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Second chances
January 15, 2018

Apparently, it's really, really hard to get fired from the Hawaii Emergency Management System.

The worker who erroneously sent a message Saturday morning warning 1.4 million Hawaiians that a missile was headed for the island did not lose his job over the mishap, Richard Rapoza, spokesman for the Hawaii Emergency Management System, said Monday. He would not reveal where the unidentified employee now works, but did say "the individual has been temporarily reassigned within our Emergency Operations Center pending the outcome of our internal investigation, and it is currently in a role that does not provide access to the warning system." He also said people who work at the center have received death threats over the scare.

At 8:05 a.m. Saturday, the worker launched a computer program to start an internal test and was given a choice: hit "test missile alert" or "missile alert." He picked "missile alert," and two minutes later Hawaiians looked down at their phones and read a terrifying message: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL." It took a few minutes for U.S. Pacific Command to confirm there was no threat, but it wasn't until 8:45 that a new cellphone message went out: "False alarm. There is no threat or danger to the State of Hawaii." The Federal Communications Commission is investigating the incident, but FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has already brushed it off as an "honest mistake." Catherine Garcia

January 2, 2018

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was fired after a mere 10 days in office, but he is reportedly telling friends the 11th day may be coming soon.

The Daily Beast cites three unnamed sources "close to" the Mooch who independently indicated Scaramucci often talks about his ties to President Trump. Scaramucci reportedly says he speaks with Trump regularly — which was certainly the impression the Mooch strived to give in a Sunday appearance on CNN — and that the president's daughter and senior adviser, Ivanka Trump, wants to bring him back to the administration.

As the Daily Beast story notes, Scaramucci's testimony is the only evidence that exists of his possible return. White House aides contacted for comment said they thought a return of the Mooch seems very unlikely, as did several of Scaramucci's own friends. Reports from the time of the firing suggest Ivanka probably does not want Scaramucci back and that the president did not like it when the Mooch's theatrics upstaged his own. Bonnie Kristian

March 13, 2017

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Monday that she will seek a second referendum on Scotland's independence from the United Kingdom. Sturgeon said she will ask the Scottish Parliament for permission next week, as Britain gears up for its departure from the European Union following the Brexit vote last year. Though Britain voted in favor of exiting the EU, Scotland voted 62 percent to 38 percent in favor of staying in the European alliance.

Sturgeon said Monday she had to "make sure that Scotland will have a choice at the end of this process" as to whether it wants to "follow the U.K. to a hard Brexit, or to become an independent country able to secure a real partnership of equals with the rest of the U.K. and our own relationship with Europe." Sturgeon has been trying to negotiate with British Prime Minister Theresa May, but she said the U.K. government has not "moved even an inch in pursuit of compromise and agreement."

Scottish voters decided against leaving the U.K. in a 2014 referendum, but Sturgeon noted that since then there's been "a material change of circumstances." However, The Associated Press noted polls "do not indicate [independence] has majority backing," nor is it clear whether May will grant Scotland permission for a vote.

Sturgeon is hoping the vote could take place in fall 2018 or spring 2019, before Brexit is complete. Becca Stanek

January 4, 2017

If you watched the video of President-elect Donald Trump toasting his Dubai business partner Hussain Sajwani at his New Year's Eve bash at Mar-a-Lago and wondered about that bird sculpture being held to his right, it's a "one-of-a-kind bronze Eagle award" being presented to Trump by Joseph Cinque Sr., president and CEO of the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences (AAHS). Cinque, also known as "Joey No Socks," was convicted of a felony in 1989 over stolen art found in his apartment and, according to a 1995 profile in New York, was a friend of Gambino crime family boss John Gotti — Cinque, who says he wasn't fencing stolen art, claimed he ditched "the wiseguys" for "Muffy, Buffy, and Biff" after being shot and left for dead in 1980.

AAHS presents "Star Diamond" awards to restaurants and hotels, and Trump was an "ambassador extraordinaire" for the organization as recently as 2015. According to an Associated Press report last spring, roughly half of the other 30 or so honorary AAHS trustees are Trump family members, friends, and business associates. Trump's clubs, casinos, and restaurants have received several Star Diamond awards, some of them bearing Trump's own signature alongside Cinque's, and in a 2009 tribute, Trump called Cinque "a special guy," adding, "There's nobody like him."

