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January 28, 2016
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In protest against Fox News picking his archenemy, Megyn Kelly, as a debate moderator, Donald Trump has announced plans to host a counter-event in Iowa "to raise money for the veterans and wounded warriors, who have been treated so horribly by our all talk, no action politicians," his campaign announced. The event has raised the eyebrows of more than a few New York City street vendors with special disabled veteran's licenses, who for over a decade faced Trump's unsympathetic attempts to get them removed, The Daily Beast reports.

The New York Daily News discovered last year that in 1991, Trump wrote to the New York State Assembly asking, "While disabled veterans should be given every opportunity to earn a living, is it fair to do so to the detriment of the city as a whole or its tax paying citizens and businesses? ... Do we allow Fifth Avenue, one of the world's finest and most luxurious shopping districts, to be turned into an outdoor flea market, clogging and seriously downgrading the area?"

Trump hadn't let up in 2004, either, when he wrote the mayor to say, "Whether they are veterans or not, [the vendors] should not be allowed to sell on this most important and prestigious shopping street... The image of New York City will suffer... I hope you can stop this very deplorable situation before it is too late."

One peddler who learned of Trump's Iowa event from The Daily Beast called the stunt "disgusting."

The peddler did not expect that this born-again Trump would now favor allowing disabled vets to sell their wares on the golden avenue where his tower stands.

"First class war vets, second class back-at-homes," the peddler said.

He then added, "Go take a picture of the planters."

He meant the large cement planters that Trump has placed outside the tower, not to ward off possible terrorists but to keep away peddlers. [The Daily Beast]

And that's not all: Wounded Warrior Project, who has received funds from Trump publicity events in the past, has not been contacted by Trump about doing an event; other major veterans organizations have said they don't want to take any money Trump makes off promoting himself and will reject his offer, Red State reports. Jeva Lange

12:48 p.m. ET

A crowd of onlookers and a brass band on Sunday applauded the official opening of new, expanded locks in the Panama Canal, which from today can accommodate larger shipping freighters than ever.

A 984-foot container ship from China made the inaugural trip through the new facilities, the first of many such mega ships that will now transport up to 14,000 containers at a time through the canal, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Previously, the largest ships the canal could handle carried just 5,000 containers.

"This is a grand accomplishment for the people of Panama," said U.S. ambassador to Panama John Feeley of the occasion. "This expansion will reconfigure, permanently, the map of the global shipping industry." The expansion took $5.4 billion, 10 years, and 40,000 workers to cpmplete. Bonnie Kristian

12:18 p.m. ET
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Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders said Friday that he would be willing to vote for his competitor, Hillary Clinton, come November, but in a CNN interview Sunday he reiterated that he is not yet ready to formally endorse her.

Clinton will have to "stand up" and "be bolder" than she has been to ensure his voters — who are numerous enough to sink the Clinton campaign in the general election if they chose not to support her — will come around to the presumptive nominee, Sanders said. "Those people voted for me, I believe, because they said it is time to have a president who has the guts to stand up to big money interests," he explained, citing issues including health care, education, and fracking as topics on which he wants to see progress from Clinton.

Sanders also reiterated his strident opposition to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, but maintained that "a lot of that responsibility about winning the American people over to her side is going to rest with Sec. Clinton." Bonnie Kristian

11:51 a.m. ET
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The Supreme Court is due to render judgment Monday on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a major abortion case involving a Texas law which holds independent abortion clinics to state standards for "ambulatory surgical centers" (small facilities that host a limited range of surgeries) and requires the clinics' doctors to have admitting privileges at a full hospital no more than 30 miles away.

Supporters of the law say it is a necessary regulatory protection for women seeking abortions, while opponents note that in practice it has caused most Texan abortion clinics, which failed to meet these standards, to close. This, they say — and the Supreme Court will evaluate — places an "undue burden" on women per the standards of SCOTUS's 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Now, right before the ruling is expected to appear, a state employee has accused the Texas Department of Health Services of intentionally suppressing data relevant to the case and "instructing staff members to mislead people who ask for it." The information in question is the official annual data on abortions performed in Texas in 2014, the first full year the law under review was in effect.

The department has released a provisional data set which does not include the detail the final report will contain. "The data is not final," said spokeswoman Carrie Williams. "If the data were final, we would release it. We hope to have it finalized soon." Bonnie Kristian

11:33 a.m. ET
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Iceland elected its first new president in 20 years on Saturday, picking for the mostly ceremonial office a historian named Guðni Jóhannesson.

A professor at the University of Iceland, Jóhannesson campaigned on an anti-establishment platform, including a proposal to allow citizens to initiate referendums for the whole country of 323,000 to weigh in on proposed legislation. He has never been a member of a political party and only decided to run for office a few months ago.

The previous president, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, served five consecutive four-year terms, but suffered a drop in popularity after the revelation that he, like former Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal. Iceland's parliament, the Alþingi (or Althing), is the oldest extant democratic assembly in the world. Bonnie Kristian

10:58 a.m. ET
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Alexander Hamilton is among the most famous American statesmen to never be president, but the hit Broadway musical based on his life will perhaps help Hillary Clinton do what Hamilton did not.

The Clinton campaign has rented the whole 1,300-seat Richard Rogers Theatre for a special fundraising performance of Hamilton on Tuesday, July 12. Individual tickets start at $2,700 — the same as the maximum individual donation permitted for a given federal candidate per election cycle — though big spenders can pay $100,000 to sit with Clinton herself and get an invite to the Democratic National Convention, which may also host Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The money raised — expected to top $3.5 million — will be split between the Clinton camp and the Democratic National Committee per a joint fundraising agreement. Bonnie Kristian

10:39 a.m. ET

At least two people have died in a fast-moving wildfire in central California which started on Thursday and is finally showing signs of slowing its growth. Firefighters found additional remains in a mobile home Saturday, but they were too badly burned to immediately determine whether the body belonged to a human or an animal.

The fire has spread to cover about 35,000 acres and has destroyed 150 homes so far. Evacuations from affected areas are mandatory, and firefighters say the blaze is 10 percent contained as of Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

10:13 a.m. ET
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry updated his European itinerary to include stops in London and Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union, abbreviating in the process scheduled talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While in each city, Kerry will meet with top diplomats to address the implications of the Brexit vote and urge a careful approach to the extrication process. Kerry believes a smooth transition will help "the marketplace understand there are ways to minimize disruption, there are ways to smartly move ahead in order to protect the values and interests that we share."

"The most important thing," he said in Rome on Saturday, "is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible." Bonnie Kristian

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