Election 2016

Credit Photo: Andrew Malone (Flickr)

A scandal that erupted last week in Australia over an affair between Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and one of his female staffers has devolved into an open conflict between Joyce and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that threatens to take down the coalition government.

In an extraordinary news conference on Thursday, Turnbull announced a ban on government ministers having sex with staff amid pressure over Joyce to step down over the affair with his former press secretary, Vikki Campion.

Senate Fails To Advance Any Immigration Proposals

Feb 15, 2018

Updated at 4:25 p.m. ET

The Senate failed to pass any immigration legislation before a self-imposed Friday deadline, leaving lawmakers with no plan to address the roughly 700,000 immigrants who stand to lose legal protections as early as March 5.

The defeat follows a rocky 24 hours of negotiations on a bipartisan bill that failed following a veto threat from President Trump. By a 39-60 vote, senators rejected a White House-backed plan that became a partisan lightning rod after Trump insisted his plan was the only one he would sign.

CHART: Tracking Retirements From Congress

Feb 15, 2018

Updated on Feb. 15, 6:27 p.m. ET

The number of House Republicans declining to run for re-election has hit a record level in 2018, as 35 GOP members have said they are leaving: Nineteen are retiring from public office, while 14 are seeking another position. That includes six Republicans from districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. A total of nine committee chairmen also aren't seeking re-election.

Addressing the nation after Wednesday's Florida school shooting that left 17 people dead, President Trump said no child or teacher "should ever be in danger in an American school."

He said he will meet with governors and attorneys general to deal with the issue of mental health.

Speaking from the White House, Trump said it was "not enough to simply take actions that make us feel we are making a difference, we must actually make that difference."

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 16-5 to advance a bill that would ease mandatory minimum sentences for some drug criminals, but its prospects on the Senate floor are uncertain after opposition from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and at least one big law enforcement group.

Zimbabwe's leading opposition politician, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was the arch political rival of ex-President Robert Mugabe, has died in a hospital in South Africa. He was 65 and had colon cancer.

Tsvangirai (pronounced chan-ghee-RYE) came to symbolize courageous resistance to Mugabe's repressive regime — and changed politics in Zimbabwe. As hard as he tried, he never managed to oust Mugabe at the ballot box. But the charismatic mineworker and labor union leader turned politician, and founder in 1999 of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, came close.

President Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen admitted that he paid Stephanie Clifford, the porn star who goes by the name Stormy Daniels who alleges she had an affair with Trump, $130,000 out of his own pocket shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer has reversed course and will challenge Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, finally giving Republicans a top recruit in a state that President Trump won by more than 30 points and making it a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP in 2018.

On Facebook, Cramer posted he will be announcing his Senate candidacy on Friday in Bismarck.

Listen: NPR's Live Special Coverage Of President Trump's Address Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Kristen Hotopp stands in the front yard of her well-worn East Austin home, where she has lived for the past 17 years. She points across the street at an attractive, nearly new, two-story home — by far the nicest on the block.

"There are two units on this lot," Hotopp says. "There's a house in the back that's smaller and a house upfront. We're getting investors descending upon the area and buying up a lot of these properties."

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