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5 things for March 1: Gun debate, Hope Hicks, Syria, Canada & India, teacher strike

The Oscars are Sunday. Need to cram? Here's ...

Posted: Mar. 1, 2018 11:36 AM
Updated: Mar. 1, 2018 11:36 AM

The Oscars are Sunday. Need to cram? Here's where you can find-30 nominated films. And 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.)

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1. Gun debate

Donald Trump is a master at reality TV. And no, we're not talking about "The Apprentice." We're talking about those live, freewheeling White House brainstorming sessions with lawmakers. Now,-they've had one on guns, and it-did not-go the way we all thought.

Trump defied GOP doctrine on guns and pushed strongly for expanded background checks and raising the age to buy a rifle to 21. He even advocated taking guns away from some people-ID'd as potentially dangerous ---before they go to court. And Trump-shut down GOP Rep. Steve-Scalise, who was shot last year at a congressional baseball practice,-when Scalise pitched lumping in a pro-concealed carry measure. In all,-Republicans were stunned. Democrats were elated. The NRA called it "great TV" but "bad policy." The real question is whether Trump sticks with this or just moves on.

Meanwhile, two retailers did some gun reform of their own. Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods both said they're raising the age for gun sales to 21, while Dick's is also ending sales of assault-style rifles.

2. Hope Hicks

This might be the most consequential of all the recent White House resignations.-Hope Hicks is stepping down as communications director. She's one of President Trump's closest and most trusted aides. She was always at his side on the campaign trail and even sometimes typed out his tweets. Hicks' departure was announced a day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee and admitted to telling white lies for Trump. CNN's Stephen Collinson says her absence will leave the President feeling more alone and isolated than ever, not a good thing as Trump preps for the battles ahead.

3. Syria

Two ceasefires ordered. Two ceasefires ignored. The fighting rages on in the Syrian rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta. Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted a daily five-hour "humanitarian pause" in the fighting so civilians could get out of the besieged area. But that was disregarded just like the UN's call for a 30-day ceasefire. Putin blames "extremist forces" for the violence. Rebel fighters and government forces accuse each other of breaking the truce.

4. Canada & India

Justin Trudeau's disastrous trip to India is over, but controversy over it continues. Since arriving back home, the Canadian Prime Minister seemed to back the notion that people within the Indian government tried to sabotage his weeklong visit. Of course, that ticked off the Indians, who called such talk "baseless and unacceptable." Trudeau's trip last week was widely panned-amid his own missteps and the-sense that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was snubbing him over Canada's alleged cozy relationship with Sikh separatists.

5. West Virginia teacher-strike

Schools will be closed again today in the Mountain State, despite an announced deal to end the teacher-strike. What's the hold up? The deal (which still has to be OK'd by lawmakers) gave teachers a 5% pay raise. But it didn't address concerns about health insurance. Now, teachers and other educators want an immediate fix so they can get back to classrooms.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

First light

Scientists say they've found traces of the first bits of light ever seen in the universe, thought to emit from the first stars formed after the Big Bang.

Lost and found

It was missing for decades, then turned up in a London apartment. Now, the painting often called the "African Mona Lisa" has sold for a cool $1.6 million.

In lieu of bouquets ...

The brides wore white -- and carried AR-15s -- during one of the strangest wedding ceremonies you'll ever witness.

Tell us what you really, really want

Will the Spice Girls perform at the royal wedding?-Mel B kind of hinted yes, then wanted to pretend she never said it, so who knows.

WHAT'S FOR LUNCH

Pulse massacre trial

Jury selection begins today-in the trial of the widow of the gunman who opened fire in 2016 inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 people. Noor Salman is accused of aiding and abetting Omar Mateen's material support to ISIS, as well as obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading investigators.-She has-pleaded not guilty.

TODAY'S NUMBER

60%

That's the rate at which anti-Semitic incidents rose last year, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League

TODAY'S QUOTE

"This amendment ... does not mean a life-long term system for leading officials."

China's state-run newspaper, People's Daily, arguing that Chinese President Xi Jinping-wouldn't necessarily stay in office, like, forever, as the country considers dropping presidential term limits

AND FINALLY

Master class

Tom Hanks changes a typewriter ribbon, and it's mesmerizing because we'll watch the beloved actor do pretty much anything on screen. (Click to view.)

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