The Face of Congress

The current 115th Congress is the most racially and gender diverse in history, with more women serving in the Senate than ever before, according to data from Pew Research Center and Congressional Quarterly. Women and minorities each constitute just under 20 percent of all House and Senate members. But the percentage of female lawmakers is likely to increase substantially after the November midterm election. That’s because a record 200 female House nominees are headed for the general election, with many likely or certain to win, according to an analysis by the New York Times.

Here is a look at the demographic makeup of the current House and Senate members who took office in early January 2017:


«Зоря» гідно завершила виступ у Лізі Європи

Луганська «Зоря» була дуже близькою до гучної сенсації в останньому раунді кваліфікації футбольної Ліги Європи. До останніх хвилин зустрічі в Німеччині в протистоянні «Зорі» та «Лейпцига» тримався нічийний рахунок 2:2, але на фініші зустрічі помилився у власному штрафному майданчику, зігравши рукою Віталій Вернидуб, син головного тренера луганської команди Юрія Вернидуба.

Еміль Форсберґ реалізував пенальті, рахунок 3:2 вивів до групового турніру Ліги Європи німецький клуб. Тиждень тому в Запоріжжі «Зоря» змогла в меншості втримати нульову нічию.

Раніше 30 серпня дізнався про своїх суперників у Лізі чемпіонів донецький «Шахтар».


Trump’s Environmental Policy Roll-back Alarms Activists

Environmentalists are alarmed that President Donald Trump is following through on his campaign pledges to roll back Obama-era rules that tightened restrictions on greenhouse gases, promising the moves would lead to more American jobs and economic growth.

At a recent rally in Charleston, West Virginia, under a “Trump Digs Coal” banner, the president announced plans to roll back the Clean Power Plan.

“We are putting our great coal miners back to work.” Trump said, claiming that coal is necessary for the nation’s energy security. “You can do a lot of things to those solar panels, but you know what you can’t hurt? Coal. You can do whatever you want to coal.”

Trump’s plan abandons the previous administration’s goal of scaling back U.S. reliance on coal and reducing the nation’s carbon emissions by a third by the year 2030. Instead, Trump wants to allow coal-producing states like West Virginia to set their own limits on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Earlier this month, the Trump administration proposed a repeal of the American Clean Cars Standards, the Obama-era regulation that set stringent limits on vehicle fuel-efficiency and emissions. The proposal include revoking the rights of states to set their own strict vehicle emission targets, setting up a legal battle with California and 18 other states with ambitious clean cars programs.

Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, said the state will fight what it believes to be “an egregious proposal that violates the law and is damaging to the interests of the people of this country when it comes to improving air quality.”

 

Environmental activists also have denounced the proposals. Tomas Carbonell of the Environmental Defense Fund said cars and power plants are responsible for the majority of carbon pollution in the U.S. He added that the administration’s rollback of these climate protections “sends a real signal to the world that America is not going to do its part to reduce pollution.”

 

Even the administration’s Environmental Protection Agency’s own analysis acknowledges that increased pollution from the rollback of the Clean Power Plan could lead to 1,400 more premature deaths each year by 2030. Carbonell said this would mean health and economic costs with potentially “billions of dollars in net harm to Americans resulting from this proposal even after you take into account the compliance cost.”

The plan is supported by the industry lobby that says Trump’s coal-friendly policies create jobs. Jason Bostic from the West Virginia Coal Association said that since Trump took office, the state has added about 3,000 direct mining jobs. He dismissed criticism that coal is a dying industry that hurts the environment.

“I think what you have are critics outside of this industry that are a little bit unrealistic in their goals about a renewable economy built on wind power, wishes and unicorns.” he said.

 

If approved, Trump’s proposal, called the “Affordable Clean Energy Rule,” could keep coal plants operating longer, by allowing them to invest in facilities without having to upgrade pollution control technologies to meet existing standards.

Yet, experts are skeptical the proposal would actually would save coal jobs in the long term given that there are cheaper and cleaner energy sources like natural gas, and that the cost of renewable energy like solar and wind continue to drop.

Blair Beasley of the Bipartisan Policy Center said, “The coal industry is still facing some pretty significant headwinds,” despite Trump’s rollbacks.

