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Barack Obama Names Two New National Monuments

Obama names two national monumentsThe White House designated two new national monuments on Wednesday, one in Utah and the other in Nevada, that will protect important Native American cultural sites and continue the president’s legacy of environmental stewardship far beyond the end of his term.

The Bears Ears National Monument will cover more than 1.35 million acres in southern Utah, including ancestral land important to dozens of tribes. It will be co-managed with a coalition of five Native American tribes ― a conservation first. The Gold Butte National Monument will protect about 300,000 acres of desert in Nevada.


Debbie Reynolds, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Star and Carrie Fisher’s Mother, Dies at 84

Debbie ReynoldsDebbie Reynolds, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress who was the mother of late actress Carrie Fisher, has died at Cedars-Sinai hospital. She was 84.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” her son Todd Fisher told Variety.

She was taken to the hospital from Carrie Fisher’s Beverly Hills house Wednesday after suffering a stroke, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.

The vivacious blonde, who had a close but sometimes tempestuous relationship with her daughter, was one of MGM’s principal stars of the 1950s and ’60s in such films as the 1952 classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and 1964’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” for which she received an Oscar nomination as best actress.


More than one-third of schoolchildren are homeless in shadow of Silicon Valley

Homelessness in Silicon ValleyEvery night for the past year or so, Adriana and Omar Chavez have slept in an RV parked in East Palo Alto, a downtrodden community in Silicon Valley.

On a recent morning before sunrise, they emerged on to the empty street. Omar showed his phone to his wife: 7.07am. “Shall I wake up the girls?” he said, his breath visible in the freezing air.

He headed inside to rouse their three daughters, huddled together in the low-ceilinged bed just above the driver’s cab, and ready them for school.


Five regulations that could come in Obama's final days

Obama may place regulations before end of termThe Obama administration appears committed to finishing as much of its regulatory agenda as possible before leaving office.  Republican lawmakers have warned the administration against issuing any “midnight” regulations in the waning days, saying they would be overturned.

Yet the Environmental Protection Agency on Dec. 19 defied those warnings, issuing a controversial coal mining regulation that sets new requirements for companies when testing and maintaining streams damaged by mining.

President-elect Donald Trump has already pledged to repeal the rule.


Obama, Clinton lead Gallup list of most admired man, woman

obama-Clinton most popular 2016President Barack Obama was considered the man most admired by Americans in 2016, and Hillary Clinton the most admired woman, a Gallup Inc. survey released Wednesday revealed.

Since 1946, Gallup has asked Americans to name the man they most admire, and incumbent presidents typically lead the list. For the seventh consecutive year, Obama leads the list with 22 percent of respondents naming him.


U.S. sold $40B in weapons in 2015, topping global market

Inda largest arms importerThe United States again ranked first in global weapons sales last year, signing deals for about $40 billion, or half of all agreements in the worldwide arms bazaar, and far ahead of France, the No. 2 weapons dealer with $15 billion in sales, according to a new congressional study.

Developing nations continued to be the largest buyers of arms in 2015, with Qatar signing deals for more than $17 billion in weapons last year, followed by Egypt, which agreed to buy almost $12 billion in arms, and Saudi Arabia, with over $8 billion in weapons purchases.


Minimum wage to increase in 21 states next year

Protests for increasing minimum wageMillions of minimum wage workers in 21 states will get a raise in 2017.

The highest state minimum wages in 2017 will be $11 in Massachusetts, which is a $1 increase from this year, and Washington, up from $9.47 in 2016. Other higher wages are in Arizona ($10), California ($10), Connecticut ($10.10), Oregon ($10.25 in July) and Vermont ($10). The other state raising the minimum in July is Maryland, where the minimum wage state-side will be $9.25.


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