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1. Moon tourism
Two thrill seekers are paying SpaceX a pretty sizable chunk of change to make a weeklong trip around the moon next year. CEO Elon Musk wouldn’t say how much the space cowboys coughed up. But for the sake of comparison, the Russian government charged upward of $20 million for a trip to the International Space Station. If this thing’s a go, it’ll be the first time humans will travel past low Earth orbit since the last Apollo mission in 1972. Low-earth orbit is essentially the first rung on the ladder to being in space. It’s also where some satellites that circle the Earth reside.
Once again, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Donald Trump’s first budget proposal will look to increase defense and security spending by $54 billion and cut roughly the same amount from non-defense programs.
One of the agencies whose budget’s on the chopping block is the State Dept. That prompted more than 120 retired generals and admirals to sign a letter urging the President to please don’t.
Trump wants to hire an additional 5,000 Customs and Border Protection agents — a tall task since the agency can’t even fill its ranks at current level because the requirements are so stringent. Now comes word that Homeland Security is exploring ways to make it easier to hire agents.
Who knew healthcare was so complicated? Apparently, not the President, judging from his comments to the nation’s governors yesterday.
Obamacare dominated the discussions, but the governors left with little consensus. One thing they agreed on: They don’t want anyone to be left uninsured.
Two prominent House conservatives aren’t helping matters when they said they’d vote against a draft of the Republican Obamacare repeal bill that was leaked last week.
3. Anti-Semitic incidents
Bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers and day schools in at least 12 states yesterday. This is the fifth wave of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers across the US and Canada since the year began. Add to that, the vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and several incidents in Miami where swastikas were etched into cars over the weekend, and what you get is a disturbing pattern of anti-Semitism.
4. California plane crash
This morning, officials will try to determine why a small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in Riverside, California. Three of the five people on board were killed; two others injured. They were in Southern California for a cheerleading competition at Disneyland, and were heading back to San Jose. No one was inside the homes the plane hit, but officials will do a secondary check just to be sure.
5. North Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was so furious that five senior-level officials had lied to him that he apparently had them executed by anti-aircraft guns. The officials worked for the State Security Ministry whose job is to run prison camps and spy on citizens. Kim also ordered his father’s statue removed from the ministry grounds saying “they don’t deserve the statue.” Kim has long used executions as way to tighten his hold on power. In his five years, more than 300 people have reportedly been killed.
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Lifestyles of the rich and famous
For any employee who correctly picks the teams that make it to the Sweet 16, Warren Buffett will pony up $1 million. Every year. For life.
On the right is Rosa Parks. On the left is 5-year-old Lola. The photo’s just one of this kindergartener’s incredible transformations for Black History Month.
The ‘Twister’ effect
This is how storm chasers and storm spotters came together to spell out a virtual tribute to Bill Paxton.
But wait, there’s more!
In addition to #Envelopegate, the Oscars kind of killed off the wrong person.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive, and it can be corrosive.”
— George W. Bush, on the media’s role as a check on presidential power.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH
Here’s what’s happening later
The more you know: President Trump will address a joint session of Congress today — but don’t call it a State of the Union address. For that, a President has to be in office for a year.