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January 25, 2016
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President Obama finally told us what he's thinking about Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and the Republican Party's presidential primary in an interview out Monday with Politico's Glenn Thrush for the "Off Message" podcast. His observations on the 2016 Republican race: Politics are a whole lot "meaner" than they were back when he took office, he said, specifically noting Ted Cruz and Donald Trump's "expression of frustration" that they're offering voters.

"You think about it: When I ran against John McCain, John McCain and I had real differences, sharp differences, but John McCain didn't deny climate science," Obama said. "John McCain didn't call for banning Muslims from the United States… [The] Republican vision has moved not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable."

As for the Democratic race, Obama still avoided offering endorsements, though Politico's Thrush notes that he "couldn’t hide his obvious affection for Clinton or his implicit feeling that she, not Sanders, best understands the unpalatably pragmatic demands" of being president. Obama called Clinton "wicked smart" and said that, based on her experiences, "she can govern and she can start here, day one, more experienced than any non-vice president has ever been who aspires to this office."

Read more of Obama's interview over at Politico. Becca Stanek

10:24 p.m. ET

A rollercoaster at the M&D's theme park in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, derailed and crashed Sunday, sending eight children and two adults to the hospital.

Details of their injuries have not yet been released. The Tsunami ride can go up to 40 mph, and boasts corkscrew turns and loops. A witness told the BBC "people were trapped upside down on the ride" after the crash, and a police officer said "five gondolas connected on a train on the Tsunami ride" fell "less than 20 feet" after apparently coming around a bend. After the accident, the park was evacuated.

This wasn't the first time the Tsunami experienced trouble — in 2011, nine passengers were stranded for eight hours on the ride when it broke down with gondolas 60 feet above the ground. In March, firefighters had to rescue eight people on the park's Tornado rollercoaster when it shut down 20 feet in the air. Catherine Garcia

9:33 p.m. ET
Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Pope Francis said Sunday that gay people and others who have been marginalized by the Church deserve an apology.

"I believe that the Church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended, but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor," he said. "It has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons." The pontiff made his remarks aboard the papal plane on his way back to the Vatican from Armenia, after he was asked by a reporter if he agreed with comments made by one of his advisers, German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who following the deadly shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando said the Church owes an apology to gays for being marginalized.

"The Church must say it is sorry for not having behaved as it should many times, many times — when I say 'the Church,' I mean we Christians because the Church is holy; we are the sinners," Francis said. "We Christians must say we are sorry." Catherine Garcia

8:55 p.m. ET

Police say a rally held by the Traditionalist Worker Party in Sacramento, California, turned violent Sunday afternoon when clashes broke out between members of the white supremacist group and counter-protesters.

At least seven people were taken to the hospital, including two with critical stab wounds, Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Chris Harvey said. The TWP had a permit for the rally, which Harvey described as "chaotic," and members were outnumbered by hundreds of counter-protesters. Witnesses say some people were hit by pieces of concrete and sticks, and many were hiding their faces with masks and scarves, CNN reports. No one has been arrested.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says the TWP was founded in January 2015 as part of a right-wing extremist "umbrella group that aims to indoctrinate high school and college students into white nationalism." Catherine Garcia

12:48 p.m. ET

A crowd of onlookers and a brass band on Sunday applauded the official opening of new, expanded locks in the Panama Canal, which from today can accommodate larger shipping freighters than ever.

A 984-foot container ship from China made the inaugural trip through the new facilities, the first of many such mega ships that will now transport up to 14,000 containers at a time through the canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Previously, the largest ships the canal could handle carried just 5,000 containers.

"This is a grand accomplishment for the people of Panama," said U.S. ambassador to Panama John Feeley of the occasion. "This expansion will reconfigure, permanently, the map of the global shipping industry." The expansion took $5.4 billion, 10 years, and 40,000 workers to complete. Bonnie Kristian

12:18 p.m. ET
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Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said Friday that he would be willing to vote for his competitor, Hillary Clinton, come November, but in a CNN interview Sunday he reiterated that he is not yet ready to formally endorse her.

Clinton will have to "stand up" and "be bolder" than she has been to ensure his voters — who are numerous enough to sink the Clinton campaign in the general election if they chose not to support her — will come around to the presumptive nominee, Sanders said. "Those people voted for me, I believe, because they said it is time to have a president who has the guts to stand up to big money interests," he explained, citing issues including health care, education, and fracking as topics on which he wants to see progress from Clinton.

Sanders also reiterated his strident opposition to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, but maintained that "a lot of that responsibility about winning the American people over to her side is going to rest with Secretary Clinton." Bonnie Kristian

11:51 a.m. ET
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The Supreme Court is due to render judgment Monday on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a major abortion case involving a Texas law which holds independent abortion clinics to state standards for "ambulatory surgical centers" (small facilities that host a limited range of surgeries) and requires the clinics' doctors to have admitting privileges at a full hospital no more than 30 miles away.

Supporters of the law say it is a necessary regulatory protection for women seeking abortions, while opponents note that in practice it has caused most Texan abortion clinics, which failed to meet these standards, to close. This, they say — and the Supreme Court will evaluate — places an "undue burden" on women per the standards of SCOTUS's 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Now, right before the ruling is expected to appear, a state employee has accused the Texas Department of Health Services of intentionally suppressing data relevant to the case and "instructing staff members to mislead people who ask for it." The information in question is the official annual data on abortions performed in Texas in 2014, the first full year the law under review was in effect.

The department has released a provisional data set which does not include the detail the final report will contain. "The data is not final," said spokeswoman Carrie Williams. "If the data were final, we would release it. We hope to have it finalized soon." Bonnie Kristian

11:33 a.m. ET
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Iceland elected its first new president in 20 years on Saturday, picking for the mostly ceremonial office a historian named Guðni Jóhannesson.

A professor at the University of Iceland, Jóhannesson campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, including a proposal to allow citizens to initiate referendums for the whole country of 323,000 to weigh in on proposed legislation. He has never been a member of a political party and only decided to run for office a few months ago.

The previous president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, served five consecutive four-year terms, but suffered a drop in popularity after the revelation that he, like former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal. Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi (or Althing), is the oldest extant democratic assembly in the world. Bonnie Kristian

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