Author: foxnewsonline@foxnews.com Fox News Online

Cruz meets with Taiwan’s president, blasts China

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz scolded China for trying to quash his meeting with the Taiwanese president on Sunday, the second time in just over a month a prominent Republican has publicly poked the People’s Republic over a communication with the contested island nation. Cruz and Texas’ Republican Gov. Greg Abbott were among the officials who met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen as she stopped in Houston during a trip to the Americas. “The People’s Republic of China needs to understand that in America we make decisions about meeting with visitors for ourselves,” Cruz said in a statement obtained by the Texas Tribune. “This is not about the PRC. This is about the U.S. relationship with Taiwan, an ally we are legally bound to defend. The Chinese do not give us veto power over those with whom they meet. We will continue to meet with anyone, including the Taiwanese, as we see fit.” Cruz said in the statement that “shortly before our meeting,” the Houston congressional delegation received a “curious” message from the Chinese Consulate, which asked Congress members not to meet with Tsai, “and to uphold the ‘One-China policy’.” China claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which asserts its independence. The U.S. maintains unofficial ties with Taiwan, but does not officially recognize its government. Abbott on Sunday tweeted a photo of his meeting, and said he and Tsai discussed...

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Netanyahu negotiated for favorable coverage, Israeli media report

Jan. 8, 2017: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem  (Abir Sultan, Pool via AP) JERUSALEM –  Israeli media on Sunday reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to negotiate a deal for more positive coverage by a major Israeli newspaper two years ago. Netanyahu has been questioned by police twice about allegations that he improperly accepted lavish gifts from high-profile figures in international business and Hollywood. Local media have reported that a second affair involves Netanyahu being taped negotiating mutual benefits with a high-powered media mogul. Channel 2 TV reported that police have a copy of a recording made by Ari Harrow, Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, of a 2014 conversation the prime minister held with Arnon Mozes, publisher of the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. It said they discussed trading positive coverage of Netanyahu in exchange for diminishing the impact of a free competing paper, the pro-Netanyahu daily Israel Hayom. The proposal never materialized, media reported. Additionally, Channel 10 TV reported that Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan supplied the prime minister with a steady flow of expensive cigars, champagne and gourmet meals. Netanyahu has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, portraying the accusations as a witch hunt against him and his family by a hostile media. Netanyahu reiterated his position to ministers from his Likud Party on Sunday, “there will be nothing, because there is...

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BREAKING NEWS: Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani dead

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday at the age of 82.  (AP) Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an influential power broker in the Islamic Republic who advised the country’s supreme leader, died Sunday after he was hospitalized for a heart condition, according to Iranian state media. He was 82. The official IRNA news agency reported earlier in the day that Rafsanjani had been taken to a public hospital north of the capital, Tehran. The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Mohammad Hashemi, his brother, as saying that Rafsanjani was in good condition. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reportedly visited Rafsanjani in the hospital and a short time later the former president was dead. Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, was a leading politician who has often played kingmaker in the country’s turbulent politics. He supported Rouhani. Rafsanjani was the current head of the Expediency Council, a body that advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and in March he won a seat on a clerical body that will one day decide Khamenei’s successor. The Associated Press contributed to this...

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New bathroom bill in Texas may spark North Carolina-like outrage

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced Senate Bill 6 known as the Texas Privacy Act, which provides solutions to the federal mandate of transgender bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms in all Texas schools. The two legislators answer questions from a press availability Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, in the Senate Conference room at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. (Ralph Barrera/Austin American-Statesman via AP) A new bill unveiled Thursday in Texas that would ban transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice has top Republicans eager to bring a fight, and businesses preparing for possible boycotts in the nation’s largest conservative state. The “Texas Privacy Act” requires all Texas residents to use the bathroom or locker room according to the gender on their birth certificates and prohibits local governments from passing ordinances designed to protect gay rights in public restrooms and other “intimate settings.” “It’s the right thing to do,” said Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican who oversees the state Senate and quoted Martin Luther King Jr. while promoting the proposal at the Texas Capitol. “The people of Texas elected us to stand up for common sense, common decency and public safety.” Bill sponsor Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from rural Brenham, said her “thoughtful and unique” bill won’t create a “bathroom police” and will allow anyone to lodge complaints upon seeing something...

