Sam's Top 5 Things to Know for Wednesday

1. Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch says that nobody is above the law

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch declared Tuesday he's made no promises to Donald Trump or anyone else about how he'll vote on abortion or other issues and testified he'll have no trouble as a justice holding anyone accountable, including the president who picked him.

Gorsuch also called Trump's attacks on federal judges "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

2. Officials say that no new threat led to airline laptop limits

U.S. and British officials said yesterday that the decision to bar laptops and tablets from the cabins of some international flights wasn't based on any specific threat but on longstanding concerns about terrorists targeting jetliners.

Unimpressed, some travelers and civil liberties groups denounced the ban, raising concerns that included lost worktime on long flights and worries that checking laptops in baggage will make them more vulnerable to theft.

Under the new bans, electronic devices larger than smartphones, such as laptops, tablets and gaming devices, will have to be checked on some international flights. American officials announced the U.S. ban early Tuesday, and the British followed later in the day after discussions between the countries.

The U.S. ban affects flights from Amman, Jordan; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. About 50 flights a day, all on foreign carriers, will be affected. Senior Trump administration officials who briefed reporters about the ban said no U.S.-based airlines have nonstop flights from those cities to the U.S.

3. Trump has issued a warning to the GOP

Yesterday, President Donald Trump warned wavering House Republicans that their jobs were on the line in next year's elections if they failed to back a GOP bill that would upend Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The countdown quickened toward an expected vote Thursday on legislation undoing much of the law that has provided coverage to some 20 million Americans. Trump huddled behind closed doors with rank-and-file Republicans just hours after GOP leaders unveiled changes intended to pick up votes by doling out concessions to centrists and hardliners alike.

Represenative Mike Conaway from Texas said, "If we fail to get it done, fail to (meet) the promises made by all of us, including the president, then it could have a very detrimental effect to Republicans in '18 who are running for re-election. If it fails, then there will be a lot of people looking for work in 2018."

4. Puerto Rico is running out of hair dye

Pharmacies and beauty stores across Puerto Rico are running out of hair dye as a growing number of men go blond in support of the island's baseball players who bleached their hair as a bonding ritual ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

What began as a joke among team members playing in California has spread across the island in a trend that spiked Tuesday just hours after Puerto Rico beat the Netherlands in 11 innings to reach the championship game undefeated in the tournament, which is held every four years. Puerto Rico will play Wednesday night in the final against the United States, which defeated Japan.

A manager at a Sally Beauty Supply store in the capitol of San Juan said, "Ever since they began winning, this has not stopped. We have run out of the product in most of our stores."

5. Restricted Mille Lacs walleye season to shut down entirely July 7-27

For years, Mille Lacs walleye anglers have been governed by harvest quotas, catch-and-release restrictions and night fishing bans — all of which will be in place again this season.

Now for the first time, the 132,000-acre lake will go dark for walleye fishing during the heart of summer.

The July 7-to-July 27 walleye fishing hiatus was announced Tuesday by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to keep anglers from prematurely exceeding a summer quota that at 29,000 pounds is the lake's lowest ever. Without the closure, the DNR fears that thousands of walleye caught by Mille Lacs anglers and freed into midsummer's warm lake water would die by so-called hooking mortality. Last year, a spike in hooking mortality during the last two weeks of July accounted for more than half of the state's walleye allocation.

This year's restrictions — including a season-long catch-and-release rule — are necessary for multiple reasons, Pereira said, including:

  • Anglers caught more and bigger walleyes this winter on Mille Lacs than expected — some 14,000 pounds. These fish count against the state's 2017 Mille Lacs 44,800-pound walleye allocation.
  • Anglers exceeded their Mille Lacs walleye harvest quota last summer and must "pay back" 6,800 pounds of walleyes, prorated over four years, or 1,700 pounds annually, beginning this year.

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