National News

The Italian flag made up of three ingredients that help form the base of the country's cuisine: basil, mozzarella and tomatoes.

The Politics Of Pizza: How Italy's Flag And Food Are Deliciously Intertwined

A nation's flag embodies a defining aspect of its identity. It could be related to geography (the rising sun in Japan), nature (the maple leaf of Canada or the cedar of Lebanon), religion (the Christian cross or the Islamic crescent and star), political ideology (the hammer and sickle) or mythology (the Welsh dragon).

In a new book on flags, A Flag Worth Dying For: The Power and Politics of National Symbols, Tim Marshall explores how a "piece of colored cloth" can arouse profound emotions of loyalty, love and pride in the breasts of its citizens.

White House chief of staff John Kelly calls on a reporter during the daily briefing at the White House on Thursday.

White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly: 'I'm Not Quitting' Or 'Being Fired'

White House chief of staff John Kelly made an unusual appearance at Thursday's daily press briefing to clear up a few things — he isn't going anywhere, he's not frustrated by President Trump's use of Twitter and he's not trying to micromanage the president.

"Although I read it all the time, pretty consistently, I'm not quitting today," Kelly said. "I don't believe — and I just talked to the president — I don't believe that I'm being fired today. And I'm not so frustrated in this job that I'm thinking of leaving."

A panel of experts has recommended that the Food and Drug Administration approve a treatment developed by Spark Therapeutics for a rare form of blindness.

FDA Panel Endorses Gene Therapy For A Form Of Childhood Blindness

Gene therapy, which has had a roller-coaster history of high hopes and devastating disappointments, took an important step forward Thursday.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee endorsed the first gene therapy for an inherited disorder — a rare condition that causes a progressive form of blindness that usually starts in childhood.

Senior Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri (left) sits next to Fatah's Azzam al-Ahmad as they sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo on Thursday. Under the agreement, Hamas would cede control of the Gaza Strip to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority by Dec. 1.

Rival Palestinian Groups Hamas, Fatah Reach Deal Over Control Of Gaza

With kisses on the cheek in a gleaming hall of Egypt's intelligence services, leaders of rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah reached an agreement for Hamas to hand over control of the Gaza Strip to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

The deal is just an early step in a longer process that could end a decade-long split that has nearly paralyzed Palestinian political leadership and increased the misery for Gazans in need of jobs and aid.

Harvey Weinstein, the former entertainment executive embroiled in multiple allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, has been a dedicated Democratic donor since the early 1990s.

As Democrats Purge Weinstein's Cash, Impact On The Party Is Likely To Be Low

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

As Democratic pols jettison their old contributions from Harvey Weinstein, the former entertainment executive embroiled in multiple allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, his cash is not likely to leave a big hole in party coffers.

Trump Uses Executive Pen To Chip Away At Obamacare

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that is intended to provide more options for people shopping for health insurance. The president invoked his power of the pen after repeated Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, have failed.

"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care."

On Thursday, President Trump hinted at the possibility of limiting federal aid to Puerto Rico, where 3.4 million Americans have struggled to recover from a pair of devastating hurricanes.

Trump Hints At A Limit On Federal Aid To Puerto Rico; San Juan Mayor Responds

"We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders" in Puerto Rico "forever," President Trump said Thursday, hinting at a possible limit on federal aid to the island territory where 3.4 million Americans have struggled to recover from two destructive hurricanes.

Here are the president's comments on the issue, compressed from three consecutive tweets:

Continued flooding brings more suffering to neighborhoods of Utuado after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.

Progress Destroyed: Rural Puerto Rico Faces Continual Trauma Of Flooding Rain

When it rains in Puerto Rico, it rains hard and it rains fast. And this week — three weeks after Hurricane Maria — it has rained a lot.

For portions of the island – especially in the mountains and in the valleys – that rain brings a continual trauma of mudslides and flooding. Even in San Juan, highway exits pool with a foot or more of water. In restaurants with cell service, the S.O.S alarms on phones ring out in a cacophony – warning of flash floods. But the capital city has fared comparatively well — it's the rural places that are doing much, much worse.

More than half of State Department positions requiring Senate confirmation still don't have a nominee, including the ambassador to South Korea and the assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

Trump Leaves Top Administration Positions Unfilled, Says Hollow Government By Design

With President Trump's announcement that he plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen as homeland security secretary, he still has one more Cabinet post to fill — health and human services secretary. A president having to find replacements for two Cabinet secretaries this early in an administration is unprecedented. But observers are more alarmed by the less visible vacancies at the sub-Cabinet level: hundreds of positions without a nominee, and a president who says he has no intention of filling many of the jobs.

Mission San Jose, one of five missions in San Antonio designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The cultural aid agency has designated more than 1,000 such sites around the world — including more than 20 in the U.S. — to celebrate their "outstanding universal value."

U.S. Says It Will Withdraw From UNESCO, Citing 'Anti-Israel Bias'

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations' chief cultural and educational agency. In a statement released Thursday, the State Department said the move won't take effect for more than a year, noting the withdrawal will be as of Dec. 31, 2018.

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