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Monday, Feb 27th

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White House nixed Holocaust statement naming Jews

Holocaust speechThe State Department drafted its own statement last month marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day that explicitly included a mention of Jewish victims, according to people familiar with the matter, but President Donald Trump’s White House blocked its release.

The existence of the draft statement adds another dimension to the controversy around the White House’s own statement that was released on Friday and set off a furor because it excluded any mention of Jews. The White House has stood by the statement, defending it as an “inclusive” message that was not intended to marginalize Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

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Russian activist, likely poisoned before, hospitalized again

Vladimir Kara-MurzaA private foundation says one of its employees, a prominent Russian opposition activist, has been hospitalized after a sudden illness reminiscent of a poisoning he suffered two years earlier.

Open Russia, run by exiled Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said in a statement on Thursday that Vladimir Kara-Murza was hospitalized earlier in the day after becoming ill.

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Uber CEO Is Leaving President Trump’s Economic Council After Criticism

Travis KalanickTravis Kalanick, the Uber CEO, is leaving President Donald Trump’s economic advisory council. The move appears to be in response of the #deleteUber campaign that started over the last weekend after President’s immigration order. In his letter to employees (obtained by Recode), Kalanick said that some people had taken his joining the council as an endorsement of the President or his agenda.

Earlier in December, Kalanick and Tesla founder Elon Musk had joined President Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum. An official statement announcing the committee had said the forum is “designed to provide direct input to the President… in a frank, non-bureaucratic, and non-partisan manner.”

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Scientists boycott journals, conferences in protest of Trump travel ban

Scientists agaisnt TrumpThousands of scientists have pledged to boycott conferences and scientific journals in protest of President Trump's executive order that temporarily bars citizens of seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the United States.

"We question the intellectual integrity of these spaces and the dialogues they are designed to encourage while Muslim colleagues are explicitly excluded from them,” the pledge says.

The online pledge says it has more than 5,000 signatures.

More than 20,000 scientists and academics have also signed a letter denouncing the ban.

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Trump Loosens Sanctions on Russian Security Service

PutinTwo years ago the Obama administration issued an executive order that allowed the Treasury Department to sanction any organization engaged in "cyber-enabled activities...that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States."

In late 2016, in retaliation for the Russian interference with the US election, Obama issued another executive order. This one added the Russian security service (FSB) and several other Russian actors to the list of sanctioned organizations.

Today, the Trump administration loosened these sanctions:

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U.S. House axes rules to prevent corruption, pollution

House axes corruption and polllution rulesTwo major U.S. rules aimed at curbing corruption and pollution in the energy sector may be entirely wiped from the books by next week, after the Republican-led House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to repeal them.

The Senate is expected to take up repealing the rules, both of which were years in the making, as soon as Thursday.

Under the virtually untested Congressional Review Act, the Republican-led Congress can vote to permanently undo newly minted regulations. Agencies cannot revisit overturned regulations and timing in the law means any regulation enacted in the Obama administration's final months are eligible for axing.

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Trump threatens U.C. Berkeley after protests stop far-right speech

Berkely protestsU.S. President Donald Trump threatened on Thursday to cut funding to the University of California at Berkeley after protesters smashed windows and set fires at the liberal-leaning school, forcing the cancellation of an appearance by a far-right Breitbart News editor.

"If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?" Trump wrote on Twitter at 6:13 a.m. EST (1113 GMT). He did not elaborate.

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U.S. military probing more possible civilian deaths in Yemen raid

Yemen raidThe U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief.

U.S. Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed in the raid on a branch of al Qaeda, also known as AQAP, in al Bayda province, which the Pentagon said also killed 14 militants. However, medics at the scene said about 30 people, including 10 women and children, were killed.

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Mexico denies report that Trump threatened to send in troops during call with Peña Nieto

Mexican presidentThe Mexican government on Wednesday denied reports that Donald Trump threatened the Mexican president with U.S. troops during his phone call with the foreign leader.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Peña Nieto spokesman Eduardo Sanchez insisted he knows with absolute certainty there was no threat.”

“The things that have been said are nonsense and a downright lie,” Sanchez added.

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