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  • Gun sales spike among African-Americans: 'Our ancestors died for us to vote, they also died for us to be able to carry guns' news

    When Americans panic, they buy guns — lots of them. During the first six months of 2020, amidst the global coronavirus pandemic, gun retailers reported a record 10.3 million firearm transactions, according to a new survey by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). And while various demographic groups are buying guns in 2020, African-Americans currently account for the highest increase in gun purchases.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 17:59:42 -0400
  • Poll gives Democrats bad news in key Senate race news

    Republican Montana Sen. Steve Daines, running for reelection, holds a 6-point lead against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in a race that will help decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, according to a poll released Monday by Emerson College.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:39:24 -0400
  • A woman allegedly smashed a police officer's head into concrete after being told to wear a mask news

    A woman in Australia allegedly smashed a police officer's head into concrete after being told to wear a mask. The officer was left concussed.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:20:00 -0400
  • Bodies Strewn on the Ground After Apocalyptic Blast in Beirut news

    A huge explosion rocked Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday destroying entire blocks of high-rise buildings and leaving at least 73 people confirmed dead, more than 3,700 wounded, and scores more feared buried under rubble and ash. The country’s interior minister said early indications were that highly explosive materials, seized and stored at Beirut’s port, had detonated. Footage of the blast showed a large plume of dark red flames and smoke before a massive explosion threw up a mushroom cloud. Powerful shock waves shattered glass, collapsed ceilings and pulled down balconies—even residents on the island nation of Cyprus, 110 miles away, heard the blast.A witness on the ground who works for the United Nations, but does not speak on their behalf, was near the port when the explosion happened. She told The Daily Beast that bodies were scattered from the blast. “There was dark smoke from a fire and then a massive blast and everyone fell to the ground,” she said. “A lot of people didn’t get up.”Entire buildings collapsed, streets glistened under blankets of shattered glass, and injured residents wandered the city covered in blood. Lebanese media carried images of people trapped under rubble. Residents rushed the injured to hospital any way they could, carrying them on their shoulders, on the trunks of cars and on ash-covered pieces of debris.“What we are witnessing is a huge catastrophe,” George Kettani, head of Lebanon’s Red Cross, told local TV network Mayadeen. “There are victims and casualties everywhere.”Abbas Ibrahim, director of General Security, told Lebanese media at a press conference that Israel was not to blame for the explosion. He pointed the finger at a depot at the port where highly explosive materials were stored after being confiscated.Local media reports also indicated that the blast may have ripped through a fireworks warehouse. It was not yet clear what ignited a fire that could be seen shortly before the main explosion.CNN’s Ben Wedeman, who is based in Beirut, was in the bureau about a kilometer away before the blast. He reported on CNN that people were tweeting photos of a fire in the port about 15 minutes before a massive blast shook the building, destroying the bureau. He described a large red cloud hanging low over the city. “The city is in a state of panic,” he said on CNN. “The city is in a state of shock.”France 24 correspondent Leila Molana-Allen wrote on Twitter that her apartment was blown apart. “All the buildings in my block are destroyed. Huge explosion in Beirut. Everyone covered in glass and blood,” she wrote.Hours after the blast at 6 p.m. local time, fires were still burning in the port district. Hospitals, already buckling under the coronavirus pandemic, were overwhelmed with patients.The blast came as the city braces for the verdict in a long-awaited trial over the assassination of former Sunni prime minister Rafik al-Hariri who was killed in a truck bomb 15 years ago. The defendants, from the Iran-backed group Hezbollah, are being tried in absentia. That verdict is expected Friday. Beirut has been under siege by angry protesters demonstrating against economic strife and alleged corruption since the October Revolution kicked off in the fall of 2019. Daily demonstrations and widespread resignations have crippled the government. Before that, the city buckled under the a civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990. Tuesday’s blast was by far the biggest explosion to hit the city since the 2006 war with Israel. 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.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:46:38 -0400
  • Emeritus Pope Benedict, 93, 'extremely frail' after visiting dying brother news

