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Politics

Departing Bo Obama Lands K Street Lobbyist Position

WASHINGTON—Touting his lengthy tenure in the White House and close personal relationships with the president of the United States and first lady, executives at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck announced Monday that once the current administration steps down later this week, the departing Bo Obama will officially join their high-powered K Street lobbying firm.

A Timeline Of Trump’s Relationship With The Press

President-elect Donald Trump routinely insists that he is treated unfairly by the press, while many in the news industry have openly expressed how difficult it can be to report on him in today’s chaotic media environment. Here is a timeline of the major events that have shaped this relationship.

The Pros And Cons Of Universal Basic Income

As Finland tests a program to give a universal basic income to unemployed citizens, many wonder if a similar initiative could work in the United States. Here are some pros and cons of such a program:

What Compromising Information Does Russia Have On Donald Trump?

On Tuesday, it was reported that leaders of American intelligence agencies had given Donald Trump a memo advising that Russia had gathered compromising personal information about him as part of a wider effort to disrupt the election, though these claims remain unsubstantiated and both the president-elect and the Kremlin deny these reports. Here’s a look at what damaging information Russia may have in its possession.

How Confirmation Hearings Work

On Tuesday, Congress began holding confirmation hearings to evaluate the fitness of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees for their offices. Here is a step-by-step guide to the confirmation hearing process.

Trump Gives Intelligence Agencies Their Daily Briefing

NEW YORK—Sitting down with top officials from the CIA, FBI, and Defense Intelligence Agency in a Trump Tower conference room, President-elect Donald Trump reportedly gave U.S. intelligence agencies their daily briefing Tuesday morning.

John Kerry Throws Vine Over Pit Of Quicksand To Save Child Companion

PANGSAU, MYANMAR—Thinking quickly to thwart disaster as he ventured deep into the Myanmar rainforest to meet with State Councilor Aung San Suu Kyi, Secretary of State John Kerry threw a vine over a pit of quicksand to save the life of his 12-year-old Moroccan companion, Drumstick, sources confirmed Monday.
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NASA Announces Plan To Launch $700 Million Into Space

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL—Officials at the Kennedy Space Center announced Tuesday that they have set Aug. 6 as the date for launching $700 million from the Denarius IV spacecraft, the largest and most expensive mission to date in NASA's unmanned monetary-ejection program.

"This is an exciting opportunity to study the effect of a hard-vacuum, zero-gravity environment on $50 and $100 bills," said NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who noted that prior Project Denarius missions only studied space's effect on fives and singles. "Whether the money is immediately incinerated because of hard radiation, or freezes in the near-absolute-zero temperature and shatters into infinitesimal pieces, or drifts aimlessly through the cosmos before being sucked through a black hole into another dimension, it will provide crucial information for our next series of launches, which will consist of even greater sums of money, in larger denominations."

Denarius IV, the fourth in a series of unmanned monetary-dispersal probes, will leave Earth's atmosphere at 36,500 miles per hour—the highest velocity at which money has ever departed the planet.

Said Project Denarius lead scientist Dr. Lou Weaver: "The craft's time-release hatches, using cutting-edge ATM money-ejecting technology, will systematically discharge the currency at intervals of $50,000 every three seconds. Cameras on the craft's exterior will capture images of the bills as they majestically pirouette into the heavens, dotting the black void of space with elegant spirals of green." Until now, the image of money floating in space was available only through artists' renderings.

Far more ambitious in scope than the previous missions of $88 million, $110 million, and $375 million, Denarius IV is a two-stage spacecraft. Its solar probe, Croesus, will disengage from the main craft in October and release $12 million into the sun. The craft, with its remaining payload of $688 million, will travel across the solar system, reaching Jupiter by June 2007. Once there, it will eject the money from the cargo bay in what will be the largest single financial deployment in NASA history.

"This is just another step in our long-term goal to put $1 billion on Mars," Weaver added.

NASA is continuing to perform extensive endurance tests on portions of the $700 million, including acclimating it to extreme atmospheric pressure by deploying a sample stack of $200 million to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean; strengthening its resilience in high-temperature conditions by sealing it in airtight containers and lowering them into the lava flow of Hawaii's Mauna Loa; and replicating the high-acceleration environment of space travel by shooting bundles of dimes out of magnetic-rail accelerators at thousands of feet per second into giant axial fans.

Some in the private sector are attempting their own currency-expelling spaceflights, including Virgin CEO Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic plans to eject £2 million from the still-theoretical SpaceShipThree orbital aircraft. Yet Griffin felt confident that NASA is far ahead of its private counterparts and rival state-run space agencies, saying that Project Denarius will be the "jewel in the crown" of taxpayer-financed space exploration.

Although polls indicate that a majority of Americans support the NASA mission, some fear a repeat of 2003's Denarius III disaster, in which hundreds of thousands of dollars burned up in Earth's atmosphere when the ship exploded shortly after leaving the launchpad. Reports suggest that one of the craft's solid-gold money clips failed during liftoff.

NASA officials dismissed the risk, saying that, should the mission fail, the lost money could be replaced by any of the other stores of $700 million the agency has  in reserve, and that the mission could be re-launched as early as January 2007.

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