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Trump reaching out to Democrats on spending bill: aides

Trump reaching out to Democrats on spending bill: aides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House officials on Friday said Republican President Donald Trump has been talking to Democratic senators as well as lawmakers from his own party about the urgency of passing a spending bill to avert a government shutdown at midnight. "He's calling bipartisan members. He will continue to do that. He will lead on this issue," Marc Short, the White House Legislative affairs director, said at a briefing on the potential for the government to close operations. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Bill Trott)


Factbox: What happens in a U.S. government shutdown?

Factbox: What happens in a U.S. government shutdown? In shutdowns, government employees are vulnerable to furlough, or temporary unpaid leave. The last shutdown in October 2013 lasted more than two weeks. MILITARY: The Defense Department said on Friday that a shutdown would not impact the U.S. military's war in Afghanistan or its operations against Islamist militants in Iraq and Syria.


Clock running out to avert U.S. government shutdown as Trump blames Democrats

Clock running out to avert U.S. government shutdown as Trump blames Democrats President Donald Trump postponed plans to leave Washington on Friday while the U.S. Congress faced a midnight deadline to come up with funding legislation to avoid federal agency shutdowns. Although the House of Representatives voted 230-197 on Thursday night for a bill to extend expiring funding through Feb. 16, the measure appeared to be on the verge of collapse in the Senate. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said that on Thursday he was ratcheting up the likelihood of a shutdown from 30 percent to a 50-50 possibility.


Delta Air to tighten onboard emotional support animal requirements

Delta Air to tighten onboard emotional support animal requirements Delta Air Lines is tightening the requirements for passengers traveling with onboard service and emotional support animals, the carrier said on Friday, following a sharp uptick in animal-related safety issues over the last several years. Effective March 1, Delta, the second largest U.S. airline by passenger traffic, said it will require passengers seeking to fly with pets to present additional documents outlining passenger's need for the animal and proof of the animal's training and vaccinations, 48 hours prior to the scheduled flight. This comes in response to what the carrier said was a 150 percent increase in the number of service and support animals carried onboard since 2015.


Trump to address U.S. anti-abortion march, cementing U-turn on issue

Trump to address U.S. anti-abortion march, cementing U-turn on issue Donald Trump will become the third sitting U.S. president to address anti-abortion activists at the annual March for Life on Friday, highlighting his shift in recent years from a supporter of women's access to abortion to a powerful opponent. Trump is due to address the march in Washington via satellite from the White House Rose Garden on Friday afternoon. Ronald Reagan, Trump's fellow Republican, made supportive remarks to the march in 1987 via telephone, while George W. Bush, another Republican, twice did the same, in 2003 and 2004.


Supreme Court blocks redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps

Supreme Court blocks redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower court's order for North Carolina to rework its congressional map because Republicans violated the Constitution by drawing electoral districts intended to maximize their party's chances of winning. The conservative-majority court granted a bid by Republican legislators in North Carolina to suspend the Jan. 9 order by a federal court panel in Greensboro that gave the Republican-controlled General Assembly until Jan. 24 to come up with a new map for U.S. House of Representatives districts.


Trump administration appeals against 'Dreamer' immigrant ruling to top court

Trump administration appeals against 'Dreamer' immigrant ruling to top court By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to quickly overturn a lower court ruling that blocked President Donald Trump's move to end a program that protects hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children. Solicitor General Noel Francisco said in a court filing "time is of the essence" and asked the high court to rule on the case before its current term ends in June. The Republican president in September rescinded, effective in March, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program put in place in 2012 by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.


Mom Of Racist-Ranting Alabama Student Says She Didn't Raise Her That Way

Mom Of Racist-Ranting Alabama Student Says She Didn't Raise Her That Way The mother of a University of Alabama student who received national scorn for her racist rants on video said she agreed with the school’s decision to expel her daughter.


Trump move on healthcare religious freedom prompts discrimination fears

Trump move on healthcare religious freedom prompts discrimination fears The Trump administration's move on Thursday to protect healthcare workers who refuse to perform abortions and other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds is raising fears among some civil rights and medical groups that it will provide legal cover for otherwise unlawful discrimination. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within its Office of Civil Rights to enforce the rights of doctors, nurses and others who invoke such objections. James Blumstein, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School in Tennessee, said the administration's plan could remedy what he described as years of overreach by the federal government fighting discrimination against patients at the expense of the religious freedom of healthcare professionals.


Anderson Cooper Tells Conan Haiti Is 'Among The Richest Countries I've Ever Been To'

Anderson Cooper Tells Conan Haiti Is 'Among The Richest Countries I've Ever Been To' CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday gave Conan O’Brien a glowing review of Haiti before the talk show host’s trip there.


