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What is Easter Monday and how is it celebrated?

In many places around the world, Easter Monday is a day to get outside, spend time with your family and have picnics as spring begins to blossom.  In other places, it’s traditions that, while odd, are still honored and celebrated centuries later. With deep roots in Europe, it is not widely celebrated in the United States.

So what is Easter Monday and what do people do? Here’s a quick look.

The name

In some places the day after Easter is simply called Easter Monday. In other places, it’s Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, or  Dyngus Day.

It was once known as “Black Monday” and was, for a time, considered unlucky.

Who celebrates the day?

The day is a major holiday in the Eastern Orthodox community. It marks the beginning of “Bright Week” in the religion. Countries across Eastern and Western Europe, in particular, participate in Easter Monday observances.

What do they do?

In medieval England, tradition called for a man to lift a woman three times by the arms and legs. In Ireland, the day was known as the Day of Feasts. In Hungary, the tradition was for men to dunk their wife or girlfriend into water for good health, leading to the day being called Dunking Day.

In Guyana, people fly kites, which are made on Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter. People in the Netherlands have a festive breakfast then go hiking. Similarly, in Portugal and Italy people go to the countryside  for picnics.

In London, there is a parade in Hyde Park.

In the U.S., Easter Monday is largely ignored. The most notable celebration happens at the White House where the president sponsors the annual Easter Egg Roll.

The tradition of the egg roll dates back to the 1870s when kids in the Washington D.C. area would take their Easter eggs to Capitol Hill to roll them. Congress, moving quickly to stem the fun, soon passed a bill outlawing egg rolling at the Capitol.

President Rutherford Hayes, after being approached by a group of kids who were looking for a place to roll their eggs, issued an order that allowed egg rolling to take place on the White House grounds.

Since then, with a few exceptions, eggs have been rolled on the White House lawn.

55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings

The trip wire that set off the fourth explosion in Austin’s horrifying March, authorities now chillingly say, was tied to a “caution, children at play” sign that the accused bomber had bought at a Home Depot.

>> Read more trending news 

But the breaching of that wire and the resultant detonation Sunday, which sent two men to the hospital, also set off an increasingly feverish 55 hours of escalating bombing activity and community quaking that ended only with bombing suspect Mark Conditt’s death in yet another blast.

Austin was already reeling after two deaths in three explosions in packages left on doorsteps on March 2 and March 12. A Northeast Austin construction project manager and a promising teenage musician, both part of prominent African-American families in Austin, had been killed, and two others injured by the first wave of bombs. But given the consistent method of those first three bombings, the danger seemed recognizable: Avoid picking up any unexpected package on the porch and perhaps the worst could be avoided.

>> Related: Austin bombings: 25-minute recording left behind by suspected bomber

But the Travis Country bombing on March 18, which was triggered by a trip wire, followed closely by an explosion of a package at a FedEx sorting facility north of San Antonio just over a day later, and then the discovery of another package containing a bomb at a FedEx facility in Southeast Austin, signaled that something more random was happening. The bomber, it now seemed, had everyone in his sights, and any package was now suspect.

And the whole nation was watching.

By Monday, commentators as diverse as President Donald Trump, University of Texas football coach Tom Herman and Chance the Rapper had weighed in on the run of bombings. Dozens of Texas Rangers and something like 500 agents from the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Postal Service had descended on Austin, pouring over physical and electronic evidence with Austin police. Austin and its troubles were now the subject of cut-ins on cable news and prominent coverage in The New York Times and Washington Post.

>> Related: The Austin bomber: Read all of the Statesman coverage

And officials, given the bomber’s new tactics, began to describe his handiwork as “sophisticated.” But even from the outside, the thought occurred that the increasing pace and morphing form of the attacks in fact could be rash and play into the hands of the bomber’s battalion of pursuers.

So, if Austin writ large seemed to hold its composure in the face of the final two frenzied days, perhaps panic was staved off by this sense that the bomber’s increasing boldness would lead to his capture.

