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7 things to know now: New planets; SpaceX, Powerball, CPAC

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. New Planets: NASA announced Wednesday that astronomers have discovered seven Earth-size planets orbiting a single nearby star. The planets could hold life, scientists say. They were spotted less than 40 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, according to NASA.

2. Indiana teen murders: Police are asking for help in identifying a man whose voice was recorded on a cell phone by one of two girls who were murdered while hiking in Indiana. The recording, in which a man is heard saying “down the hill,” was released Wednesday by police investigating the murders of Liberty German and Abigale Williams.

3. SpaceX Dragon: The SpaceX Dragon cargo ship is trying for a second time to meet up with the International Space Station. The Dragon’s first attempt was aborted Wednesday when navigation systems recognized something wrong in data about the station’s location. The ship will try to rendezvous with the Space Station early Thursday.

4. Visiting Mexico: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly will meet with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday. The two are expected to talk about immigration with Peña Nieto, two days after the Trump administration issued new directives on deportation of undocumented immigrants.

5. Powerball winner: One ticket, sold in Indiana, matched all six of the Powerball lottery numbers drawn Wednesday night. The numbers are 10-13-28-52-61 and Powerball 2. Because of brisk ticket sales, the jackpot jumped to an estimated $435 million just prior to the drawing.

And one more

The Conservative Political Action Conference – CPAC – will see several members of the Trump White House speaking Thursday, with President Trump on tap to speak there Friday. Vice President Mike Pence, Kellyanne Conway, Stephen Bannon and Reince Priebus will speak Thursday. Someone not speaking at CPAC is Milo Yiannopoulos, a former Breitbart News editor who was un-invited after a video surfaced in which he seemed to defend sexual relationships between 13-year-old boys and adult men.

In case you missed it

Bill would require Iowa universities to check political affiliation before hiring new professors

In the interest of maintaining “balance in the employment of faculty,” a Republican lawmaker in Iowa has proposed a bill that would make political affiliation a condition of hiring new professors at state universities and require universities to maintain current records of faculty political party affiliation.

Under SF288, it would be illegal for the faculty of any Iowa state university to have more than a 10 percent majority in favor of a single political party. This requires the state commissioner of elections to submit annual party registration data on current professors. It also requires the commissioner to submit voter registration data to screen all new applicants for teaching roles.

>> Read more trending news

College professors may choose to register as Republicans, Democrats or no party/unaffiliated; if a professor chooses no party, he or she would simply not be counted in determining the majority of the faculty. If the political party affiliation of an otherwise qualified candidate for a teaching role would tip a faculty’s political party majority past 10 percent, that candidate cannot be hired under this law.

SF288 was introduced by state Sen. Mark Chelgren, a Republican. The GOP gained majorities in the Iowa House and Senate last year; Gov. Terry Branstad is a Republican.

While discrimination by party affiliation is not expressly illegal under federal employment law (though some states prohibit it), Iowa Democrats say this law is intended to intimidate traditionally Democratic-leaning university faculties and freeze hiring at state universities. Critics also note that such a requirement could be easily gamed by simply switching party affiliations.

The bill has been referred to Iowa’s Standing Committee on Education.

Here’s why you are seeing a red X on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts

You are likely to see a lot of red Xs on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Thursday as politicians, celebrities and others support the “Shine a Light on Slavery Day."

The Xs are part of a campaign by a coalition of 16 non-profit groups that is working to raise awareness of the problem around the world. The End It Movement has adopted the red X as a sign of support for efforts to stop modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Appreciate @aplusk @thorn & @ecmassimino @humanrights1st's commitment to the #enditmovement & support of #EndSlaveryAct pic.twitter.com/RpJ9YH5mYH— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) February 15, 2017

Last week, the U.S. Senate's Foreign Relations Committee held an End Modern Slavery hearing. Actor Aston Kutcher was among those who testified to the horrors of human trafficking and slavery that still exists in many countries. 

If you want to take part in the movement, go to the website for the End It awareness campaign. There, you can find downloadable resources, including red Xs.

Or, some are taking red lipstick, making an X on their hand, and posting a photo of it to show their support.

Look for the hastags #EndSlaveryAct and #EndItMovement.

Jackie Evancho asks to meet with Trump about transgender rights

A performer at President Donald Trump's inauguration took to Twitter on Wednesday to speak out against the administration's move to withdraw guidelines rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration on the rights of transgender students.

>> Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

The Washington Post reported that Pittsburgh opera singer and "America's Got Talent" alum Jackie Evancho, who sang the national anthem at Trump's inauguration, tweeted that she was "obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide."

>> Read more trending news

Evancho's sister, Juliet, is transgender.

"@realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts," Evancho, 16, added in a second tweet.