    Former Pope Benedict XVI became seriously ill after visiting his sick brother in Germany in June and is "extremely frail", according to a report in the German Passauer Neue Presse newspaper on Monday. Benedict, 93, is suffering from erysipelas of the face, a virus that causes a rash and episodes of severe pain, the newspaper reported, citing the former pontiff's biographer, Peter Seewald. "According to Seewald, the Pope emeritus is now extremely frail," the report said. "His thinking and his memory are quick, but his voice is hardly audible at the moment." Mr Seewald reportedly visited Benedict in Rome on Saturday to present him with his biography. "At the meeting the emeritus Pope, despite his illness, was optimistic and declared that if his strength increased again he would possibly take up his pen again," the paper said. Benedict visited his sick brother, Georg, in Germany in June, marking his first trip out of Italy since his shock resignation in 2013. Georg Ratzinger died two weeks later, aged 96.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 00:25:50 -0400
  • Mexico hails 'Sledgehammer' arrest but murder crisis still a tough nut to crack news

    The capture of José Antonio ‘El Marro’ Yépez, a top gangster in violence-stricken Guanajuato state, gives a boost to the presidentMexico’s president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has hailed the capture of one of the country’s most notorious gangsters as an important victory in his so far fruitless struggle to slash murder rates.In a Sunday night video message to the nation, López Obrador said security forces had seized “El Marro” or “the Sledgehammer” – the head of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel – at about 6am that morning in the violence-stricken state of Guanajuato.“How is it that this cartel was able to grow so much – to the extent that Guanajuato became our country’s most violent state?” asked Mexico’s populist leader, who took power in late 2018 vowing to slow the killing with a policy of “hugs, not bullets”.“If there were 100 murders each day, 15 were being committed in Guanajuato – and some days there were 20 or 25 murders. How could this happen?” added López Obrador, who is best known as Amlo.Sledgehammer – whose real name is José Antonio Yépez Ortiz - was the widely feared head of a gang of fuel thieves that controlled large swaths of the central Mexican state and was also involved in drug trafficking, cargo theft and extortion.When the Guardian visited one of the villages at the heart of El Marro’s empire in 2018, the driver refused to enter, warning: “We wouldn’t make it out again.”The Guanajuato-based group grew rich siphoning off billions of dollars worth of petrol from pipelines that crisscross the state, which is located to the north-west of Mexico’s capital and is home to one of its most important refineries.El Marro, who had run the group since 2017, was reportedly apprehended on a rural ranch where he had been hiding following a brief gunfight with his security chief.The newspaper El Universal claimed he had unsuccessfully tried to flee on a quad bike as a spy drone hovered overhead and troops closed in.“Who betrayed me?” the “wild-eyed” kingpin reportedly asked his captors before conceding: “Everything has a beginning and an end – and my end has come.”Experts called El Marro’s capture a triumph for López Obrador, whose security policy has come under growing scrutiny following a series of humiliating challenges from Mexico’s cartels, although few believe it will fundamentally solve the crisis facing his country.Last year, as Latin America’s No 2 economy suffered a record 34,582 murders, gunmen working for the Sinaloa cartel seized control of the northern city of Culiacán and forced the release of one of the group’s key leaders, the son of the jailed capo Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.In June assassins, reputedly deployed by the ascendant Jalisco New Generation cartel, launched a brazen attempt to murder Mexico City’s police chief in one of the capital’s wealthiest neighbourhoods.Jalisco cartel infantrymen subsequently appeared in a viral video, toting automatic rifles and swearing allegiance to their leader, El Mencho.“It’s undoubtedly an important victory [for Amlo] … and he will no doubt use this in next year’s midterm elections to show he’s effective when it comes to security,” said Eduardo Guerrero, a Mexico City-based security specialist.In fact, Guerrero said he believed El Marro’s arrest was part of a shrewd political gamble on the part of the federal government to force down the country’s sky-high murder rate.“Guanajuato is responsible for about 15% or 16% of the total number of murders in the country. So if you can reduce violence in this state you can have a considerable impact on the national statistics,” said Guerrero who runs the group Lantia Consultores.“If you can cut Guanajuato’s murders in half you can bring down the nationwide levels of violence by 7% or 8%. This would be a major PR coup for this administration,” added Guerrero, predicting that the city of Tijuana, where murder rates are also soaring, might also be targeted for the same reason.Guerrero said security chiefs appeared to be wagering that dealing a body blow to El Marro’s faction would allow the more powerful Jalisco cartel to seize monopoly-like control over Guanajuato, thus reducing violence.“El Marro was a very skilful, elusive and strategic leader and it seems to me that his replacements – who will certainly be relatives – don’t have the skills he had to keep this organization afloat,” said Guerrero, who expected the Santa Rosa cartel to splinter into dozens of smaller groups.“It’s possible that by the end of the year there has been a significant drop in violence in Guanajuato and this would give the federal government something to show off ahead of next July’s elections.”Other observers are less sure the arrest will do anything to end Mexico’s seemingly interminable conflict, which saw more than 2,800 peopled murdered in Guanajuato last year – 73 of them law enforcement officers.“It’s a temporary victory,” said Chris Dalby, the managing editor of InSight Crime, which tracks Latin American organized crime.“The violence in Guanajuato was the most important criminal threat to surge during López Obrador’s presidency and this allows him to show that he has done something about it – but it’s a very narrow victory.“Yes, El Marro was a major, savage factor in the violence in Guanajuato. But removing him probably doesn’t change much,” Dalby added, noting that before taking power Amlo had explicitly vowed not to pursue the so-called “kingpin strategy” of targeting cartel leaders which critics say does little to reduce violence or stop drugs flowing north into the US.On Monday, Mexican newspapers stamped photographs of the fallen capo across their front pages.El Universal called El Marro’s arrest the end of a “dark chapter” for Guanajuato, which is home to several of Mexico’s best-known tourist destinations, including the picturesque colonial town of San Miguel de Allende.But in his video message Mexico’s president, who is facing growing criticism over his handling of the coronavirus epidemic, admitted there was more work to do.“We must continue tackling the root causes of violence – first of all poverty, and secondly, making sure there is no corruption and no impunity,” López Obrador said. “Our authorities must not protect these criminals.”

