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June 16, 2014
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Nursing homes: They're not just for old people anymore. In Japan, one company plans on opening a posh facility designed with elderly dogs in mind, so they can spend the last years of their lives in luxury.

The Aeon Group will build this special retirement home outside of Tokyo for up to 20 canines, NBC News reports, and the dogs will have access to a 24-hour veterinary clinic, swimming pool, and playground. Staff members will conduct hourly room temperature checks, and webcams will be set up so owners can watch their dogs at any time. Many of the features are similar to those offered at the Aeon Group's fancy pet hotel at the Narita Airport.

Prices will depend on the size and breed of the dogs, but owners can expect to shell out about $1,000 per month. Last year, Japan passed a law that requires owners to look after their pets until death, and as the country struggles with a large population that is aging, companies are looking into ways to offer services to help. "Ten years after running the hotel at Narita, we realized that pets were getting older, and there have been owners who themselves were no longer capable of providing care," says facility manager Chiyo Sakurai. Catherine Garcia

4:51 p.m. ET
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First daughter Ivanka Trump is ditching her plans to serve as an informal adviser to her father President Trump and will instead become an official government employee, The New York Times reported Wednesday. Trump's title will be assistant to the president, and she will not be paid.

Trump, who already has her own office in the West Wing, said she changed her plans after ethics experts raised concerns about the arrangement. "I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees," Trump said in a statement Wednesday.

Trump's lawyer also noted she will "file the financial disclosure forms required of federal employees." Becca Stanek

3:38 p.m. ET
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The Senate Intelligence Committee has devoted seven full-time staff members to the ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign's ties to Russia's interference in the presidential election, committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) announced Wednesday. Burr, noting the investigation is "one of the biggest" he's seen in his time on Capitol Hill, said the individuals have been looking at an "unprecedented amount" of intelligence documents.

The committee has had conversations with "a lot of people," Burr indicated, including ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. "To date, we have made 20 requests for individuals to be interviewed by the committee," Burr said. He noted the committee would be "willing to issue subpoenas."

When asked if there was evidence yet of any "direct links" between President Trump and Russia, Burr acknowledged the committee's "challenge is to answer that question for the American people."

Burr said the review should be completed "within weeks." Becca Stanek

2:07 p.m. ET

President Trump's abysmally low approval rating just got even lower. Gallup's latest poll released Wednesday found that now just 35 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing — a historic low for a president at this stage of his term. Fifty-nine percent disapprove of Trump's performance.

This marks the second time this week that Trump's approval rating has dipped to a new low for him. After Republicans' health-care fiasco Friday, Trump's approval rating plummeted to 36 percent Monday, Gallup found — but apparently the downhill slide wasn't over yet.

Political Capital offered some context for just how bad Trump's 35 percent approval rating actually is. Apparently former President Richard Nixon held a higher approval rating during the Watergate hearings than Trump does right now:

The daily tracking poll surveyed approximately 1,500 adults by phone, and the results are based on a three-day rolling average. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Becca Stanek

1:03 p.m. ET

On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the Trump administration will revisit health care following the bruising failure of the Republican replacement bill last week.

Trump "talked about repealing and replacing," Spicer explained. "It's a commitment he made. He'd like to get it done."

Spicer dismissed Trump's comments about the ease of replacing Affordable Care Act as being "a lighthearted moment" and added that health care is an "ongoing discussion" for the White House. Either way, Republican health-care efforts will likely be temporarily abandoned as the party turns its attention to the budget and tax reforms. Jeva Lange

12:55 p.m. ET

In response to the outrage surrounding Bill O'Reilly's racist and sexist joke Tuesday — in which the Fox News host referred to Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-Calif.) hair as a "James Brown wig" — former Trump campaign adviser and congressman Jack Kingston took to CNN on Wednesday morning to defend O'Reilly. While speaking to host Chris Cuomo, Kingston claimed Washington politicians have "earned" the right to "humor and silliness."

"People make fun of Donald Trump all the time. They call him 'carrot top.' They say his whole skin is orange. They accuse him of all kinds of things," Kingston said to Cuomo during a debate with Jennifer Psaki, a former spokesman for former President Barack Obama. "It seems to me there is a double standard when somebody from the right is being criticized."

Continuing his defense, Kingston said, "What I don't like is the left always runs and clutches, 'Oh I'm a woman, don't say anything bad about me.' Or, 'I belong to a certain race.' It seems like it's always that card that's played."

On Tuesday, Waters herself responded to O'Reilly's comments, saying: "I'm a strong black woman and I cannot be intimidated." Psaki also fired back in the debate with Kingston, saying, "I don't think sexism is a partisan thing." Watch the segment below. Sarah Weldon

12:31 p.m. ET

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called on reporter April Ryan for his first question Wednesday, following a widely criticized exchange Tuesday in which Spicer scolded Ryan for shaking her head at him. If Spicer's gesture was an attempt to make nice, it didn't exactly work:

Many people slammed Spicer for the way he spoke to Ryan on Tuesday, including Hillary Clinton. "Too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride," Clinton said Tuesday while speaking at the Professional Business Women of California annual conference. Jeva Lange

12:26 p.m. ET
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On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S8, its flagship smartphone and the company's first major product reveal since it was forced to recall the Note 7 last year because of its tendency to catch fire. The Galaxy S8 boasts a new "infinity display," which spans virtually the entire front of the device and curves around the edge. The new screen is possible in part because the physical home button has been eliminated from the front of the device; the phone can be unlocked via facial recognition software, while the finger scanner has been moved to the back, right next to a 12-megapixel camera. Other new features include Bixby, Samsung's version of Siri; system-wide voice control; and the option of turning the phone into a desktop computer with the purchase of a docking station.

Samsung is releasing two versions of the device — the S8 and the S8+, which has a bigger screen — which will be available for preorder beginning March 30, starting at $720. The official release date is April 21. Becca Stanek

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