WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department has reversed an order by the Obama administration to phase out the use of private contractors to run federal prisons. In a memo made public on Thursday, Feb. 23, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Obama policy impaired the government's ability to meet the future needs of the federal prison system. The Obama administration said in August 2016 it planned a gradual phase-out of private prisons by letting contracts expire or by scaling them back to a level consistent with recent declines in the U.S. prison population.
NEW YORK - The founder of what had been one of the largest online poker websites agreed on Thursday, Feb. 23, to confront U.S. charges stemming from a long-running criminal case targeting internet firms like his operating illegally in the United States. Scott Tom, who founded Costa Rica-based Absolute Poker, pleaded not guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges he violated a federal internet gambling law and engaged in a money-laundering conspiracy.
A Powerball ticket sold in Indiana matched the winning numbers of a drawing on Wednesday, Feb. 22, for the game's $435 million jackpot, one of the largest in the lottery's history. The numbers drawn were 52, 10, 61, 28, and 13. The Powerball was 2. The winning ticket in Indiana is worth $435 million, the seventh-largest jackpot in the game's history, according to the lottery's website. Before Wednesday, the last time a winning ticket in the jackpot was sold was on Dec. 17. The odds of winning the jackpot were 1 in 292,201,338.
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis delivered another criticism of some members of his own Church on Thursday, Feb. 23, suggesting it is better to be an atheist than one of "many" Catholics who he said lead a hypocritical double life. In improvised comments in the sermon of his private morning Mass in his residence, he said: "It is a scandal to say one thing and do another. That is a double life."
CUPERTINO, Calif. -- Apple's sprawling new campus, dubbed "Apple Park," will open in April, the iPhone maker said on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Although the first wave of employees will begin moving into the new headquarters this spring, it will take about six months for all of the 12,000-plus workers to make the transition, Apple said. Construction will run through the summer. Apple also said the 1,000-seat theater at its futuristic headquarters will be named for its late co-founder, Steve Jobs, who helped design the 175-acre campus before his death in 2011.
OTTAWA—Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday, Feb. 22, defended plans to give more powers to U.S. border agents stationed in Canada, saying travelers would at all times be protected by domestic laws. As part of a 2015 deal between Canada and the United States, Trudeau's government has introduced draft legislation allowing U.S. border agents based in Canada more leeway to question and search people wishing to enter the United States.
Astronomers have found a nearby solar system with seven Earth-sized planets, three of which circle their parent star at the right distance for liquid surface water, bolstering the prospect of discovering extraterrestrial life, research published on Wednesday, Feb. 22, showed.
The jackpot in the U.S. lottery Powerball grew to $403 million before the drawing on Wednesday, making it the 10th largest in the game's history. The drawing is scheduled for 9:59 p.m. CT tonight. The winner will get annual payments over 29 years, totaling $403 million, or $243.9 million in a lump sum payment, before taxes. The last time a winning ticket in the jackpot was sold was on Dec. 17. The odds of winning the jackpot is 1 in 292 million.
CALGARY, Alberta—Part of the shut Enbridge Inc 2A pipeline will need to be drained for several days, Canada's National Energy Board said on Tuesday, Feb. 21, without giving an estimation of when it will be back online. The 586-mile pipeline, which transports light crude as well as condensate between Edmonton and Hardisty in the province of Alberta, was shut following a leak in Strathcona County last week.
LOS ANGELES—Angelina Jolie said on Tuesday, Feb. 21, she hoped her family would be stronger after her divorce from Brad Pitt, but that the actress still thinks of him as a wonderful father. "We are focusing on the health of our family, and so we will be, we will be stronger when we come out of this because that's what we're determined to do as a family," Jolie told ABC Television's "Good Morning America" in an interview.