WASHINGTON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee defended official investigations into claims of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in a party memo released on Saturday. The 10-page, partially-redacted document, which was posted to the panel's website, sharply criticized a previously released Republican memo as a "transparent effort to undermine" investigations by the FBI, Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The memo defends the FBI's obtaining of warrants to conduct temporary surveillance of Carter Page, an associate of President Donald Trump's election campaign, whom the Democrats say "the FBI assessed to be an agent of the Russian government."
Tallahassee - A move to put all of Florida in the same time zone, while following daylight-saving time throughout the year, got the backing of a Senate committee on Tuesday. The Senate Community Affairs Committee voted in favor of the proposal (SB 858), which seeks to put Panhandle counties in the same time zone as the rest of the state and for Florida to observe daylight-saving time all year. Much of the Panhandle is now in the Central time zone, while the rest of the state is in the Eastern time zone. Sarasota Senator, Greg Steube, said his proposal originated when visiting a barber, who complained that having to set clocks back an hour in the fall had a negative impact on children and it's "kind of created a life of its own." Read more
A domesticated cow has surprised Polish naturalists by spending the winter living with a herd of wild bison in the primeval Bialowieza Forest. The cow "chose freedom" by running away from a farm late last autumn, and has been seen lingering on the fringes of a herd of some 50 bison in the forest on the Belarusian border, Poland's TVN24 news portal reports. Ornithologist Adam Zbyryt was the first to spot the cow. He made the news in November when he told TVN24: "it's not unusual to see bison near the Bialowieza Forest, but one animal caught my eye. It was a completely different light-brown shade from the rest of the herd. Bison are chestnut or dark brown". Dr Kowalczyk told TVN24 that this is the first time he has seen a cow join a bison herd. "She is not very integrated with the group, as bison act like one organism and she stands out." He added that the herd had probably saved her from the wolves that prowl the edges of the Bialowieza Forest through the winter. Read more
Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Alec Ross has selected Denizens Brewing Co. co-owner Julie Verratti as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Though Ross's choice creates a ticket of candidates who have never been elected to public office, he believes the pair's previous government experience and business knowledge will convince Democratic primary voters to choose them... He said her combination of small business experience and activism led him to choose her as his running mate. Whoever emerges from that crowded Democrat field will face off in November against Republican incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan, who remains popular in the state. Read more
The world is about 100 times wealthier than 200 years ago and, contrary to popular belief, its wealth is more evenly distributed. The share of people killed annually in wars is less than a quarter of that in the 1980s and half a percent of the toll in the second world war. During the 20th century Americans became 96% less likely to die in a car crash, 92% less likely to perish in a fire and 95% less likely to expire on the job. Read more
A Florida high school student who survived last week's mass shooting took to social media on Friday to slam Senator Marco Rubio for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Sarah Chadwick, a junior student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, tweeted a clever jab at Rubio, who reportedly received two donations of $4,950 from the lobbying group during his previous campaigns. Read more
A college student wanted to bring a hamster on a plane and then flushed it down an airport toilet after Spirit Airlines told her she wasn't allowed to board with it. A United Airlines passenger attempted to get on a flight with a peacock. Another air traveler took a turkey on a plane. Yet another brought on a duck wearing red booties.
Just Wednesday, a dog's teeth scraped a little girl's head on a Southwest Airlines flight. These were real events that happened in America: travelers toting "emotional support animals," claiming they need the ESAs (which are distinct from service animals trained to help those with physical disabilities) to stay calm while flying.
And there are more of them out there: in January, Delta reported that it carries around 700 service or support animals daily and has had to create a special support desk for them.
In the wake of yet another tragic school shooting, teachers have started an eye-opening movement on social media to let the world know what preventative measures really need to be taken seriously to protect students.
In response to the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, President Trump suggested that some teachers receive gun training so they can be armed in their classrooms.
But rather than adding more guns to educational environments, teachers are using the hashtag #ArmMeWith to share far more peaceful resources they wish to be armed with, such as school supplies, mental health resources and funding, impactful changes in curriculum, and stronger gun control legislation.
And he didn't keep talking about the WikiLeaks emails stolen by Russia because he thought voters didn't care. Read more
Law enforcement in Florida are investigating an incident of workplace racism by a supporter of President Donald Trump, WTSP reported Saturday. Terri Silar, who is black, said it started earlier this week when several co-workers were discussing gun control and President Trump in the wake of the Parking shooting massacre. The next day, she found a monkey stuffed animal with a noose around its neck hanging from her office chair. There was a racist note attached to the monkey. "You are getting deported back to Africa n****r and that will make America great again," the note read. The threat was signed, "Whites 4 Trump." A note on her monitor read, "n****r b*tch." "I was shocked, but most of all I was hurt," Silar told WTSP. "I felt threatened. I didn't feel safe. For someone to be that bold. That is a blatant boldness and a hate crime," Silar explained. "It is a monkey with a noose around its neck. What message do you think I'm going to take from that?"
Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, hit back late Friday after the communications director of the Conservative Political Action Conference claimed he was the token black guy of the RNC. Communications director Ian Walters reportedly told hundreds of conservatives gathered at the event that Steele was elected as RNC chairman "because he was a black guy," and "that was the wrong thing to do." Steele, who was in the same room as Walters when the remarks were made, called the comments "painfully stupid." "If he feels that way I'd like him to come say that to my face. And then I'd like him to look at my record and see what I did. I can't believe an official of CPAC would go onstage in front of an audience and say something like that," he told The Observer.
A student with a shotgun made a terrorist threat against East High School on social media, according to Rochester police. Abigail Hernandez, 21, is charged with making a terroristic threat, a felony. She is currently in the Buffalo Federal Detention Center in Batavia because she is an undocumented immigrant, Rochester Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander said. Read more
A lawyer for President Barack Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, told Congress late Friday that the outgoing administration was fearful of sharing classified intelligence with members of the incoming Trump team, especially Rice's successor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
Music blaring through loudspeakers, strippers dancing to the beat and audiences whistling along. In some parts of China, this is what you would see during a funeral procession. Earlier this year, China renewed a clampdown on strippers performing at funerals, wedding and temples, calling it "obscene and vulgar". This isn't the first time authorities have tried to get rid of the practice but it has proven resilient. Read more
A wave of attacks across Afghanistan has left more than 25 people dead, most of them soldiers, officials say. In the worst incident, Taliban militants stormed an army post in the western province of Farah, killing 22 soldiers. A suicide attack in the capital Kabul left at least three security officers dead. Read more
From his CPAC speech (emphasis mine)... We have got to change our way. Merit system. I want merit system. You know what is happening? All these companies are coming into our country, they're all coming into our country, and when they come in, we need people that are going to work. I'm telling you, we need workers now. I don't want people that are going to come in and be accepting all of the gifts of our country for the next 50 years and contribute nothing. I don't want that. You don't want that. I want people that are going to help and people that are going to go to work for Chrysler, who is now moving from Mexico into Michigan. And so many others. And Apple, by the way. And Foxconn in Wisconsin. They're going to need 25,000 workers. I want people that can come in and get to work and work hard; even if it means a learning period, that is fine. But I want people that are going to come in and work.