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World News

US boy, 13, forced to threaten Trump and build suicide belt in ISIS vids is home after being rescued from Syria

A 13-YEAR-old American boy who was forced to threaten President Donald Trump and build suicide belts in ISIS videos is back home after being rescued from Syria.

Matthew was just 10-years-old when he was made to film sick ISIS propaganda clips where he called Trump a “puppet of the Jews” and said the president should “prepare for a battle on US soil”.

In the 2017 video, Matthew was seen saying, “My message to Trump, the puppet of the Jews: Allah has promised us victory and he’s promised you defeat.

“This battle is not going to end in Raqqa or Mosul. It’s going to end in your lands… So get ready, for the fighting has just begun.”

Matthew was taken to Syria by his mother, Samantha Sally, and stepfather, Moussa Elhassani, when he was 10.

He said he was given no choice but to take part in the video, because of his stepfather's outbursts of anger.


"He was starting to lose it, like he was mentally unstable, very mentally unstable," he said.

The 13-year-old was rescued from an ISIS territory by the US military in 2018, after spending three years in captivity.

He has now been living back in America with his father for over a year and has been receiving extensive counselling to help him deal with everything that happened to him.

The 13-year-old said it is a “sweet relief” to be back home in America.

“It’s just like being in tight clothes and tight shoes all day and then just taking it off and just feeling nice and chilling in a hot bath. That’s what it felt like. Sweet relief,” Matthew told BBC.

“It happened and it’s done. It’s all behind me now. I was so young I did not really understand any of it,” he added.

Elhassani died in a suspected drone attack in the summer of 2017, while his mother, Sally, who said she was “tricked” into moving to Syria, was convicted earlier this month of financing terrorism and sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison.

In early 2017, his mother emailed her sister in the US with a desperate plea for money to help the family escape, attaching disturbing videos of Matthew.

In one, the boy was seen preparing a suicide belt following his step-fathers instructions and role-played how he would welcome potential American rescuers, but then kill them by detonating the explosives.

In another video, Matthew was attempting to take apart a loaded AK-47, challenged by his step-father to do so in under a minute.

When asked about his stepfather’s death, Matthew said, “I was happy ‘because I didn’t like him, obviously.

“I don’t think I should have been, because a person died, but I was. We were all crying out of joy.”

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World News

US provides $17M in humanitarian aid as Hurricane Iota death toll rises

Headlines 11/22

Headlines 11/22

The United States is providing $17 million in humanitarian aid to help relief efforts in Central America and Colombia in the wake of hurricanes Iota and Eta.

Last week, Iota hammered areas that had been recently battered by Eta.  Both were Category 4 storms.

“Our prayers are with the people of Central America and Colombia suffering from the impacts of Hurricanes Iota and Eta. The people of the U.S. are behind you,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Saturday. “We are mobilizing U.S. military rescue craft and $17 million in humanitarian aid to assist and help save lives.”

The Defense Department also tweeted a video of Air Force personnel packing pallets containing 90,000 pounds of food onto a C-17 Globemaster III to help the relief effort in Honduras

Iota made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Nicaragua’s northeastern coast late Monday, hitting almost exactly the same stretch of the Caribbean coast that was devastated by Eta two weeks ago.

Reuters reports that the death toll from Iota in Central America and Colombia has surpassed 40.

Shelters for people whose homes were flooded or damaged by the hurricanes in Honduras are now so crowded that thousands of victims have taken refuge under highway overpasses or bridges.

Footage tweeted by Hajer Naili of the aid organization Project HOPE shows large numbers of people sheltering under a highway overpass in Colonia Sitraterco, Honduras.

The International Red Cross estimates that about 4.2 million people were affected by the back-to-back hurricanes in November in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. Several hundred thousand are in shelters or informal camps across the region.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

 

 

 

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World News

Which US states still have the death penalty? – The Sun

THE US remains one of a handful of western nations that still hands out the death penalty to the most serious of criminals.

It follows news that Orlando Hall was executed yesterday (Thursday November 19, 2020) – some 26 years after he kidnapped, raped and murdered 16-year-old Lisa Rene in 1994.

How many US states have the death penalty?

According to deathpenaltyinfo.org 28 states out of 50 have the death penalty in the United States.

It is believed Britain influenced America's use of the death penalty more than any other country, with the first recorded execution of Captain George Kendall in the Jamestown colony of Virginia in 1608.

The 22 states that do not have the death penalty are: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as the District of Columbia.

Colorado is currently the most recent state to abolish the death sentence in March 2020.

Three states – California, Oregon and Pennsylvania – have imposed moratoria, otherwise known as temporary suspension, on executions

For those who are found guilty in the states with the death penalty, they face waiting an average of 14 years and 8 months between sentencing and execution.

How many people have been executed in the US?

There have been 1,527  executions in America since 1976.

Several US States have continued executing convicts at the state level but the federal government has refrained from doing so since 2003.

But in July 2019, Donald Trump announced the Government would start executing federal death-row inmates for the first time in 20 years.

As of November, eight inmates have received federal executions in 2020 alone.

Which US states have the death penalty?

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming

 

When was the death penalty abolished in the UK?

The last people to be sentenced to death in Britain were Peter Anthony Allen and Gwynne Owen Evans – real name John Robson Walby – in 1964.

