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Editor's note: Voters and lawmakers often express frustration about the gridlock in this town. Some of it is ideological, sincere difference on issues, but often there are other reasons why things here just don't function. "Why Won't Washington Work" is our series, attempting to shine a light on the reasons, the root causes, behind some of the hurdles to solving problems.
By CNN chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, and Kim Berryman
Washington (CNN) – International typhoons, hurricanes, and earthquakes leave behind devastating scenes of poverty and need.
If you had about a $1.5 billion every year to send food to such desperate areas, how would you do it?
That is the job of Dr. Rajiv Shah, of the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. His goal is to have the flexibility to buy food as close to disaster sites as possible, and get it to those in need as if their lives depended upon it, which they do.
Washington (CNN) – Long before computers or televisions existed, a man who would become a U.S. senator and then president started an affair with his neighbor's wife.
Even telephones were relatively new back then, so Warren Harding wrote Carrie Phillips smoldering love letters during their 15-year relationship that ended prior to his inauguration in 1921.
"I love you more than all the world, and have no hope of reward on Earth or hereafter, so precious as that in your dear arms, in your thrilling lips, in your matchless breasts, in your incomparable embrace," said a 1910 letter first revealed in the book "The Harding Affair" by James David Robenalt.
(CNN) – As President Obama sends troops to Iraq, one of the uglier chapters from previous U.S. involvement is playing out in a courthouse in Washington, D.C.
After years of delay and legal issues, the U.S. government is trying four guards with the company once known as Blackwater, for a deadly shoot out in the streets of Baghdad back in September 2007.
(CNN) - The deadly Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has hit "unprecedented" proportions, according to relief workers on the ground.
"The epidemic is out of control," Dr. Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders, said in a statement.
There have been 567 cases and 350 deaths since the epidemic began in March, according to the latest World Health Organization figures.
(CNN) – For two years now, Julian Assange, editor of the secret-sharing site Wikileaks, has been trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, after the Latin American country granted him political asylum.
Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden on allegations he sexually assaulted two women in Stockholm. There are no actual charges against him there, but his lawyers think that the minute he steps into Sweden, he could potentially be extradited to the United States.
Now, his lawyers says they have new information that could ultimately allow him to walk out of the embassy, without handcuffs.