Senate Advances Measure To End 3-Day Government Shutdown

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynpJ-QLgAa4 Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET The Senate has advanced a stopgap spending bill that is the first step in ending the partial shutdown of the federal government, now in its third day. Shortly before the Monday procedural vote was set to begin, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., announced that he would vote to reopen the government along with enough Democrats to ensure it reaches the 60 votes needed to advance. After 24 hours of furious negotiation...

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Updated at 3:56 p.m. ET

The House Intelligence Committee decided on Thursday to release the transcript of its meeting with the man who commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Lawmakers used a closed meeting to vote about whether to unveil the text of hours' worth of testimony by Glenn Simpson, founder of the private intelligence firm Fusion GPS.

The committee posted it later in the day and it is available online here.

Like many lawmakers, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., supports reviving earmarks, but he mused at a House Rules Committee hearing Wednesday that the debate is futile if House Speaker Paul Ryan does not.

"When the speaker ain't inclined, ain't much going to happen," Hastings quipped, noting the speaker reiterated as recently as last Friday that he opposes ending an earmark ban put in place by former House Speaker John Boehner.

A former Department of Energy photographer has filed a federal whistleblower suit alleging he lost his job after leaking photos of a private meeting between Energy Secretary Rick Perry and a major Trump donor who heads one of the country's largest mining companies.

The photographer, Simon Edelman, took photos of the March 29, 2017, meeting between Perry and Robert "Bob" Murray, the CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy, who gave $300,000 to the Trump campaign.

Updated on Jan. 17 at 6:12 p.m.

As the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election now carries into 2018, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller is keeping quiet on details.

But one thing does seem clear: A year after President Trump took office, the crime of foreign money laundering looks as though it has become an important focus.

A 'Fraught Time' For Press Freedom In The Philippines

Jan 17, 2018

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte does not like the press. Stung by critical media reporting, he has in the past months called some of the country's largest media organizations "bullshit," "garbage," "son of a bitch." Journalists, he said, have no shame.

Updated at 8:06 a.m. ET, Jan. 18

Congressional leaders plan to vote later this week on a month-long spending bill but the ongoing fight over immigration threatens to derail the plan days before the Friday deadline to prevent a government shutdown.

Republican leaders say they are confident that Congress will vote this week to extend current spending levels until February 16 but Democrats and some far-right conservatives are threatening to block the legislation.

The majority of the National Park Service advisory board has resigned in protest over Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s unwillingness to meet with them. They were appointed by former President Obama, and their terms were supposed to conclude in May.

Cory Vaillancourt

With a polarizing President in the White House and gerrymandered districts in the courthouse, disillusionment with the two-party system in American politics seems to be at an all time high.  A recently passed North Carolina law will make it easier for third parties to get on the ballot this year – but only if a partisan fight between Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh gets resolved. 

The State Department is withholding $65 million it planned to send to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees, calling for reforms and for other nations to step up their support — especially those that criticize the Trump administration's positions regarding Palestinians and Israel.

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Nearly all of the seats on the U.S. National Park Service advisory board are vacant following a mass resignation Monday night, with ex-members citing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's unwillingness to meet with them.

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Arts & Performance

Isaac Harrel

There are t-shirts and bumper stickers, and no doubt city politicians have run on the campaign slogan -- Keep Asheville Weird.

“Asheville walks that fine line of being proud to be weird, but some people are also like ‘But I don’t want weird,’ you know?” said Jocelyn Reese, talking about the city’s annual bow to unabashed weirdness called the Asheville Fringe Arts Festival. Reese and her partner Jim Julien are co-directors.

There are likely enough singer-songwriters in Asheville to fill every coffeeshop and street corner in the city. But amid the region’s bluegrass, Americana and jam music, there’s a new effort to turn people onto the Asheville’s indie rock and punk scene.

 

Matt Peiken | BPR News

Every other Thursday during the school year, a dozen or so teenagers of color meet in a repurposed classroom at Asheville’s Arthur Edington Center.

Matt Peiken | BPR News

In 1967, school board members from a Brooklyn neighborhood were headed to England. They wanted to study how administrators there handled segregation and racial representation in the classroom.