WASHINGTON — Depending upon one’s distance from all things Twitter, recent revelations of sexual harassment in Hollywood are either the tipping point we’ve been waiting for — or just another shark attack until the next one. If you’re former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, whose book, “Be Fierce,” was released just as Harvey Weinstein was falling from grace, we’re in the midst of a Malcolm Gladwell sequel. And Carlson, who also is a former Miss America, is the female version of David, who ultimately brought down Goliath — Fox News creator and CEO Roger Ailes — with a sexual harassment lawsuit that resulted in a $20 million settlement. She also… Read More

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George Will: In blocking abortion legislation, Democrats will display their cultural extremism

WASHINGTON — What would America’s abortion policy be if the number of months in the gestation of a human infant were a prime number — say, seven or 11? This thought experiment is germane to why the abortion issue has been politically toxic and points to a path toward a less bitter debate. The House of Representatives has for a third time stepped onto this path. Senate Democrats will, for a third time, block this path when Majority Leader Mitch McConnell brings the House bill to the floor, allowing Democrats to demonstrate their extremism and aversion to bipartisan compromise. Democracy, which properly is government by persuasion rather than majority bullying… Read More

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In our opinion: Congress should support rural health centers

Thousands of Utahns will lose access to nearby medical care if Congress doesn’t soon approve funding for a program that supports community health care centers throughout the country. The program that serves many rural areas has been caught up in the congressional shuffle over the future of the Affordable Care Act, and it’s important now that lawmakers restore its funding regardless of whatever other action they may take — or not take — on the future of Obamacare. The back-and-forth on how to proceed in the structuring of the nation’s health care systems has left two important programs in limbo. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, along with the Community Health… Read More

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Japan votes for lower house; Abe’s party seen headed for win

TOKYO Voting in a general election started Sunday that would most likely hand Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s right-wing ruling coalition a victory and possibly close to a two-thirds majority in parliament. Abe dissolved the lower house less than a month ago, forcing the snap election. He judged the timing was ripe for his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, or at least better than waiting until the end of its term next year. Up for grabs are 465 seats in the more powerful lower house, which chooses the prime minister. Media polls have indicated voters are passively choosing Abe’s government despite its railroading of unfavorable bills and cronyism scandals, seeing it as… Read More

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Chinese propaganda faces stiff competition from celebrities

HONG KONG When the propaganda film, “The Founding of an Army,” hit theaters in China recently, the reaction wasn’t quite what the ruling Communist Party might have hoped for. Instead of inspiring an outpouring of nationalism and self-sacrifice for the state, it was roundly mocked for trying to lure a younger audience by casting teen idols as revolutionary party leaders. Viewers more used to seeing the idols play love interests in light-hearted soap operas responded to the film by projecting “modern-day romantic narratives on the founding fathers of the nation,” said Hung Huang, a well-known social commentator based in Beijing. “It was hilarious.” While China’s resurgent Communist Party once pushed… Read More

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Trump plans to help pay aides’ legal costs for Russia probes

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump intends to spend at least $430,000 of his own money to help pay the legal bills of White House staff and campaign aides related to the investigations into Russian election meddling in the 2016 election, a White House official said Saturday. It’s the first such commitment by Trump, who has dismissed the ongoing investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Russia as a “witch hunt” invented by Democrats to explain Hillary Clinton’s loss. It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how the payouts would be structured or which aides would be receiving them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the president’s plans, which… Read More

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5 former presidents appear together for hurricane relief

AUSTIN, Texas The five living former presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 on Saturday at a concert to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush gathered on stage in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University, putting aside politics to try to unite the country after the storms. Texas A&M is home to the presidential library of the elder Bush. At 93, he has a form of Parkinson’s disease and appeared in a wheelchair at the event. His wife Barbara… Read More

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Trump commends ex-presidents as ‘finest public servants’

AUSTIN, Texas President Donald Trump released a video message commending the five living ex-presidents appearing together at a hurricane relief concert in Texas Saturday, putting aside past criticism of his predecessors to call them “some of America’s finest public servants.” Democrats Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and Republicans George H.W. and George W. Bush are appearing together for the first time since 2013 to raise money for parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands devastated by hurricanes. The concert in College Station, Texas, home of Texas A&M University features the country music band Alabama, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer ‘Soul Man’ Sam Moore, gospel… Read More

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Trump has no plans to block scheduled release of JFK records

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to block the scheduled release of thousands of never publicly seen government documents related to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. “Subject to the receipt of further information,” he wrote in a Saturday morning tweet, “I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened.” The National Archives has until Thursday to disclose the remaining files related to Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. The trove is expected to include more than 3,000 documents that have never been seen by the public and more than 30,000 that have been previously released but with redactions. Congress mandated in 1992 that all… Read More

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Fox renewed O’Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

NEW YORK The Fox News Channel says the company knew a news analyst planned to file a sexual harassment lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly when it renewed the popular personality’s contract in February. The New York Times reported Saturday the company renewed the TV host’s contract after he reached a $32 million settlement with the analyst. In a statement, 21st Century Fox defended its decision because it said he had settled the matter personally. It also said O’Reilly and the woman had agreed the financial terms would be kept confidential. The company says O’Reilly’s new contract had added protections that allowed Fox to dismiss him if other allegations surfaced. O’Reilly was… Read More

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