stephen jay gould

(september 10, 1941-may 20,2002)
  • Trump calls audience at his Bedminster golf club a 'peaceful protest'

    Trump calls audience at his Bedminster golf club a 'peaceful protest'President Trump said his audience of well-to-do supporters was involved in a “peaceful protest” and therefore did not need to adhere to state coronavirus guidelines prohibiting large gatherings.


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  • Why a Black man from Louisiana is serving a life sentence for stealing hedge clippers

    Why a Black man from Louisiana is serving a life sentence for stealing hedge clippersLouisiana's highest court won't review a life sentence for Fair Wayne Bryant, who was convicted of attempting to steal a pair of hedge clippers in 1997.


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  • Woman confronting vandals covered in paint during renewed Portland protests

    Woman confronting vandals covered in paint during renewed Portland protestsProtesters in Portland allegedly threw white paint over a woman, as demonstrators clashed with police for a third consecutive day.On Friday, following two days of protests marred by vandalism, more than 200 people clashed with police, as two other Black Lives Matter protests marched peacefully through the city.


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  • The Russian owner who abandoned the ship full of ammonium nitrate that caused the Beirut explosion has been questioned by police in Cyprus, reports say

    The Russian owner who abandoned the ship full of ammonium nitrate that caused the Beirut explosion has been questioned by police in Cyprus, reports sayIgor Grechushkin was questioned by Cyprus police on Thursday over the MV Rhosus, the ship that carried ammonium nitrate to Beirut, local reports say.


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  • A Sampling of Work From Mexico City’s Top Talents 

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  • Out of work and with families to feed, some Americans are lining up at food banks for the first time in their lives

    Out of work and with families to feed, some Americans are lining up at food banks for the first time in their livesFood assistance programs across the country are preparing for another spike in need with federal unemployment benefits ending.


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  • Should Judge Sullivan Be Disqualified from Flynn Case? An Appeals Court Is Asking

