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January 30, 2017
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Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco and the "father of Pac-Man," passed away last week, Bandai Namco Entertainment announced Monday. The cause of death was not released. He was 91.

Nakamura founded Namco in 1955 and achieved success at the height of the coin-operated arcade gaming mania of the 1980s. Namco pioneered some of arcade gaming’s most popular titles, including Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Galaga. Pac-Man in particular became Namco's claim to fame, laying the foundation for the future of video games by offering an alternative to shooter- and Pong-style games.

The news of Nakamura's passing was withheld until after his funeral services, which were attended by close family and friends. He died Jan. 22.

Namco estimated in 2015 that Pac-Man has been played more than 10 billion times since its launch in 1980. The Pac-Man franchise also holds several Guinness World Records, including being the "first video game family," developing the "first female character in a video game" with Ms. Pac-Man in 1982, and notably becoming the "most successful coin-operated arcade machine." Ricky Soberano

4:17 p.m. ET

It only comes once a year, but World Turtle Day has brought out the testudinate-loving members of Congress — and their adorable photos.

Here is Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) helping a turtle cross a street:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), in typical fashion, used the opportunity to call for action:

And last but not least, tender-hearted Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) recalled a visit to the Turtle Hospital with his family, proving that #WorldTurtleDay can bring together both sides of the aisle and perhaps achieve world peace:

While he remained conspicuously silent on what surely must be his favorite day of the year, it would be negligent not to add former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's own throwback to the mix. Jeva Lange

3:14 p.m. ET
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The World Health Organization has elected former Ethiopian health minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to serve as its next director-general, the United Nations agency announced Tuesday after three rounds of voting. Tedros, who goes by his first name, will be the first African to head WHO.

Tedros ran against Britain's David Nabarro, who headed up the U.N.'s response to the Ebola outbreak in 2014, and Sania Nishtar, Pakistan's first female cardiologist. The New York Times reported that during Tedros' tenure as Ethiopia's health minister, he "drastically cut deaths" from malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, and neonatal problems; trained 40,000 women to be health workers; and greatly increased the number of graduates from medical school. During the election, however, Tedros faced accusations of covering up cholera outbreaks in Ethiopia, as well of being complicit in his home country's human rights violations.

Tedros will take over for Margaret Chan, who has headed the agency since 2006, on July 1. Becca Stanek

2:47 p.m. ET
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Fox News on Tuesday officially retracted its conspiracy theory about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. In a statement, Fox News admitted that its "scoop" published May 16, alleging that Rich was in touch with WikiLeaks just before being "mysteriously" murdered, was "not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny" usually required.

"Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed," the statement said.

Rich's family has been ardently denying the story since its publication, saying such conspiracy theories are harmful to "the memory and reputation of Seth Rich." Washington, D.C., police have reported Rich was killed in what was likely a botched attempted robbery. Moreover, Fox News' source, private investigator Rod Wheeler, admitted nearly a week ago that his only source for the story was a reporter at Fox News and that he had no actual evidence to back the conspiracy.

Fox News host Sean Hannity was still pushing the story as recently as Tuesday morning, enraging even his fellow anchors. Just over an hour before the retraction was published, Hannity was tweeting about Rich.

Fox News vowed in its statement that it would "continue to investigate this story" and "provide updates as warranted." Becca Stanek

1:52 p.m. ET

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) has a famous sense of humor, one that, in a previous life, served him as a Saturday Night Live comedian. Now Franken has become one of the most merciless Democrats in the Senate, holding President Trump and his appointees accountable — even when they're friends.

As Franken writes in his new book, jokingly titled Al Franken: Giant of the Senate, he has made an effort to extend a hand across the aisle. "Behind the scenes, he tried to cultivate friendships, including with conservative Republican senators who wouldn't be among his natural allies," USA Today writes.

That includes former Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and former Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). It does not, however, include Sen. Ted Cuz (R-Texas):

While the book provides a glimpse at some surprising friendships among senators across ideological lines, there are no kind words in it for Ted Cruz. The Texas senator gets an entire chapter of his own, titled "Sophistry," that describes him as "singularly dishonest" and "exceptionally smarmy." (Cruz's office didn't respond to a request for comment.)

"You have to understand that I like Ted Cruz probably more than my colleagues like Ted Cruz," Franken said in the interview, "and I hate Ted Cruz." [USA Today]

Read more about Franken and his new book at USA Today. Jeva Lange

12:51 p.m. ET

When asked to explain why the American people should care that Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, former CIA Director John Brennan was not shy. "Our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is an inalienable right we must protect with all of our resources and all of our authority and power," he told the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

"For the last 241 years, this nation and its citizens have cherished the freedom and liberty that this country was founded upon," Brennan said. "Many, many brave Americans over the years have lost their lives to be able to protect that freedom and liberty."

Brennan added: "The fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized … I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist." Watch Brennan's stirring speech below and read more about his testimony here at The Week. Jeva Lange

12:13 p.m. ET

In a press briefing Tuesday unveiling President Trump's full budget, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney defended the plan's steep cuts. The $4.1 trillion plan proposes slashing funding for Medicaid, social services for the low-income and disabled, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, while increasing spending on defense, the Veterans Affairs Department, and a new plan for parental leave.

"We're no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs," Mulvaney said Tuesday. "We're not going to measure compassion by the amount of money that we spend, but by the number of people that we help."

Mulvaney said that this approach would enable the Trump administration to achieve a balanced budget and economic growth. "That is how you can help people take charge of their own lives again," Mulvaney said.

Watch a snippet of Mulvaney's remarks below. Becca Stanek

11:24 a.m. ET

While testifying Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA Director John Brennan revealed that FBI intelligence uncovered "contacts and interactions" between Russian officials and individuals involved with the Trump campaign. Brennan said he had grown "concerned" that those individuals may have been influenced to act on behalf of the Russian government.

Those worries persisted when he stepped down as CIA director on Jan. 20, Brennan testified. "I had unresolved questions in my mind, as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf again, either in a witting or unwitting fashion," Brennan said, calling the FBI investigation into Trump associates and Russians "well-founded."

Though he's certain that "Russia brazenly interfered in the 2016 election process," Brennan noted he does not "know whether such collusion [with Trump associates] existed."

Brennan said he explicitly warned Russia against meddling in the U.S. presidential election in a phone call on Aug. 4 to the head of the Russian intelligence service. Brennan testified that he'd threatened such interference would "destroy any near-term prospect of improvement" in U.S.-Russia relations. "I believe I was the first U.S. official to brace Russia on this matter," Brennan said. Becca Stanek

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