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Monday, Aug 20th

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Judge orders plane carrying deported mother and child turned around, blocks more removals

Judge orders plane turned around with deported mother and child In a federal courtroom in Washington on Thursday, a judge heard about something the Trump administration had just done that clearly angered him. The government, he learned, had deported an immigrant mother and daughter who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit the judge was hearing over asylum restrictions.

So the judge did something highly unusual: He demanded the administration turn around the plane carrying the plaintiffs to Central America and bring them back to the United States. And he ordered the government to stop removing plaintiffs in the case from the country who are seeking protection from gang and domestic violence.

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Manafort trial Day 8: Judge concedes fault after Mueller protest

Manafort judge apologizes for comments

The federal judge overseeing the Paul Manafort trial conceded Thursday morning that he made a mistake in chastising special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors a day earlier in front of the jury.

Addressing the jurors before prosecutors called their first witness of the day, U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis said he “may well have been wrong” on Wednesday when he slammed the Mueller team for allowing an expert witness from the IRS to remain in the courtroom while other witnesses were testifying.

Typically, witnesses aren't supposed to hear anyone else's testimony in a trial so they don't influence each other, but Mueller’s team got Ellis’ permission during the trial’s opening arguments last week to have the IRS agent in the court on a regular basis.

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Puerto Rico concedes Hurricane Maria deaths more than 1,400

Puerto Rico hurricane deaths conceded to be over 1400Puerto Rico has conceded that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people on the island last year and not just the 64 in the official death toll.

The government acknowledged the higher death toll with no fanfare in a report submitted to Congress this week in which it detailed a $139 billion reconstruction plan for the island.

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Pastor, elders at one of largest U.S. churches resign amid abuse scandal

Willow Creek Community CHURCHThe pastor and multiple elders at one of the largest churches in the United States have resigned over backlash from sexual misconduct allegations against the church's founder.

The scandal involves Evangelical Willow Creek Community Church founder Bill Hybels, who resigned four months ago amid misconduct accusations that dates back decades. The accusations include suggestive comments, hugs, unsolicited kissing and invitations to hotel rooms.

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Yemen: Dozens of civilians killed in school bus attack

Saudi raid on Yemen kills many children

The Saudi-UAE military alliance at war with Yemen's Houthi rebels has been blamed for an air attack on a school bus that killed dozens of people, including at least 29 children.

The vehicle came under attack as it was driving near a crowded market in the Houthi-controlled province of Saada, which borders Saudi Arabia, said the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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EPA pushes back on asbestos criticisms

EPA to allow asbestos products into US

The Trump administration is pushing back against a rash of criticism that new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policies could lead to the import or manufacturing of asbestos.

The controversy stems from a June 1 proposal that sought to require companies to notify the EPA if they planned to import or manufacture various out-of-date uses of asbestos, like roofing felt and floor tile.

It led this week to a firestorm, with news stories, denunciations and well-known figures like Chelsea Clinton and Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) charging that the EPA is opening the door to asbestos — something the agency strongly refutes.

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Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman elected to US Congress

rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman in US Congress

Former Michigan state lawmaker Rashida Tlaib is set to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress after winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday for a House seat in the state.

Tlaib will run unopposed in the general election in November, with no Republicans on the ballot in the overwhelmingly Democratic district in and around Detroit.

Tlaib is set to replace former Representative John Conyers, the longtime Congressman who stepped down in December amid accusations he sexually harassed former staffers.

“Thank you so much for making this unbelievable moment possible,” Tlaib said on Twitter early on Wednesday morning. “I am at a loss for words. I cannot wait to serve you in Congress.”

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Special prosecutor to probe possible forged signatures tied to Republican congressman’s campaign

Special prosecuter to prbe signatures tied to GOP campaignIt’s been a rough few weeks for Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA). Late in June, the first-term congressman from Virginia Beach was exposed for not having paid his local taxes — an error he blamed on being too “busy” to do so. Now, it appears his campaign may have been involved in a scheme to split the Democratic vote involving forged ballot signatures for an independent candidate.

Last week, WHRO reported that four staffers for Taylor had circulated ballot petitions for Shaun Brown, his 2016 opponent. Brown, whose fraud trial ended in a mistrial on Thursday, is attempting to run this year as an independent candidate. Eager to split the opposition, Taylor’s paid campaign staff helped collect at least 570 signatures to put her on the ballot (1,000 signatures are required for independent candidates in Virginia). Taylor told the Virginian Pilot that he did not “order” his staff to do take part in this underhanded, but not itself illegal stunt.

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Trump allies who belong to his private Mar-a-Lago club are reportedly making decisions for the VA

The shado rulers of the VA

Last February, shortly after Peter O’Rourke became chief of staff for the Department of Veterans Affairs, he received an email from Bruce Moskowitz with his input on a new mental health initiative for the VA. “Received,” O’Rourke replied. “I will begin a project plan and develop a timeline for action.”

O’Rourke treated the email as an order, but Moskowitz is not his boss. In fact, he is not even a government official. Moskowitz is a Palm Beach doctor who helps wealthy people obtain high-service “concierge” medical care.

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