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May 2, 2014

Despite garnering the worst reviews of any Spider-Man movie in history, box-office analysts expect The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to do big business over the weekend. The Spider-Man franchise has evolved into a billion-dollar business, which is all the more impressive when you consider the character's humble origins in the pages of Marvel's Amazing Fantasy #15 just a little over 50 years ago.

Where did the idea for Spider-Man come from? In a 2009 interview with Kevin Smith, creator Stan Lee described the character's origins:

"In superheroes, the most important thing is to get a new power. And you run out of powers. A guy can fly, a guy is strong — what's left? I figured, if a guy can stick to walls like an insect. So I run down a list of names: Insect Man didn't have it, Mosquito Man wasn't dramatic... finally, I hit on Spider-Man. Spider-Man. Man, that sounded dramatic to me. […] When I proposed the name to Martin, my publisher... Now, he had been on board with everything, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk. He thought I could do no wrong. So I told him about Spider-Man, and he said, 'You're crazy, Stan. People hate spiders. You can't do a book called Spider Man. And you want him to be a teenager? Teenagers can only be sidekicks."

Learn more about the origins of Spider-Man in the video below. --Scott Meslow

1:03 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Monday that he is directing the Pentagon to "establish a Space Force as the sixth branch of the Armed Forces." Trump, who floated the Space Force idea earlier this year, added Monday that it is "so important for our military" but "people don't talk about it."

The Air Force and Defense secretaries both reportedly oppose the creation of the Space Force; space-related missions are already overseen by the Air Force. "We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force," Trump insisted in his comments Monday. "Separate but equal. It is going to be something."

Trump said that the Space Force will do more than "plant our flag and leave our footprints" on distant celestial bodies, with its objectives including building "a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars" and implementing "a state of the art framework for space traffic management." Watch the announcement below. Jeva Lange

12:12 p.m. ET
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Monday opted not to rule in two partisan gerrymandering cases, putting off a decision on whether state election maps can be drawn in a way that helps keep political parties in power, reports The Washington Post.

The justices decided to sidestep what would have been a landmark decision related to cases in Wisconsin and Maryland, where challengers argue the election maps are unfairly drawn with overt political animus. The cases could be reconsidered next term after they are retried in lower courts, but the Supreme Court chose not to consider a ruling yet because of procedural faults.

Justices sided with a district judge in the Maryland case, agreeing that it was not clear whether the state's electoral map violated the Constitution. They also said that it wasn't clear whether any rights had been violated in the Wisconsin case. In both cases, all Supreme Court judges ruled unanimously, reports the Post.

Gerrymandering based on factors like racial demographics has been deemed unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court has never ruled on partisan gerrymandering. Any ruling on the practice would have major implications, as many states engage in some level of gerrymandering to benefit the dominant party. The ongoing cases have been punted down the line for now, but the justices expressed interest in soon taking a closer look at what Justice Elena Kagan called a practice that "burdens" and "harms" voters everywhere. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

11:53 a.m. ET

Ann Coulter is worried about President Trump's TV-watching habits.

On Fox News' The Next Revolution, the conservative commentator said Sunday that she knows the president gets all his news from TV. And she thinks the "actor" children claiming they've been separated from their parents will fool him into softening immigration policy.

"These child actors weeping and crying on all the other networks 24/7 right now, do not fall for it Mr. President," Coulter passionately claimed on Fox, looking straight in the camera. When host Steve Hilton started to get skeptical, Coulter vaguely sourced The New Yorker, which she affirmed is "not a conservative publication."

"These kids are being coached, they're given scripts to read by liberals, according to The New Yorker," Coulter said. "Don't fall for the actor children."

But searches for any New Yorker article containing "immigrant children" and the words "script" or "coach" came up empty. The closest bet is a 2011 story of an African woman — not a child — who embellished her past hardships to gain asylum in the U.S.

Breitbart similarly sourced a New York Times article saying "migrant children have been coached on what to say to make fraudulent claims for asylum." The article explicitly states that the claim came from Trump administration officials.

Don't fall for the commentators, America. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:23 a.m. ET

Soccer is the beautiful game no matter what — but every four years, when it's imbued with the international pride and enthusiasm of the World Cup, it takes on extra emotion. Whiffing on a penalty kick can equal global failure, while a victory for the underdog is practically a religious experience.

But for the Panama national soccer team, well, they were just happy to make it to Russia this year. Before they took the field against Belgium on Monday for their first-ever World Cup match, the players stood for the customary playing of their national anthem. Several stood with tears in their eyes, while the crowd belted the words with a fervor. Watch the touching moment below, and relive the goal that brought Panama to Fisht Stadium in Sochi here. Kimberly Alters

11:11 a.m. ET
USAf/Getty Images

This spring, the Pentagon quietly upgraded U.S. Cyber Command, giving it authority to launch daily, offensive cyber attacks against foreign computer networks, The New York Times reported Sunday.

In the past, Cyber Command operated mostly in a defensive mode, neutralizing digital threats and only rarely making offensive strikes against targets like the Islamic State. Though those strikes have had "mixed" results and can land the U.S. in difficult situations with allies, the Times notes, Cyber Command will now be able to engage in preventive, "constant, disruptive 'short of war' activities" against terrorist networks and state actors alike.

The decision to expand Cyber Command's power was not "formally debated inside the White House before it was issued," the Times reports, citing multiple current and former administration officials, all unnamed. In fact, shortly after National Security Adviser John Bolton took office this year, he eliminated the role of White House cybercoordinator. Bonnie Kristian

10:52 a.m. ET

President Trump has repeatedly tried to pass off his administration's new "zero tolerance" policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the border on Democrats, even as other administration officials have doubled down on the practice. Here are some of the contradictory excuses offered by the Trump team for a policy that is being increasingly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike. Jeva Lange

President Trump: "It is the Democrats' fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!"

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: "I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders: "I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible."

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller: "It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law."

Legislative affairs chief Marc Short: "The policy is incredibly complicated and it is one we need to do a better job of communicating."

Former chief strategist Stephen Bannon: "We ran on a policy — very simply — stop mass illegal immigration and limit legal immigration, get our sovereignty back to help our workers, and so he went to a zero tolerance policy. It's a crime to come across illegally and children get separated. I mean, I hate to say it, that's the law and he's enforcing the law."

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period."

10:51 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

A majority of Americans oppose the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant children from their families after they enter the U.S. illegally or seek asylum at the border, a new poll conducted by Ipsos for The Daily Beast reveals.

The survey asked respondents whether they agree with this statement: "It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally." About 1 in 4 — 27 percent — said they agreed, and 56 percent said the separations are not appropriate.

While Democrats were more likely than average to oppose the policy and independents nearly matched the national average, a plurality of Republicans (46 percent) agreed with the statement, compared to 32 percent who said they do not agree.

This poll was conducted online from June 14 to 15, surveying about 1,000 people. Ipsos calculates a credibility interval, which is similar to a margin of error, of 3.5 percent overall and 6.1 to 7.8 percent for party loyalty subsets. Bonnie Kristian

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