FedEx bombs

After a relatively calm Monday, the fifth explosion came just after midnight Tuesday in an unexpected spot: that FedEx plant a few hundred yards west of Interstate 35 in Schertz. The bomb — sent from a FedEx store in Sunset Valley and intended for delivery to an undisclosed address in Austin — instead detonated on a conveyor belt at the Schertz facility. No one was injured.

>> Related: Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber?

Austinites, awaking to this news Tuesday morning and still trying to put it in context, quickly learned that law enforcement had flocked to yet another FedEx facility near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. They discovered another bomb in a package intended for somewhere in Austin — this one intact — and confiscated what seemed to be another important piece of evidence.

That package too had been sent from the Sunset Valley FedEx shop, officials said.

>> Related: Austin bombing suspect Mark A. Conditt proposed ending sex offender registry, blog says

That meant that virtually any package or backpack — along the road, at work, arriving at a home — was now suspect. At least one delivery service instructed its couriers to knock on doors rather than merely leave a package for recipients to find later. Calls to 911 in Central Texas for “suspicious” packages swelled to over 1,000 cumulatively. And Austin interim Police Chief Brian Manley took time out from the around-the-clock manhunt to brief a skittish Austin City Council about the effort.

>> Related: How was Mark Anthony Conditt caught? ‘Exotic’ batteries and cell-site analysis

A timeline of the Austin bombings

Net closing

Perhaps the best illustration of the public’s waxing anxiety came Tuesday evening in what at first seemed like the bomber’s next strike, at a Goodwill Industries store on Brodie Lane in South Austin. An injured man was rushed to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center. Flashing lights and reporters swarmed the area.

But, were all told soon after that what had detonated was an “artillery simulator,” a tube-like device used in military exercises that gives off a loud report and a flash of fire when activated. Someone other than Conditt, it appears — whether with dubious judgment or ill intent is not known at this point — had left a box of donated items at Goodwill, officials said, including the dangerous hardware. A worker’s hands were burned when the device went off.

>> Related: Serial bomber Ted Kaczynski kept feds at bay for 17 years before capture

What the public could not know at this point was that law enforcement had identified Conditt as the sole suspect behind the run of bombings, and in fact Tuesday evening filed federal criminal charges for unlawful possession and transfer of a destructive device against the 23-year-old Pflugerville man. The net was closing.

His end, and soon thereafter something like a community-wide release of breath and thankfulness, came somewhere around 2:45 a.m. Wednesday. Police had staked out Conditt, who was parked at a hotel on I-35’s west side in Round Rock, and were waiting for S.W.A.T. officers to arrive. But Conditt, perhaps perceiving their presence, pulled out onto the southbound frontage road lane.

But he soon swerved to a stop in the grass median. Moments later, what would be Conditt’s seventh known bomb exploded, this one in the cab of his red Nissan Pathfinder.

>> Related: Photos: Austin police investigate explosions

7 things to know about 'Sex in the City' star Cynthia Nixon, candidate for NY gov.

Former “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced her run for New York Governor Monday after flirting with the idea for several months.

>> Read more trending news 

"I love New York, and today I'm announcing my candidacy for governor," she revealed on Twitter.

According to her campaign press release, Nixon will be spending the coming weeks traveling across the state to hear from voters.

She will challenge 60-year-old Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a two-term incumbent, in New York’s Democratic primary in September.

She was born and bred in New York.

Nixon, 51, was born on April 9, 1966 and raised in the Upper West Side with her mother. In her campaign video, Nixon said she grew up “in a one-bedroom fifth floor walk-up.”

She later attended Hunter College High School and Barnard College before breaking out into her Broadway career primarily to save money to support herself through college, she told the New York Times in 2012.

Nixon, who identified herself as bisexual in 2012, was in a relationship with David Mozes from 1988 to 2003. The couple have two children together.

In 2004, Nixon began dating activist Christine Marinoni and they eventually married in 2012. They have one child together.

