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7 things to know now: Trump and Russia; murderer convicted 40 years later; dog show winner

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Russian contact: The New York Times is reporting that current and former U.S. officials, aides and associates of President Donald Trump made calls to senior Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the story from the Times, there has been no evidence uncovered to suggest that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia on the hacking of the Democratic National Committee.  Russian officials made contact with Paul Manafort, who briefly served as Trump's campaign chairman, the story says. Current and former U.S. officials interviewed by the Times declined to identify other Trump associates contacted by the Russians, The Associated press reported. Russian officials have denied the allegations.

2. Driving badly: A study by the AAA Foundation finds that during the past 30 days, more than half of the drivers they surveyed in America have engaged in reckless behavior while behind the wheel.  Eighty-eight percent of young drivers – ages 19 to 24 – have admitted to either speeding or texting. Older drivers admitted to their own bad driving behavior, with 37 percent of drivers older than 75 saying they have blown through a red light. 

3. Murder conviction: Nearly 40 years after the crime, the man who murdered Etan Patz was found guilty Tuesday. Pedro Hernandez was convicted of luring Etan, who was 6 at the time, into a basement where he strangled the boy. Etan had been walking to the school bus when Hernandez grabbed him.

4. Adler files suit: Doug Adler, a former tennis commentator  for ESPN, is suing the network after he was fired for a remark he made about Venus Williams during the Australian Open. Adler says in the suit that he was dropped from the network because he used the word “guerilla” to refer to the aggressive style with which Williams plays tennis. He said his comment was not meant to compare Williams to a gorilla. He apologized for the comment on the air during the tournament. The network fired him soon after.

5. Increasing the Army: The U.S. Army is looking to increase its ranks by 6,000 soldiers come the end of  September, and they plan to spend a lot of money to do it. Legislation approved by Congress last year calls for using $300 million to pay bonuses and for advertising during the next eight months in an effort to recruit the additional soldiers. If they can do it, it will be the largest in-year increase in the 44-year history of the all-volunteer service force.

And one more

A female German shepherd took home the trophy in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show Tuesday. Rumor won Best in Show at the competition held annually at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Nearly 3,000 dogs participated in the event.

In case you missed it

Michael Flynn resigns: A timeline of events; who will replace him?

Michael Flynn resigned late Monday in the wake of reports that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his contacts with Russia.

After days of denying the reports, then eventually saying that he was not sure if he discussed sanctions against Russia with Russian officials, Flynn finally said that discussions of sanctions "may have come up" during several calls with the Russian ambassador. The calls were made before Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

Controversy has arisen around the conversation,because under the Logan Act, it is illegal for private citizens to conduct U.S. diplomacy.

Here’s a timeline of events of Flynn’s tenure as national security adviser:

Nov. 18, 2016 – Trump announces that Flynn has been offered the post of national security adviser. Flynn accepts the job.

Dec. 28, 2016 – Flynn and Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States, exchange Christmas text messages by cellphone.

Dec. 29, 2016 – President Barack Obama announces sanctions against Russia for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election. He orders 35 Russian diplomats out of the country.

Dec. 29, 2016 – On the same day, Flynn calls the Russian ambassador. The New York Times reports that Flynn, according to officials who saw a transcript of the wiretapped conversation between Flynn and Kislyak, discussed the sanctions that the Obama administration had imposed on Russia.

Jan. 13, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports, for the first time, Flynn's talks with the Russian ambassador.

Jan. 14, 2017 – According to Pence, Flynn tells him that he and Kislyak did not talk about Russian sanctions.

Jan.  15, 2017 – Pence appears on “Fox News Sunday” and says that Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador “were not in any way related to the new U.S. sanctions against Russia or the expulsion of diplomats.”

Jan. 20, 2017 – Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Jan. 22, 2017 – The Wall Street Journal reports that Flynn is under investigation by U.S. counterintelligence for the phone calls to the Russian ambassador.

Late January: Acting Attorney General Sally Yates informs the White House counsel of Flynn's misleading statements.

Feb. 8, 2017 – Flynn, in an interview with the Washington Post, denies discussing sanctions with the Russian ambassador

Feb. 9, 2017 -- Flynn's  spokesman tells the Washington Post that Flynn "indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn't be certain that the topic never came up."

