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5 things for March 20: Russia probe, Syria & ISIS, self-driving car, Taiwan, Turpins

It's the first day of sp...

Posted: Mar 20, 2018 12:28 PM
Updated: Mar 20, 2018 12:28 PM

It's the first day of spring! So, of course, the East Coast is prepping for yet another wicked nor'easter. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Russia investigation

Republicans have warned-President Trump: Don't-fire special counsel Robert Mueller. But they're apparently not willing to put their money where their mouth is. Even as Trump keeps up personal attacks on Mueller, GOP lawmakers aren't-so hot on passing a law to protect him. Most GOP Senate leaders say legislation -- including two bipartisan bills -- aren't needed because the President wouldn't actually fire Mueller. Then, there's Sen. Bob Corker, who said legislation to protect the special counsel should be in a must-pass bill to keep the government open past Friday.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to get more aggressive in dealing with the Russia investigation. He just hired a new personal lawyer best known for floating conspiracy theories on Fox News about the Justice Department framing the President. And for the first time, Trump's lawyers and Mueller's team met face-to-face last week and tried-to hash out the questions that could be asked of the President in a sit-down interview.

2. ISIS in Syria

ISIS is rebuilding in Syria, the US warns. That's because a key US ally in the ISIS fight has had to refocus its energy on fighting Turkey. Back in January, Turkey launched an offensive on the Kurds -- which Turkey considers a terrorist group -- in Afrin, Syria. Since then, Kurdish fighters have been diverted to Afrin, creating an opportunity for ISIS to regroup. The Turks targeted Afrin because they're afraid that Kurdish militias in Syria might one day help the Kurds push for independence.

3. Self-driving car death

It's the kind of milestone no one wanted to see. A woman was struck and killed by a self-driving car, in what's believed to be the first fatality involving a fully autonomous car. A test driver from Uber was behind the wheel -- but not in control -- when the SUV hit the woman, who was walking her bike across a street in Tempe, Arizona. Uber -- which is testing self-driving cars in Arizona, Pittsburgh, Toronto and a few other places -- put the brakes on its tests for now.

4. China & Taiwan

Newly emboldened at the start of a second term that could see him serve for life, Chinese President-Xi Jinping gave Taiwan a warning: We just-might be coming for you. The island of Taiwan has been self-governed since the end of China's civil war in 1949. The Chinese government considers it a breakaway province and has talked tough before about regaining control of it. But now that Xi can stay in power for life, he can execute longer-term strategies that could one day help China reclaim Taiwan.

5. Turpin children

The 13 California siblings allegedly held captive and tortured by their parents, have been released from the hospital and are living in three foster homes. The Turpin children are regularly talking to each other on Skype and are described as "happy" to be out of the home where their parents are said to have abused them. The CEO of the hospital where they were treated said the children "still have the capacity to love and trust people who have been good to them. Their spirit has not been crushed."


RIP rhino

The world's last male northern white rhino has died in Kenya, meaning the subspecies only has two females left.

Treasure hunt

Everyone thought those stories about $54 million in buried Civil War gold was just a myth -- until the feds started digging around the hills of northwest Pennsylvania.

Star trek

If Donald Trump can go from "The Apprentice" to the White House, Cynthia Nixon believes she can go from "Sex and the City" to the-New York-governor's mansion.

Mistaken identity

Jordan Peele's had a heck of a year. He-won an Oscar and (apparently) made a game-winning shot in the NCAA tourney, according to fans who mistook him-on social media for Michigan's Jordan Poole.

When the music stops

Fifth Harmony is going away for a while, so reach out and console the Harmonizers in your life.


$37 billion

That's how much value Facebook lost after word got out that a data firm linked to Donald Trump's presidential campaign accessed info on 50 million Facebook users.


"It was a shock because John McEnroe makes at least -150,000 (about $210,000). I get about -15,000 (about $21,000)."

Nine-time Wimbledon singles champion-Martina Navratilova, describing her shock upon learning that the BBC pays her 10 times less than her fellow tennis commentator. BBC says McEnroe is on air three times as much.


No DVDs required

What would it have been like to stream Netflix in 1995? Fire up your dial-up modem and find out. (Click to view.)

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