The Trump Administration Might Be Revving Up For Another Anti-Pot Push

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Legal marijuana might be back in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. A new report from Buzzfeed claims the White House is working on a campaign to highlight the negative aspects of marijuana use.

The report describes memos from the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, a White House group which views the marijuana debate as "partial, one-sided, and inaccurate." Buzzfeed says the committee has polled federal agencies for any data that casts pot use in a bad light.

It's the latest move by the Trump administration to clamp down on marijuana. But past White House efforts have run afoul of politicians — including President Trump himself.

"I'm not sure we're going to be a better, healthier nation if we have marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store." 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been a consistent voice against marijuana legalization. Back in January, he tried to roll back policies that kept federal prosecutors from interfering with state-approved weed businesses.

The pot business is still illegal nationally, but 30 states and Washington D.C. have authorized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Past administrations took a hands-off approach to drug enforcement in those cases; Sessions wanted to change that.

SEE MORE: Daily Dose: What To Know About CBD

But Sessions' plans met strong opposition in Congress: Republican Senator Cory Gardner blocked all Department of Justice nominees from advancing through Congress until Trump promised not to target his state's thriving weed industry.

Gardner is now championing a bipartisan bill with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren to give states more authority over marijuana enforcement. That bill has even earned a bit of tentative approval from Trump himself.

Trump said, "I know exactly what he's doing, we're looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting it."

The new White House pot committee might push Trump to change his mind on that: Buzzfeed says the committee planned to use the negative information it received in a briefing to Trump.

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Memorial Service Honors John McCain’s Legacy Of Bipartisanship

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Thousands of people gathered Thursday in Arizona for a memorial service for Sen. John McCain. 

A handful of people, including former Vice President Joe Biden, spoke during the services, sharing stories about the late senator and his legacy of bipartisanship.  

"My name is Joe Biden. I'm a democrat. And I loved John McCain," Biden said at the start of his eulogy. 

"He celebrated differences. He embraced humanity, championed what was true and just, and saw people for who they were," said Larry Fitzgerald, NFL player and friend of McCain.

"And i hope that what he stood for will maybe get a renewed look in our country. ... But he believe so much that, in the end, when it's all said and done, that this Republican and Democrat thing's not that important. We're all Americans, and we got to get to the point where we can work together as Americans," said Grant Woods, McCain's former chief of staff.

On Friday, McCain will lie in state in the U.S. Capitol. A funeral service at the National Cathedral is set for Saturday, and former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush will speak. 

McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Microsoft US Suppliers Required To Offer Paid Parental Leave

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Microsoft announced Thursday it will soon require all of its U.S.-based suppliers to offer employees paid parental leave.

In a post on the company's website, the tech giant said its new policy will apply "to all parents employed by our suppliers who take time off for the birth or adoption of a child." Specifically, its suppliers must offer their employees a minimum of 12 weeks paid parental leave, with up to $1,000 per week compensation.

The new requirements only apply to suppliers with more than 50 employees, and are not meant to replace "more generous" state laws.

Although Microsoft acknowledged this might result in increased costs, it will still try to implement these changes over the next year.

The company further elaborated on its decision, pointing to studies showing that employers who offer paid parental leave experience better productivity and lower turnover rates.

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Trump Cancels Pay Raise For Government Employees

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President Donald Trump canceled planned pay raises for government employees, saying the move would save billions. 

Trump made the announcement Thursday in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan. The canceled raises include a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay bump as well as an average 25.7 percent locality pay increase. 

Trump justified the move by noting current law allows the president to make pay adjustments because of "'national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.'" He said federal agency budgets "cannot sustain such increases" and that the U.S. "must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course."

The pay raises would have gone into effect in 2019. Instead, Trump said pay raises "must be performance-based, and aligned strategically toward recruiting, retaining, and rewarding high-performing Federal employees and those with critical skill sets."

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DOJ: Evidence Shows Harvard Discriminates Against Asian Americans

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The Department of Justice is siding against Harvard College in a racial discrimination lawsuit. 

More than 60 Asian American organizations filed a complaint in 2014 alleging the college discriminates against their race during the admissions process. The groups claim the college holds Asian Americans to a higher admission standard compared to other ethnicities. 

In a statement filed Thursday, the DOJ says, "Harvard has failed to show that it does not unlawfully discriminate against Asian Americans." The department notes Harvard receives millions in taxpayer dollars every year, and as a condition of that funding, it agrees to not racially discriminate.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "No American should be denied admission to school because of their race."

In March, The Harvard Crimson reported the college accepted less than 5 percent of 42,749 applicants for the class of 2022 — a record low.

According to CNN, the case will be sent to trial in Boston in October. 

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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To Survive In A Warmer World, Insects Will Eat More Of Our Crops

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Climate change is bad news for food security. Not only are rising global temps likely to lower crop yields, but new research shows those temperatures could make the insects that eat crops even more of a nuisance.

In a warmer climate, bugs tend to eat more to sustain their metabolisms. And in certain places, a warmer climate will support larger swarms. Temperate areas especially would get more attractive as they warm up.

This means some of the most productive agricultural regions today could get hit hardest by future swarms. A national team of researchers found that for every degree of surface warming, the world's corn, rice and wheat crops could lose as much as 25 percent of their yield to insect damage.

And scientists say there's an urgent need to learn more about how to address pests because we don't have many defenses right now.

SEE MORE: A G-20 Challenge: How Do We Get More Food From Less Water?

Natural predators like ladybugs might help protect some crops, since they eat aphids and other pests. Beyond that, farmers might have to start using more pesticides, which can cause their own health problems. 

