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Thursday, Jul 20th

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Ex-U.S. House Speaker Hastert released from Minnesota prison

Hastert releast to halfway house- Former U.S. House of Representative Speaker Dennis Hastert has been released from prison in Minnesota and moved to a Chicago halfway house after serving a 13-month sentence for a financial crime tied to sex abuse, federal records showed on Tuesday.

The 75-year-old was sentenced to 15 months at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota in April 2016 for banking violations that revealed he sexually abused teenage boys while coaching wrestling at a high school in Yorkville, Illinois in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Europe’s Populists Want to Make Polio Great Again

Beppe GrilloDiseases rarely seen in modern society are popping back up in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, where a slew of rumors linking vaccines to supposed complications like autism are spreading with the help of populist politicians.

The most prominent backer of such rumors here is Beppe Grillo, Italy’s most popular politician and the leader of the populist Five Star Movement.

“Vaccines have played a fundamental role in eradicating terrible illnesses such as polio, diphtheria and hepatitis,” Grillo wrote on his blog in 2015, when he first seized on the issue. “However, they bring a risk associated with side effects that are usually temporary and surmountable… but in very rare cases, can be as severe as getting the same disease you’re trying to be immune to.”

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Eighth man in Trump Tower meeting was linked to money laundering

Donald Jr.‘The eighth named attendee at a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between top Trump associates and a politically-connected Russian lawyer is a business associate of a top Moscow oligarch and was once identified as a key figure in a Congressional money laundering probe.

Irakly Kaveladze, until now the mysterious “eighth man” in the room, attended the meeting on behalf of Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate magnate with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who befriended the Trump family. A lawyer for Agalarov has confirmed Kaveladze’s attendance to other news outlets, though he did not respond to requests for comment from POLITICO.

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New GOP plan to repeal Obamacare meets fatal opposition

Mitch McConnelSenate Republicans' Plan B to gut Obamacare is poised for failure, as three GOP senators said Tuesday they will vote against a procedural motion to advance repeal of the health law without a replacement — dooming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s latest effort.

The opposition from GOP Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins came a day after Senate Republicans’ bill to replace Obamacare collapsed, and further imperiled President Donald Trump's vow to dismantle the health law.

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Will Trump's exercise and eating habits catch up to him as stress mounts?

Trump health habitsHe’s 71, holds down an incredibly stressful job, and is overweight. He doesn’t exercise. His eating habits are less than ideal. And to top it all off, he doesn’t get enough sleep.

For anyone walking into a doctor’s office with those symptoms, stern warnings to change one's lifestyle are sure to follow.

But President Trump’s attitude toward diet and exercise isn’t simply a personal issue. It resonates in his policies on public health. Already his administration has relaxed nutritional standards on school lunches and he has yet to name any members of the president’s fitness council.

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US hits Iran with new economic sanctions

US hits Iran with new economic sanctoinsThe US government has unveiled new economic sanctions against Iran, targeting at least 16 individuals and entities for supporting what it said was "illicit Iranian actors or transnational criminal activity".

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the US treasury department said it is imposing the new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile programme and for contributing to regional tensions.

Those sanctioned had backed Iran's military or Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) by developing drones and military equipment, producing and maintaining boats, and procuring electronic components, the US said.

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New Republic: Trump’s Russian Laundromat

Trump TowerIn 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City. The 38-year-old had arrived in America seven years before, with just $3 in his pocket. But for a former pilot in the Soviet Army—his specialty had been shooting down Americans over North Vietnam—he had clearly done quite well for himself.

Bogatin wasn’t hunting for a place in Brighton Beach, the Brooklyn enclave known as “Little Odessa” for its large population of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Instead, he was fixated on the glitziest apartment building on Fifth Avenue, a gaudy, 58-story edifice with gold-plated fixtures and a pink-marble atrium: Trump Tower.

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GOP Senators Moran and Lee announce their opposition to Trump's health care bill

GOP health care billOnly hours after the Senate was gaveled back into session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was handed devastating news Monday evening: Two more defections on his health care bill that could doom the entire effort for the foreseeable future.

The dramatic simultaneous announcement from Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Mike Lee of Utah means McConnell officially does not have the votes to even begin debate on his legislation to overhaul Obamacare.

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Nuns protest gas pipeline by building chapel on proposed route

Nuns build chapel to stop pipeline on their propertyA group of nuns are protesting a natural gas pipeline by building a chapel along the proposed route.

The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, a St. Louis, Mo.-based organization, own a strip of land in Pennsylvania where the pipeline is planned to go through. But the nuns said the $3 billion pipeline violates their beliefs and values regarding the environment and oppose it construction.

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