The #SchumerShutdown Hashtag Is Getting A Big Boost From Russian Bots

The #SchumerShutdown Hashtag Is Getting A Big Boost From Russian BotsWASHINGTON ― As lawmakers wage a messaging war over who caused the government shutdown, Republicans and the White House are getting a big boost in their efforts to blame Democrats for the mess ― from the Russians.



Pope Francis Offers Partial Apology To Clergy Sex Abuse Victims After Demand For 'Proof'

Pope Francis Offers Partial Apology To Clergy Sex Abuse Victims After Demand For 'Proof'Pope Francis partially apologized for last week’s brusque attack on victims of clergy sex abuse ― but he continued supporting a controversial Chilean bishop accused of protecting a pedophile priest.



Authorities Say the Philippines' Most Active Volcano Could Be Just Hours From Erupting

Authorities Say the Philippines' Most Active Volcano Could Be Just Hours From EruptingAuthorities have raised the alert level for Mount Mayon to four on a scale of five



Service Dog Atlas Meets Pluto During Trip to Disney World

Service Dog Atlas Meets Pluto During Trip to Disney WorldAtlas, a golden retriever, even has a stuffed Pluto toy at home.



The Latest: France tells UN that Syria is at 'a crossroads'

The Latest: France tells UN that Syria is at 'a crossroads'BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on developments in Syria and Turkey's offensive on the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin (all times local):



Jeanette Epps is not the only astronaut NASA has removed from their planned flights

Jeanette Epps is not the only astronaut NASA has removed from their planned flightsOn Jan. 18, NASA announced that astronaut Jeanette Epps would not fly, as expected, to the International Space Station in June. The mission would have been historic, since she would have become the first African-American crewmember on the orbiting outpost.  The space agency hasn't released any information about why Epps was benched from her planned mission, saying only that "these decisions are personnel matters for which NASA doesn’t provide information," according to NASA spokesperson Brandi Dean. Epps will now work in the Astronaut Office at Johnson Space Center and await another possible flight assignment. Epps' removal from her planned flight isn't without historic precedent. SEE ALSO: Astronaut expected to be the 1st African-American Space Station crewmember won't fly in 2018 after all NASA has benched astronauts before flights many times in its decades as a federal agency, and for many different reasons. "Flight assignments have been changed often in the past at various stages of training for a variety of reasons," Dean said via email. Specifically, quite a few astronauts have been removed from their missions for health reasons.  NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps.Image: NASANASA's Ken Mattingly was pulled from the Apollo 13 crew just a few days before their scheduled launch because he was exposed to German measles.  From the ground, Mattingly was part of the team that helped bring back the Apollo 13 crew to Earth after an oxygen tank exploded, putting the lives of the crew in serious danger and forcing them to abandon their planned moon landing.  Mattingly still earned a place in cinematic history, since he was portrayed by actor Gary Sinise in the movie Apollo 13. "Long before Jeanette Epps was pulled from her upcoming space station expedition, astronauts such as Ken Mattingly in 1970 and Don Thomas in 2002 were reassigned due to medical issues, while Mark Lee was pulled from a 2001 space station assembly shuttle mission for reasons NASA never disclosed," space historian and editor of collectSPACE.com Robert Pearlman said in an interview.  "To their crewmates' credit, despite the interruptions, the missions went on as planned (or in the case of Apollo 13, went awry but at no fault of Mattingly's replacement, Jack Swigert)." NASA also replaced Jeff Ashby in 1997 due to an illness in his family, and other astronauts have been removed due to other medical or personal issues. "NASA invests a lot of time, effort and money in training their astronaut crews, and stresses teamwork throughout, so the decision to remove an astronaut from a flight is never taken lightly," Pearlman said. Epps's 2018 mission was announced in 2017 and it immediately went viral.  News organizations profiled Epps and wrote about her expected upcoming flight, making the news of her reassignment all the more surprising.  She has not yet flown to space. Epps was chosen as part of NASA's 2009 astronaut class as one of 14 candidates.  Her path to NASA is different from many other astronauts, however.  Epps started off as a NASA fellow and then worked at Ford Motor Company before spending seven years at the Central Intelligence Agency.  Epps was inspired to become an astronaut after watching the first class of women become NASA astronauts decades ago. "It was about 1980, I was nine years old. My brother came home and he looked at my grades and my twin sisters' grades and he said, 'You know, you guys can probably become aerospace engineers or even astronauts,'" Epps said in a NASA video. "And this was at the time that Sally Ride [the first American woman to fly in space] and a group of women were selected to become astronauts — the first time in history. So, he made that comment and I said, 'Wow, that would be so cool.'" WATCH: Here's how Virgin's space program is different than SpaceX



Women's March Activists Rally In Las Vegas, Vow To Bring Their 'Power To The Polls'

Women's March Activists Rally In Las Vegas, Vow To Bring Their 'Power To The Polls'Women’s March activists gathered in Las Vegas on Sunday to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the largest single-day protest in U.S. history and to launch a nationwide political action tour.



With 25,339 murders in 2017, Mexico suffers record homicide tally

With 25,339 murders in 2017, Mexico suffers record homicide tallyThere were more than 25,000 murders across drug-ravaged Mexico in 2017, the highest annual tally since modern records began, government data showed. Investigators opened 25,339 murder probes last year, up nearly 25 percent from the 2016 tally, interior ministry data released on Saturday showed. Mexico has struggled with years of violence as the government has battled vicious drug cartels that have increasingly splintered into smaller, more bloodthirsty, gangs.



Arab-Israeli MPs kicked out of chamber for protesting Pence's speech

Arab-Israeli MPs kicked out of chamber for protesting Pence's speechArab lawmakers in Israel's parliament have been tossed out from the house for heckling US Vice President Mike Pence at the start of his speech. The main Arab party in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, warned ahead of time it would boycott Pence over Donald Trump's decision to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Members the Arab Joint List party held up signs reading “Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine”. The posters were immediately torn from there hands by parliamentary security guards and the MPs were forced out of the chamber.  The Knesset, which is accustomed to such high-profile visits, had added a new layer of security, and besides the speaker and other dignitaries, lawmakers did not have direct access to Pence. Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint Arab List, said it was the party's democratic right to boycott the speech by the U.S. vice president. In a tweet, he said the party will not provide a "silent backdrop" to a man he called a "dangerous racist." Netanyahu called the boycott a disgrace. He and other gave Pence a standing ovation.



Serial Stowaway Charged Following Latest Arrest at O`Hare Airport

Serial Stowaway Charged Following Latest Arrest at O`Hare AirportA 66-year-old woman, who has been arrested several times for sneaking onto planes without a ticket and even a passport, is back at it again. This time she made it from Chicago to London before she was caught.



Teen Says MSU Is Still Billing Her Family For Appointments Where Nassar Assaulted Her

Teen Says MSU Is Still Billing Her Family For Appointments Where Nassar Assaulted HerThe 95th witness to deliver an impact statement at the sentencing hearing for disgraced former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar said the school is still billing her family for appointments where she was allegedly sexually abused.



Taliban lays claim to deadly attack on Kabul hotel

Taliban lays claim to deadly attack on Kabul hotelTaliban militants who killed at least 22 people at a luxury Kabul hotel went from room to room searching for foreigners, survivors and a security source said Monday as more details of the victims emerged. Insurgents armed with Kalashnikovs and suicide vests attacked the landmark Intercontinental Hotel overlooking the Afghan capital late Saturday in an assault that lasted more than 12 hours and prompted questions over how the attackers breached security. Officials have said that at least 14 foreigners were killed.



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