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Pope Francis steps into contentious struggle in Chile

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Pope Francis steps into contentious indigenous struggle in Chile

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WATCH Pope Francis expresses pain, shame over clergy sex abuse scandals in Chile

Pope Francis stepped into another thorny issue in Chile today: the plight of the country’s indigenous people.

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Francis flew some 400 miles from the capital of Santiago to the city of Temuco, located deep in the country’s poorest region of Araucania, the land of the Mapuche, the largest ethnic group in Chile.

Hours before he arrived, three helicopters and two churches were torched, according to The Associated Press. Eleven churches have been firebombed in recent days, according to the AP, a reflection of the region's contentious land rights issues and the Catholic Church's waning popularity in the country.

In a nod to the centuries-long struggle indigenous people in the region have waged, Francis greeted the different indigenous people of the region: the Mapuche, the Rapanui (from Easter Island), the Aymara, the Quechua and the Atacamenos.

PHOTO: Chilean Investigative Police inspect a helicopter burned at the Arauco Forestry company in Caranilahue, Temuco, Jan. 17, 2018. Manuel Araneda, Aton Chile via AP
Chilean Investigative Police inspect a helicopter burned at the Arauco Forestry company in Caranilahue, Temuco, Jan. 17, 2018.

He spoke of the beauty and richness of their lands, saying in their local language, "Mari, Mari," or "Good morning," and "Küme tünngün ta niemün," or “Peace be with you.”

Pope Francis begs forgiveness for harm caused by sex abuse in Chile Pope Francis heading to Chile, Peru amid scandal

The pontiff said the land "has a sorrow that cannot be silenced, the injustices of centuries that everyone sees taking place" and focused on the meaning of unity. He stressed the need for all to listen and respect one another and about the art of "weaving" that unity to build history.

PHOTO: Pope Francis greets Mapuches in an offertory of a Mass at the Maquehue Air Base, in Temuco, Chile, Jan. 17, 2018.
SLIDESHOW: Pope Francis visits Chile and Peru

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"We need the riches that each people has to offer, and we must abandon the notion that there are higher or lower cultures," Francis said.

He urged attendees to not resort to "destructive violence."

"We have to insist that a culture of mutual esteem may not be based on acts of violence and destruction that end up taking human lives," Francis said. "You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division. Violence begets violence, destruction increases fragmentation and separation. Violence eventually makes a most just cause into a lie."

PHOTO: Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at the Maquehue Temuco Air Force base in Chile, Jan. 17, 2018. Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters
Pope Francis arrives to lead a mass at the Maquehue Temuco Air Force base in Chile, Jan. 17, 2018.

The pope arrived there earlier in the day from Santiago. Looking relaxed, he was driven in his motorcade straight to an open area at a now-unused airport area where about 150,000 people had gathered for Mass. The site is also known as a former detention center used during Chile’s violent dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet. Crowds chanted loudly to the welcome song, "Francisco amigo!"

A group of indigenous people dressed in colorful, traditional costumes knelt before the altar while some played traditional horn and drum instruments and waved leafy branches.

PHOTO: Nuns wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Maquehue airport in Temuco, Chile, where he will celebrate an open-air mass, Jan. 17, 2018.Claudio Reyes/AFP/Getty Images
Nuns wait for the arrival of Pope Francis at Maquehue airport in Temuco, Chile, where he will celebrate an open-air mass, Jan. 17, 2018.

Some improvements have been made to the indigenous people's situation, but the Mapuche people feel still feel targeted and discriminated against for defending their rights.

Protests against the repeated attempts to take their land from them and the continued destruction of their natural environment have continued. Some of these protests have turned violent: evangelical and Catholic churches have been burned in protest, and at least 11 firebombs have damaged or razed churches to the ground in recent days.

Speaking from the Vatican before his trip, the pope said he wanted to bring Chile a message "of hope, that hearts may be opened to peace, justice and dialogue."

PHOTO: Pope Francis arrives for Holy mass at Maquehue aiport, Maquehue, Chile, Jan. 17, 2018.Luca Zennaro/EPA
Pope Francis arrives for Holy mass at Maquehue aiport, Maquehue, Chile, Jan. 17, 2018.

He has made a point on his trips to visit the countries’ disadvantaged regions to speak of indigenous rights and environmental issues. The pope is expected to address similar concerns when he travels to Puerto Maldonado, in the Peruvian Amazon, on Friday.

After Mass today, the pope had a private lunch with the Bishop Hector Eduardo Vargas Bastidas, eight Mapuche people from various communities, a victim of rural violence, a local of Swiss-German heritage and a recent immigrant from Haiti. He was expected to return to Santiago this afternoon for a meeting with young people.


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Health

Here’s a look at Trump’s physical exam report

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Here’s a look at Trump’s physical exam report

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WATCH Trump's 'overall health is excellent,' says doctor

The White House released the two-page report on President Donald Trump's physical, all of the details of which were read at the press briefing on Tuesday.

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Presidential physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Trump's "overall health is excellent" and noted that he is "above average based on age and sex."

However, Jackson said he suggested that Trump lose 10 to 15 pounds over the next year by improving his diet and exercising more. He said that Trump "is more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we're going to do both."

