U.S. Senator Cruz will block EPA nomination over biofuels costs to refiners

NEW YORK – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said on Wednesday he would block the nomination of an Environmental Protection Agency official until the agency brings stability to the rising costs borne by oil refiners for complying with U.S. biofuel blending laws. Cruz, a Republican from Texas, follows a similar statement from Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, who said last week she would block Doug Benevento’s nomination for EPA deputy administrator. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration engaged…

"U.S. Senator Cruz will block EPA nomination over biofuels costs to refiners"

U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives approved a massive $1.5 trillion infrastructure package on Wednesday by a 233 to 188 vote to boost spending on roads, bridges, public transit and rail but the White House and Senate Republicans both said they oppose the measure. Representative Peter DeFazio, the Democrat who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the measure “deals with the incredibly deteriorated infrastructure in this country” and addresses the threat of climate…

"U.S. House approves $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill but outlook uncertain"

California closes bars, indoor restaurant dining in most of state as coronavirus surges

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Indoor activities at restaurants, movie theaters and other facilities will be banned in most of California for at least three weeks as COVID-19 infections surge, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday. All bars and brew pubs, whether indoor or out, must also close in 19 counties where 70 percent of the population live, Newsom said. Hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 have been soaring in the most populous U.S. state, starting around the…

"California closes bars, indoor restaurant dining in most of state as coronavirus surges"

U.S. senator to change anti-child porn bill over Google, Facebook encryption concerns: draft

– U.S. legislation aimed at stopping online child sexual abuse material is likely to be amended to address concerns of platforms like Google and Facebook that the proposed law goes too far to weaken privacy protections for ordinary users, according to a draft of the bill seen by . Tech companies, currently protected from lawsuits over content posted by users, feared the original bill would hurt their ability to offer protections like end-to-end encryption. That…

"U.S. senator to change anti-child porn bill over Google, Facebook encryption concerns: draft"

U.S. lawmaker seeks to ban Chinese firms from U.S. capital markets

WASHINGTON – A top senator is preparing a bill to ban Chinese companies from U.S. capital markets if they engage in spying, human rights abuse or support China’s military, threatening a financial blow as tensions mount over COVID-19 and Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong. Republican Marco Rubio, a prominent China hardliner, said he plans to unveil the legislation in the coming weeks after the U.S. Department of Defense released a list of 20 companies that…

"U.S. lawmaker seeks to ban Chinese firms from U.S. capital markets"

Biden says new China national security law a ‘death blow,’ weighs sanctions

– Democrat Joe Biden on Wednesday threatened new economic sanctions on China if he is elected U.S. president, calling its new security law imposed on Hong Kong a “death blow” to the territory’s freedom. Biden, who has a lead in national opinion polls ahead of his Nov. 3 election fight against President Donald Trump, said Beijing was “acting with impunity” when it unveiled new laws for Hong Kong that would punish crimes of secession, subversion,…

"Biden says new China national security law a ‘death blow,’ weighs sanctions"

Trump says he wants larger direct payments to Americans: Fox Business

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he supports another round of economic stimulus and wants to provider larger direct payments to Americans, as well as incentives to work, to be part of it. “We want to create a very great incentive to work. So, we’re working on that and I’m sure we’ll all come together,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network. “I want the money getting to people to…

"Trump says he wants larger direct payments to Americans: Fox Business"

New York expands coronavirus testing criteria to include everyone in state

NEW YORK – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded coronavirus testing criteria to include all New Yorkers on Wednesday. “We are now opening testing to all New Yorkers,” he told reporters. “We have that much capacity.” New York City had already expanded testing criteria to include all city residents, encouraging everyone there to get tested.

"New York expands coronavirus testing criteria to include everyone in state"

Immigration judges challenge Justice Department over policy gagging them from public speech

WASHINGTON – U.S. immigration judges asked a federal court on Wednesday to strike down a new Justice Department policy barring them from speaking publicly about immigration law or even about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected detained immigrants. The lawsuit on behalf of more than 460 immigration judges was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute. It alleges that a January 2020 policy…

"Immigration judges challenge Justice Department over policy gagging them from public speech"

Hong Kong’s last UK governor says Trump has made unified response to China more difficult

LONDON – U.S. President Donald Trump has made it harder to get a unified international response to China’s actions in Hong Kong, the last British governor of the territory said on Wednesday. Chris Patten spoke after Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters who had gathered for an annual rally to mark the anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to China in 1997, in defiance of new security…

"Hong Kong’s last UK governor says Trump has made unified response to China more difficult"