On Wednesday, Retired Marine Sgt. Maj. John Canley of California –a Vietnam War veteran who saved 20 fellow Marines despite being wounded several times during an intense seven-day battle in 1968 — was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Trump. In an East Room ceremony at the White House attended by many former members of his Alpha Company, Mr. Canley, 80, was decorated by the president for his heroic actions during the Battle of Hue during the communists’ Tet Offensive. Mr. Trump told Mr. Canley that “America is the greatest force for peace, justice and freedom the world has ever known because of you and people like you.” Mr. Canley is a native of Arkansas who enlisted in the military using false papers at age 15, and served in Vietnam for more than five years. During the Tet Offensive, his company of the First Battalion, First Marines Regiment was ordered to take back Hue from communist forces.
Canada has become the second country after Uruguay to legalize possession and use of recreational cannabis. Medical marijuana has been legal in the country since 2001. At least 111 legal pot shops are planning to open across the nation of 37 million people on the first day, according to an AP survey of the provinces. That is just a sample of what ultimately will be a much larger marketplace. No stores will open in Ontario, which includes Toronto. The most populous province is working on its regulations and doesn’t expect stores until next spring. Canadians everywhere will be able to order marijuana products through websites run by provinces or private retailers and have it delivered to their homes by mail. Canadian provinces and municipalities have been preparing for months for the end of cannabis prohibition. They are responsible for setting out where cannabis can be bought and consumed.
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A hazardous materials team was sent to the home of Republican Sen. Susan Collins on Monday, this after her husband received a letter with a note saying the envelope contained ricin. The FBI said preliminary tests on the letter and its contents indicated that there was no threat to the public, and the senator and her husband were allowed to stay in the home Monday night. It was unclear who sent the letter and why. Annie Clark, the senator’s spokeswoman, said “today’s incident is the latest in a series of threats against Senator Collins, her loved ones, and her staff.” The senator’s husband, Thomas Daffron, was at home when the letter arrived on Monday, but Collins wasn’t there. Collins issued a statement, expressing her thanks to first responders and other agencies participating in the investigation. The investigation into the letter, its contents and origin, is ongoing.
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At least 62 cases of a “polio-like” illness causing paralysis in children have been confirmed across 22 states so far this year, according to the CDC. The exact cause of the illness, called Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), is unknown – although it has been linked to a number of viruses, environmental toxins and genetic disorders. The condition largely affects children, and often begins with an upper respiratory infection, progresses to weakness, and leaves victims paralyzed within 24 hours. The rapid progression of the illness has drawn attention from medical experts. Though still considered rare, this is the largest outbreak in the nation of AFM since 2016, when there were 149 cases confirmed in 39 states including Washington D.C. There have been at least 386 confirmed cases of AFM in the United States since 2014, including 120 cases in 2014. Experts remind the public that while the effects of AFM are often compared to polio, it is not nearly as widespread.
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Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates, died Monday afternoon after a battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65. Allen was not only a tech billionaire, he was a philanthropist as well as the owner of the Seattle Seahawks and the Portland Trail Blazers. Allen and Gates were childhood friends; Allen was best known for cofounding Microsoft in 1975 with Gates. He left the company in 1983 after receiving a diagnosis for Hodgkin’s disease, which he beat. Earlier this month, Allen announced that he was once again receiving treatment for lymphoma. He was last treated for the disease in 2009. At the time, Allen said that he planned on staying involved with his various business ventures. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella released a statement Monday praising Allen’s “inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards.”
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President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump toured the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia on Monday, in the wake of mass devastation left by Hurricane Michael last week. The President praised the work being done by Florida Gov. Rick Scott and emergency workers in the wake of the storm. While speaking to media shortly after landing at Eglin Air Force Base, Trump said “Gov. Rick Scott has done an incredible job. He steps up in the biggest emergencies and the biggest problems.” Trump declared a state of emergency in Georgia last week, releasing federal resources to help the state. The White House said it was fully committed to helping state and local agencies with recovery efforts.
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Sears has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, after no longer being able to deal with its massive debt and losses. The company will close 142 stores before the end of the year and its CEO, Eddie Lampert, will step down, though he will remain its chairman. Lampert has blamed the company’s decline on the media, shifts in consumer spending, and the rise of e-commerce, among other reasons. In a statement on Monday, Lampert said: “Over the last several years, we have worked hard to transform our business and unlock the value of our assets.” Lampert said that Sears and Kmart stores “remain open for business” towards the holiday season, and that the bankruptcy process will allow the chain to “strengthen its balance sheet,” to “accelerate its strategic transformation,” and ultimately to “return to profitability.” Sears once dominated the American retail landscape. The company started out as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, but has lagged behind its competition and has incurred massive losses over the years. The operator of Sears and Kmart stores joins a growing list of retailers that have filed for bankruptcy or liquidated in the last few years.
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On Thursday, sources close to the matter said that President Donald Trump’s lawyers are preparing answers to questions for the U.S. special counsel probing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. This new development appears to show progress after several months of talks between the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Trump’s legal team in connection with the president answering questions in the investigation. President Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said last month that Mueller wanted the president to commit to a follow-up interview to any written questions, which Trump’s legal team was resisting. But sources now say that Mueller is willing to accept written answers to questions without a commitment from Trump’s lawyers over what comes next.
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Hurricane Michael has left damage and destruction in Florida, where many homes have been destroyed. The storm also has brought flash flooding to hurricane-weary parts of North and South Carolina and Virginia. Florida’s Panhandle is a disaster zone after Michael brought catastrophic winds, heavy rain and devastating storm surge. Some of the worst damage was in Mexico Beach, where the hurricane crashed ashore Wednesday as a Category 4 monster with 155 mph winds and a storm surge of 9 feet. Michael was the third-most powerful hurricane ever to make landfall in the U.S. mainland, and the storm has been blamed for at least six deaths. As of Thursday evening, more than 900,000 homes and businesses in the Southeast had no electricity. Michael hit North Carolina and South Carolina as a tropical storm with heavy downpours and and threats of tornadoes.