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PG&E agrees to $13.5 billion payout for deadly California fires

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California’s Pacific Gas and Electric will pay $13.5 billion to settle lawsuits over its role in a series of wildfires that killed scores of people and destroyed thousands of homes, the utility giant said Friday.

Faulty PG&E powerlines were blamed for sparking last year’s so-called Camp Fire in northern California — the deadliest in the state’s history — that left 86 people dead.

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Outdated facilities including vulnerable wooden poles and failure to deforest land surrounding high-voltage transmission lines were blamed for the inferno, prompting accusations the San Francisco-based firm had put profit before safety.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in January, saying it faced more than $30 billion in claims over the blaze.

It was also sued over three other fires dating back to 2015, including one that devastated the state’s wine region and killed more than 40 people two years ago.

The settlement would allow PG&E to come out of bankruptcy protection before a government deadline set for next June, the company said in a statement.

“We want to help our customers, our neighbors and our friends in those impacted areas recover and rebuild after these tragic wildfires,” said chief executive Bill Johnson.

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“There have been many calls for PG&E to change in recent years. PG&E’s leadership team has heard those calls for change, and we realize we need to do even more to be a different company now and in the future,” he added.

The settlement will require approval by a bankruptcy court before it can proceed.

PG&E has faced a litany of legal problems in recent decades, including 737 counts of criminal negligence over failing to trim trees near power lines following a big fire in 1994.

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Regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission found that the utility diverted $77.6 million from its tree-trimming budget to other uses, according to a lawsuit filed over a 2015 blaze in Butte County.

“During that same time, PG&E underspent its authorized budgets for maintaining its systems by $495 million and instead, used this money to boost corporate profits,” according to that claim.

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The company was also fined $1.6 billion over a 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno, California that killed eight and injured 58.


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Mitt Romney whines he’s bored and doesn’t care about impeachment because ‘no one is watching’

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It's clear some U.S. Senators are continuing to breach the oath they took to be impartial and consider the impeachment professionally, according to CNN reporter Mike Warren.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was once seen as an independent thinker, proved he's over it, when he lamented to other senators he wanted to go home because no one is paying any attention anyway.

Speaking to Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), who has already admitted that Trump is guilty but he doesn't care, Romney was overheard complaining during the last break.

“I think we’ve got another 6 hours," said Braun.

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Internet mocks Trump for stealing Star Trek Starfleet logo for his Space Force

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President Donald Trump announced the logo for his new Space Force, and folks online indicated it looked surprisingly similar to the Star Trek logos for the command ships.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1220821545746141187

As a new show begins about the life of retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, Trekkies worldwide have connected to celebrate the on-going stories of the various command ships in the Starfleet.

Perhaps that is the reason folks took to the internet to mock the president for his team having no other creative ideas for their own logos.

However, as one former Air Force Lieutenant pointed out, the logo is similar to the one he wore back in 2005. He noted that it wasn't so much that Trump stole the logo, rather the Air Force stole it decades ago.

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Prosecutors didn’t believe Lev Parnas claim he wasn’t operating on behalf of Ukraine: CNN

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Buried in a piece about the recent revelations that President Donald Trump was recorded demanding someone "take out" former Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch, CNN revealed prosecutors don't believe Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

"In November, federal prosecutors questioned [Joseph] Bondy about whether his client had been operating on behalf of Ukrainians at the dinner with Trump when Parnas said the ambassador was bad-mouthing the President, according to people familiar with the matter," reported CNN. "On behalf of his client, Bondy rebutted that suggestion, but prosecutors told him they didn't believe Parnas. Bondy declined to comment on any conversations with prosecutors."

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