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Uber reveals stunning sexual assault statistics, Joe Biden bites back at voter, and new charges for R.Kelly: The Morning Rundown

The ride-sharing company disclosed that it received thousands of sexual abuse complaints in 2017 and 2018.
Image: A San Francisco police officer outside of Uber headquarters
The ride-sharing company revealed the shocking extent of its sexual assault problem in a first-of-its kind report released Thursday. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images file

Good morning, NBC News readers.

Uber has disclosed its stunning sexual assault statistics, Joe Biden got into a shouting match with an Iowa voter over his son's Ukraine dealings, and a kindergartener shows families come in all shapes and sizes.

Here's what we're watching today.

Uber unmasks its sexual assault problems, reveals thousands of abuse reports a year

Uber received 235 reports of a rape occurring during a ride in the United States last year — an average of four a week, according to a company review released Thursday. The ride-hailing company has come under increasing scrutiny amid a flood of lawsuits from riders alleging they were sexually assaulted by drivers.

In the extensive 84-page report, Uber revealed several startling statistics: In total, the company received 5,981 reports of sexual abuse between 2017 and 2018.

Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, acknowledged that the figures were difficult to confront.

"Each of those incidents represents an individual who has undergone a horrific trauma," West told NBC News.

Biden calls Iowa voter who pushed him on Ukraine 'a damn liar'

In the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing that the Democrats were going full speed ahead with articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, it was an interesting day on the campaign trail.

Former Vice President Joe Biden called an Iowa voter a "damn liar" and challenged him to a pushup contest after the man questioned the former vice president's age as well as his son's business dealings in Ukraine. His heated response to the voter's questions is coming under scrutiny.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren went on the offensive Thursday night in a way she hasn't before — directly challenging two of her rivals Pete Buttigieg and Michael Bloomberg. She criticized the South Bend, Indiana, mayor for raising money in private and accused the former New York mayor of buying his way into the campaign.

For his part, Buttigieg slammed an explosive — and nearly violent — interruption by a protester in a "Black Lives Matter" shirt at a gathering of his African American supporters in South Bend, Indiana.

'They made us feel like we were monsters’

More than 300 families from 38 states reached out to NBC News and the Houston Chronicle to share their stories after a yearlong investigation highlighting the plight of parents accused of child abuse based on mistaken or overstated reports by doctors.

The families described their horror at being accused of abuse and the agony of weeks or months apart from their children.

James and Allie Parker with their children Dylan, 1, and Isabella, 2, in their home in Westland, Mich. The Parkers lost custody of Dylan and Isabella for months following a doctor's report. “This is not isolated to Texas,” Allie Parker said after reading the investigation. “It’s an epidemic across our nation." Elaine Cromie / for NBC News

Smaller bodies, wider wings: Birds are changing, and scientists see the echo of climate change

Birds have been shrinking, but their wingspans are getting longer as global temperatures rise and the climate warms, a study published Wednesday in the journal Ecology Letters has found.

Research led by scientists at the University of Michigan found that body sizes for 52 species of birds shrank consistently over 38 years while the length of wingspans grew, which suggests that birds may be forced to adapt — sometimes in dramatic ways — to climate change.

Some of the birds collected at Chicago's McCormick Place that are in the Field Museum collections. Karen Bean / Field Museum

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The Week in Pictures

Nathan Edwards / Getty Images

Women tend to a koala named “Paul” from Lake Innes Nature Reserve as he recovers from burns at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital in Australia after devastating bushfires. See more of the most compelling images from the last week here.

THINK about it

T.I.'s virginity check scandal highlights the dark side of patriarchal fatherhood, Soraya Chemal writes in an opinion piece.


Millions of Americans are called upon to care for their loved ones. But how do we care for the caregivers? MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle wants to hear — and tell — your untold stories.

Quote of the day

"As a Catholic, I resent your using the word ‘hate’ in a sentence that addresses me. I don’t hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is a heart full of love ... Don’t mess with me when it comes to words like that."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responding to a reporter who asked if she hates Trump. (Video)

One sweet thing

Family comes in all shapes and sizes.

For 8-year-old Michael Clark Jr., it’s his kindergarten class.

The young Michigan boy had been living with his foster parents Andrea Melvin and Dave Eaton for about a year when the day came for his official adoption hearing at a local courthouse. They asked him who he wanted to be there on his big day.

"He said 'You know, the class is kind of my family.' And he wanted them to be there," Eaton told NBC-affiliate WOOD TV.

So there they were, heart-shaped signs and all, cheering their friend along.

His teacher, Kerry McKee, said there was a special lesson in the field trip for all the kids.

“The lesson is put a little love in your heart," said McKee.

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Thanks, Petra