Trump's 'overall health is excellent' says doctor, weight loss a goal Meet President Trump's new doctor: White House physician Admiral Ronny Jackson

He also described a cognitive exam that he gave the president. Details of that exam and other testing that was completed are included in the report below.

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Entertainment

‘The Post’ actors are expecting their 1st child

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Carrie Coon confirms she and Tracy Letts are expecting their 1st child

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WATCH 'The Leftovers' co-creator, stars reflect on series as finale approaches

"Fargo" star Carrie Coon and husband Tracy Letts, with whom she stars in "The Post," are expecting their first child.

Coon, 36, confirmed the news on Twitter Tuesday.

"It's true!" she tweeted, posting an article from Us Weekly, which first reported the baby news.

It’s true! ‘Fargo's' Carrie Coon Is Pregnant, Expecting First Child https://t.co/AxR3r2eDgv

— Carrie Coon (@carriecoon) January 17, 2018

'The Leftovers' co-creator, stars reflect on series as finale approaches

Coon, who also starred on "The Leftovers," first debuted her baby bump when she attended the Critics' Choice Awards on Jan. 11 alongside Letts, 52. But she waited until Tuesday to confirm her pregnancy.

The couple first met while working at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago, where Letts debuted his 2008 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "August: Osage County."

They tied the knot in 2013 after appearing together in the Broadway revival of "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Letts won a Tony award for his portrayal of George.

The couple is having a great year. In addition to starring together alongside Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in "The Post," Letts earned a SAG nomination for outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture nomination for his role in "Lady Bird."

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Technology

Hidden cameras offer unique glimpse of animals in the wild

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Hidden cameras offer unique glimpse of animals in the wild

The Associated Press
In this 2017 photo from a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service motion-activated camera, a vulture comes in for a landing at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Motion-detecting wildlife cameras are yielding serious science as well as amusing photos. From ocelots in the desert to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies, remote cameras are exposing elusive creatures like never before. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

How does a bighorn sheep say "cheese?"

Some charismatic critters caught by motion-detecting wildlife cameras seem to know how to strike a pose. But it's not just show business. As these devices get ever smaller, cheaper and more reliable, scientists across the U.S. are using them to document elusive creatures like never before.

"There's no doubt — it is an incredible tool to acquire data on wildlife," said Grant Harris, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Remote cameras have photographed everything from small desert cats called ocelots to snow-loving lynx high in the Northern Rockies.

Harris cited images of javelinas, pig-like desert mammals, and coatimundi, members of the raccoon family, captured at higher latitudes in recent years. That could mean global warming is expanding their range northward, he said.

Other scientists deploying remote cameras include researchers with the Wyoming Migration Initiative, who use global positioning to map the movements of elk, mule deer and antelope in and around Yellowstone National Park. They only have so many collars to track animals, meaning there's a limit to the GPS data they can gather, said Matthew Kauffman, a University of Wyoming associate professor and initiative director.

"You see one animal migrating, you don't know if it's migrating by itself, if it's migrating with a calf, or if it's migrating with 40 other animals," Kauffman said.

Remote cameras — which can be left in the backcountry for days, weeks or even months — help fill in blanks by showing how many animals are on the move over a given period, he said.

Where to position them requires careful forethought. Clustering several around a watering hole, for instance, might produce many images but not a thorough profile of a population.

"There's this tension between subjectivity in where you put your camera and where it's statistically sound," Harris said.

Sometimes smart-alecky humans turn up among the images. "I've seen people moon cameras, and that's always funny," he said.

Remote video can also reveal details about animal behavior, including the mewling sounds of migrating mule deer. And live-streaming cameras for everything from bison in Saskatchewan, Canada, to the underwater kelp forest off California's Channel Islands are always popular.

As with all human intrusion into nature, remote cameras have downsides. Animals such as wolverines and bears have been known to attack them, though whether out of curiosity or aggression is hard to say.

Also, the devices have become popular tools to help hunters scout for game, prompting a debate over fair-chase ethics. Then there's the whole subjective thing about going into nature to get away from it all, including surveillance cameras.

Anyway, to answer the question: A bighorn sheep that looks like it's smiling probably isn't saying "cheese" but sniffing pheromones and other scents in what's called a flehmen response, said Harris.

In other words … bleats us.

———

Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver

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Technology

Bitcoin below $10,000; value halved since mid-December

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Bitcoin below $10,000; value halved since mid-December

The Associated Press
FILE – In this Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, file photo, a man watches a screen showing the prices of bitcoin at a virtual currency exchange office in Seoul, South Korea. Bitcoin is suffering another one of its trademark nosedives on Wednesday. The digital currency has fallen about 30 percent during the week as investors worry that regulators in South Korea will crack down on trading. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

Bitcoin fell below $10,000 Wednesday, extending a sell-off that has erased about half the digital currency's value in one month. Other digital currencies fell sharply as well.

Bitcoin has slumped about 30 percent just this week as traders worry that regulators in South Korea will crack down on trading of digital currencies. The price of bitcoin fell 13 percent to $9,823 as of 1:26 p.m. Eastern Time, according to Coindesk.

Bitcoin hasn't caught on as a currency for buying things, as intended. But it has drawn huge interest from traders, and its price has soared over the past year, and has also had several sharp drops.

