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Obama to sign executive order cutting government greenhouse gas emissions

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President Barack Obama will sign an executive order on Thursday that will cut the U.S. government’s greenhouse gas emissions, the White House said in a statement.

After signing the order, Obama will visit the Department of Energy to tour the building’s rooftop solar panels. While there, he will attend a meeting of some of the federal suppliers, which will discuss their reduction targets, including initial commitments to disclose emission targets or set new reduction goals, the statement said, without providing details.

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Obama has made fighting climate change a top priority in his final two years in office. The White House sees it as critical to his legacy.

The Environmental Protection Agency last year proposed a Clean Power Plan that set deadlines for states to submit proposals to meet power plant carbon emission reduction goals.

A dozen states, including Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana and Wyoming, sued the EPA last August soon after the plan was unveiled on grounds that its use of a certain section of the Clean Air Act was illegal. The federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear the case on April 16.

Obama’s budget proposal for fiscal 2015 released last month called for a 7 percent boost in funding for clean energy and a $4 billion fund to encourage U.S. states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants. It also called for the permanent extension of tax credits used by the wind and solar power industries.

(Reporting by Eric Walsh; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Peter Cooney; Writing by Eric Walsh)

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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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