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Tuesday, Feb 20th

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Israeli F-16 jet shot down by Syria fire, says military

Israeli jet downed by Syria fire

An Israeli F-16 fighter jet has been shot down by Syrian military while targeting what it called Iranian sites responsible for launching a drone into occupied Golan Heights.

The Israeli military said on Saturday "a combat helicopter successfully intercepted an Iranian UAV that was launched from Syria and infiltrated Israel".

"IDF [Israel Defence Forces] has targeted the Iranian control systems in Syria that sent the #UAV into Israeli airspace. Massive Syrian Anti-Air fire, one F16 crashed in Israel, pilots safe," Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, Israeli military spokesman, said on Twitter.

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Trump blocks release of Democratic Russia memo

Trump blocks dem memo release

President Donald Trump blocked the public release Friday of a classified House Democratic memo written in response to Republican claims that the FBI inappropriately spied on a Trump campaign adviser in 2016.

The House of Representatives can still vote to release the memo despite Trump’s action, which sets the stage for a partisan brawl in the House next week over the document's fate.

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Second White House Staffer Resigns Amid Domestic Violence Allegations

David Sorensen resigns after accusation of domestic abuse

White House speech writer David Sorensen has resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse, although he denies being violent and said he was actually the victim, according to The Washington Post.

Jessica Corbett, Sorensen’s ex-wife, claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their two-and-a-half-year marriage, but Sorensen vehemently denies the allegations and said he was the victim of domestic violence in the marriage, the Post said.

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NYT: Rachel Brand, Number Three at Justice Department Stepping Down

Rachel Brand to step downAssociate Attorney General Rachel L. Brand is stepping down from the Justice Department after only nine months on the job, according to The New York Times.

Brand is currently in the third-highest ranking position at the Department of Justice, reporting directly to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the report, she plans to move to the private sector after serving in politically-appointed positions at the DOJ for the past three presidential administrations.

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California police worked with neo-Nazis to pursue 'anti-racist' activists, documents show

CA police worked with neo nazis to pursue ant-racist activists

California police investigating a violent white nationalist event worked with white supremacists in an effort to identify counter-protesters and sought the prosecution of activists with “anti-racist” beliefs, court documents show.

The records, which also showed officers expressing sympathy with white supremacists and trying to protect a neo-Nazi organizer’s identity, were included in a court briefing from three anti-fascist activists who were charged with felonies after protesting at a Sacramento rally. The defendants were urging a judge to dismiss their case and accused California police and prosecutors of a “cover-up and collusion with the fascists”.

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Report: White House Counsel Knew of Porter Abuse Claims for Full Year

WH knew of Porter chargesWhite House counsel Don McGahn was aware of domestic-violence allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter for a full year before the claims were made public this week, The Washington Post reports, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

McGahn allowed Porter to continue serving as an aide to President Trump despite the allegations, while Chief of Staff John Kelly actually gave Porter more responsibilities this past fall after learning of the abuse claims, according to the report.

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UW-Madison to offer free tuition to middle-class students

U of Wisconsin Madison offer free tuition to lower/middle class students The University of Wisconsin-Madison unveiled plans Friday to waive four years of college tuition and fees for incoming lower-middle-class freshmen.

The program, called "Bucky's Tuition Promise," will cover students whose family income is no greater than $56,000, roughly the average household income in Wisconsin, the university said in a news release. Transfer students who qualify will also receive two years of free tuition and fees.

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Reuters: Journalists held for probing Rohingya massacre

Reuters journalists held for probe of massacre

Two Reuters news agency journalists held for two months by Myanmar authorities were arrested over their investigation of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men, the news agency said in a report that detailed the killings.

It is the first time Reuters has publicly confirmed what Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were working on when they were arrested on December 12 on the outskirts of Yangon.

The pair are now facing up to 14 years in prison on charges of possessing classified documents in violation of the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

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Deadly mosque blast hits Libya's Benghazi

Benghazi mosque bomb blastAt least two people have been killed and more than 50 wounded in a bombing at a mosque in Libya's eastern city of Benghazi, according to medical sources.

The casualties were caused by two suspected improvised explosive devices which went off at the Saad Ben Obadah mosque during Friday prayers.

Mutaz al-Mu'tri, Benghazi's security directorate spokesperson, said two bomb bags had been used in the attack, according to Libya's 218 tv news channel.

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