Nature's Nightmares
March 24, 2014

An oil spill caused by the collision between a barge and ship that left 170,000 gallons of oil floating in the ocean is damaging the habitat of thousands of shorebirds. The Coast Guard temporarily closed the Houston Ship Channel's passageway into the Gulf of Mexico in order to limit the impact of the spill on the birds living in Galveston Bay, but some oil-covered birds have been spotted along the coast.

The collision occurred near a channel in Texas City, where shorebirds are known to winter. The impact so far has been small, with only 50 birds needing treatment due to injuries sustained from the oil spill, but environmentalists are now concerned that the oil could wash up as tar balls, float onto the coast, and further damage the natural habitat of several thousand more birds. The Coast Guard said it laid booms around environmentally sensitive areas to protect them from the oil. --Jordan Valinsky

POTUS abroad
12:05 p.m. ET
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On Monday, the White House announced that President Obama will co-host a Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya in July, his first trip to his father's homeland as president. It will be Obama's "fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa and the most of any sitting U.S. president," note National Security Council staffers Grant Harris and Shannon Green, comparing the Kenya visit to "President Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in 1963."

At The New York Times, Peter Baker plays up the silly number of Americans who say they believe that Obama himself was born in Kenya, rather than Hawaii. But he also adds the substantive diplomatic problem that Kenya's president has been under a legal and ethical cloud since ethnic violence after disputed 2007 elections left more than 1,200 dead and 600,000 displaced.

"Now, the case against the president, Uhuru Kenyatta, has been dropped, and the perennial talk about Mr. Obama's birth has faded in the United State," Baker concludes. "So Mr. Obama seems to have concluded that a Kenya trip is acceptable at home and abroad." Obama has visited Kenya twice before, as a young man — a visit chronicled in his 1995 memoir Dreams From My Father — and again as a U.S. senator in 2006.

This just in
March 30, 2015
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Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy on Monday signed an executive order barring state-funded travel to Indiana over the The Hoosier State's controversial new religious freedom law.

"When new laws turn back the clock on progress, we can't sit idly by," Malloy wrote on Twitter. "We are sending a message that discrimination won't be tolerated."

Seattle and San Francisco have enacted similar bans in response to the law, which critics fear would allow people and businesses to cite religious beliefs to discriminate against gays. While the federal government and nearly 20 other states have similar religious freedom laws, Indiana's goes further by saying people and businesses cannot be "substantially burdened" in the exercise of their religion by the state or other individuals; other such laws specify protection only against state encroachment on religious freedom.

Quotables
March 30, 2015
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With three Golden Globes, four Emmys, and a Best Actress Oscar under belt, you might think Dame Helen Mirren has reached the pinnacle of her acting career. But in a recent interview with Yahoo! Movies, Mirren set her aims even higher: the eighth installment of the so-dumb-it's-great blockbuster franchise Fast & Furious.

"My great ambition is to be in a Fast & Furious movie," said Mirren. "I so want to be a mad driver in a Fast & Furious movie. My claim to fame is I always do my own driving — I was on Top Gear, and I did [my lap] in a very good time. I keep putting it out there, and they never ask me. I'll be in Fast & Furious 8."

"I love Vin Diesel," Mirren added — hinting, we hope, at the tantalizing possibility of a May-December romance between The Queen and The Bald Guy Who Drives Fast Cars in Fast & Furious 8.

Coming Soon
March 30, 2015
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If you live in the San Diego area, the dream of eating a McGriddle sandwich for dinner may soon be a reality.

Starting next month, McDonald's will test all-day breakfast in the San Diego area. The test won't include the full breakfast menu, though, and McDonald's hasn't yet announced which sandwiches will be available after 10:30 a.m.

Previously, McDonald's has said that its restaurants don't have enough kitchen space to serve breakfast items during lunch and dinner hours. But McDonald's executives have now told The Associated Press that customers want "foods personalized to their tastes and schedules."

A McDonald's spokesperson told CNBC that it would be "premature to speculate on any outcomes" from the test, so if you love McDonald's breakfast, keep your fingers crossed.

This just in
March 30, 2015
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Two former federal agents, Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges, are expected to be arrested Monday on charges of stealing money while investigating the black market drug dealing website Silk Road.

Force was an employee of the Drug Enforcement Administration, while Bridges was an employee of the Secret Service. Force has been charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, and money laundering, while Bridges has been charged with wire fraud and money laundering. Both agents were members of a Baltimore-based task force investigating Silk Road, The New York Times reports.

The 50-page complaint alleges that Force "stole and converted to his own personal use a sizable amount of Bitcoins" while conducting an undercover investigation into the site. Force allegedly asked Ross W. Ulbricht, the website's founder, to pay him $250,000 in Bitcoins to keep information from the government. He resigned in May 2014 after serving as a DEA agent for roughly 15 years.

Bridges, meanwhile, resigned on March 18 and had been a Secret Service special agent for six years. Bridges has been accused of stealing more than $800,000 in Bitcoins.

A separate investigation led to charges against Ulbricht, and Silk Road was shut down by authorities in 2013. The Times reports that the website generated more than $213 million in revenue, and Ulbricht apparently took millions of dollars worth of commissions. Ulbricht was convicted on multiple counts last month, including four charges that may carry life sentences.

This doesn't look good
March 30, 2015
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In February, Shanna Tippen told The Washington Post that she was excited for the 25-cent increase in Arkansas' minimum wage. Now, Tippen has told the Post that she was fired from her job at a Days Inn for participating in the interview.

Tippen told the Post's Chico Harlan that her boss, hotel manager Herry Patel, had told her she was "stupid and dumb" for talking to the Post. She believes her original interview with Harlan is the reason she was fired from her job.

"As of now, I’m looking for any kind of job at all," Tippen told the Post. She added that she and her family are living off a tax refund check, but funds are growing increasingly tight for the family.

For his part, Harlan writes that Patel introduced him to Tippen himself, but Patel later "threatened to sue if an article was published."

Discoveries
March 30, 2015

Move over, IPAs: The ancient Egyptians were enjoying beer thousands of years ago.

Archaeologists have discovered fragments of ceramic basins that ancient Egyptians used to make beer, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced. The excavation team also found 17 pits where the Egyptians stored produce in the Early Bronze Age, between 3,500 and 3,000 B.C.E.

The finds are significant for more than beer culture, too: Diego Barkan, who led the dig, told AFP that the find is the first evidence of an "Egyptian occupation" in ancient Tel Aviv.

The ancient Egyptians created the beer by leaving partially-baked water and barley in the sun to ferment. The antiquities authority noted that beer was "the Egyptian national drink" and was consumed by everyone, no matter what age or social status.

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