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American Headline News for 19 Feb 2017

WASHINGTON
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Iraqi PM announces offensiveThe leader says the move is "the start of a new chapter of Mosul operations."
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Ecuadoreans will choose Sunday between a candidate who vows to continue President Rafael Correa's populist platform or one of several more conservative contenders who pledge to attack corruption and... cut …
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NASA continues to steadfastly tweet urgent climate change information despite a critical president and GOP efforts to force the agency to stick to space and forget the Earth. The Trump administration... aims to largely restrict NASA to focus on its space missions and abandon climate change research, which is a part of its Earth Sciences Division. The division, which accounts for just $2 billion of NASA’s $20 billion budget, also includes gathering weather information, which the Republicans don’t aim to drop. At a House Science, Space and Technology Committee hearing last Thursday, Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said he wants a “rebalancing” of NASA’s mission to allow other agencies to take over its climate change research. But it’s unclear which agencies could pick up the slack....
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John McCain stands up for the press

New York Post - 19 Feb 2017 07:31
John McCain stands up for theArizona Sen. John McCain said President Trump is wrong to tweet the press is an “enemy of the American people” — a label a “dictator” might use. “If you want to preserve democracy as we... know it, you have to have a free and at many times adversarial press,” McCain told Meet The Press’s Chuck...
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'California is a nation, not aAbout 15 people huddled in a luxury apartment building, munching on danishes as they plotted out their plan to have California secede from the United States. "I pledge allegiance, to the flag, of an... independent California," Geoff Lewis said as he stood in a glass-walled conference room adorned...
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Arts Groups Draft Battle Plans as Trump Funding Cuts Loom

The New York Times - 19 Feb 2017 07:25
Arts Groups Draft Battle PlansAcross the country, orchestras, theaters and operas reacted with alarm that public funding for the arts could be cut under President Trump.
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Simply stated, Supreme CourtIt was a horrific case. A female student had been gang-raped by football players being recruited by the University of Colorado. Now, her lawyers were trying to hold the university partly responsible,... arguing it had created a hostile environment for women. A lower court had already rejected their...
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Julian Assange may soon beWikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could be kicked out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London. If candidate Guillermo Lasso wins Sunday's election, he will give Assange, an Australian citizen, 30 days to... move.
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Some at NASA call for Earth'sNASA scientists are calling for the moon to be ­reclassified as a planet. Investigator Alan Stern argues the Earth's moon -- along with the moons that orbit Jupiter and Saturn -- has "all the... features of planets."
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The International Monetary Fund said Sunday that it and other partners have agreed on terms for a more than $5 billion loan package to the Mongolian government to help get …
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Lawmakers say Trump's wordsA growing roster of Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill say they believe President Donald Trump's pugnacious rhetoric and unpredictable behavior threaten to diminish the United States' standing... around the world, do real damage to fragile diplomatic relationships and even weaken global stability. ...
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Officials say roughly 6,900 members Colombia's largest rebel group have arrived in special transition zones to begin disarming, completing a key step in a revised peace deal that seeks to …
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Russia: Broken Promises for Investigations

Human Rights Watch - 19 Feb 2017 07:00
(Beirut) - The Russian government appears to be breaking its promises to investigate civilian casualties from airstrikes in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. In a letter sent to Foreign Minister... Sergey Lavrov on November 22, 2016, Human Rights Watch detailed 16 Syrian-Russian aerial attacks that appear to have deliberately or indiscriminately hit civilians and civilian infrastructure including bakeries, markets, and humanitarian objects between September 30, 2015 and September 19, 2016. The attacks killed a total of 141 civilians. Russia had made a commitment to investigate attacks in Syria "leading to significant civilian casualties" and to report the findings to the International Syrian Support Group Ceasefire Task Force and the UN Security Council. "Despite the ceasefire and a...
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Police need next of kin's DNAThe mysterious murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un added another bizarre twist when Malaysian police said the body will not be released until they get DNA samples... from his next of kin. Kim Jong-nam, 46, was slain Monday while he was passing through the Kuala Lumpur airport. It is believed...
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Christie tells his staff he isNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is telling friends and staff he is taking a role with the Trump administration, according to a source close to the White House. The GOP governor's position has not been... worked out, but he would not replace ­Reince Preibus as the president's chief-of-staff, the source said. "Trump told him to...
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WATCH: Spike in immigrantsPrime Minister Trudeau says they will continue to pursue policies of openness towards immigration and refugees without compromising security.
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WASHINGTON
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Memos signed by DHS secretaryHomeland Security Secretary John Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport immigrants at the border and those who are living in... the U.S. illegally. In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire...
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Donald Trump Appears To Make Up Sweden Terror Attack

The Huffington Post - 19 Feb 2017 05:05
PresidentDonald Trumpfalsely suggested at a Florida rally Saturday that Sweden had suffered a terror attack the previous night. After announcing that the White House planned to renew its efforts to... restrict immigration, Trump cited several European countries and cities that he said showed the dangers of admitting immigrants, particularly refugees. “You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden,” Trump told a large crowd of supporters in a hangar at the Orlando-Melbourne International Airport. “Sweden. Who would believe this? Sweden,” he added. “They took in large numbers. They’re having problems like they never thought possible.” Trump’s subsequent remarks made clear he was referring to European locales that had endured...
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Woman accused of faking cancerThe man had known Michelle Zipp for only a few months, but he already knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. So after learning that his 31-year-old fiancee had been diagnosed with... terminal cancer, the smitten Pennsylvania man decided he would do whatever it took to keep the love...
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White House chief of staff weighs in on controversy surrounding former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn
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A paranoid dictator's estranged brother. Two young female assassins. A crowded international airport. And a mysterious poison that kills within hours. It's the perfect recipe for a thrilling... cloak-and-dagger spy …
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Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave a staunch defense of the free press Saturday, noting that attacks on the media are “how dictators get started.” Speaking on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” to be... aired Sunday, McCain took a swipe at President Donald Trump’s volleys against the Fourth Estate, particularly a Friday tweet in which the press was called the “enemy of the American people.” The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017 “We need a free press,” said the 2008 Republican presidential candidate. “We must have it. It’s vital.” “If you want to preserve ― I’m very serious now―if you want to preserve democracy as we know it,you...
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Donald Trump and the Enemies of the American People

The New Yorker - 19 Feb 2017 03:51
When the leaders of the Bolshevik movement--Lenin, Stalin, and the rest--used the term vrag naroda, an "enemy of the people," it was an ominous epithet that encompassed a range of "wreckers" and... "socially dangerous elements." Enemies included clergy, intellectuals, monarchists, Trotskyists, "rootless cosmopolitans," and well-to-do farmers. To be branded an enemy of the people was to face nearly inevitable doom; such a fate was soon followed by a knock on the door in the middle of the night, a prison cell, the Gulag, an icy ditch--a variety of dismal ends. To be called an "enemy of the people" did not mean you had to hold oppositional thoughts or commit oppositional acts; it only meant that the dictator had included you in his grand scheme to insure the compliance of the population.
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