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Thursday, Jul 27th

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US House backs road in remote Alaska wildlife refuge

House approves road in wildlife refugeThe House has approved legislation allowing a proposed road through a remote national wildlife refuge in Alaska that was rejected by the Obama administration.

A bill approved Thursday would grant a land exchange allowing Alaska to build the long-disputed road between two rural communities, King Cove and Cold Bay, near the tip of the Alaska Peninsula, 600 miles (965 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

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Russia Investigation Now Includes Trump’s Business Ties

Mueller taking on Trump business tiesThe Justice Department's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election has grown to encompass President Donald Trump's business ties and those of his associates, despite Trump's saying he believes that his personal finances would be outside the investigators' mandate.

Agents are particularly interested in the sales of some apartments in Trump-owned buildings by Russians, Russian involvement in some Trump Organization developments, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and his sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian billionaire in 2008, according to a person familiar with the investigation who spoke to Bloomberg News.

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John McCain diagnosed with brain tumor

John McCain has brain tumorSen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor following an operation to remove a blood clot above his left eye.

McCain and his family are considering options for treating the tumor, including radiation and chemotherapy. The 80-year-old McCain has previously successfully been treated for skin cancer.

The Senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation," said a statement from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. “The Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent.”

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Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions

Trump interview with NYT slams SessionsPresident Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.

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Manafort was millions in debt to pro-Russia interests: report

Paul Manafort owed millions to pro Russian interestsPaul Manafort was in as much as $17 million in debt to pro-Russia interests before signing on as President Trump's campaign manager in March of 2016, according to newly revealed financial records.

The New York Times on Wednesday reported that records filed in Cyprus, where Manafort was keeping banking accounts, showed that money was owed by shell companies tied to Manafort's work in the Ukraine as a pro-Russia Party of Regions consultant.

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Trump shuts down CIA program to arm Syrian rebels: report

Trump shuts down anti Assad CIA programPresident Trump is shutting down the CIA’s program to arm and train rebels fighting the Syrian government, The Washington Post reported Wednesday, a victory for Russia, which has called for the move for years.

Officials told the Post that shutting down the program, begun by the Obama administration in 2013, is a sign of Trump’s attempts to work with Russia, which has viewed the U.S. attempts to force out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an attack on their own interests.

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Tobacco companies interfere with health regulations, WHO reports

Tobacco companies interfere with health regulations: WHOCigarette manufacturers are attempting to thwart government tobacco controls wherever possible, even as governments make progress regulating the products, a new World Health Organization report has found.

World health officials also warn that tobacco companies have moved their fight to the developing world, such as Africa, where smoking rates are predicted to rise by double digits in the coming decades.

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Trump’s Justice Department Just Made It Easier For Cops To Take People’s Stuff

Police now can ore easily seize property of suspeted criinalsThe Justice Department on Wednesday reversed an Obama-era policy that had limited law enforcement’s power to take cash and other property from individuals who haven’t been convicted of a crime, and in many cases haven’t been charged with one. But the new policy comes with limitations that Justice Department officials say will protect innocent property owners from potential abuse.

The directive concerns the controversial law enforcement practice known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to permanently take property, including cash, vehicles and homes, from suspected criminals, all without ever having to secure a conviction or even charge the owner with a crime. Once forfeited, the proceeds of the property flow back into department coffers.

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California wildfire explodes to 45,000 acres; thousands evacuated

California wildfiresA Central California wildfire has doubled in size -- to more than 45,000 acres -- and still barely has any containment, fire officials said Wednesday.

The Detwiler Fire, burning in Mariposa County, has destroyed tens of thousands of acres, several structures and forced the evacuations of thousands of residents.

Roads were closed in the area to accommodate 2,200 firefighters and their equipment, officials said. Eight structures have been destroyed so far and thousands more are threatened.

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