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Saturday, Jan 21st

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House Republicans gut their own oversight

Bob GoodlatteIn one of their first moves of the new Congress, House Republicans have voted to gut their own independent ethics watchdog — a huge blow to cheerleaders of congressional oversight and one that dismantles major reforms adopted after the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Monday's effort was led, in part, by lawmakers who have come under investigation in recent years.

Despite a warning from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Republicans adopted a proposal by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) to put the Office of Congressional Ethics under the jurisdiction of the House Ethics Committee.

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Methane's On The Rise, But Regulations To Stop Gas Leaks Still Debated

methane on the riseThere's more methane gas in the atmosphere than there used to be, by every scientific measure. The Obama administration has been trying to stem the increase of this powerful greenhouse gas, but the incoming Trump administration appears bent on keeping the government's hands off methane.

The gas comes from agriculture, especially flooded agricultural lands like rice fields, as well as from the digestive tracts of livestock. But it's also the main component of natural gas; some methane escapes from leaky oil and gas operations.

Whatever the source, scientists have found that, after many years of very little change, concentrations of methane in the atmosphere have increased by 3 percent over the past eight years.

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Music Bruce Springsteen questions Donald Trump's competence

Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen has been candid about his dislike for President-elect Donald Trump before, and the “Born to Run” singer talked at length about his feelings on the upcoming presidency on a new episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.

“I’ve felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now,” he said. “It’s as simple as the fear of, is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility?”

Springsteen previously called Trump a “toxic narcissist” in an October interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, where he noted “he does have a lot of people’s ears, and I don’t think he’s going to go quietly, gently into the good night.”

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Bloody day in Baghdad as attacks kill nearly 60

Baghdad attacks kill 60A suicide vehicle bomb driven by ISIL fighters killed at least 39 people in an attack on a busy square in Baghdad's sprawling Sadr City district.

Another 20 civilians were killed elsewhere througout the Iraqi capital on Monday.

A bomber driving a pickup truck struck an outdoor fruit and vegetable market, hitting daily labourers and a police checkpoint.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) took responsibility for the blast via its Amaq website, claiming the "martyrdom operation".

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Wall Street Journal Editor Says His Newspaper Won’t Call Donald Trump’s Lies ‘Lies’

Gerard BakerWall Street Journal Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker said his newspaper would not refer to false statements from the Trump administration as “lies,” because doing so would ascribe a “moral intent” to the statements.

Baker appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” Sunday, where he described some of President-elect Donald Trump’s falsehoods as “questionable” and “challengeable.” But, he said, “I’d be careful about using the word ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead.”

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Israeli police question Netanyahu over alleged gifts: media

netanyahuPolice investigators began questioning Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his official residence in Jerusalem on Monday on suspicion of receiving gifts from businessmen in breach of his role as a public servant, Israeli media said.

The move was authorized by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who decided after a preliminary inquiry that there was enough evidence to open a criminal investigation, Haaretz newspaper reported.

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Doctors, pharmacists indicted in $100M fraud case

pdc, pharmacists caught in hug medical fraudA dozen doctors, pharmacy owners and marketing pros have been accused of a kickback scheme that prosecutors allege involved a sham medical study used to bilk up to $102 million from the publicly funded federal health program for military family members.

The doctors included Walter Neil Simmons, 47, of Gilbert, Ariz., emergency medicine doctor who has worked at two metro Phoenix hospital chains. He was indicted in October in U.S. District Court in Dallas on one count of conspiracy to commit health-care fraud. The federal charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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New French law gives employees right to ignore work emails

French workers can ignore after hours emails- French workers have the legal right to dismiss work emails outside of working hours under the country's new "right to disconnect" law that began Sunday.

Companies with more than 50 employees must establish defined hours when staff are not allowed to send and answer work-related emails. The new law, introduced in May as part of a series of labor laws, was set up to stop employees from working off-the-clock overtime and decrease work-related stress and anxiety. The country already has a federally mandated 35 hour work week, in place since 2000.

TVNL Comment:  German law prohibits employers from contacting employees after work, on weekends an on vacations.

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Massive road accident kills 25 people in Thailand

25 dead in road accident in ThailandA minivan and a pick-up truck both packed with passengers have collided in eastern Thailand, killing 25 people.

Police said the minivan driver lost control after making a U-turn and ploughed into oncoming traffic in the eastern province of Chonburi on Monday. Both vehicles burst into flames.

"The victims were killed by fire or the impact," police Lieutenant-Colonel Wiroj Jamjamras at Ban Bueng provincial police station told AFP news agency, adding two toddlers were among the dead.

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