In the spring, Trump downplayed his relationship with Cinque. "If a guy's going to give you an award, you take it," he told AP. "You don't tend to look up his whole life story." "I don't know him," Trump told Yahoo News in May. "I just find him to be a very nice man, and I don't know his background. I really don't." David Kay Johnston, who wrote a book about Trump, says he's flabbergasted at Trump's professed ignorance. "Let's assume Donald Trump doesn't know who this guy is — wow," he told CNN on Tuesday. "Donald Trump is so unaware and doesn't have people around him to warn him that you are standing next to a convicted felon who credibly claimed to have a relationship with John Gotti?" You can learn more in the CNN report below. Peter Weber

August 16, 2016

It's not the NBC Nightly News, but Brian Williams may get an 11 p.m. weeknight news program on MSNBC, CNN reports, citing "sources with knowledge of the plan." The proposed 30-minute show would be a nightly wrap-up of campaign news, replacing the first half hour of MSNBC's usual replay of the night's prime-time programming, CNN's Brian Stelter said, and there's no plan to extend the show past the election.

Williams was suspended from NBC's marquee news program in February 2015 after it emerged that he had exaggerated at least one war story on air, and he was permanently replaced by Lester Holt a few months later. In September 2015, he was put back on the air at MSNBC as a breaking news anchor, but he has not had a scheduled show. "By giving it a two-month time span, signaling that it will end after Nov. 8, MSNBC is giving Williams an anchoring opportunity while limiting the potential downsides," Stelter says. When Williams was put back on the air last September, CNN asked if the public was ready to "forgive" Williams — watch the video below — and now it looks like MSNBC is willing to bet that the answer is yes. Peter Weber

July 1, 2016

On Friday, Austria's Constitutional Court annulled the results of May's presidential runoff election, in which independent Green Party–backed candidate Alexander Van der Bellen defeated far-right nationalist Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer by less than 1 percentage point. The ruling, which cited allegedly improper handling of the mail-in ballots that tipped the election to Van der Bellen, ordered a new election, giving Hofer another shot to become the European Union's first far-right head of state. Hofer and his Freedom Party campaigned against immigration and economic hardship of the working classes.

Until the next election, probably in September or October, BBC News reports, President Heinz Fischer will be replaced by a triumvirate made up of Hofer and two other parliamentary officials. Peter Weber

August 31, 2015

While the NFL and Tom Brady failed to reach a settlement on Monday, that still meant that Jane Rosenberg — the courtroom sketch artist who became infamous after her unconventional sketch of the usually handsome Patriots quarterback went viral — had to show up for work and get a drawing done.

However, while today's sketch captures less of the surreal qualities of the original, it still expresses Rosenberg's signature style.

Rosenberg told CBS that in the days leading up to Monday's anticipated second-chance sketch, she "had sleepless nights" with Tom Brady on her mind. "It was a nightmare," she said.

Before Monday's appearance in court, Rosenberg also showed CBS her practice sketch of Brady, in which he looks decidedly less like he's melting:

"I don't like knowing people are really watching what I'm doing," Rosenberg told CBS. She added to the New York Daily News that even doing her practice sketch was hard. "I still found him very hard to draw — from a photo as well. Something subtle goes on with his eyes."

Sweet dreams, Rosenberg. It's all over — for now. Jeva Lange

April 20, 2015

In 1981, John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, shooting the president and three other people. Acquitted on grounds of insanity, Hinckley has spent most of the 34 years since in St. Elizabeth's psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. But since 2003, he has been allowed increasingly longer visits at his mother's house in Williamsburg, Virginia — since 2013, 17-day stretches out of the hospital, and perhaps more after a hearing this week.

The process of transitioning Hinckley back to life outside of confinement isn't without controversy, The Associated Press reports. Some people in Williamsburg are fine with the notorious part-time visitor, others are concerned. AP takes a look at his life now — he paints, plays guitar, and often wears hats and visors to avoid being recognized — in the video below. —Peter Weber

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