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:11:17 -0400
  • Illinois officials call to abolish history classes in the state until an 'alternative' is set up to highlight underrepresented groups news

    Illinois Democratic State Representative LaShawn K. Ford is demanding the history of minority groups to be taught in state schools.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:38:15 -0400
  • Australia: British-Australian woman in Iran prison 'is well' news

    Australia's ambassador to Iran has visited a British-Australian academic who was convicted of espionage before being moved recently to a notorious Iranian prison, and found that she “is well,” Australia’s government said Tuesday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran’s Evin Prison in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. Australia sought urgent consular access and its ambassador to Iran, Lyndall Sachs, visited Moore-Gilbert in Qarchak Prison on Sunday, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or DFAT, said in a statement.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 01:18:14 -0400
  • Apple Fire: Massive California wildfire forces evacuations news

    Around 7,800 people are told to leave their homes in southern California because of the fire.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:04:45 -0400
  • Student wearing 'Black Lives Matter' mask at graduation told to remove it news

    Dean Holmes, 18, was allowed to march in the ceremony with the rest of his classmates after removing the mask.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:48:00 -0400
  • U.S. judge orders election boards to extend count of absentee ballots in New York state primary news

    According to the ruling by Judge Analisa Torres of Federal District Court in Manhattan, the absentee ballots are to be counted "without regard to whether such ballots are postmarked by June 23." Carolyn Maloney, the Democratic Party incumbent, got 40.29% of votes previously counted, while challenger Suraj Patel received 38.43%.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 01:58:52 -0400
  • US jails man who bought Lamborghini with government loan news

    Instead of speeding off in a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus, a Texas man got a slower ride to jail Tuesday after US authorities arrested him for using $1.6 million in government pandemic aid to go on a spending spree. Lee Price III, 29, was charged with fraud after he secured two government loans under the Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees he did not have, the Justice Department said in a statement. Price secured two loans: Price Enterprises Holdings allegedly received more than $900,000, while 713 Construction was approved for over $700,000, but neither has employees and "the individual listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April 2020, a month before the application was submitted," according to the complaint.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:57:39 -0400
  • Marines ID all 9 people killed in sea-tank sinking news

    The Marine Corps has identified all nine people killed when a Marine landing craft sank in the water off the Southern California coast.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 14:34:50 -0400
  • Direct-to-Consumer Furniture Brand Burrow Expands Its Offerings

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    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:00:43 -0400
  • Court hears horrific details of how 'Doomsday Mom' Lori Vallow's children were discovered news

    Idaho Police have shared shocking details of unearthing the remains of ‘Doomsday Mom’ Lori Vallow Daybell’s two children, who had been missing for months prior to their discovery.Rexburg Police Detective Ray Hermosillo gave the chilling testimony in a preliminary hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to hold her husband Chad Daybell for trial.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:49:24 -0400
  • REVIEW: The Jeep Gladiator pickup truck is a monster off road, but might be too beastly for its own good on the highway news

    The Jeep Gladiator is the Jeep of all pickup trucks, rugged and ready for off-roading. But highway cruising is a completely different story.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 09:17:00 -0400
  • AP PHOTOS: Terror, death, devastation in Lebanon explosion news