Most analysts believe Trump’s proposal is driven more by political rather than economic considerations. In West Virginia, Trump’s approval ratings are almost always above the national average. Beasley noted, however, that as the power sector transitions away from coal, there are communities that potentially could be left behind, and this is an important consideration in policymaking.

The Clean Power Plan was blocked by the Supreme Court in early 2016 and never implemented. Yet, West Virginians blamed President Barack Obama for the decline of the coal industry.

In his last year in office, Obama’s approval rating in the state was 24 percent, the lowest in the nation. Jake Zuckerman, political reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail said that a fair criticism for the Obama administration is they did not hold public hearings in West Virginia on the Clean Power Plan.

“I think that people got this feeling that they weren’t being heard, which I think carries a lot of weight here,” he said.

Now these coal miners feel Trump is listening. At the Trump rally in Charleston, Kevin Abbot from Gilbert, West Virginia, said he lost his job under Obama, but now he’s back to work.

“I’m tickled to death,” he said. “The pay went up. The mining industry went up. So, everything’s looking real good as far as mining goes.”

Abbott, who has been mining for 32 years, said he likes everything Trump has done. “He’s sticking with his campaign promises.”

 

The administration’s proposals to roll back antipollution standards are in line with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Every country in the world except the U.S. and Syria, are now signatories of the agreement, which aims to mitigate the effects of global warming.


Trump’s Environmental Regulation Roll-backs Alarm Activists

President Donald Trump has followed through on pledges to roll-back Obama-era rules that tightened restrictions on greenhouse gases, promising the moves would lead to more American jobs and economic growth. Trump’s proposal includes loosening restrictions to the American Clean Cars Standards and the Clean Power Plan. White House Correspondent Patsy Widakuswara has more.


Trump Presses Supreme Court Chief Justice on Russia Dossier

President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S. Supreme Court chief justice should tell the head of a national security court to question FBI and Justice Department officials about their use of a so-called Russia dossier as part of a collusion probe.

Trump singled out Justice Department official Bruce Ohr in a message on Twitter, apparently quoting a Fox News analyst. Ohr is linked to the dossier of allegations of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

The dossier was compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele in work partly financed by the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Republican critics of the dossier have focused heavily on its DNC ties and U.S. surveillance of Trump associates.

Trump’s Twitter post misspelled the judge’s name.

Rosemary Collyer is the presiding judge for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees electronic surveillance requests and search warrants sought by federal authorities.

Some Republicans charge that Steele’s Russia dossier, which contains a number of inflammatory and salacious allegations about Trump, was used improperly by Justice and FBI officials to persuade the FISA court to extend an eavesdropping warrant against a Trump campaign adviser.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and whether there was collusion with the Trump campaign.

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia tried to help Trump win the 2016 election, but the Kremlin denies meddling. Trump denies any collusion and has said Steele’s Russia dossier is “bogus.”


Lawyer: Alleged Russian Agent Knows Little of South Dakota Case

An attorney for a woman suspected of being a covert Russian agent said he’s confident she’s not “aware of or guilty of any crimes” in South Dakota as authorities have pursued an unrelated fraud investigation into her boyfriend.

Defense lawyer Robert Driscoll told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Maria Butina, 29, knew “very little” about the fraud case led by the U.S. Attorney’s office in South Dakota. Butina was arrested in July and has pleaded not guilty in Washington to charges of conspiracy and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for Russia.

In court papers filed shortly after Butina’s arrest, prosecutors accused her of using a personal relationship with an unnamed American political operative — identified only as 56-year-old “U.S. Person 1” — as part of her covert activities for Russia. She’s accused of gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin.

Offer to cooperate

During a July court hearing, Driscoll disclosed that Butina had offered to assist the government in the South Dakota fraud investigation into her boyfriend, U.S. Person 1. Prosecutors confirmed the investigation in court, but provided no further details other than to say it was unrelated to Butina’s charges in Washington.

“When the government incarcerated her, I stopped negotiating with them over her testimony,” Driscoll said Wednesday of the fraud investigation.

