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Islamic State claimed responsibility for an explosion in Syria that according to U.S. officials, killed at least three U.S. soldiers. The bombing occurred in the Manbij, Syria while U.S. military were conducting a routine patrol. A Syrian news site reported that the explosion was near a restaurant and that it killed and wounded both troops and civilians. Islamic State released statements claiming the attack was a suicide bombing that killed or injured 9 U.S. troops. ___ "U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time," said a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. coalition against ISIS. ___ The U.S. has begun withdrawing forces from Syria and plans for a full withdrawal of 2,000 American troops stationed in the country.  ___ ANHA via AP
According to Alex Cifuentes Villa, a Colombian drug trafficker, former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto took a $100 million bribe from crime lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. Cifuentes testified as a witness at Guzman’s trial in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday. He claims the president asked Guzman for $250 million to stop a manhunt and that Guzman ultimately agreed to pay him $100 million. ___ A spokesperson for Peña Nieto denied the accusations and called them “completely false and defamatory.” ___ Photo: Reuters
Members of Parliament rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to leave the European Union in a 432 to 202 vote. Brexit, Britain withdrawal from the EU, was set for March 29 but it could be delayed due to May’s defeat. On Wednesday, lawmakers will vote on whether May’s government should stay in power. Analysts expect the no-confidence vote to fail and for May to remain Prime Minister. ___ If May were to lose the no-confidence vote and not regain the confidence of the House within 14 days of the initial vote, Britain would hold a general election. ___ Photo: Getty
Ford and Volkswagen announced they will develop vehicles together. The companies have signed an agreement to produce vans, mid-size trucks and electric vehicles as early as 2022. Ford says it will spend $11 billion to restructure its business and put greater on focus on electric cars. VW plans to spend $50 billion to develop new technology including electric and self driving vehicles. ___ Though the companies will share some factories, analysts say a formal merger between the companies is highly unlikely. ___ Photo: AP
President Donald Trump hosted the Clemson University national football champions at the White House Monday night and served the team a large spread of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and Domino’s Pizza. The Clemson Tigers beat the Alabama Crimson tide 44-16 in the College Football Playoff Championship on January 7th. According to the White House, Trump paid for the catering personally due to the partial government shutdown. Some criticized the president for serving the athletes fast food, but the team cheered and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence said he enjoyed the food. ___ “Great being with the National Champion Clemson Tigers last night at the White House. Because of the Shutdown I served them massive amounts of Fast Food (I paid), over 1000 hamburgers etc. Within one hour, it was all gone. Great guys and big eaters!” said Mr. Trump on Twitter. ___ Photo: Shutterstock
The FDA will resume food safety inspections on some “high-risk” foods using unpaid staff. High-risk foods include dairy products and fresh produce. The agency’s food inspections, which are funded by taxpayer money, were halted at the start of the partial government shutdown. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said hundreds of furloughed employees will return to work to carry out inspections. ___ “This was a major functional accomplishment amidst one of the biggest operational challenges in FDA’s modern history and it was fully enabled by the leadership of FDA’s field force and the colleagues who serve the country on the front lines of that mission,” said Gottlieb in a statement. ___ Photo: Getty
Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility, announced it plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it faces around $30 billion in liability costs for its role in sparking wildfires. Investigators found that PG&E equipment was responsible for at least 17 major wildfires in 2017 that burned nearly 200,000 acres and killed 22 people. The state is investigating whether PG&E was partly responsible for the Camp Fire, California’s deadliest wildfire, which killed at least 86 people in November. ___ Shares of Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) fell almost 50% Monday afternoon after the company announced it will file for bankruptcy. ___ Photo: Santa Barbara County Fire Department
On Monday, President Trump told reporters he never worked for Russia after the New York Times released a report stating the F.B.I. opened an investigation into whether Trump was “working on behalf of Russia against American interests.” On Saturday, Trump called into Jeanine Piro’s Fox News TV show and said the report was insulting. He also denied a Washington Post report that claims the president hid details of his conversations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and called the story “fake news.” ___ “And you know that answer better than anybody,” Trump said on the South Lawn Monday. “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax.” ___ Photo: AP
A passenger on a Delta flight from Atlanta, GA to Tokyo carried a firearm through TSA (Transportation Security Administration) airport security. The TSA said the passenger forgot his firearm was packed in his carry-on luggage and passed the security checkpoint because “standard procedures were not followed.” The man reported the incident to airline workers when he arrived in Japan.  ___ The security breach occurred two weeks into the partial government shutdown which has caused staffing issues and missed paychecks for TSA agents. However, the TSA said the incident was not a result of the shutdown. ___ “TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm. TSA has held those responsible appropriately accountable,” the agency said in a statement. ___ Photo: Getty
The United States has begun its withdrawal of forces from Syria by moving some military equipment out of the country. The full withdrawal of about 2,000 troops is expected to take four to six months. Last month, Trump announced that he will pull forces stationed to combat ISIS out of Syria and stated that he believes ISIS is no longer a threat in the nation. ___ The plan to withdraw troops led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis in late December. ___ Photo: NYT
According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the U.S. birth rate in 2017 was the lowest in 30 years. The report found that in 2017 the birth rate was 1,765.5 births per 1,000 women. A birth rate of 2,100 births per 1,000 women is required for population to sustain itself. South Dakota and Utah were the only states with fertility rates high enough to sustain the United States’ current population. ___ “I think the concern is — and there is a concern — is having a fertility rate that doesn't allow us in effect to perpetuate our society. But we may very well over time start seeing this reversed or flattened out, but that remains to be seen,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin of the American Public Health Association. ___ Photo: Getty
Michael Babich, the former CEO of Arizona drugmaker Insys Therapeutics pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe a drug containing an addictive opioid. Prosecutors claim Insys executives paid doctors to prescribe Subsys, a spray containing the opioid fentanyl. Babich has agreed to be a government witness in cases surrounding the scheme. Five other former Insys executives and managers face charges for their alleged participation. ___ The company agreed to pay at least $150 million in a settlement with the DOJ. ___ Photo: Reuters

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