    Should Judge Sullivan Be Disqualified from Flynn Case? An Appeals Court Is AskingMaybe Judge Luttig was right all along.I had the misgivings you’d expect back in late May, when I disagreed with J. Michael Luttig, the stellar scholar and former federal appeals court judge, regarding how the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals should handle the Flynn case.At the time, that court’s three-judge panel had not yet heard oral argument on Michael Flynn’s mandamus petition — i.e., Flynn’s request that the panel find that federal district judge Emmet Sullivan was acting lawlessly. Sullivan had not only failed to grant the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the criminal case against Flynn; he had appointed a former federal judge (the overtly anti-Trump John Gleeson) to posit the argument abandoned by DOJ — to wit, that Flynn should proceed to sentencing because he had pled guilty to a false-statements charge, waiving his right to contest the case any further in exchange for the government’s agreement not to file any other charges. Basically, Flynn was asking the appellate court to order Judge Sullivan to dismiss the case.In a Washington Post op-ed, Luttig contended that “there are ample grounds in the actions the district court has already taken for the appeals court to order that the government’s motion to dismiss be heard by a different judge, and it should so order.”It is interesting to revisit this assessment in light of an order issued by the D.C. Circuit on Wednesday. The Circuit directed that the participants in the dispute over Judge Sullivan’s actions, including Judge Sullivan himself, must address the question of whether Sullivan should either recuse himself or be disqualified by the Circuit. Arguments in the case will be heard this coming Tuesday, August 11, in a rare en banc review by the full Circuit (i.e., all active judges who have not taken senior status, minus one who has recused himself, so it will be a ten-judge panel).Let’s back up for a moment.Back in May, I disagreed with Luttig because I thought the more important issue was prejudice to Flynn, not the harm Sullivan’s apparent bias was causing to the court’s integrity. At the time, the D.C. Circuit had given Sullivan ten days to respond to Flynn’s mandamus petition. I argued that, rather than reassigning the case to another judge, the Circuit should give Sullivan a chance to explain himself. If he was unable to do that to the Circuit’s satisfaction, I posited that the Circuit should then order him to dismiss the case.After Luttig and I, among other commentators, weighed in on what the appellate court should do, a three-judge panel heard argument. The panel granted Flynn’s mandamus petition and ordered Sullivan to dismiss the case. The 2–1 majority reasoned that, with possible exceptions that do not apply in Flynn’s case, the Justice Department’s discretion to end a prosecution is unreviewable. A dissenting opinion countered that mandamus, which is an extraordinary remedy disfavored by courts absent truly egregious judicial lawlessness, was premature — i.e., that Sullivan should be permitted to conduct a hearing and, if he decided not to grant dismissal, Flynn could then appeal. That would be the normal route to appellate review in a criminal case.After the panel ruled for Flynn, Judge Sullivan asked the Circuit to rehear the case en banc. Sullivan’s petition was remarkable because he is not a party in the case. The only parties in a criminal prosecution are the government and the accused. The judge is the arbiter, not a litigant. The court is not supposed to have a stake in the outcome. It is unseemly for a judge to act as if he has become invested in the outcome of a case the way a party is. It strongly suggests a loss of judicial perspective.Nevertheless, the D.C. Circuit granted Judge Sullivan’s petition. It vacated the panel’s ruling and agreed to full-court review.At first blush, this seemed like doom for Flynn. After all, the full court skews heavily Democratic: seven of the ten judges who will hear the case were appointed by Democratic presidents. There are only four Republican appointees, and as noted above, one (appointed by President Trump) has recused himself. In modern times, there are enough blatantly politicized judicial decisions that people can be forgiven for assuming that partisanship always trumps law. Indeed, in the three-judge panel decision, the two majority judges who ruled in Flynn’s favor were Republican appointees, while the dissenter was a Democratic appointee.Nevertheless, the mandamus litigation in Flynn’s case is not a brute political matter. Anyone who listened to the oral argument could tell how reluctant the judges seemed about issuing a mandamus writ against Judge Sullivan, even if they were convinced that he was wrong on the law. Furthermore, the main Circuit precedent, United States v. Fokker Services B.V. (2016), which clearly indicates that the Justice Department’s dismissal motion should be granted, was written by Chief Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan. He is often touted as a potential Supreme Court nominee in a future Democratic administration. For him, then, the case is a Catch-22: Walking away from his own reasoning in Fokker would be a bad look, while ruling in Flynn’s favor would be very unpopular among Democrats. In addition, we should note that any of the Circuit’s judges could have asked for en banc review by the full court. None did. The case is being heard because Sullivan himself pressed the issue.The complications presented by the mandamus dispute were evident in the Circuit’s initial order scheduling the rehearing en banc, which added an intriguing directive: “The parties should be prepared to address whether there are ‘no other adequate means to attain the relief’ desired” (quoting from the Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in Cheney v. U.S. District Court). I interpret this somewhat cryptic assertion to indicate that, while the Circuit judges have agreed to reconsider the panel’s ruling because courts are generally hostile to mandamus, that hardly means the judges approve of the circus that Sullivan has made of the Flynn proceedings.The judges seemed to be signaling that they know the case should be dismissed, but they’d prefer not to slam a longtime district judge if there is some way to avoid doing so. Perhaps they could deny the writ, but couch the denial in a way that reminded Judge Sullivan that a court must neither take over the prosecutor’s role nor probe the executive’s decision-making in a matter that the Constitution commits to executive discretion.That is what makes Wednesday’s subsequent order regarding the en banc proceeding so interesting. The Circuit instructs counsel for Flynn, the Justice Department, and Judge Sullivan to consider the effect of Congress’s disqualification statute (Section 455 of Title 28, U.S. Code). Specifically, the participants in the mandamus dispute are told to address the law’s mandate that a judge be disqualified “in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” particularly if the judge “is a party to the proceeding.”Manifestly, at least some of the Circuit’s judges (I’d wager most of them) are disturbed by the degree to which Judge Sullivan has exhibited bias and become invested in Flynn’s case. This is exactly the problem on which Judge Luttig focused back in May.It could thus turn out that Luttig presciently homed in on the dispositive issue. I believe, though, that it’s more a matter of new developments breaking, perhaps inevitably, in favor of disqualification. At the time Luttig wrote his op-ed, I still think it would have been premature for an appeals court to jump in and disqualify Judge Sullivan. The parties were not pushing for Sullivan to be removed, just that he be directed to grant the dismissal motion. And even in making his disqualification argument, Luttig conveyed some hesitation. He said the Circuit panel should grant the mandamus but in a more limited way than Flynn was suggesting: Have Judge Sullivan pick a different adviser (someone other than the explicitly biased Gleeson), then promptly rule on the motion to dismiss, explaining his reasoning in full so the appellate court could review it.That is not consistent with Luttig’s other suggestion of having the case reassigned to another judge. But it was right: As things stood back in May, Sullivan should have been given an opportunity to do the right thing. Most of us were hoping he’d correct himself, rather than need to be corrected by a higher court.Plus, let’s put personalities aside, as well as the understandable distaste judges have for mandamus (which essentially asks them to dress down a colleague). A federal appeals court also has very practical reasons for discouraging mandamus. The regular appellate process calls for a criminal case to be appealed only at the end of the lower court proceeding. At that point, the trial or plea is over, sentence has been imposed, the judgment has been entered, and the appeals court can deal with all the claims of error at once, with finality. Courts do not want to encourage litigants to start viewing mandamus as a way to appeal to the higher court in the middle of the lower court proceedings, any time a party claims a judge has made an error. Chaos would reign and cases would never end.That said, things have significantly changed in the nearly three months since we analysts first opined on the mandamus dispute.For one thing, Judge Sullivan retained his own counsel to argue the case on his behalf before the panel, as if he were a party. Then, when the panel’s decision did not go the way he wanted it to go, he took the highly unusual step of seeking en banc review. As the Justice Department pointed out, Sullivan did not have standing to seek reconsideration; he is not a party and did not comply with the rules government officials are supposed to follow before seeking a rehearing.More to the point, by seeking full-court reconsideration of the mandamus matter when both the Justice Department and Flynn are seeking dismissal of the case, Sullivan is both causing prejudice to the defendant and stoking suspicion about the executive branch’s motives. How, then, could Sullivan continue to be considered a fair and impartial judge, fit to rule on the Justice Department’s dismissal motion?That question may signal something about the wisdom of the D.C. Circuit judges that I previously failed to appreciate. The Justice Department’s contention that Sullivan lacks standing seemed compelling to me. I was surprised when the Circuit appeared to ignore it in granting Sullivan’s request for full-court review; I thought they’d deny it and let the panel’s ruling stand. But is it possible that the Circuit saw this as a graceful off-ramp? When none of the Circuit’s judges asked for full-court reconsideration, that signaled to Sullivan that if he wanted it, he would have to ask for it himself. The Circuit judges probably calculated that if the irascible Sullivan made a formal application for rehearing en banc, it would be manifest that he had transformed himself into a party in the Flynn case. Then the Circuit could use the disqualification rule to nudge him aside for the sake of maintaining the judiciary’s reputation for objectivity. That would avoid all the downsides of issuing a mandamus writ while gently reminding lower court judges that they are supposed to remain umpires in these contests, not become one of the players.To sum up, whatever one may have thought about the gravity of Sullivan’s irregular behavior back in May, he has now clearly crossed the Rubicon. It is incumbent on him to recuse himself. If he can’t bring himself to do that — a failure that would further demonstrate a lack of judicial detachment — the D.C. Circuit should disqualify him. Either way, the case should be reassigned to a new judge, who should promptly grant the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss.I’ll conclude with a verity that seems sadly lost on Judge Sullivan: Granting the Justice Department’s dismissal motion would not be a judicial endorsement of the motion, much less a court ruling that Flynn is not guilty. Judge Sullivan is absolutely entitled to believe the Justice Department is wrong to dismiss the case, and that Flynn is as guilty as the day is long. What a judge is not entitled to do, however, is substitute his view for the prosecutor’s on the question of whether a prosecution should continue. In our system, separation of powers principles make that the Justice Department’s call.