They had knifed a friend to death for money. The executions took place simultaneously at 8am on August 13.

Public anger about previous wrongful executions led to their suspension in 1965 and they were abolished in 1969.

Technically, the death penalty could still be imposed for offences including treason, violent piracy or certain military crimes until 1998, but no executions took place.

 

What is the lethal injection?

US states that have the death penalty use lethal injection as their primary method of execution, but protocols differ from state to state.

Some use one drug while others use a cocktail of two or three.

The three-drug protocol uses an anaesthetic or sedative, usually followed by pancuronium bromide and potassium chloride.

This paralyses the inmate and then stops their heart.

Florida convict Mark Asay was executed on August 24, 2017, with a mix using the anaesthetic etomidate for the first time.

Electrocution is used in some executions in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Beauty and Fashion

Drew Barrymore Gives Us an Inside Peek at Her Latest Flower Beauty Campaign

So bubbly! Drew Barrymore shot the most vibrant campaign for Flower Beauty Hair Tools — and we got an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the shoot.

Drew Barrymore’s Epic Beauty Junkie Series on Instagram Is Everything

To promote her first-ever hair tools collection, the 45-year-old founder starred in a beautiful and bright campaign. Shot over Zoom by photographer Jamie Nelson, the images were just as lively as the tools themselves.

In the beginning of the BTS clip, the camera showcases the variety of colorful pumps and statement jewelry that the Santa Clarita Diet star wore with her stylish, loud outfits.

Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, Eva Longoria and More Stars Who’ve Shot Campaigns From Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

But it wasn’t just the fashion moments that we loved! The Charlie’s Angels actress also exudes that playful, fun energy that we have always admired. At one point, Barrymore is pointing to the screen as they look through images and she screams with genuine enthusiasm, “I love it! I love it!”

This is the first hair tool launch from Flower Beauty, following the brand’s debut in 2013. The 6-piece collection, which dropped on September 30, includes a Rotating Styling Iron, a Volumizing Styler, a Straightening Iron, a Straightening Brush and hair dryers. All priced under $80, customers can pick up any of these affordable goodies exclusively at Walmart or Walmart.com.

Check Out Drew Barrymore’s Wild Fashion and Beauty Evolution: Pics

As she evolved and grew Flower Beauty, Barrymore told Us back in 2018 that she started looking for inspiration through an eclectic mix of muses. This included Sharon Tate, Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and David Bowie. “I like people who come out and really surprise me,” she said. “That anticipation of, what are they going to do next, is just really inspiring to me.”

So basically, something as bright, beautiful and bold as this campaign is perfectly on-brand for the mogul as she continues to grow her Flower Beauty empire. And we can hardly wait to see what’s next!

Listen on Spotify to Get Tressed With Us to get the details of every hair love affair in Hollywood, from the hits and misses on the red carpet to your favorite celebrities’ street style ‘dos (and don’ts!)

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

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TV and Movies

This Is Us recap: An unpredictable ending to Honestly

This Is Us aired its fourth episode of Season 5 with the trademark twists and turns for the NBC drama.

Even so, the hour-long time with the Pearson family felt way too short for avid viewers. But, as the expression goes, “them’s the breaks.” Or, if you prefer, “that’s how the cookie crumbles.”

Moving on with the story, Malik (Asante Blackk) went to work with Randall (Sterling K. Brown) for a civic’s class project.

Although Deja’s boyfriend botched his one day on the job at City Hall, the results were the best part of this episode (read about what happened here).

The worst part came at the very end of Honestly, and, honestly, a host of fans are up in arms about what they saw.

But let’s explore the rest of the episode before grappling with that harbinger.

Kevin shows up in a number of ways on This Is Us

Kevin was a force throughout Honestly, starting with when he was a screaming baby. He was such a screamer that Rebecca and Jack were regularly going to his room to help him get back to sleep. Talk about sleep deprivation.

  • Sadie on This Is Us: Who is the girl with the horse?

The This Is Us episode also showed how young Kevin (Parker Bates) became somewhat lazy. As a result, while growing up, he tended to quit things at which he did not immediately excel.

A good example was examined on the show. Even though Kevin had the physicality to become a great high school quarterback, he was a struggling student when it came to football strategies.

He could not learn the playbook until Randall (Lonnie Chavis) shared a brotherly moment with him. A stellar student, he demystified a color-coding system with his sibling that helped Kevin learn the plays in record time.

Kevin starts his movie rehearsals on This Is Us

Fast forward to the Kevin Pearson (Justin Hartley) of today’s world.

He’s been cast in a big-budget movie, but the director does not seem to like him or his acting methods. While he seems to be enamored by what the leading lady can lend to the film, he is hard on Kevin.

After a grueling first session, Kevin approached the director outside the studio to ask what he had done wrong.

The anxious thespian never got a straight answer, but Kevin was told he has the chops to become a great actor. He can do this if he just digs deeper into the role.

The director also told Kevin that he did not realize the guy needed an “atta boy” in order to go forward with his performance.

Kevin took all this to heart and went home to study his lines. Once again, he used Randall’s unique method of memorization using color-coding. Hopefully, this aid was just the trick so he could act in the way in which the director was seeking from his male lead.

