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Tuesday, Jul 25th

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White House council for women and girls goes dark under Trump

WH council on women and girls goes darkWhen President George W. Bush took office, he quickly and quietly disbanded President Bill Clinton’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach — and now President Donald Trump appears to be doing the same thing to President Barack Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls.

The council, created by Obama in 2009 to monitor the impact of policy changes and liaise with women's groups has been defunct while the Trump administration evaluates whether to keep it, according to three senior White House officials.

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‘Morning Joe’ hosts question Trump’s mental state, say he lied in tweets

Joe Scarborough and Mika Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Friday morning fired back at Donald Trump after he attacked them in crude tweets the day before, writing in a Washington Post op-ed that the president “is not mentally equipped to continue watching our show.”

“President Trump launched personal attacks against us Thursday, but our concerns about his unmoored behavior go far beyond the personal. America’s leaders and allies are asking themselves yet again whether this man is fit to be president,” the "Morning Joe" co-hosts wrote. “The president’s unhealthy obsession with ‘Morning Joe’ does not serve the best interests of either his mental state or the country he runs.”

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Tepco execs go on trial for 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster

Tepco execs go on trial for Fukushima disasterThe criminal trial of three executives from the Japanese utility that owns the Fukushima nuclear power plant that melted down after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 got underway Friday, with the defendants apologizing, but defending their actions in the wake of the disaster.

The men, Tsunehisa Katsumata, 77, the former CEO of Tokyo Electric Power Co., or Tepco, and former Vice Presidents Sakae Muto, 67, and Ichiro Takekuro, 71, are each charged with professional negligence resulting in death. Specifically, Tepco is being blamed for the death of 40 patients at a hospital within the evacuation zone when Fukushima's No. 1 reactor began to melt down. The patients, who were in critical care, died while being evacuated to other hospitals.

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Modified U.S. travel ban goes into effect with another court challenge

Modified travel ban goes into effectA modified executive order banning people from certain countries from traveling to the United States has gone into effect as opponents filed an emergency court order.

The limited version of an order temporarily banning travel from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, all Muslim-majority countries, was implemented at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Senior administration officials expected that the ban would go smoothly and without the chaos and protests that greeted the original travel ban earlier this year, The Washington Post said. Advocates and immigration lawyers were at airports on the U.S. East and West coasts nonetheless to observe the execution of the order and to offer help. There were minimal reports of problems at U.S. airports.

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Police hear of new sexual conquest game at elite prep school

St. Paul's SchoolAn elite prep school is again under fire for allegations involving a game of sexual conquest similar to one a few years back where a student was charged with sexually assaulting a freshman over a sordid tradition called the "Senior Salute."

The allegations, first reported in the Concord Monitor, involve eight boys in a St. Paul's School dorm in Concord who apparently competed to have their names put on a crown. St. Paul's, one of the country's most selective boarding schools, learned about the game just before the June 4 commencement and launched an internal investigation into the matter. One boy, according to the newspaper, withdrew after the allegations came to the attention of a senior administrator.

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German parliament approves same-sex marriage

German parliament passes same sex marriage lawGermany's parliament has voted by a wide margin to legalise same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her mind and said members of her ruling conservative bloc should follow their personal conscience rather than the party line.

The parliament voted by 393 to 226 on Friday in favour of same-sex marriage.

The reform gives full marital rights for same-sex couples and allows them to adopt children.

TVNL Comment: Great news.  Better late than never...

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Senate Panel Digs Into 2,000 Financial Documents in Trump Probe

Trump documents being probedThe Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s possible links to Russia is now focused sharply on financial transactions involving the president’s associates -- with the committee searching for improprieties in more than 2,000 documents it has received from the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit.

The Treasury Department turned over the documents to the committee a few days ago after protracted negotiations with the committee, the panel’s vice chairman, Virginia Democrat Mark Warner, told Bloomberg -- and only after Senate Democrats threatened to hold up a Treasury nominee until they received the information.

A Treasury spokesman on Thursday disputed the notion the department hasn’t been responsive to the committee’s requests for documents.

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Mika Brzezinski responds to Trump with 'little hands' reference

Made for little handsMSNBC host Mika Brzezinski needed no words of her own in responding to President Donald Trump's attack on her on Thursday morning.

In a tweet, she posted a photo of a box of Cheerios. On it, the words "Made For Little Hands" are written.

For years, Trump has taken issue with people saying he has small hands and fingers. In a Republican primary debate in 2016, Trump defended the size of his hands and his genitals after Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida had said days earlier: "You know what they say about men with small hands? ... You can't trust them."

TVNL Comment:  Ya gotta love it. The Baby President will have an infantile temper tantrum over this.  His skin is as thin as his hands are small.

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Present at the Destruction: How Rex Tillerson Is Wrecking the State Department

Tillerson wrecking the State DepartmentThe deconstruction of the State Department is well underway.

I recently returned to Foggy Bottom for the first time since January 20 to attend the departure of a former colleague and career midlevel official—something that had sadly become routine. In my six years at State as a political appointee, under the Obama administration, I had gone to countless of these events. They usually followed a similar pattern: slightly awkward, but endearing formalities, a sense of melancholy at the loss of a valued teammate. But, in the end, a rather jovial celebration of a colleague’s work.

These events usually petered out quickly, since there is work to do. At the State Department, the unspoken mantra is: The mission goes on, and no one is irreplaceable. But this event did not follow that pattern. It felt more like a funeral, not for the departing colleague, but for the dying organization they were leaving behind.

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