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Tehran governor shuts down city over pollution

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Schools, universities and government offices in the Iranian capital will be closed on Saturday for the second time in a month because of high air pollution, Tehran governor Morteza Tamadon said Thursday.

Emergency services also advised residents to avoid unnecessary travel in the city, the ISNA news agency reported.

Tamadon said a pollution committee took the decision after smog failed to dissipate over the past three days, the Mehr news agency reported.

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“Closure is not the solution but it is the best decision, considering the prolonged high level of pollution indicators,” he said, adding that current level of pollution was expected to last another three days.

Only emergency and health services would report for work, he said.

A similar measure was taken on December 3 when air pollution blanketed Tehran, with former health minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi urging residents to leave the city.

On Thursday, vice president for environmental protection Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh told state television that traffic restrictions would also be applied.

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Tamadon said all sports activities would also be suspended until early next week.

Blamed mainly on bumper-to-bumper traffic, the pollution is a constant woe for the eight million residents of a city wedged between two mountains which trap fumes over Tehran.

Western sanctions on fuel imports have also forced Iran to rely on domestic production of petrol of a lower grade, and therefore more polluting, than in many other countries.

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Efforts by officials to boost public transport, including extending the metro and establishing lanes for buses only, have barely dented the problem because of the growing number of cars, many of which are old and inefficient.


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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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Trump campaign has 12-person ‘War Room’ toiling to fight the impeachment inquiry: report

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While the White House has bragged about refusing to start a "war room" to deal with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's administration, his campaign is footing the bill for a 12-person operation, the LA Times reported Friday.

“Some of you have criticized us for not having a war room — OK? — which we don’t by the way,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

“You don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong," he added.

By that logic, Trump's 2020 re-election campaign may fear the president did something wrong.

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‘I don’t think he knows what he’s doing’: Ex-Trump advisor rips the ‘cascading crisis’ of his ‘strategic disaster’

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President Donald Trump received harsh criticism from a former top Middle East advisor for the ethnic cleansing campaign Turkey is waging against the Kurds in Syria.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

"The truth of the matter is when President Trump announced to the world last December that we were leaving Syria and he arbitrarily cut our force reportedly in half, which is already a small force, we lost all of our leverage and influence," McGurk argued. "And he really threw it out the window on this call on October 6th."

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