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Updated at 8:29 p.m. ET

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is doubling down on his defense of President Trump as well as Rudy Giuliani's role in the Ukraine controversy amid the impeachment inquiry.

The Italian government declared a state of emergency Thursday in Venice following the city's worst flooding in over 50 years. On Tuesday, high tides allowed the high-water mark to reach 6 feet, 2 inches, just 2 inches less than the record measurement in 1966.

The leather industry hit a peak in 2014. Retailers were forced to find cheaper, artificial alternatives. Now, leather is struggling to regain the market share it lost. The trade war is not helping.

The latest go-to place for visiting movie and TV locations: Northern Ireland, where Game of Thrones characters plundered and pillaged. The series ended, but it's revitalizing the economy.

Civil rights groups and lawmakers are pushing tech companies to prepare for an onslaught of disinformation that could turn people off from the 2020 census, especially among communities of color.

For World Kindness Day, six newborn babies at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh were dressed up as the late Fred Rogers.

Members of the Michigan State University marching band are braving below freezing temperatures to take part in "Sparty Watch" — a more than 50-year-old protection scheme devised to fend off attacks on MSU's beloved mascot, The Spartan, in advance of their rivalry football game on Saturday.

It's 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, and 22 degrees. Twenty members of the MSU marching band and color guard are huddled outside in the snow flanking the 9-foot bronze statue.

When the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was abruptly removed from her post this year, some Democratic lawmakers called it "a political hit job." Now the congressman in charge of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is making the case that Marie Yovanovitch's ouster is part of the story of a president abusing his power in relations with Ukraine.

Yovanovitch will be the sole witness Friday, the second day of the inquiry's public hearings over whether Trump used military aid as leverage to pressure Ukraine into investigations that would benefit him politically.

Back in May, three Indiana judges got into a fight. It was the crescendo of an incident brimming with colorful details: a gaggle of judges drinking the night before a judicial conference, a failed attempt to visit a strip club called the Red Garter, a brawl in the parking lot of an Indianapolis White Castle.

The altercation apparently started sometime after 3 a.m., when one of the judges, Sabrina Bell, raised a middle finger at two men yelling from a passing SUV, and ended after one of those men shot two of the judges.

After 43 years in the State Department, Anne Patterson got a plum job offer from the Pentagon and thought the opportunity would be an honorable way to cap her long career as a foreign service officer.

But then Patterson's nomination unleashed a torrent of articles in conservative media that painted her as a clandestine partisan or worse. And shortly after the headlines rocketed around the Internet, then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis withdrew Patterson's nomination, and she eventually left government.

More than a week after Election Day, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin is conceding the Kentucky gubernatorial election to Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear after a recanvass failed to significantly change the close final margin.

"We are going to have a change in the governorship based on the vote of the people," Bevin said at an afternoon news conference.

The International Criminal Court has greenlighted an investigation into possible crimes against humanity perpetrated against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority. Since 2017, hundreds of thousands of them fleeing violence have arrived in neighboring Bangladesh.

Actor Reese Witherspoon became famous in her 20s after starring in films like Election and Legally Blonde, but by the time she entered her 30s, the film landscape had shifted. DVD sales had shrunk and smaller, female-centered movies were in short supply. It was nearly impossible to find good leading roles for women.

Witherspoon began asking different movie studios what projects they were developing for women. "With the exclusion of one studio, everybody said 'Nothing. Nothing with a female lead,' " she says.

In some ways, the fact that Behrouz Boochani touched down in New Zealand on his way to a literary festival is unremarkable. His memoir, No Friend but the Mountains, won Australia's richest literary prize earlier this year, after all, and presenting at such festivals is a pretty standard item on any celebrated writer's itinerary.

But this trip represented something unfamiliar for the Kurdish-Iranian journalist: his first glimpse of freedom in six years.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi believes that the impeachment inquiry underway has uncovered evidence that President Trump's actions amounted to bribery.

Multiple witnesses have alleged that the president leveraged U.S. foreign policy — a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart and security assistance funds appropriated by Congress — for investigations that could benefit him politically.

