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As Modi prepares for Trump meeting, U.S. expected to OK India drone purchase

As Modi prepares for Trump meeting, U.S. expected to OK India drone purchase NEW DELHI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is expected to authorize India's purchase of a naval variant of the Predator drone, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday, ahead of a visit next week by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to try to revitalize ties in his first meeting with President Donald Trump. Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones, worth more than $2 billion, is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing's help to contain North Korea's nuclear program. California-based General Atomics, the maker of the Guardian drone sought by India, declined to comment.


Senate Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement bill, but fate uncertain

Senate Republicans unveil Obamacare replacement bill, but fate uncertain U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday unveiled legislation that would replace Obamacare with a plan that scales back aid to the poor and kills a tax on the wealthy, but the bill's fate was quickly thrown into question as several senators voiced skepticism. Four conservative lawmakers said they could not support it in its current form, leaving Republicans short of the votes they need for passage. The 142-page proposal, worked out in secret by a group led Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, aims to deliver on a central campaign promise of President Donald Trump by rolling back former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, which has provided coverage to millions of Americans since it was passed in 2010.


Factbox: Where key U.S. Republican senators stand on healthcare bill

Factbox: Where key U.S. Republican senators stand on healthcare bill U.S. Senate Republicans offered a bill on Thursday to overhaul Obamacare, the next phase in the party's long war against the 2010 law enacted by then-Democratic President Barack Obama. The legislation met a wall of opposition from Democrats and initial skepticism among some Republicans, leaving Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell a narrow path to passage. The bill would roll back an expansion of the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled over three years, cut its federal funding beginning in 2025, restructure Obamacare's tax credits for low-income Americans, and repeal several taxes.


Remnants of tropical storm drench U.S. Gulf Coast, spawn twisters, flooding

Remnants of tropical storm drench U.S. Gulf Coast, spawn twisters, flooding The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy brought tornadoes and flooding to the U.S. Gulf Coast on Thursday and its heavy rains will drench much of the eastern United States in coming days, forecasters said. Flooding and road closures stretched from east Texas into northwestern Florida after Cindy made landfall early on Thursday near the Louisiana-Texas border and weakened to a tropical depression, the National Weather Service said. Cindy is expected to dump 3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm) of rain as it heads north and east into the Ohio Valley and the Appalachian Mountains through Saturday, said Brian Hurley, a weather service meteorologist.


Judge accepts sweeping reforms of Arizona death penalty protocols

Judge accepts sweeping reforms of Arizona death penalty protocols The changes were part of a settlement reached in a 2014 lawsuit brought by seven death row inmates who argued Arizona's lethal injection practices were experimental, secretive and caused inmates prolonged suffering. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Neil Wake in Phoenix signed an order that in effect authorized a deal reached between the state and the lawyers for death row inmates, according to Dale Baich, a lawyer for the death row litigants.


Judge says San Francisco can subpoena Uber for driver information

Judge says San Francisco can subpoena Uber for driver information By Heather Somerville SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A California state judge said on Thursday that San Francisco can demand from Uber records containing the ride-hailing company's driver contact information, the city attorney said. San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera last month sought a court order compelling Uber Technologies Inc to comply with the city's demands for information about the company's drivers. The city Treasurer and Tax Collector's Office wants the names, addresses and driver's license numbers of Uber's drivers.


Factbox: How Senate, House Obamacare overhaul bills compare

Factbox: How Senate, House Obamacare overhaul bills compare (Reuters) - After weeks of discussions behind closed doors, the U.S. Senate unveiled a draft of its healthcare bill on Thursday that would overhaul the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The House of Representatives narrowly passed its healthcare bill last month. If the Senate passes its bill, the House will either have to vote on the Senate version of the legislation or the two chambers will have to reconcile their differences in a conference committee.


Appeals court overturns conviction of 'Making a Murderer' inmate

Appeals court overturns conviction of 'Making a Murderer' inmate A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 2-1 to uphold a federal judge's ruling last year that overturned Dassey's conviction for a 2005 murder. Magistrate Judge William Duffin had ruled in August that the conviction was based on a coerced confession that Dassey, now 27, gave as a 16-year-old with a learning disability. Duffin ordered Dassey freed in November, but his release was halted while Wisconsin authorities appealed the decision.


In just a year, Republicans became far more skeptical of claims of racism

In just a year, Republicans became far more skeptical of claims of racism Republican attitudes toward African-Americans hardened significantly in 2016, according to an authoritative new study. Only 32 percent of Republican voters in 2016 said they believe that African-Americans face “a lot of discrimination.” That was a significant drop from just a year earlier, when the Public Religion Research Institute asked the same question. In that survey, 46 percent of Republicans responded that blacks experience significant discrimination.


