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Tuesday, Dec 11th

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RIP, California GOP: Republicans lash out after midterm election debacle

RIP California GOPIn the wake of a near-political annihilation in California that has left even longtime conservative stronghold Orange County bereft of a single Republican in the House of Representatives, a growing chorus of GOP loyalists here say there’s only one hope for reviving the flatlining party: Blow it up and start again from scratch.

That harsh assessment comes as Republicans survey the damage from the devastation of a “blue tsunami” in California which wiped out five GOP-held House seats — with more still threatened — while handing every statewide seat and a supermajority to the Democrats in both houses of the state legislature this week.

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More Than 1,000 People Missing in NorCal Fire as More Bodies Found

More than 1,000 missing in CA firesAuthorities in Northern California said late Friday that eight more victims of the state’s deadliest fire on record have been found, bringing the death toll to 71 since it erupted more than a week ago.

At least 1,011 people have now been reported missing in Butte County, up from 631 earlier this week. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said the list of missing residents is “dynamic,” however, and that it may contain duplicate names as reports continue to come in to the emergency services.

As of Friday night, the Camp Fire was only 50 percent contained after swallowing up more than 9,000 homes, wiping out the entire town of Paradise, and scorching 146,000 acres.

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George Conway, Kellyanne’s Husband, Says He Would Rather Move to Australia Than Vote for Trump

George Conway: Trump admin. is a dumpster fire.

George Conway, a conservative lawyer who has become a favorite among a certain segment of the left for his vocal criticism of the president, said on Friday that he had decided to withdraw his name for consideration to lead the Department of Justice’s civil division last year because he considered the Trump administration to be like “a shitshow in a dumpster fire.”

In an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery,” Conway said that rather than vote for Trump over Clinton again, if he were faced with the same decision he would “rather move to Australia.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d spoken to reporters or the public of his disdain for what he perceives as the administration’s incompetence.

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CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi's death, sources say

CIA says MBS ordered Khashoggi murderThe CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the Saudi government's denials that the de facto ruler was involved, according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter.

The senior US official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.
The sources told CNN that the CIA based its assessment on available intelligence, as opposed to any specific smoking gun-type of evidence.

Billion-dollar US energy firm opposes Trump plan to roll back mercury rules

Billion dollar energy company agains Trup mercury deregulation

A leading US energy company is lobbying against the Trump administration’s move to roll back a major Obama-era environmental regulation, arguing that weakening a rule on mercury emissions would potentially kill jobs across the south and waste billions of dollars of investment.

Exelon, one of the largest producers of electricity in the US, has also argued to the Environmental Protection Agency that compliance with the existing mercury rule, a 2012 regulation that limits how much of the toxic pollutant can be emitted from coal-fired power plants, has had “substantial” health and environmental benefits and has cost a small fraction of what was originally anticipated.

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Federal judge tosses Nelson rules challenge

Nelson challenge tossed outFederal Judge Mark Walker has rejected a case brought by Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign that challenged the rules county canvassing boards use to decipher and count certain votes.

The case filed Tuesday with the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee challenged two state Division of Elections rules known as the “magic words” requirement and the “consistency” requirement. Lawyers for Nelson’s campaign argued they violated free speech and equal protections provisions in the U.S. Constitution.

In a ruling handed down early Friday, Walker wrote the rules are prudent.

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Kim Jong Un Lauds Testing of Unspecified ‘Ultramodern Tactical Weapon’

Kim Jong Un lauds new weaponNorth Korean state media is reporting that Kim Jong Un observed the successful testing of a “newly developed ultramodern tactical weapon.”

The North Korean leader is said to have been “so excited to say that another great work was done by the defense scientists and munitions industrial workers to increase the defense capability of the country.” No further details were available on the weapon in question, but experts say the testing is most likely meant as a message for Washington amid stalled nuclear talks.

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Betsy DeVos moves to restrict college sexual assault investigations to on-campus incidents

Betsy DevosThe Department of Education on Friday announced new proposed rules that would place limits on college investigations into sexual harassment and assault allegations made by students.

The new plan would only allow universities to investigate claims that occurred on campus or other property owned by the school, not off-campus locations. It would also require the accuser to report the incident to a specific officials within the university.

"We can, and must, condemn sexual violence and punish those who perpetrate it while ensuring a fair grievance process," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote in a statement issued Friday. "Those are not mutually exclusive ideas. They are the very essence of how Americans understand justice to function.”

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Trump ordered to restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta's access

Jim Acosta to return to WHA judge in Washington DC has ordered the White House to return CNN reporter Jim Acosta's press pass after it was revoked by the US Secret Service.

The judge's order says that the pass must be reinstated as a CNN lawsuit against Donald Trump continues.

Mr Acosta's press pass was taken after he clashed with the president during a news conference earlier this month.

The judge said the White House decision likely violated the journalist's right to due process and freedom of speech.

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