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House Committee Files Lawsuit Over Trump Tax Returns

A House committee has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking President Donald Trump’s tax returns.The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the Ways and Means Committee against the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service.
 
The committee says it doesn’t have to explain its reasons for seeking Trump’s tax return information. It says that the administration has defied a subpoena for the documents “in order to shield President Trump’s tax return information from Congressional scrutiny.”
 
The committee says it’s investigating tax law compliance by the president, among other things.

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Big Business to Supreme Court: Defend LGBTQ People from Bias

More than 200 corporations, including many of America’ best-known companies, are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that federal civil rights law bans job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.The corporations outlined their stance in a legal brief released Tuesday by a coalition of five LGBTQ rights groups. The brief is being submitted to the Supreme Court this week ahead of oral arguments before the justices on Oct. 8 on three cases that may determine whether gays, lesbians and transgender people are protected from discrimination by existing federal civil rights laws.Among the 206 corporations endorsing the brief were Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of America, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Starbucks, Viacom, the Walt Disney Co. and Xerox. Two major league baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays, were among the group.In their brief, the companies argued that a uniform federal rule is needed to protect LGBTQ employees equally in all 50 states.“Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law,” the brief argued. “Nor is the patchwork of incomplete state or local laws sufficient protection – for example, they cannot account for the cross-state mobility requirements of the modern workforce.”Such friend-of-the-court briefs are routinely submitted by interested parties ahead of major Supreme Court hearings. The extent to which they might sway justices is difficult to assess, but in this case it’s an effective way for the corporations to affirm support for LGBTQ employees.Federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York have ruled recently that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination; the federal appeals court in Cincinnati has extended similar protections for transgender people.The question now is whether the Supreme Court will follow suit, given its conservative majority strengthened by President Donald Trump’s appointments of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. The three cases are the court’s first on LGBTQ rights since the retirement last year of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who authored landmark gay rights opinions.The Obama administration had supported treating LGBTQ discrimination claims as sex discrimination, but the Trump administration has changed course. The Trump Justice Department has argued that the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 was not intended to provide protections to gay or transgender workers.The companies signing the brief represent more than 7 million employees and $5 trillion in annual revenue, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest of the LGBTQ rights groups organizing the initiative. Other organizers included Lambda Legal, Out Leadership, Out and Equal, and Freedom for All Americans.“At this critical moment in the fight for LGBTQ equality, these leading businesses are sending a clear message to the Supreme Court that LGBTQ people should, like their fellow Americans, continue to be protected from discrimination,” said Jay Brown, a Human Rights Campaign vice president. “These employers know firsthand that protecting the LGBTQ community is both good for business and the right thing to do.”In one of the cases heading to the Supreme Court, the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a gay skydiving instructor who claimed he was fired because of his sexual orientation. The appeals court ruled that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination.”The ruling was a victory for the relatives of Donald Zarda, now deceased, who was fired in 2010 from a skydiving job that required him to strap himself tightly to clients so they could jump in tandem from an airplane. He tried to put a woman with whom he was jumping at ease by explaining that he was gay. The school fired Zarda after the woman’s boyfriend called to complain.A second case comes from Michigan, where a funeral home fired a transgender woman. The appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that the firing constituted sex discrimination under federal law.The funeral home argues that Congress was not considering transgender people when it included sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”The third case is from Georgia, where the federal appeals court ruled against a gay employee of Clayton County, in the Atlanta suburbs. Gerald Bostock claimed he was fired in 2013 because he is gay. The county argues that Bostock was let go because of the results of a financial audit.The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Bostock’s claim in an opinion noting the court was bound by a 1979 decision that held “discharge for homosexuality is not prohibited by Title VII.”
 

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США засуджують напади на медиків з боку підтримуваних Росією сил

Тимчасовий повірений у справах США в Україні Вільям Тейлор засудив напади на медиків на Донбасі з боку підтримуваних Росією сил.

«Напади на медиків, що здійснюються керованими Росією силами, свідчать про повну відсутність поваги до людського життя, міжнародних стандартів і Мінських угод. Ми закликаємо Росію і сили, які вона підтримує, негайно припинити бойові дії, захистити цивільних осіб і персонал гуманітарних організацій, відвести озброєння та збройні сили», – цитує Тейлора посольство США в Україні.

Вранці 2 липня поліція Донецької області повідомила, що на дорозі Мар’їнка-Красногорівка у Донецькій області під обстріл потрапив автомобіль із медиками-волонтерами: медики 32 та 42 років поранені.

1 липня штаб української воєнної Операції об’єднаних сил повідомив про обстріл санітарного автомобіля біля Водяного Донецької області. Один військовий загинув на місці, двоє інших були поранені. Пізніше через поранення померла військовий медик Ірина Шевченко.

Один із ватажків угруповання «ДНР» Едуард Басурін заявив, що його бійці не обстрілювали санітарне авто Збройних сил України.

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До суду надійшов позов від «УПЦ КП» Філарета щодо поновлення статуту

24 червня ПЦУ на Синоді позбавила почесного патріарха Філарета прав єпархіального архієрея

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Кількість жертв повені в Росії зросла до 18

У зоні повені в Іркутській області Росії виявили тіла 18 загиблих, ще 13 людей вважаються зниклими, повідомили 2 липня в прес-службі регіонального уряду.

За даними відомства, спочатку зниклими вважалися 17 людей, але чотирьох із них знайшли живими. В уряді зазначили, що кількість загиблих може ще збільшитися: зараз розбирають зруйновані будинки.

