July 22, 2014

If you're under 21 in California, congratulations, you can legally drink! But, there's a catch: You must be at least 18, enrolled in an accredited beer-brewing or winemaking class, and you can only swish the drink around and not actually swallow.

Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed AB 1989 (aka "the sip and spit" bill) into law Monday. Now, California is one of 13 states that lets students under 21 sample alcohol for educational reasons. Andrew Waterhouse, a professor in the department of viticulture and enology at UC Davis, is excited that his students can now try what they make. "It's an experience they can't really get any other way," he told NBC LA. "And it's much better if they do it in an educational setting where they can ask a lot of questions."

Tara Pattison, who studies brewing science at UC Davis, thinks being able to taste the drinks will make the end product much better. "If you cannot test the final products you will never know what mistakes you have made or, in a perfect world, didn't make," she said. Catherine Garcia

12:21 a.m. ET

They didn't speak the same language, but it didn't matter — two young baseball players at the Little League World Series used technology to communicate.

Former ESPN anchor Bob Holtzman was at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on Sunday when he stumbled upon a familiar scene: Two boys glued to their phones. But it turned out they weren't focusing on a game or surfing the internet — the players, one from South Dakota and the other from the Dominican Republic, were using Google Translate to talk to each another. Holtzman tweeted that watching these kids form a new friendship was the "coolest thing" he saw that day. Catherine Garcia

12:03 a.m. ET

One of the peculiarities of baseball is that in some of the most memorable games, very little happens. So it was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. Dodgers left-hander Rich Hill pitched eight perfect innings, until Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer got to base on an error in the bottom of the ninth. Hill still had a no-hitter when the 0-0 game went into extra innings, and then Josh Harrison stepped up to plate in the bottom of the 10th.

Harrison's leadoff homer ended the game and Hill's (9-5) no-hitter, giving Pittsburgh the win and Hill the loss.

According to ESPN's statisticians, Hill still walked away with a record of sorts, albeit one he probably didn't want.

The last perfect game — where a pitcher doesn't allow any runner to reach base — in the major leagues was in 2012, when Seattle's Felix Hernandez shut out Tampa Bay. Los Angeles could have retired Hill after nine innings, but according to The Associated Press, "to get official credit for a no-hitter under Major League Baseball rules, a pitcher must complete the game — going nine innings isn't enough if it goes into extras." Still, cold comfort though it may be, Hill isn't alone in coming close and losing it all, AP notes: "Back in 1959, a Pirates pitcher had perhaps the most famous near-miss of all when Harvey Haddix lost his perfect game and the game itself in the 13th at Milwaukee." Peter Weber

August 23, 2017
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More than 1,000 demonstrators marched to the National Football League's headquarters in Manhattan on Wednesday, in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick was criticized by some people for his decision to not stand during the national anthem, in protest of police brutality against blacks. In March, he opted out of his contract with the team he led to a Super Bowl, and he remains unsigned; supporters say he is being punished for his activism. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has denied that the league is blackballing him.

The demonstrators want to see Kaepernick signed by the start of the regular season in September. Many wore jerseys with Kaepernick's name on the back, The Associated Press reports, and chanted, "Boycott! Boycott!" Several people spoke, including Rev. Jamal Bryant, who asked the crowd: "How in the world can we call ourselves the land of the free, the home of the brave, and you get vilified and criminalized just for speaking your mind? The NFL has proven with their treatment of Colin Kaepernick that they do not mind if black players get a concussion, they just got a problem if black players get a conscience." Catherine Garcia

August 23, 2017
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The White House is preparing to send the Pentagon a memo with instructions on how to implement President Trump's proposal to ban transgender people from serving in the armed forces, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The new policy will let Defense Secretary James Mattis consider a service member's ability to deploy when deciding whether to remove him or her from the military, the Journal reports, and it gives Mattis six months to re-establish the ban on transgender soldiers. The memo also directs the Pentagon to stop paying for gender dysphoria treatments for transgender military members currently serving. Trump announced on Twitter last month he would reinstate the ban on transgender individuals serving in the military, a year after it was abolished by former President Barack Obama. Catherine Garcia

August 23, 2017
Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

Most of Yemen's infrastructure has been destroyed and there are shortages of everything from food to medicine, and as fighting rages on, it's unlikely that things will improve anytime soon.

