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Tennessee lawmakers advance transgender ‘bathroom bill’

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By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Tennessee lawmaker wants the state’s public indecency law to apply to bathrooms and changing rooms — a move that critics argue is designed to restrict the facilities that transgender people can use.

The bill, which was approved by a House subcommittee Wednesday, is still in the early stages of making its way through the GOP-dominant General Assembly. Still, it has already caught the attention of civil rights activists concerned about its possible similarity to the one North Carolina enacted before eventually repealing due to national backlash.

According to the proposal, Tennessee’s indecent exposure law would be changed from applying to a “public place” to specify that public places include public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms designated for single-sex, multi-person use. To be found guilty, the person would have to be a member of the opposite sex of that designated area and intentionally expose their genitals or “reasonably” expect that the act will be viewed and offend the viewer.



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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s Hollywood ties spark ethics questions in China trade talks

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/ Source: CNBC.com

By Emma Newburger/CNBC

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, one of President Donald Trump’s key negotiators in the U.S.-China trade talks, has pushed Beijing to grant the American film industry greater access to its markets.

But now, Mnuchin’s ties to Hollywood are raising ethical questions about his role in those negotiations. Mnuchin had been a producer in a raft of successful films prior to joining the Trump administration.

In 2017, he divested his stake in a film production company after joining the White House. But he sold that position to his wife, filmmaker and actress Louise Linton, for between $1 million and $2 million, The New York Times reported on Thursday. At the time, she was his fiancée.

That company, StormChaser Partners, helped produce the mega-hit movie “Wonder Woman,” which grossed $90 million in China, according to the Times. Yet, because of China’s restrictions on foreign films, the producers received a small portion of that money. Mnuchin has been personally engaged in trying to ease those rules, which could be a boon to the industry, according to the Times.

Mnuchin’s 2018 disclosure, which was obtained by the Times, shows StormChaser listed as one of Linton’s assets. Because the couple is now married, the asset is considered Mnuchin’s. And he is owed that same $1 million to $2 million, with additional interest, from the company in 2026, the 2018 form disclosed.

Senate Democrats on Thursday questioned Mnuchin about his financial holdings. He responded during the hearing that he has complied with rules of career ethics officials inside the Treasury Department, but declined to discuss details of the transaction.

“I am advised by people at Treasury that I am fully in compliance and I have no ethical issues,” Mnuchin said at the hearing. The Office of Government Ethics has not yet certified his 2018 financial disclosure, the first since his marriage to Linton, the Times reported.

Since trade talks began last year, film lobbyists have met with Mnuchin’s top deputies and officials from the Commerce Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Mnuchin has reportedly been particularly responsive to lobbying from the film industry.

StormChaser did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

A Treasury Department spokesperson said in a statement: “Treasury’s career ethics lawyers certified the Secretary’s financial disclosure on June 27, 2018 and identified no outstanding conflicts of interest. The Secretary is in full compliance with his ethics agreement. We continue to work with the Office of Government Ethics to obtain certification of the disclosure.”

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Pompeo says he remains hopeful about North Korea denuclearization talks

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By Abigail Williams

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that the U.S. is hopeful denuclearization talks with North Korea will continue despite threats by a senior North Korean official to pull out of the negotiations and resume missile testing.

The official, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui, “left open the possibility that negotiations would continue for sure,” Pompeo told reporters. “It’s the administration’s desire that we continue to have conversations.”

He also responded directly to threats that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might consider resuming missile tests.

“In Hanoi, on multiple occasions, he spoke directly to the president and made a commitment that he would not resume nuclear testing, nor would he resume missile testing,” Pompeo said. “That’s Chairman Kim’s word. We have every expectation that he will live up to that commitment.”

North Korea and the United States failed to reach agreement last month at the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim, and the two sides left in a stalemate over how far North Korea must go toward denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Hui blamed Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton for the breakdown in talks.

“I want to make it clear that the gangster-like stand of the U.S. will eventually put the situation in danger,” Choe said, according to The Associated Press. “We have neither the intention to compromise with the U.S. in any form nor much less the desire or plan to conduct this kind of negotiation.”

Pompeo brushed off the attacks.

“It’s not the first time. I have a vague recollection of being called ‘gangster-like’ from a visit that I took one time previously,” Pompeo said. “And following that we continued to have very professional conversation.”

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Bernie Sanders gets stitches after cutting head on shower door

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 / Updated 

By Jane C. Timm

2020 campaign is leaving its mark — on Bernie Sanders’ head.

The Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont independent senator cut his head on the edge of a shower door, his campaign said on Friday, and visited a walk-in clinic as a “precaution.”

He was given seven stitches and an otherwise clean bill of health.

“The senator has proceeded with all of his scheduled events,” the campaign said in a statement.

Sanders, who was a Democratic contender in 2016 before running again for the 2020 nomination, is 77.



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