April 22, 2014

For today's reminder that political headwinds can change on a dime, consider President Obama's approval rating. Or, more specifically, consider that it has rebounded from last fall's record lows and is creeping back toward positive territory.

Obama's approval rating stands at 46 percent in the latest Gallup tracking poll, just a smidge less than the 48 percent of adults who disapprove of the president's job performance. Though that's still a net negative split, it's far better than Obama was doing late last year when polls routinely found him with double-digit deficits; one CBS poll pegged Obama's approval/disapproval split at 37/57 percent.

Other polls have shown a similar trend emerging.

So what changed? For one, ObamaCare has gone from a careening disaster to a feel-good success, with more than 8 million people signing up for health insurance. And we're also further away from October's disastrous government shutdown, which dragged down the approval ratings of pretty much everyone in Washington.

It's the first bit that is most salient to Democrats as they head into the midterms. Republicans have been counting on Obama and ObamaCare to be less popular than the plague come November in hopes it will weigh down Democratic candidates. They may need a new plan. Polls have shown voters warming up to the health care law, and if they keep warming to the president, too, that could shred part of the GOP's campaign strategy. Jon Terbush

6:51 p.m. ET
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Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department were sent to singer Chris Brown's home in the Tarzana neighborhood early Tuesday morning after a woman called 911 and said he pulled a gun on her, police said.

The call came in at around 3 a.m., and investigators have been at the scene ever since. Brown remained inside the house as police worked on getting a search warrant, and said in an Instagram video that he would stay put until they had the warrant. He left the house at about 2:30 p.m. to talk with an officer, CBS Los Angeles reports, and TMZ says police retrieved at least one gun, other weapons, and drugs from the home. Brown has not been arrested.

TMZ says it spoke with the woman who called the police, identified as Miss California Regional 2016 Baylee Curran. Curran told TMZ she had spent time with Brown previously, and was at his home with a friend. He found her admiring a piece of jewelry, she said, and got angry; he cursed and pointed a gun at her. Curran said she asked for her cell phone, but members of Brown's entourage wouldn't let her have it unless she signed a non-disclosure agreement. She refused, and left. Catherine Garcia

3:46 p.m. ET

A report by the Department of Defense's inspector general published Tuesday concluded that Pentagon officials largely failed to discipline department employees for the inappropriate use of government credit cards at strip clubs and casinos. "DoD management did not take appropriate action when notified that cardholders potentially misused their travel card at casinos and adult entertainment establishments," the report said. "Specifically, DoD management and travel card officials did not perform adequate reviews for the cardholders reviewed and did not take action to eliminate additional misuse."

In total, the report estimated that there were "nearly $100,000 in expenses at strip clubs and 'adult entertainment establishments' and almost $1 [million] at casinos," The Guardian noted. Moreover, 22 employees reportedly received reimbursements totaling $8,544 for costs incurred at casinos or "adult entertainment establishments."

The charges first came to light in a May 2015 audit. At the request of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the inspector general conducted a further investigation. Becca Stanek

3:30 p.m. ET

The Islamic State's Amaq news outlet reported Tuesday that ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani had been killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo, where he was inspecting military operations. Adnani, considered the terrorist group's second-in-command, encouraged attacks against Westerners and was believed to be in charge of ISIS's "external operations division," which managed recruitment and organized attacks.

The cause of Adnani's death has yet to be determined. The New York Times reports that in Aleppo, ISIS is under attack by American-backed Syrian and Kurdish rebels in addition to "Turkish, American, and Russian airstrikes,"

Officials in Washington reportedly had a $5 million reward out for Adnani. The Defense Department has yet to confirm Adnani's death. Becca Stanek

2:07 p.m. ET
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report on Zika out Tuesday revealed the virus may also cause hearing loss in infants born to infected mothers. A study of about 70 babies with microcephaly in Brazil found that about 6 percent suffered from hearing loss, caused by damage to either the inner ear or the nerve connecting the ear and the brain. Researchers were unable to find any other likely cause of hearing loss, leading the CDC to advise that hearing loss may be another of the health problems caused by the mosquito-borne illness.

