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Chaka Fattah resigns, effective immediately

Washington (CNN)Chaka Fattah, a Pennsylvania Democratic congressman convicted on racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges, resigned Thursday rather than trying to stay in his position until October, as he previously sought.

Fattah this week was convicted on 23 federal corruption charges, and he told House leadership on Wednesday that he would only resign on October 3, the day before his sentencing. But leadership said Thursday that he will no longer try to remain.
    “Serving in the Congress is a sacred public trust, and House Democrats believe we have a responsibility to uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Thursday. “His prompt resignation was the right thing to do for his constituents in light of the verdict against him.”
    Fattah’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the resignation.
    Fattah, 59, was convicted Tuesday on racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges stemming from a scheme to repay an illegal $1 million loan through government contracts and non-profit organizations.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/23/politics/chaka-fattah-resigns-effective-immediately/index.html

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    June 24, 2016
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    The NHL is expanding to Las Vegas. Does it have a shot at success?

    Gary Bettman has finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in hockey: a new franchise in Las Vegas. We run through the pros and cons of Sin City expansion

    The NHL has descended on Las Vegas for its annual awards show. But this year, the winners will be overshadowed by far bigger news, as the league finally confirmed the worst-kept secret in hockey: the NHL is putting an expansion team in Las Vegas. Commissioner Gary Bettman made it official on Wednesday.

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    June 23, 2016
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    Why the Orlando terror transcript walk back?

    (CNN)The decision by the FBI and Department of Justice to censor the release on Monday of Orlando shooter Omar Mateen’s 911 call transcript was nothing short of bizarre. But it also suggests something troubling about the administration’s reluctance to level with the American people about the threat we face.

    Posted by

    June 22, 2016
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    Man tries to pull gun from officer at Trump rally

    (CNN)Police arrested a 19-year-old man Saturday inside a Las Vegas theater where presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was holding a campaign rally after the man attempted to pull a police officer’s gun from its holster during the event.

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    June 20, 2016
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    Why LGBT community should back Trump

    (CNN)On Sunday, everything changed for LGBT people in America. The terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 dead, was not simply a hate crime. This was not two gay guys getting roughed up by young hooligans incensed at seeing two men holding hands. This was an act of war.

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    June 18, 2016
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    Don’t ignore threat of extremist nationalism

    (CNN)On Thursday afternoon, Jo Cox, a British Labour MP, died after being attacked that day in her constituency. She is the first British lawmaker to be killed in office since the IRA assassinated Conservative MP Ian Gow in 1990. Back then, we were all clear what the threat was — a violent and extremist form of nationalism. In 2016, we need to be clear again — the future of our society depends on it.

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    June 17, 2016
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    Gunshot wounds deadlier than ever as guns get increasingly powerful

    (CNN)The loss of so much life in the Orlando shootings is exceptional, but the kind of bullet wounds and the extreme nature of the physical trauma that people suffered in this incident is not as uncommon as it was even a decade ago, according to new study. And it is time for this “hidden public health issue” to come out of the shadows, the authors argue.

    Posted by

    June 15, 2016
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    ‘Stairway to Heaven’ suit: What you need to know

    (CNN)The song of the summer might actually be 45 years old.

    A lawsuit centered around the legendary Led Zeppelin tune “Stairway to Heaven” kicks off Tuesday in a Los Angeles court and the case is expected to be closely watched by both fans and music industry insiders.
      Here’s what you should know about the case to bring you up to speed:

      The background

      The suit was originally filed in May 2014 and charges that Led Zeppelin took the opening section of what is now one of rock music’s most famous songs from a song titled “Taurus” by a lesser known band, Spirit, which Led Zeppelin toured with in their early days.
      “Late in 1968, a then new band named Led Zeppelin began touring in the United States, opening for Spirit,” the suit stated. “It was during this time that Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin’s guitarist, grew familiar with ‘Taurus’ and the rest of Spirit’s catalog. Page stated in interviews that he found Spirit to be ‘very good’ and that the band’s performances struck him ‘on an emotional level.’

      Copyright infringement suit filed against Led Zeppelin for ‘Stairway to Heaven’

      The suit was filed on behalf of musician/songwriter Randy Craig Wolfe, a Spirit band member who was known professionally as “Randy California.”
      In an 1997 interview with Listener, California was asked about the similarities between “Taurus,” which was composed in 1968, and “Stairway to Heaven” which was released in 1971.
      “Well, if you listen to the two songs, you can make your own judgment,” California told the publication. “It’s an exact … I’d say it was a rip-off. And the guys made millions of bucks on it and never said, ‘Thank you,’ never said, ‘Can we pay you some money for it?’ It’s kind of a sore point with me.”

      The players

      In April 2016 a U.S. district court judge in Los Angeles ruled that there was enough to proceed with a copyright trial before a jury against Led Zeppelin’s surviving members, lead singer Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page, who are credited with composing “Stairway to Heaven.”

