The future has arrived
March 5, 2014
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Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson made waves in the technology world last year with the announcement that his space tourism firm would be accepting payment in Bitcoin.

Now, he's found his first Bitcoin-paying customers — Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, famous for suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for borrowing their idea, and more recently for promoting Bitcoin and investing in Bitcoin startups, including the troubled BitInstant, whose CEO was arrested in January on suspicion of money laundering.

A blog post on the twins' website explains more:

Cameron and I have decided to use our Bitcoin to take the plunge, or rather propulsion, into space. Why? Because Bitcoin and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic are two technologies that meaningfully represent our focus at Winklevoss Capital — the reduction of pain-points and friction in an effort to build a better world. [Winklevoss Capital] John Aziz

This just in
1:43 p.m. ET
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An unnamed source with "direct knowledge" of the deal told The New York Times on Monday that Charter Communications is close to finalizing an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable for about $55.1 billion in cash and stock.

If the deal is approved, Charter would pay about $195 a share, which is about 14 percent higher than Time Warner Cable's closing stock price on Friday. And as the Times notes, it's also 47 percent higher than Charter's bid to buy Time Warner Cable last year.

If Charter acquires Time Warner Cable, its main investor, billionaire John Malone, would "break into the top tier of the American broadband industry," the Times reports.

Sources "familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg the deal could be announced as early as Tuesday. Meghan DeMaria

Your tax dollars at work
12:42 p.m. ET
Facebook.com/Turner Construction

A building project of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is already $1 billion over budget — but it's about to get another $100 million in tax dollars to keep it going.

The VA hospital in question, the Denver Replacement Medical Center, has been labeled the "biggest construction failure" in the agency's history with a current price tag of $1.73 billion (and rapidly counting). The original cost estimate was less than $400 million.

Also catastrophically mismanaged is the hospital's construction timeline: The hospital was supposed to be completed more than a year ago, but now, it is not expected to be completed in 2015. The $100 million bailout will fund only three extra weeks of work.

This debacle is the latest in a long line of scandals surrounding the VA for the past several years. The department has been caught providing slow and inadequate service to veterans, using faulty medical equipment, engaging in corrupt and irresponsible activities with minimal consequences, and fudging the numbers on veteran suicides. Bonnie Kristian

Really?
12:19 p.m. ET
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Deep in an article focused on Republican candidate Jeb Bush's new house in Kennebunkport, the Boston Globe reports that former President George W. Bush once offered to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony for family friends:

Some mornings, [Jeb] Bush drops into H.B. Provisions, a cozy general store owned by Bonnie Clement and her wife, Helen Thorgalsen (George H.W. Bush made international headlines when he attended their wedding in 2013; George W. Bush offered to perform the ceremony but had a scheduling conflict). [Boston Globe]

As others have noted, this tidbit is intriguing given W's complicated history with gay marriage: In 2004, he supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage, basing his arguments in religious and legal traditions — but he also backed civil unions, which was then a controversial position in the GOP. And when Bush Sr. attended Clement and Thorgalsen's wedding, W's camp refused to comment. In recent years, however, George W. Bush has moderated his rhetoric about gay marriage, repeatedly quoting a passage from the Sermon on the Mount, which prohibits judging others. Bonnie Kristian

This is incredible
11:33 a.m. ET
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Here's a heartwarming story this holiday weekend: A man stolen as a baby has finally been reunited with his mother.

Travis Tolliver, who was kidnapped in Chile more than 41 years ago, just hours after his birth, has reunited at last with his mother, Nelly Reyes, in Santiago.

Reyes, 61, told CNN that hospital employees told her the baby had died after being born with a heart condition, but she was never given a certificate of death for her son. It turned out he wasn't dead at all, though Tolliver and Reyes still aren't clear who took him from her that day.

Prosecutor Mario Carroza investigated Gerardo Joannon, a priest who was accused of stealing minors and acting as a liaison between Chilean families and adoptive parents. The 1970s scheme also involved medical staff, including doctors and nurses. But Carroza told CNN the statute of limitations in Joannon's case is expired, so he can't be prosecuted.

Tolliver's adoptive parents in Tacoma, Washington, meanwhile, had no knowledge of his tragic past. He told CNN that his parents believed he was an abandoned baby. Tolliver eventually found his biological mother through DNA testing.

"I'm going to hug him every day. I love him so much," Reyes told CNN. Meghan DeMaria

This just in
11:01 a.m. ET

Andrzej Duda, representing Poland's opposition Law and Justice party, won as much as 53 percent of the vote in Poland's presidential elections on Sunday, according to exit polls. Bronislaw Komorowski, who had been Poland's president since 2010, conceded defeat in the tight election. Duda promised to increase tax benefits for families and to tax banks and retailers. The election suggests that the Polish parliament's current ruling Civic Platform, a center right party, could be unseated in the fall's parliamentary elections, or at least forced to change its policies. —Meghan DeMaria

Memorial Day
9:54 a.m. ET
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Obama is heading to Arlington National Cemetery on Monday to mark Memorial Day.

Obama said the annual holiday honoring America's war dead was especially meaningful this year because it is "the first Memorial Day since our war ended in Afghanistan." The U.S. still has about 9,800 troops expected to remain in Afghanistan until next year, though.

Observances began a day early on Sunday, when thousands of motorcycle riders participated in the annual Rolling Thunder rally in Washington, D.C., to draw attention to prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action. Harold Maass

This just in
9:14 a.m. ET
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

A bomb squad Sunday destroyed a pressure cooker found near Washington's Capitol building. The car's owner, Israel Shimeles of Alexandria, Virginia, was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle after revocation.

Authorities said the vehicle was "suspicious" when they found the unattended car smelled of gasoline, and an investigation revealed the pressure cooker. After the pressure cooker was destroyed, authorities said that "nothing hazardous" was found in the vehicle.

Police Lt. Kimberly A. Schneider told The Associated Press that the bomb squad destroyed "items of concern in the vehicle, including the pressure cooker." Meghan DeMaria

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