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    WATCH: April the giraffe to give birth soon at Animal Adventure Park in New York

    The impending birth of a baby giraffe has the internet waiting with bated breath.

    April the giraffe is getting ready to welcome a calf with her mate, Oliver, at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.

    >> Read more trending news

    Animal Adventure Park has a webcam in April's quarters, capturing all the moments leading up to the birth.

    >> Watch the live stream here

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    April is 15 years old, and this will be her fourth calf. Oliver is 5 years old, and this is his first calf. 

    For more information, visit Animal Adventure Park's YouTube stream.

    Jackie Evancho asks to meet with Trump about transgender rights

    A performer at President Donald Trump's inauguration took to Twitter on Wednesday to speak out against the administration's move to withdraw guidelines rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration on the rights of transgender students.

    >> Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

    The Washington Post reported that Pittsburgh opera singer and "America's Got Talent" alum Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration, tweeted that she was "obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide."

    >> Read more trending news

    Evancho's sister, Juliet, is transgender.

    "@realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts," Evancho, 16, added in a second tweet.


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    Read more here.

    Winning Powerball ticket for $435M jackpot sold in Indiana

    Did you buy your Powerball ticket in Indiana? If so, check those numbers: You might have won the $435 million jackpot.

    >> PREVIOUS STORY: What is the Powerball jackpot; where can you play?

    The numbers drawn Wednesday night were 10, 13, 28, 52 and 61, with 2 as the Powerball. 


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    Powerball's website early Thursday said the winning ticket was sold in Indiana. One ticket sold in New Jersey matched five numbers with Power Play to win $2 million, while tickets sold in Kansas, Massachusetts, New York and Texas matched five numbers to win $1 million.

    >> Read more trending news

    The jackpot for Saturday's drawing is $40 million.

    Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

    On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump's administration officially withdrew guidance on transgender students' rights rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration. The move came after days of speculation.

    >> Read more trending news

    Under the Obama administration’s Department of Education and Department of Justice, public schools across the country were ordered to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that aligned with their gender identity rather than their sex at birth, citing Title IX.

    The “dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration does not set forth any new guidance but rather rolls back the previous instructions, insisting that they did not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”

    >> See the letters here


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    The Trump administration argued that the federal government has a responsibility to enforce the law and that the Obama administration’s protections lacked sufficient legal basis. The Department of Justice and Department of Education wrote that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy” and that this is an issue that would be better solved at the state and local levels so communities and families can determine what best meets their needs.

    While the memo offers no specific instructions on how schools should deal with the issue, it did add that “schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

    Bill Maher takes credit for Milo Yiannopoulos' downfall

    After booking Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO program last week, TV personality Bill Maher was openly criticized for giving the alt-right provocateur a large platform.

    Since Yiannopoulos' appearance, a video in which he seemed to condone men having sex with boys circulated online.

    >> Leslie Jones on Milo Yiannopoulos: 'I was done the day I blocked him'

    In the days that followed, Yiannopoulos was removed from the lineup of a conservative conference in Maryland, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled, and he resigned from his position at Breitbart News.

    And Maher is taking all the credit.

    >> Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid controversy over pedophilia comments

    “What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage,” Maher told the New York Times. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”

    Maher also responded to criticism that he went easy on Yiannopoulos during their segment.

    >> Milo Yiannopoulos book deal canceled following remarks on pedophilia 

    “It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done,” Maher said. “I had eight minutes with him on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do.”

    Though Yiannopoulos' interview with Maher seemed cordial, his panel appearance later in the program was not. After insulting the other people on the panel, Yiannopoulos was hit by big criticism from writer and former "Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore.

    >> Read more trending news

    Read more here.

    Entertainment News »

    WATCH: April the giraffe to give birth soon at Animal Adventure Park in New York

    The impending birth of a baby giraffe has the internet waiting with bated breath.

    April the giraffe is getting ready to welcome a calf with her mate, Oliver, at Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York.

    >> Read more trending news

    Animal Adventure Park has a webcam in April's quarters, capturing all the moments leading up to the birth.

