U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spent much of his first year trying to manage crises with North Korea, Syria, Iran and Venezuela. But he's largely alone at the highest levels of the State Department, a problem exacerbated after the senior career diplomat, Tom Shannon, announced on Thursday that he plans to leave for personal reasons. With Shannon's departure, seven of the top nine jobs at the department will be empty. Those vacant posts include positions overseeing the agency's role in U.S. trade policy, stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, refugee issues and efforts to counter human trafficking. read more
Five children have had ear reconstruction using lab-grown cartilage that was seeded from their own cells and grown on 3-D-printed molds, researchers reported. "It's a very exciting approach," Tessa Hadlock at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston tells New Scientist. "They've shown that it is possible to get close to restoring the ear structure." The kids were between the ages of 6 and 10 years old and all had microtia, a malformation of the external ear. The researchers took a sample of cartilage from each child, harvested the cartilage-forming cells (called chondrocytes), expanded them, and then grew them on a mold that was build from a CT scan of the patient's normal ear. The tissue was then implanted into a skin flap to reconstruct the ear. The first child has been followed for two and a half years, and they are happy with the results, having "achieved satisfactory aesthetical outcome with mature cartilage formation." read more
Devin Nunes's memo allegedly exposing anti-Trump bias at the FBI does nothing of the kind. Rep. Devin Nunes's infamous memo -- the document numerous House Republicans claimed would demonstrate fundamental anti-Trump corruption at the FBI -- was released on early Friday afternoon. The entire thing is three and a half pages, and only takes a few minutes to read closely and carefully. After doing that, there is only one conclusion a fair reader could draw: There is absolutely nothing here. There is no proof in the memo that the FBI is biased against Trump, no proof of abuse of surveillance powers by the FBI, and no proof that the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia are fundamentally flawed. The memo is a piece of partisan spin, and a not particularly compelling one at that. Republicans who claimed it was anything else have been egregiously misrepresenting what the memo actually says.
The key law enforcement figures in what President Donald Trump and his allies have characterized as a "deep state" conspiracy against him are not lefties or even Democrats: They are Republicans. And Trump picked a number of them himself.
Trump and Republicans are continuing to attack the nation's top law enforcement organizations to undermine the special counsel investigation into his campaign, which has already resulted in criminal charges against four Trump associates. But factually speaking, it's really tough for Trump backers to credibly argue that the deck has been stacked against the president, simply based on the political leanings of the key figures in the case.
Vice President Mike Pence was in Lewisburg, West Virginia, Wednesday where he gave a speech that tore into Manchin. Pence attacked Manchin's vote against the tax bill and then continued: "But it's not just the tax cut. Senator Joe Manchin has voted no time and again on the policies that West Virginia needs. When the time came to repeal and replace the disaster of Obamacare, Joe voted no. When we empowered West Virginia to defund Planned Parenthood, Joe voted no." As you know, Donald Trump is popular in Manchin's state. Gallup found this week that it's his best state, at 61 percent approval. And Manchin is up for reelection this year (hence Pence's tirade). read more