The price of one bitcoin went from $1,000 at the beginning of last year to nearly $20,000 in December, and has lost about half its value in the last month. The latest plunge brings the price back to where it was in late November.

Many financial pros believe bitcoin is in a speculative bubble that could crash any time.

The possibility that South Korea will ban or restrict virtual currency trading has weighed on traders' minds the last few weeks because the nation is a major market for currencies like bitcoin.

Those worries have also depressed the prices of other digital currencies that gained sharply in recent months.

Ethereum fell 17 percent Wednesday to $867, according to Coindesk. That is still roughly double where it was in November, and down sharply from its recent peak of $1,329 on Jan. 10.

Bitcoin and other digital currencies trade on private exchanges that have little regulation or protection for investors. In December two major financial exchanges, the Cboe and CME, started trading in bitcoin futures, which allow investors to make bets on the future price of bitcoin without actually holding bitcoins.

Bitcoin futures on both the Cboe and the CME fell about 10 percent Wednesday and hit their lowest levels since trading began last month.

Bitcoin is extremely hard to value because it has no country or central bank backing it and it's not widely used to make transactions. Its value is tied only to what people believe it is worth at any given time.

Partly for that reason, it's gone through numerous highs and lows in its brief history since being formed in 2009: After a plunge in November 2013, it lost about half its value in 2014. The huge rally in 2017 also came with some sharp selloffs, although those wound up being temporary.

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Technology

A year in the most pro-Trump town in America

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Roberts County: A year in the most pro-Trump town in America

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WATCH Roberts County: A Year in the Most Pro-Trump Town

Miami is a town in the Texas panhandle where everyone knows everyone at the grocery store and servers at the local diner know who likes what kind of pie with their chicken fried steak.

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The community's busy season is largely dictated by the needs of the cattle, tended to on sprawling ranches surrounding the town. With a population of about 600, there are more cows than people in Miami, pronounced locally as my-AM-uh.

But the results of the November 2016 election brought an influx of new human faces to Roberts County as news crews descended.

Roberts County, where Miami is the only incorporated community, was dubbed the “most pro-Trump county in America” after national voting records showed it had the highest percentage — more than 95 percent — of Trump voters.

Of the 550 who voted in the county, 524 went for President Donald Trump. Trying to name people who voted for Hillary Clinton turned into a local guessing game, and none of the suspected Clinton supporters whom ABC News contacted were willing to talk about their vote.

But a handful of Trump voters and local residents spoke with ABC News and agreed to be interviewed over the course of the first year of the Trump administration. Why? Because ABC News wanted to learn and observe: What issues mattered most to their lives, and how — if at all — their initial impressions of Trump evolved a year into his presidency.

PHOTO: Not much changed in the small town of Miami, Texas during 2017, the first year of President Donald Trumps administration. Miami is in Roberts County, the most pro-Trump county in America. Adam Rivera/ABC News
Not much changed in the small town of Miami, Texas during 2017, the first year of President Donald Trump's administration. Miami is in Roberts County, the most "pro-Trump county in America."

While some parts of America have been consumed with the Russia investigations or slammed Trump as a divisive figure sowing discord, residents of Roberts County take a different view. They are more than 1,500 miles from the White House, but it feels even farther to some.

Watch more documentaries from ABC News Features Under Review: Transgender troops on Trump's proposed ban Emmy® Award Winner: Steps Into a High Calm: A Syrian Refugee Family's Harrowing Journey to Europe The Basin: Where coal is life, Trump seen as savior

The nearest nationally recognized city is probably Amarillo, which is just shy of an hour-and-a-half drive away. Miami’s town newspaper comes out once a week and dedicates large portions of the coverage to the Miami High School Warriors, the town school’s athletes. Those who live and work right in Roberts County are mostly connected to cattle – ranching, selling, showing — and many others have office jobs or public sector jobs in the nearby city of Pampa, which is just over the county line.

As the new administration settles into Washington, the reality of a political shift has taken root among voters like those in Miami, Texas. And while Trump’s actions can unsettle some of his supporters, they all appeared united in their conviction that the alternative would have been worse.

Clashing with “core values”

Steve and Martha Porter are essentially local legends, having lived and worked in the area for decades. They were the first couple awarded the “sweetheart” prize at Miami’s annual National Cow Calling Championship and Steak Cook Off in the summer of 2017 and have personal connections to many in the community. Steve Porter taught generations of high school government and economics students and Martha Porter taught special education at a nearby prison.

While they have recently been living in the neighboring town of Pampa, they still maintain a presence in Miami due to the more than 1,000 acres of property they own in Roberts County, which includes a pecan farm and apple orchard.

Steve Porter was drawn to Trump for his character, citing taxes and immigration as equally important issues he wanted to see improved.

“Donald Trump showed a great strength,” Porter said in June. “A great powerful person for the American people first. First in immigration, first in jobs, first in everything. And I realized that we needed a president who believed America was great. Greater than all other countries.”

PHOTO: Steve Porter, like many in Roberts County, says his faith and core values guide much of his life. Roberts County in the Texas panhandle is the most pro-Trump county in America. Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Steve Porter, like many in Roberts County, says his faith and core values guide much of his life. Roberts County in the Texas panhandle is the most "pro-Trump county in America."