    >> Watch the live stream here

    <iframe width="390" height="219" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WDMq-3JM6lI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    April is 15 years old, and this will be her fourth calf. Oliver is 5 years old, and this is his first calf. 

    For more information, visit Animal Adventure Park's YouTube stream.

    Jackie Evancho asks to meet with Trump about transgender rights

    A performer at President Donald Trump's inauguration took to Twitter on Wednesday to speak out against the administration's move to withdraw guidelines rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration on the rights of transgender students.

    >> Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

    The Washington Post reported that Pittsburgh opera singer and "America's Got Talent" alum Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration, tweeted that she was "obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide."

    >> Read more trending news

    Evancho's sister, Juliet, is transgender.

    "@realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts," Evancho, 16, added in a second tweet.


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    Read more here.

    US musician makes mics in Russia using Kalashnikov machinery

    Claims of hacking by the Russian state may be feeding international tensions, but they've given Californian musician David Brown a great icebreaker when selling his line of Russian-made microphones.

    "We give free hacking lessons with these microphones," he tells potential buyers in Los Angeles. "Watch what you say because they never turn off."

    Brown, who's often toured Russia with his band Brazzaville, teamed up with fan Pavel Bazdyrev in 2013 to start making top-end musical equipment in Bazdyrev's home city of Tula, which is dominated by the Russian defense industry.

    Though the business climate is difficult, the costs are low and they were able to buy second-hand machinery from Kalashnikov plants. The result is a range of studio microphones that have found their way into Coldplay and Radiohead's recording sessions, and are beating more established rivals on price.

    It's a rare tale in Russia, which has struggled for decades to diversify its economy beyond oil and gas, something former U.S. President Barack Obama recently drew on.

    "Their economy doesn't produce anything that anybody wants to buy except oil, gas and arms," he said in December. "They don't innovate."

    As the country recovers from a brutal recession triggered by its dependence on the oil industry, President Vladimir Putin has often talked about making life easier for small businesses and other sectors. But reforms are often piecemeal or contradictory.

    The experiences of Brown and Bazdyrev sum up many of the pros and cons of operating a small manufacturer in Russia.

    The company, called Soyuz Microphones, takes advantage of lower labor costs to undercut foreign competitors — Soyuz's top-of-the-range microphone costs $3,500 against $8,000 for rival models. It made its first mic prototypes in 2014 and sold 160 of the retro-looking items last year, enough to turn a profit.

    "We're located in a regional Russian city where the salaries are much lower than they are in Moscow let alone in the West. Producing a mic in that way in America or in Europe would be prohibitive cost-wise," says Brown, who visits Russia regularly to check on progress, while Bazdyrev handles day-to-day matters.

    It's a good deal for the 12 employees, too, such as lathe operator Roman Ilyukhin, who says his wage of 60,000 rubles ($1,000) is almost double what he used to earn elsewhere in the city.

    The factory occupies two floors in a rundown building, its renovated rooms with pink wallpaper in stark contrast to the grey Soviet-era apartment blocks just outside.

    The name Soyuz — meaning "union" — refers to the "union of East and West" in the company but is also full of historical significance in what was once the Sovetsky Soyuz, the Soviet Union. Soyuz capsules have since the 1960s been the workhorse of international space flight.

    The name also encapsulates some of the contradictions of the Russia economy: while it is a comparative leader in state investment for research and development, such as in space exploration, it often fails to turn cutting-edge science into commercial innovation. Wage levels are lower than in most of Europe, but Russian companies still struggle against Asian rivals who can make products faster and cheaper.

    "Our engineering sector, although developing actively, has not yet caught up with foreign countries to bridge the gap of the last two decades," said Moscow-based expert Vasily Abashkin of the Higher School of Economics. "Plus the Asian countries are getting ahead, including in terms of providing engineering services (faster), which makes our engineering sector less competitive."

    Few small and medium-sized Russian companies have the knowhow to use government schemes meant to help exporters, Abashkin adds. Though Russia excels at software development, attempts to move into hardware like electric cars or phones have yet to make a splash.

    By contrast, China, which during the Cold War was similarly reliant on state-owned heavy industry, has developed successful companies like technology and retail and boasts some big consumer brands like handset company Huawei.