Kate goes to the OB-GYN with Ellie on This Is Us

On to Kate (Chrissy Metz).

In the present, she is pumped when she goes to the OB-GYN with Ellie for her ultrasound.

All went well until near the end of the visit when Kate called the baby Chloe.

Bad choice.

Apparently, Ellie had a high school rival who happened to have that same name, putting it back into the ether instead of becoming the baby’s official moniker.

While listening to Ellie explain the situation, the discussion includes the fact that Chloe was her dead husband’s bio lab partner who had been telling mean lies about Ellie for a very long time. She admitted that she had seriously thought about getting an abortion.

Kate remembered an experience of her own. After saying she passed no judgment on Ellie’s thoughts, she told her a secret story of her own.

It seems that her horrendous boyfriend Mark had impregnated her just before they broke up. This happened after spending a rough time with him at the Pearson family cabin.

The discussion stopped there, but viewers are probably supposed to think that Kate had an abortion of her own. This may or may not be true.

What is sadly true came at the very end of Season 5, Episode 4.

Many people who watched the episode must have dropped their jaws when they found out that This Is Us is going on hiatus and will not be back on the air until January 5, 2021.

What a downer for everyone who lives for this drama on a weekly basis.

This Is Us is on hiatus until January 5, 2021.


  • This Is Us recap: An unpredictable ending to Honestly – 18th November 2020
  • This Is Us Season 5 Episode 4 highlight: Randall does a livestream striptease – 18th November 2020
  • Isaiah Washington hits back at Grey’s Anatomy’s Katherine Heigl 13 years after their feud – 17th November 2020

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World News

US shoots down ICBM in space from warship for first time in successful test

Pentagon performs test to shoot down ICBM

Ground-based interceptor missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base; Jonathan Hunt reports

An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was shot down in space from a warship for the first time during a successful demonstration on Tuesday, according to the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

The ICBM target missile launched from a test range in the Marshall Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean, between Hawaii and the Philippines around 12:50 a.m., and was shot down in space by a missile launched from a U.S. warship at sea, the MDA announced.

It was destroyed by an advanced SM-3 Block IIA ballistic missile defense interceptor made by Raytheon Missiles & Defense and co-developed with Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a statement said.

US ARMY TESTING AUGMENTED REALITY GOGGLES ON DOGS

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during a test at 12:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, Aug. 4, 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie)

"This was an incredible accomplishment and critical milestone for the Aegis BMD SM-3 Block IIA program," said MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill. We have demonstrated that an Aegis BMD-equipped vessel equipped with the SM-3 Block IIA missile can defeat an ICBM-class target, which is a step in the process of determining its feasibility as part of an architecture for layered defense of the homeland."

Bryan Rosselli, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, said the test was a "first-of-its-kind" and shows that the U.S. "has a viable option for a new layer of defense against long-range threats."

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S PROPOSED F-35 SALE TO UAE HITS SNAG

Previous tests to shoot down ICBMs were conducted using ground-based interceptors launched from bases in Alaska and California.

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"My congratulations to the entire test team, including our military and industry partners, who helped us to achieve this milestone," Hill added.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report

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Hate crimes in US reach highest level in 12 years

Hate crimes across the US rose to their highest level in more than a decade last year, the agency said Monday.

The US saw 7,314 hate crimes in 2019, up from 7,120 in 2018 — and the highest level in 12 years, according to a new FBI report.

Fifty-one people were killed in hate attacks in 2019 — including the 22 murdered in an El Paso Walmart massacre that authorities say was carried out by a gunman targeting Hispanics.

That is the highest number of hate-motivated murders since the FBI began tracking such statistics in the early 1990s.

The FBI’s annual report defines hate crimes as those motivated by bias based on a person’s race, religion or sexual orientation, among other categories.

Religious groups have been increasingly targeted, as officials saw a nearly 14 percent increase in attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions, the report found.

That surge in violence was felt acutely in New York City, with Mayor Bill de Blasio ordering the NYPD to beef up patrols amid a rash of attacks last year.

The FBI said the number of hate crimes against African Americans dropped slightly to 1,930 from 1,943, however crimes against Hispanics rose to 527 in 2019 from 485 in 2018. 17 percent of all hate crimes were motivated by sexual orientation — a number that remained relatively stable.

Last year, fewer than than 15 percent of about 15,000 participating agencies reported hate crime data to the FBI, and the number of agencies participating in the bureau’s program decreased.

The Justice Department has long been frustrated by many law enforcement organization’s failure to report hate crimes. A 2016 investigation by the Associated Press found that more than 2,700 departments across the country failed to submit any hate crime reports to the FBI in the previous six years.

“The total severity of the impact and damage caused by hate crimes cannot be fully measured without complete participation in the FBI’s data collection process,” Anti-Defamation League president Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

The Anti-Defamation League is among the advocacy groups calling on Congress and police officials nationwide to improve hate crime reporting and data collecting.

