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Stamp collectors split after USPS honors ‘foreign’ Harry Potter

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The loss-making US Postal Service (USPS) introduced Harry Potter stamps Tuesday, delighting fans of the fictional boy wizard but angering some philatelists who complain he’s not American.

The limited edition of 20 stamps feature images of Scottish author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling character “with the friends, heroes, villains and creatures that make up his world,” said USPS in a statement.

Pitched at collectors, the stamps — unveiled at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida — went on sale online and at selected post offices.

“From improbable heroes and magical creatures to schoolroom antics and daring battles, the majestic Harry Potter stamps will inspire fans of all ages,” said USPS chairman Mickey Barnett.

Sales can only help the bottom line at USPS, which last week said it lost $5 billion in the fiscal year ending September 30, the seventh straight year in which it incurred a net loss, despite an upturn in revenue.

“I know what is going on the Xmas cards this year!!” said one fan on the official Harry Potter Facebook page overseen by Warner Brothers, which as owner of the film rights collaborated with USPS on the stamps.

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Some stamp lovers, however, loathed the choice.

“Harry Potter is not American. It’s foreign, and it’s so blatantly commercial it’s off the charts,” said John Hotchner, former president of the American Philatelic Society, quoted Tuesday in the Washington Post.

“The attitude should be that stamps are works of art and little pieces of history,” echoed philatelic blogger Don Schilling, speaking to the Post. “They shouldn?t be reduced to the latest fads, (to) whatever’s going to sell.”

Other US stamps issued this year featured American musical icons Johnny Cash and Ray Charles, and civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, along with a puffin, bobcat, muscle cars, “vintage seed packets” and a Christmas Madonna and Child.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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‘Finally #MuellerTime’: Internet celebrates Mueller’s upcoming public testimony on Russia investigation

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On Tuesday, the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees announced that special counsel Robert Mueller will publicly testify about the Russia investigation's findings before Congress.

Quickly, the internet reacted to the news:

This will really matter, even if Mueller merely repeats what he said in his report. The vast majority of Americans have never read it. https://t.co/ZuRHqbRAEv

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Robert Mueller subpoena isn’t a ‘friendly one’: Intelligence Committee Chair tells Maddow

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Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) joined with Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) in subpoenaing former special counsel Robert Mueller. But according to Schiff, this wasn't exactly an agreement the committees came to with Mueller or the special counsel's investigators.

"We consistently communicated our committees' intentions to issue these subpoenas if necessary and we now understand it is necessary to do so. Should we see this as a friendly subpoena that Robert Mueller believed had to be issued before he could accept an invitation to testify?" asked MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

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Mueller agrees to testify in public about Russia investigation after House Democrats issue subpoena: report

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On Tuesday evening, CNN reported that former special counsel Robert Mueller has agreed to testify in public about the Russia investigation, following subpoenas from House Democrats.

"The House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee announced ... the special counsel has agreed to appear in public on July 17th in an open session to testify about what he found as a part of his two-year investigation into Russian interference, as well as potential obstruction of justice in the White House," said CNN reported Manu Raju. "Now, they say in this letter, both the chairmen of these committees, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff, that they have subpoenaed Bob Mueller and he's agreed to testify under subpoena."

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