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House overwhelmingly votes to condemn UN resolution on Israel settlements

    The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted Thursday to rebuke the United Nations for passing a resolution criticizing Israeli settlements. Lawmakers voted 342-80 in favor of the bipartisan non-binding resolution, which declares unwavering support for Israel and insists that the United States reject any future U.N. actions that are similarly “one-sided and anti-Israel.” A visibly angry House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. opened debate on the resolution by saying that the Obama administration “abandoned our ally Israel when she needed us the most.” “Do not be fooled,” Ryan said. “This U.N. Security Council resolution … was about one thing and one thing only. Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish, democratic state. “These types of one-sided efforts are designed to isolate and delegitimize Israel. They do not advance peace, they make it more elusive.” The House measure divided Democrats, 109 of whom joined 233 Republicans in approving the measure. However, nearly 80 more opposed the measure because they said it contained inaccuracies and distorted the complexities of the Middle East peace process. They also accused Republicans of attacking Obama unfairly in the waning days of his presidency. “The point of the measure seems to be to bash Obama on the way out,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., who along with many other Democrats still voiced strong support for Israel. They said Obama deserved credit for engineering last year’s new, long-term...

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Congress set to certify Electoral College victory for Trump

    WASHINGTON –  As Congress prepares to certify Donald Trump’s election as president on Friday, it will follow a system set up by the Founding Fathers. The Founders feared a direct, “popular” election of the president. So while the Founders erected a system for eligible voters to cast ballots for president, they simultaneously constructed a series of circuit-breakers to potentially curb the will of the masses. This diffusion of political power when selecting a chief executive is the quintessence of the Electoral College. The first circuit-breaker is the Electoral College itself. The Founders distributed “electoral votes” based on the population of each state. They granted the smallest states a minimum of three electoral votes – based on the standard distribution of at least two U.S. Senators and one member in the U.S. House of Representatives. But bigger states would command more sway in the Electoral College, because, well, they were bigger. Hence, the reason New York and Virginia were power players in the early years. In essence, voters were choosing “electors” for their state who would cast ballots on behalf of the candidate who emerged victorious. However, electors are free to vote the way they want and not bound to the candidate who prevails in a state. That produces the periodic phenomenon of “faithless” electors casting ballots in the Electoral College. Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have laws...

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Ellen nixes gospel singer

 (Reuters) Ellen Degeneres won’t allow Kim Burrell to appear on her talk show after the gospel singer refused to apologize for a sermon in which she referred to gays and lesbians as perverted. A tape of Burrell preaching at Houston’s Love & Liberty Fellowship Church was circulated online on last week stirring up controversy. In the video, Burrell is heared saying, “That perverted homosexual spirit is a spirit of delusion and confusion and has deceived many men and women, and it has caused a strain on the body of Christ.” Burrell addressed her remarks in a Facebook live video. “We’re not in a war against flesh and blood. I came on because I care about God’s creation and every person from the LGBT and anything else, any other kind of thing that is supporting gay… I never said LGBT last night. I said S-I-N and whatever else falls in the sin was preached.” Burrell and singer Pharrell were to perform a song from the movie “Hidden Figures” Thursday on the show. Pharrell posted on Instagram that “I condemn hate speech of any kind,” making no specific reference to Burrell. The openly-gay talk show host tweeted, “For those asking, Kim Burrell will not be appearing on my show.” The Associated Press contributed to this...

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Swedish 6-hour workday is too expensive to maintain, trial finds

A man stands on a balcony of a hotel, as a pigeon, flies by, in central Gothenburg, Sweden, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias) Swedes hoping to get a six-hour workday should not bank on it actually happening anytime soon. Nurses at a city-run senior home in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, about 292 miles east of Stockholm, have been benefiting from a two-year experiment that cut working hours while maintaining pay levels. While the takeaway has largely been positive for the nurses, who are feeling healthier, and patients, whose care has improved, the city has no plans of making it permanent or expanding it to other facilities once its completed later this year. Why? It’s just too expensive, Bloomberg reported. “It’s associated with higher costs, absolutely,” said Daniel Bernmar, a local left-wing politician in charge of running the municipality’s elderly care. “It’s far too expensive to carry out a general shortening of working hours within in a reasonable time frame.” According to the report, the city had to hire 17 extra staff members to over the reduced hours for the 68 nurses at the home, which cost about 12 million kronor ($1.3 million). Sweden urges UN Security Council to produce results in 2017 Despite the results, Bernmar still believes in shorter hours in the long-term. Sweden has carried out several series of shorter working day trials over the years,...

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