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Friday, Feb 22nd

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'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports

China bans imports of recyclables

The conscientious citizens of Philadelphia continue to put their pizza boxes, plastic bottles, yoghurt containers and other items into recycling bins.

But in the past three months, half of these recyclables have been loaded on to trucks, taken to a hulking incineration facility and burned, according to the city’s government.

It’s a situation being replicated across the US as cities struggle to adapt to a recent ban by China on the import of items intended for reuse.

The loss of this overseas dumping ground means that plastics, paper and glass set aside for recycling by Americans is being stuffed into domestic landfills or is simply burned in vast volumes. This new reality risks an increase of plumes of toxic pollution that threaten the largely black and Latino communities who live near heavy industry and dumping sites in the US.

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Grand Canyon tourists possibly exposed to radiation at museum, whistleblower says

Possible radiation exposure at Grand Canyon Museum

For almost 20 years, workers and visiting school children at a Grand Canyon museum may have been unknowingly exposed to radiation from three buckets of uranium sitting next to a taxidermy exhibit, according to allegations from a National Park Service safety director.

The whistleblower says officials learned about the buckets last year and tried to hide the revelation, according to the Arizona Republic newspaper. Earlier this month, Elston “Swede” Stephenson emailed all park staff and brought the matter to the attention of the head of the interior department, which oversees the park service, and the agency’s internal watchdog.

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Trump administration to end program providing work permits to spouses of certain immigrants

Trump to deny visas to spouces of certain immigrantsU.S. Customs and Immigration Services completed a proposal to end work visas for spouses of temporary specialized foreign workers, Bloomberg Law reported Thursday.

The reported proposal would eliminate H-4 work permits for spouses of people holding H-1B visas and waiting for green cards to become available.

About 90,000 people, many of them Indian women, hold H-4 permits.

The proposal was reportedly sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday.

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Roger Stone Barred From Talking About His Case Following Criticism Of Judge

Roger Stone barred from talking about case

A federal judge barred Roger Stone from talking publicly about his case on Thursday after a post appeared on his Instagram account that criticized her.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected apologies offered by Stone, both in writing and in person in a hearing in Washington, D.C. She added him to an existing gag order that prescribed attorneys and others from talking about the ongoing case.

If Stone violates that order, Jackson warned him, she would be "compelled to adjust your environment" — meaning that she would revoke his bond and order him to be detained ahead of his trial.

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Republican Mark Harris calls for new election in North Carolina's 9th District

Mark harris calls for new election

Mark Harris, the Republican candidate in North Carolina's disputed 9th Congressional District, said Thursday that he believes a new election should be called after hearing four days of testimony alleging that fraud took place during Harris' 2018 race.

Harris' statement, reversing weeks of GOP resistance to a new North Carolina race, came after state officials said Thursday that Harris' campaign attorney withheld documents relevant to the investigation.

State board lawyer John Lawson said Harris' campaign attorney turned over documents late Wednesday night, a day before Harris was set to take the stand. The records in question should have been turned over earlier under a subpoena sent to the campaign committee, the board said.

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Monkees Singer and Bassist Peter Tork Dies at 77

Peter Tork dies at 77Peter Tork, bassist and singer for The Monkees, died Thursday at age 77. The cause of death is unknown. Tork played with the group from their earliest days as a made-for-TV band in the 1960s, through to their recent reunion tours.

He was diagnosed with rare tongue cancer in 2009, but made a full recovery and was back on the road with The Monkees in 2012. Tork toured with the band through 2016 when he was sidelined for undisclosed reasons. The musician played a lovable dimwit on The Monkees TV show, but in real life was an accomplished songwriter and performer.

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Judge: Prosecutors violated law in dealings with Jeffrey Epstein victims

Alex Acosta

A judge ruled on Thursday that federal prosecutors broke the law by failing to keep victims adequately informed about a plea deal that Jeffrey Epstein, a prominent financier, cut to avoid federal prosecution for sexual encounters with numerous underage girls.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida at the time the agreement was negotiated more than a decade ago. The Justice Department’s internal watchdog for attorney misconduct announced earlier this month that it had opened an investigation into the government’s conduct in the case.

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Police: Jussie Smollett staged his attack 'to promote his career,' increase his salary

Jussie Smollett staged attack: police“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett choreographed a homophobic, racist attack against himself with the help of two brothers he knew, in an attempt to raise his profile because he was dissatisfied with the salary he was making, police said Thursday.

Smollett, who is gay and black, staged the Jan. 29 attack to look like a hate crime, to take "advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

"First Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial homophobic and political language. When that didn’t work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack... The stunt was orchestrated by Smollett because he was dissatisfied with his salary so he concocted a story about being attacked."

TVNL Update, 2/21 - 3:15 pm.  Smollett released on $100,000 bail.

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Coast Guard Officer Accused of Racist Mass-Murder Plot, Kept ‘Hit List’ of Democrats and MSNBC Hosts

Domestic terrorist

A white-supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant is accused of stockpiling weapons, compiling a hit list of Democratic senators and left-leaning journalists and preparing for a massacre.

Prosecutors in Maryland called Christopher Paul Hasson a “domestic terrorist” in a Tuesday court filing, first reported by George Washington University’s Seamus Hughes, that argued for Hasson’s detention ahead of trial on firearms and controlled-substance charges.

What law enforcement discovered during a Feb. 15 arrest and search led prosecutors to tell a federal court that Hasson “intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.” They included references to an anti-abortion bomber; a white supremacist Islamophobic mass murderer in Norway; his stated desire to “kill almost every last person on the earth” through biological weapons; and 15 guns in his Silver Spring, Maryland basement.

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