Chicago police officer charged with 16 new counts in shooting case: media

Chicago police officer charged with 16 new counts in shooting case: mediaJason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty through his attorney in a Chicago courtroom to 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm that were issued by a grand jury on March 16 and unsealed on Thursday by a special prosecutor, local media reported. Video footage of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by Van Dyke in October 2014 was released more than a year later, sparking protests and pushing the city into a national debate over police use of force, particularly in minority communities.



Top Senate Democrat promises fight to block Trump high court pick

Top Senate Democrat promises fight to block Trump high court pickThe top U.S. Senate Democrat on Thursday pledged to pursue a procedural hurdle to try to block the confirmation of Republican President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a move that could provoke a nasty partisan fight and change the way the Senate does business. Republicans hold a 52-48 majority in the 100-member Senate, leaving Democrats with an uphill battle to prevent Gorsuch's confirmation.



California board adopts strictest U.S. methane rules

California board adopts strictest U.S. methane rulesCalifornia's air quality board voted unanimously on Thursday to approve methane regulations touted as the strictest adopted yet in the United States for controlling emissions of the second-most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The rules, approved by the California Air Resources Board, tighten efficiency requirements for production and transportation of natural gas and for some oil-handling equipment, including installation of emissions-recapture technology. Methane, the main component of commercially distributed natural gas, is also a byproduct of oil extraction.



Obamacare supporters rally against congressional repeal efforts

Obamacare supporters rally against congressional repeal effortsSupporters of Obamacare staged rallies across the country on Thursday denouncing efforts by President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders to repeal the landmark law that has extended medical insurance coverage to some 20 million Americans. Hundreds of demonstrators turned out in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles marking the seventh anniversary of enactment of Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has become widely known. "I feel sick today, but I came here because I'm terrified," said Steve Martin, 27, an unemployed Los Angeles resident who was diagnosed with cancer a year ago.



Trump demands support in do-or-die Friday vote on healthcare plan

Trump demands support in do-or-die Friday vote on healthcare planU.S. President Donald Trump warned House Republican lawmakers that he will leave Obamacare in place and move on to tax reform if they do not get behind new healthcare legislation and support it in a vote on Friday. It was not clear late on Thursday evening that Trump and the Republican leaders who crafted the bill had enough support to pass it, meaning they now risk defeat in their first attempt at major legislation and may fail to deliver on a key campaign pledge. Ryan and leaders in the House of Representatives were forced to postpone a vote on their healthcare bill, formally called the American Health Care Act, earlier on Thursday, dealing Trump an embarrassing setback.





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