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  • New 'threat' against former Saudi spy in Canada: media

    New 'threat' against former Saudi spy in Canada: mediaA former senior Saudi intelligence official who has accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of trying to have him assassinated in 2018 has been placed under heightened security after a new threat on his life, a Canadian newspaper reported. The Globe and Mail said Canadian security services had been informed of a new attempted attack on Saad Aljabri, who lives at an undisclosed location in the Toronto region. Aljabri served as a counterespionage chief under a rival prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted in 2017 by Prince Mohammed.


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  • Fort Hood commander's transfer on hold amid investigations

    Fort Hood commander's transfer on hold amid investigationsArmy leaders have delayed the planned transfer of the Fort Hood commander, as a team of independent investigators heads to the base to determine whether leadership failures contributed to the murder of a soldier earlier this year, and several other deaths. Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, commander of Fort Hood, Texas, was slated to go to Fort Bliss, which is near El Paso, and take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division. Command of a division is a key step in an Army officer's career.


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  • Bars over schools: Why your kids will probably learn from home this fall

    Bars over schools: Why your kids will probably learn from home this fallLawmakers and educators battle over how to reopen schools safely this fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.


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  • Former US soldiers sentenced to 20 years for bungled Venezuelan coup plot

    Former US soldiers sentenced to 20 years for bungled Venezuelan coup plotA Venezuelan court sentenced two former US special forces soldiers to 20 years in prison for their part in a failed beach attack aimed at overthrowing President Nicolas Maduro, prosecutors announced late on Friday. Former Green Berets Luke Denman and Airan Berry admitted to taking part in the May 4 operation orchestrated by a third ex-US soldier who remains in the United States, Venezuelan's chief prosecutor Tarek William Saab announced on Twitter. "THEY ADMITTED THEIR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACTS," Saab wrote, adding that the case will continue for dozens of other defendants. He did not offer details. "Operation Gideon" was launched from makeshift training camps in neighbouring Colombia and left at least eight rebel soldiers dead while a total of 66 were jailed. Former Green Beret Jordan Goudreau, who operated a private, Florida-based security firm called Silvercorp USA, claimed responsibility for the failed attack. Venezuelan prosecutors announced that Denman and Berry, both decorated former US service members, were found guilty of conspiracy, trafficking in illegal arms and terrorism.


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  • Could a World War II Shipwreck Cause the Next Beirut-Like Explosion?

    Could a World War II Shipwreck Cause the Next Beirut-Like Explosion?The SS Richard Montgomery is basically a bomb waiting to go off.


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  • Fact check: Sex crimes by public officials not connected to Ghislaine Maxwell

    Fact check: Sex crimes by public officials not connected to Ghislaine MaxwellPosts say sex crimes by dozens of public officials are connected to Ghislaine Maxwell, an associate of Jeffrey Epstein. But they're not.


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  • Robber snatches California man's life savings in front of bank

    Robber snatches California man's life savings in front of bankFrancisco Cornejo walking to his car after making a hefty withdrawal from his account. He was carrying 200-thousand dollars when a robber attacked him and ripped away Conejo's bag of money. The thief escaped with the money and has yet to be arrested.


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  • U.S. officials find 'sophisticated' smuggling tunnel on Mexican border

    U.S. officials find 'sophisticated' smuggling tunnel on Mexican borderThe tunnel was found on Tuesday in the desert near San Luis, Arizona by federal agents led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's investigative arm, the agency said in a press release Friday. Authorities have located hundreds of tunnels over the years under the Southwest border, saying they are used by drug cartels and criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics, people and weapons back and forth between the two countries. The tunnel found this week measured 3 feet by 4 feet (91 cm by 1.22 meters) and included a "ventilation system, water lines, electrical wiring, rail system, [and] extensive reinforcement," ICE said.


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  • Putin’s Got Big Problems in Russia’s Provinces

