January 20, 2017

At the Freedom Inaugural Ball in Washington, D.C., on Friday night, President Trump and first lady Melania Trump took the stage for their first dance to the song "My Way," made famous by the late Frank Sinatra and written by Paul Anka based on a French song by Claude François and Jacques Revaux. Trump had refused to rehearse the dance, CNN reports, and he set it up by talking about his victory in the presidential race, promising action and not talk, and marveling that the rain only poured once he was done with his inaugural speech. "My Way" was performed by a trio of vocalists:

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, came out halfway through — the Pences looked like they had rehearsed, or like dancing together — and Trump's children came out for the end of the song. Sinatra's daughter, Nancy Sinatra, wasn't necessarily impressed with Trump's selection for his first dance, saying on Twitter, "Just remember the first line of the song." Though, honestly, Anka's opening lyrics — "And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain" — is no less inappropriate an inauguration song than The Rolling Stones' "Heart of Stone." Peter Weber

7:51 a.m.

Meghan Markle is calling out Buckingham Palace for allegedly spreading "falsehoods" about her and Prince Harry in the latest clip from their highly-anticipated Oprah Winfrey interview.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will open up in an interview with Winfrey airing on Sunday after they stepped back as senior members of the Royal Family last year, and in a new clip from the discussion, Meghan accuses Buckingham Palace of playing an "active role" in spreading lies about them.

"I don't know how they could expect that after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there's an active role that the firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us," Meghan said. "And if that comes at the risk of losing things, there's a lot that's been lost already."

"The firm" is a term used to describe the royal family, CNN notes.

Days before this interview, Buckingham Palace announced it would investigate a report from the Times of London on allegations that Meghan bullied staffers, saying it's "clearly very concerned about" these allegations in what The Washington Post described as a "highly unusual" statement. A spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex blasted the report as a "calculated smear campaign based on misleading and harmful misinformation," adding that the allegations coming out shortly before the interview with Winfrey was scheduled to air is "no coincidence."

Asked by CNN about the newly-released clip, Buckingham Palace said it had "no comment." Brendan Morrow

1:53 a.m.

Fifteen years ago, as Victoria Johnson read a used book she had just purchased, a photograph that had been tucked inside fell out. This was the beginning of a mystery that she finally was able to solve last month, thanks to internet sleuths.

The picture was of a Black family, and Johnson, a professor in New York City, estimated by their clothes that the shot was taken in the 1960s. She would look at the photo often, wondering who they were and if they were still living. In February, Johnson asked for help on Twitter, and the picture was retweeted thousands of times.

The great-niece of the man in the photo messaged Johnson, to let her know it was a photo of Sheldon and Margaret Sudduth and their daughters, Valerie and Sharon. The picture was taken in 1964 at their home in Topeka, and mailed to relatives in New York City. While Sheldon and Margaret have died, Valerie and Sharon are both alive and reside in Texas.

During a phone call, Valerie Sudduth told Johnson that her mother, a nurse, was a widow, and met Sheldon at church. Sudduth explained to Johnson that in the picture, she "looks so happy because she was thrilled about her new dad. Sheldon was kind, funny, and gentle. He made her feel she could handle anything she set her mind to." The photo is now on its way to Sudduth. Catherine Garcia

1:01 a.m.

An abandoned lot in southeast Atlanta is now a vibrant free food forest, where neighborhood residents can learn about healthy eating while enjoying fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

The food forest spans 7.1 acres, with 2,500 edible and medicinal plants. The land was originally used by pecan farmers, and then rezoned for townhouses. When the property entered foreclosure, the Conservation Fund bought it, and with grant money and help from other organizations, it was transformed into the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill, the nation's largest free food forest.

The forest has nut trees, fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetables, and herbs, grown in a way that mimics nature, certified arborist Michael McCord said. McCord helps manage the forest, and told CNN everything in the space is "a teachable moment, whether it be trees, trails, bees or vegetables. That's what's most important to me — that we're raising awareness about sustainability and agriculture."