With Post wires

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US coronavirus cases rise in all 50 states for the first time

US coronavirus cases rise in all 50 states for the first time as country sets all-time record with 184,514 COVID-19 infections in a single day – forcing New Mexico and Oregon to impose aggressive lockdown measures

  • Johns Hopkins University reports record number of single-day infections in US 
  • On Friday, 184,514 Americans tested positive for COVID-19, latest data shows  
  • For the first time since pandemic started, cases are on the rise in all 50 states 
  • New Mexico and Oregon have imposed near-total lockdown amid surge in cases 
  • North Dakota imposed its first-ever mandatory mask ordinance this week
  • But many states are still resisting lockdown measures that could hurt economy 

All 50 states reported an increase in newly reported daily coronavirus cases this week as hard-hit areas that have resisted lockdown measures like North Dakota imposed ordinances requiring masks.

For the first time since the pandemic started earlier this year, there have been a reported increase in cases throughout the country, according to CBS News. 

While the statistics are grim, the likelihood that a coronavirus infection will prove fatal has dropped by nearly a third since April due to improved treatment, researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said on Thursday. 

The image above shows a COVID-19 testing site in Eugene, Oregon, on October 8. Oregon announced new lockdown measures due to a spike in COVID-19 cases

A motorist is given a COVID-19 test in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Thursday

A COVID-19 test site manned by soldiers with the New Mexico Army National Guard in Santa Fe is seen above on Thursday

In the United States, COVID-19 now kills about 0.6 per cent of people infected with the virus, compared with around 0.9 per cent early in the pandemic, IHME Director Dr. Christopher Murray told Reuters.

He said statistics reflect that doctors have figured out better ways to care for patients, including the use of blood thinners and oxygen support. 

Effective treatments, such as the generic steroid dexamethasone, have also been identified.

Experts have struggled to accurately measure a crucial metric in the pandemic: the fatality rate, or percentage of people infected with the pathogen who are likely to die. 

The difficulty is exacerbated by the fact that many people who become infected do not experience symptoms and are never identified. 

Frontline healthcare workers check information at a COVID-19 testing site amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in El Paso, Texas, on Friday

Floridians line up in their cars to take a COVID-19 test at a drive-through testing center in Miami Beach on Friday

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates a record number of confirmed cases in a single day as 184,514 Americans were reported infected on Friday.

The Johns Hopkins data shows the seven-day rolling average for virus-related deaths reported daily in the United States rose over the past two weeks from about 828 on Oct. 30 to 1,047 on Friday, an increase of about 26 per cent.

The seven-day rolling positivity rate also rose over the past two weeks from 6.4 to 9.6, an increase of about 50 per cent, even as the number of tests performed has grown.

The governors of Oregon and New Mexico ordered near-lockdowns on Friday in the most aggressive response yet to the latest wave of coronavirus infections shattering records across the US, even as many of their counterparts in other states show little appetite for reimposing the hard-line restrictions of last spring.

‘We are in a life-or-death situation, and if we don’t act right now, we cannot preserve the lives, we can’t keep saving lives, and we will absolutely crush our current health care system and infrastructure,’ Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico said in imposing a two-week stay-at-home order.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown ordered a two-week ‘freeze’ starting on Wednesday, under which all businesses will be required to close their offices to the public and mandate work-from-home ‘to the greatest extent possible.’

While most Oregon stores will remain open, gyms, museums, pools, movie theaters and zoos will be forced to close, and restaurants and bars will be limited to takeout. Social gatherings will be restricted to six people.

The Democratic governor warned that violators could face fines or arrest.

North Dakota, which reported the highest per capita infection rate in the country over the past two weeks, imposed its first-ever statewide mask mandate this week. The image above shows a drive-through testing site in Bismarck, North Dakota

‘For the last eight months, I have been asking Oregonians to follow to the letter and the spirit of the law, and we have not chosen to engage law enforcement,’ Brown said. 

‘At this point in time, unfortunately, we have no other option.’

Both states had lockdowns earlier in the year, but the coronavirus is coming back with a vengeance across the country, and the US is facing a long, dark winter. 

The scourge is blamed for 10.7 million confirmed infections and almost a quarter-million deaths in the US, with the closely watched University of Washington model projecting nearly 439,000 dead by March 1.

Deaths have climbed to about 1,000 a day on average. 

New cases per day are soaring, reaching another all-time high on Thursday of more than 153,000. Hospitals are getting swamped.

Still, there is little will among many governors and other elected officials for going back to the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen last spring.

Some governors also continue to resist issuing statewide mask rules.

Among the reasons given: public fatigue, fear of doing more damage to already-crippled businesses, lack of support from Washington, and the way efforts to tame the virus have become fiercely politicized.

‘I think that governors and mayors are, again, in a really tough spot. The American population is emotionally and economically exhausted,’ Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

President Donald Trump asked all Americans to remain ‘vigilant’ but ruled out a nationwide ‘lockdown.’

‘Hopefully, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be, I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown,’ Trump said in his first public remarks since his defeat by President-elect Joe Biden.

Governors in many states, such as New York, Maryland, Virginia and Minnesota, have taken largely incremental measures over the past few days, such as limiting the size of gatherings, making businesses close early, restricting capacity or cutting off alcohol sales earlier in the evening.

New York City residents line up outside a CityMD clinic on Saturday as demand for testing grows amid a surge

Starting Saturday, most people in North Dakota will be ordered to wear masks at indoor public spaces and outdoors where social distancing isn’t possible, Republican Governor Doug Burgum ordered late Friday. 

