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U.S. lawmakers meet on border security, scrambling to avert shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top four Democratic and Republican congressional negotiators on border security funding resumed talks on Monday, with the possibility of another partial U.S. government shutdown looming if they fail to reach a deal by a Friday deadline. The talks, which had broken down over the weekend, restarted in the U.S. Capitol just hours before a scheduled rally in the Texas border city of El Paso where President Donald Trump will promote his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a proposal opposed by Democrats. An anti-wall protest will greet the Republican president, led by hometown Democrat Beto O’Rourke, the former congressman who is considering running…

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Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Artificial Intelligence

President Trump signed an executive order Monday meant to spur the development and regulation of artificial intelligence, technology that many experts believe will define the future of everything from consumer products to health care to warfare.A.I. experts across industry, academia and government have long called on the Trump administration to make the development of artificial intelligence a major priority. Last spring, worried that the United States was not keeping pace with China and other countries, Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, sent a memo to the White House imploring the president to create a national strategy on A.I.Now, Mr. Trump has taken that step, though this “American…

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U.S. lawmaker apologizes after House leaders condemn her ‘anti-Semitic tropes’

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) participates in a news conference to call on Congress to cut funding for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/FilesWASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar apologized on Monday after party leaders condemned her use of “anti-Semitic tropes” in suggesting that U.S. congressional support for Israel is a result of campaign donations. “Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar, who was elected for the first time to the U.S. House of Representatives in…

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Grammy TV audience edges up as female-packed show gets warm reviews

61st Grammy Awards - Show - Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 10, 2019 - Ricky Martin and Camila Cabello perform. Picture taken February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Mike BlakeLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. television audience for Sunday’s Grammy Awards show on CBS rose slightly, to 19.9 million viewers, Nielsen ratings data showed on Monday. That was just ahead of the 19.8 million television viewers who tuned in last year for the highest honors in the U.S. music industry. Sunday’s 3-1/2-hour show, hosted by R&B singer Alicia Keys, saw country singer Kacey Musgraves take home the album of the year Grammy for “Golden Hour,” as well as a breakthrough…

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Wall Street wavers as investors eye trade talks, growth fears

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street see-sawed on Monday, rarely straying far from opening levels as investors eyed ongoing U.S.-China trade talks, potential congressional gridlock and a diminished 2019 earnings outlook. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidThe S&P 500 and the Nasdaq eked out nominal gains while the blue chip Dow edged lower. Both Beijing and Washington expressed optimism about trade negotiations between the world’s two largest economies, even as a U.S. Navy mission in the disputed South China Sea provoked China’s anger. In Washington, congressional leaders attempted to reach an agreement…

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Pressure mounts on Virginia Democrats over sex assault, racism scandals

RICHMOND, Va. (Reuters) - Virginia Democrats pressured Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax to resign on Monday over accusations of sexual assault which he denies, but held off on pursuing impeachment, with the Republican speaker of the state House urging restraint. Fairfax is one of three top Democrats in the state engulfed by scandal this month. Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring have also faced criticism after admitting to having worn blackface in the 1980s. Patrick Hope, a Democratic member of the state’s House of Delegates, said he believed Fairfax should have resigned already after two women accused him of sexual assault but added he would not…

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U.S., China upbeat on trade talks, but South China Sea tensions weigh

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hopes on Monday that a new round of talks would bring them closer to easing their seven-month trade war, but a U.S. Navy mission through the disputed South China Sea cast a shadow over the negotiations in Beijing. The world’s two largest economies are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline, after which U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent. Washington is expected to keep pressing Beijing on long-standing demands that it make sweeping structural reforms to protect American companies’ intellectual property, or…

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Trump says Democrats to blame if government shuts down again

U.S. President Donald Trump walks on South Lawn of the White House before his departure for an annual physical test at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, in Washington, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File PhotoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said Democrats would be to blame if the government shuts down when a temporary funding bill expires on Friday. “It’s up to the Democrats,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked whether the government was headed toward its second shutdown of the winter. Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim AhmannOur Standards:The Thomson…

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With Iran squeezed out, U.S. oil takes on new rivals in Europe

MOSCOW/NEW YORK (Reuters) - When the global oil trading industry gathered for its biggest annual meeting in Asia in September last year, U.S. oil producing companies came well prepared. FILE PHOTO: A pumpjack is shown outside Midland-Odessa area in the Permian basin in Texas, U.S., July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Liz Hampton/File PhotoU.S. giant Exxon Mobil and European rival Royal Dutch/Shell prepared brochures for oil buyers detailing various U.S. crude grades and why they were suitable to replace part of Asia’s long-standing supplies from the Middle East, Africa and Russia. As the oil industry gathers in London this month for the annual IP Week, U.S. crude producers may have…

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‘He is a free man’: refugee Bahraini footballer heads home to Australia

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A refugee Bahraini footballer with residency status in Australia boarded a flight for Melbourne early on Tuesday after Bahrain dropped its bid to have him extradited from Thailand, bringing to an end a case that had drawn international criticism. Hakeem Al Araibi, 25, who fled Bahrain in 2014 and received refugee status in Australia, was arrested in November last year at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport while on a honeymoon trip, following an Interpol notice issued at the Gulf state’s request. He was seen chatting happily before boarding a Thai Airways flight that was due to leave for Melbourne shortly after midnight. Araibi has lived in…

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