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States Sue to Block Federal Rollback of Rules on Emissions

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, New York Times

States Sue to Block Federal Rollback of Rules on Emissions

A coalition led by California sued the Trump administration over car emissions rules Tuesday, escalating a revolt against a proposed rollback of fuel economy standards that threatens to split the country’s auto market. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, California and its coalition — 16 other states and the District of Columbia — called the Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to weaken auto emissions rules unlawful and accused the agency failing to follow its own rules and of violating the Clean Air Act. “This is about health, it’s about life and death,” Gov. Jerry Brown of California said.

Seven States, Led by Texas, Sue to End DACA Program

Opening another front in the battle over immigration policy, Texas and six other states sued the federal government Tuesday in an attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The lawsuit — joined by Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia — asserts that the Obama administration overstepped its authority when it created the DACA program, which allows people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to remain in the country, without congressional approval. President Donald Trump wants to get rid of DACA, and ordered an end to the program in September, but the repeal has been delayed by legal challenges.

Justice Department Won’t Be Extorted, Rosenstein Warns Republicans

After months of conceding to demands from a small group of House Republicans for more visibility into continuing investigations, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, pushed back Tuesday, declaring that the Justice Department “is not going to be extorted.” His comment came the day after revelations that several of those Republicans had drafted articles of impeachment to use against Rosenstein in case the dispute boiled over. Though their conflict is ostensibly over the Justice Department’s production of sensitive documents to Congress, Democrats believe that the disagreement belies a more fundamental concern for the lawmakers: protecting President Donald Trump from the special counsel investigation, which Rosenstein oversees.

Protest in Puerto Rico Over Austerity Measures Ends in Tear Gas

Thousands of demonstrators joined a general strike in the capital of Puerto Rico on Tuesday to oppose school closings, university tuition increases, and potential cuts to pensions and other benefits. The event began peacefully, but mayhem broke out by the afternoon after the police fired tear gas and pepper spray to end a tense standoff. As the island rebuilds in the wake of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the economy and prompted an exodus of Puerto Ricans left with few options, the protesters said they feared that looming austerity measures would decimate what remained of the island’s middle class and force even more residents to leave.

Pompeo Promises to Return ‘Swagger’ to the State Department

Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson once admitted that he had never known a single American diplomat before joining the Trump administration, a surprising admission for a well-traveled executive that many in Foggy Bottom found insulting and dispiriting. By contrast, his successor, Mike Pompeo, assured hundreds of diplomats Tuesday that he not only knew many of them already, but that he also had a deep appreciation for their work and commitment to the United States. Pompeo also promised he would help American diplomats regain their “swagger,” alluding to a department that had been diminished under Tillerson.

Tick and Mosquito Infections Spreading Rapidly, CDC Finds

The number of people getting diseases transmitted by mosquito, tick and flea bites has more than tripled in the United States in recent years, federal health officials reported Tuesday. Since 2004, at least nine such diseases have been discovered or newly introduced. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials emphasized that it is increasingly important for everyone — especially children — to be protected from outdoor pests with bug repellent. New tick-borne diseases like Heartland virus are showing up in the continental United States, even as cases of Lyme disease and other established infections are growing.

Revelations Over Koch Gifts Prompts Inquiry at George Mason University

The president of George Mason University has ordered an inquiry into whether big-money donors are being given undue influence over academic matters, after documents were released showing that the Charles Koch Foundation had been given a voice in hiring and firing professors. The university president, Angel Cabrera, wrote in an email to faculty Monday night that he was ordering the investigation after learning of documents revealing “problematic gift agreements.” In response, the Koch foundation released a statement saying that the hiring agreements in question had expired and were no longer used, and that in any case, they had allowed the foundation only to recommend candidates for positions.

Ecstasy as PTSD Relief for Soldiers

The drug known by the street names ecstasy or molly could be a promising treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a new study. Research published Tuesday in the British journal The Lancet Psychiatry found that after two sessions of psychotherapy with the party drug, officially known as MDMA, a majority of 26 combat veterans and first responders with chronic PTSD who had not been helped by traditional methods saw dramatic decreases in symptoms. Patients taking the drug also experienced “drastic” improvements in sleep, according to the study. If large-scale trials can replicate safety and efficacy results, the drug could be approved for legal use by 2021.

Should the Cosby Jurors’ Names Stay Secret?

The judge who presided at Bill Cosby’s criminal trial deferred a decision at a hearing Tuesday about whether to release the names of the jurors who convicted Cosby of sexual assault last week, saying he had to balance legal precedent with his strong desire to protect their privacy. The names of jurors are typically public in Pennsylvania, and Judge Steven T. O’Neill, who also presided at Cosby’s first trial, had released the names after that case ended in a mistrial. But O’Neill seemed pained Tuesday at the prospect of releasing the names this time, suggesting that members of the media had figured out their identities and approached them.

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