via CNN:

Republicans move ahead with vote to avoid a government shutdown:

House Republican leaders are moving toward a vote Thursday to avoid a shutdown, but as a new day dawns in Washington, it’s still unclear if GOP leaders have enough support to keep the government open.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and his lieutenants were up against the clock and their own ranks as they scrambled to lock down votes. If Congress doesn’t send a bill to the President approving more money by midnight on Friday, most federal agencies will be forced to stop operations. GOP leaders can’t count on Democrats who have said they will not support a short-term spending bill that funds the government into mid-February if it does not include a fix for DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that expires in March. That left Ryan looking to pass the spending bill with just Republican votes.

Obama team bids wistful farewell in ‘The Final Year’:

Designed to make President Obama‘s supporters wistful and seemingly to irritate President Trump, “The Final Year” is an intriguing if overtly nostalgic fly-on-the-wall glimpse into the last year of the former’s presidency, chronicled through the perspective of his national-security team.

Theatrically releasing this HBO-bound documentary almost a year to the day of Trump’s inauguration, obviously, isn’t an accident, any more than the throwback credits, which introduce the key players in big bold letters as “starring” in the documentary, as if this were a 1970s drama.
Director Greg Barker’s feature-length film is nevertheless an illuminating if somewhat soft-focused look at the brinkmanship and delicacy associated with international relations, one that clearly contrasts the diplomatic efforts of these wonk-ish Obama insiders — principally former Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. ambassador Samantha Power, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and deputy adviser Ben Rhodes — with the Trump administration’s proverbial bull-in-the-china-shop approach.

Aunts of 13 captive children reveal years of secrecy and concerns:

For decades, Elizabeth Flores begged to see her nieces and nephews. Even Skype would do.

But her sister and brother-in-law, Louise and David Turpin, kept such a secret life that they wouldn’t let her in.
“When that happens for 20 years, and it was before the kids even were there, you don’t think it’s abnormal,” Flores told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
“If it had been like two years ago that she cut us off, then we might think, wow, something’s not right. But this has been going on before they even had children … they were real private, and they didn’t come around much.”

Former NBA Finals MVP and Hall of Famer Jo Jo White Dies at Age 71:

Basketball Hall of Famer Jo Jo White died Tuesday at the age of 71.

The Boston Celtics, whom White played with for nearly 10 seasons, issued a statement:

“We are terribly saddened by the passing of the great Jo Jo White. He was a champion and a gentleman, supremely talented and brilliant on the court and endlessly gracious off of it. Jo Jo was a key member of two championship teams, an NBA Finals MVP, a gold medal-winning Olympian and a Hall of Famer. His contributions to the team’s championship legacy may have only been surpassed by the deep and lasting impact that he had in the community. The thoughts and sympathies of the entire Celtics organization are with the White family.

Nintendo’s latest video game devices are made of cardboard

Nintendo is going low-tech for its newest line of video game accessories.

The Japanese company has unveiled a series of DIY cardboard toys for its wildly popular Switch gaming console.

Assembled from sheets of cardboard, the accessories are designed to interact with the Switch and its Joy-Con controllers in a variety of ways.

For example, one toy is a 13-key cardboard piano that the console and controllers slot into. After putting it together, users can press the cardboard keys, and musical notes come out of the console.

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