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Thursday, Jan 18th

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House sends sweeping GOP tax bill to Trump's desk

Tax Bill leadersThe House of Representatives gave final approval Wednesday afternoon to its major rewrite of the US tax code, voting a second time on the package after the Senate stripped out a couple of items early on Wednesday morning and sent the legislation back to the lower chamber.

The bill passed the House a second time 224-201, with no Democrats backing it and a dozen House GOP members voting no
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Nadler wins top Democratic post on Judiciary Committee

Jerry Nadler ges Judicial Comm. post

House Democrats have tapped New York Rep. Jerry Nadler as their next leader on the Judiciary Committee, the panel that would potentially initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump if Democrats win back the House.

Nadler won a decisive victory over Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) in a caucus-wide election Wednesday morning. Lofgren, a former immigration lawyer, is the second-most senior member on the panel behind Nadler.

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Democrat wins by one vote, leaving Virginia House with 50-50 tie

Virginia House of DelegatesThis proves it: Your vote really does count.

Democrats edged out Republicans by one vote in the Virginia House of Delegates on Tuesday after a rollercoaster recount flipped a red seat to blue and created a 50-50 tie between the two parties.

Democrat Shelly Simonds is the apparent winner in the race for the 94th District, beating incumbent Republican David Yancey.  She won, 11,608 to 11,607, according to the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project.

This is the first time Republicans have not been in control of the Virginia House in nearly two decades.

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Mexican journalist shot dead at son's school Christmas pageant

Journalist shot dead at son's Christmas play

A Mexican journalist has been shot dead while he attended his son’s school Christmas pageant as attacks on the country’s press continue unabated.

Gumaro Pérez Aguilando was attending the school event in the town of Acayucan on Friday, when a pair of gunmen burst into the building and killed him in front of a classroom full of schoolchildren, witnesses told local media.

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At least 12 people dead after bus carrying American cruise ship passengers crashes in Mexico

12 dead after cruise ship bus crash in Mexico

At least 12 people died and several more were injured after a bus carrying cruise ship passengers flipped over on a highway in eastern Mexico early Tuesday, officials said.

Seven Americans and two Swedish citizens are among the nearly two dozen injured, according to Vincente Martin, the civil defense spokesman for Quintana Roo state. Authorities have not yet been able to ascertain the nationalities of the dead, Martin added.

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House GOP approves massive tax overhaul as Senate aims to vote

House passes Tax billHouse Republicans on Tuesday approved sweeping changes to the U.S. tax code, barreling toward the GOP goal of passing the first major tax overhaul in decades by the end of the year.

It passed the chamber by a 227-203 margin, with Republicans erupting in cheers when the bill garnered enough support.

The House vote sends the broadly unpopular tax bill to the Senate, where Republicans are expected to push it through by Wednesday morning. With Senate passage, the legislation would go to President Donald Trump to sign it into law.

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Poll: Trump's approval rating hits historic low of 35 percent

Trump approval at all time low of 35%

Nearly one year after his inauguration, President Donald Trump’s approval rating sits at 35 percent, according to a new poll released Tuesday by CNN, a historic low for a commander-in-chief in the December of his first year in office.

The 35 percent approval rating is Trump’s worst mark yet in CNN polling. Fifty-nine percent of respondents said they disapprove of the way Trump has handled his job as president. Before Trump, no president dating back to Dwight Eisenhower ever had an approval rating lower than 49 percent in December of their first year in office.

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Leaked memo schooled Tillerson on human rights

Tillerson memo: Use human rights as a club only on US adversaries.  Give others a pass.

Three months into his tenure as secretary of state, Rex Tillerson alarmed veteran diplomats with remarks that sounded like a potential shift in American foreign policy: The U.S., he said, should be careful not to let values like human rights create "obstacles" to the pursuit of its interests.

The comment, at a gathering of State Department employees, provoked an outcry among former U.S. officials and human rights activists who feared America was abandoning a vital mission. Two weeks later, a top Tillerson adviser wrote up a short tutorial, in the form of a confidential memo to his boss, recapping “the debate over how far to emphasize human rights, democracy promotion, and liberal values in American foreign policy.”

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HR McMaster: Russian meddling 'sophisticated subversion'

HR McMaster on Russia's meddling

Donald Trump's national security adviser has accused Russia of "a sophisticated campaign of subversion" to undermine free and open societies.

Gen HR McMaster told the BBC that Moscow used propaganda and disinformation against democracies.

He said Russia's alleged meddling in US elections was "certainly" a national security threat.  He was speaking after President Trump's new national security policy labelled Russia and China "rival powers".

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