One person who Porter said didn’t fit that description was Hillary Clinton. Her unpopularity came up repeatedly in conversations with Roberts County voters over the course of the year, and the Porters made sure their distaste for Clinton was passed down in their household to their miniature Australian shepherd named Buddy, whom they taught to bark like mad whenever he heard the name “Hillary.”

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Porter, like many in Roberts County, says his faith and core values guide much of his life. As much as he supports the president, Porter concedes, he occasionally disagrees with Trump's conduct.

“Many times, we find that our presidents have been men that have faults and failures. They've had sin about them. And they've made gross mistakes. And the one we have right now is no different from ones we've had before,” he said.

“He has made a number of mistakes and probably would be the first to admit that he said some things, done some things since he's been president that he wishes that he could change and take back,” Porter said in December, without mentioning specific examples of what he viewed as those “gross mistakes.”

When pressed on the fact that Trump so rarely apologizes, Porter likened him to someone else known for his strength.

“He probably is, in a way, like [actor] John Wayne. John Wayne said, ‘Never say you're sorry. It's a sign of weakness.’ Now, I don't agree with that, but that's the way many men are,” Porter said.

Taxes affect family legacies

Another voter who spoke to ABC News was cattle rancher Mitchell Locke, a fourth-generation county resident whose family helped settle the town in 1887.

He left Miami to go to college elsewhere, but he said he returned because he loves the simple, quiet life, where he spends his free time teaching himself how to play the “Game of Thrones” theme on his banjo. His photo, like many Miami High School alums, was on the wall in the school, and his relatives have pictures and mementos on display in the Roberts County Museum just blocks from his house.

PHOTO: Mitchell Locke says that the fate of his familys cattle ranch is dependent upon changes to the estate tax. Locke lives in Roberts County, Texas, the most pro-Trump county in America. Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Mitchell Locke says that the fate of his family's cattle ranch is dependent upon changes to the estate tax. Locke lives in Roberts County, Texas, the most "pro-Trump county in America."

When Locke, 36, first met with ABC News in February, just a month into the Trump administration, he didn’t hold back on his feelings about the new president, for whom he voted.

“I think he's a buffoon. I think he's a blowhard,” Locke said. “But I still could not vote for the left for tax reasons, for some of the economic reasons, and things like that … it was that simple.”

The biggest tax issue for the Locke family is the estate tax, which applies when someone dies and his or her estate is passed on to a relative or heir. The thousands of acres of land and roughly 1,000 cattle the Locke family owns, which is largely tended to by Locke and his father, David Locke, is the major source of the family’s income and they see it as their legacy.

The Lockes are part of a select group of people affected by the estate tax. In 2013, 0.18 percent of people who died that year were eligible to pay estate taxes, according to data released by the Tax Policy Center in 2017.

When it came to the 2016 presidential campaign, the candidates announced contrasting plans for how they would handle the estate tax, which many conservatives call the “death tax.” Hillary Clinton proposed raising the estate tax, in some cases reaching 65 percent, and Trump promised to eliminate it altogether.

That made Mitchell Locke’s choice crystal clear.

“You give me two choices, I'll make a choice. Sometimes you have to put blinders on to some of it and you have to take the lesser of two evils …. Neither candidate was good in my opinion. One was worse than the other,” he said.

His sister Erin, who lives three blocks away, holds similar beliefs, especially when it comes to the importance of Trump’s help on the new tax law. In addition to being affected by how her father’s estate will be divided upon his eventual death, she’s also concerned about her husband Chad Breeding, a rancher himself.

Chad Breeding, who serves as the Miami mayor when he isn’t busy on the ranch, stressed to ABC News it would be “great” to get rid of the estate tax.

PHOTO: Cattle rancher and town mayor, Chad Breeding, with his wife Erin and their twins, Lillian and Wyatt, live in Roberts County, Texas, the most pro-Trump county in America.Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Cattle rancher and town mayor, Chad Breeding, with his wife Erin and their twins, Lillian and Wyatt, live in Roberts County, Texas, the most "pro-Trump county in America."

Breeding discussed how “a lot of people don't really have a lot of wealth, as like dollar bills in their pocket,” in rural parts of the country like Roberts County. But “they have a lot of wealth built up in land, that they've inherited,” he said.

In the minds of Mitchell Locke and Chad Breeding, the hope for tax law change was the touchstone because, they say, issues such as Russian interference in the election, violence at a white nationalists rally in Virginia and the proposed travel ban don’t directly affect their lives. Things have been busy at their respective houses, as much of Mitchell and wife Ashlee’s year was consumed by their ultimately successful struggle to conceive a child, while Chad and Erin Breeding were getting used to life with their newborn twins.

While talking to ABC News in October 2017, Locke posed a hypothetical: He imagined that if Clinton had won, his family “would have had to sell our land to the point where it wasn't sustainable for two families,” losing what they had worked for generations to accumulate.

“Those DACA people, should they be concerned about us, in that scenario?” he said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy affecting hundreds of thousands of people who entered the county as minors.