Businesses will also have restrictions on capacity and hours of operation, according to the executive order.

North Dakota continues to lead the nation in daily new COVID-19 cases per capita in the nation, with one in every 83 residents of the state testing positive for the virus in just the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University researchers.

There were 2,265 new cases per 100,000 people in North Dakota over the past two weeks, which ranks first in the country for new cases per capita, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

North Dakota health officials reported a dozen new deaths due to complications from the coronavirus on Wednesday, down from a record 30 deaths on Tuesday.

Nevada Democratic Governor Steve Sisolak has repeatedly argued that containing the virus is largely up to individuals.

‘Some people are going to ask, “Why not limit retail, or casino resorts, or restaurants right now?” That’s a fair question,’ he said.

‘That is the tightrope of trying to balance controlling the COVID-19 spread, protecting our hospitals from surges, and at the same time, not destroying and shutting down our economy.’

In Texas, which this week became the first state to surpass 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, Republican Governor Greg Abbott has emphasized new treatments and vaccines that are expected to become available soon.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has taken an even harder line against new restrictions, suing after El Paso closed nonessential businesses because of a surge so severe that mobile morgues are being brought in.

An appeals court Thursday temporarily lifted the shutdown. On Friday, the appeals court sent the case back to a state district judge with instructions to halt the shutdown.

In a statement that Paxton’s office tweeted, he called the appeals court’s Friday decision ‘outstanding,’ adding that ‘I will not let rogue political subdivisions try to kill small businesses and holiday gatherings through unlawful executive orders.’

Officials have gotten pushback from some constituents, especially business owners who fear for their livelihoods.

In Ohio, Bahram Akradi, founder, chairman and CEO of Life Time health clubs, objected when the governor added gyms to a list of businesses that could be shuttered if cases continue to rise.

Oregon’s Governor Katie Brown has issued the strictest lockdown measures in America as the state experiences a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations

Cases have spiked dramatically across Oregon in the past two weeks, with 1,109 new infections recorded on Thursday – the highest single day increase in the state’s history

‘Another shutdown would just be completely devastating and simply unjust,’ Akradi said. 

He added: ‘The damage of not allowing people to have healthy activity is much more than the gain.’

In Montana, where cases are up more than 16 per cent in the past week, Democratic Governor Steve Bullock said he is wary of imposing tougher statewide restrictions without additional federal aid to unemployed individuals and small businesses.

‘I never wanted to punish the businesses that are doing right in this pandemic to keep their employees and customers safe. Shutting down those businesses would do just that,’ he said.

The political perils of statewide mandates have been on display in Wisconsin. 

Democratic Governor Tony Evers issued a ‘safer at home’ order in March that was challenged by Republican lawmakers and struck down by the conservative-controlled state Supreme Court in May.

The result has been a hodgepodge of local limits across the state, with some of the strictest in places like Milwaukee, which is moving forward with imposing steep fines of between $500 and $5,000 for violations of local health orders.

Other governors have likewise relied on local and county officials to tackle the crisis, creating a patchwork of restrictions around the country. But that strategy has its limits against a virus.

In Tennessee, Nashville Mayor John Cooper said he doesn’t plan on reinstating restrictions on the city’s honky-tonks and other businesses. 

He said shutting down just one county would probably be ineffective against the virus because the surrounding areas wouldn’t be following the same guidelines.

‘We are also subject to what goes on in our state, and we can’t keep just our county safe,’ Cooper said.

Some economists say the crisis has been falsely portrayed as a choice between the economy and public health. 

Instead, they argue that the economy cannot recover until the virus is brought under control and people are confident enough to go shopping, eat at restaurants and do other things again.

Experts have argued, too, that strict but relatively short lockdowns could ultimately result in less economic pain than the half-measures employed now, which have only succeeded in dragging out the crisis.

Dr. Michael Fine, former director of Rhode Island’s Health Department, said the outbreak requires more aggressive strategies. 

Closing bars earlier in the evening, he said, ‘might have worked in July, but there’s not a chance they’ll work now. It’s like taking an eyedropper to a forest fire.’

‘Short of very profound lockdowns, I don’t think we have a chance of slowing the spread,’ Fine said.   
 

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World News

US human rights ripped by Russia, China, North Korea during UN panel

Those who live in glass nations…

US envoys endured a lashing over issues of domestic equality and fairness from the United Nations Human Rights Council — getting scolded by the likes of Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and North Korea.

The lecture came during a Monday session of the council’s Universal Periodic Review process, during which about 10 member states are peer-reviewed by other nations on how they could improve their human-rights records.

Russian representative Kristina Sukacheva targeted first President Trump’s 2018 decision to pull out of the council, citing anti-Israel bias.

“The decision of the US to withdraw from the Human Rights Council showed once again the US’ reluctance to have a civilized dialogue with the global community on human rights,” said Sukacheva.

Among the laundry list of recommendations, she offered were that the US “guarantee freedom of expression in the media” and put “an end to interference in internal affairs of foreign states.”

Russia, where the Kremlin controls much of the country’s news media, was caught by US intelligence officials attempting to interfere in America’s 2020 presidential election.

