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Congress extends dozens of tax breaks

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The US Senate approved a sweeping package of tax breaks, sending to President Barack Obama a bill that allows individuals and corporations to save billions of dollars on their 2014 taxes.

On the Senate’s final day of the year, lawmakers passed some 55 so-called tax extenders, deductions that expired at the end of 2013 but will be retroactively restored with the current legislation.

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The Senate easily passed the measure, 76 votes to 16, after the House passed it earlier this month.

“Today’s strong bipartisan vote shows that Democrats and Republicans can come together to encourage our economy to create jobs and strengthen the middle class,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement.

Members hastily crafted the extenders package after a much broader bipartisan tax reform measure collapsed spectacularly in November when the White House threatened to veto it because it left out critical provisions for working families.

That left little time to draft an alternate before Congress was to adjourn for the year.

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Tax extenders have become a traditional quirk of the cumbersome US tax system, and some of the deductions in Tuesday’s final package have been extended annually since the 1980s.

This year’s package will cost US taxpayers an estimated $44.7 billion over 10 years, and include perks for horse racing, the wind energy industry, Hollywood moviemakers and NASCAR auto racing.

But it also offers much-needed tax credits for research and development, lowers costs for teachers who pay for supplies out of their own pocket, and helps struggling home owners who entered programs to reduce their mortgages.

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Ex-prosecutor demands congressional investigation after latest report on the FBI and Brett Kavanaugh

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had another allegation of sexual misconduct revealed on Saturday in a bombshell report in The New York Times.

"A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly," the newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson promises Britain will be like the Incredible Hulk during Brexit negotiations

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk.

"It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But I'm going to go to that summit and I'm going to get a deal, I'm very confident. And if we don't get a deal then we'll come out on October 31."

His comments came ahead of talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Luxembourg on Monday.

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NYT blasted for ‘spectacularly offensive sentiment’ after tweet illustrating ‘rape culture’

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The results of a 10-month investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was published on Saturday.

But attention was taken away from the powerful reporting after the Twitter account of The Times opinion page posted a shocking message.

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun," read the tweet.

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