Son of New York pizzeria owner gets 20 years in drug case

Son of New York pizzeria owner gets 20 years in drug case The son of a New York pizzeria owner was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for his role in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy linked to organized crime. Angelo Gigliotti, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie in Brooklyn federal court, U.S. prosecutors said. Federal prosecutors accused the Gigliottis of using their family-run restaurant, Cucino Amodo Mio in the New York City borough of Queens and a produce importation company to provide cover for drug trafficking for 'Ndrangheta, a powerful criminal organization in Italy.


U.S. on track to supply India with 22 Guardian drones: source

U.S. on track to supply India with 22 Guardian drones: source The United States is on track to announce plans to supply India with 22 Guardian drones in a deal worth more than $2 billion, a source familiar with the deal said on Thursday. The approval of the sale of the naval variant of the Predator drone comes ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United States as he tries to revitalize relations with Washington. Securing agreement on the purchase of 22 unarmed drones is seen in New Delhi as a key test of defense ties that flourished under former President Barack Obama but have drifted under President Donald Trump, who has courted Asian rival China as he seeks Beijing's help to contain North Korea's nuclear program.


Suspect in Michigan airport stabbing attempted to buy gun before attack

Suspect in Michigan airport stabbing attempted to buy gun before attack The man charged with stabbing an airport police officer in Michigan unsuccessfully attempted to purchase a gun before the attack, which is being investigated as an act of terrorism, federal officials said on Thursday. The suspect, Amor Ftouhi, 49, of Quebec, Canada, has been charged in federal court with violence at an international airport for stabbing Jeff Neville, an officer at the Bishop International Airport in Flint, in the neck on Wednesday.


Texas man charged with hate crime for January mosque fire

Texas man charged with hate crime for January mosque fire A federal grand jury in Victoria, Texas, has charged Marq Perez, 25, with a hate crime on suspicion of setting fire to a mosque there on Jan. 28, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday. If convicted, Perez faces up to 20 years in federal prison, 10 years for possessing an unregistered destructive device and another 10 years for use of fire to commit a felony, along with a maximum fine of $250,000, the department said in a statement. A lawyer for Perez, who is in custody, was not immediately available for comment.


U.S. sues to stop western hospital system from buying clinics

U.S. sues to stop western hospital system from buying clinics By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust enforcers have filed a complaint aimed at stopping a big hospital system in the western United States from buying a series of clinics. The lawsuit is aimed at stopping Sanford Health, which has more than 40 hospitals and 250 clinics, from buying Mid Dakota Clinic, which has eight facilities primarily in Bismarck, North Dakota, the Federal Trade Commission said.


Factbox: Where key U.S. Republican senators stand on healthcare bill

Factbox: Where key U.S. Republican senators stand on healthcare bill U.S. Senate Republicans offered a bill on Thursday to overhaul Obamacare, the next phase in the party's long war against the 2010 law enacted by then-Democratic President Barack Obama. The legislation met a wall of opposition from Democrats and initial skepticism among some Republicans, leaving Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell a narrow path to passage. The bill would roll back an expansion of the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled over three years, cut its federal funding beginning in 2025, restructure Obamacare's tax credits for low-income Americans, and repeal several taxes.


Servicing issues may hamper U.S. student-loan forgiveness for thousands

Servicing issues may hamper U.S. student-loan forgiveness for thousands Nurses, teachers and other public-sector workers expecting their outstanding student loans to soon disappear under a U.S. debt-forgiveness program could be in for a surprise, with a government report on Thursday showing loan servicers may have mishandled the process for many borrowers. President Donald Trump has called for eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, where the loans of borrowers working for government, non-profits or the military are wiped out after 10 years of consistent payments.


Venezuela's Maduro confronts perils of his reliance on the military

Venezuela's Maduro confronts perils of his reliance on the military When Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro reshuffled duties in his deeply embattled government earlier this week, it wasn’t the changes at the top of the transport and fishing ministries that caused a buzz. Instead, it was the sacking of the heads of several branches of the military, in particular the general overseeing the National Guard, that drew widespread attention. Recommended: Think you know Latin America?


Why Medicaid is central to health-care debate

Why Medicaid is central to health-care debate Republican senators unveiled their long-anticipated healthcare plan to replace Obamacare on Thursday, and it includes significant changes to Medicaid, the joint federal-state program for the poor, elderly, and disabled. The bill, which does not yet have the support of enough senators to pass, reflects the ongoing tussle of costs vs. social benefits that sharply divides the two parties as well as Republicans themselves. Like the Republican legislation that passed the House in May, the draft bill put forward by Senate Republican leaders aims to rein in federal spending on the burgeoning program – a move they say will strengthen it in the long term.