    Putin’s Got Big Problems in Russia’s ProvincesMOSCOW—The city of Khabarovsk, a sprawling, industrial metropolis about 5,000 miles east of the capital—the Bolsheviks turned it into a hub for serving Siberian prison camps, in the middle of nowhere by design—is about as far from the seat of Russian power as geographically possible. But it’s suddenly at the center of Russian politics these days. For the past three weeks, thousands of people have come out daily in Khabarovsk to protest the country’s top-down rule, what President Vladimir Putin once called his “vertical of power. “Wake up, cities, our Motherland is in trouble,” protesters chanted in the rain one Friday evening. Banners that read, “Putin, you lost my trust!” and “Down with the Tsar!” floated above people’s heads.Despite the Kremlin’s best efforts to hide them, problems have been bubbling up in Russia’s provinces, transforming local issues into the most dynamic arena for dissent, protest, and opposition in the country’s political system and fueling Russia’s version of post-lockdown unrest.   The arrest of Khabarovsk’s popular regional governor sparked the anti-Putin uprising that has drawn up to 60,000 people into the streets in this usually sleepy backwater. The arrested governor was a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, which had for years been loyal to Putin. Yet even the party’s leader, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, told The Daily Beast that the provincial protests could spread, as people are fed up with the lies and media manipulation in the Putin system. “This is a genuine, wonderful, peaceful protest, but federal television channels do not cover them, and that offends people,” he said.Millions of Russians are still watching the Far East rallies online. People are outraged by unemployment, corruption, pollution, and failing government. “For as long as we have a one-party system, you will have the Khabarovsk protests,” Zhirinovsky recently declared from the tribune of the State Duma. “I have suggested to them a long time ago to have at least two parties, but they want to have the majority,” Zhirinovsky told The Daily Beast about Putin’s United Russia party. Putin continues the tradition of single-party system that began under Lenin, Zhirinovsky said.Two thousand miles away from Khabarovsk sits another provincial city, Norilsk, with its giant factory that is the source of a fifth of the world’s nickel and half of the precious metal palladium. Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city and also Russia’s most polluted; visitors stepping off a plane are greeted by air that leaves an unforgettable metallic taste in the mouth. But even by Norilsk’s own abysmal standards, this summer was a horrific one for the environment: Its factory, Norilsk Nickel, spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of red-hued diesel fuel into what locals now call “rivers of blood.” The rain smells of chemicals. The diesel fuel spill was caused by the collapse of a rust-covered storage tank at a heat and power plant on May 29. Local bureaucrats and the factory kept quiet about the disaster for two days as the red, oily rivers spread pollutants through the fragile tundra environment in what Greenpeace would later call the “biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of Russia’s Arctic.” Authorities initially tried to hide the disaster, in the same way state television channels have attempted to ignore the protests in Khabarovsk. Russians only learned of the spill from social media. Six weeks later, with still no word of any official reprimand for the spill, the factory dumped another round of toxic waste—this time, intentionally—right onto the tundra.Two reporters from the independent paper Novaya Gazeta, Yelena Kostyuchenko and Yuri Kozyrev, had traveled to Norilsk after the spill to see the pollution with their own eyes. The reporters discovered a stream with orange bubbles and a lake covered in white foam, surrounded by dead trees. But it had nothing to do with the diesel spill. “Two large pipes were pumping and dumping white toxic waste with a sharp chemical smell onto the tundra when we arrived,” Kostyuchenko told The Daily Beast. Novaya Gazeta’s report raised the alarm with local prosecutors and police, so the factory sent a bulldozer to quickly dismantle the pipes. Then, the bulldozer accidentally crushed a police car while backing up. Environmentalists witnessed a wild scene: A huge number of Norilsk Nickel’s security services were demolishing their factory’s pipes in front of police and officials from the emergency ministry and Russia’s natural resources regulatory agency, Rospotrebnadzor.Meanwhile, some Russian politicians started to call for the Kremlin to take control of the factory—owned by the country’s richest oligarch, Vladimir Potanin—and nationalize it. Potanin, a former member of the Communist Party, obtained the Norilsk factory on the cheap during the privatization of the 1990s. Since then, he’s seemed untouchable. After all, according to Kremlin-watcher Mikhail Zygar, the billionaire has always paid up for problems at the factory in the only currency that counts: loyalty to the Russian president. “People like Potanin are happy to pay for all [Putin’s] projects, for anything he ever wants,” said Zygar, author of All the Kremlin’s Men: Inside the Court of Vladimir Putin. Soviet and post-Soviet bureaucrats have a long history of attempting to hide the truth about disasters from the public, no matter how deadly—most famously after the 1986 nuclear accident in Chernobyl. Last year, an experimental missile exploded in the Arctic, releasing radioactivity into the air, and the official reaction was silence. So, too, in the first days after the fuel spill. Officials were even reluctant to break the bad news to Putin himself. “One has to earn the right to report bad news to Vladimir Vladimirovich,” said Sergei Markov, a political analyst close to the Kremlin. “It must have taken a few days before the decision-makers on various steps of power figured out who would be the one to break the news.”On the fifth day after the fuel spill, four people lined up shoulder to shoulder to report the truth about the accident to Putin in an online meeting: the oligarch Potanin; Svetlana Radionova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor; Yevgeny Zinichev, the minister of emergency situations; and Viktor Uss, the Krasnoyarsk regional governor.Zinichev told the president that “the event itself, the emergency situation, was localized on June 1. We have installed booms, so there is no development.” Radionova, in contrast, talked about “unprecedented” pollution. “We registered an increase by dozens of thousands of times,” after the diesel fuel spilled into the rivers, she told Putin.Potanin was the last to speak. He promised to dip into his wealth and pay for the damage. The accident would cost “not a ruble from the state budget.” Putin wanted to know how much, exactly, the company was going to pay. The billionaire paused.Putin pressed Potanin on how much money he was willing to pay to compensate for the damage. “Billions and billions” of rubles, or tens of millions of dollars, the oligarch finally told the president. “And how much does one reserve tank cost that you are going to replace now? If you replaced it on time, there would not have been such damage and such cost to the environment,” the president replied.According to Forbes Real Time, which gauges wealth, in the weeks after the accident Potanin’s net worth dropped by more than $3.6 billion, but he is currently worth $23 billion, which still allows him the title of Russia’s richest man. The World Wide Fund for Nature has addressed an open letter to Potanin, calling him personally to “take the full responsibility” for polluting the Arctic.  But money for the clean-up aside, Potanin is unlikely to face real repercussions for the spill. Earlier this summer Putin’s inspector,  Radionova, flew to Norilsk to calculate fines for the factory—but, according to Transparency International, she flew there on Potanin’s own Bombardier Challenger private jet, instead of taking a regular flight. Radionova has also been accused of corruption by the foundation of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, which revealed documents for luxurious real estate in Moscow and Nice that suggest Radionova is the owner. “Such wealth cannot be explained. It is so outrageous,” Navalny said in his report on YouTube, viewed by more than 3 million people. Meanwhile, experts warn that Russia is ill-equipped to prevent another environmental disaster. After the diesel spill, a member of the board of directors at Norilsk Nickel, Yevgeny Shvarts, admitted on a television talk show that the storage tank that had collapsed was the newest piece of equipment at his company. “This is terrifying: One of Russia’s richest companies considers a tank made in 1985 their newest piece of equipment. That means things are much worse than we thought,” the show’s host, Vladimir Slivyak, told to The Daily Beast. He expressed concern that many other Russian factories are also storing diesel fuel in even older tanks: “Such accidents might take place any time.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • Stimulus bill talks hit another dead end after 2 weeks of negotiations

