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October 13, 2017
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President Trump's March 5 deadline for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) immigration program isn't etched in stone, and Trump says he's willing to "give it some more time" if Congress doesn't step in to help the DREAMers first, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said outside a town hall event in Tulsa on Thursday night. "The president's comment to me," he said, "was that, 'We put a six-month deadline out there. Let's work it out. If we can't get it worked out in six months, we'll give it some more time, but we've got to get this worked out legislatively.'" A Lankford spokesman tells The Washington Post that Trump made the comments in a phone call with the senator last month.

Democrats and some Republicans are pushing for a vote on the DREAM Act, and Lankford is offering a more conservative alternative called the SUCCEED Act that offers young undocumented immigrants a 15-year path to citizenship but bars them from pulling their parents along. "I think we'll be actually voting on something like this in January or February," Lankford said. "These are kids that have grown up here. I'm not interested in deporting them and kicking them out. But I'm also not interested in them ending up in a limbo status on this." A bipartisan deal looked plausible until Trump released a list of hardline demands on Sunday night. Peter Weber

5:40 p.m. ET
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In an interview Tuesday with radio host Charlamagne tha God, rapper RZA confirmed that the actor Russell Crowe once spat on pop singer and rapper Azealia Banks at a party. RZA, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, admitted Crowe's conduct after initially denying the incident occurred.

In October 2016, Banks recounted the incident in a Facebook post, in which she alleged that Crowe spat on her, choked her, and called her the n-word as he kicked her out of a party he was hosting last year. (Banks later deleted the post.) Banks said she had attended the party as RZA's guest and shortly after the incident, she told E! News, "I felt betrayed, I felt humiliated, I felt low. It almost felt like a set-up."

After Banks expressed her disappointment that RZA did not stick up for her at the time, the Wu-Tang Clan founder made his own Facebook post disputing Banks' account of the night and alleging she spent the night "insulting half the room." He wrote: "There was nothing funny about her behavior. I felt a little embarrassed because she was my guest. Still verbal abuse can be tolerated but when it goes physical ... Azealia threatened to cut a girl in the face with a glass, then actually grabs a glass ... Russell blocked the attack and expelled her from the suite."

In Tuesday's interview, however, Charlamagne tha God asked RZA whether Crowe really had physically touched Banks or spat on her. "Look, he spit at her," RZA conceded. The host followed up and asked, "Did you check him at that point? That's a white dude spitting at a black woman, you have to check him." RZA dodged, saying that while Crowe apologized to him, "the night was crazy, bro, and I don't want to relive it. It was super-duper awkward."

Later that day, Azealia Banks called out RZA in an Instagram post, condemning him in graphic terms for talking about her in the media given that he has not apologized to her for the incident. Kelly O'Meara Morales

5:34 p.m. ET
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A computer program called AlphaGo Zero taught itself how to play a strategic game that is far more difficult than chess, Google found in a recent study, a feat both impressive and a little frightening.

Go is an East Asian strategy game, played on a 19-by-19 grid that has unlimited configurations, NPR explains. Researchers at Google's DeepMind lab developed a program last year using databases of known human configurations for the game, which went on to beat the best Go player on the planet, world champion Lee Sedol.

This time around, researchers at DeepMind tried something new. Instead of teaching the program, then called AlphaGo, known human configurations for the game, they let the machine discover them itself, NPR says. Scientists found that the use of human knowledge could actually impose limits on their program, and that starting with a blank slate was much more effective.

The resulting updated program — dubbed AlphaGo Zero — spent three days playing 4.9 million games of Go against itself. Then, AlphaGo Zero beat the original human knowledge-based version 100 games to 0. AlphaGo Zero also discovered configurations that humans have not yet figured out.

While AlphaGo Zero has some far-reaching implications for the future, it remains to be studied whether this "blank slate" concept may be applied to solving complex problems. Read the full published study at Nature, or a more about the story of AlphaGo Zero at NPR. Elianna Spitzer

4:44 p.m. ET
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Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), in an interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd about rising health-care costs, proposed last week that emergency rooms should be able to turn patients away.

In the interview, Black cited her experience working in health care to explain why mandating that emergency room workers see every patient who comes in is ineffective. "I'm an emergency room nurse," she told Todd on Friday. "There are people that came into my emergency room that I, the nurse, was the first one to see them. I could have sent them to a walk-in clinic or their doctor the next day, but because of a law that Congress put into place ... you took away our ability to say, 'No, an emergency room is not the proper place.'"

