HERE ARE THE TOP STORIES
The US launched airstrikes against Syria in response to a suspected chemical weapon attack.
The Syrian regime’s suspected chemical attack earlier this week left at least 70 people dead and hundreds of others injured. Thursday’s action marked the first US strikes targeting the Syrian government since the country’s civil war erupted six years ago.
The US military said it launched 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting an airbase where US radar had captured Syrian planes carrying deadly chemical weapons taking off.
President Trump, in brief remarks after the strikes, said they were “in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Russians were at the base at the time, and that there were multiple conversations with the Russians throughout the day on Thursday leading up to the strikes. However, the US took “extraordinary precautions” to avoid hitting areas containing Russian personnel, he said.
The UK and Australia voiced their support for the US strikes. Russia, however, called them an “attempt to distract the world from civilian casualties from US military action in Iraq,” adding that the strikes “do significant damage” to “US–Russia ties.”
And a little extra
Trump’s die-hard supporters aren’t happy. In the minutes after the Pentagon confirmed the president had ordered missile strikes on Syria, several media outlets and personalities instrumental to his rise to power announced they were turning against him. Meanwhile, pro-Trump media are falsely claiming that the chemical attack was a hoax.
Trump — who once vowed to not get involved in Syria’s civil war — ordered the strikes just 77 days into his term.
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Republicans pulled out the “nuclear option” to push through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Senate Republicans on Thursday ended the Democratic blocking of US Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch by changing the US Senate’s rules for voting on those nominees.
The move — known as the “nuclear option” — makes it all but certain that Trump’s first high court nominee will be confirmed by the weekend.
The change will apply going forward (neither party is happy about this) and effectively ends the ability of the minority party to filibuster a president’s Supreme Court nominee. Without this threat, and without a need to compromise, presidents may feel more free in the future to nominate judges and justices who fall closer to the extreme ends of the ideological spectrum.
Gorsuch’s nomination will now proceed to a final vote by the Senate on Friday, where the Republican majority is expected to confirm him. It’s a significant win for the Trump administration.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Inside the original fake news story.
Lies smears and whispering campaigns have always been part of the fabric of politics, but if you had to trace this digital era’s “fake news” phenomenon to its roots, you’d go back to the early days of Barack Obama’s campaign for president and the persistent rumor that he was a secret Muslim. BuzzFeed News Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith takes us back to a time when email forwards were Facebook.
These high school reporters brought down their principal.
Reporters at a Kansas high school newspaper discovered inconsistencies in their incoming principal’s credentials and education background.
What was originally meant to be a 500-word profile on the school’s new principal turned into a front-page feature that revealed that the university where she earned her master’s and doctorate degrees was not accredited by the Department of Education, and that its campus did not exist. As a result, the principal resigned.
QUICK THINGS TO KNOW
Recess: When Republicans took over the White House and Congress this year, they promised to repeal Obamacare and pass major tax reform. Now they're heading home to face their constituents with little progress on either.
Immigration: Here’s how undocumented immigrants are living in the shadow of border patrol, deep within the US.
Tech: In its latest move to help blunt the flow of misinformation on its platform, Facebook today rolled out a new initiative to educate users on how to spot “false news.”
What Does It Take To Be A Real American Strongman? A search for big truths about strength and power at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival.
What Chewing Gum And Jane The Virgin Teach Us About Virginity: Sexual empowerment doesn’t always have to come with the price of promiscuity.
How Richard Simmons Got Trapped In His Own Mythology: Simmons’ public image as the fitness industry’s Lady of Perpetual Sorrow confused cultural categories and left everyone demanding answers that might not exist.
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