Jiang Duan, representing China, “urged politicians to respect people’s rights to life and health, and stop politicizing and stigmatizing COVID-19,” and “combat the increasingly severe religious intolerance and xenophobic violence.”

A US investigation found that the communist Chinese government tried to cover up the coronavirus during its early weeks by shutting out global health experts and instituting a media blackout, potentially allowing the virus to escape the country and become the pandemic it is today.

The nation has also come under fire from the international community for its ongoing targeted internment of the Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority group.

According to the Department of Justice, the Chinese Communist Party reserves the right to sanction any religious group if it is seen to be interfering with government authority.

“Religious groups are required to register with government authorities,” a 2018 report on Religion and Chinese law explains.

“Religious groups may be sanctioned regardless of their registration status when officials view them as posing a challenge to government authority or the Party’s interests,” the report continues.

Mohanad Nabil M. Albasrawi, of Saudi Arabia, recommended that the US “enhance laws and legislation based on the abolition of all forms of discrimination, racism and hatred,” including along the lines of “religion and creed.”

Saudi Arabia is a theocracy that forbids the public practice of any religion other than Islam, and a 2019 report by the US Department of State re-affirmed its designation as a “Country of Particular Concern” under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

The report highlights a specific example of Saudi enforcement of religious law, “According to press and NGO reports, in February [2019] in Medina, an unidentified man beheaded a six-year-old boy on the street in front of his mother reportedly because he was Shia.”

North Korea, an oppressive dictatorship actively pursuing nuclear arms, also holds “grave concern” over the state of human rights in the US, said delegate Han Tae Song.

Among its recommendations was that America “close illegal US secret detention facilities and end the violations by US forces in foreign lands.”

Speaking to the Post in September, North Korean defector Yeonmi Park said it is part of everyday life in the hermit kingdom to see people dying of starvation on the streets, calling it a “modern-day holocaust.”

“You’d see so many people just dying. It was something normal for us to see the dead bodies on the street. It was a normal thing for me. I never thought that was something unusual,” she said in an extensive exclusive interview.

“I have visited slums in Mumbai, I have visited slums in other countries, but nothing is like North Korea because North Korean starvation, it’s a systematic starvation by a country that chose to starve us,” she continued.

Throughout the three-and-a-half-hour session, US Ambassador Andrew Bremberg and Assistant Secretary of State Robert Destro defended America’s commitment to progress and upholding democracy.

“Our presence in this process demonstrates our nation’s commitment to human rights,” said Destro.

Added Bremberg, “Our commitment to human rights issues is based on a firm political and moral commitment to accountability and transparency.”

Bremberg went on to say that the US “allows for continued scrutiny, advocacy and debate, which fuels progress and reform,” and that “we are willing to openly acknowledge our shortcomings.”

During this session, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Jamaica, Liberia, Libya, Malawi and the Maldives were called for review alongside the United States.

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US Election 2020 results LIVE: Melania Trump 'tells Donald to concede' and is waiting 'until she can divorce him’

MELANIA TRUMP is said to have told Donald he should accept defeat to Joe Biden in the presidential election.

The First Lady has reportedly joined those within the Republican's inner circle advising him to concede defeat, according to CNN.

Reports also state a former White House aide has claimed that Melania is poised to divorce Trump once he has left office.

Meanwhile, triumphant Joe Biden promised to unify and "restore the soul of America" as he delivered a stirring victory speech at a rally in his home town in Delaware. 

The 77-year-old reached out to Donald Trump‘s voters by saying it was "time to listen to each other again" and "give each other a chance".

Follow our US Election 2020 blog for the latest news and updates

  • Jon Rogers

    HOUSE MINORITY LEADER BACKS TRUMP'S ELECTION CLAIMS

    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has echoed Donald Trump's claims about “legal votes” and saying the election isn't over yet.

    “What we need in the presidential race is to make sure every legal vote is counted, every recount is completed, and every legal challenge should be heard,” he told Fox News. “Then and only then that America will decide who won the race.”

    McCarthy also suggested that it’s still possible for Republicans to take the majority in the House, saying that “we are less than 21,000 votes away.”

    “There are a number of seats – 10 seats that are still sitting out there. Republicans are leading in three, they haven't called any of those, so why would you call the presidential race first?” he said.

  • Jon Rogers

    TALIBAN EXPECT BIDEN TO HONOUR AFGHAN PULLOUT DEAL

    The Taliban has said they expect President-Elect Joe Biden to honour the deal struck with Donald Trump which paved the way for a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

    A deal was signed on February 29, which said US forces would leave the country in exchange for various security guarantees including the insurgents to stop jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS from operating in the country.

    Mohammad Naeem, a spokesman for the Taliban told AFP: “We signed the agreement with the American government not a person.

    “We hope that the process that has started will not be weakened, but rather strengthened.”

    “The ongoing intra-Afghan talks is part of the agreement (with the US) and shall continue unaffected,” Naeem said.

  • Jon Rogers

    MAJOR HISTORY IN THE MAKING

    Joe Biden's dog Major is set to make history when the canine goes to live in the White House.

    The German Shepherd will be the first dog from a rescue centre to live at the famous address.

    He will be joined by the Biden's other dog Champ, who is also a German Shepherd.

