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Obama Says He Will Tap “Indisputably Qualified” Candidate for Supreme Court

Feb 17, 2016

President Obama says he expects the Senate to do its job and confirm his nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Scalia died on Saturday. Obama says he will nominate a qualified candidate to replace him.

President Barack Obama: “There’s not going to be any particular position on a particular issue that determines whether or not I nominate them. But I am going to present somebody who indisputably is qualified for the seat and, any fair-minded person—even somebody who disagreed with my politics—would say, would serve with honor and integrity on the court.”

A rising number of Senate Republicans say they will block any nominee until a new president is in place 11 months from now.

Poll Shows Sanders, Clinton Tied in Nevada Ahead of Caucus

Feb 17, 2016

A new poll finds Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are virtually tied in Nevada ahead of Saturday’s caucus. The CNN/ORC poll finds 48 percent of likely caucus goers back Clinton, versus 47 percent for Sanders.

U.N. Says Yemen Faces “Humanitarian Catastrophe” with Over 6,000 Dead

Feb 17, 2016

The United Nations humanitarian chief says Yemen is experiencing a “humanitarian catastrophe.” U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien spoke to the U.N. Security Council Tuesday.

Stephen O’Brien: “Since March 2015, more than 35,000 casualties, including over 6,000 deaths, have been reported by health facilities across the country. The United Nations has confirmed that at least 2,997 of those killed and 5,659 of those injured are civilians. Conservative estimates suggest that well over 700 children have been killed and over 1,000 more injured.”

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Cuba and U.S. Sign Deal to Restart Commercial Flights for 1st Time in 50 Years

Feb 17, 2016

The United States and Cuba have signed an agreement to restore regular U.S. commercial flights to Cuba for the first time in more than 50 years. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx spoke in Havana.

Anthony Foxx: “Today is a historic day in the relationship between Cuba and the United States. This morning, with the signing of the MOU, we are signaling that for the first time in more than five decades the Unites States and Cuba will allow scheduled air service between our two nations.”

The Obama administration has also approved the first U.S. factory in Cuba in more than 50 years, allowing a company from Alabama to assemble tractors there.

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Utah: Author Terry Tempest Williams Buys 1,750 Acres of Oil & Gas Leases to Block Drilling

Feb 17, 2016

In Utah, more than 100 protesters disrupted a federal auction of oil and gas leases, spontaneously bursting into song until they were forced to leave. Author and activist Terry Tempest Williams, registered as Bidder 19, successfully bid on 1,750 acres of land to spare it from fossil fuel extraction. When asked by a Bureau of Land Management official if she was making a “legitimate bid for energy development,” Tempest Williams said: “You can’t define what energy is for us. Our energy development is fueling a movement.” Climate activist Tim DeChristopher spent 21 months in prison when he posed as a bidder in a similar move in 2008.

South Dakota Could Become 1st State to Pass Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bill

Feb 17, 2016

South Dakota could become the first state to ban transgender students from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. A bill passed by the South Dakota Senate Tuesday would force students to use bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth. South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard has not said for sure if he will sign it.

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Chicago: 12 Arrested After Blocking Traffic to Protest Deportations

Feb 17, 2016

In Chicago, a dozen protesters were arrested after blocking traffic outside an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to demand the dismantling of ICE, which they call the largest police force in the country. The protesters climbed atop ladders and chained themselves to cement boxes to highlight what they say is a history of abuse by local immigration officers.

Providence College Students Stage Sit-in over Racism on Campus

Feb 17, 2016

In Rhode Island, the president of Providence College has signed a list of demands to improve diversity after dozens of students occupied his office to protest racism on campus. President Brian Shanley agreed to take steps toward curriculum reform and more diverse hiring, among other changes. The Catholic college is the latest to see student protests over failures to address campus racism.

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Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 1st U.N. Secretary-General from Africa, Dies at 93

Feb 17, 2016

And Boutros Boutros-Ghali, the first United Nations secretary-general from Africa and the first Arab to hold the post, has died in Egypt at the age of 93. Boutros-Ghali led the U.N. in the 1990s, a time marked by violence in Rwanda, Bosnia, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia. His opposition to NATO’s bombing campaign in Bosnia angered the United States. In 1996, then-President Bill Clinton and U.S. representative to the U.N. Madeleine Albright blocked his renewal, making him the only U.N. secretary-general to serve only a single term.

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