    Consumer startups in Russia can struggle in particular with the burden of regulation, predatory officials demanding bribes, and the dominant position of state-owned firms who don't welcome rivals.

    Brown and Bazdyrev say they never had to pay bribes, but they've been treated with suspicion in a country where foreign investment in consumer goods is rare. They say export permits are tricky to get and authorities avoid paying tax rebates.

    The pair originally tried to partner with a local state-controlled microphone firm, but that deal was scuttled when the entire management was fired at short notice.

    Bazdyrev says local officials in Tula even froze the company bank account, suspecting the firm might be a front for fraudsters. The decision was only reversed when a tax inspector visited the factory in person.

    Government reforms, meanwhile, have not helped much. In recent years, entrepreneurs have received tax breaks, but have also been hit with higher social security contributions. The government has talked up developing domestic industry during sanctions, but effects are largely limited to agriculture.

    The U.S. and European Union sanctions against Russia, imposed since 2014, are another obstacle. Payments from abroad can be difficult to get and U.S. authorities sometimes put them on hold.

    "We've got to explain that it's not in support of terrorism or anything," Bazdyrev said.

    He and Brown did consider moving the factory to neighboring Latvia or Estonia if the sanctions or regulations get too difficult to deal with. But for now, they say, Russia's low costs make it easier to stay put.

    At a tense time in world politics, Brown is pitching their microphones as a sign of cooperation, highlighting how they're made using machines from a Kalashnikov plant.

    "I like to think about our company as swords into plowshares," he says. "We use lathes that were made by Kalashnikov to create something that's the complete opposite of war - it's for creating music and spreading goodwill."

    ___

    James Ellingworth in Moscow contributed to this story.

    Bill Maher takes credit for Milo Yiannopoulos' downfall

    After booking Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO program last week, TV personality Bill Maher was openly criticized for giving the alt-right provocateur a large platform.

    Since Yiannopoulos' appearance, a video in which he seemed to condone men having sex with boys circulated online.

    >> Leslie Jones on Milo Yiannopoulos: 'I was done the day I blocked him'

    In the days that followed, Yiannopoulos was removed from the lineup of a conservative conference in Maryland, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled, and he resigned from his position at Breitbart News.

    And Maher is taking all the credit.

    >> Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid controversy over pedophilia comments

    “What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage,” Maher told the New York Times. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”

    Maher also responded to criticism that he went easy on Yiannopoulos during their segment.

    >> Milo Yiannopoulos book deal canceled following remarks on pedophilia 

    “It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done,” Maher said. “I had eight minutes with him on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do.”

    Though Yiannopoulos' interview with Maher seemed cordial, his panel appearance later in the program was not. After insulting the other people on the panel, Yiannopoulos was hit by big criticism from writer and former "Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore.

    >> Read more trending news

    Read more here.

    'On fleek' Vine star Peaches Monroee asks for fans help funding cosmetics line

    Vine might be dead, but a phrase made popular on the app isn’t, and the internet star who coined it wants to get paid. 

    Kayla Lewis, better known by her Vine name Peaches Monroee, said she first used “on fleek” in June 2014. 

    >> Read more trending stories

    The Vine video she created in which she used the phrase to refer to her brows went viral. 

    Meme site Know Your Meme tracks the phrase's initial popularity to Lewis' video. 

    Since then the phrase "eyebrows on fleek," which basically means your eyebrows look good, has gone viral, as well as the phrase "on fleek" alone.

    Lewis is asking people to donate money so she can start a cosmetic and hair extension line, according to her GoFundMe page

    "Everyone has used the phrase/word but I haven't received any money behind it or recognition," Lewis said on the page. 

    "I want to start a cosmetic and hair extension line, but I don't have any money to do so," she said. "Just so everyone can know my plans, with this money I plan on starting a website, get this project on legal papers with a good team of lawyers ... and making sure my dreams come true as far as this 'fleek' thing. I feel like this is my second chance and I will not mess this is up. 

    It looks like internet users have her back. Some have already donated more than $9,000 toward her $100,000 goal and are showing support on Twitter

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