SpaceX’s 1st Tourists Homeward Bound After 3 Days in Orbit

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This photo provided by SpaceX shows the passengers of Inspiration4 in the Dragon capsule on their first day in space. They are, from left, Jared Isaacman, Hayley Arceneaux, Chris Sembroski and Sian Proctor. (SpaceX via AP)

A SpaceX capsule carrying four space tourists aimed for a splashdown off the Florida coast Saturday evening. The first all-amateur flight to orbit Earth began three days ago with a launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

US Ramps up Plan to Expel Haitian Migrants Gathered in Texas

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Haiti migrants waiting in Del Rio and Ciudad Acuña to get access to the United States, cross the Rio Grande toward Ciudad Acuña to get supplies, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021, in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. (Marie D. De Jesús / Houston Chronicle via AP)
The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement that it moved about 2,000 of the migrants who had gathered under and near a bridge in the border city of Del Rio to other locations on Friday for processing and possible removal from the United States.

In Edgy Washington, Police Outnumber Jan. 6 Protesters

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Police stage at a security fence ahead of a rally near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.  (AP Photo / Nathan Howard)

The crowd was sparse and incidents were few. The only clear parallels to the riots more than eight months ago by supporters of Donald Trump were the false claims put forth by the rally organizers about the violence that January day when Congress met to certify the election of Joe Biden.

R. Kelly Behavior Mirrors Abuse Tactics, Expert Witness Says

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In this courtroom artist's sketch R. Kelly, left, listens during his trial in New York, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (AP Photo / Elizabeth Williams)

Prosecutors inched closer on Friday to concluding their case at the R. Kelly sex-trafficking trial, calling two final witnesses to try to further cement allegations he groomed young victims for unwanted sex in episodes dating to the 1990s.

The Week in Review: FDA Panel Votes on COVID Booster Shots

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(WTTW News)

An ethics investigation into a Chicago alderman. The county assessor's got election competition. The latest on the park district's lifeguard sex abuse scandal. And CPS gets a new CEO.

Pentagon Reverses Itself, Calls Deadly Kabul Strike an Error

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In this Aug. 30, 2021, file photo Gen. Frank McKenzie, Commander of U.S. Central Command, appears on screen as he speaks from MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Fla., as he speaks about Afghanistan during a virtual briefing moderated by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Pentagon retreated from its defense of a drone strike that killed multiple civilians in Afghanistan last month, announcing Friday that a review revealed that only civilians were killed in the attack, not an Islamic State extremist as first believed.

US Panel Backs COVID-19 Boosters Only for Elderly, High-Risk

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In this March 2, 2021, file photo, Hollie Maloney, a pharmacy technician, loads a syringe with Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. (AP Photo / Robert F. Bukaty, File)

An influential federal advisory panel has overwhelmingly rejected a plan to give Pfizer booster shots against COVID-19 to most Americans, but it endorsed the extra shots for those who are 65 or older or run a high risk of severe disease.

Protest for Jailed Capitol Rioters: Police Ready This Time

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Security fencing and video surveillance equipment has been installed around the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, ahead of a planned Sept. 18 rally by far-right supporters of former President Donald Trump who are demanding the release of rioters arrested in connection with the 6 January insurrection. (AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite)

Though it is unclear how big the rally will be, the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department are fully activating in an effort to avoid a repeat of the pre-inauguration attack.

City Council Finally Launches Search for City’s Next Watchdog, as Deadline Looms

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(WTTW News)

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd Ward) and Ald. Michelle Harris (8th Ward) acknowledged that the process of replacing Inspector General Joseph Ferguson had been significantly delayed. 

When a Wetland Is Too Wet, Sometimes Nature Needs a Plumbing Assist

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If marsh birds like the pied-billed grebe, pictured, return to Powderhorn Lake, conservationists will judge the wetlands restoration a success. (simardfrancois / Pixabay)

A wetlands restoration project is underway at Powderhorn Lake Forest Preserve in the Calumet region, where construction of a human-made water control device will recreate a more natural system of drainage.

Father, Sons Held Without Bail After Fatal West Pullman Shooting

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A file photo shows a crime scene blocked off by the Chicago Police Department. (WTTW News)

A Cook County judge has ordered Nathaniel Butler Sr. to be held without bail following his arrest in connection to the killing of 35-year-old Jerome Jenkins. That ruling came a day after Butler’s two sons were also held without bail.

Bobby Rush: Honor COVID-19 Vaccine Development with Congressional Gold Medal

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(WTTW News via CNN)

Bipartisan legislation to be introduced Friday by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush would honor those whose efforts led to the successful development of COVID-19 vaccines, including researchers, scientists, doctors and vaccine trial volunteers. 

‘Chicago Tonight’ in Your Neighborhood: Little Village

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The vibrant Little Village community has been bustling with Mexican Pride as celebrations are in full force for Mexican Independence Day. (WTTW News)

The vibrant Little Village community has been bustling with Mexican Pride as celebrations are in full force for Mexican Independence Day.

September 16, 2021 - Full Show

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(WTTW News)

One-on-one with Illinois’ House Speaker. Live from Little Village for Mexican Independence Day. Filmmaker Ken Burns on Muhammad Ali. The Bears’ home opener. And a first-of-its-kind Mexican music fest.

Illinois’ House Speaker Emanuel ‘Chris’ Welch on Energy Bill and More

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(WTTW News)

A massive energy bill became law this week and among other things, it aims to get Illinois carbon-free by 2045. Meanwhile, Illinois COVID vaccination rates slow as the delta variant surges. And the legislature’s veto session is coming up in a month.