    As they watched a huge mushroom cloud rise over the seaport capital, many who felt the massive explosion in Beirut on Tuesday thought it was a nuclear detonation. Others described the popping and bursting of fireworks and a raging fire that spread to another building, triggering the blast felt kilometers (miles) away. The explosion collapsed balconies, shattered windows and ripped bricks from buildings, killing more than 70 people and injuring more than 3,000.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:01:52 -0400
  • Shoprite: Africa's biggest supermarket considers pulling out of Nigeria news

    Shoprite is the latest high-profile South African retailer to struggle in the Nigerian market.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 09:45:52 -0400
  • Iran has been covering up its coronavirus death toll, according to BBC investigation which says the true figure is almost 3 times higher news

    Both coronavirus deaths and cases are significantly higher than Iran is publicly reporting, according to government figures seen by the BBC.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:34:08 -0400
  • Will Tlaib take her primary? Who will win the Kansas GOP Senate race? What to watch for Tuesday's election news

    Rep. Rashida Tlaib is facing a primary challenger and other races to watch during Tuesday's primary.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:39:19 -0400
  • Russia says suspected mercenaries detained by Belarus were going to Latin America news

    A Russian diplomat said on Monday a group of more than 30 suspected Russian mercenaries detained in Belarus last week were only passing through Minsk and were on their way to an unnamed Latin American state. Belarusian authorities have said they suspect the men entered their country to plot "acts of terrorism" and destabilise it before an Aug. 9 presidential election. The Russian state says it does not use mercenaries.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 10:02:17 -0400
  • Bower Studios and West Elm Reprise a Partnership With This New Collection

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    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 12:30:13 -0400
  • An Arkansas Black Lives Matter group was confronted by an armed militia. One protester carried a flamethrower as a 'deterrent.' news

    An organizer told Insider that he received more than 100 death threats from people who oppose the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:22:17 -0400
  • George Floyd: Leaked police bodycam footage shows how fatal arrest began news

    Leaked body camera footage shows George Floyd begging for his life in the moments leading up to his arrest and subsequent death at the knee of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.Video recorded on the body cameras of two other former officers, Thomas Lane, 37, and J. Kueng, 26, shows the initial moments of the confrontation between Mr Floyd and officers outside a Minneapolis shop on 25 May.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 05:28:59 -0400
  • White House responds to Trump encouraging voting by mail in Florida after criticizing it for months news

    White House Press Secretary Kayleigh Mcenany responded to Tuesday to President Trump encouraging voting by mail in Florida after criticizing it for months.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:02:54 -0400
  • Panama proposes flying Haitian migrants home after clash news

    The government of Panama said Monday it has proposed giving some Haitian migrants flights back to their homeland after frustrations boiled over at the remote camps where they are stuck. The camps in Panama’s southern Darien province also house some Cuban and African migrants, but about 80% of the 2,000 migrants there are from Haiti. Public Safety Minister Juan Pino said Monday he offered improved medical services or repatriation flights to the migrants, who want to travel overland to the U.S. border but cannot do so because of coronavirus restrictions.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:56:06 -0400
  • Being a Chinese student in the US: ‘Neither the US nor China wants us’ news

    Amid a global pandemic and diplomatic tensions, Chinese students in the US are feeling anxious.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 01:30:34 -0400
  • Virgin Galactic just revealed a new supersonic passenger jet planned with Rolls-Royce, which used to make Concorde jet engines news

    Virgin Galactic, founded by Richard Branson, has until now largely focused its efforts on designing and building spaceships for tourists.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 08:17:40 -0400
  • Miner who discovered the largest tanzanite gems ever has now found a third - and it's worth millions news

    A Tanzanian miner, who became a millionaire off of his first findings in June 2020, discovered a third rare Tanzanite gem.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 14:59:01 -0400
  • White House seeks deal this week with congressional Democrats on coronavirus bill news

    White House negotiators on Tuesday vowed to work "around the clock" with congressional Democrats to try to reach a deal on coronavirus relief by the end of this week, as the pandemic takes a heavy toll on American life. Following an afternoon meeting of the four main negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin raised the possibility of a deal by week's end, which could clear the way for votes in the Senate and House of Representatives. Mnuchin said negotiators would now "work around the clock" and have set a timeline "so that the legislation can be then passed next week" if a tentative deal is in hand.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 06:06:12 -0400
  • Governor Cuomo begs wealthy New Yorkers to come home to save ailing city news

