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August 1, 2014

The name says it all: on Thursday night's The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon and guest Julia Roberts played a new game called Face Balls, in which they hit each other in the face with plastic balls and then watched a playback in super HD slow motion.

"This is the comedy version of 50 Shades of Grey," Roberts quipped as she waited for Fallon to chuck the ball at her face. You could tell both were a little nervous about throwing too hard — "I feel bad doing this, you're America's sweetheart!" Fallon told Roberts — but they were good sports and no blood was shed. Watch the clip below to see the hilarious slow motion shots of Roberts and Fallon mid-hit. --Catherine Garcia

3:14 p.m. ET
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A North Korean official announced Monday that Pyongyang has no interest in diplomacy with the United States until it develops an intercontinental ballistic missile that could reach "all the way to the East Coast of the mainland U.S.," CNN reports.

"Before we can engage in diplomacy with the Trump administration, we want to send a clear message that the DPRK has a reliable defensive and offensive capability to counter any aggression from the United States," the official said.

Trump has gone back and forth on whether talking with North Korea is any sort of "answer." Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the contrary, told Fox News that diplomacy will continue "until the first bomb drops." Jeva Lange

2:59 p.m. ET

President Trump claimed Monday that former presidents, including Barack Obama, did not call the families of fallen soldiers, sparking quick and furious outcry on social media. "The toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed," Trump said. He added, "The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn't make calls. A lot of them didn't make calls. I like to call when it's appropriate, when I think I'm able to do it."

Alyssa Mastromonaco‏, who served as deputy chief of staff for operations under Obama, tweeted: "That's a f---ing lie. To say President Obama (or past presidents) didn't call the family members of soldiers KIA — he's a deranged animal."

NBC News' Peter Alexander challenged Trump on the remarks. "Earlier you claimed President Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers," Alexander said. "How can you make that claim?"

"I don't know if he did," Trump answered. "I was told that he didn't often [call]. And a lot of presidents don't, they write letters." Trump also admitted he had not called the families of the U.S. soldiers killed in Niger 12 days ago. Jeva Lange

2:29 p.m. ET
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A prominent Maltese journalist known for cracking corruption scandals involving her country's highest officials was killed by a car bomb near her home in Bidnija, Malta, on Monday, The Guardian reports. Four months ago, Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, linked Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to the Panama Papers scandal. Muscat and his wife "denied claims that they had used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan's ruling family," the BBC writes.

Caruana Galizia's investigative work has been hailed abroad, with Politico calling her "a one-woman WikiLeaks" and listing her as one of the 28 people "making and shaking Europe." In her last post, published hours before her death, Caruana Galizia wrote: "There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate."

On Monday, Muscat condemned Caruana Galizia's murder: "I will not rest until I see justice done in this case," he said. "Our country deserves justice." Jeva Lange

1:54 p.m. ET
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Kelly Craft

A federal judge refused Monday to toss out any of the charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) in the ongoing corruption trial stemming from his alleged use of office to secure business deals for a friend in exchange for gifts, CBS News reports. Menendez allegedly did government favors for Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen for years in return for lavish presents, including a luxury suite in Paris, flights on a private plane, and thousands of dollars in donations.

Menendez's team argued unsuccessfully that a 2016 Supreme Court decision narrowing the definition of bribery should allow for Menendez's case to be tossed. "None of what Menendez did qualified as quid pro quo corruption under the revised test, his lawyers said, because Menendez never agreed to perform any specific act when he received specific favors from Melgen," NBC News writes.

Menendez's defense attorney, Abbe Lowell, also said prosecutors were trying to turn gift-giving that had been common over a 25-year friendship into something it was not: "These two men refer to each other as brothers," Lowell said.

"We are living in a real world of reality and common sense," concluded U.S. District Judge William Walls. "The jury will decide whose version of what happened or didn't happen is more likely than not." Jeva Lange

1:00 p.m. ET

President Trump made it clear Monday that the Affordable Care Act is absolutely, positively, no-buts-about-it dead. "ObamaCare is finished," Trump said. "It's dead, it's gone. It's no longer — you shouldn't even mention it."

Last week, the White House announced an end to Affordable Care Act subsidy payments to insurance companies that lowered premiums for low-income customers.

"There is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore," Trump added Monday for good measure. Jeva Lange

12:48 p.m. ET

London was transformed into a post-apocalyptic landscape out of Blade Runner 2049 on Monday as former hurricane Ophelia pulled smoke and red Sahara dust over southern England and Wales:

Residents of Ireland's southern coast — where 110-mph winds have knocked out power and torn off roofs — expressed frustration with their neighbor's photos. "People in England — we will read your tweets about the 'eerie calm' and 'odd reddish light' after we find the roofs of our houses," one user tweeted. At least three people have been killed in the storm, The Times reports. Jeva Lange

12:26 p.m. ET
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The White House released its analysis of the GOP tax reform plan Monday, touting corporate cuts that administration officials estimate would eventually increase the average household income by $4,000 per year. President Trump has signaled a willingness to be flexible on the terms of the final tax legislation, although he's been firm on cutting corporate taxes to 20 percent, down from 35 percent, The Hill reports.

"More assets like machines let workers produce more, and when workers can produce more, businesses can afford to pay their workers more," explained White House Council of Economic Advisers chairman Kevin Hassett.

Democrats have pushed back on the report, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) claiming the CEA used "fake math" to reach its conclusions. "This deliberate manipulation of numbers and facts could lead to messing up the good economy the president inherited from President Obama and hurting the middle class," Schumer argued.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has weighed in to say that "overall benefits of lower corporate taxes tilt heavily toward those with higher incomes," Reuters reports. "It said middle-income taxpayers would receive less than 10 percent of the benefit of a corporate rate cut while the top 20 percent would receive about 70 percent. The top 1 percent would see about one-third of the benefits and the top 0.1 percent would get about one-fifth, the center has said."

Trump blasted Democratic opposition on Twitter: "The Democrats only want to increase taxes and obstruct," he wrote. "That's all they are good at!" Jeva Lange

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