Black is seemingly referring to the 1986 Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, which banned hospitals from transferring uninsured patients from private to public hospitals. "That crowds the emergency room," Black said of the directive. "It drives the cost of emergencies up." When Todd asked Black if she was advocating a repeal of the law, she replied, "I would get rid of a law that says that you are not allowed, as a health-care professional, to make that decision about whether someone can be appropriately treated the next day, or at a walk-in clinic, or at their doctor."

Black's position is largely unpopular, even among conservatives at the Heritage Foundation, who suggest an "outright appeal" of the 1986 law is "unlikely." Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:41 p.m. ET
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Defense Secretary James Mattis wants to review Department of Defense properties after an Oct. 6 report found that 19 percent of military bases are unneeded, he wrote in a letter earlier this month. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, released Mattis' letter and the accompanying report Tuesday.

Mattis is urging closures that would take place under the Base Realignment and Closure program (BRAC). The last round of BRAC evaluations was approved over 14 years ago, in 2005, and the DoD is hoping Congress will allow a new review in 2021.

The push to re-evaluate military bases has been met with frustration from lawmakers who worry about economic and electoral consequences if base closures were to occur in their districts. The Pentagon, meanwhile, estimates that closures would result in billions of dollars in savings.

Mattis explained in his letter to Congress: "The BRAC process provides opportunities for military forces to be more effective, for capabilities to be enhanced, and for savings to be applied to higher priorities." Elianna Spitzer

4:25 p.m. ET
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President Trump promised the father of an army corporal slain in Afghanistan a $25,000 check and a fundraiser to support his family, but failed to deliver on either pledge, The Washington Post reports. Chris Baldridge said he spoke to Trump on the phone after his son, Army Cpl. Dillon Baldridge, 22, was killed in June. When Baldridge explained to Trump that he would see none of his son's $100,000 death gratuity, which was designated to go to his ex-wife, "[Trump] said, 'I'm going to write you a check out of my personal account for $25,000,' and I was just floored," Baldridge recalled.

Later, when Baldridge received a letter from the White House, he realized Trump hadn't followed through on the promise: "I opened it up and read it, and I was hoping to see a check in there, to be honest," he said. "I know it was kind of far-fetched thinking. But I was like, 'Damn, no check.' Just a letter saying 'I'm sorry.'"

Other Gold Star families contacted by the Post described mixed interactions with Trump. Euvince Brooks, whose son, Sgt. Roshain E. Brooks, 30, was killed in Iraq, said he was upset when he saw Trump claim that he had called all families of slain troops since taking office. "I said to my daughter, 'Can you teach me to tweet, so I can tweet at the president and tell him he's a liar?'" Brooks said. His family has not heard from the White House at all.

William Lee, whose brother Army 1st Lt. Weston Lee was killed in Iraq in April, said Trump did call his family and that the conversation was "very cordial and very nice." "It meant something, the leader of our nation calling us and showing the honor and respect to my brother that I feel my brother earned," Lee said.

The White House initially declined to comment to the Post for the story, but later issued a statement about Baldridge: "It is disgusting that the media is taking something that should be recognized as a generous and sincere gesture, made privately by the president, and using it to advance the media's biased agenda," a spokesperson said. The White House said Baldridge's check is now in the mail. Read the full report at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

3:52 p.m. ET
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On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters asking about the state of the North American Free Trade Agreement that it is "not yet" dead.

Trump's final decision on NAFTA has been widely anticipated. Last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Trump at the White House and called for maintaining a "fairer" agreement that would "produce better outcomes" for the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, characterized the Trump administration's proposals as "turn[ing] back the clock on 23 years of predictability, openness, and collaboration under NAFTA."

Trump has remained less than forthcoming about his intentions. "We'll see what happens," Trump said in the Oval Office when asked if NAFTA was dead. "We have a tough negotiation, and it's something you will know in the not too distant future." Jeva Lange

3:45 p.m. ET
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Drones may soon be responsible for some of the news coverage you watch on TV.

For the first time ever, the Federal Aviation Administration has approved a request for a news organization to use drones for aerial shots. The network, CNN, announced the move Wednesday.

CNN worked with Vantage Robotics for over two years to create its drone, researching and testing various devices. The network's final model, called a Snap, can fly up to 150 feet, weighs only 1.37 pounds, and contains enclosed rotors for maximum security while flying over people. Previous exemptions have limited drone usage to tethered filming up to only 21 feet in the air.

CNN has been leading the pack in developing drones for news coverage. Earlier this year, the FAA approved CNN's use of a drone for filming on a closed set motion picture. The waiver is a major step forward for news organizations looking to use the devices to safely capture footage of protests or dangerous areas. Elianna Spitzer

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