Branden Camp, AP
When Tom Perez stepped to the stage as the newly elected Democratic national chairman, his first official act was to invite his vanquished rival to join him as deputy chairman. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison accepted on the spot and two men stood together, smiling like a national ticket at a presidential nominating convention. Members of the Democratic National Committee cheered wildly at their gathering in Atlanta on Saturday, forgetting the competitive race that took two rounds of voting — unprecedented in recent memory for either major party.
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President Donald Trump's job approval rating stands at just 44 percent — a record low for a newly inaugurated commander-in-chief — and half of Americans say that his early challenges suggest unique and systemic problems with his administration, according to a new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, NBC News reported.
In the poll, conducted February 18-22, 48 percent of Americans said they disapprove of Trump's performance as president and 32 percent said that his first month in office demonstrates that he is not up to the job. Asked about early challenges in the first month of his presidency, 52 percent called the issues "real problems" that are specific to his administration, while 43 percent of Americans attributed them to typical "growing pains" for any new president.
The new rating comes two days before Trump is set to address a joint session of Congress, a State of the Union-style speech in which new presidents typically lay out their vision for the country.
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Gerald Herbert, AP
A suspect is in custody after 28 people were injured Saturday when a vehicle plowed into a crowd watching the Krewe of Endymion parade in the Mid-City section of New Orleans, police said. Police Chief Michael Harrison said the suspect is being investigated for driving while intoxicated. Harrison was asked twice by the media if terrorism was suspected. While he didn't say "No" he did say it looks like a case of DWI.
The 89th Academy Awards should be a very schizophrenic affair: equal parts pomp and politics.
The only thing expected to take the stage more often than the frothy front-runner "La La Land" at Sunday's ceremony is protest (and probably some punchlines) over the policies of President Donald Trump. For largely liberal Hollywood, his election has proven a rallying cause-celebre throughout an awards season that has otherwise been a parade of honors for Damien Chazelle's celebrated musical.
Just how political things are going to get at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles may be the biggest question of Sunday night's show, to be broadcast by ABC beginning at 8:30 p.m. EST, with red carpet coverage starting earlier. The current forecast for Sunday is only a slight chance of rain, though the inside of the Dolby Theatre is expected to be far stormier.
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Across America, hundreds of thousands of school children are suspended, expelled or arrested each year. An NBC investigation shows that black students with disabilities are arrested, suspended or expelled far more often than other children.
Kathy Willens, AP (File)
LGBTQ advocates say President Donald Trump sent a worrying message after his administration withdrew Obama administration's guidance on transgender students protections in public schools.
"It makes me feel unimportant. It makes me feel angry. It makes me feel invisible," 16-year-old transgender student Grace Dolan-Sandrino told NBC Out.
The American Academy of Pediatrics was one of many health organizations that released a statement opposing the White House's decision.
"Policies excluding transgender youth from facilities consistent with their gender identity have detrimental effects on their physical and mental health, safety and well-being," the statement read.
According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40 percent of respondents reported attempting suicide in their lifetimes, nearly nine times the rate in the U.S. population.
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Andrew Harnik, AP
The Justice Department's plan to phase out its use of private prisons due to declining inmate populations and concerns about safety and security ended this week — without ever really taking effect.
The new administration has called for a crackdown on crime, and that could lead to more arrests, which could mean more inmates to fill the prisons.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week rescinded an Obama-era directive that sought to curtail the government's use of privately run prisons because, he said, it "impaired" the U.S. Bureau of Prisons' "ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system."
Those "needs" are not yet fully clear, as NBC News reports.
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The 15-year-old giraffe named "April," who has captivated millions of people across the world as they watch a live stream in anxious anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf at an upstate New York zoo, is still pregnant and doing well.
Veterinarians with the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, outside Binghamton, said April's progression continues, but giraffes tend to hide signs of labor as a natural instinct, so they can't confirm active labor.
That said, vets checked in on her twice overnight and "physical posturing and other activity observed would suggest we are close," the group wrote on Facebook Friday morning. Around 8:30 a.m., the live stream actually showed significant movement in April's belly as the long-necked beauty began to walk outside.
Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Donald Trump announced that he would not be attending the 2017 White House correspondents' dinner in a tweet Saturday evening.
"I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!" Trump tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday evening in National Harbor, Maryland. It was the ninth time that Pence has spoken at the gathering, but the first in his new role as vice president.
Ben Curtis, AP (File)
Iran's former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter Sunday to President Donald Trump, striking a somewhat conciliatory tone while applauding immigration to America and saying it shows "the contemporary U.S. belongs to all nations." It isn't the first dispatch sent by Ahmadinejad, who has counted U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama among his pen pals. But this letter, weighing in at over 3,500 words, comes as criticism of Trump over his travel ban affecting seven Muslim-majority countries including Iran.
Alex Wong, Getty Images (File)
A Republican congressman has called for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and was in touch with President Donald Trump's team during the campaign. Rep. Darrell Issa of California says it would be improper for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to lead the investigation. Issa made the comments Friday on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher."
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The Interior Department has put on hold changes to how the federal government values huge volumes of coal extracted from public lands, primarily in the Western United States, after mining companies challenged the agency in federal court. The move by the Trump administration means current rules governing the industry will remain in place pending decisions in the courts, according to an agency notification due to be published Monday in the Federal Register.
Richard Drew, AP
A trans-Atlantic wave of puzzlement is rippling across Sweden for the second time in a week, after a prominent Fox News program featured a "Swedish defense and national security advisor" who's unknown to the country's military and foreign-affairs officials. Swedes, and some Americans, have been wondering about representations of the Nordic nation in the U.S. since President Donald Trump invoked "what's happening last night in Sweden" while alluding to past terror attacks in Europe during a rally Feb. 18. There hadn't been any major incident in Sweden the previous night.