Bears Hoping to Bounce Back Against Bengals After Prime-Time Loss

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(WTTW News graphic)

After losing to the Rams, how long will Bears coach Matt Nagy resist pressure to give rookie quarterback Justin Fields more playing time? Former Bears offensive lineman James “Big Cat” Williams give us his take on the opening day loss and Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Ken Burns Talks About His New Documentary ‘Muhammad Ali’

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On Sunday, PBS airs part one of a sweeping new four-part documentary on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali. (PBS / Florentine Films)

He was bigger than boxing and larger than life — a true icon of the 20th century. Filmmaker Ken Burns and Donald Lassere of the Chicago History Museum join us to discuss the sweeping new four-part documentary on the life and legacy of Muhammad Ali.

Native Garden Registry Gets Green Thumbs Up From City Council

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Native plants are highly beneficial for the environment, but they often get mistaken for weeds. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The creation of the Native and Pollinator Garden Registry means Chicago gardeners now have protection from overzealous ticket writers. And plants like milkweed can take their rightful place alongside other “flowers” instead of being mistaken for weeds.

Mass Shootings in US Increased During Coronavirus Pandemic, Study Finds

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In Chicago, shooting incidents are up 64% so far this year compared with the same period two years ago. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

City police departments are also reporting an increase in gun violence during the pandemic. In Chicago, shooting incidents are up 64% so far this year compared with the same period two years ago.

Lightfoot Doubles Down on Plan to Go After Gangs’ Profits Amid Pushback

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(WTTW News)

Intense criticism has not prompted Mayor Lori Lightfoot to rethink her plan to demand that the Chicago City Council give the city’s Law Department the authority to sue the leaders of Chicago’s gangs and “go after their blood money.”

Pandemic Tie to Vision Issues Seen in Chinese Kids’ Study

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In this Sept. 7, 2020 file photo, students wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus walk in line as they arrive at a primary school in Beijing. (AP Photo / Andy Wong, File)

Research suggests vision problems increased among Chinese schoolchildren during pandemic restrictions and online learning, and eye specialists think the same may have happened in U.S. kids. 

City to Expand Efforts To Go Door-to-Door in Areas Where COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Lagging

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(WTTW News)

Chicago officials will expand their efforts to bring lifesaving vaccines directly to those who have yet to be vaccinated by going door-to-door in more parts of the city while launching an effort to contact unvaccinated residents by phone.

Police Department Hasn’t Taken Steps to Improve Record Management: Watchdog Report

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(WTTW News)

In a follow-up to its June 2020 report, the Chicago Office of Inspector General on Thursday found the CPD still cannot ensure it is producing all relevant records in its possession for criminal and civil litigation.

Fossil Reveals Bird With Long, Flashy Tail Feathers That Lived 120 Million Years Ago

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Modern sunbirds also have long tail feathers. (Jason Weckstein / The Field Museum)

Scientists have uncovered the fossil of a bird that lived 120 million years ago, and it definitely had flair, including unusually long tail feathers. These flashy feathers probably didn’t help the bird achieve aerodynamic flight, but they might have helped him find a mate, according to new research.

Ethics Board Finds Probable Cause Ald. Gardiner Violated Ethics Ordinance Twice

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Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) on the floor of the Chicago City Council. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Board of Ethics has found there is probable cause to believe that Ald. Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) violated the city’s Governmental Ethics Ordinance by using his office to retaliate against his political foes.

September 15, 2021 - Full Show

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A new CEO for Chicago Public Schools. Another Chicago alderman may have violated ethics rules — that and more on Spotlight Politics. Reconstructing the state’s energy sector. Everybody’s favorite aunt.

Chicago’s 4th Architecture Biennial Reimagines City’s Vacant Lots

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In Englewood, one of the biennial’s 15 sites, the community partner is Grow Greater Englewood and they are constructing a new Englewood Village Plaza at 58th St. and Halsted. (WTTW News)

The exposition kicks off Friday. Past editions have been based at the Chicago Cultural Center, but now, its focus shifts to neighborhoods across Chicago — and to finding creative opportunities to meet those communities’ needs.

Pritzker: Illinois a ‘Force for Good’ by Cutting Carbon Gas

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the state's Climate and Equitable Jobs Act at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (Anthony Vazquez / Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Wednesday signed into law a pledge to eliminate the state’s climate-damaging carbon emissions within a quarter-century, including money to keep clean-power nuclear plants running while shuttering coal-fired plants.

Chicago Passes Watered-Down Plastic Foodware ‘Ban’ That Critics Call Greenwashing

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(Filmbetrachter / Pixabay)

Under the new law, restaurants will only provide single-use plastic utensils by request. Supporters called the ordinance an important first step toward waste reduction but opponents said it will do little to stem the plastic tsunami.

San Antonio Schools Chief Pedro Martinez Named New CPS CEO

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Pedro Martinez speaks Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021 outside his alma mater, Benito Juarez High School in Pilsen. (WTTW News)

The Chicago Public Schools graduate and former CPS chief financial officer under then-CEO Arne Duncan is expected to take control of the nation’s third-largest school district later this month, becoming the first Latino CEO within CPS.

Ex-House Speaker Settles Child Sexual Abuse Payments Suit

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This undated file photo provided by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department shows ex-U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert. (Lake County Sheriff Department via AP File)

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and a man who accused him of child sexual abuse reached a tentative out-of-court settlement Wednesday over Hastert’s refusal to pay the man $1.8 million — the outstanding balance in hush money that the Illinois Republican agreed to pay the man in 2010. 

Feds’ Plan To Save Endangered Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Misses Mark, Critics Say

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The endangered rusty patched bumble bee. (Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Four years after the rusty patched bumble bee was placed on the endangered species list, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released its final recovery plan for the insect, a plan critics say manages to go too far and yet not far enough at the same time.