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Federal judge prohibits separating migrant families at the border

Federal judge bars family separations at border

A federal judge in San Diego has approved a settlement prohibiting U.S. officials from separating migrant families at the border. The settlement, reached in October, was awaiting approval. It goes into effect on December 11th.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by the ACLU. It sued to block the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy, which separated undocumented parents from their children when they attempted to cross into the United States.

Adults were sent to detention centers and minors to shelters. More than 5,000 families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border were separated, with no plan for reunification. Images of children alone in detention facilities generated outrage; the youngest child separated from their family was only 6 months old at the time.


Trump expert witness paid nearly $900,000 for testimony in fraud case

Eli Bartov

An accounting expert who came to Donald Trump’s defense in his $250m fraud has racked up nearly $900,000 in fees for his testimony, a court heard on Friday.

New York University Stern School of Business research professor Eli Bartov testified on Thursday that he had found “no evidence here of concealment” in his review of the financial statements at the heart of the case.

On Friday, Bartov was asked about how much he had been paid for his services. Bartov is a leading accountancy expert and it is standard practice in the US legal system for expert witnesses to be paid.

In a deposition taken in July, Bartov disclosed that he was being paid $1,350 an hour to work on the case. In court, he said he had now worked about 650 hours on the case, which would total $877,500.


Israel wants to slay the monster next door, but with this lethal bombardment, it is feeding it

Israel wants to slay the monster it feedsWhen will it end? Some ask that question in despair, willing an end to the pictures of crushed buildings and destroyed lives, the succession of bleak images that come out of Gaza every day. Some ask the question to exert pressure, with the UN security council debating a call for a ceasefire today. Others wonder if the answer rests on Washington, detecting a new urgency in secretary of state Antony Blinken’s repeated call for Israel to close the “gap” between its declared intention to protect civilians and “the actual results that we’re seeing on the ground”.

Put the question to senior military figures, Israeli and American, as I’ve done this week, and you hear a variety of responses. Some predict an end to the current intensity of bombardment in days, others talk in weeks. But the more fruitful question might not be when, but why. Why is the fighting still going on, even now, more than two months after the 7 October massacre of 1,200 Israelis by Hamas? As those demanding an immediate ceasefire might put it, surely Israel has hit back hard enough now? Surely it has made its point?


Pregnant woman sues Kentucky for right to have abortion

Pregnant sues Ky for abortion right

A pregnant woman in Kentucky filed a lawsuit on Friday demanding the right to an abortion, the second legal challenge in days to sweeping abortion bans that have taken hold in more than a dozen US states since Roe v Wade was overturned last year.

The suit, filed in state court in Louisville, says Kentucky’s near-total prohibition against abortion violates the plaintiff’s rights to privacy and self-determination under the state constitution.

The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe, is about eight weeks pregnant and she wants to have an abortion in Kentucky but cannot legally do so because of the state’s ban, the suit said. She is seeking class-action status to include other Kentuckians who are or will become pregnant and want to have an abortion.


Texas Attorney General Petitions To Block Abortion Greenlighted By Judge

Ken PaxtonTexas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked the state Supreme Court to halt a Dallas woman’s abortion less than one day after a lower court said she could terminate her pregnancy at 20 weeks due to complications.

The woman, 31-year-old Kate Cox, was granted an unprecedented temporary restraining order by District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble on Thursday to allow her physician to complete the procedure, after Cox began experiencing pain and learned that her fetus was extremely unlikely to survive outside the womb more than a short time.

Texas prohibits all abortions except for a very small number, in cases where the pregnant patient could imminently die. Paxton had argued that Cox’s life was not yet sufficiently endangered.


U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution Backed By Many Nations Demanding Immediate Humanitarian Cease-Fire In Gaza

US Vetoes UN vote on Gaza Cease FireThe United States vetoed a United Nations resolution Friday backed by almost all other Security Council members and many other nations demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. Supporters called it a terrible day and warned of more civilian deaths and destruction as the war goes into its third month.

The vote in the 15-member council was 13-1 with the United Kingdom abstaining.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood criticized the council after the vote for its failure to condemn Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel in which the militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, or to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself. He declared that halting military action would allow Hamas to continue to rule Gaza and “only plant the seeds for the next war.”



RNC Backs Out Of Hosting Debates After Trump Refuses To Participate

RNC throws in the towel

After hosting four events in which their front-runner, former President Donald Trump, refused to participate, the Republican National Committee on Friday threw in the towel and announced it wouldn’t host any more 2024 primary debates.

The decision doesn’t preclude other organizations, like news networks, from hosting their own independent debates ― but they won’t have the Republican Party’s blessing.

“We have held four successful debates across the country with the most conservative partners in the history of a Republican primary. We have no RNC debates scheduled in January and any debates currently scheduled are not affiliated with the RNC,” the RNC’s Committee on Presidential Debates said in a statement to Politico.


Cancel student loan debt for those with income under $71K, researchers to tell Biden panel

Researchers: end student loans for those earning under $71KResearchers on Tuesday will tell the Education Department’s student loan forgiveness committee to cancel all student debt for borrowers with household incomes below $71,000.

Their new findings, shared first with USA TODAY, recommend lowering many Americans' student debt-to-income ratios, while honing in on a question that has plagued the panel since it first started meeting this fall: What types of financial “hardships” keep borrowers from paying back their loans?

Low credit scores are a useful metric for what ails borrowers, the researchers suggest in the report, which was published Friday by the University of California’s Student Loan Law Initiative and the Student Borrower Protection Center.


Appeals court upholds but narrows Donald Trump gag order in election interference case

Trump gag order largely upheldDonald Trump will be prohibited from making public statements about witness participation in his federal election interference case after an appeals court largely upheld a gag order against him on Friday.

The gag order from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan applied to Trump, his lawyers, and prosecutors in the criminal case, which is slated for trial in March. Trump argued the order violated his First Amendment free speech rights.

The original gag order restrained Trump, his lawyers, and the prosecution from making public statements that targeted parties, lawyers, court and legal staff, and any reasonably foreseeable witness or the substance of their testimony.

The D.C. appeals court gave Trump some additional leeway by allowing him and his lawyers to publicly target special counsel Jack Smith. However, it said Trump, his lawyers, and the prosecution won't be allowed to make public statements about witness participation in the case.


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