Laurel Wamsley

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says the executive who was in charge of Apple's insider trading policy himself committed insider trading in 2015 and 2016 — in one case, selling off about $10 million in Apple stock in advance of a quarterly earnings announcement.

Mya Thompson is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Late last month, the 25-year-old was on track to graduate in May, but she still owed the school $2,500 in tuition and fees – not a huge sum, but she likely wouldn't get her diploma unless she could come up with the money.

Sandusky, Ohio, is a small city on the shores of Lake Erie. It's best known among Midwesterners as the home of Cedar Point, an amusement park famed for its abundance of roller coasters.

But last week city leaders took steps that could make Sandusky known as a leader of democracy, too: They declared Election Day a paid holiday – by swapping out Columbus Day.

Updated on Feb. 13 at 10:45 a.m.

Trucks full of food and medicine have arrived at the Venezuelan border, setting up a showdown between President Nicolás Maduro and U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó.

The aid convoy arrived at the Colombian border city of Cúcuta, The Associated Press reports, but Maduro and the military have blocked the Tienditas bridge so that the trucks cannot enter Venezuela.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Jill Abramson, former New York Times executive editor, finds herself embroiled in controversy over charges of inaccuracies and plagiarism in her new book Merchants of Truth, out this week.

The book was skewered by Vice correspondent Michael Moynihan in a series of tweets Wednesday that showed passages where Abramson's language strongly echoed that of articles penned by others.

The polar vortex that has gripped the Plains and Midwest will finally lift back into Canada, the National Weather Service says, promising a warmup that will bring a whiplash shift in temperatures. By Saturday, the agency says, the central Plains area will see temperatures in the low 60s — nearly 20-25 degrees above normal.

A U.S. court has found the Syrian government liable in the 2012 death of American journalist Marie Colvin, ordering it to pay $300 million in punitive damages.

Colvin was reporting from in the western Syrian city of Homs when the makeshift media center where she was working came under artillery attack. French photographer Rémi Ochlik, 28, also was killed and other journalists and activists were wounded.

Updated Jan. 31 at 9:48 a.m. ET

How cold is it in the Upper Midwest today? It's so cold that if you toss boiling hot water in the air, it may turn to ice crystals. (Be careful out there and always check which way the wind is blowing, folks. People tend to scald themselves doing this.)

Updated at 6:02 p.m. ET

Jussie Smollett, one of the stars of the TV show Empire, reportedly was brutally attacked early Tuesday in what Chicago police are investigating as a possible hate crime. The 36-year-old actor took himself to the hospital directly after what police called a "possible racially-charged assault and battery"; authorities say he is in good condition.

The Justice Department unsealed two separate indictments of Chinese telecom device maker Huawei on Monday. But only one of them reads like the script of a slapstick caper movie.

That would be the one that describes the U.S. government's case alleging that Huawei stole trade secrets from T-Mobile, the wireless service company.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

The State Department is ordering "non-emergency U.S. government employees to depart Venezuela," according to a security alert issued Thursday evening. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas will remain open.

The alert also advised caution if U.S. citizens are in or traveling to Venezuela.

The image of a Chinese schoolyard full of students doing calisthenics isn't new.

But these moves definitely are.

Dressed in a sleek black-on-black ensemble, school principal Zhang Pengfei leads his students in a synchronized routine that would turn heads in any dance club. In matching tracksuits, the kids at Xi Guan Primary School in Shanxi province shuffle their feet, pump their arms, and do the Charleston and the Running Man.

Do yourself a favor and watch both videos here immediately.

It's a meeting of two truly American pastimes: football and lawsuits.

First, the football.

Late in regulation in Sunday's NFC championship game, the New Orleans Saints were tied 20-20 with the Los Angeles Rams in pursuit of the Super Bowl.

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As the ball sailed toward Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis, Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman knocked into Lewis, appearing to make helmet-to-helmet contact. Officials called no pass interference or helmet-to-helmet penalties.

Before Paul Whelan was detained in Moscow and accused of spying, he was given a thumb drive that he thought held photos of Russian churches but actually contained "state secrets," his lawyer said Tuesday. And Whelan didn't even look at the drive, according to the lawyer, because he was taken into custody immediately.

Whelan, 48, was detained Dec. 28 and is being held in Moscow's Lefortovo prison. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage.

