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News items from Yahoo! News:

'Most believe that it was an accident': Pentagon chief contradicts Trump on Beirut explosion
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 16:15:01 -0400
Less than 24 hours after President Trump said some “great generals” told him they thought that yesterday’s massive explosion in Beirut was an “attack” involving “a bomb of some kind,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper seemed less than convinced by that explanation.


Joe Biden needs more than the right vice president to restore America | Opinion
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:45:50 -0400
The demand that Joe Biden choose a Black woman as his vice presidential nominee to facilitate Black empowerment is ill-advised and strategically wrong. President Obama’s election is a good example of the fact that one individual, no matter how outstanding, cannot empower a community.


No more medical exemptions: Alaska Airlines says anyone who can't or won't wear a mask won't be allowed to fly
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:58:26 -0400
Alaska Airlines said Wednesday that it will no longer allow medical exemptions from its mask requirement, part of an effort to slow the coronavirus.


MS-13 gang members charged with sex trafficking, other charges in abuse of 13-year-old runaway
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 20:19:05 -0400
Federal prosecutors allege that gang members beat the girl, raped her and prostituted her in Virginia and Maryland.


Students at viral Georgia high school say they face expulsion for remaining home amid pandemic
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 17:44:00 -0400
Students at a Georgia high school that went viral this week after a photo of its crowded, mostly mask-less hallways on the first day of school surfaced online told BuzzFeed News they had little choice to attend class in person despite the coronavirus pandemic.One North Paulding High School student's parents were prepared to keep him home after seeing the photo, but when his mother spoke to the school she learned students who chose to stay home because of concerns over the virus could face expulsion or suspension, BuzzFeed reports.A parent of a student at a nearby school said she tried to enroll her daughter in the Paulding County School District's virtual learning option, but wound up on the waiting list after it filled up and was told her daughter "would be withdrawn" from the school if she didn't show up in person.> Outrage has spread across a Georgia community after a photo of students crammed in a hallway went viral.> > LaShanda Hambrick, whose child attends the neighboring high school, was forced to send her daughter to school on the first day because otherwise "she would be withdrawn." pic.twitter.com/nRr071OOpj> > — CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 5, 2020Per BuzzFeed, many parents, students, and teachers at North Paulding High School — where there are reports of positive coronavirus cases among students and staff — are concerned about the situation and think it's irresponsible in-person learning is back in session, but others are in favor, noting that virtual distancing is a challenge for many families. Read more at BuzzFeed News.More stories from theweek.com Pelosi doubts Republicans will pass generous coronavirus bill: 'Perhaps you mistook them for somebody who gives a damn' State Department lifts global coronavirus travel advisory The terrible trade-off of keeping schools closed


Awaiting disaster, ammonium nitrate was stored at Beirut port for years
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 13:31:13 -0400
For at least six years, hundreds of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, which Lebanese authorities say caused Tuesday's massive blast, were negligently stored in a Beirut port warehouse, waiting for disaster to strike. The odourless crystalline substance commonly used as a fertiliser has caused numerous industrial explosions over the decades -- including the massive one in Beirut that killed at least 113 people, wounded thousands and left 300,000 homeless. A security source said the explosive power of the stored ammonium nitrate was equivalent to at least 1,200 tonnes of TNT -- explaining how the earthquake-strength blast destroyed or damaged so much of the city.


Jake Paul: FBI swat team seizes guns at home of YouTube star
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 04:18:57 -0400
The social media star is no stranger to controversy and has had other run-ins with law enforcement.


Virginia business owner reacts to employee's house arrest for defending shop from robber
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 20:56:35 -0400
Worker arrested after defending himself from armed robbery; Arlington Smoke Shop owner Jowan Zuber speaks out.


I'm a Mom Who Came Out to Protest for Black Lives in Portland. I Was Shot by Federal Agents
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 06:48:15 -0400
A mom came out to protest in support of Black Lives Matter at the Portland protests. She was shot by federal agents. She shares her story.


New poll shows plummeting GOP satisfaction with direction of country
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:20:13 -0400
Thanks to a marked shift among Republican voters since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, just 13 percent of Americans surveyed now say they are satisfied with “the way things are going in the United States.”


