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US House transportation panel chair says he will not seek re-election

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Republican Representative Bill Shuster, the chairman of the Transportation Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, will not run for re-election in November, he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Shuster, 56, who has served in Congress since 2001, said in a statement that he will spend his last year in office “working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America.”

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Trump, who met with Shuster in December to talk about rebuilding U.S. roads and other projects, is expected to unveil an infrastructure proposal later this month.

The administration previously proposed $200 billion in government funding over 10 years as part of a goal of getting $1 trillion in public and private infrastructure spending, but that has been panned by Democrats who want significantly higher government spending fixing roads, bridges and other infrastructure items.

Shuster has championed a plan backed by Trump to privatize the U.S. air traffic control system, but it has faced opposition in Congress and was not approved last year.

The Pennsylvania congressman proposed legislation that would make it illegal for an airline to bump an already boarded passenger from a flight. In April, a United Airlines passenger was forcibly removed from his seat, prompting public outrage. The airline banned the practice.

Congress is expected to take up airline reforms this year before the current Federal Aviation Administration authorization expires at the end of March.

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(Reporting by Tim Ahmann and David Shepardson; Editing by Eric Walsh and Jonathan Oatis)


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‘Disease fanboy’: Internet slams NBC conservative for ‘rooting for pandemic’ to distract from Trump impeachment trial

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Hugh Hewitt is once again under fire, this time for almost appearing to be glad a deadly SARS-related virus has been diagnosed in a patient in Washington state – saying additional diagnoses will take the focus away from the Senate's historic impeachment trial. Hewitt is a conservative Washington Post columnist, radio host, MSNBC and NBC contributor, and law professor who went from being a "Never-Trumper" to all-in for President Donald Trump.

"People care much more for their health than theater," said Hewitt via Twitter, referring to Trump's impeachment trial. The SARS-related virus, known as the Wuhan coronavirus, is named for an area of China where it was first found. It "has infected more than 300 people and killed six in an outbreak that has struck China, Thailand, South Korea, Japan and now the US," CNN reports.

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Greece elects first woman president

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Greece's parliament on Wednesday elected the first woman president in the country's history, a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.

A cross-party majority of 261 MPs voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.

"Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic," Tassoulas said.

The new president, until now the head of Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, will take her oath of office on March 13, he added.

The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne university.

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I spent MLK Day reading Stephen Miller’s racist emails — here’s why

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is in the pantheon of American heroes. He is honored with a national holiday. For those of us who write about American politics, life and society it is expected – rightly or wrongly – that on King's designated holiday we offer a comment, essay or some other thought about his legacy.

The expectation is even greater for black Americans and other nonwhites. Brother King was and is a gift to all Americans — and, yes, the world — but black people are the most direct beneficiaries of his struggle.

Every year brings more writing about King's legacy and the work which remains. Interviews and talks will be given. Brother King will be quoted. The "I Have a Dream Speech" and the March on Washington will be obsessively referenced by the mass media and others. Of course, the "Jobs and Freedom" part of the march will be left out.

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