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Trump White House ignores bipartisan group of senators demanding explanation for firing of former intelligence IG

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Former Govenor Mitt Romney speaking with supporters of U.S. Congresswoman Martha McSally at a campaign rally at The Falls Event Center in Gilbert, Arizona. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Monday, April 13 was the deadline that a bipartisan group of eight senators set for an explanation of President Donald Trump’s firing of Michael Atkinson, who served as inspector general for the United States’ intelligence community. That deadline has passed, and journalist Jenna McLaughlin — in an article published in Yahoo News — explains that as of Tuesday, April 14, the Trump White House had yet to provide that explanation.

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The eight senators, who included Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, sent Trump a letter on April 8 and asked him to explain, in detail, why he decided to fire Atkinson. And the senators, McLaughlin notes, wanted to make sure it was “not for reasons unrelated to (Atkinson’s) performance” as intelligence inspector IG.

McLaughlin reports that according to a spokesperson for Grassley’s office, a follow-up request was sent to the Trump White House on April 14 — and it also went unanswered.

In addition to Grassley, the letter was signed by two other Republicans (Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah) and five Democrats (Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana).

Trump’s detractors, from liberals and progressives to Never Trump conservatives, have been highly critical of his decision to fire Atkinson — often pointing out the role that the former intelligence inspector general played in the Ukraine scandal.

In 2019, a whistleblower in the federal government complained about Trump’s now-infamous July 25 phone conservation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — who Trump tried to pressure into investigating a political rival (former Vice President Joe Biden) and his son, Hunter Biden. Atkinson brought that complaint to the attention of Congress, and House Democrats voted to indict Trump on two articles of impeachment — asserting that Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for political dirt on the Bidens. But Trump was later acquitted in an impeachment trial in the GOP-controlled Senate.

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Trump fired Atkinson on April 3 — a firing that the president’s critics have been denouncing as an act of revenge.


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Moon may be richer in water than thought — and it could help propel humans farther from earth

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There may be far more water on the Moon than previously thought, according to two studies published Monday raising the tantalising prospect that astronauts on future space missions could find refreshment -- and maybe even fuel -- on the lunar surface.

The Moon was believed to be bone dry until around a decade ago when a series of findings suggested that our nearest celestial neighbour has traces of water trapped in the surface.

Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy on Monday suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed "cold traps" at lunar polar regions.

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Asymptomatic coronaagvirus sufferers lose antibodies sooner: study

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Asymptomatic coronavirus sufferers appear to lose detectable antibodies sooner than people who have exhibited Covid-19 symptoms, according to one of the biggest studies of its kind in Britain published on Tuesday.

The findings by Imperial College London and market research firm Ipsos Mori also suggest the loss of antibodies was slower in 18–24 year-olds compared to those aged 75 and over.

Overall, samples from hundreds of thousands of people across England between mid-June and late September showed the prevalence of virus antibodies fell by more than a quarter.

The research, commissioned by the British government and published Tuesday by Imperial, indicates people's immune response to Covid-19 reduces over time following infection.

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2020 Election

Early voting to be hit by heavy rain and flooding as Hurricane Zeta barrels towards the Gulf Coast

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Hurricane Zeta is expected to make landfall near Louisiana's border with Mississippi on Wednesday evening as campaigns work to get supporters to the polls and convince any undecided voters to back their candidate.

"Hurricane conditions and life-threatening storm surge are possible along portions of the northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday, and Storm Surge and Hurricane Watches are in effect," the National Hurricane Center warned.

"Between Tuesday night and Thursday, heavy rainfall is expected from portions of the central Gulf Coast into the southern Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic states near and in advance of Zeta. This rainfall will lead to flash, urban, small stream, and minor river flooding," the center explained.

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