Good morning. Here are some of the headlines we're following this morning:
1. 5 Takeaways From a Kinder, Gentler GOP Debate in Florida
If Donald Trump wins Marco Rubio's home state and John Kasich's home state on Tuesday, he'll take a massive leap towards securing the Republican nomination and likely end both of their campaigns. You wouldn't know it from watching Thursday night's debate, however, where the field seemed content to go gentle into that good night. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Trump: Reporter 'Made Up' Alleged Assault by Campaign Chief
Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump accused a Breitbart reporter of fabricating her accusation that his campaign manager grabbed her hard enough to leave a bruise during a campaign event. Trump told reporters after Thursday night's GOP debate in Miami that nothing happened. "Perhaps she made the story up. I think that's what happened," he said of Tuesday night's alleged incident. Read more in POLITICS.
3. South Swamped by Deadly Flooding
The South was slammed Thursday by torrential rainfall that has killed at least five people, turned roads into rivers and forced thousands of people to flee their flooded homes and head for higher ground. Read more in NEWS.
4. Cliven Bundy Refuses to Enter Plea in Standoff Case
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy on Thursday refused to enter a plea to charges connected with a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents, and a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. "I make no plea before this court," Bundy, 69, said at his first appearance in federal court in Las Vegas since being transferred from Oregon to Nevada last month, NBC affiliate KSNV reported. Read more in NEWS.
5. Murderer, 2nd Inmate Escape Prison Transport Van
A convicted murderer and another inmate with a violent past escaped while being transferred to a New Mexico prison, prompting a manhunt, authorities said Thursday. Inmates Joseph Cruz, 32, and Lionel Clah, 29, were taken from the Penitentiary of New Mexico in a van toward the Southern New Mexico Correctional Facility when they fled, the New Mexico Corrections Department said in a statement Thursday. Read more in NEWS.
6. Ex-Putin Aide Died from Blow to Head in D.C. Hotel Room
A former aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin found dead in a Washington hotel room was killed by a blunt force trauma to the head, U.S. authorities said Thursday. Mikhail Lesin, 57, was found dead on the floor of his room in Dupont Circle on November 5. Read more in NEWS.
7. 13 Dead Bald Eagles Were Killed by Humans: Tests
The 13 bald eagles that were found dead last month on Maryland's Eastern Shore didn't die of natural causes, wildlife officials said Thursday, and authorities are offering a $25,000 reward to help find whoever killed them. Read more in NEWS.
8. WGN's Underground' Surfaces: A Slave Drama That Resonates Today
The new WGN America series "Underground" upends the traditional slavery narrative in just about every respect imaginable -- from the music, to the camera work, to the storyline. "We wanted to in every way defy expectations," said Anthony Hemingway, who directed four episodes of the show, including Wednesday night's premiere. Read more in NEWS.