March 5, 2018

President Trump appeared to suggest Monday morning that Mexico and Canada could be exempt from his steel and aluminum tariffs if a "new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed."

The tweets came before a meeting between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, Reuters reports. "Canada must treat our farmers much better," Trump tweeted, adding that Mexico "must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S."

The president has previously called the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement the "single worst trade deal ever approved in this country." Talking Points Memo notes that "it's not clear whether a new NAFTA agreement would prompt Trump to nix tariffs on Mexico and Canada, or on all foreign countries." Jeva Lange

October 18, 2017
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In an interview Tuesday with radio host Charlamagne tha God, rapper RZA confirmed that the actor Russell Crowe once spat on pop singer and rapper Azealia Banks at a party. RZA, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, admitted Crowe's conduct after initially denying the incident occurred.

In October 2016, Banks recounted the incident in a Facebook post, in which she alleged that Crowe spat on her, choked her, and called her the n-word as he kicked her out of a party he was hosting last year. (Banks later deleted the post.) Banks said she had attended the party as RZA's guest and shortly after the incident, she told E! News, "I felt betrayed, I felt humiliated, I felt low. It almost felt like a set-up."

After Banks expressed her disappointment that RZA did not stick up for her at the time, the Wu-Tang Clan founder made his own Facebook post disputing Banks' account of the night and alleging she spent the night "insulting half the room." He wrote: "There was nothing funny about her behavior. I felt a little embarrassed because she was my guest. Still verbal abuse can be tolerated but when it goes physical ... Azealia threatened to cut a girl in the face with a glass, then actually grabs a glass ... Russell blocked the attack and expelled her from the suite."

In Tuesday's interview, however, Charlamagne tha God asked RZA whether Crowe really had physically touched Banks or spat on her. "Look, he spit at her," RZA conceded. The host followed up and asked, "Did you check him at that point? That's a white dude spitting at a black woman, you have to check him." RZA dodged, saying that while Crowe apologized to him, "the night was crazy, bro, and I don't want to relive it. It was super-duper awkward."

Later that day, Azealia Banks called out RZA in an Instagram post, condemning him in graphic terms for talking about her in the media given that he has not apologized to her for the incident. Kelly O'Meara Morales

May 17, 2017
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For now, it looks like President Trump will not be fulfilling his campaign promise to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing a White House official. While this means Trump won't be making good on his word, Bloomberg noted that he will be "avoiding a provocation that could drive Palestinians away from peace talks."

In March 2016, Trump announced during a speech at the American Israeli Political Action Committee conference that he'd relocate the embassy to Jerusalem. While Trump declared the city the "eternal capital of the Jewish people," both Jews and Palestinians claim it to be theirs. Moving the Israeli embassy to Jerusalem would have effectively signaled that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people, likely throwing a wrench in Trump's other promise: to try to facilitate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.

The Trump official told Bloomberg that peace talks with Israel and Palestine appear to be "promising" right now, which made the administration think it might not be "wise" to move the embassy "at this time." "We've been very clear what our position is and what we would like to see done, but we're not looking to provoke anyone when everyone's playing really nice," the official said.

Trump's plans to be the great maker of peace between Israel and Palestine hit another hiccup earlier this week when an American diplomat angered the Israeli prime minister by describing one of Judaism's holiest sites, the Western Wall, as being located in the West Bank, which is partially controlled by the Palestinian government. Trump is slated to visit the Western Wall in his first trip abroad next week. Becca Stanek

February 21, 2017
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Pluto might get a second chance at being a planet. A group of NASA scientists has submitted a request to the International Astronomical Union (IAU) to broaden the definition of what classifies as a planet. If the new definition were to win IAU's approval, Pluto — presently considered a "dwarf planet" — and 109 other space objects would become planets.

Pluto lost its planetary status in 2006 after the IAU voted in favor of a new, three-part definition of what it takes to be a planet. Pluto met two of the three criteria, as it orbits around the sun and has sufficient mass to maintain the round shape characteristic of planets. However, Pluto is just not big enough to clear other objects out of its orbital space, and thus it was downgraded from the planetary status it had held since 1930.

Alan Stern, head of NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto and one of the scientists behind the new definition, has deemed Pluto's demotion "bulls--t." The scientists argue the definition determined in 2006 is too narrow, and suggest it should be expanded to include all "round objects in space that are smaller than stars." "In the mind of the public, the word 'planet' carries a significance lacking in other words used to describe planetary bodies," the proposal reads. "In the decade following the supposed 'demotion' of Pluto by the International Astronomical Union, many members of the public, in our experience, assume that alleged 'non-planets' cease to be interesting enough to warrant scientific exploration." Becca Stanek

January 9, 2015
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NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told NPR's Robert Siegel that a work slowdown had occurred after all, after denying the charge earlier this week.

"We're coming out of what was a pretty widespread stoppage of certain types of activity, the discretionary type of activity by and large," Bratton said. "I'm very conscious of the impact of all of those on my personnel."

The Washington Post reported earlier this week that criminal summonses, along with traffic tickets, were down 90 percent compared to last year. Bratton told NPR that despite the steep drop in criminal summonses, major crimes in the city were still down.

The slowdown was viewed by many to be a protest against New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio — it comes just weeks after hundreds of officers who attended the funerals of two slain colleagues turned their backs on the mayor during his eulogies at each service. Bratton said the department is now slowly returning to a normal level of policing in the city. Sarah Eberspacher