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White House: Trump unaware of Flynn's foreign agent work

Mike Flynn registers as foreign agentPresident Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, the White House said Thursday.

The comments came two days after Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., filed paperwork with the Justice Department formally identifying him as a foreign agent and acknowledging that his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman could have aided Turkey's government. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday called the action "an affirmation of the president's decision to ask General Flynn to resign."


Tillerson recuses himself from Keystone XL issues

Tillerson recuses himself from Keystone Pipeline actionU.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has recused himself from issues related to TransCanada Corp's application for a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said in a letter on Thursday to the environmental group Greenpeace.

"He has not worked on that matter at the Department of State, and will play no role in the deliberations or ultimate resolution of TransCanada's application," said the letter from Katherine McManus, the State Department's deputy legal adviser.


Three misleading claims from Paul Ryan's Obamacare lecture

Ryans misleading statementsWith his jacket off and sleeves rolled up, House Speaker Paul Ryan made the case for the Republican health care law Thursday, walking through a 35-minute PowerPoint presentation to a packed crowd of reporters and millions of viewers watching on the three cable TV networks. It was quintessential Ryan, calmly explaining the details of the American Health Care Act looking more like a college professor than a professional politician.

But in making his case, Ryan made a series of misleading statements, both about the current state of Obamacare and the details of the replacement bill. Three stand out:


Grapes of wrath: wine bar owners sue Trump over unfair competition

DC wine bar sues TrumpHow do you compete with a restaurant at Donald Trump’s hotel down the road from the White House? Two Washington restaurateurs argue you can’t and have sued him over it.

The plaintiffs are Khalid Pitts and Diane Gross, who own Cork Wine Bar and Cork Market & Tasting Room.

They allege unfair competition under local law and have filed a lawsuit against Trump personally and the Trump Old Post Office LLC, which operates the hotel.


San Francisco Asks Federal Judge to Block Trump’s Order on Sanctuary Cities

SF challenges ban on sanctuary citiesSan Francisco has asked a federal judge to block President Trump’s order threatening to deny federal funding to sanctuary cities that don’t actively pursue undocumented immigrants. City authorities on Wednesday asked U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick for a preliminary injunction against the president’s executive order until a lawsuit against it can be heard.

The city’s motion argued that Trump’s order infringes on the sovereignty of cities and exceeds the president’s authority. City Attorney Dennis Herrera described Trump as a “bully” for threatening to withhold federal funding for public aid programs.


EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: Carbon Dioxide Not a ‘Primary Contributor’ to Global Warming

Pruitt the Idiot: CO2 not a contributor to global warmingEnvironmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Thursday he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

"I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there's tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see ," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."


Senate panel approves Trump's Israel envoy despite Dem opposition

Senate panel approves Israel envoyThe Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday approved David Friedman to serve as the U.S. ambassador to Israel despite opposition from Democrats.

The committee voted to clear Friedman's nomination in a 12-9 vote.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) was the only Democratic senator to support Friedman's nomination, according to multiple reports.  Democrats had voiced concerns over Friedman's previous comments backing Israel settlements and opposing a two-state solution.

TVNL Comment:  Friedman is an advocate of extreme right wing polkicies in Israel. This is a terrible choice.


1M without power in Mich., N.Y., Ohio after windstorms

windstormsHundreds of thousands of people were without power Thursday after windstorms struck cities around Lake Erie.

The weather across the area Wednesday was sunny but winds of more than 60 mph caused damage across Michigan. Around 1 million people in the state lost power, at least temporarily. Three thousand power lines fell in southeastern Michigan, where a thus-far mild winter has created softer ground, leading to the uprooting of trees. More than 875,000 electricity customers statewide were without power Thursday morning.


UN: Up to 450,000 IDPs expected in cramped Mosul camps

450,000 displaced in Mosul campsThere may not be enough space in camps to accommodate the tens of thousands of internally displaced people (IDP) currently fleeing their homes in western Mosul amid intense fighting in the city, a United Nations official has said.

At least 50,000 people have made their way to the camps on the eastern side of the Tigris River, but the UN warns that if the number rapidly increases, they will be hard pressed to find a place for the new arrivals.


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