The Cuomo allegations matter

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fighting for political survival amid sexual harassment claims. A few states are ending mask restrictions. And a popular flea collar has been linked to almost 1,700 pet deaths.

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The latest on the sexual harassment allegations against Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been accused by three young women of sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact, ranging from kissing to asking an employee about her sex life to soliciting a former aide to play “strip poker.” Though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as advocacy groups, called for an investigation into the accusations, or even his resignation, others, including Cuomo himself, have minimized the claims. On Sunday, Cuomo, 63, said he has never inappropriately touched anyone or propositioned anybody. But the accusations against Cuomo should be taken seriously, sexual violence experts say. Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president and vice president “believe that every woman coming forward should be heard, should be treated with dignity and treated with respect.” Here are the allegations against Cuomo: 

  • Lindsey Boylan, Cuomo’s former deputy secretary of economic development and special adviser said Cuomo kissed her without consent after a one-on-one meeting in 2018. Cuomo’s office has denied the allegation. 
  • Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked her inappropriate questions about her sex life, including whether she practices monogamy and if she would sleep with an older man. In a statement, Cuomo denied he ever tried to woo Bennett.
  • Anna Ruch, 33, said Cuomo made an unwanted advance at a New York City wedding in September 2019, the first time she met him. 

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo denies accusations of sexual harassment. (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

Texas, Mississippi: You’re off the hook mask 

Defying warnings from federal health officials about the need to stay vigilant against the coronavirus, the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi said Tuesday they’re lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates. Their decisions came on the same day President Joe Biden said there would be enough vaccines for every American adult by the end of May, which is still unlikely to stem the reversal in coronavirus trends. Not long before Biden’s announcement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he’s moving to “open Texas 100%” and will issue an executive order rescinding most of his earlier pandemic orders, including restrictions on business occupancy and the statewide mask requirement. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves tweeted that, starting Wednesday, all county mask mandates will be lifted and businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity.

What everyone is talking about

  • Vernon Jordan, civil rights champion and “first friend” to Bill Clinton, died at 85.
  • Alexei Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, nearly died by poison. President Joe Biden sanctions top Russians.
  • Donald and Melania Trump received coronavirus vaccines in early January on the advice of doctors.
  • “Read Across America Day,” once synonymous with Dr. Seuss, is diversifying. Here’s why things have changed.
  • Fossils of the oldest titanosaur were discovered in Argentina.

Semitruck and SUV carrying 25 crash, killing at least 13

At least 13 people died in a crash involving an SUV packed with dozens of passengers and a semitruck at an intersection near the U.S.-Mexican border Tuesday, according to California Highway Patrol officials. The big rig was hauling two trailers, and the Ford Expedition carried 25 people. It was not clear whether the SUV stopped at the intersection’s stop sign, CHP Division Chief Omar Watson said. “It would be premature for me to speculate or discuss what caused this collision. What we have to keep in mind is that 13 people died in this crash,” Watson said. “It’s a very sad situation.”

Law enforcement authorities work at the scene of a deadly crash involving a semitruck and an SUV in Holtville, Calif., on March 2. (Photo: KYMA via AP)

Hug your pets tight, then check the brand of their flea collar

Almost 1,700 pet deaths can be traced to Seresto, one of the most popular flea and tick collars in the country, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency documents show. Yet the EPA has done nothing to inform the public of the risks. Seresto works by releasing small amounts of pesticide onto the animal for months at a time. The pesticide is supposed to kill fleas, ticks and other pests but be safe for cats and dogs. Thousands of pets have been harmed. Since Seresto flea and tick collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received more than 75,000 incident reports related to them. 

Since 2012, the EPA has received more than 75,000 incident reports related to Seresto flea and tick collars. (Photo: Seresto)

Real quick 

  • Democrats are scrambling on a $15 minimum wage now that it’s unlikely to make it in the COVID-19 relief bill.
  • The FBI is chasing 2,000 domestic terror cases: A ‘raw’ warning was shared with police before the Capitol attack, FBI director says.
  • “I’m winning”: Shaquille O’Neal is ready to rumble in a tag match for All Elite Wrestling.
  • “It was God, I tell you”: Tiny light on cellphone leads to one water rescue as Kentucky endures historic flooding.
  • Hilaria Baldwin shares photo of new daughter after husband Alec Baldwin slams probing commenter.
  • 5-year-old injured in Britt Reid crash “likely has permanent brain damage,” family attorney says.

Boy Scouts’ offer to abuse survivors called ‘woefully’ inadequate

Boy Scouts of America proposes to pay roughly $220 million toward a trust for former Scouts who say they were abused, according to a committee that represents survivors. An additional $300 million may come from local councils, according to court documents filed Monday. The proposed settlement would amount to about $6,000 per claimant. Survivor teams say the amount “woefully fails to adequately compensate sexual abuse survivors.” The number is a fraction of the $1 billion of the organization’s value, which USA TODAY estimates could exceed $3.7 billion. The proposal is part of a reorganization plan put forth by the nonprofit group detailing how it intends to handle the massive child sex abuse case that threatens its existence. Nearly 95,000 claims were filed by the November deadline set by the bankruptcy judge. 

A break from the news

  • Women’s History Month: Singer Karen Carpenter was born 71 years ago today. Half of the award-winning duo The Carpenters, she died of heart failure related to anorexia at 32. Her death raised awareness about eating disorders.
  • Tired of reading glasses? This eye drop submitted for FDA approval may help you read without them. 👓
  • The 10 best things you should buy in March (yes, winter coats AND air conditioners are on the list.)
  • All peanut butter, all the time: Reese’s peanut butter cups without chocolate are coming. 

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

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