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LIVE! US House votes to overturn Obama gun rule

08:28  New Israeli settlements may not be helpful: White House:  

The White House has said it has not yet taken a position on Israeli settlements, but suggested that their construction or expansion “may not be helpful” in achieving peace in the region. 

“While we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a late night statement.

“The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister

Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month,” he said.

Spicer said American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years.


08:26  Uber chief quits Trump advisory group after uproar:  

Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick has quit US President Donald Trump’s business advisory group, as a movement grew to dump the ride-sharing service because of his connection to the new administration. 

Kalanick yesterday said in an email to Uber employees that he spoke briefly with Trump about the president’s recent executive order restricting immigration, saying he told him he would not be able to participate on his economic council. 

“Joining the group was not meant to be an endorsement of the president or his agenda, but unfortunately it has been misinterpreted to be exactly that,” Kalanick said in the email. 

Trump’s advisory group was established last year and includes Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk, as well as IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty. Its first meeting was reportedly scheduled for today. 

“There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that,” Kalanick said in the message to Uber workers. 

“Immigration and openness to refugees is an important part of our country’s success and quite honestly to Uber’s.” 

Uber riders and drivers have raged against Kalanick and his service for what they see as him teaming with Trump, whose orders and appointments have triggered protests here and abroad.


08:17  US House votes to overturn Obama gun rule:  

The Republican-led House on Thursday struck down an Obama-era regulation that could block some recipients of disability benefits from buying guns.

The House voted 235-180 to roll back a rule that required the Social Security Administration to report people who receive disability benefits and have a mental health condition to the FBIs background check system. The database is used to determine eligibility for buying a firearm.  

Critics said the rule stripped Second Amendment rights from people who are not dangerously mentally ill, such as those who have eating disorders or mental disorders that prevent them from managing their own finances.

“The Social Security Administration not only overstepped its mission with this regulation, it discriminated against certain Americans with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits. The agency should be focused on serving all of its beneficiaries, not picking and choosing whose Second Amendment rights to deny,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee.

The Senate is expected to pass the National Rifle Association-backed measure soon and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

08:14  What’s making news at this hour:  

* Petroleum ministry advises Indian Oil’s R&D to take active part in oil spill management in Chennai

* BJP President Amit Shah to hold a foot march in Meerut, along with public meetings at different places in UP

* UP CM Akhilesh Yadav & Congress VP Rahul Gandhi to hold joint road show in Agra

* BSP Supremo Mayawati to hold rallies in Etah & Muzaffarnagar

* Delhi: Arrival of 3 international flights & departure of 2 domestic flights delayed, due to fog

* ED taking legal advise to challenge the Special Courts order that discharged Dayanidhi Maran & other accused in Aircel-Maxis case


00:34  ‘Read one, burn one’: JK Rowling’s offer to Trump supporters:  

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has hit back at Twitter users who threatened to burn her books following her criticism of US President Donald Trump.

Rowling’s recent Twitter feed has been filled with her retweets criticising the president’s recent travel ban.

Some followers have taken umbrage with her stance, with several saying they have burned her books or plan to do so, and one suggesting she “should stay out of politics”.

But the novelist has proved a match for her critics with her mocking responses.

“Actually, we’re thinking of selling them in pairs in future; a ‘read one, burn one’ deal for those who like the magic, but not the morals,” she said in a tweet.

Source: Rediff