Tropical depression brings flooding to U.S. Gulf Coast states

Tropical depression brings flooding to U.S. Gulf Coast states A tropical depression formerly known as Tropical Storm Cindy caused flooding on Thursday in several U.S. southeastern states, spawned a tornado that injured four people in Alabama, and cut 16 percent of Gulf of Mexico oil production. Cindy was a tropical storm when it made landfall near the Louisiana-Texas border about 3 a.m. CT (0800 GMT) Thursday, then weakened as it traveled north. By afternoon, it was over northern Louisiana, and its heavy rains had resulted in flooding and road closures in each state bordering the Gulf, from eastern Texas to northwestern Florida.


U.S. charges New York man with trying to join Islamic State

U.S. charges New York man with trying to join Islamic State U.S. prosecutors on Thursday charged a Bronx, New York, man with attempting to travel to Syria in order to fight for Islamic State. Saddam Mohamed Raishani, 30, was arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport after trying to board a flight to Istanbul via Lisbon, federal prosecutors in Manhattan said. One of his attorneys, Sabrina Shroff, declined to comment on the charges.


Obama: ‘The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill’

Obama: ‘The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill’ Former President Barack Obama decried the Senate Republicans’ health care bill on Thursday in a lengthy Facebook post.


Mafia soldier's prison term restored despite Oklahoma City bombing tip

Mafia soldier's prison term restored despite Oklahoma City bombing tip A federal appeals court restored the 40-year prison sentence of a former Mafia soldier whose term had been cut by 10 years after he revealed a cache of explosives hidden in the former home of a 1995 Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said Gregory Scarpa Jr, 65, did not deserve to be rewarded for leading investigators to Terry Nichols' home, reflecting his prior track record as an informant and what prosecutors called his "history" of obstructing justice. Thursday's 3-0 decision against Scarpa, a self-professed member of the Colombo crime family serving time in a racketeering case, reversed a January 2016 ruling by U.S. District Judge Edward Korman in Brooklyn, New York.


Tough-talking Trump defense lawyer says he's no 'snowflake'

Tough-talking Trump defense lawyer says he's no 'snowflake' The latest lawyer hired to represent U.S. President Donald Trump in the federal investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election is an ex-Marine who likens some cases to war. "I fight hard," John Dowd said in an interview. "Snowflake" is a disparaging term for people considered overly sensitive and fragile that has been adopted by some Trump supporters to mock liberals.


Virginia man charged with spying for China: Justice Dept

Virginia man charged with spying for China: Justice Dept WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Virginia man has been charged with giving top secret defense documents to an agent for the Chinese government, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.


White House concedes Russia meddled in campaign, but denies it changed the result

White House concedes Russia meddled in campaign, but denies it changed the result The White House Thursday addressed the joint intelligence report that found Russia had attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, more than five months after the report’s conclusions were made public. First, on Twitter, President Trump dismissed the concerns about Russia as a “big Dem HOAX” and suggested that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, did little to confront the problem. White House aides then clarified Trump’s remarks and said he believes there was Russian meddling but is certain it did not affect the outcome of the race.


Court lifts injunction on Mississippi law seen as anti-LGBT

Court lifts injunction on Mississippi law seen as anti-LGBT Opponents said they would likely seek to overturn the decision, arguing that the measure allowed for sweeping discrimination against the LGBT community. A three-judge panel at the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed a lower court ruling that blocked the 2016 law, known as House Bill 1523 and backed by Christian groups, from taking effect. The panel said the plaintiffs, who included ordained ministers who have married same-sex couples and same-sex couples seeking to marry, did not have standing to bring the lawsuit.


Supreme Court sets higher bar for stripping citizenship

Supreme Court sets higher bar for stripping citizenship The Supreme Court handed a setback to the Trump administration on Thursday by making it harder for the government to strip immigrants of U.S. citizenship in a case involving an ethnic Serb woman who lied about her husband's military service after Yugoslavia's collapse. The justices ruled 9-0 that a naturalized American citizen cannot be stripped of citizenship if a lie or omission on immigration forms was irrelevant to the government's original decision to grant entry into the United States.


Gunman gets four years in prison for storming D.C. pizzeria

Gunman gets four years in prison for storming D.C. pizzeria Edgar Welch, 29, pleaded guilty in March to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition in relation to the Dec. 4 incident at the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in northwest Washington. Welch, of Salisbury, North Carolina, told authorities he had been trying to investigate an online conspiracy theory, known as "Pizzagate," that claimed the eatery was a front for a pedophile ring led by then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.


Four GOP senators: We won’t vote for new health care bill

Four GOP senators: We won’t vote for new health care bill In a potentially game-changing move, four conservative senators quickly announced Thursday afternoon that they oppose the health care bill rolled out by Republican Senate leadership earlier in the day. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and Ron Johnson, R-Wis. said in a statement that the proposal did not go far enough to overhaul the current system. “There are provisions in this draft that represent an improvement to our current health care system, but it does not appear that this draft as written will accomplish the most important promise that we made to the Americans: to repeal Obamacare and lower their health care costs,” the group said in the release.