I am obviously disappointed in the @POTUS decision to send the #transgender bathroom issue to the states to decide. #sisterlove— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 22, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

. @realDonaldTrump u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk #transgender rghts— jackie evancho (@jackieevancho) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Read more here.

Winning Powerball ticket for $435M jackpot sold in Indiana

Did you buy your Powerball ticket in Indiana? If so, check those numbers: You might have won the $435 million jackpot.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: What is the Powerball jackpot; where can you play?

The numbers drawn Wednesday night were 10, 13, 28, 52 and 61, with 2 as the Powerball. 

Here are your winning Powerball numbers: 52-10-61-28-13 and the Powerball is 2 https://t.co/YmUkrpqh1a pic.twitter.com/cF7cb9CKs0— WSB-TV (@wsbtv) February 23, 2017 <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Powerball's website early Thursday said the winning ticket was sold in Indiana. One ticket sold in New Jersey matched five numbers with Power Play to win $2 million, while tickets sold in Kansas, Massachusetts, New York and Texas matched five numbers to win $1 million.

>> Read more trending news

The jackpot for Saturday's drawing is $40 million.

Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump's administration officially withdrew guidance on transgender students' rights rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration. The move came after days of speculation.

>> Read more trending news

Under the Obama administration’s Department of Education and Department of Justice, public schools across the country were ordered to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that aligned with their gender identity rather than their sex at birth, citing Title IX.

The “dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration does not set forth any new guidance but rather rolls back the previous instructions, insisting that they did not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”

>> See the letters here

Here are the Trump administration letters formally revoking federal protections for transgender students pic.twitter.com/yS28eEhLtx— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 23, 2017

The Trump administration argued that the federal government has a responsibility to enforce the law and that the Obama administration’s protections lacked sufficient legal basis. The Department of Justice and Department of Education wrote that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy” and that this is an issue that would be better solved at the state and local levels so communities and families can determine what best meets their needs.

While the memo offers no specific instructions on how schools should deal with the issue, it did add that “schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

Bill Maher takes credit for Milo Yiannopoulos' downfall

After booking Milo Yiannopoulos on his HBO program last week, TV personality Bill Maher was openly criticized for giving the alt-right provocateur a large platform.

Since Yiannopoulos' appearance, a video in which he seemed to condone men having sex with boys circulated online.

>> Leslie Jones on Milo Yiannopoulos: 'I was done the day I blocked him'

In the days that followed, Yiannopoulos was removed from the lineup of a conservative conference in Maryland, his book deal with Simon & Schuster was canceled, and he resigned from his position at Breitbart News.

And Maher is taking all the credit.

>> Milo Yiannopoulos resigns from Breitbart amid controversy over pedophilia comments

“What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage,” Maher told the New York Times. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.”

Maher also responded to criticism that he went easy on Yiannopoulos during their segment.

>> Milo Yiannopoulos book deal canceled following remarks on pedophilia 

“It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done,” Maher said. “I had eight minutes with him on the show itself. Sorry I don’t have time to go over everything everybody else would want to do.”

Though Yiannopoulos' interview with Maher seemed cordial, his panel appearance later in the program was not. After insulting the other people on the panel, Yiannopoulos was hit by big criticism from writer and former "Nightly Show" host Larry Wilmore.

>> Read more trending news

Read more here.

Protest planned following 'Real men provide, real women appreciate it' billboard

The billboard in North Carolina reads "Real men provide, real women appreciate it."

>> Read more trending news 

Now, protesters are expected to demonstrate near that billboard on Business 40 between Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

The billboard is a paid advertisement and the company that owns the sign is standing by the message calling it "freedom of speech."

Facebook group is organizing a protest on Sunday at the sign.

"We are protesting patriarchy and sexism, and that this antiquated way of thinking about women exists at all," organizers said on the Facebook page. "We are protesting the implied demand that women be silent and appreciate, regardless of whatever circumstances, their role as non-providers."

About 100 people have joined the Facebook group.

"That’s the more dangerous side of this message, is this notion that women who are unhappy and vocally are saying that they are, and actively, and vocally pursuing recognition for their efforts that they should shut up and be happy,” protester Molly Grace said.

Florida pilot working for U.S. armed forces accused of flying jumbo jet while drunk

A Brevard County pilot has been accused of drunkenly flying a Boeing 747 overseas while working for a U.S. armed forces subcontractor, federal court documents said.

>> Read more trending news 

Daniel R. Criss, who was working as a pilot for armed forces subcontractor Kalitta Air, was charged Wednesday in Orlando federal court with flying the jet between Osan Air Base in South Korea and Yakota Air Base in Japan while drunk.

The alleged incident happened on July 14, 2015, a federal indictment said.

Criss faces a charge of operating a common carrier under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

His blood-alcohol concentration at the time exceeded the .10 percent limit allowed by federal law, court documents said.

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