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Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives failed on Friday to pass a short-term Department of Homeland Security funding bill in a 203-224 vote.

The bill would have been a temporary stopgap keeping the DHS operating until March 19, when Congress would have to vote on funding once again.

Without funding, a DHS shutdown would result in approximately 170,000 employees, including the Coast Guard, border patrol agents and Transportation Security Administration airport screening officials to report to duty without pay. Additionally, as many as 30,000 workers would be sent home without pay.

The inability to pass the bill exposes the deep rift between congressional Democrats and Republicans on President Obama’s executive action and his immigration policies. One of the main contentions over the bill is President Obama’s proposed deportation relief to as many as five million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.


Bangladeshi-American blogger Avijit Roy was murdered by a machete-wielding mob as he and his wife were walking back from a speaking engagement Thursday night in Dhaka.

On his personal Facebook page, Roy described himself as an engineer by profession and a writer by passion.

“I have profound interest in freethinking, skepticism, philosophy, scientific thoughts and human rights of people,” he wrote. “I write in the Internet blogs (mainly in Mukto-Mona) and occasionally in some newspapers covering my interests.”

Roy’s writings have been critical of the idea of religious faith, which is exemplified by his notable book Virus of Faith, though he was never reported to be offensive, abrasive or combative in his views. Ahsan Akbar, a British-Bangladeshi contemporary of Roy’s, noted that he was a “gentle guy who wanted to promote science.”

In response to his criticism of Islam, Roy had received several death threats in the past, but chose to return to Bangladesh nevertheless. Police are now investigating local hard-line religious groups that have praised the killing online.


An Egyptian court on Saturday declared Hamas as a terrorist organization, a ruling seen as keeping with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s crackdown on religious hard-line groups.

The decision comes just days after Egypt adopted a new anti-terrorism law allowing officials to close the premises of any declared terrorist organizations and to freeze their assets as well as the assets of their members.

Egyptian authorities have accused Hamas of aiding armed groups which have committed violent attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Since the ousting of former President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist politician that Hamas supported, scores of policemen and soldiers in Sinai have been killed.