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Friday, Jan 19th

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With 'America First,' Trump mutes U.S. voice on human rights in Asia

Trump Asia trip ignores human rights violations

As Trump prepares to depart on his first Asia tour, which will bring him face-to-face with a number of leaders with poor human rights records, his administration has been taking a more muted approach than his predecessor to such concerns, said current and former U.S. officials, rights activists and diplomats.

In addition to the situation in Cambodia, they cite what they see as a slow, overly cautious response to Myanmar’s Rohingya crisis, Trump’s failure to publicly call out autocratic leaders he meets over rights abuses, an eagerness to engage with the Philippines’ controversial president, Rodrigo Duterte, and a less vocal approach to human rights in China.

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Puerto Rico Governor Calls for Whitefish Energy Contract to Be Canceled ‘Immediately’

whitefish contract canceledPuerto Rico’s governor is calling for the immediate cancellation of a controversial contract with Whitefish Energy, the small Montana company under intense scrutiny for a deal worth hundreds of millions to help restore power to the hurricane-ravaged U.S. territory.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló asked the board of Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to cancel the contract with Whitefish Energy during a news conference on Sunday morning.

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Human rights activists go on trial in Turkey

Human rights activists go on trial in Turkey

Turkish authorities have put 11 human rights activists on trial, including the chairman of Amnesty International in Turkey, Taner Kilic.

Those facing charges at Istanbul's Caglayan courthouse on Wednesday were arrested in separate police raids in June and July and include one Swede and a German national.

Idil Eser, director of Amnesty International Turkey, is also among those on trial.

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EPA's climate rule withdrawal will include big changes to cost calculations

EPA's climate rule withdrawl affects cost calculations

The Trump administration will consider fundamentally limiting the way the federal government counts benefits from curbing climate change and air pollution in an upcoming proposal to rescind former President Barack Obama’s signature climate regulation, according to multiple sources familiar with recent drafts.

In nixing the Clean Power Plan, EPA will suggest changing the benefits it counts, which would bolster its arguments that the rule’s economic burdens would outweigh its gains from cleaner air, reduced illnesses and greater energy efficiency.

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Trump review leans toward proposing mini-nuke

Trump ;eams tpward mini nuke

The Trump administration is considering proposing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs — a move that would give military commanders more options but could also make the use of atomic arms more likely.

A high-level panel created by President Donald Trump to evaluate the nuclear arsenal is reviewing various options for adding a more modern "low-yield" bomb, according to sources involved in the review, to further deter Russia, North Korea or other potential nuclear adversaries.

TVNL Comment:  The insanity starts, and proliferates.  Mini nukes?  Does Trump understand that our adversaries are capable of doing the same.  He's playing war games without understanding the consequences.  We're all toast.

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UN: Israel settlements big hurdle to two-state solution

UN: Israeli settlements illegal, obstacles to peaceAntonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, has lashed out at Israel's illegal settlement activity, calling it a "major obstacle" to achieving a two-state solution and peace with the Palestinians.

"There is no plan B to the two-state solution," he said on Tuesday after meeting Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

"A two-state solution, end to occupation, creating conditions to end the suffering of the Palestinian people are the only way to guarantee that peace is established," Guterres added.

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DOJ warns the media could be targeted in crackdown on leaks

DOJ warns media about leaksAttorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday announced a government-wide crackdown on leakers, which will include a review of the Justice Department’s policies on subpoenas for media outlets that publish sensitive information.



At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Sessions announced that the Justice Department, FBI and government intelligence agencies will direct more resources into the investigations of government leaks and would prioritize prosecuting those that pass sensitive information along to the press or foreign officials.

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