They're just like us!
May 8, 2014

On Wednesday, doctors in Israel performed unprecedented surgery on a Syrian brown bear named Mango. The 19-year-old bear suffered from a slipped disc, which had left his back legs paralyzed, the Daily Mail reported.

(REUTERS/Nir Elias)

Veterinarians will monitor Mango's recovery in the coming weeks, but the photograph of this 550-pound animal, with a shaved back and an IV line and a blood-pressure cuff, is a reminder that even the most ferocious-looking creatures sometimes need a hand from their docs. Below, several more exotic patients. --Sarah Eberspacher

August 7, 2012: Fafa, an 18-year-old lioness, undergoes a CT scan in Brazil. | (REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino)

September 10, 2011: Veterinarians give a male baboon a dental treatment in Medellin, Colombia. | (REUTERS/Albeiro Lopera)

September 15, 2011: Male lion Tyson receives dental work at a veterinary clinic in Medellin, Colombia. | (REUTERS/Albeiro Lopera)

Friend or foe
8:49 a.m. ET
Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

As Vice President Joe Biden continues to toy with the question of whether or not to throw his hat into the 2016 ring, a former top adviser to Obama contends that there's probably one big question rolling around in the veep's mind: "'Why does she feel entitled to [run] and I can't?'" Although Biden and Hillary Clinton have always been friendly, they haven't exactly been friends, Politico reports, and now that the two may very well meet in a 2016 face-off, sources report that Biden's "undercurrent of resentment" for Hillary is starting to simmer.

While Biden reportedly "really likes [Clinton] personally," Politico reports that he has long "felt she viewed running for president as a 'burden.'" As Biden watches Clinton's stumbles on the campaign trail, the vice president's sense of resentment and "innate competitiveness" seem to have been stoked.

Read the full take on the Biden and Clinton's "frival" relationship over at Politico. Becca Stanek

Awards Show Roundup
8:22 a.m. ET

The 2015 MTV VMAs were a night where Justin Bieber crying on stage wasn't even a highlight. With an accidental shot of Miley Cyrus' nipple, Kanye West announcing a 2020 presidential run, Taylor Swift making an "Imma let you finish" joke, and Nicki Minaj taking on Cyrus for calling her "not too kind" (and a whole lot else) in The New York Times, it didn't even matter that there wasn't an adorable Blue Ivy Carter moment to get us through the evening.

Pretend like you actually watched the VMAs by catching up, below.

Kanye does Kanye:

Justin Bieber cries:

Nicki vs Miley:

And the reaction shot...

Taylor Swift makes an "Imma let you finish" joke:


Video of the year — Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – "Bad Blood"

Best female video — Taylor Swift – "Blank Space"

Best male video — Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – "Uptown Funk"

Best hip-hop video — Nicki Minaj – "Anaconda"

Best pop video — Taylor Swift – "Blank Space"

Best rock video — Fall Out Boy – "Uma Thurman"

Artist to watch — Fetty Wap – "Trap Queen"

Jeva Lange

frowny face
8:14 a.m. ET
Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images

An end-of-August Quinnipiac University poll shows that 2016's presidential candidates are playing to a tough crowd. A full 71 percent of American voters are unhappy with the way things are going in the nation today, with 41 emphasizing that they are "very dissatisfied," results show. A sliver of the population, only 2 percent, are "very satisfied" with the state of the U.S.; another tiny 2 percent of the population trusts the government "almost all the time," with over a third of voters trusting the government "hardly ever."

At least they're consistent? In a similar poll last August, 76 percent of Americans said they had no confidence that their children's lives would be better than theirs — a record.

"Most American voters sing sadly, along with The Rolling Stones, that they are unable to find any satisfaction with the way things are going in the nation or with the federal government," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said of the results. Jeva Lange

The widening cyber breach
7:46 a.m. ET
Jewel Samad AFP / Getty Images

The Obama administration is developing economic sanctions to impose on Chinese companies and individuals who have benefited from the thefts of U.S. trade secrets, The Washington Post reports. The White House has not yet decided whether to implement the unprecedented response to cyber-espionage, but administration officials say it could come within two weeks, and could even coincide with Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the U.S. next month.

The White House would not comment on specifics, but, according to former White House cyber official Rob Knake, the sanctions would be an "even stronger move" than indictments previously issued, The Washington Post reports. "It’s really going to put China in the position of having to choose whether they want to be this pariah nation — this kleptocracy," Knake said, "— or whether they want to be one of the leading nations in the world.” Becca Stanek

Working Together
6:41 a.m. ET

The world just got a rare glimpse inside Russian President Vladimir Putin's estate, thanks to a rather, well, odd video of Putin working out with his prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, on Sunday. Putin and Medvedev were in Sochi to watch a martial arts tournament, and the video shows them pumping iron together at Putin's Bocharov Ruchei residence, with the cameras clicking away as they watch and encourage one another.

"Later the politicians rewarded themselves with a barbeque, which they prepared without any help," says RT. Their drink to accompany their steaks was apparently tea. Putin is known for inviting the press to watch his feats of strength and heroic sportsmanship. Why did he want this workout session recorded? Who knows. But you can enjoy the spectacle below. Peter Weber

Iran nuclear deal
5:34 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

And then there were three. That's the number of Senate votes the White House needs to sustain President Obama's promised veto of a bill trying to stop the Iran nuclear deal, after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) became the 31st senator to say he'll vote to support the deal on Sunday. Two more senators — Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — are leaning toward yes, according to The Washington Post's tally, and 11 senators (10 of them Democrats) are undecided or their vote is unknown.

Although the numbers and momentum appear to favor Obama, it's not over until the votes are cast in the binding resolution of disapproval, expected to be taken up by Congress in mid-September. So heavy-spending advocacy groups are still trying to convince wavering lawmakers to support their side, and various groups of experts or interested parties are issuing letters with the same goal. The newest letter, dated Monday, is from 75 former members of Congress, urging their successors and former colleagues to back the Iran deal. Only four of the signatories are Republicans, but one of them, former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), is a pretty big name in foreign policy. Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine) also signed the letter. Peter Weber

mysteries of space
4:25 a.m. ET

Sometimes space is so lovely it puts sci-fi CGI to shame. Late last week, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) released a new photo of the Twin Jets Nebula, or PN M2-9, a "cosmic butterfly" comprised of two stars about the size of the Sun that orbit each other. The bipolar nebula was discovered in 1947 by astronomer Rudolph Minkowski (thus the M in the name), and photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997. But this new image, captured by Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS), is much more detailed, and more stunning:

(ESA/Hubble & NASA, Judy Schmidt)

You can read more about the Twin Jet Nebula, and how the dying stars are producing the shimmering wings of gas, at NASA. Or you can get much of the same information from the Wall Street Journal video below. Peter Weber

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