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  • Conspiracy-mongering Republican seeking John Lewis seat gets social media boost from Trump

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    Besides parroting many of President Trump’s talking points, Angela Stanton-King, a Republican congressional candidate, has frequently repeated ideas related to the conspiracy theory QAnon.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:47:02 -0400
  • After fatal great white shark attack in Maine, debate intensifies over culling seals

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    Some business owners and politicians in the Northeast, worried that more shark sightings and beach closures could lead to a downturn in tourism, want the seal population culled, but not everyone thinks that’s the answer.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 22:06:02 -0400
  • California Rep. Maxine Waters says Biden 'can't go home' without choosing a Black woman as his running mate

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    Biden's pick for vice president could come anytime now, and several Black women have been named as possible contenders.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 11:03:23 -0400
  • Former US soldiers sentenced to 20 years for bungled Venezuelan coup plot

    Golocal247.com news

    A 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.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 01:35:20 -0400
  • A woman claiming to be from the 'Freedom To Breathe Agency' filmed telling a grocery employee that she could face legal action for making people wear face masks

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    The mask-less woman gave the employee a piece of paper claiming she could go to prison for up to five years for telling customers to wear a face mask.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 07:51:14 -0400
  • Should Judge Sullivan Be Disqualified from Flynn Case? An Appeals Court Is Asking

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    Maybe 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.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:30:59 -0400
  • Iran asks UN to hold US accountable for plane interception

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    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 23:46:19 -0400
  • 250 students and staff asked to quarantine in Georgia district after one week of school

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    After one week of school, more than 250 students at staff in Cherokee County, Georgia, are asked to quarantine due to potential exposure to COVID-19.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 16:30:36 -0400
  • Coronavirus won’t stop Souls to the Polls in Florida — but it will look different

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    For years, South Florida’s Black churches have gathered their flocks on the Sunday before Election Day and led them to the polls on the final day of early voting.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:24:30 -0400
  • Trump calls audience at his Bedminster golf club a 'peaceful protest'

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    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.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:05:31 -0400
  • Gunmen kill six French aid workers, their driver and guide in Niger, minister says

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    Gunmen on motorcycles killed six French aid workers, a Nigerien guide and a driver in a wildlife park in Niger on Sunday, officials said. The group was attacked in a giraffe reserve just 65 km (40 miles) from the West African country's capital Niamey, the governor of Tillaberi region, Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, told Reuters. The six worked for an international aid group, Niger's Defence Minister Issoufou Katambé told Reuters.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:05:34 -0400
  • A 17-year-old high school student developed an app that records your interaction with police when you're pulled over and immediately shares it to Instagram and Facebook

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    PulledOver is "like a community where you can share videos — you can see how other people are being treated," its creator told Business Insider.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 08:40:00 -0400
  • Trump allows some unemployment pay and defers payroll tax

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    President Trump on Saturday claimed the authority to defer payroll taxes and replace an expired unemployment benefit with a smaller amount after negotiations with Congress on a new COVID-19 rescue package collapsed.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:12:11 -0400
  • India landslide: Dozens feared dead after flooding in Kerala

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    Up to 20 houses are buried under debris in the state of Kerala, with rescue efforts under way.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 03:17:45 -0400
  • Why France is 'walking on the edge of a precipice' when it comes to Lebanon