    The governor of New York has begged the city’s wealthy, who fled the coronavirus outbreak, to return and help it recover. Andrew Cuomo said he was extremely worried about New York City weathering the Covid-19 aftermath if too many of the well-heeled taxpayers who fled to second homes decide there is no need to move back. “They are in their Hamptons homes, or Hudson Valley or Connecticut. I talk to them literally every day. I say. ‘When are you coming back? I’ll buy you a drink. I’ll cook,’ “ Mr Cuomo told MSNBC, naming popular getaways for the rich. “They’re not coming back right now. And you know what else they’re thinking, if I stay there, they pay a lower income tax because they don’t pay the New York City surcharge. So, that would be a bad place if we had to go there.” Lawmakers have proposed a wealth tax targeting the city's 100 billionaires to help fill a $30 billion (£23bn) budget shortfall created by the Covid-19 crisis.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 11:09:35 -0400
  • From Manhattan to Hiroshima: the race for the atom bomb news

    The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki capped six years of top-secret work by scientists from Europe and North America. In 1939, Albert Einstein signs a letter warning US president Franklin D. Roosevelt of the destructive potential of nuclear fission, which was discovered by the German chemist Otto Hahn. Roosevelt creates the Advisory Body on Uranium.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 23:41:56 -0400
  • Husband of LA district attorney charged after pointing gun at Black Lives Matter protesters news

    David Lacey, whose wife Jackie Lacey is running for re-election, has been charged with multiple firearm assaults The husband of the Los Angeles district attorney has been charged with multiple firearm assaults after he pointed a gun at Black Lives Matter activists and said, “I will shoot you.”David Lacey, whose wife Jackie Lacey is the elected prosecutor currently running for re-election, is facing three misdemeanor charges for pointing his firearm at three organizers who were protesting outside their house on 2 March, the day before the primary election. The charges come from the state attorney general’s office.The incident was captured on video and showed David Lacey opening his door and threatening the demonstrators, saying, “Get off of my porch. I will shoot you … I don’t care who you are … We’re calling the police right now.” He appeared to have his finger on the trigger.Close to the door was Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter Los Angeles leader, who said on the video: “He pulled a gun and pointed it at my chest.”Abdullah, who has been protesting against Jackie Lacey for years over her refusal to prosecute officers who kill civilians, told the Guardian on Tuesday that she was surprised to learn of the charges from the media, and said she had not had any contact with the attorney general or the district attorney.She also pointed out that the charges were misdemeanors and that prosecutors typically file more serious felony charges for firearm threats like the one clearly captured on footage against her.“Had it been anyone else who pointed a gun at someone’s chest, at three people in fact, and said the words, ‘I will shoot you’, we know they’d be getting more than misdemeanors,” said Abdullah, who is also a professor of Pan-African studies at Cal State LA. “The system is there to protect themselves.”Samuel Tyre, an attorney for David Lacey, said in an email that his client was “disappointed that the attorney general’s office felt that the conduct at issue amounted to criminal behavior”, adding, “We disagree entirely with their assessment, but we have the utmost faith in the justice system, and we are confident that the correct result will be reached.”Tyre declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but added, “my client’s human instinct is forever and always to protect his wife and his family and to keep them safe from physical harm”.Lacey had promised last fall to meet with Black Lives Matter activists who have long called for her to address police violence, but the meeting never happened, organizers said at the time. Using a tactic that has become common in recent protests, a group of about 30 protesters showed up to Lacey’s Granada Hills home in the early morning. They brought chairs with them saying they were going to hold the community meeting that they had been promised. There were no threats of violence from the demonstrators.Abdullah said it seemed the charges were meant to “placate the community”, adding, “It’s trying to give us the illusion that there is justice.”She also said it had taken time for her to process what happened, though she has continued to be a vocal presence at the demonstrations against police violence in recent months. The incident affected her whole family, she said, noting that her children had to leave their classrooms when it happened: “It’s not only weighed on me.”Hours after the original incident, Jackie Lacey offered a tearful apology to reporters, saying she and her husband were frightened.The DA’s office declined to comment on Tuesday and Lacey’s campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry. Lacey is facing a tough re-election fight in November and has long faced criticism for her handling of killings by police, her aggressive pursuit of the death penalty and other tough-on-crime strategies.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:15:46 -0400
  • Trump’s Convention Chaos Leaves Small Biz Owners Seething news