Driscoll said he’s operating under the idea that U.S. Person 1 is 56-year-old conservative operative and South Dakota businessman Paul Erickson. Butina’s defense said in a recent court filing that they’ve had a five-year relationship.

A South Dakota U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman declined to comment, and Erickson hasn’t returned telephone messages from the AP.

South Dakota events

The new court documents were filed in a legal push to allow Butina to be released from jail and put on house arrest with electronic monitoring as she awaits trial. Butina’s defense said in a memorandum that the government has falsely smeared her reputation and painted her as a “Kremlin-trained seductress,” arguing she has genuine ties to the U.S. including her relationship with Erickson — she had planned to move in with him in South Dakota — and her wish to have a career in America.

The memorandum states Butina came to the U.S. to attend graduate school and that her activities weren’t “covert or clandestine.” A status conference in the case is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Erickson in 2015 helped arrange speeches in South Dakota for Butina to talk about freedom and entrepreneurship at a Sioux Falls school, at the University of South Dakota and at a teenage Republican camp held in the Black Hills.

Arranging the events followed an unusual career for Erickson that has included working on Pat Buchanan’s 1992 presidential campaign and making an action movie with Jack Abramoff.


Trump-Backed Candidate’s ‘Monkey’ Comment Draws Fire in Florida Race

Republican U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis came under fire on Wednesday when the President Trump-backed Florida gubernatorial candidate said his state should not “monkey this up” by electing Democratic Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is African-American.

Gillum scored a surprise victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary for one the United States’ most competitive races for governor. If the 39-year-old Tallahassee mayor wins the November 6 election, he would become the most populous U.S. swing state’s first black governor.

Critics on Wednesday blasted DeSantis, a staunch Donald Trump supporter who won his party’s nomination the previous day, for comments they said had racist undertones.

Interviewed on Fox News, DeSantis said, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases,” after calling Gillum “an articulate” spokesman for far-left views.

Words like “monkey” or “ape” have been used to demean African-Americans and calling a black man “articulate” can be seen as racist.

However, in American colloquial speech, “monkey with” or “monkey around with” can mean handling something carelessly or incorrectly.

Gillum, however, told Fox News his opponent’s “monkey” remark “wasn’t lost on me. It’s very clear that Mr. DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump,” who has been repeatedly criticized for remarks seen by some as racist or racially inflammatory.

In an interview with Politico, Gillum said Florida would be “looking for a governor that was going to bring us together, not divide us. Not misogynists. Not racists. Not bigots.”

DeSantis spokesman Stephen Lawson said the 39-year-old candidate was referring to Gillum’s political positions, not his race.

“Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace” Gillum’s policies, Lawson said in a statement. “To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”

At the White House, Trump told reporters he had not heard about DeSantis’ comments, and praised the Republican candidate as “extraordinary.” On Twitter earlier on Wednesday, the president slammed Gillum as a “failed” mayor, without citing examples.

The DeSantis-Gillum matchup will be closely watched for clues about the mood of voters and messaging ahead of 2020, when Trump could be seeking re-election against a liberal Democrat.

Florida’s two major parties are now looking to their most fervent supporters – progressive Democrats and Republican conservatives – for victory in November.

On Tuesday, more than 3.5 million people voted out of 13 million registered Florida voters for a turnout rate of 27 percent, the highest for a non-presidential primary in the state since 2002.

DeSantis won his primary by touting his closeness to Trump. Gillum won as an unabashed progressive who backed “Medicare for all,” impeaching Trump and standing up to the National Rifle Association. He said he hoped to motivate younger progressives and minority voters who often sit out non-presidential elections.

A victory would mark a change in fortunes for Florida Democrats, who have not held the governor’s office for 20 years, and have lost close races after nominating moderates who failed to generate enough enthusiasm, particularly among key minority voters.

Just 48 percent of the state’s registered Democrats are white, according to state data. Florida’s registered Republicans are 83 percent white.


Програму Венеційського кінофестивалю відкрила «Людина на Місяці»

75-й Венеційський кінофестиваль відкрився 29 серпня світовою прем’єрою фільму Дем’єна Шазелла «Людина на Місяці». Фільм розповідає про астронавта НАСА Ніла Армстронґа, який 20 липня 1969 року став першою людиною на Місяці.

