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Tuesday, Feb 21st

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The Journalism Empire Strikes Back

Jounralists strike backAfter weeks of mocking the mainstream media as “fake news” and “the opposition party”—an attempt to delegitimize an essential participant in American democracy in order to control the version of reality being sold to the citizenry—Donald Trump and the people around him are being forced to confront a basic fact:

Journalists matter.

And with the firing of White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn—a step President Trump took very reluctantly Monday night in response to the damaging revelations published by The Washington Post and The New York Times about the retired general’s lies concerning his conversations with the Russian ambassador—journalism as an institution has reasserted itself.

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Astronomers find 60 new planets, including a 'super Earth'

Gliese 411 BA group of international researchers hit the planetary jackpot by spotting 60 new planets, including a “super Earth.”

The team also found evidence of 54 other planets, bringing the total of new exoplanets to over 100, according to a statement from the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom, which participated in the study.

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Senate abolishes Obama-era rule on gun ownership by mentally disabled

Senate abolishes restiction for mentally ill gun ownersThe U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a rollback of a rule preventing some receivers of Social Security disability benefits from purchasing guns.

It voted 57 to 43 to strike down a regulation requiring the Social Security Administration to report those with mental health conditions who receive disability benefits to the FBI background check system. The FBI database is used to determine eligibility to purchase firearms; it was expected to add about 75,000 names to the list of those disqualified.

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Trump nixes anti-corruption regulation for U.S. energy companies

Trump nixes anti-corruption billPresident Donald Trump on Tuesday signed legislation to scrap an anti-corruption regulation enacted last year to increase transparency in the business dealings of energy companies.

Trump signed House Joint Resolution 41 to repeal the rule, which required U.S. energy companies to disclose any payments involving domestic or foreign governments to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The regulation from former President Barack Obama's administration was part of the Dodd-Frank Act, a regulatory reform package passed in 2010 as a response to the financial crisis and Great Recession.

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Trump: Two-state solution not only way to achieve peace

Two state solution not only path to peace: TrumpUS President Donald Trump has said that a peace deal between Israel and Palestine can be a one-state or two-state solution as long as both sides agree on it.

"Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one," Trump said, replying to questions during a news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on Wednesday.

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Two Dominican journalists killed during Facebook Live broadcast

Dominican journalists killedPolice in the Dominican Republic have detained three men after two radio journalists were shot dead during a Facebook Live broadcast, according to officials.

The shooting took place on Tuesday in San Pedro de Macoris, east of the capital Santo Domingo.  The attackers burst into the 103.5 FM studio and fatally shot presenter Luis Manuel Medina as he was reading the news on air.

Gunfire and a woman's voice shouting, "Shots, shots!" can be heard on a Facebook live video streamed by one of the journalists there at the time.

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Trump blames 'fake media' for treating Flynn 'very unfairly'

Trrump blames fake mediaPresident Donald Trump said Wednesday that Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser who was ousted earlier this week, is “a wonderful man” who “has been treated very, very unfairly by the media.”

The remarks, which came at a bilateral press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, echoed similar statements Trump made on Twitter Wednesday morning, where he dismissed reports that his campaign was in frequent touch with senior Russian officials as “nonsense.”

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Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence

Trump campaign aides in contact with Russian intelPhone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

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Oprah gives tape with Puzder abuse allegations to Senate

Oprah gives Senate tapeSenators in both parties have viewed an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in which President Donald Trump's Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder's former wife leveled allegations of physical abuse against him, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The decades-old video, which is not easily found, has been provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, those sources said. The video has been provided to senators in a Capitol Hill office building, according to people who have seen it.

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