Christchurch Shooter Faces 50 Murder Charges

The man accused of killing 50 people in a mosque in New Zealand last month will face charges for each person he killed in addition to 39 counts of attempted murder.

The 28-year-old Australian is scheduled to appear in court on Friday; he has reportedly complained about his treatment while in prison after being denied the privilege of making calls or seeing visitors.

Before attacking the worshipers, the mass-murderer emailed out a racist, Nazi-inspired manifesto praising the president of the United States as a “pillar of white identity.”

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“An Ongoing Petrochemical Disaster”

The massive fire that has been raging at a petrochemical storage facility in Deer Park, Texas since Sunday was finally extinguished early yesterday morning.

The incident forced the closure of nearby schools and residents were advised to limit time spent outdoors.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that the region has seen such a disaster, and it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that it will be the last.

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Khanna Reintroduces War Powers Resolution

California Congressmember Ro Khanna has reintroduced a War Powers Resolution to end the war in Yemen for the third time in as many months.

The Senate made history by passing the resolution 56-41 last month, but House Republican leadership was able to block a vote on the bill while they retained control.

Now, however, Democrats are securely in the helm of the House, increasing the chances that the legislation will pass.

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Shutdown Cost U.S. $11 Billion

A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the 35-day partial government shutdown cost the U.S. economy $11 billion.

While the CBO believes that roughly $8 billion of those losses are recoverable, at least $3 billion are permanent.

This devastating news comes as a bipartisan committee is beginning the daunting task of attempting to find a middleground between U.S. lawmakers and the president that will keep the government open after the three-week stopgap measure expires February 15.

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The Coup of Our Era

The United States and a handful of other countries are in the process of staging a coup d’etat in Venezuela that threatens the stability of the entire region.

The U.S. is joined by the European Union and the Lima Group in backing Juan Guaidó as the president of Venezuela, while Russia, Turkey, China, Cuba, and Bolivia all still support sitting president Nicolás Maduro.

Vice President Mike Pence released a video addressed to the people of Venezuela expressing support for their cause on behalf of the American people which had gone viral.

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Trump to Move Ahead with SOTU

The president is insisting on delivering his State of the Union address despite critical shortages in security staffing due to the government shutdown.

However, because House Speaker Nancy Pelosi controls whether or not a resolution to convene a joint session of Congress, it is unclear whether or not anyone would be there to hear his address in the first place.

Pelosi previously declined to invite the president to deliver the address on the basis that shortages in security staff would endganger government officials. During a SOTU, virtually every member of the government is present, from lawmakers to Supreme Court Justices, requiring an immense security detail.

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Christopher Columbus Leaving Notre Dame Campus

The University of Notre Dame has announced that it will cover all murals depicting Christopher Columbus on its campus.

In all, there are 12 murals dating back to the 1880s in the school’s Main Building that will be covered, although the school will photograph the murals to be displayed elsewhere alongside an explanation of their context. The school has also reserved the right to display the artwork “occasionally.”

The announcement comes after more than 300 students, employees, and alumni of the university signed a petition calling for the murals’ removal.

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Officers Acquitted in Laquan McDonald Case

Tuesday, a Chicago judge acquitted three police officers accused of covering up the murder of then 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

The judge’s ruling comes despite major discrepancies between the three officers’ reports as well as dash cam footage that contradicts police claims that McDonald was approaching them aggressively at the time he was shot.

White police officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald, who was black, 16 times and was convicted of second-degree murder in October last year.

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Census Citizenship Question Blocked

The administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census has been blocked by a New York City federal judge.

Critics of the addition argue that it will likely intimidate non-U.S. citizens from responding to the census, even though the Constitution calls for a census which counts all residents rather than just citizens.

Because census data influences districting and funding, states with high immigrant populations would have been disproportionately and inaccurately represented by the skewed data.

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Tornillo Tent Camp Shut Down

The Tornillo tent camp which up until recently held thousands of immigrant children has been shut down.

The tent camp that has been the target of sustained direct action on the part of immigrant rights activists has finally been shut down.

The “Christmas at Tornillo” protesters had blocked entrances to the detention center and staged ongoing demonstrations to voice their oppposition towards the policy of immigrant detention and family separation.

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