>> Related: Illinois primary could set up most expensive governor's race

Nixon is a Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award-winner.

For her role as lawyer Miranda Hobbes on “Sex and the City,” Nixon was awarded an Emmy Award in 2004 for outstanding supporting actress, and a Screen Actors Guild Award in 2002 and 2004 for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series.

Nixon made her Broadway debut in 1980 in the revival of “The Philadelphia Story” and later earned Tony Awards for her foles in “Rabbit Hole” (2006) and “The Little Foxes” (2017).

She was awarded a Grammy in 2009 for her “An Inconvenient Truth” spoken word album.

Explore her full list of awards at

She’s a survivor of breast cancer.

In 2006, Nixon was diagnosed with breast cancer and admitted to  Good Morning America in 2008 that she initially wanted to keep the news to herself but later became the official spokeswoman for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

"I want them [women] most to hear me saying that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. So the only thing to really be afraid of is if you don't go get your mammograms, because there's some part of you that doesn't want to know, and that's the thing that's going to trip you up. That's the thing that could have a really bad endgame," she said.

Nixon’s cancer was caught at an early stage and required a lumpectomy and radiation, but no chemotherapy.

She’s a longtime activist. 

Nixon first made political headlines during the 2011 campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. During that campaign, she lobbied state lawmakers in Albany and was later honored by GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign with its Visibility Award for her work advocating for marriage equality.

In January, Nixon was also among a group of celebrity activists that came together for "the People's State of the Union,” an alternative event to President Donald Trump's first State of the Union speech.

She has in the past been very vocal about women’s health care and on education issues, serving on de Blasio's advisory board for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

>> Related: Georgia Senate advances adoption bill called anti-LGBT

As a spokesperson for the Alliance for Quality Education, Nixon recently spoke out against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed education budget.

“Governor Cuomo had a chance today to put the next generation of New Yorkers first,” she said in a January 2018 AQE statement. “Instead, he proposed yet another budget that will keep New York at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to educational equity and justice. Governor Cuomo claims he has provided record increases in education funding, but in reality, he has created a record spending gap between the wealthiest and poorest school districts.”

If elected, she would make history.

Nixon would become the first female governor and first openly gay governor in New York history.

About her platform

“We are now the most unequal state in the entire country, with both incredible wealth and extreme poverty,” Nixon said in a video posted on Twitter announcing her candidacy.

According to her campaign website, Nixon’s state platform focuses on income inequality, renewable energy, access to health care, concerns about mass incarceration, passing the DREAM Act and “fixing our broken subway.”

She also emphasizes strengthening and renewing expiring rent laws to avoid “raising rents, and forcing people out of their homes.”

“Andrew Cuomo has given massive tax breaks to corporations and the super rich while starving the state and its cities of the most basic services and decimating our infrastructure,” Nixon wrote on her campaign site. “His inhumane budgets have been passed on the backs of our children, our working and middle class, and our elderly.”

“Together,” she added, “we could show the entire country and the world that in the era of Donald Trump, New Yorkers will come together and lead our nation forward.”


Chances against Cuomo

“Her campaign may test the appetite of New Yorkers for a celebrity leader in the age of President Trump, a deeply unpopular figure here among Democrats,” the New York Times reported.

But Nixon has her work cut out for her. A Siena College poll released Monday showed Cuomo leading her 66 percent to 19 percent among registered Democrats, and by a similar margin among self-identified liberals, AP reported. The poll of 772 registered voters was conducted March 11-16. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Cuomo, whose approval ratings have dropped below 50 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released in February, recently mocked the celebrity status the Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner could bring to the race.

"Normally name recognition is relevant when it has some connection to the endeavor," Cuomo said earlier this month. "If it was just about name recognition, then I'm hoping that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and Billy Joel don't get into the race."

Jefrey Pollock, pollster and political adviser to Cuomo and other prominent Democrats, told AP that celebrity isn't likely to trump governing experience in the voting booth.

