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US Domestic News Roundup: Whit house unveils big project permits; Trump loses bid to dismiss accused case in NY and more


US Domestic News Roundup: Whit house unveils big project permits; Trump loses bid to dismiss accused case in NY and more

WFollowing is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

White House unveils plan to speed big projects permits

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a plan to speed permitting for major infrastructure projects like oil pipelines, road expansions and bridges, one of the biggest deregulatory actions of the president's tenure. The plan, released by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), would help the administration advance big energy and infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL oil pipeline or roads, bridges and federal buildings that President Donald Trump and industry groups complained have been hampered by red tape.

Trump loses bid to dismiss rape accuser's defamation lawsuit in New York

A longtime Elle magazine advice columnist may proceed with her lawsuit accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of defamation for denying he raped her approximately 24 years ago in a Manhattan department store, a New York state judge has ruled. In a decision this week, Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of the state supreme court in Manhattan said Trump failed to show that the judge lacked jurisdiction to hear plaintiff E. Jean Carroll's claims, or that Carroll's efforts to gather evidence should be temporarily put on hold.

Looking for a winner, U.S. Democrats keep Biden and Sanders on top: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders remain the top candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination as potential voters appear increasingly interested in picking a winner this year instead of someone who shares their interests, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday. The national public opinion poll found that Biden has a slight advantage among registered Democrats, though Sanders has the most support when independents are factored in. While each state sets its own rules for picking the party's nominee, two of the early primary states - New Hampshire and South Carolina - allow independents to participate.

U.S. House votes to limit Trump's ability to wage war on Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday to rein in President Donald Trump's ability to engage in military conflict against Iran, days after he ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander. As voting continued, the tally was 224-194, largely along party lines, reflecting the deep divide in Congress between Democrats, who accused Trump of acting recklessly and voted for the resolution, and Trump's fellow Republicans, who strongly back the president.

U.S. House passes measure to limit Trump's ability to wage war on Iran

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday to stop President Donald Trump from further military action against Iran, rebuking the president days after he ordered a drone strike that killed a top Iranian commander and raised fears of war. The Democratic-controlled House voted 224 to 194, mostly along party lines, sending the war powers resolution to the Senate. The partisan vote reflected the deep divide in Congress over Trump's Iran policy and how much of a say lawmakers should have over the use of the military.

U.S. says video of Jeffrey Epstein's first apparent suicide attempt was deleted

U.S. prosecutors said on Thursday that surveillance footage taken from outside the late financier Jeffrey Epstein's cell in the period surrounding his first apparent suicide attempt was permanently deleted by mistake. Officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan "inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier" of the jail, and footage from outside Epstein's cell from July 22 and 23, 2019 "no longer exists," prosecutors said.

U.S. agency considering rule reining in non-compete agreements for workers

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), one of two agencies that enforce antitrust law, is considering a rule aimed at reining in corporations from pushing employees to sign non-compete agreements that prevent them from working for rival companies, officials said at a workshop on Thursday. The practice of requiring workers to sign an agreement barring them from quitting for a similar job elsewhere appears to have begun among white-collar professions, like doctors and tech workers and were aimed at protecting trade secrets and encouraging training of workers. They have since spread to low-wage jobs that require minimal training.

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti backs Biden in Democratic presidential race

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday picked up the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as he attempts to consolidate the support of the Democratic establishment behind his presidential bid. The nod from Garcetti, who has been mayor of the nation's second-largest city since 2013 and flirted with his own presidential run, was considered coveted ahead of the critical California primary in March.

California court says truckers exempt from 'gig worker' law

California's new "gig worker" law does not apply to independent truck drivers because they are subject to federal statute, a Los Angeles judge ruled, handing a victory to one industry that is challenging a state effort to clamp down on labor abuses. The law, known as AB5 and which took effect on Jan. 1, makes it tougher for companies to classify workers as contractors rather than employees, a classification that exempts them from paying for overtime, healthcare and workers' compensation.

U.S. appeals court stays judge's ruling blocking military funds for border wall

A U.S. federal appeals court on Wednesday put on hold a lower court ruling that blocked President Donald Trump's administration from using $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build a wall on the country's border with Mexico. The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay pending the Trump administration's appeal of a Dec. 10 decision by a federal judge that barred the funding transfer.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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