      Jury to decide whether Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ riff was stolen

      The British superstars are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
      Over the years the pair have denied that they lifted anything from the Spirit song or even heard “Taurus” prior to the suit.
      In 2014 Page told French newspaper Liberation “That’s ridiculous. I have no further comment on the subject” when asked about the songs similarities.
      California, who reportedly received his stage name in the 1960s from Jimi Hendrix, died in 1997 after getting caught in a riptide while swimming with his young son. The suit was filed on his behalf by a trustee of California’s estate.
      The two bands’ interactions playing at festivals together is at the heart of the suit as it is claimed that Page drew inspiration for the beginning of the Zeppelin song from those performances.
      “Led Zeppelin and Spirit continued to play shows together, and even when the members of Led Zeppelin were not performing, they came to Spirit shows to watch,” the court documents state. “In interviews at the time, Page expressed his affection for Spirit, their music and their performances.”
      “In homage to Spirit, Led Zeppelin had been performing the Spirit song ‘Fresh Garbage’ at its own shows,” the documents went on to read. “At one point in 1969, Page asked Randy to teach him the introduction to Taurus, which Randy showed him several times.”

      Why it’s a big deal

      The “Stairway to Heaven” case is the latest complaint to befall Led Zeppelin.
      The New York Times reported that in 2012 the band settled a suit brought by Jake Holmes over their song “Dazed and Confused.”
      And copyright cases have resulted in increasing scrutiny – and damages – within the music industry.
      Last year Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were ordered to pay the estate of singer Marvin Gaye $7.4 million after a jury found their song “Blurred Lines” had taken riffs from Gaye’s classic “Got to Give It Up.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/13/entertainment/stairway-to-heaven-lawsuit/index.html

      Posted by

      June 14, 2016
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      Was Orlando shooting terror or homophobia? Yes.

      (CNN)The moment the news about the shooting in Orlando started dribbling through social media — first an ominous, familiar drip, then a hemorrhage of horror — we could see the political alignments beginning to take shape and steadily build in intensity.

      Doctors were pleading for blood donations and desperate families were still trying to locate their loved ones. But already the political potency of the tragedy began to rise up, inescapably, like a harsh light over the horizon.
        In the many ideological battles raging in our turbulent, confused world, the massacre in a gay nightclub in an American city looked like it would hand a victory to one side and a defeat to another; it would provide evidence, empirical evidence, to bolster certain points of view about some of the fiercest social disagreements in our fast-changing world. But which?

        When

        And in Texas, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick tweeted (and then deleted) a bible verse “reap what you sow,” which some took as outrageous affront to the gay victims, although Patrick’s campaign said it had been “previously scheduled.”
        But the FBI and others said the killer, Omar Mateen, had suspected links with Islamic extremists.
        Then his father said his son was angry after seeing two men kissing.
        It turns out that he may have been motivated by both homophobia and Islamic radicalism. That should not come as a surprise. We have seen fundamentalist Islamic governments execute young gay men, and terrorist groups have done it in their own gruesome way.
        Terrorism or homophobia? The answer is yes. Both.
        Perhaps the Orlando massacre can indeed help us accept some common ground.
        Can we agree that killing human beings is morally reprehensible and draw a circle of humanity that leaves out those who reject that basic notion? Vast majorities of people of all religions would accept that.
        Can we agree that there are Islamic extremists killing people, Muslims, Christians, Jews, gays and others, and that letting them have unfettered access to weapons in the United States is a dangerous proposition?
        Maybe it’s too much to expect that the killings in Orlando would help us find this common ground. But in a time when the world feels like it’s becoming unmoored, it’s worth a try.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/opinions/orlando-terror-shooting-ghitis/index.html

        Posted by

        June 13, 2016
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        HIV-positive congressional hopeful wants to help others with illness

        Washington (CNN)A Florida congressional hopeful who disclosed this week that he is HIV-positive hopes he can help others with the illness.

        Bob Poe, a Democrat who is running in Florida’s 10th congressional district, announced in a Facebook post that he has had HIV for the past 18 years. If elected, Poe would likely become the first member of Congress who has publicly disclosed that he has the illness.
          “I’d like to share something deeply personal with you today, something that in the past, I’ve only shared with a few family members,” Poe, the former Florida Democratic Party chairman, wrote Thursday. “And that is 18 years ago, I was diagnosed with HIV.”
          “Now first let me tell you that I’m perfectly healthy. My doctors tell me that in all likelihood, I’m going to die at the ripe, old age of something very normal. But that’s only because I got tested and diagnosed early and then I began a series of treatment,” Poe added.
          Poe said he decided to go public with his status after meeting a recently diagnosed resident who feared that her life was over. He told her that her life was not over and directed her to where she could get treatment.
          He said he had previously declined to go public with his condition because of “fear and stigma.”
          Poe told CNN on Saturday he is holding an event next week in Orlando to raise awareness for those with the illness.
          “We’re going to have a gathering of community health providers and community leaders next Friday in Orlando to really discuss what we can do to eliminate the stigma that keeps people from getting tested and treated,” Poe said.

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/11/politics/bob-poe-hiv/index.html

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          June 12, 2016