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President Donald Trump’s administration Withdraws Stay Request in Texas Transgender Bathroom Case

President Donald Trump's administration is stepping back from a request in an ongoing lawsuit over bathroom rights for transgender students in public schools.

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FILE - A bathroom sign welcomes both genders at the Cacao Cinnamon coffee shop in Durham, N.C., May 3, 2016. VOA
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President Donald Trump’s administration is stepping back from a request made by the Obama administration in an ongoing lawsuit over bathroom rights for transgender students in public schools.

The Department of Justice on Friday withdrew a motion asking that a temporary injunction blocking Obama administration guidance on the issue only apply to the states suing the federal government.

Texas and 12 other states are challenging the guidance, which directs public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. A federal judge temporarily blocked the directive nationwide last year.

The Obama administration asked that the directive only be put on hold in the 13 states while it appealed. A hearing on that request was set for Tuesday, but Friday’s filing asked that the hearing be canceled, saying the parties are “currently considering how best to proceed in this appeal.”

Meanwhile, a massive crowd energized in opposition to Trump and to a state law limiting LGBT rights streamed into North Carolina’s capital in Raleigh for an annual civil rights march on Saturday.

The “Moral March on Raleigh” was led by the North Carolina NAACP for an 11th year. Participants carried signs promoting issues from gerrymandering and immigration to public education.

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Raleigh police don’t provide crowd estimates. Event organizers predicted 20,000 people. The surface area that the crowd covered neared the march’s previous peak from 2014.

Saturday’s protesters also want to see a repeal of House Bill 2, which limits LGBT rights and which bathrooms transgender people can use. (VOA)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)