    Donald Trump’s decision to largely cancel the original RNC convention in Charlotte keeps disappointing Larry Farber. Before the president torpedoed the long-planned event, Farber, the owner of Middle C Jazz, envisioned a much-needed economic stimulus for the area’s businesses, including his own, which was slated to be an official convention venue location. Any chance of that happening fell apart when Trump vengefully moved the festivities and quickly settled on Jacksonville after feuding with North Carolina’s Democratic governor because he refused to guarantee a “full convention.”But instead of finding a better fate in Florida, Trump caved to the reality of the pandemic and canceled his Jacksonville plans, leaving two different cities to face the fallout. For Farber, it was a painful reminder of the opportunity missed.“It was a gut punch to all of us that it left, just from an economic standpoint,” said Farber, who grew anxious when Trump first threatened to move the convention back in May. “And now when you see that it was moved to Florida and it’s not going to happen there, as a business owner you of course look back in hindsight and go it’s a shame it didn’t work out for Charlotte, it’s a shame that the RNC couldn’t have come to an agreement with our state and our governor to make it work.”No Show! Trump Cancels Jacksonville GOP ConventionTrump’s now abandoned push to hold a major RNC convention during the coronavirus pandemic has turned what is normally a historic commemoration of political triumph into one that has become mired in backlash and criticism in two key swing states. Small businesses that had been selected as vendors for either city’s convention had found themselves in the tense position of having to decide between financial gains and health concerns. Now they find themselves gaining nothing at all for their troubles. Andy Thompson, the president of Charlotte’s Rose Chauffeured Transportation, called Trump’s original move to threaten and flee his state a “short-sighted, short notice, bully tactic”—noting that the convention would have been a boost for small businesses from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.“He’s not thinking about us,” said Thompson, who is still hoping the remnants of the convention next month will bring his company some business. “He’s just thinking about himself.” And in Florida, Bonnie Arnold, the owner of Bonnie’s Floral Designs, said she felt Trump would face backlash for how he’d managed the festivities. Her business had been selected as a local vendor, but Arnold said she wasn’t surprised the convention didn’t come to pass. “I think it will hurt him politically,” Arnold said of Trump. “(He) did that decision in Charlotte rather quickly… and then to turn around and even in a shorter period of time repeat that, I don’t think builds confidence in his re-election.” Officials Terrified That Trump’s Jacksonville Convention Will Be ‘Another Tulsa’By canceling the RNC’s convention plans in Jacksonville, the president further illustrated the sharp tension that now exists between public health and politics—a tension that came into sharp focus in May, when Trump first challenged North Carolina’s Democratic governor to allow him a full-scale convention. When that governor, Roy Cooper, declined to do so, the RNC and Trump pulled the plug on those plans. Republicans in other states readily embraced the decision and lawmakers lobbied for their states to become the next host. Trump settled on Jacksonville, where both the mayor’s seat and the governor’s office were held by Republicans unlikely to publicly oppose his desire for packed halls.. But Florida quickly became a coronavirus hotspot, forcing Trump to make the kind of major concession he refused to do to keep the Charlotte plans intact. The late cancelation came roughly a week after the RNC posted names of registered vendors online that could be used when the convention was held. “It hurt, but it didn’t hurt,” to see the convention get canceled, said Annie Banks, the vice-president of Ms. Annie’s Catering. The extra cash would have been nice for her business struggling during the pandemic. But Banks said it was still good to see the convention plans abandoned, adding that while her business had been listed as a vendor they did not know exactly what parties they would have been providing services for when it came to the convention. “I think we would have been way worse if it had come… in the sense that it would have brought an even higher rise in the coronavirus here in Jacksonville,” she said. The Trump campaign referred a request for comment on the vendors to the RNC, who emphasized that “small business support continues to be a top priority” of the president. “The RNC worked through every possible avenue to continue to hold a more traditional convention and showcase the great businesses, venues and people of Charlotte and Jacksonville, but ultimately, the safety and well-being of the American people has to come first,” RNC National Press Secretary Mandi Merritt said in an email to The Daily Beast. The decision by Trump to cancel the Jacksonville convention may have been done—as Merritt said—out of caution. But it also came after a June comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that became both a PR and public health nightmare for the Trump campaign. That rally featured thousands of empty seats as potential attendees stayed home amid rampant COVID-19 fears. Trump had pledged to keep campaigning. But his team subsequently canceled a New Hampshire event, citing inclement weather. And then it pulled out of Jacksonville after the area’s sheriff said in a statement: “We are simply past the point of no return to execute the event with safety and security that is our obligation.” Charlotte is expected to at least see a portion of activity later this month with 336 delegates appearing in person to officially nominate Trump, according to an RNC official. For at least one Florida vendor, the cancellation was merely symbolic. At Beacher’s Lodge Oceanfront Suites in St. Augustine, Florida, there had been “slim to none” bookings made specifically for the convention, office manager Jill Ursini told The Daily Beast. While the oceanfront condo hotel is roughly 50 miles from the once planned convention location, the spot was still just one of only roughly 20 vendors appearing on an accommodations list posted online by the host committee. “I just don’t think that it really was the right time to even be planning something like that especially in the state of Florida,” Ursini said, pointing to frightening upticks in coronavirus cases. “Maybe go to Montana in the middle of nowheresville or something like that.” 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.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 03:50:48 -0400
  • Marine AAV Hit Rough Seas, Rapidly Took on Water Before Sinking news