    Stimulus bill talks hit another dead end after 2 weeks of negotiationsCongressional Democrats and White House leaders didn't solve anything during a Friday meeting meant to hammer out the next CARES Act, closing out a second week of negotiations with next to nothing to show for them.The main problem, CNN's Phil Mattingly reports, is that Democrats don't have the votes to support any bill under $2 trillion and Republicans won't accept anything over it. Those sticking points led to what Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called a "disappointing meeting" with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows on Friday.While Democrats offered to slash $1 trillion off their $3.4 trillion proposal if Republicans added $1 trillion to theirs to meet in the middle, the White House officials refused, Pelosi told reporters after the meeting. "I've told them, 'Come back when you are ready to give us a higher number,'" Pelosi continued. Pelosi later issued a statement to House Democrats laying out just how far apart the parties are on the bill.> .@SpeakerPelosi, in letter to House Dems, lists off just how many major outstanding issues remain in the coronavirus relief talks: pic.twitter.com/xtnjbHZXaG> > — Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) August 7, 2020The impasse means out-of-work Americans are still without a boost to their unemployment insurance, after Democrats refused to agree to Republicans' standalone measure to temporarily continue the $600/week addition that's been in place since early in the pandemic. Time is also running short on divvying funding to improve online education programs, as some schools have already reopened.More stories from theweek.com Trump attempts to bypass Congress with slew of pandemic-related executive orders Trump would reportedly 'show off' the capabilities of weapons systems he was briefed on to impress billionaires Does Biden's running mate really matter?


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  • Iran asks UN to hold US accountable for plane interception

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  • Trump said people of color 'just set a record for new jobs.' Data show the unemployment rate for Black Americans has barely changed in the last month.

    Trump said people of color 'just set a record for new jobs.' Data show the unemployment rate for Black Americans has barely changed in the last month.The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate for Black Americans "showed little change over the month."


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  • Police Officer Fired After Allegedly Mishandling Explicit Photos of Slain University of Utah Student

    Police Officer Fired After Allegedly Mishandling Explicit Photos of Slain University of Utah StudentThe Salt Lake Tribune had reported that the officer had downloaded, shared and bragged about the photos


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  • A 46-year manhunt comes to an end in New Mexico

    A 46-year manhunt comes to an end in New MexicoThe FBI arrested a fugitive convicted for shooting and injuring a Denver cop who escaped custody decades ago.


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  • India landslide: Dozens feared dead after flooding in Kerala

    India landslide: Dozens feared dead after flooding in KeralaUp to 20 houses are buried under debris in the state of Kerala, with rescue efforts under way.


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  • New York is moving homeless people into luxury hotels to protect them against coronavirus and wealthy neighbourhoods aren't happy

    New York is moving homeless people into luxury hotels to protect them against coronavirus and wealthy neighbourhoods aren't happyNew York was in the midst of a record homelessness crisis even before the coronavirus hit. Some 60,000 people were filling municipal shelters across the city every night. Nearly a third of that number was living in dorm-style facilities for single adults, sharing bathrooms, dining areas and sleeping facilities.“When Covid struck, we recognised very quickly this was a recipe for disaster,” said Jacqueline Simone, of Coalition for the Homeless, a New York charity. The problem was only going to get worse, they warned, as the economic crisis caused by the pandemic deepened.


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  • What wasn’t the US telling about Hiroshima? A reporter found out.

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  • Christiane Lemieux and Anthropologie Team Up for the Launch of Her Newest Collection

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  • Michigan official uses racial slur when asked about masks

    Michigan official uses racial slur when asked about masksIn an interview, Tom Eckerle doubled down on his use of the N-word, repeating it over and over again.


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  • How Nicola Sturgeon has secretly massaged Scotland’s coronavirus record

    How Nicola Sturgeon has secretly massaged Scotland’s coronavirus recordNicola Sturgeon spent much of July telling anyone who would listen that the prevalence of coronavirus in England was “five times” higher than in Scotland. The figure was deployed to justify her refusal to rule out effectively closing the border by imposing quarantine on travellers from England, and her highly controversial move to set her a Scotland-only policy on air bridges, which airports warned put livelihoods at risk. The day after she first made the claim, masked nationalists in hazmat suits descended on the border near Berwick-upon-Tweed, shouting abuse at English “plague carriers”.


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  • France and Germany pulled out of talks to reform the WHO because the US was trying to take control, according to a report

    France and Germany pulled out of talks to reform the WHO because the US was trying to take control, according to a reportThe US, who said last month that they will leave the WHO in July 2021, is trying to dictate the terms, according to several European officials.


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  • A stranded tanker carrying 4,000 tons of fuel has breached and is leaking oil into the pristine, azure waters of the Indian Ocean

    A stranded tanker carrying 4,000 tons of fuel has breached and is leaking oil into the pristine, azure waters of the Indian OceanThe MV Wakashio ran aground off Mauritius on July 25. Cracks emerged in the hull on Friday after the ship was battered by strong winds.


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  • Is France helping Lebanon, or trying to reconquer it?

    Is France helping Lebanon, or trying to reconquer it?It was almost as if Emmanuel Macron forgot that Lebanon is no longer a French protectorate. Visiting explosion-ravaged Beirut this week, France’s leader comforted distraught crowds, promised to rebuild the city and claimed that the blast pierced France’s own heart. “France will never let Lebanon go,” Macron said.


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  • China sentences another Canadian to death on drugs charges

    China sentences another Canadian to death on drugs chargesAs relations between the countries remain fraught, the man has been accused of producing ecstasy.


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  • How Is New York Having Crazy Parties With No COVID Surge?