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    Anger abounds in Lebanon following Tuesday's massive blast in Beirut's port that killed 154 people and injured 5,000 as it's become increasingly clear that the catastrophe stemmed from governmental neglect and mismanagement of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse for years. The Lebanese people's frustration with the country's political class is not new, however. For months before the explosion, protesters took to the street to demonstrate against corruption in the government and a severe economic crisis in the country. Now, some are looking abroad for help.One university student, Celine Dibo, told Reuters she wished "the United Nations would take over Lebanon," while psychologist Maryse Hayek said "I hope another country would just take us over." Indeed, more than 60,000 people have signed a petition asking France to restore the mandate it held between 1920 and 1946. But critics have pushed back against the idea.French President Emmanuel Macron — who himself has dismissed the idea he could "substitute" for Lebanese leaders — has received praise for visiting the country during the aftermath, promising aid, and even bringing the heads of Lebanon's divided political factions into the same room. But the French president has also been criticized for seeking a way to restore French influence over Lebanon and patronizing the politicians, The Associated Press reports, with one university student in Beirut wondering how Macron is "giving advice to us" when he "hasn't resolved issues with his country."Jack Lang, a former French government official told AP that France's position is difficult — ultimately, he said, France is "walking on the edge of precipice" when it comes to Lebanon, adding that "we have to aid, support, and encourage the Lebanese people, but at the same time not give the impression that we want to establish a new protectorate, which would be completely stupid." Read more at Reuters and The Associated Press.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's 'it is what it is' COVID response QAnon goes mainstream 4 surprising reasons scientists think asymptomatic coronavirus cases are so common

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 08:17:00 -0400
  • Israeli military strikes Hamas target in northern Gaza Strip

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    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 16:59:42 -0400
  • Coronavirus: Nine test positive at Georgia school where photo of crowded corridor went viral

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    Nine people have tested positive for Covid-19 at a Georgia high school just days after a photo of a packed hallway went viral.Six students and three staff members who were at North Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia last week have tested positive, according to a letter sent to parents on Saturday.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 08:52:00 -0400
  • The onion salmonella outbreak grows. More recalls from Walmart, Kroger, Publix, H-E-B

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    The Salmonella Newport outbreak linked to onions has expanded into one of the largest in recent years, with 640 people sickened in 43 states, as of the most recent CDC update.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:10:55 -0400
  • I Observed Joe Biden at Close Range for 20 Years. Here’s How He Wins—and Loses

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    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 10:35:55 -0400
  • No masks required as 250,000 expected at 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Here's what to know.

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    Festivalgoers will be largely free of COVID-19 social distancing restrictions common elsewhere in the country during this year's 10-day event.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:47:14 -0400
  • Canada's last fully intact ice shelf has suddenly collapsed, forming a Manhattan-sized iceberg

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    The 4,000-year-old ice shelf fell apart at the end of July as summer temperatures soared, scientists said.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 23:41:59 -0400
  • Three parks and wildlife employees die in helicopter crash during bighorn sheep survey

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    Officials say the pilot survived the crash in south-western Texas and cause of crash is under investigationThree Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) employees have been killed in a helicopter crash while conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in the south-western part of the state, according to officials.The crash happened on Saturday in the remote wilderness of Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, which is adjacent to Big Bend National Park, on the Rio Grande that marks the border with Mexico.The victims of the crash were identified as wildlife biologist Dewey Stockbridge, fish and wildlife technician Brandon White, and state wildlife veterinarian Bob Dittmar, according to the TPWD.Officials said the pilot survived the crash and was taken to El Paso, the most westerly city in Texas, on the border with New Mexico, for further treatment, and the patient’s condition is currently not public.“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, in a statement.Smith said they were “highly regarded … for the immense passion, dedication, and expertise they brought to their important work in wildlife management and veterinary medicine” and that they were carrying out “their calling to help survey, monitor and protect the bighorns of their beloved west Texas mountains”.The Texas governor, Greg Abbott, asked Texans to pray for the families of the victims of the crash, adding as part of a statement that “our hearts ache today”.Details of the crash are so far limited and an official investigation by the authorities is underway, according to local media reports.Desert bighorn sheep are carefully studied in the wildlife management area. They were a ubiquitous native animal in previous times and were successfully reintroduced after being hunted out by the 1960s for their meat and to reduce competition with farmed sheep.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 14:53:51 -0400
  • She Was Charged With Murder After Her Baby Was Stillborn. Now California’s AG Has Stepped In.