Trump appointee quits after CNN unearths anti-Muslim rants

Trump appointee quits after CNN unearths anti-Muslim rants Carl Higbie resigned from his post as external affairs chief at the Corporation for National and Community Service, according to a statement from CNCS spokeswoman Samantha Jo Warfield, CNN said. Higbie, the CNCS - an agency that runs volunteer groups including AmeriCops, Senior Corps and the Social Innovation Fund - and the White House were not immediately available for comment. CNN KFile, the network's investigative reporting team, posted recordings of Higbie's internet talk radio show "Sound of Freedom" from 2013 and 2014 in which he expresses his dislike of Muslims, black people and homosexuality.


Trump Appointee Carl Higbie Resigns Following Offensive Comments

Trump Appointee Carl Higbie Resigns Following Offensive Comments Carl Higbie, the chief of external affairs for the Corporation for National and Community Service, resigned Thursday after CNN unearthed a litany of offensive and discriminatory remarks he’d made on various radio segments.


A Norwegian Airline Claims to Have Set a New Record for New York to London Flights

A Norwegian Airline Claims to Have Set a New Record for New York to London Flights Norwegian Airlines flight DY7014 beat the previous subsonic record by three minutes


Croupier and guard arrested over $6m Macau casino heist

Croupier and guard arrested over $6m Macau casino heist Police in the world's biggest gambling hub Macau have arrested a croupier and a security guard over a massive casino heist where almost HK$48 million ($6 million) in gaming chips were stolen from a VIP room. Semi-autonomous Macau is the only part of China where casino gambling is legal and is a favourite haunt of mainland high rollers. The heist happened early Tuesday morning at mega casino Wynn Macau, owned by United States gaming tycoon Steve Wynn.


2 Boys Arrested After Vandalism That Killed 500,000 Bees On Iowa Honey Farm

2 Boys Arrested After Vandalism That Killed 500,000 Bees On Iowa Honey Farm Two boys are facing felony charges after vandalism at an Iowa honey farm killed 500,000 bees, according to police.


Chris Christie Reportedly Turned Away From Airport VIP Entrance

Chris Christie Reportedly Turned Away From Airport VIP Entrance Chris Christie, no longer the governor of New Jersey, was reportedly denied access to a special VIP entrance at Newark Liberty International Airport on Thursday.


Taiwan blocks China flights after route row

Taiwan blocks China flights after route row Taiwan has blocked nearly 200 flights by Chinese airlines over the strait that separates the two rivals due to the carriers' use of controversial new travel routes introduced by China. Taipei has repeatedly called for four new flight paths to be cancelled since China launched them earlier in January, but their complaints have fallen on deaf ears on the mainland. China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Air have since requested to operate 176 additional flights between Taiwan and China during the Lunar New Year period in mid-February.


'Jersey Shore' reality star expected to plead to tax charges

'Jersey Shore' reality star expected to plead to tax charges NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — One of the former stars of the "Jersey Shore" reality TV show is due in federal court in Newark on Friday to plead guilty to cheating on his taxes.


House passes short-term spending bill, Senate fight erupts

House passes short-term spending bill, Senate fight erupts By Richard Cowan and Amanda Becker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to stave off an imminent federal government shutdown encountered obstacles in the U.S. Senate late on Thursday, despite the passage of a month-long funding bill by the House of Representatives hours earlier. The Republican-controlled House approved funding through Feb. 16 on a mostly partisan vote of 230-197, sending the stopgap bill to the Senate for consideration as President Donald Trump pushed hard for a measure to sign before Friday's deadline.


U.S. to dismiss charges against 129 people in Trump inaugural protests

U.S. to dismiss charges against 129 people in Trump inaugural protests The U.S. Justice Department intends to dismiss criminal charges against 129 defendants in connection with the protests that took place during President Donald Trump's Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration, according to a court filing on Thursday. More than 200 people were arrested in connection with the protests in downtown Washington, during which black-clad activists smashed store windows, blocked traffic and fought with police. A jury had already cleared six people of rioting charges in December, but the government said on Thursday it still intended to prosecute 59 remaining defendants.


Starving California children taunted with pie, beaten by parents: prosecutor

Starving California children taunted with pie, beaten by parents: prosecutor By Tori Richards RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Reuters) - The 13 children imprisoned for years by their parents in their squalid California home were beaten, shackled, starved and even taunted with food that they were forbidden to eat, a prosecutor said on Thursday. Several had cognitive impairment and nerve damage from extreme and prolonged physical abuse, the prosecutor said.


