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Thursday, Mar 30th

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Schumer to GOP: Funding the wall means government shutdown

Schumer theatens shut down over wall costSenate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Republicans Tuesday that they'd risk a government shutdown if they try to attach money for President Donald Trump's U.S.-Mexico border wall to a must-pass bill to keep the government. The same applies to any attempt to defund Planned Parenthood, Schumer said.

The New Yorker's message came the day after he and fellow Senate Democratic leaders wrote to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with a similar message. Schumer's warning grew starker on Tuesday, as he began to try to blame Republicans if a shutdown occurs.

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Power plants’ methane emissions much higher than thought: study

power plant emissionPower plants’ methane emissions much higher than thought: study

Methane emissions from natural gas-fired power plants are much higher than federal officials have previously estimated, according to a new study.

Researchers from Purdue University concluded in a study published Tuesday that gas plants emit between two and 120 times the amount of methane that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has most recently estimated.

Methane is the main component of natural gas. It is also a greenhouse gas at least 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

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France's scandal-hit Fillon put under formal fraud investigation

FillionFrench presidential candidate Francois Fillon was put under formal investigation by magistrates on Tuesday on suspicion of embezzling state funds - a move that may ruin the right-winger's hopes of winning power in May.

Fillon's campaign has been dogged by allegations he lavishly paid his British wife Penelope and two of his children hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for assistance, but he has refused to pull out of the presidential race.

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CREW accuses Trump White House aide of violating conflict of interest laws

CREW accuses Wh aide of conflict of interest violationsThe watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is accusing a top White House official of potentially violating criminal conflict of interest laws by playing a role in meetings with major companies in which he also appeared to have held millions of dollars in stock.

The group filed its complaint Tuesday against Christopher Liddell, a former executive with Microsoft and General Motors who was appointed by President Donald Trump to be an assistant to the president and director of strategic initiatives. It said Liddell might have broken the law over three days in January and early February by participating in policy meetings between Trump and leaders from as many as 18 companies that he also had a financial interest in, including Ford Motor Co., Johnson & Johnson and GM.

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Petraeus and other ex-generals oppose bill to let mentally ill vets get guns

PetraeusA coalition of retired admirals and generals, including former CIA director and retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, are protesting “irresponsible and dangerous” legislation they say would put mentally ill veterans in harm’s way by giving them easy access to firearms.

The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act would prevent the Department of Veterans Affairs from reporting veterans' records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System after they’ve been deemed incapable of managing their financial affairs because of a disabling mental disorder. The bill would prohibit the VA from considering such veterans “mentally defective” without a magistrate or judicial authority ruling that the beneficiary is a danger to himself or herself or others.

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Suspected pirates hijack oil tanker near Somalia

Somalia tanker hijackedSuspected pirates hijacked an oil tanker in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday, Somali officials said.

It was the first such hijacking in five years. European naval forces have reduced piracy in the region, in which faster-moving boats chase down large merchant ships and commandeer them for ransom.

The ship hijacked Monday is believed to be a merchant oil tanker sailing under the United Arab Emirates flag, traveling from Djibouti to the Somali capital of Mogadishu. At least eight suspected attackers diverted the vessel toward the semiautonomous Somali territory of Puntland, sources told the Voice of America. Other reports said the vessel was registered in Sri Lanka.

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Employers allowed to ban the hijab, EU court says

EU eplyers can ban hijabEmployers are entitled to ban staff from wearing visible religious symbols, the European Union's top law court ruled on Tuesday, a decision Muslims said was a direct attack on women wearing hijabs at work.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said it does not constitute "direct discrimination" if a firm has an internal rule banning the wearing of "any political, philosophical or religious sign".

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NY attorney general: Tillerson used 'alias' email to discuss climate at Exxon

Tillerson used 'alias' emailSecretary of State Rex Tillerson used an “alias email account” while CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp. to discuss climate change issues, the New York attorney general’s office alleged on Monday.

In a letter to a state judge, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office said an investigation into the company’s climate science revealed Tillerson used an email account under the name “Wayne Tracker” between at least 2008 and 2015.

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DOJ asks for more time to address Trump's wiretapping claim

DOJ asks for more timeThe Justice Department is asking the House Intelligence Committee for more time to respond to a request intended to clear up President Donald Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower in the run-up to the 2016 election.

The intelligence panel had asked the department to respond by Monday to a request for information on possible surveillance on Trump or his campaign aides.

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