Kushner’s clearance lowered
The security clearance of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been downgraded, according to two people informed of the decision. Kushner had been operating with an interim clearance at the “top secret/sensitive compartmented information” level for more than a year. Now he is only authorized to access information at the lower “secret” level, according to a White House official and a person familiar with the decision, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. His attorney told the AP that Kushner’s ability to do his job won’t be affected by any change to his clearance.
Suspicious mail opened
Three people at a northern Virginia military base were transported to a medical facility and were in stable condition Tuesday after a suspicious piece of mail was opened and nearly a dozen people felt ill. A spokeswoman for Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall said people in the office on the Marine Corps side of the base had reported that as soon as the mail was opened they began feeling poorly and complaining of sore throats. Leah Rubalcaba said 11 people were initially assessed, and three were transported for medical care. The Arlington County Fire Department said the investigation is ongoing.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.
Astronauts return to Earth
Three astronauts are back on Earth after a 5½-month space station mission. The two Americans and one Russian landed in their Soyuz capsule shortly after sunrise Wednesday, local time, in Kazakhstan. It was a frigid homecoming. Despite snow and temperatures below freezing, recovery teams got to where they needed to be. NASA’s Joe Acaba and Mark Vande Hei and Russia’s Alexander Misurkin checked out of the International Space Station just a few hours earlier.
City bans plastic utensils
It’s the last straw for the California beachside city of Malibu. The City Council unanimously voted to ban all plastic cutlery and straws on Monday, citing concerns over keeping its famous beaches clean and protecting the environment. The move builds on the city’s previous bans of plastic bags and Styrofoam, and is part of an overall strategy to eliminate all single-use plastic items in Malibu, which has 21 miles of picturesque coast and is known as a haven for celebrities. Instead of plastic utensils, straws and stirrers, Malibu businesses will have to provide items that are made from paper, wood or bamboo.
Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires
National news briefs: Kushner security status reduced, cutting access to secrets