He added, “I have to try and take care of me and my own. I don't know if that was right, but that's kind of what it comes down to.”

PHOTO: Cattle rancher Mitchell Locke, pictured with his wife, Ashlee, voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but said that he was the lesser of two evils. Locke lives in Roberts County, Texas, the most pro-Trump county in America. Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Cattle rancher Mitchell Locke, pictured with his wife, Ashlee, voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but said that he was the lesser of two evils. Locke lives in Roberts County, Texas, the most "pro-Trump county in America."

Praying for a change of heart

One Miami resident who supports Trump but takes issue with a possible policy change is Sonia Lopez. She immigrated to Texas from Mexico to live with her then-boyfriend, now husband, and has been living in Miami for more than a decade. She is still going through the citizenship process, so she wasn’t able to vote in 2016. But her eldest son and husband, who are both U.S. citizens, voted for Trump.

Each time she met with ABC News, she stressed that “the only concern to me is if he separate[s] families.”

Trump painted himself as a hardliner on immigration during the campaign, with the plan to “build the wall” becoming one of the best-known campaign lines. He signed an executive order to deport undocumented immigrants during his first week in office, and went on to openly debate what to do about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

He also ended special protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from El Salvador and Haiti, with other countries expected to come.

“How do you expect to have a good country if you are divided in the foundations of the family?” Lopez told ABC News in June.

PHOTO: Sonia Lopez lives in Roberts County, Texas, after emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico more than a decade ago. Sonia Lopez says that she regularly prays for President Donald Trump. Roberts County is the most pro-Trump county in America. Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Sonia Lopez lives in Roberts County, Texas, after emigrating to the U.S. from Mexico more than a decade ago. Sonia Lopez says that she regularly prays for President Donald Trump. Roberts County is the most "pro-Trump county in America."

Lopez stands out in Miami, not because of her loud cheers at the football games or her infectious smile, but because of the little diversity in Roberts County. According to the 2010 Census, 93.5 percent of the county is white, and only 74 people identify as Hispanic or Latino. Hers is one of three Mexican-American families who live in Miami, Lopez said.

Lopez, 48, told ABC News she is often asked whether she is in the country legally. A man once asked whether she swam through “the river” to get across the border, Lopez said.

“I say, ‘You know what, you have the privilege to be born here … I didn't. God didn't ask me … I'm the same, like you. I want something better for my kids. I want good education. I want they have a good future.” she said.

Like Porter and many others in the community, Lopez is Christian, telling ABC News that she regularly prays for Trump.

“I'm still praying every morning. Every morning, every night, every time that I remember, I just say, 'God, please, go in his heart, in all the Congress heart.’ …. Why they don't do something good for the people that they don't have papers?” Lopez said in December.

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Looking forward with a lack of enthusiasm

The breakneck pace of news and political dramas that have consumed many parts of the country in the first year of the Trump administration didn’t seem to make it to Roberts County.

That was particularly true of the Russia investigations, where some arrests and indictments were issued for members of the Trump campaign. All the people ABC News met in Roberts County dismissed the issue.

“In all reality, it probably will never affect me,” Miami Mayor Chad Breeding said in December, saying that would even be true if Trump faces legal questions about any alleged involvement.

“So, he gets indicted, he goes to jail, there's another president. That's not going to affect poor little Chad down here,” he said.

While a number of the president’s campaign promises failed to come to fruition during the first year, his major legislative win came in the form of a tax bill, which included changes to the estate tax.

PHOTO: Cattle play a major role in the economy of Roberts County. Jason Kurtis/ABC News
Cattle play a major role in the economy of Roberts County.

Since the tax bill became law in late December, the amount of assets that can be passed on tax-free has been doubled to cover roughly $11 million passed on by an individual. While certainly a boost, it is a far cry from eliminating the estate tax altogether, especially because that measure expires in 2025.

The expiration date means that if there are no deaths in the family in the next seven years, the next president could hold the financial fate of these Texas ranches in his or her hands.

But that doesn’t seem to bother rancher Mitchell Locke.

“I got other things out of it,” he said. “I got a Supreme Court candidate I like [now Justice Neil Gorsuch], reductions in regulations and things like that. And things haven't gotten worse for us. And they would have.”

While some, like Mayor Breeding, couldn’t fathom voting for anyone but a Republican, fellow rancher Locke says his allegiance to Trump isn’t guaranteed in 2020.

“I'm not married to the guy. I'm not locked into him like, ‘He's my guy.’ He never was,” Locke said. “I'm just, like I said, I had a set of scales and I was putting good, bad, good, bad and the good slightly outweighed the bad.”

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Health

Scientists seek super-shot for flu 100 years after pandemic

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Scientists seek super-shot for flu 100 years after pandemic

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WATCH New victims in flu epidemic as CDC holds urgent meeting

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The descriptions are haunting.

Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins.

A century after one of history's most catastrophic disease outbreaks, scientists are rethinking how to guard against another super-flu like the 1918 influenza that killed tens of millions as it swept the globe.

There's no way to predict what strain of the shape-shifting flu virus could trigger another pandemic or, given modern medical tools, how bad it might be.

But researchers hope they're finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time.

"We have to do better and by better, we mean a universal flu vaccine. A vaccine that is going to protect you against essentially all, or most, strains of flu," said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health.