Shutdown threat prompts U.S. agency warnings to federal workers

Shutdown threat prompts U.S. agency warnings to federal workers Government agencies were warning U.S. employees on Thursday of a possible federal shutdown at midnight on Friday, as the Republican-controlled Congress and the White House scrambled to pass legislation to keep the lights on in Washington. President Donald Trump, answering reporters' questions at the Pentagon, said on Thursday the U.S. government "could very well" shut down and that would be harmful to the military. The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday night approved a short-term funding extension through Feb. 16, although the bill's prospects looked uncertain in the Senate.


Texas 'tourniquet killer' becomes first U.S. inmate executed in 2018

Texas 'tourniquet killer' becomes first U.S. inmate executed in 2018 In the first U.S. execution of 2018, Texas on Thursday put to death a man convicted of raping and murdering five girls and young women, using a tourniquet to torture and strangle his victims. Anthony Shore, 55, was executed by lethal injection in the state's death chamber in Huntsville, dying at 6:28 p.m., Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, said by telephone. It was the 546th in the state since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976, the most of any state.


House approves government funding bill, throws issue to Senate

House approves government funding bill, throws issue to Senate WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill to fund government operations through Feb. 16 and avoid agency shutdowns this weekend when existing money expires. The bill still must be approved by the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. (Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Eric Beech)


Trump move on healthcare religious freedom prompts discrimination fears

Trump move on healthcare religious freedom prompts discrimination fears The Trump administration's move on Thursday to protect healthcare workers who refuse to perform abortions and other medical procedures on religious or moral grounds is raising fears among some civil rights and medical groups that it will provide legal cover for otherwise unlawful discrimination. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within its Office of Civil Rights to enforce the rights of doctors, nurses and others who invoke such objections. James Blumstein, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School in Tennessee, said the administration's plan could remedy what he described as years of overreach by the federal government fighting discrimination against patients at the expense of the religious freedom of healthcare professionals.     "I think there has been an insensitivity on the secular side," Blumstein said.


Supreme Court blocks redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps

Supreme Court blocks redrawing of North Carolina congressional maps The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower court's order for North Carolina to rework its congressional map because Republicans violated the Constitution by drawing electoral districts intended to maximize their party's chances of winning. The conservative-majority court granted a bid by Republican legislators in North Carolina to suspend the Jan. 9 order by a federal court panel in Greensboro that gave the Republican-controlled General Assembly until Jan. 24 to come up with a new map for U.S. House of Representatives districts.


Senator Leahy to oppose another stopgap spending bill

Senator Leahy to oppose another stopgap spending bill WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said on Thursday he would not support a fourth short-term stopgap measure this fiscal year to fund the U.S. government and avert a shutdown. "Republican leadership – led by President Trump – has brought us to the brink of a government shutdown. The House bill does not have my support. It leaves too much undone, and it is woefully inadequate," he said in a statement. ...


House Republicans cite progress in averting government shutdown

House Republicans cite progress in averting government shutdown By Richard Cowan and Amanda Becker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Republicans said late on Thursday they had made progress toward passing a short-term extension of government funding to avert a politically embarrassing shutdown, after a day of tough negotiations and confusion when President Donald Trump offered mixed signals on the stopgap plan. Trump complicated the talks by saying a six-year extension of funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a Democratic priority, should not be included. The White House later said the president fully backed the proposal pending in the House of Representatives, which includes the insurance plan.


Senators weigh days-long funding bill to boost immigration, spending talks

Senators weigh days-long funding bill to boost immigration, spending talks WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Several U.S. senators on Thursday said they are considering a maneuver to fund the federal government for just a few days at a time in the event that the current month-long funding bill fails to gain enough support in the chamber. The senators, including Republicans John Thune and Jerry Moran as well as Democrat Tim Kaine, said a series of shorter-term spending bills could encourage negotiations over military spending and immigration reform. The strategy emerged as Republican Senator Rand Paul said he would not vote for the current continuing resolution. ...


Factbox: A look at past U.S. government shutdowns

Factbox: A look at past U.S. government shutdowns (Reuters) - Republicans who control the U.S. Congress are expected to try to pass a temporary spending bill before a Friday deadline, when existing federal funding is set to expire and federal agencies would begin to shut down. Past shutdowns have done little lasting economic damage but these events can hurt federal workers, rattle markets and shake confidence in the United States abroad. Since Congress implemented the modern budget process in the mid-1970s, there have been 18 gaps in government funding, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), but not all resulted in government shutdowns.


