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Wednesday, Jan 18th

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Watership Down author Richard Adams dies aged 96

Watership Down author, diesThe author of Watership Down, Richard Adams, has died aged 96, his daughter has said.

The tear-jerking children's classic about a group of rabbits in search of a new home after the destruction of their warren was first published in 1972.  The tale, first told by Adams on a long car journey with his daughters, turned into a best-seller.

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Carrie Fisher, Actress, Author and 'Star Wars' Rebel Princess, Dies at 60

Carrie Fisher diesCarrie Fisher, the actress and writer best known for her iconic role as Star Wars’ Princess Leia, died on Tuesday morning after suffering a heart attack while onboard a flight from London to Los Angeles. She was 60.

Family spokesperson Simon Halls confirmed the news to The Hollywood Reporter.

“It is with a very deep sadness that Billie Lourd confirms that her beloved mother Carrie Fisher passed away at 8:55 this morning. She was loved by the world and she will be missed profoundly,” Halls’ statement read.

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U.S. sold $40B in weapons in 2015, topping global market

Inda largest arms importerThe United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study.

Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.

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Trump taps Bossert for counterterrorism post

Bossert tapped for counter-terrorism postPresident-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday that Tom Bossert, a former national security aide to President George W. Bush, will serve as his homeland security adviser in the White House.

Bossert, currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Cyber Statecraft Initiative, “has a handle on the complexity of homeland security, counterterrorism, and cybersecurity challenges,” Trump said in a statement.

Bossert was a deputy homeland security adviser in the last year of the Bush administration, when he helped draft the federal government’s first cybersecurity strategy.

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Japanese prime minister arrives in Hawaii, lays wreath at Pearl Harbor

Japanese PM at Pearl HarborThe prime minister of Japan arrived in Hawaii for a two-day trip to visit memorials and and honor lives lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor 75 years ago, a visit which was said to repay President Barack Obama for his visit to Hiroshima earlier this year.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe laid a wreath Monday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, and Tuesday is expected to become the first Japanese prime minister to visit the USS Arizona Memorial, the main memorial of the massive attack.

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The Gabby: Navy to commission USS Gabrielle Giffords

USS Gabrielle GiffordssA naval program that has become a target for critics is preparing to commission a new vessel named after a well-known shooting survivor.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords, constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, has completed testing in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2017. The company handed over the $475 million ship to the Navy on Friday.

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NY AG: Trump can't dissolve foundation during investigation

Trump FoundationDonald Trump cannot move ahead with his plan to dismantle his charitable foundation because state prosecutors are probing whether the president-elect personally benefited from its spending, the New York attorney general's office said Tuesday.

"The Trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said Amy Spitalnick, spokeswoman for state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

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Israel's other army expanding illegal settlements

Israel's civilian armyAbuses of power committed by Israel's Civilian Security Coordinators (CSCs), civilian guards of the illegal settlements, continue to contribute to settlement expansion into Palestinian-owned land across the occupied West Bank, according to an Israeli rights group.

In following the behaviour of the CSC guards over a decade, rights group Yesh Din has come across reports of guards doling out death threats and chasing Palestinian farmers from their fields at gunpoint to prevent them from harvesting, among other violations.

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Minimum wage to increase in 21 states next year

Protests for increasing minimum wageMillions of minimum wage workers in 21 states will get a raise in 2017.

The highest state minimum wages in 2017 will be $11 in Massachusetts, which is a $1 increase from this year, and Washington, up from $9.47 in 2016. Other higher wages are in Arizona ($10), California ($10), Connecticut ($10.10), Oregon ($10.25 in July) and Vermont ($10). The other state raising the minimum in July is Maryland, where the minimum wage state-side will be $9.25.

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