Reports: US To Sanction Russian Oligarchs Over 2016 Election Meddling

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The Trump administration is reportedly going to impose more sanctions in response to Russia's 2016 election interference, this time targeting wealthy business leaders.

The new sanctions will reportedly target Russian oligarchs, some of whom have ties to both President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

The sanctions could reportedly be announced as soon as Thursday. That news comes as Russia's relations with the West have deteriorated following accusations the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the U.K. It also comes amid reports special counsel Robert Mueller is questioning Russian oligarchs in his ongoing investigation into possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

Mueller reportedly stopped two Russians when they traveled to the U.S. and searched one's electronic devices. CNN reports Mueller has requested information from a third oligarch who hasn't come to the States. Mueller is reportedly trying to determine if any Russians funneled illegal cash to the Trump campaign.

Russia has denied any involvement in the 2016 U.S. election and the U.K. poisoning.

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Facebook Just Rolled Out Some Really Big Privacy Fixes

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Facebook released a list of sweeping changes to its security features Wednesday. Its website lays out nine updated measures to protect users' privacy. 

CEO Mark Zuckerberg also told reporters Wednesday many Facebook users who had certain privacy settings turned on could all but assume their information has been accessed by a third party.

That's because the feature that allowed users to search for people by email and phone number rather than by name was frequently abused to gain public profile information. The sixth measure in Facebook's announcement aims to fix that problem by disabling the feature.

Another change includes limiting the information that third-party apps have access to. That's likely in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which up to 87 million users had their information improperly gathered. 

Tinder users reported being kicked off the dating app, which requires a Facebook login, after the updates were rolled out. Facebook says it's working to fix that bug.

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Why The Masters Might Be The Weirdest Sporting Event In America

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There's nothing quite like the Masters golf tournament. It's known for its history and prestige, of course, but it's not just that. The tournament also has its own set of eccentricities you're not going to find pretty much anywhere else.

The Masters is hosted at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. Augusta is a club that likes to do things its own way and is used to taking criticism — like how the club didn't have a female member until 2012 despite years of protests.

But this attitude extends far beyond that into issues many sports fans might think are trivial. It's part of what makes the Masters one of the weirdest sporting events in America.

For example, Augusta is really serious about not distracting the golfers. So unlike other tournaments, no cellphones are allowed on the course during the Masters — not even if they're turned off.

This means that the thousands of fans at this year's tournament have to use pay phones if they want to make a call. Pay phones! In 2018!

SEE MORE: Why MLB Players Are As Angry At Owners As They've Been In Years

And that's far from the only rule fans have to deal with when they get to Augusta. You can't lie down; you can't bring a flag or sign; you can't bring a camera. You can't even wear your hat backward.

Even the things fans shout at golfers are regulated. One report said the club has a list of phrases this year that will get a fan kicked out of Augusta National. It reportedly includes a slogan for a certain beer company.

Yep, it's "dilly dilly" from those Bud Light ads.

Even the way fans get into the Masters is unusual. Despite being one of the hottest tickets in all of sports, Augusta doesn't really sell tickets. It just distributes badges to people for a relatively small fee. Those carry over for future tournaments, like a season ticket for a football team.

Those have been sold out for decades — you can't even get on the waiting list now. The only way to get tickets is to buy them from a secondary source like StubHub, which Augusta really doesn't like, or win a yearly lottery for the badges people give up.

Even on TV, the particular preferences of the golf club are apparent. You'll notice how the announcers refer to the fans as "patrons," because that's the term Augusta likes to use. The club once banned a TV analyst for six years for calling the fans a "mob."

These are rules that would probably raise eyebrows at other sporting events, but other sporting events aren't the Masters. Golf fans will still flock to Augusta for years to come — even if they need to leave their phone in the car.

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Russia, Turkey And Iran’s Leaders Met To Talk Ending War In Syria

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As the Trump White House struggles to deliver a cohesive message on its plans in Syria, the leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia met Wednesday to talk about how they can end the war in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to contribute to reconstruction and aid. Having their hand in that process could give those leaders significant influence over the region, but an analyst for CNN points out the conflict is probably not close to finished.