Accused Arizona killer linked to seven more fatal shootings

Accused Arizona killer linked to seven more fatal shootings A convicted Arizona felon arrested on charges of killing his mother and stepfather in their home last month is now believed responsible for at least seven more fatal shootings in the Phoenix area, police said on Thursday. Phoenix police said they have evidence linking Cleophus Cooksey Jr., 35, to the shooting deaths of nine people in all during a three-week span that began in late November when two men were gunned down in a local parking lot. A blood-stained Cooksey was arrested at the scene of the Dec. 17 gunshot slayings of his mother, Rene Cooksey, and her husband, Edward Nunn, in their living room, according to police.


U.S. to dismiss charges against 129 people in Trump inaugural protests

U.S. to dismiss charges against 129 people in Trump inaugural protests The U.S. Justice Department intends to dismiss criminal charges against 129 defendants in connection with the protests that took place during President Donald Trump's Jan. 20, 2017 inauguration, according to a court filing on Thursday.


U.S. government to shield health workers under 'religious freedom'

U.S. government to shield health workers under 'religious freedom' By Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is seeking to further protect the "conscience and religious freedom" of health workers whose beliefs prevent them from carrying out abortions and other procedures, in an effort likely to please conservative Christian activists and other supporters of President Donald Trump. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said on Thursday it will create a division within its Office of Civil Rights to give it "the focus it needs to more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom." Healthcare workers, hospitals with religious affiliations, and medical students among others have been "bullied" by the federal government to provide these services despite existing laws on religious and conscience rights, the top HHS official said.


California parents starved 13 children, taunted them with pie: prosecutor

California parents starved 13 children, taunted them with pie: prosecutor The father, David Turpin, 57, is also accused of sexually abusing one of his young daughters, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin told reporters in announcing the charges before the couple's first court appearance later on Thursday. Turpin and his wife, Louise, 49, each faces 94 years to life in prison if convicted on the more than two dozen charges that include torture, child abuse and false imprisonment. The couple pleaded not guilty to all charges during a brief hearing before Judge Michael Donner, who ordered each defendant to remain held on $12 million bail and set the next hearing in the case for Feb. 23.


Phoenix Serial Killer Suspect Identified After DNA Allegedly Connects Him to 9 Killings

Phoenix Serial Killer Suspect Identified After DNA Allegedly Connects Him to 9 Killings Seven men and two women were shot between Nov. 27 and Dec. 17


Hurricane Harvey makes Houston reassess growth-friendly policies

Hurricane Harvey makes Houston reassess growth-friendly policies (The Nov. 30 story was corrected for the spelling of Auggie Campbell in the fifeteenth paragraph) By Andy Sullivan HOUSTON (Reuters) - Melinda and Joel Loshak raised two children in a stylish ranch house in Houston's upscale Meyerland neighborhood and planned to retire there. After Hurricane Harvey pushed oily floodwaters into their house in August, the Loshaks asked local officials to buy them out, joining more than 3,000 other Houston-area homeowners who grew weary of ripping out waterlogged drywall and ruined refrigerators after three devastating floods in three years. The buyout program is just one way Houston hopes to better protect itself against future floods.


CA authorities detail torture and abuse children faced at the hands of their parents

CA authorities detail torture and abuse children faced at the hands of their parents On Thursday, January 18, California DA Michael Hestrin outlined the torture and abuse 13 children faced at the hands of their parents David and Louise Turpin.


Prosecutors want testimony of 19 other accusers for Cosby retrial

Prosecutors want testimony of 19 other accusers for Cosby retrial Cosby, 80, is scheduled go to trial on April 2 on charges that he sexually assaulted Andrea Constand at his home in the Philadelphia suburb of Cheltenham in January 2004, after drugging her and rendering her incapacitated. Constand worked with the women’s basketball team at Temple University, where Cosby, a university alumnus, befriended her. In court papers filed on Thursday, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele asked Judge Steven O'Neill to admit evidence from 19 women regarding Cosby's "prior bad acts," even though it is not directly related to the alleged assault on Constand.


U.S. marshal killed in Pennsylvania while arresting suspect

U.S. marshal killed in Pennsylvania while arresting suspect A deputy U.S. marshal helping police to arrest a woman in a Harrisburg home was shot and killed on Thursday by a man who was with her, federal officials said. The marshal accompanied police officers to serve an arrest warrant on Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce in the Pennsylvania capital, the U.S. Marshals Service said. Pierce, who was wanted for making threats, was not hurt and remains in custody.


Special Operations dogs get tactical gear upgrade

Special Operations dogs get tactical gear upgrade Fox Firepower: Allison Barrie with a look at how U.S. Army SOCOM is looking to equip the 75th Ranger Regiment's dogs with advanced vest protection, wearable sensors and video cameras.