"Over and over in our research, Democratic primary voters say they're not looking for an outsider because they look to Washington, D.C., and see what the outsider has meant to this country," Pollock said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Vigorous exercise in middle age could help prevent dementia, study finds

A high level of physical fitness during middle age may significantly reduce the risk of dementia, new research suggests.

>> Read more trending news 

The findings, which were published this month in the scientific journal Neurology, showed that women with a high level of cardiovascular fitness during middle age had a nearly 90 percent lower risk of dementia than women who were just moderately fit.

"[The results] indicate that negative cardiovascular processes may be happening in midlife that could increase the risk of dementia much later in life," lead study author Dr. Helena Hörder, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, told Forbes.

>> Related: Have trouble sleeping? Research says that may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s

"These findings are exciting because it's possible that improving people's cardiovascular fitness in middle age could delay or even prevent them from developing dementia," she said.

Researchers studied a group 191 women between 38 and 60 years old in Sweden over a 44-year period of time (1968-2012). The participants were initially asked to complete an ergometer cycling test to evaluate their cardiovascular fitness.

"The level that you are so exhausted that you have to interrupt the test is a measure, in watts, of your work capacity," Hörder told CNN. "Cardiovascular fitness or endurance can also be tested in a submaximal test where you don't push the person to maximal capacity."

>> Related: Alzheimer’s disease fueled by gut bacteria, new study finds 

Based on their performance in the initial testing, the women were divided into three groups: 59 were classified as "low fitness", 92 were "medium fitness" and 40 were "high fitness." The researchers then tracked the women until 2012, closely examining which groups developed symptoms of dementia and which did not.

In total, 23 percent developed some form of dementia in the proceeding decades. However, the percentage was significantly higher in the low and medium fitness groups when compared to those in the high fitness category.

"I was not surprised that there was an association, but I was surprised that it was such a strong association between the group with highest fitness and decreased dementia risk," Hörder said. "Many of those who interrupted the test at submax, very low watt level, probably had indications for a poor cardiovascular health status. This might indicate that processes in the cardiovascular system might be ongoing many decades before onset of dementia diagnosis."

» RELATED: Inability to smell peppermint linked to dementia, study says 

Although the results are significant and appear to align with previous research, there were some limitations, such as the relatively small number of subjects, the fact that fitness level was only measured once, and the lack of filtering for other risk factors for dementia.

Future research, the scientists said, should look at a larger and more diverse sample, analyze physical fitness more often and also address other potential factors.

"One of the missing pieces of a study like this – and really the weakness in the literature to date – is that the kinds of studies that we have mostly seen are association studies. These are studies of correlations, and they can't necessarily talk about causality," Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach for the Alzheimer's Association in Chicago, who was not involved in the new study, said.

>> Related: People with dementia: Atlanta police being trained to empathize

"The picture that is really emerging from the literature is a picture about the importance of fitness in midlife, not just old age, when it comes to protecting your brain health and preventing or delaying Alzheimer's disease and other dementias,” he added.

Approximately 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is sixth leading cause of death among American adults.

Globally, the World Heath Organization estimates that nearly 50 million people suffer from dementia, with 10 million new cases every year.

The Alzheimers Association suggests people should quit smoking, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, stay socially engaged, challenge their minds by reading or playing games and take care of their heart health to reduce their risk of cognitive decline.

Seat Belt Stats and Facts

Seat Belt Stats and Facts

Fired NBA worker sues, claims discrimination against white employees

A fired Atlanta Hawks employee is suing the organization, alleging it discriminated against white employees and terminated her when she complained. 

>> Read more trending news

In a lawsuit filed Friday, Margo Kline says Hawks external affairs director David Lee, who is black, promoted a culture of discrimination against white people, especially white women. Kline, who is white, worked in the NBA team’s corporate social responsibility department as a community development coordinator for five years.