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    For more than nine months, five of them during a global pandemic, a 26-year-old woman named Chelsea Becker has been sitting in Kings County Jail, under a $2 million bail, for giving birth to a stillborn baby.Becker has been there since November, when police arrested her and prosecutors charged her with murder. The District Attorney argued that Becker’s methamphetamine addiction had caused the stillbirth, citing a 50-year-old law that civil rights advocates say was never supposed to apply to pregnant women. It has put Becker at the heart of a national debate over criminalizing fetal death. On Friday, however, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra intervened. In an amicus brief to end the case against Becker, Becerra argued the prosecution’s legal interpretation would lead to “absurd—and constitutionally questionable—results.”“We believe the law was misapplied and misinterpreted,” Becerra said in a statement about the brief. “Our laws in California do not convict women who suffer the loss of their pregnancy, and in our filing today we are making clear that this law has been misused to the detriment of women, children, and families.” An American Surrogate Had His Baby. Then Coronavirus Hit.Back in September, Becker, then 25, was eight and a half months pregnant when she thought her water broke, only to discover it was blood. Becker’s mother called an ambulance to her home in the San Joaquin Valley, according to The Los Angeles Times. Three hours later, Becker gave birth in Adventist Health Hanford hospital to a boy with no pulse, whom she had planned to name Zachariah.Suspicious that the fetus suffered from drug exposure, hospital employees alerted the Kings County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted an autopsy. The exam found methamphetamine in the fetus’ system, a Times report states, that amounted to more than five times the level thought to be toxic. They ruled the case a homicide. Becker had grown up in Hanford, a working class town in Kings County, that serves as a trading hub in the agrarian San Joaquin Valley. The nearly half Hispanic town recently made headlines when 183 meatpacking workers came down with COVID-19. According to the Census Bureau, 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Before the pandemic, county unemployment levels hovered at 7.9 percent—they have since soared to 14.6 percent.Becker told the Times that as a teen, she spent some time living with her father in Minnesota, where she became addicted to methamphetamine. She came home to Hanford at 19, where she had two other children, both of whom were removed from her care. In early November, prosecutors charged Becker with murder, holding the mother on a $5 million bail, later reduced to $2 million. Their case hinged on an amendment, passed in 1970, to the state’s murder statute: Penal Code section 187. Earlier that year, the California Supreme Court had overturned the murder conviction of man who had assaulted his pregnant wife, causing the death of their fetus. The code, the court had concluded, only addressed the killing of “a human being,” making the man ineligible for a murder charge. In response, the legislature amended the statute to include the “unlawful killing” of a “fetus.” That was the language prosecutors seized on to charge Becker with murder.“The conduct of the defendant resulted in the death of a fetus, which is a crime in California,” said District Attorney Keith Fagundes told The Los Angeles Times. He did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Saturday.At her arraignment, Becker pleaded not guilty, and later filed a motion calling the code’s application to a pregnant woman unconstitutional. The amendment had been made to protect victims of domestic violence, Becker’s lawyers argued, not criminalize women who miscarried, had stillbirths, or sought abortions. “Penal Code 187(b)(3) by its own plain terms,” they wrote, “precludes the prosecution of a woman for the consensual acts in which she may engage while pregnant.” Becker’s attorney, Roger Nuttall, and Becerra did not immediately return requests for comment. “Ms. Becker had experienced a stillbirth that the prosecutor claims (without scientific basis) was caused by her methamphetamine use during pregnancy,” the National Advocates for Pregnant Women wrote in a statement on Becker’s case. “Ms. Becker was charged with this crime despite the fact that §187 does not authorize, nor has it ever been interpreted to authorize prosecution of a woman in relation to her own pregnancy or any outcome of a pregnancy.”https://www.facebook.com/NationalAdvocatesforPregnantWomen/photos/a.190808107181/10157715445342182/?type=3&theaterIn the decades since 1970, California prosecutors have tried to charge women for stillbirths, but none has secured a conviction until 2018, when another woman was arrested for the same crime in the same town of Hanford.Like Becker, Adora Perez was in her late 20s and addicted to methamphetamine when she gave birth to a stillborn baby at Adventist Health. Also like Becker, hospital employees alerted the Medical Examiner’s Office when the fetus tested positive for the drug, according to reports in The Fresno Bee. Fagundes charged her with murder. Perez, however, took a plea deal. Now 32, she is serving an 11-year sentence in state prison for voluntary manslaughter—the first time in decades that a charge of this kind ended in jail time. The unprecedented charges against Becker and Perez have alarmed pregnancy advocates, medical professionals, drug policy organizations, and civil rights groups across the country. In April, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in support of Becker. The same day, a coalition of 15 organizations, from the Drug Policy Alliance to California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, filed another.“Broadly accepted medical, public health, and scientific evidence supports the Legislature’s drafting of the statute to avoid criminalizing women with respect to their pregnancies,” the coalition wrote. “Pregnancy and use of controlled substances is a medical and public health issue, not an issue that should be subject to state intervention and control.”Attempts to criminalize pregnant women who suffer from addiction have backfired in the past. In 2014, Tennessee passed a wildly controversial bill, attempting to target what they called “fetal assault.” The bill allowed prosecutors to bring charges against women with drug addictions, if their fetuses were born still or disabled. It proved so polarizing that it was given a two-year trial phase and then, in 2016, deemed a failure and discontinued. “As a result of the law,” the National Advocates for Pregnant Women wrote in a statement, “women steered clear of prenatal care and drug treatment and avoided delivering their babies in hospital settings.”Nevertheless in June, the superior court denied Becker’s motion to have the case declared unconstitutional. The next month, she filed a writ of prohibition––a motion to stop the court proceedings––arguing that “a woman cannot be prosecuted for murder as a result of her own omissions or actions that might result in pregnancy loss.” In his amicus brief on her case, Becerra agreed: “The superior court erred in concluding otherwise.” “The Legislature’s purpose in adding the killing of a fetus to Penal Code section 187 was not to punish women who do not—or cannot, because of addiction or resources—follow best practices for prenatal health,” Becerra wrote. “The courts should not assume that the Legislature intended such a sweeping and invasive change to the criminal law affecting women’s lives without clear evidence of that intent. And such evidence is absent here.”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.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 15:55:04 -0400
  • Coronavirus: New Zealand marks 100 days without community spread