Feb. 10, 2017 – Trump, on the way to Mar-a-Lago, tells reporters aboard Air Force One he had not seen the reports about Flynn. "I don't know about that," he says. "I haven't seen it.”

Feb. 11/12, 2017 – Flynn stays the weekend at Mar-a-Lago. 

Feb. 12, 2017 -- Pence says on CBS that he spoke to Flynn about the phone call and the conversation had "nothing whatsoever to do with those sanctions.” 

Feb. 13, 2017 – White House adviser Kellyanne Conway says around 5 p.m. that the administration has “full confidence” in Flynn. Minutes later, Sean Spicer, press spokesman for the White House, issues a statement that reads: “The president is evaluating the situation. He's speaking to the vice president relative to the conversation the vice president had with Gen. Flynn, and also speaking to various other people about what he considers the single most important subject there is: our national security.” The Washington Post reports at 8 p.m. ; that the Justice Department told White House officials that Flynn “mischaracterized his communications."

Feb. 13, 2017 – Flynn resigns his position of national security adviser just before 11 p.m.

“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.

“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way."

Feb. 13, 2017 – Lt. Gen. Joseph K. Kellogg Jr. is named acting national security adviser just after 11 p.m.

The Associated Press is reporting that there are three possible replacements being considered for Flynn. They are:

Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg

Kellogg was previously appointed National Security Council chief of staff and, along with Flynn, advised Trump on national security and foreign policy issues during the campaign. He had been considered for national security adviser before the post went to Flynn.

Kellogg was chief operating officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, the interim governing body after the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. He previously worked as executive vice president of research and technology for Virginia-based information technology firm CACI International, which works as a contractor for defense, intelligence and homeland security agencies.

Gen. David Petraeus

The most audacious choice would likely be former CIA director Petraeus. Petraeus, a retired four-star general, was bounced from his position atop the intelligence agency in 2012 after he it was revealed that he passed on classified information to his biographer, who had also become his mistress.

But Trump during the campaign spoke sympathetically about Petraeus' plight despite his frequent criticisms of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, for mishandling classified materials. Petraeus was briefly under consideration to become secretary of state before Trump picked Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson.

Vice Admiral Robert Harward

Harward, a Navy SEAL, served as deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command when it was under the command of Gen. James Mattis, who is now secretary of defense. He served on the National Security Council for President George W. Bush and commissioned the National Counter Terrorism Center.

Upon his retirement in 2013 after a nearly 40-year career in the Navy, Harward took a post as chief executive officer for defense and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin in the United Arab Emirates. Trump has recently been in very public negotiations with Lockheed over the cost of its F-35 fighter jet program. 

Sources: New York Times; Washington Post; BBC, The Associated Press

Kim Jong Un's half-brother assassinated in Malaysia, reports say

The elder half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was killed in Malaysia this week in an apparent assassination, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending stories

Kim Jong Nam was killed on Monday morning, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unidentified South Korean government source.

Malaysian authorities confirmed that a 46-year-old North Korean man died en route to a hospital on Monday after seeking medical assistance at a Kuala Lumpur International Airport customer service counter. His travel documents identified him as a man named Kim Chol. Authorities are investigating the cause of his death.

PRESS STATEMENT: INSPECTOR GENERAL ROYAL MALAYSIA POLICEDEATH OF A NORTH KOREAN CITIZENPosted by Polis Diraja Malaysia ( Royal Malaysia Police ) on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Authorities told Reuters the slain man was Kim Jong Nam.

"So far there are no suspects, but we have started investigations and are looking at a few possibilities to get leads," police official Fadzil Ahmat told Reuters.

South Korean cable television network TV Chosun, citing unidentified government sources, reported that a pair of women attacked Kim Jong Nam on Monday with poisoned needles at Kuala Lumpur airport. The women fled from the airport in a taxi and remained at large Tuesday, the TV network reported.

However, an unidentified Malaysian official told The Associated Press that Kim Jong Nam died while waiting for a flight to Macau after he was "sprayed with a liquid in the shopping concourse" on Monday.

Authorities are investigating the events that led to Kim Jong Nam's death.

"We don't know if there was a cloth or needles," Fadzil told Reuters when asked about the circumstances surrounding the attack. "The receptionist said someone grabbed his face, he felt dizzy."

