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US Powerball jackpot soars to $625 million ahead of Saturday’s drawing

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The U.S. Powerball jackpot leaped to at least $645 million on Thursday ahead of its second drawing after no one claimed the winning numbers announced on Wednesday, when the cash prize was at $550 million, according to lottery officials.

The jackpot, which surpassed the $600 million mark for the fourth time in history, has an estimated cash value of $380.6 million, officials said. The next drawing was scheduled for Saturday, March 23.

“A lot like the flowers in the southwest, this $625 million Powerball jackpot is a spectacular super bloom,” David Barden, Powerball Product Group Chairman, said in the statement. “It does not happen often – and when it does, everyone wants to be a part of it.”

The latest increase comes more than two weeks after an anonymous sole winner of a $1.5 billion U.S. Mega Millions drawing last fall claimed the jackpot, according South Carolina’s lottery commission.

Lottery players in the United States were in a frenzy ahead of October’s drawing, forming long lines outside of ticket-sellers. In the four days leading up to the drawing, about 370 million of the $2 Mega Millions tickets were sold in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The winner, only referred to as a “South Carolinian”, collected a record one-time cash sum of more than $877 million.

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Reporting by Gina Cherelus; Editing by Susan Thomas

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Whoopi Goldberg scorches McConnell for obstructing Obama: ‘Maybe you should pay reparations for that!’

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Whoopi Goldberg shamed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for claiming the sins of slavery had been repaid with the election of President Barack Obama.

McConnell disagreed with reparations for slavery, lynching, discrimination and other racist institutions, saying the Civil War and Obama's election should be enough -- and "The View" host called out his hypocrisy.

"You know, Mitch, you said that you would make him a one-term president," Goldberg said, "and you did everything you could to not help him in the first four years. Maybe you should pay reparation for that."

Goldberg argued that black work and wealth had been stolen for centuries, and she said racism was much bigger than anything President Donald Trump -- whose name she never says -- and the Republican Party had done.

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2020 Election

Panicked GOP leaders scrambling to get Jeff Sessions to run for Senate so they won’t be saddled with Roy Moore

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According to a 2020 election analysis in the Washington Post, top Republican Senate leaders are cringing at the notion that former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore could be their nominee for the seat currently being held by Democrat Sen. Doug Jones -- and are looking for a way out.

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Federally-funded Catholic adoption agency blocks same-sex couple from fostering migrant children, because Jesus

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A Texas adoption agency that receives federal taxpayer funds is refusing to allow a lesbian couple to become foster parents, and they're citing their religious beliefs to support their discriminatory decision.

Bryn Esplin and Fatma Marouf, who are married and are both professors at Texas A&M University, were told by the agency because they're a same-sex couple they don't "mirror the holy family," and thus would not allow them to foster some of the thousands of migrant and refugee children the federal government is detaining.

The women pressed, saying that surely some of the 700 children under the agency's care were LGBT and would benefit from being placed with a married lesbian couple, as The Daily Beast reports.

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