5 things for Friday, March 3: Sessions, Russia, MS-13, executions, Sweden draft

What Sessions said about Russian contact
What Sessions said about Russian contact

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1. Politics

Sen. Jeff Sessions
So. Much. Drama. The updates have been dizzying since we learned that Attorney General Jeff Sessions chatted twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the US at a time when Moscow was accused of interfering in the presidential race. First, Sessions denied discussing anything related to Trump's campaign with any Russians. Then he denied misleading senators by not disclosing the convos during his confirmation hearing. Then he recused himself from investigations related to Trump's campaign. Then the plot thickened as it was disclosed that Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met the Russian envoy during the presidential transition.

    2. MS-13

    The killings of seven people, including several high school students, over a three-year period on New York's Long Island risked slipping into the cold case file. Not anymore. More than a dozen members of the notorious MS-13 gang have been indicted in the deaths. They face other charges too, like obstruction of justice and arson. Two of the killings were especially brutal, with the accused allegedly using baseball bats and a machete.

    3. Immigration

    In late January, an undocumented immigrant walked into an Oregon courtroom for a hearing in his DUI case. Immigration agents were in the hallway outside, waiting to arrest him and possibly deport him. But he never came out. Where did he go? Did the judge let him sneak out the back door? What happened in that courtroom is now the subject of an investigation.

    4. Arkansas executions

    Lethal Injection Drug Orig_00013405.jpg
    Maybe this is a case of making up for lost time. Arkansas hasn't put anyone to death in more than a decade. Now comes word from the governor's office that the state will execute eight people -- over 10 days. The planned executions will run from April 17 to April 27. The men will be killed in pairs. Death penalty opponents are, predictably, upset. Lawyers for the condemned are suing to stop this, and they're using a common tactic -- going after the lethal injection drugs. The lawyers argue the drugs cause inmates to die a painful death.

    5. Sweden draft

    The Trump administration's feelings about Russia may be fuzzy right now, but Sweden's aren't. The country's bringing back the draft to counter the Russians' aggressive moves in Europe (in other words, Crimea). Women will be drafted too; that's a first for the Scandinavian nation. But wait, there's more. The Swedes are beefing up defense spending and increasing cooperation with their NATO neighbors, too.

    Breakfast Browse

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    Thanks, Tom
    Tom Hanks maintains his nicest-guy-in-the-world cred by giving the White House press corps an espresso machine.
    Cool school
    This California high school made millions off Snapchat's IPO. Guess those youngsters know a thing or two about money after all.
    Did I do that?
    Whoops! An employee at Amazon made just one typo and damn near took down the whole Internet.
    Lonely survivors
    As we mark World Wildlife Day today, a reminder that northern white rhinos are on the verge of extinction, with only three left worldwide.
    Friendship goals
    Former prez George W. Bush says he and Michelle Obama just click because she likes his sense of humor. All together now ... awwwww.

    $10 billion
    That's all Venezuela has left in its foreign reserves. That may sound like a lot, but the South American country -- suffering from stagnant oil revenue, inflation and food shortages -- owes $7.2 billion in outstanding debt payments this year.

    And finally ...

    So fluffy
    Cuteness alert! Here's two minutes of a gorgeously fluffy cat trying to catch snowballs -- in slow motion. You're welcome. (Click to view)