Labs around the country are hunting for a super-shot that could eliminate the annual fall vaccination in favor of one every five years or 10 years, or maybe, eventually, a childhood immunization that could last for life.

Fauci is designating a universal flu vaccine a top priority for NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Last summer, he brought together more than 150 leading researchers to map a path. A few attempts are entering first-stage human safety testing.

Still, it's a tall order. Despite 100 years of science, the flu virus too often beats our best defenses because it constantly mutates.

Among the new strategies: Researchers are dissecting the cloak that disguises influenza as it sneaks past the immune system, and finding some rare targets that stay the same from strain to strain, year to year.

"We've made some serious inroads into understanding how we can better protect ourselves. Now we have to put that into fruition," said well-known flu biologist Ian Wilson of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

The somber centennial highlights the need.

Back then, there was no flu vaccine — it wouldn't arrive for decades. Today vaccination is the best protection, and Fauci never skips his. But at best, the seasonal vaccine is 60 percent effective. Protection dropped to 19 percent a few years ago when the vaccine didn't match an evolving virus.

If a never-before-seen flu strain erupts, it takes months to brew a new vaccine. Doses arrived too late for the last, fortunately mild, pandemic in 2009.

Lacking a better option, Fauci said the nation is "chasing" animal flu strains that might become the next human threat. Today's top concern is a lethal bird flu that jumped from poultry to more than 1,500 people in China since 2013. Last year it mutated, meaning millions of just-in-case vaccine doses in a U.S. stockpile no longer match.

———

The NIH's Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger calls the 1918 flu the mother of all pandemics.

He should know.

While working as a pathologist for the military, he led the team that identified and reconstructed the extinct 1918 virus, using traces unearthed in autopsy samples from World War I soldiers and from a victim buried in the Alaskan permafrost.

That misnamed Spanish flu "made all the world a killing zone," wrote John M. Barry in "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History."

Historians think it started in Kansas in early 1918. By winter 1919, the virus had infected one-third of the global population and killed at least 50 million people, including 675,000 Americans. By comparison, the AIDS virus has claimed 35 million lives over four decades.

Three more flu pandemics have struck since, in 1957, 1968 and 2009, spreading widely but nowhere near as deadly. Taubenberger's research shows the family tree, each subsequent pandemic a result of flu viruses carried by birds or pigs mixing with 1918 flu genes.

"This 100-year timeline of information about how the virus adapted to us and how we adapt to the new viruses, it teaches us that we can't keep designing vaccines based on the past," said Dr. Barney Graham, deputy director of NIH's Vaccine Research Center.

——

The new vaccine quest starts with two proteins, hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, that coat flu's surface. The "H'' allows flu to latch onto respiratory cells and infect them. Afterward, the "N'' helps the virus spread.

They also form the names of influenza A viruses, the most dangerous flu family. With 18 hemagglutinin varieties and 11 types of neuraminidase — most carried by birds — there are lots of potential combinations. That virulent 1918 virus was the H1N1 subtype; milder H1N1 strains still circulate. This winter H3N2, a descendent of the 1968 pandemic, is causing most of the misery.

Think of hemagglutinin as a miniature broccoli stalk. Its flower-like head attracts the immune system, which produces infection-blocking antibodies if the top is similar enough to a previous infection or that year's vaccination.

But that head also is where mutations pile up.

A turning point toward better vaccines was a 2009 discovery that, sometimes, people make a small number of antibodies that instead target spots on the hemagglutinin stem that don't mutate. Even better, "these antibodies were much broader than anything we've seen," capable of blocking multiple subtypes of flu, said Scripps' Wilson.

Scientists are trying different tricks to spur production of those antibodies.

In a lab at NIH's Vaccine Research Center, "we think taking the head off will solve the problem," Graham said. His team brews vaccine from the stems and attaches them to ball-shaped nanoparticles easily spotted by the immune system.

In New York, pioneering flu microbiologist Peter Palese at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine uses "chimeric" viruses — the hemagglutinin head comes from bird flu, the stem from common human flu viruses — to redirect the immune system.

"We have made the head so that the immune system really doesn't recognize it," Palese explained. GlaxoSmithKline and the Gates Foundation are funding initial safety tests.

In addition to working with Janssen Pharmaceuticals on a stem vaccine, Wilson's team also is exploring how to turn flu-fighting antibodies into an oral drug. "Say a pandemic came along and you didn't have time to make vaccine. You'd want something to block infection if possible," he said.

NIH's Taubenberger is taking a completely different approach. He's brewing a vaccine cocktail that combines particles of four different hemagglutinins that in turn trigger protection against other related strains.

———

Yet lingering mysteries hamper the research.

Scientists now think people respond differently to vaccination based on their flu history. "Perhaps we recognize best the first flu we ever see," said NIH immunologist Adrian McDermott.

The idea is that your immune system is imprinted with that first strain and may not respond as well to a vaccine against another.

"The vision of the field is that ultimately if you get the really good universal flu vaccine, it's going to work best when you give it to a child," Fauci said.

Still, no one knows the ultimate origin of that terrifying 1918 flu. But key to its lethality was bird-like hemagglutinin.

