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FBI director ‘very concerned’ by reports of secret Chinese police stations in US

Christopher Wray

The United States is deeply concerned about the Chinese government setting up unauthorised “police stations” in US cities to possibly pursue influence operations, FBI director Christopher Wray has said.

“I’m very concerned about this. We are aware of the existence of these stations,” Wray told a US Senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee hearing, acknowledging the FBI’s investigative work on the issue but declining to give details.

“But to me, it is outrageous to think that the Chinese police would attempt to set up shop, you know, in New York, let’s say, without proper coordination. It violates sovereignty and circumvents standard judicial and law enforcement cooperation processes.”

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Trump Thought He'd Enter Capitol 'Like Mussolini': Jamie Raskin After Agent Testifies

Trump/Mussolini

Donald Trump aimed to stomp out the democratic election process last year and enter the U.S. Capitol like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and his fascist blackshirts took over Rome, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Thursday.

Raskin revealed what he suspects Trump envisioned that day following testimony before the Jan. 6 House select committee by Robert Engel, who was the lead Secret Service agent for Trump the day of the insurrection. Engel was with Trump in the presidential vehicle when Trump demanded to be taken to the Capitol after a mob of his supporters breached the building.

Raskin said on MSNBC that he couldn’t provide details of Engel’s testimony.

“I will tell you that from everything we’ve learned, we know that the former president was incensed and enraged when he was not being taken to the Capitol,” Raskin said. “He was adamant that he be able to join the mob and approach and enter the Capitol with them.”

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Federal Judge Blocks Ron DeSantis' 'Positively Dystopian' Stop WOKE Act

Ron DeSantis

Declaring it a “positively dystopian” assault on free speech, a U.S. district judge blocked enforcement of provisions of a Florida law banning state university professors from expressing certain opinions on topics related racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination in their classes on Thursday.

The decision means that the leadership of Florida’s state university system cannot punish professors or instructors for violating the prohibition on the expression of eight viewpoints enacted by GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis and state legislative Republicans under the Individual Freedom Act of 2022.

In a blistering opinion that opens by quoting George Orwell’s classic anti-totalitarian novel “1984,” Judge Mark Walker, appointed by President Barack Obama, ruled that the law violated the First Amendment right of freedom of speech of both professors and students and the Fourteenth Amendment by being unconstitutionally vague.

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Progressive Star Rep. Katie Porter Wins Reelection In California

Katie Porter

Two-term Rep. Katie Porter, a progressive Democrat from California known for grilling corporate bigwigs before Congress, is projected to win reelection after a tough challenge from Republican Scott Baugh.

Porter rose to national prominence on the House Financial Services Committee, where she executed viral takedowns of major Wall Street executives with her whiteboard and marker as a visual aid. The Elizabeth Warren protégé later continued her streak on the Natural Resources Committee, taking on oil and gas executives, earning millions of views on social media and generating speculation about larger aspirations, including a possible bid for Senate.

Porter’s 2018 win in California’s 45th Congressional District helped Democrats turn Orange County blue, making history in what was once a bastion of conservatism that helped catapult both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan to the White House. She opted to run for the state’s 47th Congressional District after its lines were redrawn in 2020.

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End of an era: Pelosi steps down as House Democratic leader

Pelosi stes down

The Nancy Pelosi era has come to an end.

After leading the Democrats for the last two decades, the House Speaker announced Thursday that she will step down next year from her spot at the top of the party, closing a momentous run for the most powerful woman in U.S. history while clearing the way for a younger generation of up-and-coming lawmakers to climb into the leadership ranks.

The announcement, which came shortly after late midterm results had officially flipped House control to the Republicans, sent shockwaves across Capitol Hill, as lawmakers in both parties grappled with the thought of a Democratic House without Pelosi at the helm.

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Georgia lower court blocks state’s 6-week abortion ban

Georgia lower court blocks state abortion ban

A Georgia judge on Tuesday overturned a state law prohibiting most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, blocking it from being enforced.

The decision means that abortions will — for the first time since July — in most cases be allowed in Georgia, up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. The ruling is, however, likely to be appealed and make its way to the Georgia Supreme Court.

In his order, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that two major sections of Georgia’s 2019 abortion law were “plainly unconstitutional when drafted” and therefore void.

“At that time — the spring of 2019 — everywhere in America, including Georgia, it was unequivocally unconstitutional for governments — federal, state, or local — to ban abortions before viability … Such bans were banned,” McBurney wrote. “[The statute] did not become the law of Georgia when it was enacted and it is not the law of Georgia now.”

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Lula vows to undo environmental degradation and halt deforestation

Lula halts deforestation

President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has told the world that “Brazil is back” at Cop27, vowing to begin undoing the environmental destruction seen under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, and work towards zero deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Followed by a carnival atmosphere wherever he went on Wednesday, Lula told the climate summit that his administration would go further than ever before on the environment by cracking down on illegal gold mining, logging and agricultural expansion, and restoring climate-critical ecosystems.

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Nasa’s Artemis 1, most powerful rocket in history, blasts off to moon

Artemis launches to the moonTwo hurricanes, two months and a number of technical fixes since previous launch attempts were thwarted, and Nasa’s Artemis 1, the most powerful space rocket in history, is finally on course for the moon after lifting off from Florida early on Wednesday.

The spacecraft, comprising the mighty Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and pioneering Orion capsule, lit the night sky as it rose from its Cape Canaveral launchpad at 1.47am ET. The 25-day, 1.3m-mile journey to the moon and back is Nasa’s first crew-capable deep-space mission for half a century.

“On behalf of all the men and women across our great nation who have worked to bring this hardware together to make this day possible, and for the Artemis generation, this is for you,” the launch director, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, said shortly after liftoff.

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Schumer to nominate Murray as Senate president pro tempore

Patty Murray

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced at the Senate Democratic lunch Wednesday that he will nominate Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) next month to serve next year as Senate president pro tempore, a position that is third in line to the presidency.

The nomination will need to be approved by the entire Senate Democratic Conference.

Schumer also announced that the Senate Democratic caucus will hold its leadership election on Dec. 8.

The job of Senate president pro tempore comes with a large, ornate office on the ground floor of the U.S. Capitol and a large security detail.

The current office holder, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), will retire from Senate after eight terms at the end of the year.

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