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February 19, 2014

A South Carolina man was falsely arrested and jailed for allegedly trafficking cocaine, after police discovered 1.5 pounds of powdered lime in his truck during a routine traffic stop. "I told them, 'That's lime. That's not cocaine. You can spread it out there on the ground,'" Lewis Thomas said. Thomas said officers were "so bent on me being a distributor" that they arrested him in spite of an inconclusive chemical test. Samantha Rollins

1:58 p.m. ET

The next time you spot a spider and are headed for it with a shoe, ask yourself if you really want to be squishing a critter that could theoretically band together with all of its arachnid brethren and wipe out the entire human race in a single year.

No, this isn't a scene from Tarantula — it's a new study published in Science of Nature, which found that the world's spiders consume between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey every year. The total adult human biomass on Earth is estimated to be 278 million tons. You do the math.

Part of the spider's power is that it is everywhere. Everywhere. A recent study of homes in North Carolina, for example, found that 100 percent contained spiders, with 68 percent of bathrooms and 75 percent of bedrooms housing an eight-legged buddy or two, The Washington Post reports. If you piled all the spiders in the world on a scale, the terrifying swarm would weigh the equivalent of 478 Titanic ocean liners, or about 25 million tons.

To read more about how the researchers calculated the weight of the global spider population's annual diet, visit The Washington Post or read the study here. As for that spider you've run into, consider gently setting a cup over your arachnid overlord and escorting it outside. Jeva Lange

1:28 p.m. ET
ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images

The British government on Tuesday rejected Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's request for an independence referendum. The announcement came shortly after the Scottish Parliament voted 69-59 in favor of backing Sturgeon's bid for a vote on Scotland's independence.

In a statement, the British government said it would not engage in negotiations with Scotland because it would be "unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information" about the U.K.'s "future relationship with Europe," or about "what an independent Scotland would look like."

Sturgeon has argued that while the U.K. may have voted to leave the European Union last year, Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining, and thus Scottish citizens deserve an independence vote before the Brexit process begins. "The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit — possibly a very hard Brexit — or becoming an independent country, able to chart our own course and create a true partnership of equals across these islands," Sturgeon said Tuesday ahead of Parliament's vote.

Britain is slated to exit the EU in 2019. Becca Stanek

1:19 p.m. ET

The White House spent over an hour under lockdown Tuesday after a suspicious package triggered a bomb threat warning, International Business Times reports. The Secret Service announced that a man approached 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. claiming to have a bomb around 10:25 a.m. ET, and White House staff were subsequently ordered to shelter in place. The alert was lifted at 11:37 a.m., although the suspicious package investigation — involving a bomb robot — continued.

The suspect had a warrant out for his arrest prior to the incident. He was caught just east of the White House and taken into custody:

Security concerns have plagued the Trump residences, with a Politico report Tuesday indicating that protection of the first lady and her son at Mar-a-Lago is apparently lacking. As recently as Sunday, a woman who said she wanted to talk to the president was arrested for jumping the White House fence. The suspect cited other recent fence jumpers' successes as her inspiration for attempting the unlawful entry. Jeva Lange

11:02 a.m. ET
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Shaken over President Trump's failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street is now raising questions about his ability to keep financial promises like reforming the tax code and slashing regulations on banks.

The cooling "Trump bump" has left the Dow at risk of suffering a ninth-straight day of decline Tuesday, which would mark the longest losing streak for the Dow since Jimmy Carter was in the White House in 1978. While the index is still up 11 percent since the election and the Nasdaq has actually closed higher in three of the past four days, CNN Money observes "a notable shift in terms of sentiment." Jeva Lange

10:57 a.m. ET

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that President Trump's administration apparently attempted to greatly limit the scope of former Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Letters obtained by The Washington Post revealed Yates, who Trump fired in January after she would not back his immigration executive order, "was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege." Yates served as deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama and was the acting attorney general at the start of Trump's term, playing a role in the investigation of ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications about sanctions with a Russian ambassador.

In response, Yates' lawyer David O'Neill acknowledged the restrictions on Yates' testimony and assured the Justice Department that Yates would not disclose information protected by "client confidences" unless she were granted explicit permission by the department. However, O'Neill took issue with how "overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department's historical approach" its orders to Yates were. "In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department's notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official," O'Neill wrote.

A Justice Department official responded, saying that Yates would need to consult with the White House before disclosing information covered by the presidential communications privilege, but that she did not need "separate consent from the department."

On Friday, Yates' lawyer sent a letter notifying White House Counsel Don McGahn that "any claim of privilege 'has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications,'" The Washington Post reported. "Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information," O'Neill wrote.

Later that day, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) called off the hearing at which Yates was expected to testify. Read more on the story at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

Update 11:16 a.m. ET: The White House has since released a statement denying The Washington Post's report.

10:11 a.m. ET

Eric Trump couldn't say enough good things about Fox News host Sean Hannity during his appearance Tuesday on Fox & Friends. For 30 seconds, President Trump's son sang Hannity's praises, calling him a "fantastic person" and a "great, great man" with "strong beliefs." "By the way," Trump said, "there is no better patriot in the world than Sean Hannity."

In a rebuttal to former anchor Ted Koppel's remark over the weekend that Hannity and his show are "bad for America," Trump argued that Hannity is actually great for the nation. While Koppel contended Hannity's show has "attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts," Trump said that strong beliefs are crucial to American progress. "You know, beliefs are what get America to a great place," Trump said.

Watch Trump declare Hannity the best patriot in the world below. Becca Stanek

10:07 a.m. ET
iStock/RoschetzkyIstockPhoto

Legislators in Maine, Virginia, Georgia, and Kansas are exploring the possibility of expanding Medicaid after the Affordable Care Act survived last week following the failure of a Republican-backed health-care bill, Vox reports.

"I'm not an activist or supporter [of ObamaCare] now, but I can see when things are working," explained Kansas state legislator Susan Concannon, a Republican. Maine Sen. Tom Saviello (R) added, "My own party is mad at me because I continue to pursue [Medicaid expansion], but we have to do something. I look at Franklin County, which I represent, and roughly 1,000 people would gain coverage there."

Nineteen states have yet to expand the program, and in Kansas, where the state Senate passed an expansion bill late Monday, there is still heavy pushback from many conservatives. "To expand ObamaCare when the program is in a death spiral is not responsible policy," a spokesperson for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) said. Jeva Lange

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