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A sheriff in Alabama took home as personal profit more than $750,000 that was budgeted to feed jail inmates — and then purchased a $740,000 beach house, a reporter at The Birmingham News found.

And it's perfectly legal in Alabama, according to state law and local officials.

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All over America today, students staged walkouts to protest school shootings. Let's hear now from Chicago where students rallied against the wider epidemic of gun violence in their city. NPR's Cheryl Corley has this report.

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French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says he's suing Apple and Google. He claims that the tech giants aren't playing fair with French developers and startups. Bruno Le Maire joins us now from Paris to talk about this. Thanks for joining us.

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Today, British Prime Minister Theresa May ordered the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the UK. This is in response to the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter in western England.

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The Senate confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel, President Trump's choice to lead the CIA, hasn't yet been scheduled. But several senators have already expressed reservations because of Haspel's role in the CIA's waterboarding of al-Qaida suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, posted this tweet Tuesday:

Google will ban advertisements for certain financial products, including cryptocurrencies, the Internet giant announced Wednesday. The move comes amid increased scrutiny of the fast-growing market for digital currencies like bitcoin.

In 2015, when Ariel Pasternak joined Chaia, a seasonal, plant-based taco shop opening in Washington, D.C., she and her colleagues encountered challenges familiar to any restaurateurs — developing a marketing strategy, sourcing fresh ingredients, and ensuring bills were paid on time.

What they did not find in the city's budding food scene was a sense of community.

Updated at 3:58 p.m. ET

President Trump has picked economist and CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow as director of the White House National Economic Council, and Kudlow has accepted the post, the White House said Wednesday.

Kudlow, 70, will replace Gary Cohn, who stepped down after losing a battle against imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

It started with a GoFundMe campaign. Three months ago, 14-year-old Taylor Richardson created a donation page to raise money to send girls to see the movie A Wrinkle in Time.

"It has a female protagonist in a science fiction film," the 14-year-old wrote in her description on GoFundMe. "A brown girl front and center who looks like me in the role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I'd never seen a girl of color in."

A report released this month by UNICEF has been cause for celebration in India, the country with the highest number of child marriages in South Asia each year. According to the newly released data, the annual number of child marriages in the country has dropped by nearly half in the last decade.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Democrat Conor Lamb appears to have won the special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, defeating Republican Rick Saccone in an upset for President Trump and congressional Republicans, based on a review of the vote by member station WESA and barring a recount.

A family that flew on United Airlines Monday night is mourning their dog, after the pet died in an overhead bin — an arrangement that a flight attendant had reportedly insisted upon. United says it was "a tragic accident" and that it is investigating.

Everyone from NASA to the cast of The Big Bang Theory is reacting Wednesday to the death of acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking, known for his work on understanding the nature of black holes.

In what will go down as one of the most significant legislative sessions in modern Chinese history, an eye-rolling millennial managed to steal the show from President Xi Jinping, a man who had just been given permission to rule 1.3 billion people for as long as he wants.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

At South High School in Columbus, Ohio, students stepped outside in frigid weather and said 17 names, releasing a balloon for each one.

In Orange County, Fla., 17 empty desks sat in the Wekiva High School courtyard. Students sang — "Heal the world, make it a better place."

It took just about two weeks from the public announcement to Sunday's legislative vote that erased presidential term limits from the constitution, potentially allowing Xi Jinping to rule China indefinitely.

"After it was announced, the move sent tremors through the Communist Party's intelligentsia," observes Zhang Xixian, an expert on party politics at the Central Party School in Beijing. But thanks to heavy government censorship of media and the Internet, there was little visible debate or opposition to the move.

The U.K. is expelling 23 Russian diplomats as punishment for a chemical weapons attack that took place in England. Prime Minister Theresa May has said Russia was likely behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy who, along with his daughter, was exposed to a lethal nerve agent that was developed in Russia.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

As students staged a national walkout Wednesday morning over gun violence, senior federal officials sat down for a grilling from Congress over law enforcement's failure to act on tips about the suspect in last month's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

German lawmakers have officially elected Chancellor Angela Merkel to continue leading the country for a fourth term after months of grueling coalition talks that left the country in limbo following elections in September.

Members of Germany's Bundestag voted 364 in favor, 315 opposed and nine abstentions.

"I accept the vote," Merkel told parliamentarians.

Her fourth term ends more than five months of political wrangling and uncertainty that weakened Merkel's governing coalition.

"Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status." That's one of the many quotes that has made Sir Ken Robinson's 2006 lecture on rethinking the nation's schools become one of the most popular TED talks — with more than 50 million views.

Virginia is among 18 states that have not expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But this year, the state legislature is going into a special session to continue discussions about whether or not to include it in its budget.

No one knows how many people wrongfully convicted of crimes are in prison, but last year 139 of them were exonerated. That's a drop from 2016, when there were 171 such cases.

The numbers released today by the National Registry of Exonerations shows that Texas still led the nation with 23 exonerees last year followed by Illinois (21), Michigan (14) and New York (13).

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