    How Is New York Having Crazy Parties With No COVID Surge?Bikini-packed pool parties. Insane backyard blowouts. Unhinged prom bashes.Spectacular scenes of COVID-19 recklessness have emerged from New Jersey in recent weeks, alarming state leaders into implementing new restrictions to curb the tide of rising coronavirus cases and prompting plenty of snickering about the Jersey Shore. But a looming question has plagued experts as similar signs of non-compliance have been witnessed across the Hudson River in New York—without the same upticks.New Jersey and New York have had similar regulations, travel restrictions, and contact tracing efforts. Giant, raucous boat parties in New York are making headlines, too. So why aren’t infection rates following suit the same way? Why are two states that were both early coronavirus hot spots on seemingly divergent courses all these months later?As of Thursday, New Jersey’s case rate per 100,000 people was 30 over the past seven days, according to The New York Times. The state had a positivity rate of 1.77 percent on its tests over the past week, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. For the past month, that number was 1.52 percent. The state was testing 2.3 people per 1,000, a rate that was trending downward according to Johns Hopkins.Those figures might seem perfectly fine in the abstract, but they amounted to an ominous trend.“The numbers are setting off alarms,” New Jersey Gov. Philip Murphy said last Friday. “We are standing in a very dangerous place.”Meanwhile, New York’s case rate per 100,000 was 24 over the past seven days, according to the Times. This week, the state had a positivity rate of 0.97 percent on its tests, according to Johns Hopkins. For the past month, that number was 1.06 percent. The state was testing 3.5 people per 1,000, a rate that was trending upward according to Johns Hopkins.Conversations with a wide array of public health experts, local health officials, and disease modelers suggested the reasons for the split were still very much out of focus. But hypotheses ranged from subtle differences in pandemic restrictions to the perception of New York as being more inclined toward aggressive enforcement, deterring non-compliance and would-be spreaders from traveling there.‘Worse Than New York’: How Coronavirus Exploded in South Carolina“Up until this week the restrictions on indoor gatherings were way too high” in New Jersey, said Dr. David Rubin, the director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has modeled the pandemic in collaboration with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. “That was really problematic, particularly with people gathering on the Jersey Shore, which also has a long coastline and is a big vacation destination.”Of course, New Jersey’s cases and test positivity rates were nowhere near as concerning as those in hot zones like Texas or Florida. And New York is still finding more COVID-19-positive people on any given day than its neighbor, thanks to its much larger population. But the trendlines in Jersey have concerned state authorities, and last Friday, Murphy squarely placed the blame for new cases on residents not following the rules.“Everyone who walks around refusing to wear a mask, or who hosts an indoor house party, or who overstuffs a boat, is directly contributing to these increases,” Murphy told reporters. “This has to stop.”It didn’t.Just one day later, about 300 bikini-clad and maskless guests spilled out of a massive pool party in Alpine, New Jersey, when police showed up to break up the crowd, NBC New York reported. The party was advertised on social media and by DJs as “The Lavish Experience Pool Party,” and the unidentified host told local reporters that “it got out of control.”Promoters had posted about the party, and party buses pulled up outside. “It’s been happening all summer,” one neighbor told The New York Post. “The owner of the house doesn’t care, the mayor doesn’t care. There’s cursing, loud music, drugs.”Alpine Mayor Paul Tomasko, for what it’s worth, told the local NBC station that such parties were under investigation by local police, state officials, and the county prosecutor’s office.A few weeks earlier, a “BikiniPalooza” event was held at the same mansion, with some neighbors calling it “a night club.” It received the same promotional treatment, according to posts on Instagram.Murphy has said the event involved “close congregation and not a lot of face covering, if any.”In the aftermath, the governor announced on Monday that he would reduce the limit on indoor gatherings to 25 percent capacity, capped at 25 people total. Until this week, it had been capped at 100. By contrast, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order on COVID-19 has for some time prohibited crowds of non-essential workers over 50 people indoors. The rate of transmission in New Jersey jumped from 0.87 a month ago to 1.48 on Monday, Murphy said, meaning that people were spreading the virus more readily.“This is no time for complacency, for selfishness, or for thinking that someone else can wear a mask but not you,” Murphy tweeted on Wednesday. “Do your part.”Carrie Nawrocki, executive director at the Hudson Regional Health Commission, which oversees a population of about 675,000 and includes Jersey City, said her area has seen “extensive delays with testing turnaround time,” making it “difficult to get an accurate picture of the daily cases we have.”Nawrocki said that there has not been a significant increase in case numbers among the 18-29 age group, but that she doesn’t “think that’s necessarily the age group that’s going to get tested as often, especially if they are not adhering to social distancing.”“We have enough contact tracers and disease investigators for every new case that comes in, so we are reaching out to everyone and we haven’t identified one specific reason why people are getting COVID,” said Nawrocki. “My guess would be that they have to do with travel.”That being said, NJ.com reported that state officials warned in recent weeks that the 18-29 age group was the fastest-growing in the state to test positive for COVID-19, and Murphy has certainly pointed the finger at large indoor parties hosted by younger people. Dozens of new cases have been traced to house parties in towns like Westfield and Middletown.Still, the same recklessness—yelling, cheering, drinking and singing without masks—has been reported in New York City. On bistro patios, on crowded boats, and in the middle of crowded streets.“We’re drinking to everyone’s health,” a 31-year-old consultant who was drinking a beer with running buddies at a sports bar told Bloomberg News last month. “We could’ve stopped the virus a long time ago if they gave us clear directions. Now, they want to blame it on us.”Last weekend, officials in New York City broke up an alleged sex party of about 30 people in Midtown on Friday and then, a day later, busted a party boat filled with 170 revelers. Authorities arrested the owners of the ship, the Liberty Belle, for allegedly violating the state's ban on large crowds and for running a bar without a license.On Sunday, the New York State Liquor Authority issued violations for 24 city establishments that violated social distancing guidelines, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office. The state has also reportedly opened an investigation into a July 25 outdoor charity concert in the Hamptons that was attended by more than 2,000 people. As of this weekend, the total number of pandemic-related charges in the state had hit 503, according to ABC News.“It’s disrespectful,” Cuomo said Monday. “It’s illegal. It violates public health. It violates public decency. What if one of the people on that cruise gets sick and dies?”Rubin posited that the main difference between both states could be a matter of enforcement. Or, just as important when it comes to deterrence in the context of disease containment, the perception of enforcement.“My impression of Gov. Cuomo is that kind of tough stance with anyone who might try to defy the rules,” said Rubin. At the very least, the two states’ travel advisory websites show a tonal difference on that score. That matters because, according to Dr. Brittany Kmush, an assistant professor at Syracuse University and expert on epidemiology and infectious diseases, “the biggest risk in both states is importation from higher risk areas.”“The self-quarantine is voluntary, but compliance is expected,” according to the New Jersey public health department website’s travel advisory page. The New York health department meanwhile, “expects all travelers to comply and protect public health by adhering to the quarantine.’ But, significantly, it also stipulates that it reserves “the right to issue a mandatory quarantine order” on any given individual, for which a violation is subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 15 days, according to the state’s website. New York City also made a show of announcing checkpoints to enforce a quarantine on out-of-state travelers this week.“If people don’t believe there’s any penalty, they’re just going to defy orders,” said Rubin. “These are very important differences.”“Even though both states have the same travel restrictions, the perception of the consequences differ by the states,” Kmush added.New Jersey has made its own show of enforcement, too—or, at least, it did in the past.N.J. Gym Owners Drop F-Bombs in Off the Rails CNN InterviewFrom April through June, State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan released regular round-ups of enforcement actions against violators of Murphy's executive orders. Just in the first weekend, they reported that officers had issued more than 200 summonses in Newark alone, each carrying a sentence of up to six months and a fine as large as $1,000. Local police also famously busted a party of 30 people at a house in the town of Rumson and arrested the homeowner and an allegedly unruly guest. Cops cuffed a Toms River man after crashing another party of 20 at his abode. Authorities in West Windsor took a 16-year-old year into custody who they accused of hacking on a 52-year-old in a Wegmans supermarket. And 13 people were charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency in as many incidents in just the first half the month, after they reportedly coughed or spit on police and claimed to be carrying the virus. The round-ups went from daily to weekly in May, to ending entirely after June 5 as the state moved forward with reopening.Asked for comment, Murphy’s office deferred to Grewal’s team, who did not provide a response by press time. The New Jersey Department of Health did not respond to a request for comment for this story.“I got the sense that New Jersey was not enforcing things as strongly as New York is, where Cuomo has cracked down on bars and is wielding more penalties than other governors are, and that’s keeping people in line,” said Rubin. For guidelines and restrictions in other states, what will matter in case counts, he said, is: “Are these just empty threats? Or is there just more teeth to them?”In any case, Rubin said, “Our models are seeing sea levels rise everywhere around New York, but we don’t know exactly why New York has been insulated from the resurgences we’re seeing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.” Or, as Kmush put it: “I really don’t think we’ll know the answer to this for years.”—With additional reporting by William BreddermanRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • Rescuers shaken by 'blood and death' of India jet disaster

