People are also talking about how Antarctica's rate of ice loss has tripled, the Duchess Meghan on her first joint appearance with the queen and a new report saying minimum-wage workers can't afford a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere.
Report on FBI actions in Clinton email case set for release
The Justice Department's internal watchdog is expected to criticize the FBI's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, stepping into a political minefield while examining how a determinedly nonpartisan law enforcement agency came to be entangled in the 2016 presidential race.
The inspector general's report is set for release Thursday afternoon. It's likely to be painstakingly detailed, the culmination of an 18-month review into one of the most consequential FBI investigations in recent history.
President Donald Trump will look to the inspector general report to provide a fresh line of attack against two former top FBI officials, Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, as he claims that a politically tainted bureau tried to undermine his campaign and, through the Russia investigation, his presidency. Trump will almost certainly use the report to validate his firing of Comey last year.
But the report could do more to back Democratic claims that the FBI contributed to Clinton's defeat, most notably by reopening in the final days of the race its investigation into whether she mishandled classified information. That development unfolded as Trump's own campaign — unbeknownst at the time to the American public — also came under FBI investigation for possible coordination with Russia.
The Clinton report will examine key actions by FBI leaders. People familiar with the report's findings say the inspector general has reached unflattering conclusions for many FBI officials.
Russia's psychic cat Achilles picks home team in World Cup
Who will win the first match of the World Cup? The cat is out of the bag. Literally.
Russia's psychic cat Achilles picked the home team.
The cat — who is deaf and lives at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg — was presented with two plates of cat food: One was marked with a Russian flag, the other with a Saudi flag. Achilles hesitated before going for the Russia plate.
The cat was then dressed in Russia's uniform and posed for the cameras.
Hermitage veterinarian Anna Kondratyeva said she's sure Achilles made the right call. She said he "loves his motherland and couldn't vote otherwise."
Achilles became famous by correctly predicting several matches during the Confederations Cup in Russia last summer.
Chicago taps Elon Musk’s company to build high-speed tunnels that would tie Loop with O’Hare
The Chicago Tribune reports that autonomous 16-passenger vehicles would zip back and forth at speeds exceeding 100 mph in tunnels between the Loop and O’Hare International Airport under a high-speed transit proposal being negotiated between Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s City Hall and billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s The Boring Co., city and company officials have confirmed.
Emanuel’s administration has selected Musk’s company from four competing bids to provide high-speed transportation between downtown and the airport. Negotiations between the two parties will ensue in hopes of reaching a final deal to provide a long-sought-after alternative to Chicago’s traffic gridlock and slower “L” trains.
In choosing Boring, Emanuel and senior City Hall officials are counting on Musk’s highly touted but still unproven tunneling technology over the more traditional high-speed rail option that until recently had been envisioned as the answer to speeding up the commute between the city’s central business district and one of the world’s busiest airports.
Emanuel and Boring officials said it’s too early to provide a timeline for the project’s completion or its estimated cost, but they said Boring would pay for the entire project.
“We’re talking about a Tesla-in-a-tunnel,” Chicago Deputy Mayor Robert Rivkin told the Chicago Sun-Times. As for the risk of an unproven technology, Rivkin told the paper that the “only real risk to the city is that it doesn’t get built. … It’s not much of a risk to have a partially-built, essentially cave-in-proof sealed tunnel 30-to-60 feet underground in some portion of the city.”
Report: A minimum-wage worker can't afford a 2-bedroom apartment anywhere in the US
By Tracy Jan, (c) 2018, The Washington Post
The economy's booming. Some states have raised minimum wages. But even with recent wage growth for the lowest-paid workers, there is still nowhere in the country where someone working a full-time minimum-wage job could afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Not even in Arkansas, the state with the cheapest housing in the country. One would need to earn $13.84 an hour - about $29,000 a year - to afford a two-bedroom apartment there. The minimum wage in Arkansas is $8.50 an hour.
Even the $15 living wage championed by Democrats would not make a dent in the vast majority of states.
In Hawaii, the state with the most expensive housing, one would have to make $36.13 - about $75,000 a year - to afford a decent two-bedroom apartment. The minimum wage in Hawaii rose to $10.10 an hour this year.
It gets worse in many metropolitan areas. San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties top the list of most expensive jurisdictions, where one would need to make $60.02 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment.
"The housing crisis is growing, especially for the lowest-income workers," said Diane Yentel, president of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. "The rents are far out of reach from what the average renter is earning."
Downsizing to a one-bedroom apartment will only help so much.
According to the report, a one-bedroom is affordable for minimum-wage workers in only 22 counties in five states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Those states all set their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum of $7.25.
Nationally, one would have to earn $17.90 an hour to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment or $22.10 an hour for a two-bedroom rental. That's based on the common budgeting standard of spending a maximum of 30 percent of income on housing.
The report estimates that renters nationally make an average of $16.88 an hour. That means even those making above minimum wage struggle to afford rent.
Duchess Meghan makes first joint appearance with queen
LONDON (AP) — The former Meghan Markle is making her first joint appearance with Queen Elizabeth II on an official royal visit to the northwest of England.
The queen and the Duchess of Sussex, as Markle is now known, traveled by a special royal train for a series of events Thursday.
Their first stop featured a performance by local school children in the town of Widnes, near Liverpool.
The duchess, who wore a beige Givenchy pencil dress, sat next to the queen for the performance. It will be followed by events including the unveiling of a plaque to officially open the Mersey Gateway Bridge.
The duchess, a former actress on the TV show "Suits," is easing into royal duties after marrying Prince Harry last month.