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    The prime minister hails the milestone as "significant", but warns against complacency.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 10:54:03 -0400
  • Carrie Lam: Hong Kong's divisive leader now sanctioned by US

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    Carrie Lam vowed to heal divisions when she became Hong Kong's leader, but her tenure has been marred by massive democracy protests and a crackdown by Beijing that prompted the United States to sanction her. Hong Kong's leaders are instead chosen by a 1,200-strong committee stacked with Beijing loyalists, and Lam secured 777 votes. Fast forward three years and Hong Kong is more divided than at any time in living memory after months of huge and often violent democracy protests last year.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 04:39:59 -0400
  • Eye Opener: Trump says he will take executive action on stimulus if necessary

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    President Trump threatened to take executive action on a pandemic stimulus bill as negotiators on Capitol Hill seem far from reaching an agreement. Also, the U.S. intel community is warning that China, Russia and Iran are all trying to interfere in the U.S. election. All that and all that matters in today's Eye Opener. Your world in 90 seconds.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:46:05 -0400
  • Masks in class? Many questions as Germans go back to school

    Golocal247.com news

    Masks during class, masks only in the halls, no masks at all. As Germany’s 16 states start sending millions of children back to school in the middle of the global coronavirus pandemic, the country’s famous sense of “Ordnung,” or order, has given way to uncertainty, with a hodgepodge of regional regulations that officials acknowledge may or may not work. “There can’t, and never will be 100% certainty,” said Torsten Kuehne, the official in charge of schools in Pankow, Berlin’s most populous district where 45,000 students go back to school Monday.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 03:46:31 -0400
  • 'America's toughest sheriff' narrowly defeated in bid for old job

    Golocal247.com news

    Former lawman Joe Arpaio, the nationally known Arizona sheriff who found common cause with President Donald Trump on a hard-line stance against illegal immigration, narrowly lost his bid to regain his old job, vote tallies showed on Friday. Arpaio, 88, who billed himself as "America's toughest sheriff," trailed his former chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, by 6,280 votes out of 443,056 ballots cast in Tuesday's four-way Republican primary, according to the county elections department. In the November general election, Sheridan will face incumbent Democrat Paul Penzone, who ousted Arpaio from office in a 2016 landslide victory.

