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St. Jude Radiothon 2024

1. Trump administration

The FBI rejected a recent White House request to knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign. A White House official said the request was only made after the FBI said it did not believe the reporting to be true. Meanwhile, Trump has assigned the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Justice Department, to help build the legal case for its temporary travel ban. This is reportedly caused concern among some administration intelligence officials, who see the White House charge as the politicization of intelligence — the notion of a conclusion in search of evidence to support it after being blocked by the courts.

2. Kim Jong Nam

We now know the substance that killed Kim Jong Un’s half brother — an internationally banned chemical weapon. Tests reveal that VX nerve agent was found on Kim Jong Nam’s face and in his eyes. This stuff is nothing to play around with. It’s potent and kills within minutes. Kim was smeared with the chemical last week at an airport in Malaysia, got sick and died on the way to the airport. Police think a group of North Korean men asked two women to do this.

3. Immigrant safe houses

A secret network to hide undocumented immigrants is linking up in Los Angeles. The network, formed by L.A. religious leaders, will shelter people in private homes from ICE raids. Of course this is all in reaction to the Trump administration’s vow to step up deportation of undocumented immigrants. But why homes? Because the feds just can’t barge into someone’s private dwelling. They’d have to get a warrant first. That’s a little something called the Fourth Amendment.

4. Mosul

Iraqi forces fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS grabbed a big prize — the airport. The seizure of the airport, which was largely destroyed by ISIS, is really important. Iraq had already liberated the eastern half of the city. The airport’s the first piece of land snatched from ISIS in Mosul’s west side. Now the work begins to free the rest of the city, and it won’t be easy. ISIS is dug in western Mosul and at least 650,000 people are still trapped there. So the risk of significant civilian casualties is very high.

5. Heroin

The opioid epidemic is getting worse — especially with heroin. New numbers from the CDC reveal that one in four drug overdoses in 2015 was linked to heroin. Back in ’99 it was just 6%. Opioids include heroin and other drugs like oxycodone and fentanyl. Overall, opioids were a whopping 73% of all overdose deaths. And here’s one more shocking statistic. In 2015 the number of overdose deaths — 52,404 — exceeded the number of gun deaths — 36,252 — across the country. A change in user habits is believed to be behind the increase, as people move from prescription drugs to heroin because it’s cheap.
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