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Simon Bramhall, the British surgeon who branded his initials onto patients' livers during transplant surgeries at least twice, has been ordered to do 120 hours of community service and pay £10,000 (more than $13,600).

Bramhall pleaded guilty in December to two counts of assault for branding his patients.

The United States appears to be in the midst of an unusually severe flu season, officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

The flu season started early, which is never a good sign, and the flu is already widespread throughout the country, the CDC's latest report shows. Half of states are reporting especially intense flu activity.

Natalie Portman is so done with male bias in Hollywood. On Sunday, before reading out the top picks for best director at the Golden Globes, she said: "Here are the all-male nominees."

She's not the only one who's over industry sexism.

You've seen the Orion Nebula before – but not like this.

It's part of the Orion constellation, easily visible from Earth: The bright center "star" in Orion's sword, located off Orion's belt, is actually an active nebula where new stars are formed.

In a narrow alley just behind a busy Queens street, Hernán's kitchen makes more than 4,000 churros each day for street vendors to sell across New York City. From 3 a.m., hours before nearby shop owners unlock their front gates, the kitchen fills with the sound of churro batter beating against the sides of large industrial mixers.

The kneaded dough is shaped by a long dispenser that drops it into sizzling hot oil. The churros — long, striated doughnuts — are finished with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon and stacked high on baking trays by Hernán's wife.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

One day after President Trump referred to African nations as "shithole countries," adding that the U.S. should want immigrants from countries such as Norway rather than from Haiti or El Salvador, the countries that came in for the president's criticism are offering some responses of their own.

Two 15-year-old boys have been sentenced to 5 years of probation over the livestreamed sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl in Chicago last March.

As NPR reported at the time, the girl, then a freshmen in high school, was sexually assaulted by as many as six different boys and men. Video of the attack was streamed on Facebook Live. Dozens of people watched, none of whom called police to report the rape.

The number of House Republicans declining to run for re-election has hit a record level in 2018, as 32 GOP members have said they are leaving: 19 are retiring from public office, while 13 are seeking another position.

House Democrats are facing 15 retirements, including three seats they will have to defend in districts President Trump carried in 2018.

Just three members of the Senate have announced their retirements, all Republicans.

Updated at 7:37 p.m. ET

President Trump is denying reports, from NPR and other news outlets, that in a Thursday meeting at the White House he disparaged African nations as "shithole countries" and questioned why the United States would admit immigrants from them and other nations, like Haiti.

Trump told lawmakers that the U.S. should instead seek out more immigrants from countries like Norway.

A State Department spokesman on Thursday said anti-Muslim comments made by President Trump's new ambassador to the Netherlands "were not the position of the State Department" — but he also declined to say the comments had been factually inaccurate.

The partial disavowal came a day after Ambassador Pete Hoekstra's first news conference in the Netherlands, in which he was pressed by Dutch reporters to retract the false claims he made in 2015 — when he said the "Islamic movement" was responsible for "no-go zones" and politicians "being burned" in the Netherlands.

It may have taken a marathon — but the party leaders who walked into a negotiating room in Berlin roughly 24 hours earlier emerged Friday morning with smiles on their faces and a preliminary deal in hand.

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A giant black hole located at the center of a galaxy 800 million light-years from Earth has been caught on camera letting out not one, but two massive "burps" of highly charged particles.

It is the first time astronomers have viewed the phenomenon twice in the same black hole.

Images released Thursday and credited to the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory were presented at the American Astronomical Society's winter meeting in National Harbor, Md., outside Washington, D.C.

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Six senators - three Republicans, three Democrats - think they have a solution for DACA. That's the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.

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President Trump campaigned on a promise of law and order. He courted endorsements from police unions. And he even hinted to an audience of police officers that he supported the idea of roughing up suspects (the White House later said he was joking).

Dr. Mahendra Patel, a pediatric cancer doctor, has begun giving away medications to some of his young patients, determined not to disrupt their treatments for serious illnesses like leukemia. He's worried Congress will fail to renew funding soon for a health program that pays for the care of millions of children across the country.

President Trump has shown little interest in fighting the threat of Russians hacking U.S. elections. He's shown a lot of interest in fighting voter fraud, something he insists — without evidence — is widespread.

Parts of his administration are doing just the opposite.

Bob Kolasky, an acting deputy undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told a group of election officials gathered in Washington, D.C., this week that the threat of Russian hacking in future elections is "a national security issue."

Americans love Oprah Winfrey — they just don't necessarily want her to run for president.

In a head-to-head matchup with President Trump, Winfrey would win 50 to 39 percent, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

But when asked if they want Winfrey to run for president, a majority (54 percent) said they don't want her to do so, with 35 percent saying they do want her to run.

Updated at 6:58 p.m. ET

Friday President Trump had his first physical exam since taking office — a move that could offer a rare public snapshot of the 71-year-old leader's health.

"The President's physical exam today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center went exceptionally well," Dr. Ronny Jackson said in a statement released by the White House. "The President is in excellent health and I look forward to briefing some of the details on Tuesday."

Recent scientific reviews have found substantial evidence that marijuana can be useful in easing at least some types of chronic pain. Yet even for the majority of Americans who live in states that have legalized medical marijuana, choosing opioids can be much cheaper.

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Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

A Baltimore hospital has started an investigation over why a distressed and confused patient was left at a bus stop at night in cold temperatures and wearing just a hospital gown.

A passerby recorded a video Monday showing four security guards walking away from a bus stop next to University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus. One is pushing an empty wheelchair. They appear to have just left the woman at the stop.

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