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May 14, 2014

Drones drop missiles, patrol danger zones, and spy on enemies — and now, they are also being used to combat one of Ottawa's health hazards.

The Canadian capital is using drones to save the city's waterways from poisonous goose poop, according to an article in Modern Farmer. Over the past few years, Ottawa has been seen higher concentrations of E. coli bacteria and other pathogens in its water supply, and city officials are blaming geese.

Ottawa tried several tactics to get rid of the geese, including dogs and pesticides, before working with an aerial-photography company to build the Goosebuster, a $27,000 drone. Equipped with flashing lights and pre-recorded calls from hawks, eagles, and wolves, the Goosebuster is designed to swoop down on geese and scare them away from the beaches and waters.

Here's how it works:

Many residents are upset that the government is driving animals away from their natural habitat and say human pollution is the real problem. Others have suggested that the city is missing out on an opportunity to turn the goose waste into fuel, as nearby cities have done. But with the City Council eagerly expanding the project to more beaches this summer, it looks like the Goosebuster is here to stay. Kaitlin Roberts

1:48 p.m. ET
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Of the 111 brains of deceased NFL players examined in a study published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, all but one of the brains showed signs of the neurodegenerative brain disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The disease, found in 110 of 111 NFL players' brains donated for scientific research, is "linked to repeated blows to the head," The New York Times reported. Symptoms of CTE, which can only be diagnosed with an autopsy, include memory loss, confusion, and depression.

The players whose brains were examined spanned every position, from quarterbacks to running backs to linemen. Some players, such as Hall of Famer Ken Stabler, were particularly famous, while others were lesser known. In addition, high school and college players' brains were examined; CTE was found in three of 14 high school players' brains and 48 of 53 college players'.

Neuropathologist Ann McKee warned that there's "a tremendous selection bias" in the study's sampling of brains because the families that donated the brains oftentimes did so because they suspected symptoms of CTE. However, McKee noted the "fact that we were able to gather this many cases" in just the past eight years suggests the disease is "much more common than we previously realized."

McKee acknowledged that it's still not clear "what the incidence is in the general population or in the general population of football players," but she said one thing is clear: "It is no longer debatable whether or not there is a problem in football — there is a problem." Becca Stanek

12:15 p.m. ET

A hot mic captured Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and an unidentified male senator talking smack about Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) as a subcommittee hearing wrapped up Tuesday. In an interview last week with a local Texas radio station, Farenthold blamed female GOP senators like Collins for the health-care impasse and suggested he'd "settle this Aaron Burr-style" if they were men.

"Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?" Collins says. "You could beat the sh-- out of him," the man responds.

At another point, Collins calls Farenthold "huge " and "so unattractive, it's unbelievable." She also mentions an old photo of Farenthold wearing rubber duckie pajamas and standing next to a woman in lingerie. "Did you see the picture of him in the pajamas?" she says.

Listen below. Becca Stanek

11:28 a.m. ET

President Trump's public shaming of Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn't going over well with Republican lawmakers. After Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to accuse Sessions of taking "a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes," a handful of Republicans fired off some criticisms of their own.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) suggested that Trump "maybe just try a meeting" instead of publicly calling out his own Cabinet members:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) released a statement declaring that Trump's suggestion that Sessions "pursue prosecution of a former political rival is highly inappropriate." "Prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation," Graham said. He also defended Sessions as "one of the most decent people I've ever met in my political life."

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) also posted a defense of Sessions' character. He called Sessions "a man of integrity, loyalty, and extraordinary character" and pledged his "deep respect and unwavering support":

Trump is reportedly seriously considering replacing Sessions, as he's upset Sessions recused himself from the investigation into the Trump team's alleged collusion with Russia. Becca Stanek

10:58 a.m. ET
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Freshly minted White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Tuesday told Politico that he intends to fire Assistant Press Secretary Michael Short. Scaramucci's announcement, it seemed, was the first that Short had heard of his own impending firing. "No one has told me anything and the entire premise is false," Short said, shortly after Scaramucci spoke to Politico.

It's not yet clear when Scaramucci would ax Short. Apparently Short's role in the White House was a surprise to many, as he'd previously abruptly quit the Trump campaign. Politico reported that Short was "closely aligned" with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, who recently submitted his resignation over Scaramucci's appointment to the team.

Short's possible dismissal could be the first in a long line of ousters from the communications team. Scaramucci is on a mission to rid the Trump communications and press shop of leakers, and he's made clear that he'll be ruthless if necessary. "I'm committed to taking the comms shop down to Sarah [Huckabee Sanders] and me, if I can't get the leaks to stop," Scaramucci told Politico.

Scaramucci revealed that he dedicated his first day on the job to warning the communications team about leaks. "I offered amnesty in the meeting, but that decision is above my rank," Scaramucci said.

Read more on the story at Politico. Becca Stanek

Update 12:53 p.m. ET: Early Tuesday afternoon, Short announced his firing.

10:44 a.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee has issued a subpoena for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to publicly testify at Wednesday's hearing on the ongoing Russia probe. Committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that they requested Manafort's participation after they were "unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview with the Judiciary Committee."

Manafort has agreed to a single interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee about his participation in the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer, but his notes and comments would be unavailable to the Judiciary Committee. Grassley and Feinstein said they may excuse Manafort from the hearing if he agrees to an interview.

Read the Senate Judiciary Committee's entire statement below. Becca Stanek

10:26 a.m. ET
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Arizona residents perusing their state's official driver's license manual will find new information on how to interact with law enforcement roadside — or, in the words of state Rep. Reginald Bolding (D), who helped add the language to the handbook, how to avoid getting shot by the cops.

"When you look at what's taken place across the country, you have seen a majority of individuals who are people of color that have had higher incidence of interactions with law-enforcement officers, particularly in shootings," Bolding, who is black, explains. "Hopefully we can get to a place where that's not the reality."

The idea to add this update to the manual was particularly inspired by the death of Philando Castile, the black motorist in Minnesota who was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in front of his girlfriend and her young daughter. Bolding consulted with eight Arizona police departments and said he received eight different sets of conflicting advice. He ended up working with his state's departments of transportation and public safety to come up with something more consistent.

"I recognize this won't solve all officer-involved shootings," Bolding concedes. "I do hope that this could potentially save a life by giving a recommendation of what to do." You can read the resultant guidance beginning on page 56 of this PDF version of the manual. Bonnie Kristian

9:55 a.m. ET
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump lambasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Twitter on Tuesday, and new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci as well as incoming Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders each strongly suggested in interviews the same morning that Sessions' days in office are numbered.

Scaramucci was speaking with Hugh Hewitt when he said the radio host is "probably right" in his comment that "the president wants [Sessions] gone." "I don't want to speak for the president on that because he's a Cabinet official and I sort of think that has to be between the president of the United States and the Cabinet official," Scaramucci added, labeling Trump "obviously frustrated" with the situation.

Sanders was speaking on Fox & Friends when she made similar remarks. Trump's "frustration [with Sessions] certainly hasn't gone away," she said. "And you know, I don't think it will." Bonnie Kristian

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