What to Know
- A secret congressional report on the Russia investigation has gone from an obscure, classified document to a bitter point of conflict
- "Today" reports that a family in Indiana fears that Tamiflu's effects may have led to the suicide of 16-year-old Charlie Harp
- New witnesses emerged in the 1981 drowning of actress Natalie Wood, which has prompted investigators to deem it a "suspicious death"
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How a Secret GOP Memo Became a Bitter Point of Conflict
In the two weeks since the #Releasethememo hashtag first sprouted on Twitter, a secret congressional report on the Russia investigation has gone from an obscure, classified document to a bitter point of conflict between not only Democrats and Republicans but also the White House and the FBI. The fierce debate has threatened the relationship between the president and his hand-picked FBI director and diverted public attention from a special counsel's investigation into potential ties between Russia and Donald Trump's campaign. Democrats call the memo a cherry-picked set of Republican talking points, riddled with inaccuracies and assertions stripped of context. But Republicans involved in producing it say it will show surveillance run amok, and the White House — perhaps sensing an opportunity to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation — has endorsed the release over the fierce objections of Justice Department and FBI leaders.
Staten Island Chuck to Make His Prediction Without De Blasio in Attendance
Friday is Groundhog Day. Locall, in New York City, Mayor de Blasio said he will be skipping Staten Island Zoo’s annual holiday ceremony. The zoo's groundhog Chuck has made weather predictions for more than three decades. The mayor's spokesman, Eric Phillips, says the mayor hasn't attended in recent years and has many other events to attend. It will be the third-straight year the mayor has skipped. The last time de Blasio held the groundhog was in 2014, when he dropped a stand-in groundhog named Charlotte. Charlotte died several days after being dropped, however, the zoo says it was unlikely that the death was related to being dropped. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania's most famous groundhog will soon be back in the spotlight — or will it be the shadows? Punxsutawney Phil's handlers will announce at sunrise what kind of weather they say the rodent is predicting for the rest of winter. Legend has it if a furry rodent casts a shadow on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, expect six more weeks of winter-like weather. If not, expect spring-like temperatures.
Fidel Castro's Eldest Son Dies From Apparent Suicide
Fidel Castro's eldest son has died by suicide after undergoing months of care due to a deep depression, according to Cuban official state media. His name is Fidel "Fidelito" Ángel Castro Díaz–Balart. He was hospitalized at first while undergoing treatment before being released for outpatient care, Granma reported. At the time of his death, he was serving the regime as a scientific adviser to Cuba's Council of the State and as vice president of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. Castro Díaz–Balart was an "author and editor of several books of great strategic importance in matters of progress and trends of contemporary science," according to the Academy of Sciences of Cuba. Fidel Castro, the father of communist Cuba who led the country for nearly half a century, died Nov. 25, 2016.
Family Raises Concerns About Tamiflu After Teen's Suicide
Tamiflu is a prescription medication that can ease flu symptoms and stop them from getting worse, and it's seen shortages this year amid a fierce outbreak that's killed at least 37 children. But "Today" reports that a family in Indiana fears that Tamiflu's effects may have led to the suicide of 16-year-old Charlie Harp. A legal guardian of Harp's told NBC affiliate WTHR that he was happy until he got the flu. Tamiflu has some rare side effects, including seizures, hallucinations and self-injury in children who take it. Both its manufacturer and the FDA advise that patients sick with influenza being treated with Tamiflu should be monitored "for signs of abnormal behavior." But Tamiflu is also considered key in treating the flu in some people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that it be given to a range of people at risk of complications from the flu, including people under 2 years of age or over 65.
Cuomo Begs You to Get Flu Shot as 11,683 New Cases Hit NY in 1 Week
State health officials say laboratory-confirmed influenza cases topped 11,000 over the past week, with another 2,200-plus New Yorkers requiring hospitalization because of the flu. In releasing the latest flu statistics, Gov. Cuomo again urged people to get the flu vaccine. He says flu cases and hospitalizations "continue to rise at alarming levels." Health officials say the total confirmed flu cases during the past week reached 11,683, with 2,221 people hospitalized with confirmed influenza. Overall, there have been nearly 37,000 lab-confirmed flu cases over the past eight weeks in New York state, with more than 9,300 people requiring hospitalization. Doctor visits for flu-like symptoms hit their highest level nationwide since the 2009 swine flu pandemic.
New Witnesses Cast Suspicion on Natalie Wood's 1981 Drowning
New witnesses emerged in the 1981 drowning of actress Natalie Wood, which has prompted investigators to deem it a "suspicious death" and to name her former husband, 87-year-old actor Robert Wagner, as a "person of interest" in the case, Los Angeles sheriff's officials said. For nearly four decades, mystery and speculation have swirled around the death of the actress who had been nominated for three Academy Awards and appeared in "West Side Story" and "Rebel Without a Cause." She was on a yacht with Wagner, actor Christopher Walken and the boat captain on Thanksgiving weekend of 1981. After a night of drinking, her body was found floating in the water off California's Catalina Island. She was 43. Investigators initially ruled it an accident but reopened the case in 2011 to see whether Wagner or anyone else played a role after the boat's captain said he heard the couple arguing the night of her disappearance. The coroner's office amended Wood's death certificate the next year to include "drowning and other undetermined factors." Sheriff's spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said new witnesses interviewed since the case was reopened have given statements that "portray a new sequence of events on the boat that night."