Hicks agrees to meet with House committee

Former White House communications director Hope Hicks has agreed to a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee, the panel announced Wednesday, a breakthrough for Democrats who have been frustrated by President Donald Trump’s broad stonewalling of their investigations.

The Judiciary panel subpoenaed Hicks, a close and trusted Trump aide who worked for the presidential campaign and in the White House, last month as part of its investigation into special counsel Robert Mueller’s report and obstruction of justice. Her June 19 interview will mark the first time a former Trump aide has testified before the panel as part of its probe.

Hicks was a key witness for Mueller, delivering important information to the special counsel’s office about multiple episodes involving the president.


Bishops vote to create sex-abuse hotline

U.S. Catholic bishops voted Wednesday to create a new national sex-abuse hotline run by an independent entity, a decision that represents one of the church’s most tangible steps yet in confronting its sex-abuse crisis.

The hotline, which would field allegations that bishops committed abuse or covered it up, would take complaints by telephone and through an online link. It’s supposed to be operating within a year.

Hotline operators would relay allegations to regional supervisory bishops. Church leaders are encouraging those bishops — though not requiring them — to seek help from lay experts in assessing and investigating allegations.

“I can’t imagine a bishop not using a lay-led review board that’s filled with people who have expertise in this area of investigation, people with a legal background or a law enforcement background,” said Robert Barron, the auxiliary bishop of the Los Angeles Archdiocese.


White police officers sue city for discrimination

Twelve white male San Francisco police officers are suing the city, saying they were passed over for promotions because of their race and gender.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Wednesday that the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday in federal court, is the latest round in a conflict that dates back decades. A 13th plaintiff who is now retired says she also was denied promotion, because she is a white lesbian.

The lawsuit challenges a test-scoring method that the city adopted in 1979 in response to a lawsuit from a group representing black and female officers, who alleged discrimination in hiring and promotions.


Study: Evidence proves pot smoked 2,500 years ago

Archaeologists have dug up evidence that people were catching a cannabis buzz way, way before Woodstock, before the Summer of Love and even before there were jazz clubs or alarmist movies warning of “Reefer Madness.” Apparently, the use of cannabis as a mind-altering substance dates back at least 2,500 years.

That’s the conclusion of a new study, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, based on the chemical analysis of cannabis residues found by archaeologists in a Western China burial site.

The report does not change the historical consensus about early cannabis use, but it does add some striking physical evidence for it. Writing in 5th century B.C., Herodotus described people in Central Asia burning the plant and inhaling the smoke in tentlike structures during burial ceremonies.

The residue of the cannabis burned at the western China site was found in wooden containers, or braziers, which held stones that could have been heated to create smoke from plant material. Laboratory tests showed that this cannabis had higher levels of the psychoactive chemical THC than most wild varieties of the plant.

– From news service reports





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