    Rescuers shaken by 'blood and death' of India jet disasterIndian authorities had practised for years for a jet overshooting the "table-top" runway at Kozhikode airport, but local resident Fazal Puthiyakath was not prepared for the "blood and death" of the real thing. The 32-year-old businessman and his neighbours were first on the scene after an Air India Express plane crashed over the runway down a 10-metre (35-foot) bank and broke in two during a fierce storm late Friday, killing 18 people and injuring more than 120. Kozhikode airport in southern India's Kerala state is considered a potential hazard because it has a "table-top" runway with a steep bank at either end.


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  • Ohio governor tested negative hours after positive COVID-19 test. How can that happen?

    Ohio governor tested negative hours after positive COVID-19 test. How can that happen?“What everyone wants is for a test to be cheap, accurate and fast. You can only ever have two of those.”


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  • Postal Service loses $2.2bn amid coronavirus pandemic as it faces growing pressure over mail-in voting

    Postal Service loses $2.2bn amid coronavirus pandemic as it faces growing pressure over mail-in votingThe US postal service said it has lost $2.2bn in the three months running up to the end of June amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the postmaster general warning the agency is in a “dire” financial position.The service has continued declines in first-class and business mail combined with increased costs due to PPE and staff changes, postmaster general Louis DeJoy told the postal board of governors at a meeting on Friday.


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  • Kim Jong-un sends aid to North Korean border city in lockdown

    Kim Jong-un sends aid to North Korean border city in lockdownNorth Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the distribution of aid to the border city of Kaesong after the area was locked down last month to fight the coronavirus, state media said on Sunday. Authorities raised the state of emergency to the maximum level for the city in July, saying they had discovered the country's first suspected virus case. A train carrying goods arrived in the "totally blocked" city of Kaesong on Friday, the official KCNA news agency reported. "The Supreme Leader has made sure that emergency measures were taken for supplying food and medicines right after the city was totally blocked and this time he saw to it that lots of rice and subsidy were sent to the city," it said. Mr Kim had been concerned "day and night" about people in Kaesong as they continue their "campaign for checking the spread of the malignant virus", the report added. Last month, Pyongyang said a defector who had left for South Korea three years ago returned on July 19 by "illegally crossing" the heavily fortified border dividing the two countries. The man showed symptoms of coronavirus and was put under "strict quarantine", authorities said, but the North has yet to confirm whether he tested positive. If confirmed, it would be the first officially recognised case of Covid-19 in North Korea, where medical infrastructure is seen as woefully inadequate to deal with any epidemic. The nuclear-armed North closed its borders in late January as the virus spread in neighbouring China. It imposed tough restrictions that put thousands of people into isolation, but analysts say the country is unlikely to have avoided the contagion.


