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Saturday, Aug 19th

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Baltimore removes Confederate statues in wake of Charlottesville

Baltimore removes Confederate statues overnightBaltimore removed several Confederate statues early Wednesday, just days after violent protests erupted in Charlottesville, Va., over the planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

The Baltimore City Council voted Monday to remove four Confederate statues from public parks around the city,The Baltimore Sun reported. Early Wednesday, police accompanied crews who removed the statues from their bases and loaded them onto trucks.

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Federal court: Arkansas can block Planned Parenthood money

Planned parenthood funds can be cut in Arkansas: Fed CourtA federal appeals court panel has ruled that Arkansas can block Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood over videos secretly recorded by an anti-abortion group.

A 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Wednesday vacated preliminary injunctions a federal judge issued preventing the state from suspending any Medicaid payments for patients who receive services from Planned Parenthood.

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Army Black Hawk chopper carrying 5 missing off Hawaii coast

Blackhawk helicopter missingThe U.S. Army and Coast Guard are investigating a downed military Black Hawk helicopter off the Hawaii coast, authorities said Wednesday.

The Army UH-60 helicopter, with five people aboard, was reported down two miles west of Kaena Point on the island of Oahu.

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Federal court invalidates part of Texas congressional map

Texas congressional districts unconstitutionalFederal judges invalidated two Texas congressional districts Tuesday, ruling that they must be fixed by either the Legislature or a federal court.

A three-judge panel in San Antonio unanimously ruled that Congressional Districts 27 and 35 violate the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act.

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Israeli billionaire arrested in int’l money laundering probe

Beny SteinmetzIsraeli billionaire Beny Steinmetz and acting Bezeq CEO David Granot were among five individuals detained by police Monday morning in an international money laundering investigation centering around Steinmetz, a diamond and real estate magnate.

Tal Zilberstein, an Israeli political consultant to the Austrian government, attorney Doron Levy, and Asher Avidan, a former senior executive of Steinmetz’s in Guinea and president of BSGR corporation mining division, were also detained.

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Texas governor signs bill to limit insurance coverage for abortions

Texas statehouseThe Republican governor of Texas signed into law on Tuesday a measure that will restrict insurance coverage for abortions, compelling women to buy a supplemental plan if they want coverage for the procedure.

Governor Greg Abbott said the measure known as House Bill 214 would protect abortion opponents from subsidizing the procedure. Democratic critics decried it as forcing people to buy "rape insurance."

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KKK groups are growing in Florida, even as they rise and fall across the U.S.

Klan growing in FloridaFor many people, hate groups are more an abstract concept than a real, physical threat. But they’re growing – both in the U.S. and Florida specifically – and the Charlottesville, Virginia attack that killed one woman and injured several people shows their destructive capabilities.

The KKK, the oldest and most infamous hate group, reached its most recent low point in 2014, when there were 72 local groups. It exploded to 190 groups in 2015, and then dropped back to 130 in 2016, according to the nonpartisan civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center.

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CBO: Pulling Obamacare subsidies would drive up premiums, increase deficit

CBO warns about pulling Obamacare subsidiesScrapping Obamacare’s cost-sharing subsidies would increase premiums on the most popular plans by 20 percent next year and swell the deficit by $194 billion over a decade, according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

President Donald Trump has threatened to eliminate the subsidies, estimated to be $7 billion this year, before the next payments are due next week. Insurers rely on the subsidies to reduce out-of-pocket costs for low-income Obamacare customers.

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Donald Trump Defends Initial Statement On Charlottesville

Crazy Trump defends hatersPresident Donald Trump defended his initial statement on the white supremacist conflict in Charlottesville, Virginia, blasted protesters “on both sides” and argued against taking down Confederate statues on Tuesday.

During remarks at Trump Tower, the president put blame on all protesters who were present in Charlottesville.

“You had a group on one side who was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent, and nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,” Trump said, referring to white supremacists, anti-fascists known as “antifa” and counterprotesters who converged in Charlottesville over the weekend. “You had a group on the other side that came charging in without a permit, and they were very, very violent.”

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