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GOP MASS EXODUS: Republican congressman in district Trump won by double-digits ‘retires’ to run for county seat

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A four-term Republican U.S. Congressman who represents a district President Donald Trump won by double digits has just announced he is retiring at the end of his term. Rep. Paul Cook of California will run for a seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, according to the L.A. Times and The Hill.

Republicans, who know they cannot win back the House next year, are leaving in droves.

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Rep. Cook becomes the 18th Republican to announce they are leaving the U.S. House of Representatives this term. By comparison, only four Democrats have announced they are leaving.

Cook won re-election last November with 60% of the vote. His district is heavily pro-Trump. The district voted for the president over Hillary Clinton by nearly 16 points.

Cook leaves Congress with a thin but considerably anti-LGBT and anti-abortion record.


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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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