Крім «Людини на Місяці» журі під головуванням Ґільермо дель Торо подивиться ще 20 конкурсних картин. Підсумки конкурсу будуть підбиті 8 вересня.

Також у Венеції в позаконкурсній програмі покажуть новий фільм українського режисера Сергія Лозниці «Процес». Лозниця звернувся до подій радянської історії, його фільм зібраний із хронік перших публічних судових процесів, ініційованих Йосипом Сталіним в 1930-х роках. Автор досліджує механізм державного терору, заснований на конвеєрному виробництві абсурдних звинувачень.

Також читайте: На «Оскар» від України претендуватиме фільм «Донбас» Сергія Лозниці – комітет


Українка Калініна гідно програла чинній переможниці US Open

21-річна українська тенісистка Ангеліна Калініна, яка є 134-ю ракеткою світу, в другому колі відкритого чемпіонату США поступилася чинній переможниці турніру, третій сіяній американці Слоун Стівенс.

Поєдинок виявився нелегким для фаворитки – Калініна виграла перший сет (6:4) і чинила гідний опір у двох наступних партіях (5:7, 2:6). Поєдинок, у якому фахівці чекали на легку перемогу Стівенс тривав 2 години 45 хвилин.

Раніше 29 серпня вихід до третього раунду оформила перша ракетка України Еліна Світоліна, яка трохи більш ніж за годину взяла реванш за поразку на Вімблдоні у німкені Татьяни Марії.


У Запоріжжі ветерани війни на Донбасі та волонтери вшанували пам’ять загиблих під Іловайськом

У запорізькому Парку металургів 29 серпня зібралися волонтери, ветерани війни на Донбасі та члени родин загиблих бійців, щоб вшанувати пам’ять військових, які загинули в серпні 2014 року під Іловайськом. Учасники акції принесли з собою квіти, які поклали до пам’ятних знаків із портретамизапорізьких бійців, які загинули за час збройного конфлікту на Донбасі.

«На таких датах Україна має вчитися. Ми набуваємо досвід. У цей день війна отримала зовсім інший ракурс, новий етап, з прихованої перейшла в активну фазу. Ми повинні навчатися на цьому, вистоювати, робити висновки як військові. Наш підрозділ один із перших туди заходив, першим штурмував 10-го числа. Весь шлях повністю наш підрозділ пройшов. Запам’яталося тим, що саме тоді ми побачили справжню війну, таку, яка вона є – коли є артилерія, коли є авіація, коли танки йдуть, міській бій справжній. Запам’яталося тим, чим вона нам загрожує. Ми побачили, які наслідки для України можуть бути: як горить земля, як горять наші українські хати від гармат російських, як убивають, ранять-калічать наше мирне населення. Цим це запам’яталося, а ще стійкістю людей, що не були готові до такого, які з автоматами, зі звичайною стрілецькою зброєю трималися два тижні проти такої навали», – розповів ветеран батальйону «Донбас», співорганізатор акції вшанування загиблих під Іловайськом Тимур Книш.

Наприкінці серпня 2014 року бійці сил АТО потрапили в оточення під Іловайськом на Донеччині. За даними української влади, військові регулярних частин Збройних сил Росії, що вторглися до України для підтримки проросійських бойовиків, обстріляли коридор, яким, за домовленістю, мали виходити українські силовики. Росія заперечує заяви про свою участь у збройному конфлікті на Донбасі.

За даними Генеральної прокуратури України, під час бойових дій під Іловайськом загинуло 366 військовослужбовців та добровольців, 429 були поранені.

У Генеральному штабі Збройних сил заявили, що станом на кінець серпня 2018 року зниклими безвісти внаслідок боїв залишаються 84 військовослужбовці, 11 перебувають у заручниках у підтримуваних Росією бойовиків.

28 серпня 2018 року керівник Управління цивільно-військового співробітництва Збройних сил України Олексій Ноздрачов повідомив, що під час бойових дій біля Іловайська в період із 24 до 29 серпня загинули понад 200 російських військових, ще близько 300 були поранені. Росія не коментувала ці дані.



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