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Budget hawk Ted Cruz named chair of Senate committee that oversees NASA

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Senator Ted Cruz will chair the committee that oversees science and Nasa in the new Republican-controlled Congress, raising fears that the conservative Texan will cut funding to the space agency and science programs.

Cruz’s appointment to the space, science and competitiveness subcommittee comes amid a broad shift of power in the Senate, where the GOP won a majority in the 2014 elections. Cruz was the top Republican on the subcommittee before the elections.

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He has publicly stated support for Nasa but has also attempted at least once to cut the agency’s funding, arguing that larger government cuts necessitated changes to the space program’s budget. In 2013, Cruz both tried to reduce Nasa’s budget and said : “It’s critical that the United States ensure its continued leadership in space.”

Cruz has constituents invested in the space agency’s future – for instance, Nasa employees and contractors at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Cruz has also spoken out against decades of science that indicate climate change, telling CNN last year that in “the last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming” to support “a so-called scientific theory”. His vociferous opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and his support of extreme budget cuts could spell trouble for Nasa’s less prominent programs, such as its own climate research and sophisticated supercomputers .

His role on the front lines of the 2013 government shutdown, which critics say had lasting negative effects on public safety, Nasa research and EPA scientists’ ability to visit contaminated sites, also suggests at best a narrow focus on Nasa’s largest projects and at worst a disregard for agencies that require science funding.

Senator Marco Rubio, Republican from Florida, was named chair to the subcommittee on oceans, atmosphere, fisheries and coast guard , which oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Nooa) and the protection of oceans and marine life in US jurisdiction. Rubio has saidhe does not “believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate”, which is a more lenient position than the new chair of the environment committee, Jim Inhofe, who denies climate science outright .

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In December, Congress gave Nasa a boost to its 2015 budget , setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars for its planetary science program and new Space Launch System rocket, which aims to revolutionize advanced rocketry.

Due to budget cuts and programs that the government has allowed to lapse, Nasa has increasingly relied on private space companies in recent years, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX. On Saturday SpaceX tested its own experimental rocket system, delivering supplies to the International Space Station before failing to land its reusable rocket on a floating platform.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

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Trump Tower is ‘under siege’ as Chicago Police make arrests to defend the president’s building

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Protesters marched on Trump Tower in Chicago on Saturday, as Chicago police in riot gear and on horses defend the president's building.

State police were deployed to the scene to back up local police, who are reportedly arresting protesters.

On video showed protesters taking a knee in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick.

Actor John Cusack was among those documenting the protest.

Here are some of the images from the scene:

https://twitter.com/dmihalopoulos/status/1266849888555409408

https://twitter.com/disclosetv/status/1266850390047408130

https://twitter.com/DirtyComoDiana/status/1266848376102039552

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George Floyd’s brother tears up discussing condolence phone call from Trump: ‘It hurt me’

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The brother of George Floyd described the condolence phone call he received from President Donald Trump during a Saturday interview on MSNBC.

Philonise Floyd was interviewed by the Rev. Al Sharpton on "Politics Nation."

While Derek Chauvin has been arrested and charged with third degree murder, the other three officers involved in the killing remain free.

"They all need to be convicted of first degree murder and given the death penalty," Floyd said.

"What was the conversation with President Trump like?" Sharpton asked.

"It was so fast," Floyd replied.

"He didn't give me an opportunity to even speak. It was hard, I was trying to talk to him, but he just kept like pushing me off, like 'I don't want to hear what you're talking about.' And I just told him I want justice. I said that I couldn't believe they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."

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Bill Barr slammed by ex-FBI official for ignoring the right-wing ‘Boogaloo Bois’ infiltrating protests

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Attorney General Bill Barr was slammed by the former assistant director for counterintelligence at the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for misleading Americans about the source of violence at the protests over the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.

"There's evidence developing, Brian, that the organization we're seeing of the most violent protesters is coming from a couple of disturbing places," both, by the way, there's disparate in terms in being from the right or the left. here's what those who monitor these groups and sites are seeing.

"We're seeing a far-right group, one group for example known as the Boogaloo Bois, who on their private Facebook page and social media outlets are calling for violence, calling for people to show up," Frank Figliuzzi told MSNBC's Brian Williams.

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