Updated Jan. 19 at 1:05 p.m. ET

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller made a rare statement on Friday night to dispute the report by BuzzFeed News that President Trump had instructed his former lawyer to lie to Congress.

The Justice Department announcement appeared not quite 24 hours after the explosive story from Thursday night. Although it didn't go into detail, the response suggested the story didn't correctly reflect the special counsel's dealings with Trump's ex-fixer.

The Islamic State has jumped back into the headlines by claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed four Americans and more than a dozen civilians at a restaurant in northern Syria.

Two-year-old Julen Rosello was with family members on a rural property in southern Spain on Sunday when he is thought to have fallen down a hole more than 300 feet deep.

"I heard my son crying, and 30 seconds later I couldn't hear him anymore," the boy's father, José, told Spanish media. However, Julen has not been heard from since.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, a day after the stinging defeat there of her Brexit deal with the European Union.

In the vote, 325 lawmakers said they had confidence in May's government, while 306 voted that they did not.

While May withstood the challenge to her leadership, it is yet another indication that Brexit has thrown British politics into chaos.

Updated at 6:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday

An attack on a luxury hotel in Nairobi killed 14 civilians Tuesday, including one American, before security forces subdued the gunmen.

Kenyan authorities declared that the violence had ended multiple times, only to be contradicted by bursts of gunfire that kept police busy for several more hours. Al-Shabab, the Islamic extremist group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack, carried out by at least four armed men.

A panel of judges at the International Criminal Court has dismissed charges of war crimes against former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo, the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC. Charges against his former youth minister, Charles Blé Goudé, also were dropped.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp., the parent company of California's largest utility, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid what could be billions of dollars in liability costs over the massive wildfires that have torn through California in recent years.

Divers from the Indonesian navy have recovered the second "black box" from the Lion Air jet that fell into the Java Sea in October. The cockpit voice recorder could provide information on what caused the crash, which killed all 189 people on board.

The device, which is actually bright orange, was found buried 26 feet deep in mud through the use of a "ping locator," the Associated Press reports.

Updated Monday at 10:16 a.m.ET.

Los Angeles public school teachers went on strike Monday morning, a result of failed negotiations between the teachers union and the school district.

The strike has looked inevitable since Friday, when United Teachers Los Angeles rejected another offer from district leaders.

"We are more convinced than ever that the district won't move without a strike," declared union President Alex Caputo-Pearl at a Sunday press conference.

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

Jayme Closs, the 13-year-old Wisconsin girl who had been missing since her parents were found fatally shot in October, has been found alive. And officials say she immediately helped law enforcement arrest her alleged captor.

Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, was taken into custody just minutes after Jayme was found at 4:43 p.m. local time Thursday.

Updated Jan. 10 at 3:50 p.m. ET

The U.S. government has been operating under a partial shutdown since Dec. 22. The shutdown, driven by a political battle over President Trump's demand that Congress approve funds for a wall along the border with Mexico, is touching the lives of Americans in myriad ways.

George, the last of his species of Hawaiian land snail, died on New Year's Day. He was approximately 14 years old.

His death was confirmed by Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources.

George was born as part of a last-ditch effort to save his species. Back in 1997, the last 10 known Achatinella apexfulva were brought into a University of Hawaii lab to try to increase their numbers. Some offspring resulted, but all of them died – except for George.

Updated at 3:38 p.m. ET

Chelsea Football Club will pay 64 million euros — nearly $73 million — to sign U.S. soccer star Christian Pulisic, bringing the 20-year-old winger to England's Premier League.

Ten days into the partial government shutdown, it's time to ask a dreaded question: What if this keeps going?

A new congressional session begins Thursday, at which time Democrats become the majority in the House. There's no indication that progress will be made before then on the political standoff over funding a border wall that President Trump is demanding.

What's running — and what isn't — during the shutdown

Many of the United States' national parks remain open to visitors during the partial government shutdown. But if you go, be prepared – you're probably on your own in there.

A notice on the website of Big Bend National Park in West Texas is representative:

"There has been a lapse in federal appropriations.

"During the government shutdown, Big Bend National Park will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as always.

A week after a white referee told a black high school wrestler that he needed to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match, the referee has been suspended. But people in town — and on social media — are asking why other adults didn't do more to prevent what happened: A school official cut the student's hair as the crowd watched and the clock ticked down.

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