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February 27, 2014

There's only been one day of spring training games so far, but the best catch of the 2014 baseball season may have already happened. Oakland A's outfielder Josh Reddick twice robbed the Giants' Michael Morse of home runs Wednesday, scaling and reaching over a high right field wall to haul in two deep fly balls.

"I don't know how I did it," Reddick told the Associated Press after the game. "When I got to the fence and climbed it, I looked back and the ball was already two feet over my head. I was lucky enough to get my glove on it." Jon Terbush

8:06 p.m. ET

Traveling at a speed of 77,000 mph, NASA's Cassini spacecraft made its first dive inside Saturn's rings, transmitting back to Earth on Thursday the closest-ever images of the planet.

Cassini has been exploring Saturn for 13 years, and on Wednesday, became the first spacecraft to enter the gap between Saturn and its innermost ring. "Cassini spacecraft has once again blazed a trail, showing us new wonders and demonstrating where our curiosity can take us if we dare," NASA planetary sciences chief Jim Green said in a statement. The pictures it sent back showed a hurricane, clouds, and a six-sided vortex weather system, Reuters reports.

Having been in space since 2004, Cassini is running low on fuel, and is expected to make 22 trips in the territory between Saturn's cloud tops and rings before it destroys itself on Sept. 15 by flying directly into Saturn's atmosphere (NASA is doing this so Cassini doesn't accidentally hit a moon that could support microbial life). Scientists are hoping Cassini will survive all of these dives, and that the information it collects on Saturn's inner moons, winds, clouds, and auroras can explain the source of Saturn's magnetic field and how fast the planet rotates. Catherine Garcia

7:16 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Senate voted 60-38 on Thursday to confirm Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. attorney, as labor secretary.

The 48-year-old is the only Latino in President Trump's Cabinet. Trump's first choice for the job, former CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination after it became clear he would not get enough votes for confirmation. The labor secretary enforces laws involving the workplace and unions. Catherine Garcia

6:35 p.m. ET
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David Dao, the 69-year-old doctor who was dragged off an overbooked United flight earlier this month to the horror of his fellow passengers, has settled with the airline for an undisclosed amount of money.

His attorney, Thomas Demetrio, said that under the settlement, the sum must remain confidential. His client was on a packed flight to Louisville from Chicago on April 9 when he was chosen at random to give up his seat to a crew member who needed to get to Kentucky to work on another flight; Dao refused, and authorities were called. They forcibly removed him from the flight, with other passengers recording the incident, sparking a major public relations disaster for United once the video went viral. Dao's attorneys have said he suffered a broken nose and concussion and lost two teeth.

The settlement came before Dao even filed a lawsuit, and will save United money on legal fees. Demetrio told The Associated Press he hopes "corporate America notices when you goof up, people respect you a heck of a lot more when you admit it, instead of making people go through three years of depositions, motions, court hearings." Catherine Garcia

5:11 p.m. ET

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman represents a western portion of the San Fernando Valley, which is located in Southern California. This is important, because you may have heard the Golden State has loosened its restrictions on the sale of marijuana and has generally been considered a bastion of bud in the nation.

As someone tasked with representing these constituents, then, Sherman should be knowledgeable about marijuana. Fret not, Valley-dwellers, because apparently he has been so thorough in his research that he is even aware of weed's potential to be exploited for nefarious wartime provocations by our enemies. He revealed as much in a pair of tweets Wednesday night regarding his chosen discussion points for a classified briefing about North Korea with Vice President Mike Pence:

Improbably, Sherman is not the first U.S. congressman to voice this concern. In February, Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) told CNN's Brianna Keilar, "I can suggest to you that there are national security implications here for a porous border. We sometimes used to make the point that if someone wanted to smuggle in a dangerous weapon, even a nuclear weapon, into America, how would they do it? And the suggestion was made: Well, we'll simply hide it in a bale of marijuana."

For the record, a bale of marijuana is generally considered to weigh but a few dozen pounds. The W54, one of the smallest nuclear warheads ever used by the U.S., weighed around 50 pounds. Kimberly Alters

3:28 p.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Convicted murderer Kenneth Williams is scheduled to be put to death Thursday at 7 p.m. CT in what would be Arkansas' fourth execution of the month, BuzzFeed News reports. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) had originally announced eight executions for April, but so far only three have been carried out while four others have been put on hold by different courts. The state is hurrying to carry out capital punishment before the supply of one of its three execution drugs expires at the end of the month.

To date, the state Supreme Court has denied two of Williams' requests for a stay; his lawyers filed a new lawsuit Thursday.

Read The Week's Anthony L. Fisher on why Arkansas' executions are a really big deal here. Jeva Lange

2:58 p.m. ET
Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Anthony "Ari" Rinkus is a convicted two-time felon who engineered a car theft ring and then, while still on probation, a Ponzi scheme con job. He also happens to be married to Heather Rinkus, the guest reception manager at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida — a fact he is quick to bring up and evidently has no qualms exploiting, BuzzFeed News reports in a startling investigation.

"Ari, a stocky former used car salesman, frequently holds court over a vodka soda at a local bar, bragging about his and his wife's connection to Trump and his team while trolling for investors for business deals he's peddling," BuzzFeed News writes. Heather Rinkus, who used to work for the family of Betsy DeVos, Trump's education secretary, landed the Mar-a-Lago job just before Trump became president. "[Ari Rinkus] kept saying, 'Once my wife gets that job, I'll have all the connections for you,'" a person who worked closely with Rinkus said.

Under the terms of his probation, Rinkus isn't technically allowed to have a job "that would require him to exercise fiduciary duties; to give investment advice or make investment decisions; to solicit funds; or to handle other people's money, without the advanced, written approval of the probation officer." Yet local real estate agent Richard Allison said Rinkus is "very good at going out there and socializing and finding people who would be good investors," and that he'd been pitched himself.

"He immediately brings up his wife's job — that's how he ropes investors in," said another person whom Rinkus tried to pitch. As FBI Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez explained: "Investment fraudsters use the appearance of success to mask their tangled financial web of lies."

When told BuzzFeed News was going to write a piece about his dealings, Rinkus walked back almost all of his stories and claims. "I lied," he said.

By all appearances, though, Rinkus has been working for a security company called Securablinds, which is actively seeking government contracts. Rinkus had earlier bragged to BuzzFeed News that he had even pitched Eric Trump on the company. After all, Securablinds, which is based in the U.K, just opened a firm in Palm Beach.

Or, as Rinkus describes it, in "the president's backyard." Read the full investigation at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange

2:09 p.m. ET

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was directly told in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without explicit permission, documents released Thursday reveal. Flynn, who resigned from the Trump administration in February, took $34,000 in December 2015 for a speaking gala concerning Russian TV and more than $500,000 for lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests ahead of the November election. A defense intelligence official said Thursday that no record of Flynn asking for permission or approval "for the receipt of money from a foreign source" could be found, NBC News reports.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) — the ranking member and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, respectively — jointly criticized the White House for denying their request for documents related to Flynn. "I don't understand why the White House is covering up for Michael Flynn," Cummings said.

Facing accusations that Flynn's vetting process by the Trump team was insufficient, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer noted Thursday that the Obama administration was responsible for giving Flynn his security clearance years prior. Of course, it was still the Trump team that named Flynn as the administration's national security adviser, a role he filled for just 24 days. Jeva Lange

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