That Chinese H7N9 bird flu "worries me a lot," Taubenberger said. "For a virus like influenza that is a master at adapting and mutating and evolving to meet new circumstances, it's crucially important to understand how these processes occur in nature. How does an avian virus become adapted to a mammal?"

While scientists hunt those answers, "it's folly to predict" what a next pandemic might bring, Fauci said. "We just need to be prepared."

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World

Drought-stricken city could run out of water by April’s ‘day zero’

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Drought-stricken Cape Town, South Africa, could run out of water by April's 'day zero'

PlayNic Bothma/EPA

WATCH Drought-stricken city could run out of water by April's 'day zero'

One of the world’s favorite tourism designations, South Africa’s iconic city of Cape Town, has less than a 100 days of water supply left if a drought is not relieved soon.

The city’s mayor, Patricia de Lille, has again urged Capetonians to conserve water in order to avoid “day zero,” now forecast for April 21.

It is important that all residents must continue to save water, despite the City’s work to secure new water sources. I cannot stress it enough: all residents must save water and use less than 87 litres per day.

— Patricia de Lille (@PatriciaDeLille) January 11, 2018

The debilitating water shortage has forced city government to implement an online water consumption map, which will allow residents to check up on their neighbors’ water habits based on households’ municipal bills.

PHOTO: A general view of a farm house amidst dried fields on a farm in the Overberg, South Africa, Jan. 5, 2018.Nic Bothma/EPA
A general view of a farm house amidst dried fields on a farm in the Overberg, South Africa, Jan. 5, 2018.

The website‚ formally launched this week‚ has already prompted a wave of social media comment, most of it negative. But the city council defended the initiative‚ which it says is aimed at increasing residents’ awareness of water consumption.

“The potential water-saving benefit for all of Cape Town of making water consumption indicators publicly available outweighs any privacy issues at this stage of the crisis‚” mayoral spokeswoman Zara Nicholson said.

With an estimated 3.74 million people in 2016, Cape Town is the second-most populous city in South Africa behind Johannesburg. It is the provincial capital of the Western Cape.

After three consecutive years of drought, the city’s dams, sourced by rainfall, are sitting at just over 36 percent, with the last 10 percent of water unsuitable for drinking.

PHOTO: Water levels are seen at about 24 percent full at Voelvlei Dam, one of the regions largest water catchment dams, near Cape Town, South Africa in this Nov. 8, 2017 file photo. Mike Hutchings/Reuters, FILE
Water levels are seen at about 24 percent full at Voelvlei Dam, one of the regions largest water catchment dams, near Cape Town, South Africa in this Nov. 8, 2017 file photo.

Apart from asking neighbors to keep an eye on each other’s consumption, the city has also been preparing how to deal with what looks like an inevitable shut down of the taps.

Using water driven in from other provinces, residents would rely on 200 distribution points across the city.

Residents would be able to collect and 6.5 gallons of drinking water per person per day, which is in line with the World Health Organization’s recommendations of the minimum amount of water for people to maintain health and hygiene.

PHOTO: Bare sand and dried tree trunks stand out at Theewaterskloof Dam, which has less than 20% of its water capacity, near Villiersdorp, in this May 10, 2017 file photo.Rodger Bosch/AFP/Getty Images, FILE
Bare sand and dried tree trunks stand out at Theewaterskloof Dam, which has less than 20% of it's water capacity, near Villiersdorp, in this May 10, 2017 file photo.

The distribution points would operate 24 hours a day and a public health communications campaign will be mounted in advance to ensure that all sanitation systems continue to function and limit the risk of disease. Prior to filling their vessels, each person would be given a dose of hand sanitizer.

Cape Town has seven projects lined up to supplement water supplies, including desalination plants, water recycling and drilling into the earth’s natural underground reservoir. But it’s unclear whether such projects would be completed in time to prevent taps from running dry.

Renowned as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is famous for its harbor, its natural setting in the Cape Floristic Region and for such well-known landmarks as Table Mountain and Cape Point.

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Technology

China, Europe jointly test technology for storm satellite

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China, Europe jointly test technology for storm satellite

The Associated Press
FILE- This Friday, Sept. 30, 2016 file photo shows a view into the control room at the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany. The European Space Agency said Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018, it has teamed up with China's National Space Center to conduct ground tests on two complementary devices designed to deliver high-resolution images from an orbit of 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles). (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

China and Europe are jointly testing new technology that could help satellites peer through clouds and analyze storms.

The European Space Agency says it has teamed up with China's National Space Center to conduct ground tests on two complementary devices designed to deliver high-resolution images from an orbit of 36,000 kilometers (22,370 miles).

The agency said Wednesday that if the tests are successful, the next stage would be a space mission. It is the first time Europe and China have worked together to test and build an instrument.

Current satellite systems are unable to gather the temperature and humidity data needed to accurately monitor storms.

The tropical cyclones in the northwest Pacific, known as typhoons, pose a serious threat to China and other countries in the region each year.

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Entertainment

Princess Kate keeps Diana’s legacy alive with visit to children’s hospital

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Princess Kate keeps Princess Diana's legacy alive, visits children's hospital

PlayFrank Augstein/Pool/Reuters

WATCH Princess Kate continues Diana's legacy with hospital visit

Princess Kate is following in the footsteps of Princess Diana by visiting with seriously ill children at a London hospital.