Kline alleges that Lee was dismissive and exclusionary toward white employees and would often make jokes about “white culture,” hiring and promoting black employees — who Kline said were less qualified — over white people, according to the lawsuit. 

Kline said the organization ignored her complaints and instead unfairly scrutinized her work and impeded her ability to do her job, often gossiping and ridiculing her. The lawsuit also alleges white coworkers were told not to speak with Kline or they could lose their job. 

The Hawks fired Kline in March 2017, three weeks after a final written warning regarding her conduct and performance, according to the lawsuit. Kline, who said she had never been written up before, claims she repeatedly asked for ways she could improve but was ignored.  

Kline filed an employment discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, who gave her a notice of her right to sue in December. 

She is asking for punitive damages and a trial jury. 

In a statement to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks said: “We take all claims of discrimination seriously and have performed a thorough review of these baseless claims. The case was quickly dismissed at the EEOC level. We deny these claims and will vigorously defend against them.”

Photos: Austin police investigate explosions

You don’t have to #DeleteFacebook: 7 tips to lock down your privacy without leaving 

Facebook is under fire following this week’s revelation that data company Cambridge Analytica acquired data from millions of Facebook users without their knowledge. The news prompted a #DeleteFacebook social media campaign urging users to say goodbye to the platform once and for all.

>> Read more trending news 

But leaving Facebook isn’t that simple. Luckily, you don’t have to delete the platform altogether to ensure your data is safe.

>> Related: Breaking up with Facebook? It's harder than it looks

Here are seven tips to lock down your privacy without leaving social media entirely:

Download your Facebook data to see exactly what they know about you.

If you’re concerned about the information you have out there, Facebook allows users to download a copy of their own data, including archived posts, messages and advertisements you’ve clicked on, according to Digital Trends.

How: General Account Settings --> Download a copy of your Facebook data --> Start My Archive.

>> Related: Facebook crisis-management lesson: What not to do

Check the third-party apps connected to your account.

Under General Account Settings, click on the Apps page to see a list of apps you’ve connected to your Facebook account. If you see an app you’re wary of, hover over it and delete it immediately.

Opt out of Facebook API sharing altogether.

On the same page as the Apps, scroll down until you see Apps, Websites and Plugins. Hit Edit to Disable Platform. This will sign you out of all websites, apps and other services connected to your Facebook account.

>> Related: Academic says he's being scapegoated in Facebook data case

Log out of Facebook when you’re not using it.

It’s a simple rule, but how often do you actually log out? According to Tom’s Guide, if you leave your Facebook logged in on your computer, it can still track your movements and share your information with advertisers and other parties.

Adjust your ad settings or delete interests to prevent ad targeting.

Under General Account Settings, scroll down to the Ads page and click on Your Interests. On this page, Facebook uses the selection of interests across a variety of categories, including entertainment, news, hobbies and more to determine what ads you’ll see. You can hover over a selection to delete an interest, or, you can scroll down to Ad Settings.

Under Ad Settings, you have the option of adjusting:

- Ads based on your use of websites and apps (Can you see online interest-based ads from Facebook?)

>> Related: Did you fall for these fake ads? How Russian trolls got into your Facebook feeds

- Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies (Can your Facebook ad preferences be used to show you ads on devices such as computers, mobile devices and connected TVs?)

- Ads with your social actions (Who can see your social actions paired with ads?)

Limit who can see your posts, friends list and more under privacy settings.

Under General Account Settings, click Privacy. There, you can limit who sees your future posts, your friends list or who can look you up using the email used on Facebook. You can also click on Timeline and Tagging Settings to adjust preferences for who can post on your timeline, see what posts are on your timeline and more.

Turn off location services.

>> Related: Facebook can now find you in photos you’re not tagged in

Turn off location data to limit Facebook’s access and ensure your own physical safety. You can do so by going to General Account Settings --> Location. Check your location services preferences on your smartphone as well.

What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer

What You Need to Know About Skin Cancer
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