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Thursday, January 18, 2018

After years of tangling with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), civil liberties activists seemed to have her onboard with their fight to curtail the vast warrantless surveillance program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. They were optimistic Tuesday when she headed into a major vote over whether to impose new restrictions on the government monitoring. But after a spirited nail-biter of a floor fight, Feinstein broke with privacy advocates from the right and left to cast a crucial vote in favor of leaving the program largely unchanged for the next six years. Feinstein's retreat back to a hawkish posture on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gave supporters of the status quo the vote they needed to quell a growing movement in the Senate for more privacy protections. She was one of 18 Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats who voted to shut down consideration of major changes to the program read more


Feds planning massive Northern California immigration sweep to strike against sanctuary laws U.S. immigration officials have begun preparing for a major sweep in San Francisco and other Northern California cities in which federal officers would look to arrest more than 1,500 undocumented people while sending a message that immigration policy will be enforced in the sanctuary state, according to a source familiar with the operation. Officials at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, declined to comment Tuesday on plans for the operation. The campaign, centered in the Bay Area, could happen within weeks, and is expected to become the biggest enforcement action of its kind under President Trump, said the source, who requested anonymity because the plans have not been made public. read more


President Donald Trump's former adviser Steve Bannon refused to answer questions Tuesday from the House intelligence committee about his time in the White House, prompting panel members to subpoena him on the spot, according to a person familiar with the interview. Bannon appeared before the committee as part of its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, speaking just weeks after a falling-out with Trump over comments he made in an explosive new book. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday that he issued a subpoena for Bannon. "Of course I authorized the subpoena," he told reporters. "That's how the rules work." read more


Monday, January 15, 2018

A farmer has been forced to ride his motorbike holding his head upright by his hair after falling and breaking his neck on a property at West Gippsland. The 73-year-old was reportedly checking his farm for grasshoppers early December when he hit a small hollow and "went sailing over his handlebars," landing on his head and breaking his neck. read more


Monday, January 08, 2018

The Moody Blues star Ray Thomas has died at the age of 76. The flautist and vocalist died suddenly on Thursday, his record label said. Cherry Red Records and Esoteric Recordings said in a statement: "We are deeply shocked by his passing and will miss his warmth, humor and kindness. It was a privilege to have known and worked with him and our thoughts are with his family and his wife, Lee, at this sad time." ... Born in Stourport-on-Severn on 29 December 1941, Thomas started out in blues and soul groups in the 1960s and later formed the Moody Blues alongside Mike Pinder, Denny Laine, Graeme Edge and Clint Warwick. Although the band's roots lay in the blues, their 1964 hit Go Now was a foretaste of the lush, orchestral sound that came to be called progressive rock. read more


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