Take a quick scan of the 16 nominees for next year's Aspen Words Literary Prize, and you're likely to find that their dust jackets boast the stuff of international headlines. And that's the point: The annual award, which revealed its longlist Thursday, is intended to honor fiction that doesn't shy from the weightiest, thorniest of social issues today.

(You can jump to the full list by heading to Aspen's website or clicking here.)

On a roadside in northern Sri Lanka, a dozen women in bright-colored saris squat in the shade of an open canvas tent, waving tattered photographs at passing cars. They're school portraits, now yellowing, of their children who disappeared more than a decade ago in the country's civil war.

The women weep and nod as each tells her own son's or daughter's story. Kasipillai Romee was 16. She wanted to be a doctor. Sheeva Kumar was 20. He went to work and never came home. Rajendran Uday was 22 when soldiers came at midnight and took him away.

Updated at 8:20 p.m. ET

Two students have died after a gunman opened fire Thursday morning at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif., according to law enforcement officials. Three other students also were shot.

Authorities have not named the suspect but say he is a 16-year-old student at the school. He carried out the attack on his birthday.

A Juul pod is not an e-cigarette is not a vape pen is not a mod, as any serious vaper can tell you.

The Department of Homeland Security now has new leadership: Hours after acting Secretary Chad Wolf was sworn into that post, he named Ken Cuccinelli as his deputy. Cuccinelli is an immigration hard-liner who was once seen as President Trump's pick for the top job.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is officially joining the 2020 Democratic presidential race less than three months before voters start casting ballots.

"I admire and respect the candidates in the Democratic field. They bring a richness of ideas and experiences and depth of character that makes me proud to be a Democrat. But if the character of the candidates is an issue in every election, this time is about the character of the country," Patrick said in an announcement video published online Thursday morning.

Ten Democratic candidates will debate next week in the fifth primary face-off, which has increasing importance, with presidential hopefuls set to face voters in fewer than three months.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic descriptions of torture techniques.

The new movie The Report — which comes out Friday and tells the true story of a U.S. Senate staffer who doggedly investigated the CIA's use of torture after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — is a look back on a controversial part of our country's past. But the CIA's torture program continues to have huge implications at the U.S. military court and prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where 40 accused terrorists are still being held.

When it comes to global health, the world has made remarkable strides over the past two decades. There has been unprecedented progress vaccinating kids, treating diseases and lifting millions out of poverty. The childhood death rate has been slashed in half since 2000. Adults are living an average 5 1/2 years longer.

Felony murder is not your average murder. Juvenile justice advocates call felony murder laws arcane and say they unfairly harm children and young adults. Prosecutors can charge them with felony murder even if they didn't kill anyone or intend to do so. What's required is the intent to commit a felony — like burglary, arson or rape — and that someone dies during the process.

Two witnesses seen as crucial to the case against President Trump in the impeachment inquiry testified Wednesday.

Much of what was said by acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and George Kent, the State Department's top official on Ukraine policy, was previously known from their lengthy depositions released last week.

But there were some new things — and several moments that stood out. Here are seven:

1. A new detail from a new witness emerges

A U.S. appeals court opened the door for Congress to gain access to eight years of President Trump's tax records, setting the stage for a likely review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit declined to revisit an earlier ruling by a three-judge panel that allowed Congress to subpoena the president's tax records. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee subpoenaed those records in March.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in a blistering report, says the U.S. Coast Guard's failure to adopt its safety recommendations, dating back 20 years, likely led to a Missouri boating accident that killed 17 people in July 2018.

The fatalities were among 31 passengers aboard an amphibious passenger vehicle called the Stretch Duck 7, which sank in a rapidly developing high-wind storm on Table Rock Lake near Branson, Mo.

Independent investigators say they have turned up no clear motive for the mass shooting that killed 12 people at a Virginia Beach municipal complex on May 31.

The investigation revealed that in recent years, the shooter had begun purchasing firearms, body armor and silencers, and spending time online reading newspaper accounts of other mass killings. But the probe did not find any clear signs that might have served as a warning to city officials, the lead investigator said.

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