Zika has primarily been linked to microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an unusually small head and an underdeveloped brain. Recently, researchers have also linked Zika to "vision problems and joint deformities," Reuters reported.

The CDC is now recommending that babies exposed to Zika virus are regularly checked for hearing loss after birth. Becca Stanek

1:40 p.m. ET
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Trump Model Management has allegedly profited from illegally using foreigners as models before they were able to secure U.S. work visas, a Mother Jones investigation has found. Trump Model Management would reportedly go as far as to coach girls on how to lie to immigration officials in order to use tourist visas to get into New York, Mother Jones says, despite the fact that such visas do not permit foreigners to work in the United States.

"When you're stuck at immigration, say that you're coming as a tourist. If they go through your luggage and they find your portfolio, tell them that you're going there to look for an agent," one model, "Kate," who spoke anonymously with Mother Jones, recalled being instructed. Another model, "Anna," said she remembered a Trump agency representative telling her to lie on her customs form about where she was going to live and was told, "If they ask you any questions, [say] you're just here for meetings."

Republican nominee Donald Trump has made it a central point in his campaign to prevent foreign workers from being employed illegally in the U.S., and said he would end the H-1B visa program — a program, it just so happens, that Trump Model Management apparently used frequently. "He doesn't like the face of a Mexican or a Muslim," Kate told Mother Jones, "but because these [models] are beautiful girls, it's okay?"

Trump owns 85 percent of Trump Model Management, which he founded in 1995. He has even hand-picked models to sign; Melania Trump briefly worked for the agency in the 1990s. Trump Model Management did not comment to Mother Jones, while Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the issue "has nothing to do with me or the campaign" when questioned.

"[Trump] doesn't want to let anyone into the U.S. anymore," Kate said. "Meanwhile, behind everyone's back, he's bringing in all of these girls from all over the world and they're working illegally." Read the entire investigation at Mother Jones. Jeva Lange

12:42 p.m. ET
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The Germanwings co-pilot who locked the captain out of the cockpit in order to intentionally fly the aircraft into the side of a mountain last year had experienced notable difficulties during training, but was promoted anyway, The Associated Press reports. FBI interviews with Andreas Lubitz's flight instructors reveal that Lubitz failed two tests, including once due to a "situational awareness issue," likely meaning he got distracted by something and stopped paying close attention to the plane. Matthias Kippenberg, the president and CEO of the Airline Training Center Arizona, told the FBI the failure wasn't in itself noteworthy because students are able to retake their tests.

Lubitz was "not an ace pilot," one of his instructors, Juergen Theerkorn said. Lubitz also struggled to divide his attention between instruments on the plane, or concentrate on what was happening outside the aircraft, another instructor said. Lubitz was supposed to begin flight school in Arizona in September 2009, but due to a "long illness," he did not begin until September 2010. German authorities turned down his applications for a pilot medical certificate twice before July 2009 due to his history of depression, a technicality his school apparently hadn't checked.

The flight instructors "admit [Lubitz] failed a check ride due to a loss of situational awareness, which may very well have been caused by the very same anxiety and severe depression which were symptoms of his mental health disorder," Brian Alexander, an attorney representing the families of 150 people who died in the crash, told The Associated Press. Jeva Lange

11:30 a.m. ET
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Apparently it wasn't too late for Justin Bieber to say sorry. Guinness World Records announced Monday night that the pop star's latest album, Purpose, landed him in its 2017 edition not once, twice, but a whopping eight times.

The 22-year-old pop star set world records for the most-streamed track and the most-streamed album on Spotify in a week, with "What Do You Mean?" and Purpose, respectively. He also won records for having 17 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 at once, having 13 simultaneous new entries on the Billboard Hot 100, and for being the first artist to simultaneously fill the top three spots on the U.K. singles chart.

His other records stemmed from his social media use: Bieber won the record for having the most Twitter followers with 82,235,563, as well as the most YouTube subscribers of any male and the most-viewed YouTube channel. Becca Stanek

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