South Korean intelligence agencies were not immediately able to confirm the report, according to The New York Times.

Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Un had different mothers and were sons of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. The former leader died in 2011.

Kim Jong Nam was once considered Kim Jong Il's heir before a scandal broke in 2001 that is believed to have "hobbled his chances," The New York Times reported. He was caught that year trying to take his son to Tokyo Disneyland in Japan while using a fake visa, according to the newspaper.

He was deported to China and estranged from his family.

He was believed to be close to his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, according to Reuters. Jang was a leading figure in North Korea before he was executed on Kim Jong Un's orders in 2013 for planning a military coup.

What did President Trump say about Mike Flynn's resignation?

President Donald Trump suggested on Twitter Tuesday that the resignation of Michael Flynn was little more than a distraction, and that the “real story” is the number of leaks coming out of Washington.

The tweet, which came hours after Flynn resigned after he misled Vice President Mike Pence about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States, did not mention Flynn by name.

>>Michael Flynn resigns: A timeline of events; who will replace him?

“The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington?” he tweeted. “Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?”

The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017

The White House has dealt with numerous leaks in its month-old administration. A White House aide told Politico last week that the administration has launched an investigation into leaks coming out of Washington.

Top Republicans have also called for an investigation into the leaks.

Trump was asked by reporters on Feb. 10, as he made his way to Mar-a-Lago aboard Air Force One, if he had any comment on the stories that Flynn had contacted Russian authorities and talked about the sanctions put into place by President Obama. "I don't know about that," he said. "I haven't seen it.”

According to Sally Yates, then acting attorney general, she informed the White House counsel of Flynn's misleading statements in “late January.” She said she was concerned that Flynn could be subject to blackmail by the Russians because they knew what he had discussed with the Russian ambassador and knew he was not, at least publically, revealing that.

Yates was dismissed from her job not long after when she refused to defend Trump’s immigration travel ban.

7 things to know now: Flynn resigns; another Sandusky arrested; Playboy brings back nudes

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Flynn resigns: National security adviser Michael Flynn resigned late Monday night amid reports he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other Trump administration officials about contacts he made with Russia prior to the Trump administration taking office in January. According to a report from The Washington Post, Justice Department officials told the White House that there was a discrepancy between what they were saying in public about Flynn’s contact with Russian officials and what had actually occurred. Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg has been named interim national security adviser until President Trump names a replacement.

2. Another Sandusky charged: Jeffrey S. Sandusky, son of Jerry Sandusky, was charged with soliciting naked photos from a 16-year-old girl and requesting a sex act from her 15-year-old sister. Jeffery Sandusky, 41, was charged on 14 counts and jailed on a $200,000 bail. Jerry Sandusky was sentence to decades in jail for sexually assaulting young boys while coaching football at Penn State University. 

3. Travel ban suit: The judge in Seattle who issued a temporary restraining order against President Trump’s travel ban ruled Monday that the suit brought by the states of Washington and Minnesota could proceed. The suit will go forward while the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether they will hear the government’s case for the ban. Also on Monday, a federal judge in Virginia issued a preliminary injunction that bars the administration from implementing the travel ban in Virginia.

4. Klan wizard murder: The wife and step-son of a professed Ku Klux Klan leader found dead over the weekend have been charged with this murder. Malissa Anconna, 44, and her son, Paul Jinkerson Jr., 24, were both charged in the death of Frank Ancona. According to officials in Missouri, Jinkerson shot Ancona while he slept in his Leadwood, Mo., home. Anacona’s body was dumped near Belgrade, Mo. According to the Associated press, Ancona called himself an imperial wizard with the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. 

5. No longer just reading it for the articles: After a brief respite, Playboy magazine announced Monday that it would again include photos of nude women on its pages. Nude photos were removed from the magazine about a year ago, and that was a “mistake,” according to Cooper Hefner, son of the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner. "I'll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake," Cooper Hefner said in a tweeted statement. "Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn't a problem. Today we're taking back and reclaiming who we are."

And one more

ABC and People magazine will produce a 4-hour documentary on the life of Princess Diana. The miniseries is set to be broadcast in August, marking the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death. The program will "remind the world why they fell in love with Diana in the first place," according to Monday's announcement. Diana died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.

