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July 21, 2014
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After serving in Iraq, Army National Guard veteran Darin Welker came home to West Lafayette, Ohio with a back injury and PTSD. He underwent surgery in 2012, but the physical therapy recommended by his surgeon was not approved by the VA. Willing to give anything a try, Welker turned to ducks for both physical and mental therapy, and to his surprise, it worked.

Today, Welker owns 14 ducks, and has been cited with a minor misdemeanor; in 2010, a law was adopted that states no chickens, turkeys, ducks, or live poultry can live in his village. Welker — who has a letter from the Mental Health Department of the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs saying he needs to keep the ducks — says it's hard to think about not having them: "[The situation] is aggravating in a lot of ways."

The ducks help him both physically and mentally, he said. He enjoys feeding them, spending time with them, and watching as the ducks interact. Welker is hopeful the law can be changed, like it was last year for a woman with spina bifida who owns a therapy pot-bellied pig.

Welker's hearing is set for Wednesday, and he said he will share with the court just how much the ducks have helped him with his physical and emotionally well-being. Catherine Garcia

12:42 p.m. ET

President Trump helped lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, a remembrance of fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, then made his first public remarks since returning from a nine-day trip to Europe and the Middle East on Saturday. "We only hope that every day we can prove worthy, not only of their sacrifice and service, but of the sacrifice made by the families and loved ones they left behind," Trump said, making a special mention of Robert Kelly, a son of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who died in Afghanistan after stepping on a mine. He also generally thanked members of other Gold Star families, who have lost family members in war, and urged other Americans to thank them, too. "To every Gold Star family: God is with you, and your loved ones are with him." Trump said. You can watch the wreath-laying ceremony below. Peter Weber

12:03 p.m. ET

Golf great Tiger Woods was arrested at 3 a.m. on suspicion of driving under the influence in Palm Beach County, Florida, police in Jupiter said Monday. He was charged and booked into a Palm Beach County jail at around 7 a.m., then released on his own recognizance at 10:50 Monday morning, according to police records.

Woods, 41, has struggled with his golf game since multiple back surgeries in 2014. Peter Weber

11:49 a.m. ET
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Reports over the past few days that Jared Kushner, President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, tried to set up secret backchannel communications with the Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities in December, when he was a private citizen and Trump president-elect, have shaken Kushner's safe perch at the White House, The New York Times reports. "The Trump-Kushner relationship, the most stable partnership in an often unstable West Wing, is showing unmistakable signs of strain."

White House officials spent the weekend defending the use of back-channel diplomacy, generally, with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly telling ABC News on Sunday that "any way that you can communicate with people, particularly organizations that are maybe not particularly friendly to us, is a good thing." Experts outside the White House disagree, at least in this specific case. "There's no way that it can be appropriate to say, 'I want to use a hostile government's communications system to avoid our government knowing anything about it,'" Eliot Cohen, a Republican foreign policy stalwart, tells The Washington Post. Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, called Sunday for a review of Kushner's security clearance because, among other reasons, he did not disclose his backchannel overtures on his application form.

The new Kushner focus in the Russian investigation has imperiled his "hard-won influence on a mercurial father-in-law who is eager to put distance between himself and a scandal that is swamping his agenda and, he believes, threatening his family," says The New York Times. "That relationship had already begun to fray a bit" due to Kushner's "repeated attempts to oust Stephen K. Bannon," Kushner's family hawking visas-for-cash in Beijing, and Kushner's counsel that firing FBI Director James Comey "would be a political 'win' that would neutralize protesting Democrats because they had called for Mr. Comey's ouster," The Times reports, citing "six West Wing aides."

