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Senate intelligence panel may miss target for election security recommendations

Burr and Warner: Senators hold hearings at intel committee session

The Senate Intelligence Committee may miss its target for making election security recommendations to states facing potential Russian disruption during the midterms — but its GOP chairman is eyeing a contingency plan.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and the panel's Democratic vice chairman, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, have long eyed next week's first congressional primaries as their ideal date to release election-protection recommendations. The intelligence committee's counsel to states would amount to the first formal fruits of their yearlong bipartisan investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


Slovak Journalist Found Shot to Death at Home

Slovak journalist and fiance shot to deathA 27-year-old Slovak journalist who had been investigating corruption has been found shot to death at his home along with his fiancée, the authorities said Monday.

The killing — which appeared to be the first targeted slaying of a journalist in Slovakia’s modern history — was immediately condemned by officials, who vowed to investigate.

The journalist, Jan Kuciak, and his fiancée, Martina Kusnirova, both 27, appear to have been killed on Thursday in the village of Velka Maca, in western Slovakia, according to the office of the general prosecutor. Their bodies were found on Sunday after Ms. Kusnirova’s mother was unable to reach her.


Major EPA reorganization will end science research program

NCER funds rescindedA federal environmental program that distributes grants to test the effects of chemical exposure on adults and children is being shuttered amidst a major organization consolidation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) will no longer exist following plans to combine three EPA offices, the agency confirmed to The Hill on Monday.

The program provides millions of dollars in grants each year.


Lawsuit: HUD Official ‘Demoted’ for Restricting Ben Carson’s Expensive Office Makeover

Ben CarsonA senior career official in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has alleged that she was demoted and replaced with a Donald Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by funding an expensive redecoration of Ben Carson’s office.

Helen Foster said she was told “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair” after informing her bosses this was the legal price limit for improvements to the HUD secretary’s suite at the department’s Washington headquarters.

Foster, 47, claimed that she also faced retaliation for exposing a $10m budget shortfall, and for protesting when she was barred from handling a pair of sensitive freedom of information act (FOIA) requests relating to Trump apparently because she was perceived to be a Democrat.


Rhode Island the first state since Parkland school shooting to take action on guns

R.I. Gov. signs bill to "red flag" people in danger of committing gun violence

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order Monday establishing a statewide "red flag" policy to help keep guns away from people "who pose a danger to themselves and others."

Rhode Island becomes the sixth state to take the action and the first since the Feb. 14 shooting rampage at a Florida high school that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff.

"The heartbreaking shooting in Parkland has once again proven that if the federal government won't act, states need to do more to prevent the gun violence that has become far too common," Raimondo said at a signing ceremony Monday in Warwick.


Hope Hicks appears before House panel in Russia probe

Hope Hicks appears before House Intel CommitteePresident Donald Trump's longtime aide Hope Hicks was meeting with the House intelligence committee Tuesday for a closed-door interview as part of the panel's Russia investigation.

Hicks arrived shortly after 10 a.m. through a rear entrance to the committee's interview space and did not answer shouted questions from reporters.

The panel is investigating contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia, as is special counsel Robert Mueller. Hicks has also been interviewed by Mueller.


High court: Detained immigrants not entitled to bond hearing

Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court says immigrants the government has detained and is considering deporting aren't entitled by law to a bond hearing after six months in detention and then every six months if they're still being held.

The justices on Tuesday overturned a decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which had said the immigrants were entitled to bond hearings.


Melania Trump Parts Ways With Adviser Amid Backlash Over Inaugural Contract

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff received $26 for Teump InaguralThe first lady, Melania Trump, has parted ways with an adviser after news about the adviser's firm reaping $26 million in payments to help plan President Trump's inauguration. Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who has been friends with Mrs. Trump for years, had been working on a contract basis as an unpaid senior adviser to the office of the first lady.

Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman, said the office had “severed the gratuitous services contract with Ms. Wolkoff,” who Ms. Grisham said had been employed as “a special government employee” to work on specific projects. “We thank her for her hard work and wish her all the best.”


The North Pole just surged above freezing in the dead of winter, stunning scientists

N Pole goies above freezing for first time

The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 21, and it’s close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.

Temperatures may have soared as high as 2 C at the pole, according to the U.S. Global Forecast System model. While there are no direct measurements of temperature there, Zack Labe, a climate scientist working on his PhD at the University of California at Irvine, confirmed that several independent analyses showed “it was very close to freezing,” which is more than 30 C above normal.


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