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Speaking at NATO headquarters in Brussels Monday, Vice President Mike Pence reassured allies that America would uphold its commitments to the organization, but added that President Trump expected "real progress" among NATO allies in stepping up their defense spending.

Defense Secretary James Mattis arrived in Iraq Monday on an unannounced visit that seemed aimed to reassure Iraqi allies. He told reporters that, despite President Trump's earlier statements to the contrary, the U.S. does not plan to seize Iraqi oil.

"All of us in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along and I'm sure that we will continue to do so in the future," Mattis said. "We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil."

An "atmospheric river" is a colorful term for a sinuous plume of moisture that travels up from the tropics — a single plume can carry more water than the Mississippi River at its mouth. But new research shows that atmospheric rivers are also among the most damaging weather systems around.

The atmospheric rivers that soaked California this winter did some good — they ended an epic drought in the state.

Sitting inside a glass-encased cockpit, two men fiddle with joysticks controlling giant claws outside. They look like they're playing at a vending machine at a mall, where you try to grasp a stuffed animal. But these are engineers. The claws they're manipulating are as big as houses, and they're sifting through hundreds of tons of garbage thrown away by the world's largest consumer class.

About 13 years ago, The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vt., released a new IPA called Heady Topper. The brewer, John Kimmich, had decided to neither filter nor pasteurize the beer — both common methods of extending a commercial beer's shelf life. The result was an IPA thicker with the microscopic compounds and particulates that add flavor and aroma. Customers noticed and praised the beer as being especially tasty.

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Presidents Day is a time to reflect on the giants. Lincoln. Jefferson. Washington.

And of course, mattress sales.

"You go hunting when the ducks are flying," says Kevin Damewood, the executive vice president of sales and marketing at Kingsdown, a mattress manufacturer.

He says three-day weekends are when people have time to shop for a new mattress. It's also when many people decide to move, and consequently when many people are in the market for a new mattress.

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President Trump, who spent the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, held another round of interviews for the position of national security adviser.

Trump interviewed four finalists on Sunday: acting adviser Keith Kellogg, who is a retired three-star Army general; former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton; Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, an Army strategist; and Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr., superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

During Betsy DeVos' bitter confirmation hearing last month for education secretary, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet pointed to Denver as a potential national model of a big city school district that's found an innovative, balanced approach to school choice.

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