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Venice coffee costs German tourists 950 euros and they were asked to leave the city

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Two German tourists were fined Friday for making themselves a coffee on the steps of the famous Rialto bridge in Venice and asked to leave the city, the municipal authorities said.

The two backpackers from Berlin, aged 32 and 35, had made themselves comfortable at the foot of the world-famous landmark and got out their portable coffee-making equipment when they were spotted by a passer-by and reported to the police, the city authorities said in a statement.

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Using a newly-passed law, police officers fined them 950 euros ($1,050) for unseemly behavior and asked them to leave Venice.

“Venice must be treated with respect and impolite people who come here and think they can do what they want must understand that, thanks to the local police, they can be stopped, fined and sent away,” the city’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro said.

“From now on, we will also communicate the identities of people who have been asked to leave to the embassies and consulates of their home country,” the mayor said.

The new law, passed in May, sets out rules for decency, cleanliness and safety in the lagoon city, which has a population of just 55,000 but is invaded every year by around 30 million visitors and is increasingly feeling the detrimental effects of mass tourism.

The law bans picnicking at certain sites, bathing in fountains and not wearing a shirt in public spaces, often with draconian fines for the offenders.

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Gay rights dispute is pulling apart the United Methodist Church, after decades of argument

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The Methodist Church, the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the United States, is headed toward a divorce.

In early January, mediators from across the United Methodist Church proposed a separation plan to split the church into two separate denominations, with one that will allow same sex marriages and “practicing” LGBTQ clergy.

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‘Zero doubt we’re getting witnesses’: Trump’s legal team bracing for GOP defections

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If at least four Senate Republicans vote to subpoena additional witnesses and documents -- that could trigger a domino effect.

Sources close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will likely try to reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer if it appears likely that 51 senators will vote for new testimony, with demands for GOP witnesses, rather than going to a vote, reported Axios.

The most likely GOP defectors remain Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Mitt Romney (UT), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Lamar Alexander (TN), but that could put new pressure vulnerable senators up for re-election such as Cory Gardner (CO), Thom Tills (NC), Martha McSally (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), Joni Ernst (IA) and Pat Toomey (PA).

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How Minneapolis made Prince

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It’s been almost four years since Prince’s death, but fascination about the artist, the man and his mythology endures.

On Jan. 28, Alicia Keys, the Foo Fighters, Usher and several of Prince’s collaborators will be paying tribute to the late musician in a special concert, “Let’s Go Crazy: The Grammy Salute to Prince,” in Los Angeles.

Prince’s peers, critics and fans are often quick to cite his creativity, versatility and talent.

But as a longtime Prince fan who’s also a human geographer, I’ve found myself drawn to the way his hometown, Minneapolis, Minnesota, cultivated his talent.

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