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Tax bill could undermine Puerto Rico’s recovery, governor says

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Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello on Tuesday urged the U.S. Congress to address issues in the Republican tax bill that he said would harm the island’s economy, which is already reeling from the devastation of Hurricane Maria and years of financial hardships.

A provision in the tax bill that is meant to keep companies from shifting profits to other countries to avoid paying taxes would affect Puerto Rico because the U.S. territory is considered a foreign jurisdiction for tax purposes, even though its 3.4 million residents are American citizens.

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The tax bill was expected to win final passage in the Republican-led Congress on Wednesday.

At a news conference with two members of Trump’s Cabinet who visited the island to assess the hurricane’s impact – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson – Rossello said the provision designed to prevent shifting of profits – a process known as “base erosion” – amounts to a new tax that Puerto Rico cannot afford.

“There is an opportunity to set things straight, to give Puerto Rico an opportunity and to eliminate this just weird application of the base-erosion provision to a jurisdiction of the United States,” Rossello said.

He urged lawmakers to attach an exemption from the tax for Puerto Rico to a year-end spendingbill they are writing.

Rossello also said Puerto Rico’s Medicaid funding could run out as soon as February, leaving millions of residents without health insurance coverage, unless Congress acts soon.

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Even before Maria laid waste to the island three months ago, Puerto Rico was contending with $72 billion in debt. Rossello has asked the U.S. government for a total of $94.4 billion in aid, including $31.1 billion for housing and $17.8 billion to rebuild the ruined power grid.

About 70 percent of Puerto Rico’s power grid – as measured by its peak use – is operating, the government has said. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects 95 percent of the grid will have power by the end of February, but it will take until the end of May for power to resume on the rest of the island.

House of Representatives Republicans this week unveiled an $81 billion natural disaster aid package intended to help Puerto Rico and states such as Texas that have been hit by hurricanes, as well as California, which is grappling with wildfires.

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(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Caren Bohan and Leslie Adler)


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Saturday Night Live mocks Trump as an unpopular dork at high school after disastrous NATO Summit

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NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on Saturday ridiculed President Donald Trump after he was laughed at by world leaders during a NATO Summit in London.

The skit featured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Emanuel Macron as the cool kids at the NATO cafeteria, while U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson attempts to join their cliche.

Trump asked to sit at their table, but they suggested he sit with Latvia.

They said the seat was for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was then invited to join the cool kids table.

The skit included Johnson taping an "impeach me" sign to Trump's back.

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Watch a band in cow costumes sing about Devin Nunes at White House impeachment protest

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Protesters clad in full-body furry costumes sang about Rep. Devin Nunes during a Saturday protest at the White House.

The protesters were dressed as cattle after the Fresno Republican sued a fake cow Twitter, @DevinCow.

The protesters changed the lyrics to the hit 1958 Chuck Berry song "Johnny B. Goode" to "Devin Nunes."

Video of the protested was posted to Twitter by Democratic strategist Parkhomenko, who was targeted by Nunes in one of his lawsuits.

The lyrics to the 1958 Champs song "Tequila" were changed to "subpoenas."

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Shocking photos document the devastating flooding pummeling San Francisco

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San Francisco was battered by a heavy winter storm on Saturday that caused localized flooding throughout the city.

"A low pressure system off the Northern California coast Saturday hurled bans of strong downpours into the Bay Area, triggering a flood warning for San Francisco," KPIX-TV reported.

"San Francisco Muni officials tweeted that train service between West Portal to Embarcadero Station had been shut down due to flooding. Several streets were flooded in San Francisco’s western neighborhood including knee-high water at 15th Ave and Wawona," the station noted.

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