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Just like her late mother-in-law did years ago, Kate on Wednesday visited Great Ormond Street Hospital, which has long been supported by the royal family.

Princess Kate, Prince William greeted with teddy bears for Prince George and Princess Charlotte Pregnant Princess Kate visits with schoolchildren a day after celebrating 36th birthday

She was welcomed by Ava Watt, 9, who has cystic fibrosis. The girl presented the mother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte with two teddy bears.

The Duchess of Cambridge is welcomed to @GreatOrmondSt (GOSH) by 9 year-old patient, Ava.

Today HRH is opening the new Mittal Children’s Medical Centre, which will enable the hospital provide world-class care to even more children. pic.twitter.com/66UMmVjicd

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

In the hospital, Kate, 36, who is due with her third child in April, comforted several children at their bedsides.

The children have been able to move into new, modern wards where parents or carers can stay comfortably overnight by their child's bedside. pic.twitter.com/Fr314layG5

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

She also sat and talked with children as they completed an art activity in the hospital's playroom.

The Duchess joins some children for an art activity, and discovers more about the positive impact the new centre is having on @GreatOrmondSt patients & their families. pic.twitter.com/FD2tfFRyzc

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

While talking with patients and staff, Kate revealed that pasta with olives is a favorite food of Charlotte, 2.

Eagle eye royal enthusiasts noticed Kate was wearing only her gold wedding band at today's hospital visit, leaving at home her sapphire and diamond engagement ring that once belonged to Diana. Kate, mindful of her interactions with patients, followed hospital recommendations and wore minimal jewelry.

PHOTO: Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is given two teddy bears by patient Ava Watt as she arrives to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Childrens Medical Centre, in London, Jan. 17, 2018.Frank Augstein/Pool/Reuters
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, is given two teddy bears by patient Ava Watt as she arrives to visit Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, in London, Jan. 17, 2018.

Kate later joined some of the hospital's young patients on stage as they unveiled a new building with additional facilities to allow parents to spend the night with their children.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1…The Mittal Children's Medical Centre and Premier Inn Clinical Building are officially [email protected] patients join HRH on stage for the official unveiling. pic.twitter.com/fqDrD1tRRX

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

"It's been my first visit to Great Ormond Street and I've been so impressed by everything I've seen and the scale of the work going on here," Kate said in a short speech. "It's been wonderful to meet so many families and young people.

It's been wonderful to meet so many families and young people. I've been so inspired by their bravery and courage at such a difficult time. – HRH

Congratulations to @GreatOrmondSt on your new building! pic.twitter.com/zvHEoDtIkr

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

"I've been so inspired by their bravery and courage at such a difficult time," she said.

PHOTO: Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge reacts to patient Rafael Chana, 4, as she visits Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Childrens Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building in London, Jan. 17, 2018.Frank Augstein/AP
Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge reacts to patient Rafael Chana, 4, as she visits Great Ormond Street Hospital to officially open the Mittal Children's Medical Centre, home to the new Premier Inn Clinical Building in London, Jan. 17, 2018.

Queen Victoria was royal patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital when it first opened in 1852. Princess Diana was a frequent visitor, actively promoting the work at the hospital.

The hospital was one of the six charities Diana focused on until she died in a car crash in Paris in 1997. After Diana's death, a hospital spokesman said her support had been “invaluable and incalculable" and the hospital set up a memorial fund in her name.

PHOTO: Princess Diana speaks with patients at the Great Ormond Street Childrens hospital in London, March 1991. Jayne Fincher/Getty Images
Princess Diana speaks with patients at the Great Ormond Street Children's hospital in London, March 1991.

In her remarks, Kate also thanked hospital workers for their work improving the facilities.

"My main message is congratulations to you all," she said. "It means so much to the families, both to the parents and children. You can see the real family element the hospital brings at such a difficult time."

In the afternoon, Kate changed from the brightly-colored coat she wore at the hospital into athletic gear for a visit to a primary school in Mitcham in southwest London.

PHOTO: Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a visit to Bond Primary School in London, Jan. 17, 2018. Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, arrives for a visit to Bond Primary School in London, Jan. 17, 2018.

Kate grabbed a tennis ball and joined kids at the school for a tennis lesson organized by the Wimbledon Foundation's Junior Tennis Initiative.

The @WimbledonFdn Junior Tennis Initiative promotes the benefits of physical activity and has introduced more than 195,000 local children to the sport through their free tennis coaching sessions. pic.twitter.com/eqRYjAKDZS

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

An avid tennis player, Kate took over from Queen Elizabeth in 2016 as royal patron of the All-England Lawn and Tennis Club. Kate is known to play tennis with her husband, Prince William, and showed off her skills Wednesday, gamely bouncing a tennis ball to kids with racquets.

The @WimbledonFdn sessions involve various tennis activities, such as drills and racquet skills, to help build technical ability and promote values such as teamwork, fairness and disciple. pic.twitter.com/NnCO965qTS

— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 17, 2018

"I was really sporty when I was little," Kate said. "Less so now that I've got lots of babies."

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