5 things to know for February 15: Border bill, Amazon, Indian & Pakistan, kids & war

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Rapper Kanye West got the help of famous musician Kenny G in order to surprise his wife, Kim Kardashian West, for Valentine's Day.

Posted: Feb 15, 2019 7:20 AM
Updated: Feb 15, 2019 7:20 AM

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1. Politics

Looks like it's going to be another one of those Fridays, at least in Washington. Let's try to get our arms around it all:

• President Trump is expected to sign that compromise border security bill this morning in the Rose Garden. Then, he'll declare a national emergency on the border with Mexico and use executive action to cobble together $8 billion to build a border wall, White House officials say.

• So, as one crisis is averted (no partial government shutdown), another one begins. Democrats and some Republicans say this would be an unprecedented use of presidential power, and this constitutional dispute will likely get tied up in the courts. (Fun fact: Way back in 2014, Donald Trump said President Obama's executive action on immigration was unconstitutional and possibly an impeachable offense.)

• Andrew McCabe, the former acting director of the FBI, confirmed previous reports that there were talks at the Justice Department about getting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after he fired ex-FBI Director James Comey. The Justice Department continues to deny this happened.

• William Barr was confirmed yesterday as US attorney general by the Senate on a vote that pretty much fell along party lines. Barr, who also served as AG during President George H.W. Bush's administration, will oversee the Russia investigation, which he once criticized.

2. Amazon HQ2

Amazon's not taking a bite out of the Big Apple after all. The tech behemoth ditched plans to build a new headquarters in New York after facing intense backlash from some community members. Activists, politicians and others balked at the $1.525 billion in incentives New York offered Amazon to put the headquarters in Long Island City, Queens. They also feared residents would be priced out of their homes. Amazon had selected New York and Northern Virginia as the dual homes of its second headquarters, each expected to come with 25,000 workers. So, is New York's loss another city's gain? Not necessarily. Amazon said it won't "reopen the HQ2 search at this time," so other cities may want to hold off on dusting off those metro marketing plans.

3. India and Pakistan

Tensions spiked in the disputed Kashmir region after India blamed Pakistan for a bomb attack on a convoy that killed 37 Indian soldiers. India's finance minister said there was "incontrovertible evidence" that Pakistan had a hand in yesterday's bombing. He also promised India would do what it could to diplomatically isolate Pakistan from the international community. Pakistan denied having anything to do with the attack. Kashmir has had a tumultuous history. After Great Britain gave up control of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 and split it up into a predominantly Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan, Kashmir has been bitterly contested by both nations, even resulting in wars.

4. Denver teachers' strike

The teachers' strike in Denver is over after just three days. The teachers' union and Denver Public Schools reached an agreement that would see teachers get raises of between 7% and 11% and the creation of a 20-step salary schedule. The district said it's making a $23 million investment in teacher pay. Denver teachers went on strike for higher, more stable salaries because the district uses unpredictable bonuses to make up for low base pay. With the strike over, all teachers are expected back in the classroom today. Denver's strike was the latest in a wave of teachers' strikes and protests since last year that have continued to gain strength as they've spread across the country.

5. Children and war zones

Childhood should be a time of fun and friendship, a time to hang out with your best buds and explore the world. But for more and more of the world's kids, childhood is something more akin to a nightmare because of the threats posed by armed conflicts and war. Almost 1 in 5 children live in conflict zones, a new report from Save the Children finds. About 420 million children lived under such conditions in 2017, the largest number in the past two decades. Children suffer through conflict in countries like Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Somalia. More kids are living in conflict zones because modern war has changed, Save the Children says. More fighting is done in urban areas near civilians, and international rules are ignored. The charity makes more than 20 recommendations to help protect children trapped in these situations.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Color confusion

Orange alligators are turning up in one town in South Carolina, and people have questions. Lots of questions.

One woman is an island

Meet the 81-year-old widow who is the only resident on a remote island that's claimed by both Japan and South Korea.

Smooth move

It's Kenny G, playing his saxophone in a room full of roses. A really chill smooth jazz video? No. Just Kanye West wishing wife Kim K. a happy Valentine's Day.

'Here's the story ...'

The "Brady Bunch" kids and HGTV need your help in renovating that iconic TV house. So, if you have a green refrigerator, send it their way.

Spamalot

Here's one more reason not to answer the phone: Nearly half the calls you'll get this year will be spam.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"I feel like I should go buy a bunch of lottery tickets."

Travis Kauffman, the Colorado runner who suffocated a mountain lion with his foot after the big cat ambushed him last week on a trail

AND FINALLY

Tinder tree?

Can sticking a letter in an old oak tree in Germany really lead you to your soul mate? It's probably a better idea than swiping left and right on your phone. (Click to view.)

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