The United Nations says the humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Middle Eastern country is the worst in the world, and 10 million people need immediate assistance. The fighting began in 2014, when Houthi rebels faced off against the government; in 2015, a Saudi-led coalition began fighting the rebels in order to restore the government, and today, the Houthis control the west and the government and its backers control the south and east. Over the past two-and-a-half years, constant airstrikes have killed civilians and destroyed bridges and hospitals, and because the Saudi coalition has shut down the capital's international airport to civilian planes, supplies cannot fly in and sick and injured Yemenis cannot leave for treatment in other countries.

The New York Times has an in-depth look at one of the biggest problems facing Yemen: Cholera, the bacterial infection that is spread by feces-contaminated water. It is not life-threatening in developed countries, and can be treated with antibiotics, but in Yemen, it's hitting children and the elderly hard. As garbage piles up in the streets and sewage systems fail, Yemenis have to get their water from wells that can easily be contaminated. In just three months, cholera has killed nearly 2,000 Yemenis, the Times reports, and more than 500,000 people are infected.

Half of all Yemenis do not have quick access to an operating medical center, and many have to borrow money to get treatment; a Yemeni soldier who told the Times he has not been paid in eight months brought his 6-year-old daughter to the capital, Sana'a, for cholera treatment. She is malnourished, after surviving off of yogurt and milk from neighbors, and her father said they are "just waiting for doom or for a breakthrough from heaven." As humanitarian workers watch the situation deteriorate, they are cognizant of the fact that if they had additional funds, they could make more of a difference — the United Nations estimates Yemen needs $2.3 billion in humanitarian aid this year, but only 41 percent has been received. Read the entire report at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

August 23, 2017
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President Trump is annoyed with several Republican senators doing things he believes might damage him, like working on legislation to sanction Russia, and he called two of them to privately vent his frustrations, several people familiar with his conversations told Politico.

In late July, Trump called Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and tried to convince him that the bipartisan bill sanctioning Russia was bad policy and unconstitutional, three people with knowledge of the call told Politico, but Corker made it known the bill would pass and there wasn't anything Trump could do about it. On Aug. 7, Trump rang Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is working with Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on a bill that aims to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller should Trump attempt to fire him, one person familiar with the call told Politico. Trump let Tillis know he wasn't happy about the legislation, and didn't want it to pass.

One senior GOP aide told Politico it seems Trump is "just always focused on Russia," but it's now going to be a lot harder for him to make surprise phone calls to Republican senators — senior administration officials said John Kelly, Trump's new chief of staff, has been trying to get a handle on the president's impromptu calls with legislators by requesting that senior White House aides be notified and present for all conversations. Catherine Garcia

August 23, 2017

When 1,500 self-described Republican and Republican-leaning voters were asked who they would vote for in a hypothetical GOP presidential primary held today, with three established senators and a governor facing off against President Trump, 50 percent said they would cast their ballot for Trump.

GOP pollster and strategist Tony Fabrizio of Fabrizio, Lee, & Associates posted the survey results on Twitter Wednesday, commenting that Trump was "crushing a hypothetical GOP primary field. So much for the 'buyer's remorse' the D.C. insiders are convinced the GOP has." In this matchup, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) came in second place with 14 percent, followed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 10 percent and Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) each with 1 percent. The poll found that 42 percent of respondents said they would "definitely" vote for Trump, while 24 percent were undecided.

Several Twitter users questioned why Fabrizio would say Trump was "crushing it," since he's only at 50 percent just seven months into his presidency, and Fabrizio defended his word choice, arguing that it was a five-way field with "several well-known opponents, two of which ran against him previously. He is crushing Kasich or Cruz nearly 4 to 1." Others wondered why Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wasn't part of the equation, along with the always popular "literally anyone else." Catherine Garcia

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