    Fri, 07 Aug 2020 21:58:59 -0400
  • How Nicola Sturgeon has secretly massaged Scotland’s coronavirus record

    Golocal247.com news

    Nicola 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”.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 06:48:11 -0400
  • Despite federal guidance, schools cite privacy laws to withhold info about COVID-19 cases

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    Federal guidance say those laws don't bar disclosure. Schools can publicly share coronavirus case counts as long as they don’t identify individuals.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 07:08:38 -0400
  • Small farmers left behind in Trump administration's COVID-19 relief package

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    The uneven distribution of funds is stark. The top 10 percent got over 60 percent of the pot, while the bottom 10 percent got just 0.26 percent.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 06:12:00 -0400
  • Man who was given life sentence for $30 marijuana sale to be freed

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    A man in Louisiana serving a life sentence for selling less than a gram of marijuana is due to be released from prison, his lawyer has said.Derek Harris, who is a military veteran, was arrested in 2008 for selling 0.69 grams of marijuana — an amount worth less than $30 (£23) — to an undercover officer who came to his door.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 09:32:57 -0400
  • Sales of pricey New York City apartments plunge as the suburbs become cool again

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    Homes in Connecticut and Westchester's suburbs are flying off the market as wealthy New Yorkers flee to greener pastures.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 07:55:00 -0400
  • New 'threat' against former Saudi spy in Canada: media

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    A 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.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 16:53:34 -0400
  • Chicago's Montrose Harbor blocked by police, fence after Mayor Lori Lightfoot shuts down large beach party: 'It's being addressed'

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    CHICAGO - For months, memes have appeared to show Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot watching for crowds and threatening to close parts of the city if residents don't abide by orders and closures during the coronavirus pandemic. But on Saturday, Lightfoot herself - not just an edited photo of her, like those used in such memes - apparently had a hand in breaking up a large gathering at Montrose ...

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 17:07:00 -0400
  • Puerto Rico halts primary voting in centers lacking ballots

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    Puerto Rico on Sunday was forced to partially suspend voting for primaries marred by a lack of ballots as officials called on the president of the U.S. territory’s elections commission to resign. Meanwhile, Vázquez called the situation “a disaster” and demanded the resignation of the president of the elections commission. “They made the people of Puerto Rico, not the candidates, believe that they were prepared,” she said.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 09:35:08 -0400
  • National security adviser: 'Almost nothing' left to sanction 'of the Russians'

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    CBS News' Face the Nation host Margaret Brennan repeatedly pushed National Security Adviser on Sunday to say whether President Trump has told Russian President Vladimir Putin "to knock it off" when it comes to U.S. election interference. O'Brien said he doesn't get involved with his boss's conservations with other world leaders, but said the Trump administration remains committed to keeping Moscow out of the picture.Trump, O'Brien said, has been tougher than his predecessors. So much so, he argues, that there's little else Washington can do since they've already "sanctioned the heck out of" individuals, companies, and the government in Russia, kicked Russian spies out of the U.S., and closed down consulates and other diplomatic facilities. "Nevertheless we continue to message the Russians, and President Trump continues to message the Russians: don't get involved our elections," O'Brien said, adding that the warning extends to Beijing and Tehran, as well.> “There’s almost nothing we can sanction left of the Russians,” @robertcobrien says when pressed if @realdonaldtrump ever told Russia's Vladimir Putin to "knock it off" with threats of election interference in 2020 during their last phone call in July pic.twitter.com/KvGtmsrpgo> > — Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) August 9, 2020Brennan, however, pointed out throughout the interview that intelligence reports indicate that the messaging — and the sanctions — don't seem to have gotten through to the Kremlin, as there's still evidence Russia (and China and Iran) is working to undermine the electoral process stateside. Foreign policy experts have also suggested current sanction policy doesn't always prove to be a deterrent, since Moscow views them as permanent and therefore has little incentive to change its behavior purely based on those actions.More stories from theweek.com 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's 'it is what it is' COVID response QAnon goes mainstream 4 surprising reasons scientists think asymptomatic coronavirus cases are so common

