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Andrew McCabe has stepped down as deputy director of the FBI, according to reports confirmed by several news outlets. McCabe was expected to retire in mid-March, a decision made public in December after more than a year of Republican attacks, prompting President Trump to lash out at him on Twitter. He had reportedly been under pressure from the President to quit. McCabe had angered many Republicans when he told the House Intelligence Committee that FBI Director James Comey, his former boss, had told him of his conversations with Trump in which the president demanded his loyalty. Trump appeared to accuse McCabe of having been bought out by “Clinton puppets.” McCabe had served as the FBI’s acting director after Comey’s firing, holding the position until Christopher Wray was confirmed in August. It had previously been reported that McCabe was to stay on until early March in order to be eligible for his full retirement benefits. According to NBC, officials familiar with the matter have said he is taking “terminal leave,” meaning he will remain an employee until his retirement in March in order to still receive those benefits. This was always his plan, NBC reports. ABC News and others have subsequently confirmed reports of McCabe’s departure.
President Trump will give his first State of the Union address Tuesday, a speech the White House said is themed "building a safe, strong, and proud America." The president is expected to highlight Republicans' tax reform legislation and other first-year accomplishments, though White House aides told The Associated Press Trump will "set aside his more combative tone for one of compromise." For many GOP lawmakers, hopes for the night are subdued. "I hope the speech is uneventful in a good way," said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.). "Last year, he addressed Congress and that speech was reasonably measured. I hope that is what happens again." Trump's talk before a joint session of Congress last year was not officially considered a SOTU. The Democratic rebuttal to President Trump's State of the Union address will be given by Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.)
Militants on Monday killed 11 Afghan soldiers in a raid against a military academy in Kabul as a wave of violence by Islamist extremists continued in Afghanistan. It was the fourth major attack in nine days, coming just after suicide bombers killed more than 100 people when they detonated ambulances full of explosives in a busy Kabul neighborhood. Last week, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on the office of the aid group Save the Children in the eastern city of Jalalabad, which left six people dead. The U.S. has been increasing assistance to Afghan security forces, including air strikes against the Taliban and other groups.
The Secret Service is warning financial institutions about a type of cyber attack known as jackpotting. Secret Service officials say the crime involves installing malicious software or hardware at ATMs that force the machines to release large quantities of cash on demand. They say criminals have been able to find vulnerabilities in financial institutions that operate ATMs, typically stand-alone machines located in pharmacies, big-box retailers, and drive-thrus. The Secret Service says the criminals range from individual actors to international organized crime syndicates. The Secret Service says authorities have recently obtained credible information about planned jackpotting attacks in the U.S. and have alerted law enforcement and financial institutions.
About 150 skiers who were stuck on a broken chairlift in central Austria for several hours were rescued safely Monday, by helicopters and mountain rescue teams. Austrian police said Monday, on Twitter, that all the skiers taken off the Rosenkranz chairlift at Kreischberg mountain north of Klagenfurt were uninjured. The lift stopped working early in the afternoon working because of technical problems. Three helicopters and several mountain aid groups were involved in the operation. Local media reported that it would have taken too long to repair the broken chairlift, so authorities decided to start evacuating the skiers. Authorities informed the stuck riders with loudspeakers in several languages that they would rescue them. Members of rescue team then climbed up to the chairs from below and brought some of the people down with ropes. Others were lifted up onto helicopters. The stopped chairs were 7-10 meters - or 23-33 feet above the ground.
Lawmakers in both parties on Sunday indicated that President Trump's demand to sharply cut back legal immigration could prevent a deal on immigration, and they recommended focusing more narrowly on boosting border security and restoring protections for young undocumented immigrants known as "DREAMers." The White House plan, unveiled last week, would offer a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DREAMers in exchange for deep cuts to family immigration visas and $25 billion for border security, including Trump's proposed wall. Democrats say the White House offer uses DREAMers as "ransom" to push through policies favored by "anti-immigration hard-liners" and "white supremacists."
