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February 29, 2016

"Our main story tonight — and I can't even believe I'm saying this — is Donald Trump," said John Oliver on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. Oliver said he has avoided covering Trump as much as possible, but with his string of victories and likely nomination, "at this point, Donald Trump is America's back mole — it may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it has gotten frighteningly bigger, it is no longer wise to ignore it." Still, Oliver noted, Trump is genuinely funny and entertaining. "There is a part of me that even likes this guy," he said. "It's a part I hate, but it is a part of me."

But Trump's appeal doesn't last if you dig a little deeper. For the next 15 minutes, Oliver looked at Trump's favorable attributes, as named by supporters, and shredded each one. Truth-teller? Independent and self-financing? Tough? Oliver even took on Trump's biggest selling point, and biggest potential liability — his business success and wealth. "Trump's lack of sound financial instincts is perhaps best exemplified by the business he put his name on back in 2006, just before the entire housing market collapsed," Oliver said of the short-lived Trump Mortgage. "In fact, starting a mortgage company in 2006 was one of the worst decisions you could possibly make."

But Trump seems magic, even charmed. "Even when you can demonstrably prove Trump to be wrong, it somehow never seems to matter," Oliver said "You can hold his feet to the fire, but he'll just stand there on the stumps, bragging about his fireproof foot skin." It has to do with Trump's years of brand-building, using himself as his mascot. To separate the man from the success-dripping legend, Oliver traced Trump's family name back to Drumpf. And he ran with it, big time.

"So if you are thinking of voting for Donald Trump, the charismatic guy promising to make America great again, stop and take a moment to imagine how you would feel if you just met a guy named Donald Drumpf, a litigious serial liar with a string of broken business ventures and the support of a former Klan leader who he can't decide whether or not to condemn," Oliver said. "Would you think he would make a great president, or is the spell somewhat broken?" He wasn't done. You can now click on the hashtag #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain, or download a Chrome extension and buy a hat at DonaldJDrumpf.com. Oliver even ended with a new Donald Drumpf campaign anthem — and a nod to Trump's coming lawsuit. Watch below. Peter Weber

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 cpmplete. Bonnie Kristian

12:18 p.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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 Sec. 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

10:58 a.m. ET
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Alexander Hamilton is among the most famous American statesmen to never be president, but the hit Broadway musical based on his life will perhaps help Hillary Clinton do what Hamilton did not.

The Clinton campaign has rented the whole 1,300-seat Richard Rogers Theatre for a special fundraising performance of Hamilton on Tuesday, July 12. Individual tickets start at $2,700 — the same as the maximum individual donation permitted for a given federal candidate per election cycle — though big spenders can pay $100,000 to sit with Clinton herself and get an invite to the Democratic National Convention, which may also host Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The money raised — expected to top $3.5 million — will be split between the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee per a joint fundraising agreement. Bonnie Kristian

10:39 a.m. ET

At least two people have died in a fast-moving wildfire in central California which started on Thursday and is finally showing signs of slowing its growth. Firefighters found additional remains in a mobile home Saturday, but they were too badly burned to immediately determine whether the body belonged to a human or an animal.

The fire has spread to cover about 35,000 acres and has destroyed 150 homes so far. Evacuations from affected areas are mandatory, and firefighters say the blaze is 10 percent contained as of Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

10:13 a.m. ET
Yuri Gripas/Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry updated his European itinerary to include stops in London and Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, abbreviating in the process scheduled talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While in each city, Kerry will meet with top diplomats to address the implications of the Brexit vote and urge a careful approach to the extrication process. Kerry believes a smooth transition will help "the marketplace understand there are ways to minimize disruption, there are ways to smartly move ahead in order to protect the values and interests that we share."

"The most important thing," he said in Rome on Saturday, "is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible." Bonnie Kristian

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