    In 2018, Mr Biden's daughter Ashley saw on Facebook a litter of puppies needing homes at the Delaware Humane Association animal shelter.

    The Bidens initially fostered Major before adopting him.

  • Jon Rogers

    GEORGE BUSH CONGRATULATES BIDEN ON PRESIDENTIAL VICTORY

    Former President George W Bush has congratulated Joe Biden on his presidential victory.

    “I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Bush said in a statement.

    “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency.

    “Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man, who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.

    “The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans.

    “I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.”

  • Jon Rogers

    TRUMP GOES FOR ANOTHER ROUND OF GOLF

    For the second day running Donald Trump has headed for his golf course.

    He arrived at his Virginia club at around 3pm GMT and was met by a group of protesters.

    Trump was on the same course yesterday when he learnt the media were reporting he had lost the presidential race against Democrat Joe Biden.

    Trump has yet to concede defeat and has continued to make unfounded claims about voter fraud.

  • Jon Rogers

    MARYLAND GOVERNOR SAYS TO 'BACK THE WINNER OF THE RACE'

    Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan called for people to “back the winner of the race,” whether they liked it or not.

    He told CNN that he doesn’t think “anything” will “overturn” the projections announced Saturday.

    “The way our system works is we all cast the votes, we count the votes and then we live with the results.

    “If there is evidence of widespread voter fraud, then we ought to come out with it. I’m sure they’re a few irregularities.”

    But he added he had not seen any irregularities.

  • Jon Rogers

    CRUZ: IT'S 'PREMATURE' FOR TRUMP TO CONCEDE

    Republican Ted Cruz has claimed it is still “premature” for Donald Trump to concede defeat in the presidential election.

    The Texas Senator told Fox News: “We do not know at this point who won the election,” adding that “big media” didn't decide the outcome.

    Just two days ago Mr Cruz described the vote counting in Pennsylvania as “partisan, it is political, it is lawless.”

  • Jon Rogers

    ROMNEY SAYS GOP EVIDENCE WOULDN'T CHANGE ELECTION OUTCOME

    Senator Mitt Romney has said the evidence so far produced by Republicans wouldn't be enough to change the outcome of the presidential election.

    He told CNN he had listened to the GOP's arguments but said: “No one has alleged something at such a sufficient scale that it would change the outcome.”

    The Republican has also called for the country to get behind the President-Elect Joe Biden.

  • Jon Rogers

    MELANIA ADDS VOICE TO TRUMP'S INNER CIRCLE TELLING HIM TO ACCEPT DEFEAT

    Donald Trump's wife has added her voice to those in the President's inner circle advising him to accept his defeat in the election.

    A source has reportedly told CNN the time has come for the Republican to accept his defeat in the presidential election to Joe Biden.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    KEY ISSUES – WHAT ARE JOE BIDEN'S VIEWS ON THE ECONOMY?

    Biden would use all the available authorities, including the Defense Production Act, to get the economy back on its feet following the coronavirus pandemic.

    Among his plans, there is expediting aid to businesses who commit to helping workers stay employed through the crisis, so they can get back to work when conditions allow.

    He would also impose high scrutiny on payroll plans.

    Biden plans to increase monthly Social Security checks by $200 per month, provide emergency paid sick leave to everyone who needs it and ensure Covid-19 testing, treatment and an eventual vaccine will be free.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    LET'S GET LOUD

    Jennifer Lopez broke down into “tears of joy” after President Elect Joe Biden won the heated 2020 election that dethroned Donald Trump.

    The 51-year-old singer shared an emotional clip minutes hour the results from this year’s nail biting political race became official as she celebrated the “new day” for America.

    On Saturday, JLo posted on her Stories to her 133 million Instagram followers moments after former vice president Biden was elected the 46th president of the United States. 

    “So happy this morning. Echoing the words of everyone saying that we are headed toward a better day, a more united country,” she said. 

    Jenny from the block then got emotional and said choked up: “I’m just crying tears of joy. 

    “I hope that we can all come together and love each other and appreciate each other. It’s a new day. 

    “They’re saying it’s time to heal deep wounds and come together. We are the United States of America, the greatest country on this planet. 

    “History is being made today for all little girls who got loud across the world,” she added as a reference to running mate and vice president elect Kamala Harris.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT ARE BIDEN'S VIEWS ON GUN CONTROL?

    The former VP's plan to end gun violence in the US would make sweeping changes to federal gun laws, which include universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.

    It would also close several loopholes in existing legislation and repeal a law that makes it harder to sue gunmakers and retailers when they manufacture or sell guns they should have known would have been used criminally.

    His proposal seeks to ban the importation, manufacture, and sale of high-capacity magazines, reduce stockpiling of weapons, require background checks for all gun sales, end online sales of firearms and ammunition.

    Biden would prohibit anyone “who has been convicted of a misdemeanour hate crime, or received an enhanced sentence for a misdemeanour because of hate or bias in its commission” from buying or owning a gun.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    BIDEN SUPPORTERS PROTEST OUTSIDE TRUMP'S GOLF CLUB

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    PRESIDENT-ELECT JOE BIDEN ARRIVES FOR MASS IN DELAWARE ON SUNDAY MORNING

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT ARE BIDEN'S VIEWS ON HEALTHCARE?

