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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Train ride headed to Republican retreat ends in 'terrible tragedy'

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One dead after train carrying GOP lawmakers collides with garbage truck 

A retreat for Republican members of Congress in West Virginia turned fatal when their chartered train collided with a garbage truck Wednesday, leaving at least one person dead. The lawmakers and their staff emerged fairly unscathed from the accident along the Virginia countryside. The GOP retreat, set to begin Thursday, will go on — with a prayer for those affected by the crash. Meanwhile, back in Washington: 

The FBI has "grave concerns" about releasing a classified memo that alleges the Justice Department and FBI abused their surveillance authority.  President Trump "100 percent" supports making it public. 
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., best known for investigating the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, said he will not seek re-election — the 24th Republican to do so.
Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., dogged for two years by corruption charges, saw the Justice Department drop its case.

The Larry Nassar nightmare seems never-ending

Larry Nassar, the once-celebrated doctor who molested young gymnasts, is back in court. The number of women and girls who say he sexually abused them is now over 260. At his Wednesday sentencing on sexual assault charges, Nassar pleaded guilty to abusing young girls at Twistars gymnastics club in Michigan. He's already looking at a 60-year federal prison sentence for three child pornography charges and 40 to 175 years handed down last week after a high-profile seven-day sentencing hearing. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina noted last week that Nassar will be spending his life behind bars, adding that "cruel and unusual punishment" would be most appropriate in this case. Nassar's actions rocked all organizations that once applauded him, including the entire USA Gymnastics board that resigned this week.

She ran the CDC and made money from tobacco. That's a problem

Physician Brenda Fitzgerald led anti-smoking efforts as director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And one month after becoming the nation's top health official, she also bought shares in a tobacco company, Politico  reported Tuesday. Those shares amount to a big problem. Or, as a Department of Health spokesman put it, some "complex financial interests." Fitzgerald resigned Wednesday after the report, about four months after former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, head of the CDC's parent agency, did the same.

The moon wasn't actually blue. Nor bloody. But oh, it was beautiful

What looked like a red ball of fire appeared in the sky Wednesday morning, and we just couldn't get enough of it. It was a big deal —the first lunar trifecta visible from the U.S. since 1866. The rare blue blood moon was combination of a supermoon, blue moon and total lunar eclipse. Did you miss it? The next lunar eclipse that will be visible in North America — which will also be the next supermoon — is Jan. 21, 2019. Make sure you swipe through these amazing images of the lunar trifecta.

A Super Bowl death trap for the birds

Philly fans may be singing "Fly, Eagles, Fly" on Sunday, but the birds are doomed at this year's Super Bowl. And that's not even considering what could happen during the game. Hundreds of migratory birds have been crashing into reflective glass at U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Super Bowl LII with more than 20 species of birds found dead upon impact with the mirror-like exterior glass. Decision-makers knew they could have an avian problem years before construction when they opted not to spend $1 million more on bird-safe glass. Replacing it now could cost about $10 million.

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