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Member since: Sun Dec 25, 2016, 04:42 AM
Number of posts: 2,490

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California high-speed rail ready to lay some track

Source: Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) After years of prep work, Gov. Jerry Brown's finance department decided Friday that California's $64 billion high-speed rail project is ready to lay some track.

The administration approved the rail authority's request to spend $2.6 billion on work in the Central Valley. The decision lets the authority ask the state treasurer's office to sell a portion of the nearly $10 billion in bonds voters approved in 2008 for a bullet train.

However, the first 29-mile segment of track isn't expected to be completed until at least August 2019.

The bullet train's long-term prospects remain clouded because of uncertainty over funding and several pending lawsuits. Significant federal help is required, and the Republican-controlled Congress does not support the project. Private money also is needed but none has been secured yet.

Read more: https://apnews.com/98f8e3bb3df94f94b4b06743f66ccc26/California-high-speed-rail-ready-to-lay-some-track

Immigration judges exempt from Trump's federal hiring freeze

Source: Reuters

President Donald Trump's federal hiring freeze will not apply to immigration court judges under an exception for positions that are needed for national security and public safety, the Executive Office for Immigration Review told Reuters on Friday.

The Trump administration has called for faster removal of immigrants in the United States illegally, but immigration courts, which rule on asylum applications and deportation appeals, are weighed down by a record backlog of more than 542,000 cases.

On Jan. 23, Trump froze hiring for all federal government positions, except for military personnel and in some other limited circumstances.

New Attorney General Jeff Sessions "determined that Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) positions can continue to be filled," EOIR spokeswoman Kathryn Mattingly told Reuters in an email response to questions about the freeze.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-judges-idUSKBN16A2NI

Sessions to respond in writing to questions over Russia contacts: DOJ

Source: Reuters

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will reply in writing to Senate Democrats' questions about his meetings with Russia's ambassador last year, the Justice Department said on Friday after a top Republican denied Democrats' request for a public hearing.

Nine Democratic senators sent a letter earlier Friday asking Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley to call Sessions before his panel to explain his failure until this week to disclose his contacts with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The letter came a day after Sessions, the country's top justice official and a key ally of Republican President Donald Trump, removed himself from any investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the election.

Grassley replied that he had no plans for a hearing.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKBN16A2F4

Ex-Haitian president Rene Preval dies

Source: Reuters

The Haitian government says former President Rene Preval, 74, the first leader in Haiti's history to win a democratic election, serve a full term and peacefully hand power to a successor, has died. Nathan Frandino reports.

Former Haitian President Rene Preval has died. He was the first leader in Haiti's history to win a democratic election, serve a full term, and peacefully hand power to a successor. The cause of death was not immediately made public. His first term from 1996 to 2001 was known for infrastructure projects and land reform efforts. But his second term was marked by the devastating earthquake that killed some 200,000 people in 2010. His government was criticized for its response to the disaster. Preval was 74 years old.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/video/2017/03/03/ex-haitian-president-rene-preval-dies?videoId=371234376&videoChannel=1
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