WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: Students participate in a protest against gun violence February 21, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Hundreds of students from a number of Maryland and DC schools walked out of their classrooms and made a trip to the U.S. Capitol and the White House to call for gun legislation, one week after 17 were killed in the latest mass school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong, Getty Images

One month after Parkland, students plan to walk out over gun violence

Students across the U.S. are planning to walk out of class on Wednesday to commemorate the victims of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla., high school shooting. At 10 a.m., students at more than 2,800 schools plan to walk out of their classrooms for 17 minutes, one minute for each of the victims. The effort is just one of the many student-led actions that have arisen within four weeks of the attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The House will also take up a school safety bill on Wednesday that would pay for threat assessments and training for students, teachers, school officials and law enforcement to detect early signs of violence. 

Officials still counting the votes in tight Pennsylvania race

County election officials are still counting the votes Wednesday in Pennsylvania's special election to replace Rep. Tim Murphy. Results just after midnight had Democrat Conor Lamb leading Republican Rick Saccone in a race too close to call with 99% of precincts reporting. Just over a year ago, President Trump won the 18th congressional district by 20 points. Many strategists see this mostly white, working-class district as a testing ground for the November midterms.Democrats have said a win in this district — or even a narrow loss — means they can compete anywhere by capitalizing on Trump’s unpopularity and high levels of anti-Trump enthusiasm.

World remembers legendary physicist Stephen Hawking

Tributes poured in Wednesday after world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died at 76. His work made him a key voice in understanding the universe.He was born in Oxford, England, and graduated from Oxford University and later Cambridge University, eventually taking up the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics position there in 1979, a role once held by Isaac Newton.Hawking made remarkable strides in understanding black holes and the origin of the universe.For decades, he was confined to a wheelchair by a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a neurological conditions that handcuffs movement. Here are five things to know about Hawking's extraordinary life and career

NFL free agency officially opens

The NFL’s new league year begins at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and with it will bring a slew of free agent signings. With the negotiating window open Monday and Tuesday, several deals are just a formality. One of the biggest sources of intrigue is in the quarterback carousel, with Drew Brees staying put in New Orleans and Kirk Cousins closing in on a lucrative deal with the Vikings. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers, not normally big free-agent players, look to make a pair of splashes with the acquisitions of tight end Jimmy Graham and former Jets Pro Bowl defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Make sure to stick with USA TODAY Sports for the latest news and analysis on all the notable moves. 

Toys R Us could file to liquidate

Toys R Us, the iconic retailer that was the go-to for generations of parents and kids, may head to court as soon as Wednesday with a plan to liquidate. The toy retailer, which struggled with slipping sales and fierce competition, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September. It hoped it could restructure and emerge as a streamlined company with a more manageable debt load. But after a Christmas season with sales that were far worse than expected, that plan quickly collapsed. Barring a last-minute miracle, Wednesday's move could pave the way for the company to sell off all of its assets and close its remaining stores. 

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