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July 8, 2014
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A Northern Ireland bakery has come under fire for refusing to bake a cake depicting Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie, saying the cake ran counter to its Christian faith. The cake would also have featured a slogan supporting gay marriage.

The Ashers Baking Company said in a statement the cake was "at odds with what the Bible teaches," and that it had refunded the prospective customer. However, the bakery could still face legal action for refusing to do the work. Northern Ireland's Equality Commission, acting on a complaint, is looking into whether the refusal amounts to unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation. Jon Terbush

10:42 a.m. ET
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Forget livestreams or long waits exposed to the elements. Some wealthy spectators in Washington, D.C., could be splurging as much as $500,000 for an "Inauguration Day package" at Trump Hotel, The New York Times reports.

The deal was actually available as early as July last year, and did not hinge on Trump becoming president — "It's a pretty safe bet that no Democrat would want to help line the pockets of the GOP candidate, so if it's Hillary Clinton taking the oath of office [in January], the potential clientele will be all but nil," The Washington Post wrote last summer.

But with Trump just hours away from assuming the title of commander-in-chief, it's possible someone has taken the hotel up on the deal, which offers perks "including a dinner in the two-bedroom suite's oversized dining room, selecting from your choice of favorite POTUS menus from past galas" and "24/7 car service and two roundtrip first-class tickets from anywhere in the United States," Travel Market Report notes. Any travel agent who sold the package earned a $50,000 commission. Jeva Lange

10:34 a.m. ET
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President-elect Donald Trump heads into his inauguration Friday with historically low approval numbers that have dropped from 40 percent earlier this week to as low as 37 percent via a Fox News poll released today. For comparison, President Obama's favorables were around 80 percent when he took office in 2009, and it is typical for presidents to enjoy a sort of honeymoon period around the time of the inauguration.

One theory as to why Trump's numbers are so low: He's now subject to the same public distrust of authority that got him elected. Reason's Jesse Walker explains:

[L]ong before Trump ran for office, Americans' confidence in everything from Congress to banks to the media has been sinking. For years polls have told the same story: People are putting less faith in authority. Now the polls are telling a new variation on that story. ... The public distrust that helped propel Trump into the White House isn't going to go away now that he's there. Americans may yet persuade themselves that Trump is making the nation's institutions great, but for now he's the face of another institution in decline. [Reason]

In other words, Trump was elected to repudiate The Man. As of today, he is The Man. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET
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The main inaugural event is in Washington, D.C., but President-elect Donald Trump's supporters are partying in Eastern Europe, too.

Festivities are underway in incoming first lady Melania Trump's childhood town of Sevnica, Slovenia, a village of about 5,000 people. Sevnica Mayor Srecko Ocvirk has organized a celebration of local industry and products, as well as free tours of the town and its ancient castle.

Meanwhile, some in Russia are reportedly in the grip of "Trumpomania," with craftsmen creating commemorative trinkets including coins and nesting dolls to celebrate Trump's new position. The most enthusiastic are hosting all-night parties to watch the president-elect be sworn into office. "Trump's election has generated enormous enthusiasm in Russia because [of] his warm words about Russia," said Sergei Markov, a pro-Putin former lawmaker, adding, "We don't know for sure if there will be an improvement [in U.S.-Russian relations] or not. But we Russians are optimists." Bonnie Kristian

10:06 a.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump is set to be sworn into office Friday morning in Washington, D.C., becoming the 45th president of the United States. Inauguration Day involves several traditions for the incoming president, not least of which is the traditional welcome to the White House by the incumbent to his successor.

To that end, President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama welcomed Trump and his wife Melania at the White House's North Portico on Friday morning. Melania Trump presented Michelle Obama with a gift, and the four posed for a photo on the portico steps — watch the whole thing below. Kimberly Alters

9:59 a.m. ET

Kellyanne Conway indicated Friday morning that President-elect Donald Trump will waste no time getting down to business once he's sworn into office. In an interview on CBS This Morning, just hours ahead of Trump's inaugural ceremony, the top Trump adviser revealed Trump will "take a few of" his first actions as president "today." "It will be a shock to the system that is Washington, D.C., where the glacial pace has never seen a businessman in New York come through with ... the pen of the executive orders," Conway said.

Conway did not indicate what actions Trump may take Friday, but she did say the president-elect has a "five- or six-point plan in short order" that includes "repealing and replacing ObamaCare, regulatory relief, [and] tax reform." Most of what the president-elect will be doing between now and Monday is allowing "people to soak in the moment of this great time," Conway said. "I've seen him through many different emotions," Conway said. "I feel like he's just so ebullient and buoyant."

Catch Conway's interview below. Becca Stanek

9:29 a.m. ET

Hours before President-elect Donald Trump is set to be sworn into office Friday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) urged Americans still grappling with the reality of a Trump presidency to stand strong. In a lengthy Facebook post, Booker reminded Americans that this "is not a time to curl up, give up, or shut up," but to "stand up, to speak the words that heal, help, and recommit to the cause of our country."

Though Booker has pushed back against Trump, becoming the first sitting senator to testify against a fellow senator at the confirmation hearing of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Trump's nominee for attorney general, in his Facebook post Booker also noted the importance of building bridges and working to find "common ground." "Let us be humble and do the difficult work of finding ways to collaborate and cooperate with those whose political affiliations may differ from ours," Booker wrote. "But let us never, ever, surrender, forfeit, or retreat from our core values."

Read the entire post below. Becca Stanek

9:01 a.m. ET

The Washington, D.C., metro might be nearly empty ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration Friday, but the same cannot be said for DuPont Circle:

It's legal in D.C. to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, to grow it, or to give it away. The free joints are courtesy of the D.C. Cannabis Coalition, which is pushing for federal legalization of pot. Later, the group will march to the National Mall, where four minutes and 20 seconds into Trump's speech, they plan to light up. Jeva Lange

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