Thousands of Russians took to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities on Sunday to protest restrictions by Russian President Vladimir Putin's government against opposition candidates in the upcoming March 18 presidential election. Alexei Navalny, who called for the protests, was arrested en route to the Moscow demonstration; he was released Sunday night while prosecutors reportedly prepared charges against him for his role organizing unauthorized protests. Navalny wants people to boycott the election, which Putin is all but guaranteed to win, and demonstrators braved frigid weather to support his call. "As long as I've been alive, Putin has always been in," a 19-year-old protester said. "I'm tired of nothing being changed."
Trump administration national security officials are considering building a super-fast, national 5G mobile network in what would be an unprecedented federal takeover of part of a wireless infrastructure that has always been held by private providers, Axios reported Sunday, citing "sensitive documents" it obtained. The move to centralize and build the nationwide 5G network would be a way to guard against potential economic and cybersecurity threats from China. An alternative would be for private wireless providers to build their own competing 5G networks, but the documents said that would take longer and cost more. Reuters reported that the proposal was being discussed by low-level officials, and would not be presented to President Trump for six to eight months.
Keurig is buying Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, bringing together the make-at-home coffee brand with the company behind Dr. Pepper soda, Mott’s apple juice, and Snapple iced teas. The combination lets the company offer “hot and cold beverages to satisfy every consumer throughout the day,” said Larry Young, chief executive of Dr. Pepper Snapple. Keurig Dr. Pepper, the combined company, will have about $11 billion in annual sales. That’s still far smaller than PepsiCo Inc. and Coca-Cola Co., which had sales in 2016 of $63 billion and $41 billion, respectively. Keurig is known for its single-serve coffee makers. It also sells coffee pods that are sold in stores under the Green Mountain and Donut Shop name. The pods, which are placed in the coffee makers and thrown out, have been criticized by environmental advocates as contributing to more waste. Keurig said Monday that Dr. Pepper Snapple shareholders will receive $103.75 per share in a special cash dividend and keep 13 percent of the combined company. Shareholders of Dr. Pepper Snapple still must approve the deal.
Divisive and hotly debated for decades, the Chief Wahoo logo is being removed from the Cleveland Indians’ uniform next year. The polarizing mascot is coming off the team’s jersey sleeves and caps starting in the 2019 season, a move that will end Chief Wahoo’s presence on the field but may not completely silence those who deem it racist. The official announcement was planned for Monday by Major League Baseball. After lengthy discussions between team owner Paul Dolan and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Indians are taking the extraordinary step of shelving the big-toothed, smiling, red-faced caricature, which has been used in used in various expressions by the team since 1947. However, the team will continue to wear the Wahoo logo on its uniform sleeves and caps in 2018, and the club will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio. The team must maintain a retail presence so that MLB and the Indians can keep ownership of the trademark.
Ingvar Kamprad, the billionaire founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, died at his home in Smaland, Sweden over the weekend, the company announced Sunday. He was 91. Kamprad started Ikea in 1943 at age 17, but it wasn't until 1956 that he hit upon the store's trademark flat-packing system to cut costs by reducing transit space. "Ingvar Kamprad was a great entrepreneur of the typical southern Swedish kind," said a statement from Ikea, "hardworking and stubborn, with a lot of warmth and a playful twinkle in his eye."
Mort Walker, the comic strip artist who created Beetle Bailey, died over the weekend at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. He was 94. Walker drew the strip, about a loafing Army private, for 68 years, the longest such daily run ever, according to syndicator King Features. Beetle Bailey originally was a slow-moving college student named Spider, but Walker turned him into an Army private with the onset of the Korean War. The Tokyo edition of Stars & Stripes banned the strip for fear it would encourage real service members to become slackers, but that only gave it free publicity that sent circulation soaring. In the 1970s, Walker added a black character, Lt. Flap, stoking the strip's popularity again. His sons plan to continue the comic.
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