    Biden proposes to lower the age of Medicare eligibility to 60 and make coverage of dental, vision and hearing standard.

    He also wants to ban healthcare providers from charging patients surprise bills – which can be financially devastating for people.

    He would boost the Affordable Care Act, which was introduced by Obama in 2010.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT ARE BIDEN'S VIEWS ON IMMIGRATION?

    Biden's point of view on immigration is completely different from President Trump's current policies.

    If elected, Biden plans to expand resources to immigrants already residing in the United States.

    He wants to stop construction on the border wall between the US and Mexico, eliminating the practice of separating immigrant families at the border.

    He has also called for a reversal of Trump's restrictions toward granting asylum and temporary protected status.

    Biden said he wants to provide a “road map to citizenship” for people living in the United States illegally.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    LONG SHOT

    Donald Trump is playing golf again as he continues to refuse to accept his 2020 election defeat and his sons are telling him not to concede.

    The president's golf excursion comes as a “black mood” falls over the White House and after he was “told to concede” by Jared Kushner.

    Eric Trump tweeted early this morning: “Software from hell! There needs to be a manual recount of every ballot in this country right now!”

    His tweet linked to a Breitbart article reporting that another county in Georgia is “encountering a glitch.”

    According to the report, the glitch has caused a slowdown in the tallying of thousands of votes.

    Meanwhile, Trump was headed to Trump National Golf Club on Sunday morning.

    “Donald Trump is spending his first day as a lame duck president at his Virginia golf club,” Jill Colvin wrote alongside a photo she tweeted.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    NOT ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL

    The future of Donald Trump’s wall along the southern border with Mexico looks unlikely to be completed now that Joe Biden is poised to be the next president.

    Trump had made his promise of building a wall to stop the flow of illegal immigration a key pledge as part of his presidential campaign in 2016.

    In June Biden said: “There will not be another foot of wall constructed under my administration,” in an interview during the virtual annual conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.  

    He added: “I’m gonna make sure that we have border protection, but it’s going to be based on making sure that we use high-tech capacity to deal with it and at the ports of entry — that's where all the bad stuff is at.”

    It looks likely that the construction of the wall will continue until the end of the year but seems it will not be completed once Biden is officially installed in the White House.

    However, while construction is likely stop next year it is unclear if the parts that have been built will be torn down.

    While some of his rivals for the Democrat presidential vote pledge to knock it down Biden has given no promises over tearing it down.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    MEL BREAKS LOOSE

    Melania Trump is “counting every minute” until Donald leaves the White House and she can divorce him, a former aide claims.

    The outgoing First Lady, 50, is reported to regard their 15-year marriage as over and is waiting only for Joe Biden's inauguration in January before making it formal.

    Fired White House aide and The Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault Newman is certain they will split, reports the Mail on Sunday.

    She said: “Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce.

    “If Melania were to try to pull the ultimate humiliation and leave while he's in office, he would find a way to punish her.”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    TRUMP GIVES THUMBS UP FROM HIS MOTORCADE AS HE HEADS TO GOLF COURSE

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    DONALD TRUMP TWEETS ABOUT BRIT CALLING US ELECTION 'STOLEN'

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    COUSIN OF JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN, CELEBRATE THEIR SUCCESS FROM ITALY

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHAT HAPPENS AT THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY?

    The vice president-elect is sworn into office first.

    They will be followed by the president who takes the oath of office:”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States.”

    The president will then give an inaugural address, outlining his plans for the their term.

    After the ceremony, the president and vice president will attend a luncheon in National Statuary Hall that includes speeches, gifts and toasts.

    The format used today began in 1953 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife and 50 other guests of the joint committee dined on creamed chicken, baked ham and potato puffs in the Old Senate Chamber.

    Then it’s on to the parade and inaugural balls.

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    ‘SO INSULTING’

    Candace Owens has expressed dismay at Donald Trump fans being branded as “racist bigots and xenophobes” as she lashed out at stereotypes.

    The Conservative activist slammed the media for portraying President Trump – who she insists gave a “voice to the voiceless” and hope for the American Dream – as an “enemy.”

    In an op-ed published in the Mail Online, the 31-year-old wrote: “Those who privately supported him were reduced to uneducated, red-neck hicks – the toothless type who drink beer on their porch and marry their first cousins.

    “For those who dared to venture their support for Trump in public, far worse characterizations were reserved.

    “They were racist bigots, xenophobes unfit to see the light of day in a civilized society.

    “So where do such insulting illustrations leave Americans like me?”

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WHERE WILL THE INAUGURATION CEREMONY TAKE PLACE?

    On January 20, 2021, Inauguration Day will see the Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris sworn in as president and vice president at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

    Visitors to the Capitol and the White House in October would have noticed preparations underway for the ceremony while Joe Biden and Donald Trump were campaigning.

    Low-flying helicopters were swooping around town as part of beefed-up security precautions.

    The Architect of the Capitol is currently busy constructing the inaugural platform from scratch.

    The platform traditionally holds more than 1,600 people, including the president and vice president, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and the outgoing president and vice president.

    Bleachers above the platform hold 1,000 further visitors.

    The view from the West Front stretches the length of the National Mall, where Americans from around the country gather to catch a glimpse of history.

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