In case you missed it

Trump on if US-Canada border is secure: 'You can never be totally confident'

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met about their countries shared goals on Monday, but their contrasting views were also on display during a news conference where they talked about immigration and refugees.

>> Read more trending stories

Trump said "you can never be totally confident" that the northern border is secure in response to a question from a reporter.

Here was the exchange:

Reporter: "President Trump, you seem to suggest that Syrian refugees are a Trojan horse for potential terrorism, while the PM hugs refugees and welcomes them with open arms. Are you confident the northern border is secure?" Trump: "You can never be totally confident. But through the incredible efforts already, I see it happen … We're actually taking people that are criminals, that are very hardened criminals with a tremendous track record of abuse and problems, and we're getting them out. And that's what I said I would do (in my campaign). I said at the beginning we were going to get the bad ones. The really bad ones. We're getting them out. And that's exactly what we're doing." Trudeau: "Keeping Canadians safe is one of the fundamental responsibilities of any government. At the same time we continue to pursue our policies of openness toward immigration and refugees without comprising security."

Terrorists who lived or passed through Canada are associated with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, suicide bombings in Israel, assassinations in India, the murder of U.S. tourists in Egypt, a bombing attack on the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia and the foiled plot to bomb the Los Angeles airport at the turn of the millennium, according to a Seattle Times report

Trudeau said Canada welcomed nearly 40,000 refugees last year. After Trump signed an executive order that barred travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, Trudeau tweeted: "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017A Seattle judge has since halted the president's travel ban.

The young prime minister has been reluctant to criticize Trump. His government has been trying to balance his liberal view of the world while not offending the new Trump administration.

"Canada and the United States have been neighbors a long time," Trudeau said Monday. "We fought and died together in battlefields on in World War I, World War II, Korea and Afghanistan. But there have been times when we have differed in our approaches. And that's always been done firmly and respectfully. The last thing Canadians expect is for me to come down and lecture another country (on how it) chooses to govern themselves. My role and our responsibly is to govern in such a way that reflects Canadians' approach and be a positive example in the world."

KIRO Radio reported that the number of refugees crossing the Canadian border is quickly rising. People are attempting to gain refugee status by entering Canada from the U.S.

Correspondent Jason Markusoff, who reports for Canada news publication Maclean's magazine, told KIRO Radio that an agreement between Canada and the U.S., the Safe Third Country Agreement, could become a problem for people seeking refugee status.  Under the agreement, refugee claimants are "required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in unless they qualify for an exception to the agreement."

Another potential problem is if the number of people seeking refugee status grows too much.

"If people started coming across the border en masse … that's going to be a very big policy change," Markusoff said.

Gov. Jay Inslee stood with the former president when Barack Obama pledged in 2015 to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees in a year's time. The city of Seattle recently passed a resolution to become a "welcoming city," which means that it works with city departments to reduce the barriers that immigrants and refugees often face.

Hundreds arrested in multi-state immigration raids

Immigration officials arrested hundreds of people across the country last week in what appeared to be a crackdown on illegal immigration prompted by President Donald Trump, although federal officials said the operations were planned weeks before the president took office.

>> Read more trending stories

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents targeted "immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens" last week as part of a "targeted enforcement operation," according to ICE officials. More than 600 people were arrested in at least 11 states, The New York Times reported.

Those detained included nearly 200 people apprehended in the Carolinas and Georgia, more than 150 in southern California and about 40 in New York, according to ICE officials.

Trump took credit for the raids on Sunday, writing on Twitter that "the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise."

The crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 12, 2017

A Salvadoran gang member and a Brazilian drug trafficker were among those apprehended, The Associated Press reported.

However, ICE officials told multiple news agencies that the immigration operations were planned before Trump took office.

An ICE official who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity told the newspaper that the state's operation was "part of a national action that was planned several weeks ago," and focused on specific people.

>> Related: Congressman confirms ICE conducting immigration operations in Texas

"All these people are in violation of some sort of immigration law," the unidentified official told The New York Times. "We're not going out to Walmart to check papers — we know who we are going out to seek."

David Marin, ICE's field office director for enforcement and removal operations in greater Los Angeles, told the AP that the California operation was in its planning stages "before the administration came out with their executive orders."

