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Republicans hand lifetime federal bench appointment to lawyer who says gay judges can’t decide cases objectively

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Senate Republicans have just confirmed Howard Nielson to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. A longtime conservative activist, Nielson has argued against same-sex marriage, against same-sex couples being allowed to raise children, and against the decision to declare California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional, claiming the judge in that case could not objectively rule because he is gay.

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The vote late Wednesday afternoon was 51-47, along party lines, with only Maine’s Republican Senator Susan Collins voting no.

Nielson, who opposes same-sex marriage on the grounds same-sex couples cannot reproduce without assistance, has also argued against the Affordable Care Act, and against equal opportunity and affirmative action. He has also argued to uphold laws designed to make it even harder for women to obtain abortions, and argued against common-sense gun laws designed to increase public safety.

But Nielson may be best-known for working on the team at DOJ that produced the “torture memos” which President George W. Bush used to order the infliction of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, which is an international war crime. His remarks, (and his own “torture memo,”) in defense of his then-colleague were in support of the argument allowing torture.

Nielson will be sworn in as U.S. District Judge for the District of Utah.

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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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