We've passed the point of no returns. MSNBC has released two pages of President Donald Trump's 2005 taxes, revealing $150 million in reported income, but no details about income sources. The president paid $38 million in taxes, a rate of 25 percent, and $31 million of that in alternative minimum tax, which he's said should be abolished. Trump also wrote off $103 million in business losses. The White House condemned MSNBC's report but confirmed the forms' authenticity pre-emptively, leading Democrats to demand the president release the rest of his tax returns.
Will they go Wilders? As Dutch voters cast their ballots in today's parliamentary election, the world is watching the Netherlands as a bellwether for upcoming French and German elections. With far-right populism spreading across the Continent, the degree to which Islamophobic
demagogue Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration Party for Freedom succeed is seen as a portent for the rest of Europe. Despite Wilders falling behind the incumbent party in the most recent polls, some think a Brexit/Trump-style political earthquake could be on the horizon.
This could put the "go" in Glasgow. A new survey suggests that support for Scottish independence is at record levels - but it doesn't necessarily correlate with support for the EU. That means the promised second referendum on splitting from the U.K. may not focus on remaining in the European bloc. Prime Minister Theresa May is embarking on a goodwill tour of the U.K. this month, but some are skeptical she'll convince Scotland that hard Brexit is in its best interest, especially with a decimated pound sending import costs soaring across Britain.
"Obviously we're going to make some modifications." So said House Speaker Paul Ryan of the Republican replacement for Obamacare, which is expected to save money, but according to a nonpartisan government estimate would also leave 14 million more Americans uninsured next year and 24 million by 2026. Now Senate Republicans are suggesting the bill be changed to make it easier on low-income Americans, especially older ones, even as diehard conservatives maintain that it doesn't go far enough to dismantle Obamacare. Either way, Ryan says the bill won't be changing much.
Know This: China's begun new construction on a disputed island in the South China Sea. François Fillon, former front-runner in the French presidential election, is under
formal investigation over allegations that he paid his wife and children for jobs they never performed. And White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says he's "very confident" that the president will be vindicated in his unproven claim that he was wiretapped by the Obama administration.
Remember This Number: 440 to 880 million tons. That's the volume of insects consumed by spiders every year, according to scientists who hope humans will appreciate the world's 45,000 spider species for the work they do.
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Life imitates art. In season six of Mad Men, slick creative Don Draper
comes up with an eventually rejected ad campaign for Heinz ketchup. Now the company is actually using Draper's idea, with plans to run images of french fries, steaks and burgers without any ketchup, and the tagline "Pass the Heinz." They'll appear on several New York City billboards and in print magazines. The company's real-life ad agency, David Miami, brought the idea to Heinz - and will share credit with fictional company Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.
Sales trump everything. The first daughter is shutting down her fine jewelry
line after declining numbers (and boycotts from consumers) saw department stores like Nordstrom drop the label. But outraged tweets from President Trump and Kellyanne Conway's ethics-defying plug on Fox & Friends may have spurred sales of Ivanka's more affordable lines: They're up 557 percent. Her brand has opted to focus on those, abandoning the small percentage of sales brought in by what was reportedly Ivanka's first foray into licensing her name to a high-end manufacturer.
It might help with PR. When it comes to analyzing the ramifications of big bills - like the GOP's health care replacement plan - some conservatives are pushing "dynamic scoring," which takes into account the potential economic stimulus that tax cuts could provide. Liberals call it guesswork, arguing that George W. Bush's tax cuts didn't stimulate the economy. But some Republicans are disputing the Congressional Budget Office's analysis that Trumpcare would mean 24 million extra uninsured Americans - especially as the CBO said it hasn't explored the bill's wider macroeconomic implications.
History's turned over a new leaf. Swedish researchers have discovered two fossils
in central India of tiny red algae that date back 1.6 billion years - 400 million years older than the hitherto oldest plant-like fossils. That means complex multicellular organisms existed on Earth far earlier than previously thought. The microscopic plants, found accidentally by a researcher studying single-celled cyanobacteria, show distinct organelles and cell walls. While seemingly small, the plants' existence will likely shift the accepted timeline for the evolution of life on our planet.
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