Washington Demands Its Money Back From the Saudis

Things are not going well for Saudi Arabia in Washington. On Thursday, the Senate voted unanimously to blame Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and 56 members—a clear majority—-cast votes to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen. The rebuke was followed shortly after by a revelation about the Defense Department’s refueling of that bombing campaign: According to the Pentagon, the department had somehow failed to bill the Saudis and the Emiratis for at least $331 million in fuel and servicing costs. The Saudis, it appears, may have never directly paid a penny. The Pentagon’s admission, relayed to the… Read More

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Budget head Mulvaney picked as Trump’s next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has picked budget director Mick Mulvaney to be his acting chief of staff, ending a chaotic search in which several top contenders took themselves out of the running for the job. “Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” Trump tweeted Friday. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump added that his current chief of staff, John Kelly, will be staying until the end of the year. “He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!” Trump wrote. Trump’s first pick for the job,… Read More

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Scandal-plagued CBS grants $20M to 18 women’s rights groups

NEW YORK — CBS on Friday pledged to give $20 million to 18 organizations dedicated to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace as the network tries to recover from a scandal that led to the ouster of its top executive, Les Moonves. The announcement comes as the network’s crisis deepens, with details emerging from an ongoing investigation into Moonves’ conduct and news surfacing of other instances of sexual misconduct at CBS. In the latest revelation, CBS acknowledged that it reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year with actress Eliza Dushku, who said she was written off the show “Bull” in March 2017 after complaining about on-set sexual comments from… Read More

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Federal judge rules health care overhaul unconstitutional

WASHINGTON — A conservative federal judge in Texas on Friday ruled the Affordable Care Act “invalid” on the eve of the sign-up deadline for next year. But with appeals certain, even the Trump White House said the law will remain in place for now. In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that last year’s tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under “Obamacare” by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage. The rest of the law cannot be separated from that provision and is therefore invalid, he wrote. Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal. “Today’s misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition… Read More

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Senators ask FBI to investigate Blackmun for lying to panel

Two lawmakers are asking the Justice Department and FBI to look into whether former U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun lied to a Senate panel in testimony about the handling of sex-abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. At issue is Blackmun’s debunked claim that he discussed the case with USOC staff after receiving word of Nassar’s potential crimes from the USA Gymnastics president at the time, Steve Penny. Blackmun first offered that information in written testimony to a Senate subcommittee in June. A report from the Ropes and Gray law firm released earlier this week concluded that nobody on the USOC staff could corroborate Blackmun’s account of a meeting. Blackmun also… Read More

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Trump picks budget head Mulvaney to be next chief of staff

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday picked budget director Mick Mulvaney to be his acting chief of staff, ending a chaotic search in which several top contenders took themselves out of the running for the job. “Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” Trump tweeted. “I look forward to working with him in this new capacity as we continue to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump added that his current chief of staff, John Kelly, will be staying until the end of the year. “He is a GREAT PATRIOT and I want to personally thank him for his service!” Trump wrote. Trump’s first pick for the job,… Read More

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7-year-old in good health, border agents said; then she died

WASHINGTON — Just 7 years old, Jakelin Amei Rosmery Caal Maquin was picked up by U.S. authorities with her father and other migrants this month in a remote stretch of New Mexico desert. Some seven hours later, she was put on a bus to the nearest Border Patrol station but soon began vomiting. By the end of the two-hour drive, she had stopped breathing. Jakelin hadn’t had anything to eat or drink for days, her father later told U.S. officials. The death of the Guatemalan girl is the latest demonstration of the desperation of a growing number of Central American families and children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border, often… Read More

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Apple strikes deal to produce new ‘Peanuts’ content

LOS ANGELES — Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the “Peanuts” crew will have a new home on Apple’s streaming service. Apple has struck a deal with DHX Media to produce new “Peanuts” content. The global children’s content and brands company will develop and produce original programs for Apple including new series, specials and shorts based on the beloved characters. “Peanuts” was created by Charles M. Schulz in 1950. DHX will produce original short-form STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) content that will be exclusive to Apple, including astronaut Snoopy. Peanuts Worldwide and NASA recently signed a Space Act Agreement, designed to inspire a passion for space exploration and STEM among the… Read More

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Record number of Mexican gray wolves found dead in 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Wildlife managers have confirmed a record number of Mexican gray wolves have been reported dead this year, fueling concerns about the decades-long effort to return the endangered predator to the southwestern U.S. Five wolves were found dead in New Mexico in November, bringing the total for the year to 17. That marks the most wolves killed in any single year since the reintroduction effort began in 1998, and it’s one of the deadliest months in the program’s history. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating but hasn’t said how the animals died. The dead wolves include a female pup, two male wolves and the leaders of… Read More

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Their numbers growing, Latinos gain clout in new Congress

WASHINGTON — A record 43 Latinos elected to Congress are set to take the oath of office in January, including the youngest woman ever elected, two Latinas from Texas, the first Latino to represent Ohio and a woman born in Ecuador. A few are ascending to leadership roles, demonstrating the growing clout of the 57 million Latinos who live in the United States. New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan will move into the fourth-highest position in Democratic leadership, becoming the highest-ranking Latino in the history of the House. In the Senate, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will become the first Latina ever in charge of the Democratic Party’s campaign arm… Read More

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