    The Marines and sailor were assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 18:07:15 -0400
  • See Inside Zaha Hadid’s Revolutionary Oeuvre

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    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:32:47 -0400
  • Burger King employee reportedly murdered after a woman complained about the drive-thru wait time news

    Retired Dallas police officer C'mone Wingo reacts to the increase in crime and violence in major U.S. cities.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 09:07:51 -0400
  • Splash Mountain log flume ride sinks at Disney World's Magic Kingdom news

    Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain hit rough waters Sunday as Twitter users posted video of a submerged log flume ride they were in moments earlier.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 16:57:27 -0400
  • Family tells AP: Iran abducted California man while in Dubai news

    A California-based member of an Iranian militant opposition group in exile was abducted by Iran while staying in Dubai, his family said Tuesday. The suspected cross-border abduction of Jamshid Sharmahd appears corroborated by mobile phone location data, shared by his family with The Associated Press, that suggests he was taken to neighboring Oman before heading to Iran. Iran hasn't said how it detained Sharmahd, though the announcement came against the backdrop of covert actions conducted by Iran amid heightened tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s collapsing nuclear deal with world powers.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 07:10:14 -0400
  • Fire breaks out at Iranian industrial area, no casualties: state TV

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 03:43:12 -0400
  • Experts no longer expect seasonal coronavirus waves: The pandemic is like 'a forest fire looking for human wood to burn' news

    In April, US experts suggested there might be a second peak of coronavirus infections in the fall. But new data suggests it's not seasonal.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:01:00 -0400
  • Colorado police apologise for detaining mother and children news

    A black mother and four children - aged six to 17 - were mistakenly detained over a stolen vehicle.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 15:47:30 -0400
  • Massive warehouse explosion rocks Beirut, causing thousands of injuries and widespread damage news

    At least 3,000 people have been injured and 50 have been killed. The numbers are likely to rise with hospitals filling up fast.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 18:55:00 -0400
  • Trump Adm Bails Out Charter Jet Firm That Helps Deport Migrants news

