1. Republican leaders are claiming fresh momentum after their health bill meant to dismantle Obamacare has been approved by two House committees.
The Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means committees both approved their portions of the bill along party-line votes. The legislation would eliminate the unpopular tax penalties for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act, replacing Obama's law with a conservative blueprint likely to cover far fewer people but — Republicans hope — increase choice.
The vote in Ways and Means comittee came before dawn, while the Energy and Commerce meeting lasted past 27 hours as exhausted lawmakers groped for coffee refills, clean shirts and showers.
2. WikiLeaks has offered to help the likes of Google and Apple identify the software holes used by purported CIA hacking tools – but that puts the tech industry in something of a bind.
While companies have both a responsibility and financial incentive to fix problems in their software, accepting help from WikiLeaks raises legal and ethical questions. And it's not even clear at this point exactly what kind of assistance WikiLeaks can offer.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Thursday that the anti-secrecy site will help technology companies find and fix software vulnerabilities in everyday gadgets such as phones and TVs. In an online news conference, Assange said some companies had asked for more details about the purported CIA cyberespionage toolkit that he revealed in a massive disclosure on Tuesday.
3. 'Real Hunger Games' gears up for TV launch from bear-infested island in Siberia
The show to be broadcast worldwide on the web starting in July will see 30 participants, 15 of them women, ditched on a large island in the Ob River, the seventh longest in the world, chasing a $1.7 million prize on a nine month survival mission in winter temperatures as low as -58F degrees.
Called Game2:Winter, the reality TV program has quietly dropped a shocking rule that stated: 'Everything is allowed. Fighting, alcohol, murder, rape, smoking, anything.'
When asked if he will intervene if there is 'physical violence, rape, a murder', organizer Yevgeny Pyatkovsky said, “No we won't. I am pretty sure there will be fights, and more. We are not scared of negative reaction if that happens either.”
He insisted it would be made clear to the international participants ahead of the show 'that punishment will follow according to the Russian Criminal Code'. In other words, any action would be for the police or other law enforcement agencies only, not the show's organizers.
Pyatkovsky has stated previously: “We will refuse any claim of participants even if they were to be killed or raped. We will have nothing to do with this. This will be spelled out in a document to be signed by the participant before the start of the show.”
4. The first photos of radioactive wild boar roaming Fukushima's nuclear wastelands as they're culled for attacking people have been released
These incredibly unusual photographs of the terrifying mammals were taken in the exclusion zone around the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant, whose reactors went into meltdown after it was struck by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011.
There have been many obvious dangers faced by Japan in the wake of the disaster, but one of the most unexpected has also proved to be one of the most fascinating.
When the exclusion zone was set up - with the surrounding towns population evacuated to a safe distance - hundreds of the wild boars, which have been known to attack people when enraged, descended from surrounding hills and forests into the deserted streets.
Now they roam the empty streets and overgrown garden's of Japan's deserted seaside town of Namie, foraging for food. However, the people of Namie are scheduled to return to the town at the end of the month, which means the bloody-toothed interlopers have to be cleared.
5. A new study by the Wesleyan Media Project has found that the 2016 presidential campaign run by Hillary Clinton is without a doubt one of the worst-run political operations in years.
Interestingly, the directors of the study dispute the argument that “advertising doesn’t matter” in elections. Clinton’s failure to advertise in certain key states, they argue, was the biggest reason for her defeat by Donald Trump.
The study also backs the view that Clinton’s focus on identity politics and emphasis on condemning her opposition contributed to a campaign message devoid of substance with no clear message on policy.