FCC proposes $120 million fine on Florida robocall scammer

FCC proposes $120 million fine on Florida robocall scammer The man, identified as Adrian Abramovich, allegedly made 96 million robocalls during a three-month period by falsifying caller identification information that matched the local area code and the first three digits of recipient's phone number, the FCC said. The calls, which were in violation of the U.S. telecommunications laws, offered vacation deals from companies such as Marriott International Inc, Expedia Inc, Hilton Inc and TripAdvisor Inc. In a statement, TripAdvisor said FCC's action would help better protect consumers from others attempting similar tactics in the future.


‘Die-in’ protesters dragged away from McConnell’s office

‘Die-in’ protesters dragged away from McConnell’s office Dramatizing fears that Senate Republican’s Better Care Reconciliation Act’s cuts to Medicaid would prevent millions of low income Americans from accessing life-saving care, activism group ADAPT dramatized what those deaths could look like — in front of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office doors.


Four Republican senators say they cannot support healthcare bill

Four Republican senators say they cannot support healthcare bill Four conservative U.S. Republican senators said on Thursday they are not prepared to vote for the Senate Republican healthcare proposal unveiled on Thursday when it comes to the floor, probably next week. "Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor," the senators -- Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, and Ted Cruz -- said in a joint statement. If legislation is to prevail, Republicans can only lose the support of two of the Senate's 52 Republicans, assuming all 48 Democrats and independents oppose the bill as expected.


‘American democracy is under attack’: Sanders urges vigilance against Trump’s ‘authoritarianism’

‘American democracy is under attack’: Sanders urges vigilance against Trump’s ‘authoritarianism’ Bernie Sanders delivered his scathing critique of the Trump administration in a speech discussing the threat of authoritarianism in the U.S. and elsewhere.


Senator Paul says he, three other Republicans oppose new healthcare draft: AP

Senator Paul says he, three other Republicans oppose new healthcare draft: AP WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Rand Paul said on Thursday that he and three of his fellow Republicans in the Senate oppose the draft healthcare bill put forward by party leaders as it is currently written, potentially imperiling the legislation's passage, the Associated Press reported.


Police drag protesters away from McConnell’s office in ‘die-in’ against Medicaid cuts

Police drag protesters away from McConnell’s office in ‘die-in’ against Medicaid cuts Police forcibly removed protesters who had pretended to die in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office after he unveiled the Better Care Reconciliation Act on Thursday morning.


Humana out of individual market, with or without Obamacare repeal

Humana out of individual market, with or without Obamacare repeal Humana Inc will not return to the individual insurance market after it exits the Obamacare exchanges this year, a market that Republicans are trying to repeal and replace through new legislation, Humana's top executive said on Thursday. Republicans in the U.S. Senate released a draft of their bill to undo Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act, which reshapes the individual insurance market and the Medicaid program for the poor and reduces taxes. "This is just not a business that we will be good at," Humana CEO Bruce Broussard said in an interview, emphasizing that the company, the No. 4 U.S. health insurer, does best managing Medicare Advantage healthcare for older people and the disabled, its specialty.


Paul Ryan: It’s ‘premature’ to say whether House would pass Senate health care bill

Paul Ryan: It’s ‘premature’ to say whether House would pass Senate health care bill House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., declined to say Thursday whether the House would take up Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health care bill if the Republican leader manages to push it through the Senate. “They’re just beginning their process,” Ryan said, adding he believes it will be a “lengthy” one. McConnell declared on the Senate floor Thursday that he believes the Senate could pass the sweeping legislation as soon as next week.


Trump admits he has no tapes of Comey meetings

Trump admits he has no tapes of Comey meetings After threatening to release tapes of conversations with former FBI Director James Comey, President Trump said Thursday he does not have such recordings.


Poverty-free China by 2020? Beijing says it's possible – but steepest climb ahead

Poverty-free China by 2020? Beijing says it's possible – but steepest climb ahead Before the pigs arrived, Yu Anhen and her husband eked out a living as subsistence farmers in the remote mountains of Guizhou, one of China’s poorest provinces. “My husband and I are getting old and it’s getting harder for us to work outside,” Yu says. The largest pig should be ready for market in four to five months, where Yu hopes it will sell for about 3,000 yuan ($440).


Mourners remember U.S. student held prisoner by North Korea

Mourners remember U.S. student held prisoner by North Korea Thousands of friends and family members gathered in suburban Cincinnati on Thursday to say goodbye to an American student who died days after returning to the United States in a coma following 17 months in captivity in North Korea. Otto Warmbier, 22, was arrested in the reclusive communist country while visiting as a tourist. Some 2,500 mourners attended a Thursday morning memorial at Wyoming High School.