Once a snake, always a snake ��

Ashley Shaffer
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Once a snake, always a snake ��

Scientists are turning snakes into spies, and Dominican Republic deaths keep happening: Tuesday’s news

Trump's defense guy is out amid an FBI investigation, United passengers got antsy and Facebook is launching its own currency. It's Ashley with Tuesday's news.

But first, put down the vape: A Nebraska school district will test students for nicotine, calling teen vaping an "epidemic."

Scientists turn snakes into spies

Really. In Florida, invasive Burmese pythons are strangling the state’s wildlife – perhaps permanently. Removing them isn’t that easy: Pythons have an uncanny ability to hide. So scientists are turning pythons into traitors: Captured snakes are equipped with radio transmitters and released back into the wild to lead scientists to breeding areas. In a recent session, scientists tracked down (and eliminated) a 17.5-foot, 141-pound female carrying 73 eggs

A Burmese python is displayed in Davie, Florida on Jan. 12, 2013 for an event organized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Trump's defense sec is out

About an hour after USA TODAY published a story revealing an FBI background inquiry into a violent domestic dispute in 2010 between Pat Shanahan and his then-wife, President Donald Trump announced he would replace Shanahan, his acting defense secretary since January. His departure jolts the nation's security system with uncertainty as the U.S. considers military confrontation with Iran. Not stressful enough? Ask yourself this: What's in this mysterious briefcase at the center of the incident?

Your new acting defense secretary: Mark Esper. Here's what to know about him.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan arrives

Photographer captures image of active shooter

When a masked gunman fired at a Dallas courthouse Monday, veteran Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox was on the scene. Fox, who was there to get a photo of a defendant in a charter school fraud case, photographed the gunman (see below), then immediately hid. “I just kept thinking, 'He's going to look at me around that corner, and he's going to shoot,' " Fox told the Morning News. The gunman was killed at the scene, and one person had minor injuries. 

An armed shooter stands near the Earle Cabell Federal Building Monday, June 17, 2019, in downtown Dallas. The shooter fired into the building, and was hit and injured in an exchange of gunfire with federal officers outside the courthouse.

What people are talking about 

Contagious diseases threaten the homeless – and they could spread

Growing homeless populations are susceptible to outbreaks of contagious diseases, including typhus, Hepatitis A and Shigella. Those health threats may not be confined to those living on the streets: In Los Angeles, a police employee assigned to Skid Row, the city's homeless epicenter, became infected by the bacteria that cause typhus – a potentially deadly illness – last month. Two other employees showed symptoms. Skid Row is overrun by rats feasting on garbage left on the streets and in alleys. Homelessness is not just a Los Angeles problem, and it could get worse. 

Real quick 

Dogs 'sledding on water.' Thank the unseasonably warm Arctic

Look at these dogs. They are running on ice, and it's adorable. The stunning photo was taken by scientists on the melting Greenland ice sheet last week, showing how unusually warm it's been in the Arctic this June. Usually, the dogs are just on ice, but because of the unusual warmth, a layer of water was on top. It doesn't seem like the dogs mind. 

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this snappy news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for "The Short List" newsletter here

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Once a snake, always a snake 🐍