SEE MORE: Last Rebel Group In Ghouta, Syria, Reportedly Agrees To Peace Deal

This was the second time that these three leaders have met to talk about the conflict. But now they're talking against the backdrop of a potential U.S. pullout. The U.S. leaving would open up a power vacuum in parts of Syria, and experts say that could embolden Russia and Iran, which have both backed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A senior Trump administration official said Wednesday that the president reluctantly agreed to keep U.S. troops in Syria on Tuesday while meeting with his national security team. But that official also said the president wants his team to get the U.S. out of the country as soon as possible.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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Russia Lost Bid For Joint Investigation Into Nerve Agent Attack

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The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons rejected a Russian request to be part of the investigation into the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. 

The group called the request "perverse"; Russia has repeatedly denied any involvement in the use of a nerve agent against the former Russian spy-turned-double-agent and his daughter. The attack took place in England, and the British government has maintained the stance that the Kremlin was involved.

Of the OPCW's member states, only six countries, including Russia, voted for a joint investigation. Fifteen voted against it, but 17 members abstained from the vote. That led Russia to say the countries that abstained didn't support the U.K.'s accusations. 

A defense research facility in the U.K. determined the nerve agent was likely produced by a state actor but didn't go as far as to say where it was produced. 

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People of Faith Say They Are Ready To Lead The Fight Against Racism

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On the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., thousands took to the National Mall to call for an end to racism. They were people of different ethnicities, backgrounds and faiths joined the march and rally put on by the National Council of Churches. So we asked them, should people of faith and faith leaders be taking the lead on fighting for social justice and equality? 

SEE MORE: For Jesse Jackson, Martin Luther King's Death Is Still An Open Wound

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Trump’s Top Infrastructure Adviser Is Leaving

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President Donald Trump's top infrastructure adviser is leaving the White House.

DJ Gribbin is reportedly moving on to pursue "other opportunities." He was the one who oversaw the Trump administration's infrastructure plan.

The plan, which called for $200 billion in federal spending, was released earlier this year after months of delays. Gribbin's departure is casting doubt on the Trump administration's push to improve the nation's roads and bridges. Democrats don't like that the plan relies heavily on local and private funding, and Trump recently said he likely won't move forward with it until after November's midterm elections.

Gribbin is the latest official to announce they're leaving the White House in recent weeks, joining the likes of H.R. McMaster, Hope Hicks, Gary Cohn and several others. 

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Trump To Direct Deployment Of National Guard To US-Mexico Border

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At a white house briefing Wednesday, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters, "The president has directed that the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security work together with our governors to deploy the National Guard to our southwest border."

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he wanted to send troops to the U.S.' border with Mexico until his so-called border wall was built.

He followed that up with a tweet early Wednesday morning, saying: "Our Border Laws are very weak while those of Mexico & Canada are very strong. ... We will be taking strong action today."

As Newsy previously reported, the U.S. military isn't generally allowed to do civilian law enforcement officers' jobs. But those restrictions don't apply to the National Guard.

Nielsen confirmed troops could be headed to the border as soon as Wednesday night.

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN. 

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Those Pictures Of The Tesla In Space Might Have Been Illegal

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If you watched SpaceX's last satellite launch, you might have seen the livestream from orbit shut down midflight. But it wasn't technical difficulty so much as bureaucracy. It turns out SpaceX didn't have the necessary license to broadcast video from orbit.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rule says anything larger than a handheld camera that broadcasts from space needs a special permit. It's said to be a matter of national security.

But SpaceX has been sending up cameras on its rockets for years and has never sought a permit. That includes the Starman shots from the Falcon Heavy demo flight, which livestreamed a Tesla in space with Earth in the background.

NOAA didn't go out of its way to enforce the rule, either. It says it was never officially informed that SpaceX had started sticking cameras on its rockets — despite millions of people seeing the footage. In fact, SpaceX asked NOAA about the rules ahead of this last launch — and NOAA started enforcing them so suddenly that even some parts of the agency thought it might have been a mistake

SEE MORE: SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Launch Was Impressive Despite Years Of Delays

An NOAA statement clears it up, at least: The agency says it will hold SpaceX and other launch companies to those rules going forward. Congress is also considering streamlining the rules on commercial cameras in orbit so mix-ups like this don't happen as often.

It's not clear if future permits will let SpaceX broadcast whole launches, but some missions will be fair game. NASA cameras on the International Space Station captured Wednesday's resupply docking, and that footage is public domain.

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