Trump put out a statement on Sunday calling Kushner "a very good person" who is "doing a great job for the country," adding "I have total confidence in him." But White House aides, some of whom call him "Jared Island" because of his unique and untouchable role, say that Trump has "increasingly included Mr. Kushner when he dresses down aides and officials, a rarity earlier in his administration and during the campaign." You can read more about Kushner's work-family troubles at The New York Times. Peter Weber

10:22 a.m. ET
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The Square, a Swedish- and English-language comedy, unexpectedly won the biggest award at the 70th Cannes Film Festival, the coveted Palme d'Or. Sofia Coppola was another big winner as she became the second woman in the festival's history to take best director. Coppola won for The Beguiled, a reimagining of a 1971 film based on a novel by Thomas P. Cullinan, about a wounded Union officer in the Civil War who is found by residents of an all-girls boarding school. It stars Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, and Colin Farrell. The first and only other female director to take the honors as best director at Cannes was the Soviet director Yuliya Solntseva, who won in 1961 for her World War II film The Story of the Flaming Years. Harold Maass

9:59 a.m. ET
Kim Won-Jin/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea continued a series of controversial weapons tests on Monday with the launch of at least one short-range ballistic missile. The apparent Scud-class ballistic missile flew about 280 miles before coming down in the Sea in Japan's economic zone, South Korean officials said. The launch came after two successful tests of North Korean mid- and long-range missiles in the last two weeks. President Trump responded on Twitter that "North Korea has shown great disrespect for their neighbor, China, by shooting off yet another ballistic missile ... but China is trying hard!"

North Korea's refusal to curb its missile and nuclear weapons programs in defiance of United Nations resolutions and international sanctions has ratcheted up tensions with the U.S. and other nations. The U.S. on Tuesday plans to conduct its first test of a missile defense system intended to intercept ICBMs. Harold Maass

9:30 a.m. ET

On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sent a shiver through German-U.S. relations when she told a packed beer tent of her fellow Christian Democrats in Munich that from her experience at the G7 and NATO summits, "I can only say that we Europeans must really take our fate into our own hands — of course in friendship with the United States of America, in friendship with Great Britain, and as good neighbors wherever that is possible also with other countries, even with Russia." On Monday, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said Merkel was just being honest about differences with the Trump administration.

"The chancellor's words stand on their own — they were clear and comprehensible," Seibert said. Merkel is "a deeply convinced trans-Atlanticist," he told reporters in Berlin, and "those of you who have reported on the chancellor for a long time will know how important German-American relations are to her." Merkel will "continue to work to strengthen" this "firm pillar of our foreign and security policy," he said, but "because trans-Atlantic relations are so important to this chancellor, it is right from her viewpoint to speak out honestly about differences." President Trump and Merkel disagree on climate change and NATO commitments, among other things.

Merkel, who grew up in Soviet-controlled East Germany, has been a longtime support of the U.S. and backer of strong ties with the U.S., so her comments that Germany's ability to rely on the U.S. and Britain is "over to a certain extent" were seen as a blow to the post-World War II order. David Frump explained on Sunday that splitting apart Germany and the U.S. has been a key, long-term goal of the Soviet Union and then Russia under President Vladimir Putin, and argued that Trump just achieved what Russia has been unable to. "Putin could not have achieved out of this trip more exactly what he wanted if he'd been paying for it," he said. Watch below, or read his longer argument at The Atlantic. Peter Weber

7:57 a.m. ET

On Sunday, Takuma Sato won the 101st Indianapolis 500, beating three-time winner Helio Castroneves by three car lengths in a wild, crash-filled race, with Ed Jones coming in third. Sato, the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500, is a 40-year-old former Formula One driver who had won just one of his 123 IndyCar races. "Hopefully, the crowd enjoyed it," Sato said "It's beautiful. I dreamed of something like this since I was 12." A number of one-time race leaders were sidelined by seized-up engines and spectacular crashes, the most memorable being Scott Dixon's car being thrown through the air after being by by Jay Howard's car. There was a lot of destruction but no serious injuries in the race. You can watch the Howard-Dixon crash, with ESPN commentary, below. Peter Weber

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