The city-owned and managed forest is in the Browns Mill neighborhood, a food desert where the closest grocery store is 30 minutes away by bus and 1 in 3 residents lives below the poverty line. More than 1,000 volunteers help keep the forest up and running by planting, watering, and harvesting crops. People are asked to only take as much food as needed, to ensure no one goes without. "It's really a park for everyone," Atlanta councilwoman Carla Smith told CNN. "Every time I go, there's a community there who respects and appreciates the fresh healthy foods." Watch the video below to get a look at the forest, pre-pandemic. Catherine Garcia

March 3, 2021

With a vote of 220-210, the House on Wednesday night passed House Resolution 1, a sweeping election reform bill that would eliminate partisan gerrymandering, expand early and mail-in voting, make voter registration automatic, and weaken voter ID laws.

Studies show that taking these steps would get more voters, especially those of color, to the polls. At Republican-controlled statehouses across the country, lawmakers are attempting to roll back voting access, citing former President Donald Trump's false claims that there was widespread election fraud in November. Trump lost Georgia, a state that saw record turnout, and on Monday the state House approved a bill that limits weekend early voting days, requires a photo ID for absentee voting, and restricts ballot drop box locations.

"You can win on the basis of your ideas and the programs you put forward, which is what we choose to do," Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), an author of H.R. 1, said. "Or you can try to win by suppressing the vote, drawing unfair districts across the country, and using big money to spread disinformation."

The bill needs 60 votes in the Senate, where it faces Republican opposition, and some believe this might be the measure that ends the filibuster. "Voting rights is preservation of all other rights, and we have to do everything we can to preserve the voices of the people in our democracy," Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) said. "I think the issues are urgent enough to leave all options on the table." Catherine Garcia

March 3, 2021

In a vote mostly along party lines, the House on Wednesday night passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would ban chokeholds and certain no-knock warrants, create a national database to track police misconduct cases, make it easier to hold officers accountable for misconduct in civil and criminal court, and end racial and religious profiling.

Last May, Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for more than nine minutes, and his death sparked worldwide protests against police brutality.

Two Democrats, Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Ron Kind of Wisconsin, voted against the bill, while Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Texas) said he accidentally voted for it, and will submit a correction. The measure passed in the House last summer, and was reintroduced in February by Democrats eager to see it made into law, now that the White House and Senate are also controlled by Democrats.

During the House floor debate, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said a "profession where you have the power to kill should be a profession that requires highly-trained officers who are accountable to the public." House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pushed back at Republicans who argue that this measure takes money away from police departments and puts officers in danger, saying, "It would be an irresponsible policy to defund the police, and we are not for that. You can say it, over and over and over again. It will be a lie, no matter how well it serves your political purposes." Catherine Garcia

March 3, 2021

The Department of Transportation's inspector general found that former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao used her office to benefit her family, primarily her father and sister, and in December referred the case to the Justice Department.

Chao, the wife of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), served in the Trump administration, and resigned on Jan. 7, following the Capitol riot. The report was sent to lawmakers on Tuesday, and includes more than a dozen instances of the office promoting the interests of Chao's father, who founded a shipping company in the 1960s, and her sister, who now runs the company.

The report states that in 2017, Chao had her staff plan an official trip to China. Her father, sister, and brother-in-law were set to join Chao, and she wanted the itinerary to include stops at locations that were only important to her family, such as two universities that receive funding from their charitable foundation. The trip was canceled after it raised ethics concerns among other government officials, The New York Times reports.

Investigators also learned that Chao asked staffers to help promote a book written by her father, edit his Wikipedia page, and check on the status of a work permit application for a foreign student who won a scholarship from Chao's family foundation. The report states that none of the Transportation Department employees who spoke with investigators said they ever felt "coerced" into performing "personal or inappropriate tasks for the secretary."

In December, the findings were referred to the Justice Department for a possible criminal investigation, but the DOJ decided not to take up the case. The inspector general ended the investigation due to a lack of "prosecutorial interest," but did refer the matter to the Transportation Department's general counsel "for any action it deems appropriate." Read more at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia

March 3, 2021

Disney will shutter at least 20 percent of its Disney Stores in the United States and Canada by the end of 2021, as the company focuses more on its online shopping business.

At least 60 stores will close, Disney said. There are about 300 Disney Stores worldwide, and the company is also considering making changes to operations in Europe. Disney did not say how many employees will lose their jobs, or which locations are slated to close. Disney Parks stores, Disney Stores inside Target, and outlets will not be affected, CNBC reports.

Disney said it will make improvements to the ShopDisney website; while the brick-and-mortar stores tend to cater to children, the e-commerce business will soon have more adult clothing options, home goods, and collectibles. Catherine Garcia

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