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 13:40:00 -0400
  • Japan's Abe to avoid visit to war-linked shrine on 75th war anniversary: Jiji

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    Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will refrain from visiting the Yasukuni shrine for war dead on the 75th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War Two, Jiji news agency said on Sunday, but will make an offering on the emotive day, as he has done in the past. The shrine, dedicated to Japanese who have died during past wars including World War Two, is seen as a potent symbol of the controversy that persists over the conflict's legacy in East Asia. "He will make a ritual offering to the shrine out of his personal expenses as the leader of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, as he has done in previous years," sources close to the matter said, according to the report.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 01:59:42 -0400
  • Don't let your children use TikTok, former MI6 intelligence chief urges Government Ministers

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    Government ministers must be wary of allowing their children to use the popular TikTok app for fear of exposing secrets to Chinese spies, a former MI6 chief has warned. TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing social-networking service owned by ByteDance, a Beijing-based internet technology company. Nigel Inkster, a former intelligence and operations director at the British Secret Intelligence Service, said the Beijing-owned app could serve as an “entry-point” for hackers backed by the Communist state. Mr Inkster, who left the service in 2006 and is now a leading expert on China’s cyber threat at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, warned China’s security services were adept at finding digital weak spots for high-profile targets from which to siphon off sensitive material. His comments come as US President Donald Trump announced sweeping legal restrictions on TikTok in the US, citing security concerns. The app has become a runaway success with children and teenagers in the past few years for its short dance and prank videos, and it now has roughly 800 million users worldwide. However, the app, which was created in 2018, is owned by the Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance, which comes under China’s sweeping security laws stating any company or citizen has to assist its security services. TikTok has repeatedly said that none of its users’ data is stored in China and it is not shared with the communist regime. However, Mr Inkster told The Telegraph that as long as TikTok was owned by a Chinese company the country’s security services potentially had a back door into its data. He warned the app could also serve as an entry point to prominent UK figures' online devices, even if on the phones of household members or relatives sharing the same wi-fi network.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:03:04 -0400
  • Michigan university among 1st in US to test campus living during COVID-19 pandemic

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    Lake Superior State University students have moved back into dorms and start classes Monday. Life will look different than when they left.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 17:36:57 -0400
  • Georgia Police Officers Investigated After Shooting at Minors During Traffic Stop

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    The children's father said they had been driving home from a Walmart to pick him up

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 12:29:40 -0400
  • Amazon reportedly wants to take over JCPenney and Sears stores to turn malls into giant fulfillment centers

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    Amazon would benefit by gaining well-located warehouse space in cities and could decrease delivery time on orders.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 15:03:00 -0400
  • Bolsonaro assails Brazil network blaming him for virus deaths

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    President Jair Bolsonaro lashed out Sunday at the "cowardice" of Brazil's most widely viewed TV network for suggesting he bore heavy blame for the nation's more than 100,000 coronavirus deaths. The far-right president accused TV Globo of treating the death milestone as if it were "a World Cup final," saying on Twitter that it had been both "cowardly and disrespectful of the dead." On Saturday night, shortly after the official announcement that the 100,000-death mark had been passed, TV Globo opened its news report with a long editorial highly critical of Bolsonaro's handling of the health crisis.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 16:29:00 -0400
  • A body was recovered from the wreckage of the New Orleans Hard Rock hotel 10 months after it collapsed

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    The hotel collapsed last October. It killed three construction workers, including 36-year-old Quinnyon Wimberly, whose body was recovered on Saturday.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:30:47 -0400
  • Thousands throng central Jerusalem in anti-Netanyahu protest

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    Thousands of demonstrators thronged the streets near the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in central Jerusalem on Saturday night, in a renewed show of strength as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader showed no signs of slowing. Throughout the summer, thousands of Israelis have taken to the streets to call on Netanyahu to resign, protesting his handling of the country’s coronavirus crisis and saying he should not remain in office while on trial for corruption charges. Self-employed workers whose businesses have been hurt by the economic crisis also joined Saturday's march.