>> Related: Here is every executive order Trump has signed

Trump signed a sweeping executive order in his first days in office that expanded on the groups of illegal immigrants whose deportations would take priority and to bolster the number of agents on the southern border.

7 things to know now: Grammys; dam emergency; Verizon plan

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Dam emergency: Emergency officials in California have ordered more than 200,000 people to evacuate from the area around the Oroville Dam, the nation’s tallest dam. Engineers discovered a crack in the spillway of the dam. Heavy rains in the area for the past month has pushed the water level in man-made Lake Oroville which is about 150 miles northeast of San Francisco, to overflowing, and officials say the spillway could crack and break “at any time.”

2. Flynn and Russia: National security adviser Michael Flynn is on the hot seat over reports that he spoke with Russian officials about sanctions before Donald Trump was sworn in as president. Flynn first denied the report, then said he remembered talking with the Russians but was not sure if sanctions were discussed. Vice President Mike Pence previously denied that Flynn had talked about sanctions.

3.  Adele big Grammy winner: Adele was a big winner in Sunday’s Grammy Awards, beating the woman she says she looks up to, Beyonce, in three of the top awards for the evening. The singer had some trouble with a tribute performance to George Michael during the show, but bounced back to give a heartfelt speech honoring Beyonce to end the awards ceremony. Other winners Sunday included Chance the Rapper, the late David Bowie and Maren Morris.

4. Verizon announces plan: Verizon is bring back an unlimited talk, text and data plan that will go into effect on Monday. Customers may keep their current plan, Verizon says, or can take the new plan. The new plan will cost $80 a month. The nation’s largest wireless provider will also provide a family plan where four lines will cost $45 per line. Verizon’s three biggest competitors – AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint – all have unlimited data plans.

5. Joe Piscopo for governor: Joe Piscopo, a former Saturday Night Live cast member, says he is considering a run for governor of New Jersey. "I'm doing my due diligence," Piscopo said on CNN's Michael Smerconish’s show Saturday. "The people of New Jersey are ticked off and it's my home state that I have immense love for," Piscopo said.

And one more

The Westminster Dog Show, which has grown into one of the most watched events on television, begins Monday in New York City. There will be nearly 3,000 dogs participating in the show. Among the 3,000 are representatives of three new breeds competing this year – the Pumi, the Sloughi and the American Hairless Terrier.

In case you missed it

Here’s some equal time for cat lovers.

World’s heaviest woman to have weight reduction surgery

The world's heaviest woman arrived in Mumbai from Egypt and was admitted to a hospital Saturday to undergo weight reduction surgery, the Times of India reported.

>> Read more trending news

Eman Ahmed, who weighs more than 1,100 pounds, entered Mumbai's Saifee Hospital early on Saturday. It was her first trip outside of her home in Alexandria more than two decades, the Times reported.

Dr. Muffazal Lakdawala will perform the weight-reduction bariatric surgery on the 36-year-old woman. Lakdwala petitioned union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj two months ago to allow Eman to travel to Mumbai for treatment.

Confirming Eman's admission, a spokesman for the doctor said that a thorough evaluation will be carried about over the next two days.

Eman suffers from severe lymphedema and water retention. She has suffered a stroke resulting in paralysis of her right arm and leg, has Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and hypothyroidism, the Times reported. She also has severe obstructive and restrictive lung disease, gout and is at a very high risk of pulmonary embolism, according to a hospital release.

Ahmed’s family contacted Lakdawala last October and he agreed to take the case, The Hindu reported. But since she was unable to leave her home, her medical visa was denied. But the doctor contacted External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and within a day Ahmed was granted a visa. Swaraj tweeted her best wishes on Friday.

World's heaviest woman, Eman Ahmed will get her treatment at Saifee Hospital over the next few months:— SheThePeople (@SheThePeopleTV) February 11, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

@DrMuffi Lakdawala has informed me that Eman Ahmed is reaching Mumbai from Egypt for her surgery. I wish her a successful surgery here.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) February 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Thank you ma'am you are the one who started it all from your hospital bed . You have given Eman a second chance at life @SaveEmanCause— Dr Muffi Lakdawala (@DrMuffi) February 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

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