Jacob Knutson
Jacob Knutson
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Tonga volcano plume reached the mesosphere, NASA says

Tonga volcano plume reached the mesosphere, NASA says

The plume from an undersea volcanic eruption near the uninhabited island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai last month reached the mesosphere — the third layer of Earth's atmosphere, according to NASA. Why it matters: NASA scientists estimate that it was likely the highest volcanic plume ever recorded, with gas, steam and ash rising 36 miles after the explosion, the aftereffects of which killed at least three people in Tonga. Scientists were able to make these estimates because two weather satellites were uniquely positioned to observe the aftermath of the explosion. By the numbers: The Tonga...

Feb 17
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South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

South Korean president: Trump "beat around the bush and failed" on North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in speaking in Seoul in March 2021. Photo: Jeon Heon-Kyun/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesSouth Korean President Moon Jae-in criticized former President Trump's attempts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, telling the he "beat around the bush" with North Korea and "failed to pull it through."Why it matters: Moon, now in his final year in office, called denuclearization a "matter of survival" for South Korea and urged President Biden to resume negotiations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after a standstill of nearly two years.What they're saying: “I hope that...

April 21, 2021
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Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw says he'll be blind for a month after eye surgery

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) in Washington, D.C., in December 2020. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) said in a statement Saturday he will be blind for roughly a month after getting surgery to reattach the retina in left eye.Why it matters: Crenshaw, who lost his right eye and sustained severe damage to his left eye during his third deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, said he will be "pretty much off the grid for the next few weeks."What they're saying: “A few days ago, I noticed some dark, blurry spots in my vision, which seemed out of the...

April 10, 2021
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Birx: Majority of U.S. COVID deaths "could have been mitigated or decreased substantially"

Birx: Majority of U.S. COVID deaths "could have been mitigated or decreased substantially"

Former White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx told CNN that she believes that the U.S. coronavirus deaths that occurred after the first surge of cases "could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."What she's saying: "I look at it this way: There were about 100,000 deaths that came from that original surge," said Birx, who served under the Trump administration. "All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."The big picture: During her time on the task force, Birx faced criticism for not publicly pushing back against former...

March 27, 2021
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Fauci says U.K. variant may account for up to 30% of U.S. coronavirus infections

Fauci says U.K. variant may account for up to 30% of U.S. coronavirus infections

Anthony Fauci during a Senate hearing committee on March 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe coronavirus variant first discovered in the United Kingdom may account for up to 30% of new COVID infections across the U.S., NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said during on the virus Friday.Why it matters: The variant, called B.1.1.7, has been detected throughout the U.S., and studies have suggested it appears to spread more easily than the original strain of the virus.Context: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned in January that the B.1.1.7...

March 20, 2021
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Paris region to enter month-long coronavirus lockdown

Paris region to enter month-long coronavirus lockdown

Health workers in Paris on March 18. Photo: Christophe Archambault/AFP via Getty ImagesParis and other regions within France will enter a month-long lockdown starting Friday as coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths across the country spike, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday, according to .Driving the news: The lockdown, the third for France's capital city since the start of the pandemic, will include the closure of nonessential businesses, a curfew and restrictions on outdoor trips.By the numbers: Since the start of the pandemic, France has seen 4.2 million cases of...

March 18, 2021
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Texas attorney general sues Austin officials over local mask mandate

Texas attorney general sues Austin officials over local mask mandate

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaking at 2021 CPAC in Orlando, Florida, in February. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTexas Attorney General on Thursday against Austin authorities, seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent city and Travis County officials from enforcing a face mask mandate.Why it matters: The lawsuit claims that Austin Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Andy Brown and Mark Escott, interim medical director and health authority for the city, are illegally defying an order issued by last week that rescinded a statewide mask mandate.Context: The suit alleges the...

March 11, 2021
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Trump's own Defense secretary says the former president incited the Capitol riot with speech

Trump's own Defense secretary says the former president incited the Capitol riot with speech

Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller speaking at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, in November 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told "" that he believes former President Trump incited the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 with his speech preceding the deadly riot.Why it matters: Miller, who Trump appointed to lead the Pentagon after following the 2020 election, said, "it’s pretty much definitive" that the riot, which left five people dead, would not have happened without the president’s “Save America” rally...

March 11, 2021
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Prominent evangelical Beth Moore exits Southern Baptist Convention over its support for Trump

Prominent evangelical Beth Moore exits Southern Baptist Convention over its support for Trump

Evangelist Beth Moore speaking in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Dove AwardsAuthor, speaker and Bible teacher Beth Moore said she is "no longer a Southern Baptist" over her “staggering” disorientation from seeing her denomination's leaders support former President Trump, she told .Why it matters: Moore, who has a large following with evangelicals, became increasingly critical of Trump for his abusive behavior toward women that was revealed in the 2016 “Access Hollywood” tapes. The footage captured him bragging about sexually abusing women, according to...

March 10, 2021
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Only 18 states have made Juneteenth a state holiday

Only 18 states have made Juneteenth a state holiday

A year after making Juneteenth the , 32 states have not passed legislation to recognize it as a state holiday, according to the . Why it matters: Because Juneteenth is not recognized as a holiday in a majority of states, many state employees across the country are not allowed to take a paid vacation day to observe the holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. By the numbers: All 50 states either commemorate or observe Juneteenth but only 18 observe it as a permanent paid state holiday, those being Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine,...

Jun 18
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