned to cross legally through an official port of entry. But out of the tens of thousands of people waiting, the U.S. allows in only a small percentage of asylum seekers on any given day.

“The truth is that my son couldn’t wait,” said Carlos. “He is very sick.”

The number of people found crossing the border illegally has shot up dramatically since the beginning of the year. In April, according to data released last week by CBP, the number nearly hit 100,000 — the highest it’s been in 12 years.

That’s as clear an indication as possible that the Trump administration’s strategy to deter Central American asylum seekers — which includes metering at ports of entry, expanded detention, and forcing families back to Mexico to wait out their asylum cases — has failed. VICE News went to the border to find out why.

This segment originally aired May 15, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

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South Africa Elections & Powerlifting Trans Ban: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)


This is the May 8, 2019, FULL FREE EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

2:15 Are we in a constitutional crisis? House members can't quite agree on that.

5:40 Shelly Summers and her husband started housing displaced families shortly after Hurricane Michael, which hit Bay County, Florida seven months ago. Then they just kept on doing it.

13:21 40,000 people packed into a soccer stadium in South Africa for a rally for an upstart political party, the EFF. It’s challenging the African National Congress, the party Nelson Mandela belonged to, and that has controlled South Africa since the end of apartheid.

21:01 In January, USA Powerlifting banned transmasculine athletes who take testosterone, as well as all transfeminine athletes, even if they lower their testosterone levels.

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Sudan Protests & Decriminalizing Shrooms: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)


This is the May 7, 2019, FULL FREE EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

2:39 Tensions between the White House & Congressional Democrats hit a new high yesterday, after Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the IRS would not turn over Trump’s tax returns to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, who requested them last month.

6:12 Demonstrations in Sudan pushed out a dictator of three-decades — Omar al-Bashir — and now they want to get rid of the top generals who replaced him.

12:23 Today, a ballot initiative will be voted on in Denver that would decriminalize the use and possession of psychedelic mushrooms. Denver is the first city in the U.S. to consider doing this.

18:43 We brought Moby, aka @thelittleidiot, in for The Vice Interview.

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Moby Tells Us About The Time He "Knob-Touched" Donald Trump (HBO)


Techno artist Moby does "The VICE Interview." Moby's book, Then It Fell Apart, was released on May 7th.

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What a Bootcamp for Political Campaigns Is Like (HBO)


Working on a political campaign is notoriously one of the world’s shittiest jobs. It's long hours, for low pay and little thanks.

But a handful of big Democratic establishment groups think they have a solution. They're funding ARENA Academy, a program to teach political newbies how to win elections without sacrificing their souls.

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Eric Swalwell Is Trying Real Hard To Stay In The 2020 Race (HBO)


Eric Swalwell appears on television a lot- enough that people in Iowa tell him that as he’s getting coffee in cafes in Dubuque.

The California congressman has been one of the most vocal members of the House Intelligence Committee about holding the president and his administration accountable in the Russia investigations.

Now, Swalwell’s trying to use that notoriety in a bid for president. But in a field of 21 Democrats, he’s learning that being a cable news darling isn’t enough. He’s currently polling at just 1% but he says he’s getting comfortable sticking out his hand to say he’s running for president.

"It's very, I would say intimidating to say you're running for president,” he said in a car ride between events in eastern Iowa at the beginning of the month.

"Every chance I get, I'm gonna introduce myself like I'm not starting, you know, as Vice President Biden here,” he added of his chances of making it all the way.

VICE News spent 48 hours with Swalwell in Iowa, where he’s trying to prove he can appeal to a broad demographic of Americans. He’s the son of a sheriff, but Swalwell is making gun control and reform his signature issue, even hosting one of his campaign launch events in Parkland, Florida.

At a Bellevue house party on Friday, Swalwell told a gathering of the Jackson County Democrats about his experience in Congress trying to work on the divisive issue.

"I came to Congress right after Sandy Hook happened,” he said. "I had hoped that I could be a part of a Congress that would actually do something about what had happened. Nothing."

But as he campaigns, Swalwell is also trying to assure voters that his coastal progressive views don’t blind him to the needs of Trump voters. Swalwell says that his life experiences- born in Iowa, educated in the south, and representing a diverse district in California -gives him credibility with all voters.

“My parents they're both Republicans. I was reaching across the dinner table before I ever had to reach across the aisle to work with the Republicans,” he told a group of about 20 people at the Uptown Cafe in Jefferson, Iowa. He joked that he goes on Fox News so that his parents will see him on TV.

When asked by Vice News why he’s running in such a crowded field, Swalwell more or less described a fading American dream as his motivation.

"I see a lot of people who work really hard just like my parents did but they don't see it adding up to what it added up for my parents which was their son was the first in the family to go to college. Instead, they're just running in place. They’re living paycheck to paycheck. They see a Washington and gridlock and not doing anything about it.”

Jose Ibarra, a city councilman in Storm Lake, Iowa, hosted Swalwell for a “fight night” party at his parents’ house on Saturday evening. Swalwell arrived with a case of beer and tucked into tacos and chips before making his case to a small- but more diverse group than is typical- about why they should support him for president.

Ibarra said he thinks any Democrat has a chance right now of beating Trump- and included Swalwell in that category.

"I mean we look at the Democrats right and they're actually very educated. They know how to communicate with people. They know what's wrong with the country," Ibarra told VICE News in the backyard. "They know that we're divided. Donald Trump has really done nothing for them, for the small guys. So I believe that if any Democrat can connect with the 99 percent. And make it into a point that he's going to bring the country back together I think that anybody can beat Donald Trump."

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Taking Land Away From White People Is A Key Issue In South Africa’s Elections (HBO)


The legacy of Nelson Mandela is constantly invoked in South African politics, and with most of the votes counted from Wednesday’s general election, it likely has helped his party, the African National Congress, to extend their 25-year run as the country’s ruling party.

But a controversial new opposition party has started to chip away at their dominance.

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Dead Dolphins Are Washing Up On France's Shores (HBO)


BAY OF BISCAY — More than 1,200 dolphins and porpoises have washed up dead on France’s shores since January — and the crisis is sparking tension between fishermen and environmental activists.

In 2017, 846 small cetaceans, of which 90 percent were dolphins, were found on French beaches, according to scientists at the Pelagis Observatory in La Rochelle. The following year, that number declined to fewer than 700. But now the dolphin death count is shooting back up again, already outpacing previous years.

VICE News Tonight went to La Rochelle to find out exactly what’s causing so many cetacean deaths on France’s shores.

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Light Saber Fencing & Sri Lanka Terror Crackdown: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)


This is the May 3, 2019, FULL FREE EPISODE of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

2:42 Julián Castro Thinks His Path to the Nomination Is Through Nevada and Texas

8:48 Tennessee has some of the most restrictive voting laws in the country. And they just got even stricter. The governor on Thursday signed controversial legislation that immediately drew a federal lawsuit from the NAACP and other civil rights groups.

12:27 Sri Lanka remains in an official state of emergency two weeks after terror attacks killed 259 people. Military and police have enhanced powers of arrest and interrogation, conducting door to door searches and uncovering safe houses.

18:04 Michael Cohen’s 3-year sentence will start on Monday. And if Cohen gets his way, he’ll be reporting to Otisville Federal Prison. Otisville is a regular prison with a particular appeal: it’s home to the system’s largest population of white-collar Jewish criminals.

22:03 You can now fence with lightsabers in France.

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