Judge Approves AT&T’s $85 Billion Merger with Time Warner

Jun 13, 2018
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A federal judge has approved AT&T’s $85 billion merger with Time Warner after ruling the Justice Department failed to prove the merger violates anti-trust laws. The far-reaching deal is expected to reshape the media industry and will give AT&T control over Warner Bros. film and television studios, along with CNN, TNT, HBO and many other brands. Only three days after President Trump’s inauguration, AT&T paid $600,000 to President Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen’s company for help advising the telecom giant on how to steer the planned merger through regulatory scrutiny. Despite this money, the Justice Department sued to block the merger. Tuesday’s approval of the AT&T-Time Warner deal is expected to spur a flurry of other mergers and corporate consolidation across industries.

U.S.-Backed, Saudi-Led Coalition Launches Offensive Against Yemen’s Key Port City

Jun 13, 2018
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In Yemen, the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition has launched an offensive against the key port city of Hodeidah. The offensive is expected to be the biggest battle in the coalition’s ongoing 3-year assault against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The conflict has already killed 15,000 civilians, sparked the world’s worst cholera epidemic and pushed the country to the brink of famine. Humanitarian organizations have warned the offensive could be a catastrophe for a quarter of a million civilians living in the port city, and for the rest of Yemen, which is highly dependent on aid that travels through this port. This is Jens Laerke with the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Jens Laerke: “A military attack or siege on Hodeidah will impact hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. In a prolonged worst case, we fear that as many as 250,000 people may lose everything—even their lives.”

We’ll have more on the offensive against Yemen’s key port city after headlines with California Congressmember Ro Khanna.

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Afghanistan: More Than a Dozen Killed in Taliban Attacks on Eve of Ceasefire

Jun 13, 2018
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In Afghanistan, more than a dozen people have been killed in Taliban attacks, including the governor of the northern Kohistan district. The attacks came as the government’s 8-day ceasefire was slated to take effect. The Taliban has announced its own ceasefire during the first three days of Eid, later this week.

Israeli Police Again Question Netanyahu over Corruption Scandal

Jun 13, 2018
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In Israel, police again questioned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in connection with one of a series of corruption cases. Protesters gathered outside Netanyahu’s house Monday night demanding his resignation, as police questioned him inside his home about the bribery scandal involving communications giant Bezeq Group, aimed at securing more favorable media coverage for Netanyahu and his family. A number of members of Netanyahu’s inner circle have already been arrested in this corruption case.

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Maine Gov. Threatens Not to Certify Primary Results over Ranked-Choice Voting

Jun 13, 2018
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Back in the United States, voters went to the polls Tuesday for primaries in Virginia, South Carolina, Maine, Nevada and North Dakota. In Maine, voters used a new type of voting system—ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank their preferred candidates in order of preference. On Tuesday, Maine residents voted to also use this system for upcoming federal elections. But Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage is now threatening not to certify the results of Tuesday’s primary because of the ranked-choice voting.

Gov. Paul LePage: “The most horrific thing in the world. I will probably not certify the election. I will leave it up to the courts to decide.”

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South Carolina: Republican Mark Sanford Loses Primary, After Criticizing Trump

Jun 13, 2018
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Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Republican Congressmember Mark Sanford lost his primary election to state Representative Katie Arrington, after he repeatedly criticized President Trump. In an unusual Election Day move, Trump attacked Sanford on Tuesday on Twitter, tweeting, “Mark Sanford has been very unhelpful to me in my campaign to MAGA. He is MIA and nothing but trouble. He is better off in Argentina”—the last part a reference to the 2009 scandal in which then-Governor Sanford disappeared for a few days, first saying he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, and later revealing he was having an extramarital affair in Argentina. After conceding defeat Tuesday night, Sanford said he did not regret criticizing President Trump.

Rep. Mark Sanford: “It may have cost me the election in this case, but I stand by every one of those decisions to disagree with the president, because I didn’t think it, at the end of the day, was either concurrent with the promises I made when I first ran for office or the voices of the very people of the 1st District that I represent.”

Corey Stewart Wins VA Republican Senate Primary on Anti-Immigrant, Pro-Confederate Platform

Jun 13, 2018
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In Virginia, former state Trump campaign co-chair Corey Stewart won the Republican Senate primary and will challenge Democratic Senator Tim Kaine in November. Stewart ran on a pro-Trump, far-right, anti-immigrant platform. He has also embraced the Confederate flag and refused to condemn white supremacists for their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Women candidates also won big on Tuesday night, including in Virginia, where state Senator Jennifer Wexton won her House Democratic primary. She’ll challenge Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock in November. In Nevada, Susie Lee won her House primary race. The New York Times reports that, on the Democratic side, Tuesday’s primary results were a victory for the Democratic establishment, with a number of candidates handpicked by party leaders beating out insurgent left challengers. On the Republican side, the results represented a victory for the far-right wing of the party, with Trump-aligned candidates beating out their challengers.

McClatchy: U.S. Considering Housing Immigrant Children in Tent Cities on Military Bases

Jun 13, 2018
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In immigration news, McClatchy is reporting the Trump administration is considering building tent cities on Texas military bases to detain immigrant children being held in U.S. custody. There are now more than 10,000 immigrant children being held in U.S. custody, as the Trump administration continues its policy of separating children from their immigrant parents at the border as the families pursue asylum claims.

Hundreds Gather in Orlando to Honor 49 People Killed in Pulse Nightclub Massacre

Jun 13, 2018
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And in Orlando, Florida, hundreds gathered outside of the Pulse nightclub Tuesday to honor the 49 people who were killed two years ago in one of the deadliest attacks ever on the LGBT community in the United States. The majority of those killed were young LGBT people of color. Meanwhile, also in Florida, students and activists organized a die-in near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to demand the administration take action to curb gun violence. Among those protesting and participating in vigils Tuesday were survivors of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year.

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