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  • Sales of pricey New York City apartments plunge as the suburbs become cool again

    Sales of pricey New York City apartments plunge as the suburbs become cool againHomes in Connecticut and Westchester's suburbs are flying off the market as wealthy New Yorkers flee to greener pastures.


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  • The National Rifle Association faces its worst nightmare: accountability

    The National Rifle Association faces its worst nightmare: accountabilityThe NRA is facing lawsuits and investigations for possible financial misconduct while losing the influence it once had on American leadership.


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  • Joe Arpaio loses sheriff’s race in 2nd failed comeback bid

    Joe Arpaio loses sheriff’s race in 2nd failed comeback bidJoe Arpaio on Friday was narrowly defeated in his bid to win back the sheriff’s post in metro Phoenix that he held for 24 years before being voted out in 2016 amid voter frustrations over his taxpayer-funded legal bills, his penchant for self-promotion and a defiant streak that led to his now-pardoned criminal conviction. Arpaio lost by more than 6,200 votes in the Republican primary for Maricopa County sheriff to his former top aide, Jerry Sheridan.


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  • George Floyd: US protesters charged as 'gang' face life sentence

    George Floyd: US protesters charged as 'gang' face life sentenceBlack Lives Matter protesters in Utah were accused of acting as a gang to vandalise a building.


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  • Ship Called ‘Trump D’ Moored in Ukraine Brought Triple the Explosives of ‘Floating Bomb’ That Blew Up Beirut

    Ship Called ‘Trump D’ Moored in Ukraine Brought Triple the Explosives of ‘Floating Bomb’ That Blew Up BeirutAn American-owned cargo ship named after the president of the United States docked in a Ukrainian port has just offloaded 10,000 metric tons of the same chemical substance that nearly leveled the city of Beirut this week, according to the Liveuamap news source. The hangar in Lebanon only had 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, which caused catastrophic damage to the Lebanese capital. > Sea ports administration of Ukraine says that almost 10 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that is being stored at pier 1 and 2 of Yuzhi port near Odesa is totally safe cause of "Big-bags" pic.twitter.com/rxftR5TbKB> > — Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) August 7, 2020The ship docked in Ukraine, which was previously named Seabreeze before a Florida company registered as Pilin Fleet Management LLC purchased it in 2018, and renamed it Trump D, was registered by Marine Traffic tracking website in the Yuzhi port near Odessa on Friday.Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has now ordered “relevant checks” on the storage condition of the substance, which is primarily used for agricultural fertilizer or high-powered explosives after port officials claimed it was safely stored in “big bags.” > Video that was published yesterday, both with photos became viral in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/AXeRvBJs6g> > — Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) August 7, 2020Photos online suggest that the ammonium-nitrate powder was also stored in similar “big bags” in the port of Beirut when it detonated, likely sparked by a nearby fire Tuesday afternoon. The Trump D was placed under investigation three months ago by Ukrainian prosecutors in Crimea after the previous owners were suspected of stealing sand from the Crimean coast. That investigation has since been closed without charges. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine issued a statement ordering authorities to ensure that the ammonium nitrate is securely stored and to “carry out extraordinary measures for government supervision” for work safety and “security against manmade disasters and fires.” Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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  • Migrants adrift after camp at France-Italy border shut

    Migrants adrift after camp at France-Italy border shutSudanese migrant Soulaimen has been sleeping on the beach in the Italian border town of Ventimiglia for 10 days now. With his only shelter a sleeping bag and pasta meals donated by a charity, the 20-year-old is getting by as best he can after a transit camp run by the Italian Red Cross was ordered to stop welcoming new arrivals and cease operations. Now, the migrants who continue to flock to this town hoping to cross into France are on their own, faced with strengthened border police and an uncertain future.


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  • Trump ‘is so much anti-life,’ Kentucky Catholic bishop says in abortion discussion

    Trump ‘is so much anti-life,’ Kentucky Catholic bishop says in abortion discussion“He is only concerned about himself,” the church leader said.


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  • Postmaster general says Postal Service is not "slowing down election mail"

    Postmaster general says Postal Service is not "slowing down election mail"Louis DeJoy denied claims that the Postal Service is slowing down the delivery of election mail.


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  • 2 transgender teens sue Arizona's Medicaid program for refusal to cover chest surgery

    2 transgender teens sue Arizona's Medicaid program for refusal to cover chest surgeryTwo transgender teens in Arizona are challenging the state's Medicaid ban on surgical treatment for gender dysphoria. The two plaintiffs, named in court documents as 15-year-old D.H. and 17-year-old John Doe, are both teens enrolled in Arizona's Medicaid program, known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. They are seeking male chest reconstruction surgery as a treatment for ...


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  • The US Space Force is getting an official second in command

    The US Space Force is getting an official second in commandA familiar face is set to become the service's first vice chief of space operations.


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  • Oklahoma won't require masks in schools, so a teacher who's a 72-year-old cancer survivor is offering students extra credit to wear them

    Oklahoma won't require masks in schools, so a teacher who's a 72-year-old cancer survivor is offering students extra credit to wear themOklahoma's board of education voted against requiring masks in schools, putting teachers and students at risk.


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  • Unknown gunman kills 2 Lebanese in Iranian capital

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  • Linda Collins: Ex-aide confesses to murder of Arkansas state senator

    Linda Collins: Ex-aide confesses to murder of Arkansas state senatorA woman in Arkansas has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after accepting a plea deal connected to the murder of former state lawmaker.Court records show that Rebecca Lynn O'Donnell, 49, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder as well as the abuse of the corpse of Arkansas state Senator Linda Collins.


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  • Missing Georgia mom may have met man she was speaking to online before disappearance

    Missing Georgia mom may have met man she was speaking to online before disappearanceA Georgia mother missing for nearly two weeks after her son was found in a Florida parking lot may have met a man she was speaking to online, according to her father.


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