Dec 8, 2017

Ethics committee to probe Rep. Farenthold over harassment claims

Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday said it has launched an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold amid allegations that he sexually harassed a former aide and then retaliated when she complained about it.

Why it matters: Politico reported last week that a $84,000 sexual harassment settlement was paid by the Office of Compliance in 2014, using tax-payer funds, following allegations against Farenthold. Farenthold said this week he will repay the money, adding "I want to be clear that I didn't do anything wrong, but I also don't want taxpayers to be on the hook for this."

The panel will also examine whether the Texas Republican had discriminated against the staffer on the basis of her gender, retaliated against her for complaining of discriminatory conduct and made inappropriate statements to other staffers.

What's happening:

  • Rep. Mia Love became the second House Republican to call on Farenthold to resign on Thursday evening, following Rep. Barbara Comstock.
  • Bech K. Bruun, chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, has reportedly resigned from his post and is expected to run to unseat Farenthold.

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Heat wave melts 20% of snow cover from Antarctic island in days

The effects of February's record heat wave on Eagle Island in Antarctica. Photo: NASA

Antarctica's Eagle Island now has a side that's almost ice-free following this month's searing heat wave in the region, images released by NASA show.

Why it maters: "The warm spell caused widespread melting on nearby glaciers," NASA said in its report. It's the third major melt event of the 2019-2020 Southern Hemisphere summer, following warm spells in January and last November, according to the United Nation's World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to handily win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, becoming the clear frontrunner among 2020 Democratic presidential primary election candidates.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters.

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South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Health