NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS

Updated 9:55 a.m. ET

President Vladimir Putin said in his annual state-of-the-nation speech that Russia has tested powerful nuclear weapons that render missile defense systems useless.

Those weapons include cruise missiles, nuclear-powered underwater drones and a new hypersonic missile that travels five times the speed of sound.

Opioids are on the White House agenda Thursday — President Trump plans to talk with members of his administration about the crisis. Meanwhile, all around the United States, state legislators, treatment providers, families and many others will be listening.

Updated at 7:52 p.m. ET

In a freewheeling meeting with lawmakers on efforts to curtail gun violence, President Trump appeared to throw his support behind a number of conflicting measures, including some that are opposed by the powerful gun lobby.

Conservatives and allies of the president were angered by such signals on Wednesday, while others have begun to sound the alarm that Trump is continuing to demonstrate an unfamiliarity with basic policy proposals and a misunderstanding of the legislative process.

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

White House communications director Hope Hicks, President Trump's longest-serving aide, is resigning and will depart in the next few weeks, the White House says.

In a White House that has set records for staff turnover (and it isn't even close), the departure of Hicks still came as a shock.

The Newtown Action Alliance is calling on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to allow a vote on dozens of pending gun control measures in Congress in response to the February 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

In 1967, over 100 cities, large and small, exploded in fire and violence, the result of decades of discrimination against black populations in places like Cleveland, Nashville, Boston and Newark. The biggest riot at the time was in Detroit. After five days of rioting, 33 blacks and 10 whites were dead and property damage totaled more than $100 million.

The Anti-Defamation League has identified 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in its 2017 Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. That's up from 1,267 in 2016, marking the highest single-year increase since the organization released its first audit in 1979.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve remains on track to continue increasing interest rates gradually to keep the economy functioning smoothly, Jerome Powell told Congress on Tuesday in his first testimony as Fed chairman.

With a nod to the new tax-cutting law, Powell noted that "fiscal policy is becoming more stimulative" and he predicted inflation would rise this year and stabilize around the Fed's 2 percent target.

"My personal outlook for the economy has strengthened since December," Powell told the House Financial Services Committee.

Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

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