Still, every little bit could help. Staple crops are already stretched thin, even before insects take a bigger bite out of them. The U.N. says some 815 million people around the world don't get enough food.

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US To Allow Relief From Steel, Aluminum Quotas On Case-By-Case Basis

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The Trump administration is willing to relax some steel and aluminum quotas that were previously imposed on some U.S. trade partners.

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday which would let U.S. companies bring in more metal from certain countries than was previously allowed — without paying tariffs. That includes steel from South Korea, Argentina and Brazil and aluminum from Argentina.

The president enforced a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports back in March. 

Some U.S. allies that were initially exempt from the tariffs — such as Canada, Mexico and members of the European Union — saw those deals end months later. 

But other countries agreed to limit the amount of steel or aluminum they ship to the U.S. in exchange for not having the tariffs enforced on them. 

But now companies are complaining about supply shortages. And U.S. companies have reportedly filed tens of thousands of exemption requests, arguing that there isn't enough domestic metal to go around.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday it may grant quota exemptions on a case by case basis if companies can prove the quality or quantity of available U.S. metal is insufficient.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN

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Suing Women-Only Spaces In The Name of Men’s Rights

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Want to hear the internet explode? Talk about "men's rights." But the movement is real. Activists have shifted into high gear with legal challenges to women-focused companies, university groups and civic projects. It's #HeToo in the age of #MeToo.

Many of the activist leaders are affiliated with the National Coalition For Men. Its mission statement: "Since 1977, NCFM has been committed to ending harmful discrimination and stereotypes against boys, men, their families and the women who love them. We are a gender inclusive, nonpartisan, ethnically diverse organization that effects civil rights reform through advocacy, education, outreach, services and litigation."

There have been challenges for decades, but the uptick in the past couple of years seems to be linked to an increase in women-only efforts — like work collectives — and the #MeToo movement, which was energized by high-profile cases involving allegations of sexual assault and harassment.

Even the U.S. Education Department, under Betsy DeVos, has become more open to civil rights complaints alleging discrimination against men and in campus rape accusations involving male suspects.

Here's a breakdown of some of the recent challenges from #HeToo: 

Yale and USC are under federal investigation for programs that are exclusively for women. 

A group to get more women on the golf course shut down after settling with a plaintiff for holding women-only events.

The head of Chic CEO, which hosted online resources for women, downsized her company after settling a lawsuit alleging the group excluded men from networking events.

The Wing, an exclusive all-women co-working and social space, is under investigation by the New York City Commission on Human Rights for gender discrimination.

One of the highest-profile targets is Ladies Get Paid. It's an organization to swap career and leadership tips. It hosted events in San Diego and Santa Monica advertised as being for women, including trans women, as well as non-binary individuals. No men allowed. Ladies Get Paid was sued for both events, decided to settle the cases and now faces tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

SEE MORE: The Internet Is Pushing Back Against People Who Criticized #MeToo

The founder said she was "stunned" and "never once thought what I was doing was controversial or offensive." An associate of NCFM, Alfred G. Rava, represented the men who brought the suit in California and has handled some 300 other cases, many of them filed under the state's Unruh Civil Rights Act. It outlaws discrimination based on a range of reasons, including sex, race, color, religion and sexual orientation. Barring men because of their sex fits the bill, says NCFM.

Opponents call these lawsuits a distortion of the California law. At their core, activists are battling for legal and cultural wins, and the stakes couldn't be higher. But the men are keeping at it. Can #HeToo and #MeToo coexist?

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Americans Want Medicare For All, But How Do We Pay For it?

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Medicare For All, often referred to as M4A, is a dream to some and pure fantasy to others. The vision is hard to disagree with. 

Everyone — all Americans — would have health care coverage, including dental, vision and hearing benefits, with zero co-pays. No premiums. No deductibles. No annual or lifetime limits. No surprise bills from insurance companies. Coverage from birth to death. Health care would be a right, not a privilege.

Then comes the hard part. The cost. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Medicare for All's leading proponent, says the federal government would cover it with tax dollars. 

Sanders floats a number of options, including:

 —  A 7.5 percent income-based premium paid by employers. Revenue raised: $3.9 trillion over 10 years.

 — A 4 percent income-based premium paid by households. Revenue raised: $3.5 trillion over 10 years.

SEE MORE: Trump's Short-Term Health Insurance Chips Away At Obamacare

He also wants to raise taxes on higher-earning Americans' income and capital gains and limit tax deductions. That would raise $1.8 trillion over 10 years.

But here's the issue: If implemented, M4A would add approximately $32.6 trillion to the federal budget over its first decade, according to a study from George Mason University.  Even doubling all projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections wouldn't cover the cost.

The George Mason researcher says his estimates are conservative because they assume the legislation would achieve Sanders' savings goals of reducing payments to health providers, lowering drug prices and cutting administrative costs.

Sanders, in response, noted that the research center at George Mason is tied to the Koch brothers — who are opposed to M4A.

To hammer out the final details, Sanders has called for a "vigorous debate." Some math will definitely be involved. One thing's for sure: The idea isn't going anywhere any time soon. M4A has the support of about half of Americans and several leading Democrats.

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Tens Of Thousands Of People Displaced After Dam Collapse In Myanmar

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Tens of thousands of people are displaced after a dam collapsed in central Myanmar. At least one person is dead and six others are thought to be missing.

The dam broke early Wednesday morning. Flood waters in some parts of Myanmar are already reportedly receding, and some people are heading back to their homes. 

Yearly heavy monsoon rains have already caused flooding to parts of the country and the region. 

A dam collapsed in the neighboring country of Laos more than a month ago, leaving dozens of people dead and thousands homeless.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.

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