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US envoys appointed by Obama denied extensions past Inauguration Day: NYT

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has issued a blanket mandate requiring politically appointed ambassadors appointed by President Barack Obama to leave their overseas posts by Inauguration Day, The New York Times reported, citing several U.S. diplomats familiar with the plan.

The mandate issued “without exceptions”, according to a State Department cable sent on Dec. 23, threatens to leave the United States without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in critical nations like Germany, Canada and Britain, the NYT reported. http://nyti.ms/2jah0lc

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In the past, administrations of both parties have often granted extensions to allow a few ambassadors, particularly those with school-age children, to remain in place for weeks or months, the newspaper said.

A senior Trump transition official told NYT there was no illwill in the move, describing it as a simple matter of ensuring Obama’s overseas envoys leave the government on schedule, just as thousands of political aides at the White House and in federal agencies must do.

Trump has taken a strict stance against leaving any of Obama’s political appointees in place as he prepares to take office on Jan. 20, aiming to break up many of his predecessor’s signature foreign and domestic policy achievements, the newspaper said.

Diplomats told NYT the order has thrown their personal lives into a tailspin, leaving them scrambling to secure living arrangements and acquire visas allowing them to stay in their countries so their children can remain in school.

Trump’s transition staff was not immediately available for comment.

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(Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)


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NPR is still expanding the range of what authority sounds like after 50 years

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From its start half a century ago, National Public Radio heralded a new approach to the sound of radio in the United States.

NPR “would speak with many voices and many dialects,” according to “Purposes,” its founding document.

Written in 1970, this blueprint rang with emotional immediacy. NPR would go on the air for the first time a year later, on April 20, 1971.

NPR is sometimes mocked, perhaps most memorably in a 1998 “Saturday Night Live” sketch starring actor Alec Baldwin, for its staid sound production and its hosts’ carefully modulated vocal quality. But the nonprofit network’s commitment to including “many voices” hatched a small sonic revolution on the airwaves.

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Trump’s digestive system the butt of jokes after he argues it takes 10 to 15 times to flush the toilet

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President Donald Trump made a brazen claim about how many times it takes to flush a toilet that had people wondering about the commander-in-chief's experiences when sitting on his thrown.

"People are flushing toilets ten times, fifteen times -- as opposed to once," Trump claimed while arguing against water conservation efficiency standards.

Here's Trump saying that he's heard from many people complaining about "flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times." pic.twitter.com/75HXYcH4xq

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Edward Snowden: If I came back to the US, I would likely die in prison for telling the truth

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At Wednesday’s The Right Livelihood Awards, Amy Goodman interviewed Snowden in front of the award ceremony’s live audience via video link from Moscow.

The Right Livelihood Awards celebrated their 40th anniversary Wednesday at the historic Cirkus Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, where more than a thousand people gathered to celebrate this year’s four laureates: Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg; Chinese women’s rights lawyer Guo Jianmei, Brazilian indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa and the organization he co-founded, the Yanomami Hutukara Association; and Sahrawi human rights leader Aminatou Haidar, who has challenged the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara for decades. The Right Livelihood Award is known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.”

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