    The Trump administration’s efforts to deport undocumented immigrants en masse just got more expensive. And the agency charged with loading people onto planes and flying them back to their home countries is blaming the coronavirus pandemic for the price hike.In April, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, increased its payments under a contract awarded in 2017 to Classic Air Charter, a company that subcontracts chartered deportation flights out of the country, primarily to Mexico and Central and South America, but also, more recently to other regions.ICE attributed the price hike to the novel coronavirus. The increase swells the already high cost that the federal government pays to fly undocumented immigrants out of the country. The two awards to Classic Air under its ICE contract since the pandemic began, each for $50.7 million, were the largest it’s received under the contract since it was inked three years ago. The next largest, for $46.6 million, came in May 2019, but prior to the coronavirus pandemic, ICE awards under the contract averaged just $12.7 million.Trump Deportations Helped Spread COVID 'Disaster' to Central AmericaICE would not provide a comment on the record for this story. Classic Air did not respond to inquiries. But in federal procurement notices beginning in April, ICE said the new contract’s “guaranteed minimum values have been temporarily adjusted to maintain vendor operability during COVID19 pandemic."Classic Air has brokered deportation flights for ICE for years, primarily by way of two subcontractors that have charged extremely high rates for the service, due largely to the lack of air carriers willing to work with the controversial immigration enforcement agency.According to internal Classic Air records reported by Quartz last year, ICE was paying Classic Air and its subcontractors as much as $33,000 per flight-hour to deport migrants from Arizona to Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. It’s unclear if those same rates apply to other countries. “Many carriers are discouraged by the potential of public backlash or negative media attention,” Classic Air wrote. “As a result, our carrier selection pool has been reduced to a single operator,” the Oklahoma-based Omni Air International.Under an indefinite delivery vehicle, which is the type of contract that ICE awarded to Classic Air in 2017, the government agency sets a price range for the goods or services it’s purchasing, explained Jim Nagle, of counsel at the law firm Oles Morrison and an expert in federal procurement law. “The government decides that it will need a particular product or service but doesn’t know exactly how many,” he wrote in an email. “So it gives a minimum which is the only amount that is guaranteed to the contractor and a maximum which should be large enough to cover the amount the government might very well have to order.”The federal procurement records noting the increase in minimum awards to Classic Air did not provide details on why or how its fee structure has changed. But additional public records indicate that the company has sought federal assistance to maintain its operations as a result of the coronavirus and the resulting economic downturn.According to data released by the Treasury Department last month, Classic Air received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program worth between $150,000 and $350,000. The loan helped the company retain 18 jobs, according to Treasury records. Omni Air also got a PPP loan worth between $350,000 and $1 million.Nagle said the hike in ICE payments to the company could provide additional financial benefits for Classic Air. “The only amount that the contractor can reliably count on and show its bankers or creditors is the guaranteed minimum,” he wrote. “So sometimes the government, to assist its contractor, will raise the guaranteed minimums  to a higher number to reflect the government's increased demand for a particular item or service but also to enable the contractor, especially a needed contractor, to be able to get necessary financing from his bankers.”Classic Air has received $322 million from ICE through its deportation contract since 2017, according to federal procurement records. Nearly a third of that, more than than $100 million, has come since March.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.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 12:01:32 -0400
  • Pompeo vows to protect Hong Kong activists sought abroad news

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday vowed to protect Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners who have fled the city and denounced China after Beijing said that police had ordered the arrests of overseas activists. "The Chinese Communist Party cannot tolerate the free thinking of its own people, and increasingly is trying to extend its reach outside China's borders," Pompeo said in a statement. "The United States and other free nations will continue to protect our peoples from the long arm of Beijing's authoritarianism."

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 17:39:41 -0400
  • China seeks to increase influence in South China Sea by reclassifying international shipping lanes news

    China has quietly changed how it identifies a vast stretch of international waters in a shipping regulation, indicating it as a “coastal” region, rather than “offshore,” as authorities seek to exert even greater control over the South China Sea. The amended regulation, first drafted in the 1970s, went into effect on Saturday, and establishes a “navigation area” from China’s Hainan island in the south, all the way down to the disputed Paracel Islands, which sit east of Vietnam’s coastline. The revision, however small, allows Beijing yet another avenue to justify its claims in the region. “The move is pretty consistent with the broader, general patterns of China seeking ‘creeping jurisdiction’ using domestic laws to assert its claims and extend control in the South China Sea,” said Collin Koh,a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. “With those domestic laws and regulations being implemented quietly without fanfare, the less likely it’ll attract undue external attention, so that over time a fait accompli is created - in other words, for Beijing to change facts on the ground.” The risk, in the long run, is that this area of ocean already flanked by Chinese military interests and installations, could turn a navigational zone to a “future security alert zone,” he said. The change comes as China has displayed increasing swagger in the South China Sea, where Beijing and a number of Southeast Asian countries all lay claim to the rocks, reefs and waters.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 06:31:08 -0400
  • 'Hot objects' from vehicle tailpipe caused 26,850-acre Apple Fire in California, authorities say news

    Only 7% of the perimeter was contained in the massive California blaze. Witnesses who saw the vehicle blamed for the fire are being sought.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:56:56 -0400
  • Army Special Forces Colonel Faces Court-Martial on Sexual Assault Charges news

    Col. Kevin M. Russell is facing five counts of violating Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

    Tue, 04 Aug 2020 16:31:10 -0400
  • Parents in a school district in Georgia, are demanding in-person classes. But hundreds of employees have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19, revealing the biggest blind spot in the fight to reopen schools news

    "The primary consideration should always be the safety, the health of the welfare of the children, as well as the teachers...," Anthony Fauci said.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 22:58:52 -0400
  • 2 Delta passengers refused to wear face masks, so the plane turned back to the gate and kicked them out news

    The airline said the passengers were "noncompliant with crew instructions." It currently requires everyone on board to wear masks at all times.

    Mon, 03 Aug 2020 07:09:34 -0400
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