Повінь в Іркутській області Росії почалася минулого тижня через дощі. З берегів вийшли п’ять великих річок – ліві притоки Ангари. Фахівці Іркутського державного університету заявили, зі свого боку, що причиною повені стали атмосферні аномалії і глобальна зміна клімату.

Жителі постраждалих районів стверджують, що загиблих набагато більше, ніж в офіційній статистиці, і обурені тим, що в ЗМІ їхні повідомлення називають фейком.

За даними прес-служби регіонального МНС, в лікарнях перебуває 191 потерпілий. Всього за медичною допомогою звернулися 1 258 жителів регіону. Із зони затоплення евакуйовано більше ніж 2,5 тисячі жителів. У паводку загинули сотні домашніх тварин.

 

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Fire on Russian Submersible Kills 14

Fourteen sailors have died in a fire on a deep-sea submersible, the Russian military says.The fire broke out Monday while the crew was in Russian territorial waters, gathering biometric measurements for a military survey, according to the Defense Ministry.The seamen died of smoke inhalation. The submersible is now at the arctic port of Severomorsk, the Russian northern fleet’s main base in the Barents Sea.An official investigation is underway.The northern fleet faced another loss in August 2000, when a nuclear-powered submarine was damaged by two explosions in its bow and sank. All 118 men aboard died.While submarines are fully autonomous, submersibles usually require support ships on the surface.

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US Threatens $4 Billion in Additional Tariffs on EU Goods

The United States is threatening to impose tariffs on $4 billion in European Union (EU) goods over a lengthy dispute involving subsidies for the world’s two largest plane manufacturers.The U.S. Trade Representative’s Office (USTR) released a list Monday of additional products the U.S. could target in addition to the $21 billion worth of EU goods that were announced in April.Among the list of additional goods are a variety of metals, olives, Italian cheese and Scotch whiskey. The USTR said the supplemental list was compiled in response to public comments, but did not elaborate.The U.S. and the EU have traded threats of retaliatory tariffs on planes, food and other items in a nearly 15-year spat at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over illegal aircraft subsidies given to U.S. plane maker Boeing and European rival Airbus.Senior officials from Boeing and a U.S. aerospace lobbying group urged the U.S. government last month to customize any new EU tariffs to avoid hurting American manufacturers.Boeing sign is seen on the aircraft manufacturer’s Center in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet). The aircraft manufacturers did not immediately comment on the latest threat of U.S. tariffs.The aircraft manufacturers did not immediately comment on the latest threat of U.S. tariffs. But Lisa Hawkins of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States denounced the latest threat by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration.”U.S. companies, from farmers to suppliers to retailers, are already being negatively impacted by the imposition of retaliatory tariffs by key trading partners on certain U.S. distilled spirits …and these additional tariffs will only inflict further harm,” she said.Washington and Brussels have accused each other of unfairly subsidizing their respective domestic airline manufacturers in a trade dispute.The WTO has found that Boeing and Airbus have received billions of dollars in subsidies and is expected to rule on the U.S. sanctions proposal in coming weeks.The USTR said it would hold a hearing on the latest U.S. proposal on August 5.

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Scientists: Cigar-Shaped Object Not an Alien Spaceship

After investigating the nature of a mysterious and apparently cigar-shaped object called ‘Oumuamua spotted in 2017 speeding through our solar system, astronomers remain uncertain over how to classify it, but are confident it is not an alien spaceship.

Its odd shape and motion had prompted some scientists to wonder whether ‘Oumuamua, the first object from another star system found passing through our solar system, was some sort of alien technology perhaps exploring the cosmos. But after poring over the data, an international team of researchers wrote that “we find no compelling evidence to favor an alien explanation.”

Scientists tracked the reddish-colored ‘Oumuamua from Oct. 14, 2017, until Jan. 2, 2018, after which it became too faint to detect even using the most powerful telescopes. It is estimated to be a half-mile (800 meters) long, tumbling through space.

Consistent with natural origin 

“Our key finding is that ‘Oumuamua’s properties are consistent with a natural origin and an alien explanation is unwarranted,” said University of Maryland astronomer Matthew Knight, co-leader of the research published in the Nature Astronomy.

“Yes, if it made a sudden, unexplainable turn that would certainly have warranted further exploration,” Knight added.

‘Oumuamua was first detected by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS1 telescope. Its name in the native Hawaiian language means a messenger arriving from a great distance.

Knight said it is not easy to fit ‘Oumuamua into familiar classifications such as a comet or asteroid.

“We have tried to avoid putting it in one of those boxes and prefer to call it more generically an ‘object,’” Knight said. “In simple terms, asteroids are rocky and devoid of ices, while comets are a mixture of rock and ice, so-called ‘dirty snowballs,’” Knight added.

Planetary building block

‘Oumuamua was somehow ejected from a distant star system, traversing through interstellar space and through our solar system. It deviated slightly from a path that would be explained purely by the Sun’s gravitational pull because of what some researchers said was apparently a very small emission of gas from its surface, indicative of a comet, though any such emission was so slight as to be undetected. It lacked a dust tail or gas jets, characteristic of comets.

The researchers wrote that a “straightforward explanation for ‘Oumuamua is that it is a planetesimal” — a planetary building block, or a fragment of one — formed in faraway star system.

Its composition remains a mystery, including whether it is just rock or includes some metal or other ingredients. It is currently beyond Saturn, dashing out of our solar system.