    Sat, 08 Aug 2020 14:42:08 -0400
  • Biden continues to lead in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, polls indicate

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    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:23:09 -0400
  • The Bizarre Story of a Far-Right Activist Taking COVID Trutherism to Mexico

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    On April 22, American Gavin Seim caused a minor media firestorm in Mexico when he posted a video on social media showing him flouting COVID-19 restrictions in the city of Santiago de Querétaro. The maskless Seim insisted that the government had no right to close a plaza he was visiting as part of its efforts to limit large gatherings, nor to manage his health. Several media outlets and commentators brushed him off as a disgruntled tourist. The American ambassador to Mexico, Christopher Landau, called him “a spoiled brat and an embarrassment to our country… a perfect example of the ‘Ugly American.’” But this was not an isolated incident. Seim is an anti-government activist and coronavirus truther. He falsely claims the coronavirus is a normal flu and that there is no evidence that masks work. Last month, he posted two more accounts of willful violations of mask policies in Mexican stores, part of an effort to push his followers online not to be “sheep” following mask “bullies.”The weirdest part: He insists that he’s not just a visitor being a jerk, but a political refugee from American injustice. ‘I’m Not Scared’: She Faces Life in Prison After Allegedly Buying Red Protest Paint Seim, a 35-year-old photographer from Ephrata, Washington, was involved with the patriot movement that rallied around the Bundy Family, members of which were criminally charged after an armed standoff with the feds over cattle grazing fees, in the mid 2010s. He seems to share many of their utopian libertarian beliefs, as well as their concerns about the erosion of American freedoms, and indulges in conspiracies about the machinations of shady elites. But even some fellow Bundy supporters view him as uniquely absolutist, aggressive, and hyperbolic. For example, he calls all cops “Blue ISIS” and has argued that “not one person in the U.S. prison system is there lawfully. Every trial has been botched and every prisoner abused.”“When you put out 20 percent truth and the rest is fake, it comes off as fact,” Greg Whalen, a Bundy supporter, told The Daily Beast of Seim’s grandiose and extreme rhetoric. “He can’t see it for himself, right? But he’s a cross between antifa and a sovereign citizen.” Sovereign citizens, of course, are unified mainly by the beliefs that most, if not all, law enforcement is thuggery—and legal systems sophistry meant to keep citizens confused and oppressed. Seim responded briefly to an initial query, but as of publication had not actually addressed any issues raised in messages sent by The Daily Beast seeking comment for this story.Starting in at least 2014, Seim made it his business to challenge cops sitting in unmarked vehicles or making traffic stops, mostly by lecturing them on the supposed unconstitutionality of their actions. But in August 2017, a cop arrested him for allegedly interfering in a traffic stop, and the local court ordered him to open his phone so they could access his video of the encounter. Rather than contest the order in court, Seim packed his wife and kids into an RV and drove 18 straight hours to Mexico, fleeing a misdemeanor charge because he insisted local authorities wanted to plant evidence on his phone to put him away for good. “You might be facing charges that are really minimal, but you still end up dead” in America’s justice system, he said in a recent video about the incident. Seim has claimed that he applied for political asylum in Mexico City. But that was only after he started filming his confrontations with Mexican police officers, within weeks of arriving in the country. By January 2018, he was already attempting to challenge their activities, in English, by citing articles of the Mexican constitution. He says the videos show they are less thuggish than American cops, but insists that he still needs to keep them honest. Far-right movement scholar Matthew Sweeney says he’s never heard of someone in these circles leaving to live in Mexico before. Seim’s decision has confused and amused some fellow Bundy circle members, who sometimes see trials as a welcome opportunity to grandstand for their beliefs. But even stranger than Seim’s choice is the fact that Mexico may actually—as Seim claimed earlier this year—have granted him and his family asylum. Daniel Berlin of Asylum Access, a group that helps asylum seekers navigate the country’s immigration system, told The Daily Beast that Seim’s description of the asylum process matches his group’s case experiences, and that papers he has brandished on camera, while not definitive, appeared to be valid at first glance. Neither the Mexican Commission for Aid to Refugees, which vets and approves asylum claims for the nation, nor the U.S. Embassy in Mexico responded to requests for comment. But Maureen Meyer of the human