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US Senate Passes Budget Bill Averting Government Shutdown

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More than 70% of the $1.2 trillion funding package will be spent on defense

US lawmakers passed a $1.2 trillion spending bill on Saturday, in a long-overdue action six months into the budget year that has narrowly averted a partial government shutdown.

The Senate approved the measure that will keep the US government funded by a 74-24 vote. The bill has been sent to US President Joe Biden, who has reportedly indicated he would sign it into law.

Senate leaders spent hours on Friday negotiating a number of amendments to it that were ultimately defeated. The delay pushed passage of the legislation beyond the set deadline, midnight on Friday.

More than 70% of the money is set aside for defense spending. The 1,012-page bill provides $886 billion in funding for the US Defense Department, including a boost for American troops.

The bill will also cover the military, homeland security, healthcare, and other services through September 30, after it was passed in the Democrat-led Senate. Funding for these programs was set to expire on March 22.


READ MORE: US lawmakers leave Ukraine aid bill in limbo

The measure, however, did not include funding for military aid to Ukraine, Taiwan or Israel, propositions that are included in a different bill, which the Republican-led House of Representatives has ignored.

It took lawmakers six months into the current fiscal year to reach an agreement on government funding. The process has been slowed by conservatives, who pushed for more policy mandates and steeper spending cuts than the Senate had.

They failed to reach a compromise deal, after Republicans demanded that the package include new funds to protect the country’s border with Mexico.

Following months of negotiations, the two major parties were unable to reach an agreement on the massive foreign-aid bill. The legislation would include some $60 billion for Kiev, more than $14 billion for Israel and around $8 billion for US partners in the Indo-Pacific.

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Victims of Domestic Violence Rally Against Proposed Joint Custody Laws in Japan, Citing Legal System Flaws

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In Japan, the debate over joint custody laws reveals deep societal concerns about family violence and its impact on victims. Critics argue the proposed joint custody laws could endanger victims by inadvertently reconnecting them with abusive ex-partners. Demonstrations have taken place, with advocates arguing that the system lacks effective measures to protect those affected by family violence.

Women, disproportionately impacted, represent a higher percentage of abuse reports. Allegations of physical abuse backed by photographic evidence and medical reports have been dismissed by the courts, leaving victims feeling helpless and ignored. On the other hand, parents deprived of their children’s presence argue the legal system fails to address their grievances or consider the emotional harm inflicted on both children and parents.

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Electricians’ Union Raises Alarm Over Unsafe Practices in Solar Industry

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In Australia, safety and employment conditions in the solar farm industry are raising concerns. There have been reports of unqualified workers, including backpackers on working holiday visas, doing electrical tasks that legally require licensed electricians. The electrical trades union has pointed out cases where trade assistants without proper qualifications or supervision performed risky electrical work.

Incidents include workers installing solar panels in water, posing a risk of electrocution. Poor working conditions have led to dissatisfaction among electricians, who feel their safety concerns and expertise are being ignored. The industry is currently facing a significant demand for electricians due to the rapid expansion of solar farm constructions, with 34 projects underway. The union is urging the renewable energy sector to invest in training a new generation of electricians to meet this demand.

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Tesla Faces Backlash from Cybertruck Owners Citing Multiple Performance Flaws

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