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House passes bipartisan bill requiring faster federal response to Flint-like water disaster

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The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday easily passed a bill requiring federal environmental regulators to act faster when lead contamination is found in drinking water.

The bill passed 416-2. It was crafted by Michigan Representatives Dan Kildee, a Democrat, and Fred Upton, a Republican, in the wake of Flint’s drinking water crisis.

The measure requires the Environmental Protection Agency to notify the public when concentrations of lead in drinking water rise above mandated levels and to create a plan to improve communication between the agency, utilities, states, and consumers.

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In 2014, under a state-appointed emergency manager, Flint, a city of 100,000, switched water supplies to the Flint River, from Detroit’s system as part of a plan to save money in the poverty-stricken city.

The more corrosive river water leached lead from aging pipes. Thousands of children are believed to have ingested dangerous levels of lead, a toxin that can harm brains and cause other health problems.

The bill “wouldn’t have prevented Flint, but it would have caught it far sooner,” Kildee, who is from Flint, said after the vote. The measure must be passed by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama before becoming law.

Other measures in Congress to provide Flint with millions of dollars in aid to deal with the crisis face an uncertain future. Kildee has also introduced a bill to provide about $700 million in federal aid, with a match in funding from Michigan. That and other measures languished as Democrats and Republicans struggled to agree on where the funds would come from.

The Department of Agriculture said on Thursday it would temporarily allow Michigan to use funds from its Women, Infants and Children program for low income citizens to conduct lead testing. The department estimated some 3,800 people could get tested in this way.

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(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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Cincinnati sheriff deputies replace American flag at the Justice Center with ‘thin-blue-line’ flag

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Cincinnati police were filmed replacing the American flag that hangs over the Justice Center in Ohio's third-largest city. They then replaced it with the thin-blue-line flag, that was created to advocate for law-enforcement during Black Lives Matter Protests.

During the Charlottesville, Virginia riots, right-wing and white supremacist activists carried the thin-blue-line flag along with the Confederate flag to speak out against Black Lives Matter.

While the flag may have been created in support of law enforcement, it has been adopted by white supremacists and taken on a darker meaning.

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WATCH: DC protesters turn over ‘agitator’ to police — then the agitators try to start a fight with cops

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Protesters in Washington, D.C. were captured on video handing over an agitator to police, while other agitators in paintball tactical gear appeared to try and start fights with police.

Former FBI assistant director of counterintelligence, Frank Figliuzzi, revealed that his former colleagues and law enforcement he knows recognize that far-right agitators are attempting to start significant conflicts between police and protesters.

"There is a minimal presence of Antifa, but a far more disturbing presence of right-wing race-based hate groups, such as the Boogaloo Boys who think there will be a race-based civil war coming," he said on MSNBC.

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Trump could use Antifa conspiracy theories to ‘investigate his political opponents’: Ex-FBI assistant director

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According to former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence Frank Figliuzzi, there are far more white supremacists and anti-government agitators infiltrating the peaceful Black Lives Matter protests than Antifa. He fears Trump will use Antifa as an excuse to investigate his political opponents.

Speaking to MSNBC on Sunday evening, Figliuzzi told host Brian Williams that his sources in law enforcement are telling him that President Donald Trump doesn't have his facts straight on Antifa.

"We're seeing components of legitimate frustrated protesters responding to Mr. Floyd's demise and others," explained Figliuzzi. "Then we are seeing people who are exploiting this for their own purposes, and some of them are more than just opportunistic criminals. Some of them are organized, and some of them have diverse agendas but are coming together to wreak havoc. And I think what we need to pay attention to here is what we have evidence of, what we don't have evidence of, and what we're hearing from the White House and the attorney general."

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