rights group WOLA pointed out that the Mexican National Institute of Migration’s data indicates it has issued 12 permanent residence permits to Americans based on refugee status attainment so far this year—and issued seven of them in January, when Seim claims he, his wife, and their five kids received said documents.Regardless of his status, there is no evidence that Seim’s provocations in Mexico have attracted much local support, either before or since the pandemic began. Sure, Mexico has its own brands of anti-state activists. And sure, as Sweeney notes, the economic strain and the chafe of personal restrictions stemming from COVID-19 responses are leading to a surge in beliefs and protests that mirror Seim’s in a number of countries across the world. But American far-right, patriot-type rhetoric appears relatively absent in Mexico. “There tend to be too many barriers—everything ranging from political and cultural differences to personality differences—that make folks unlikely” to jump onto Seim’s bandwagon in Mexico, explained far-right movement researcher Amy Cooter.  Instead, after largely ignoring him for his first couple of years in the nation, Mexican news outlets have started accusing Seim of distorting their constitution, and a number of locals have suggested deporting him, citing an article of their constitution to justify the idea. They seem more attentive to, and irked by, his pretensions to authority and his flouting of local laws when doing so actively disrupts efforts to control a raging pandemic, rather than avoid a traffic stop. But Seim may not need to bring locals into his activist protests to have an impact on his new home. Over the last couple of years, he’s published materials actively encouraging his fellow Americans to flee to Mexico, and offering guidance on seeking asylum and settling in. One of his recent Facebook posts went so far as to suggest others may be trying to follow his lead: “This must be how it felt to help slaves escape!! I love reports from the people who saw my warning, jumped bail and escaped the USA.” As of now, Mexican authorities don’t seem to care about Seim’s exploits. He didn’t get arrested, or even face any serious official pushback, for his stunt in the plaza in April. The cops in his videos usually seem bemused or exasperated by his lack of language skills and his insistent, aggressive demeanor, but ultimately brush him off. And José Antonio “Toño” Mejía Lira, the municipal president of Tequisquiapan, in Querétaro State, where Seim has filmed several videos, told The Daily Beast that Seim wasn’t on his radar. Whatever this American gets up to, Mejía Lira explained, “does not concern the municipality.” This may reflect the fact that Querétaro State has not suffered nearly as much from the pandemic as some other states in Mexico. Government figures showed just 387 active cases in the state as of Thursday evening, out of 30,010 nationwide, and one of the nation’s lowest per capita caseloads, as well. According to the latest U.S. Embassy information, most businesses there remain open, if operating at limited occupancy and with relatively mild masking and distancing restrictions in place. But Seim does run risks if he pushes his luck. Not because, as online commentators often imply, there’s a serious chance of corrupt cops killing him. But instead because the Mexican government might get tired of his antics.“If Seim were to commit a serious crime,” explains Meyer, while stressing that in some states there are now strict regulations in place to control COVID-19 and legal responses to infractions of those rules, “he could have his status revoked.” Read 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.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 04:49:53 -0400
  • Ireland has a new coronavirus fear: Americans on vacation

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    With little to no quarantine enforcement on visitors, some Irish business owners say they have had to take matters into their own hands.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 04:59:00 -0400
  • Maskless woman filmed telling grocery store worked she could be sued for enforcing rules

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    A maskless woman was filmed falsely telling a grocery store worker she could be prosecuted for telling customers to wear masks - insisting that she was from an organization called the ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency’.The now-viral video shows the woman claiming she’s from the 'agency', which she says protects people's “constitutional rights” and makes sure civil and federal laws are not broken.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 13:42:00 -0400
  • Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas warns of layoffs if cities don't get federal aid

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    The mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, predicts cities will have to resort to drastic budget cuts and layoffs without more money from Washington.

    Sun, 09 Aug 2020 11:10:51 -0400
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