Commission rejects Trump push to add debate against Biden
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:58:04 -0400
The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has rejected a request from the Trump campaign to either add an additional general election debate or move up the calendar for the contests. In a letter to Trump private attorney Rudy Giuliani, his liaison to the commission, the commission wrote that it is committed to its existing schedule of three debates between Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, saying it would consider adding a fourth debate only if both sides agree to it. Both major party nominees have agreed to participate in the three scheduled debates, the commission said.


Norwegian Cruise Line optimistic about future despite $666 million second quarter loss
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 16:35:46 -0400
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings reported $16.93 million in revenue for the second quarter, mostly from passenger ticket sales. The results marked a sharp fall from the $1.67 billion in revenue reported during the same period last year.


Narendra Modi lays Ayodhya temple foundation, delighting Hindus and dismaying Muslims
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 07:57:37 -0400
Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, has invigorated his Hindu support base after laying the foundation stone of a controversial new temple on a site contested by Muslims. In November, after a decades-old legal battle, India’s highest court ruled a temple could be built in the city of Ayodhya, where a mosque had stood until it was destroyed by Hindu mobs in 1992. Mr Modi made its construction a key pledge as part of his Hindu nationalist campaign, which saw him re-elected with a landslide victory last year. Many Hindus believe the deity Ram was born at the temple site in Ayodhya, and soil was gathered from more than 2,000 holy sites for its building work. Calling it the “dawn of a new era”, Mr Modi said: “India is emotional as decades of wait has ended. For years, our Ram Lalla [the infant Lord Ram] lived beneath a tent; now he will reside in a grand temple.”


Within 11 days of schools opening, dozens of students and teachers have gotten COVID-19: 'I truly wish we'd kept our children home'
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 15:10:00 -0400
Schools began reopening several weeks ago. Dozens of students and staff have already tested positive for COVID-19.


Help Lebanon: Remove Hezbollah’s Stranglehold — and Its Dangerous Missile Stockpiles
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:25:13 -0400
Beirut has been ravaged by a massive explosion, likely caused by careless handling of ammonium nitrate stored in a warehouse at its port. As the city is still picking through the debris and thousands search for loved ones, countries such as Turkey, Iran, Qatar, France, and Israel are rushing to provide support. Yet looming over Beirut even now is the presence of the terrorist group Hezbollah with its network of 150,000 missiles, many stored in civilian areas throughout the country.While Hezbollah has not been blamed for the August 4 warehouse fire that led to the massive explosion, it is alleged to have imported and stored similar stockpiles of dangerous munitions and chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate, used in explosives. Hezbollah also helped create the corrupt and negligent political system whose lack of accountability enabled the careless storage of these deadly chemicals for years. For instance, a new report by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies asserts that Hezbollah siphons off billions from around the world into a kind of black market. Money is laundered through Lebanon, allowing Hezbollah to function as a kind of parallel state, one with its own terror army, missiles, companies, financial services, and social servicesThe recent explosion in Lebanon must invite increased scrutiny of the role Hezbollah has played in eroding state institutions and enabling the kind of shoddy negligence that led to this disaster. To shield itself, Hezbollah will scramble to respond, likely either casting blame or portraying itself as riding to the rescue. It has done this before. After launching an attack on Israel in 2006, Hezbollah used the war’s devastation to entrench and enrich itself. It did the same with the Syrian civil war in 2011, using the war next door as an excuse to send fighters to Syria and essentially conduct Lebanon’s foreign policy in place of the government.The results of Hezbollah’s machinations are clear: constant tensions with Israel, and the lurching of once lush and prosperous Beirut from one failure to the next, from brownouts to lack of basic services for citizens. Lebanon is in the midst of a financial crisis and requires some $93 billion for a bailout. Hezbollah has suggested Lebanon turn to China for help, as part of its goal to replace U.S. influence in Lebanon with China, Iran, and other U.S. adversaries. It may try to leverage the devastation to deepen its tentacles over the country using its network of social services and volunteers.What can be done to address Lebanon’s mounting problems, now compounded by this tragic explosion, while reducing Hezbollah’s corrosive influence? First, Hezbollah needs to be isolated from the financial system and from the flow of weapons coming from Iran. In recent years, Hezbollah sought to acquire precision-guided munitions and to establish factories for them in Lebanon. It has also threatened Israeli infrastructure. In a 2016 speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah even threatened to target ammonium-nitrate storage in Israel to cause the kind of explosion that just levelled Beirut. This leaves no doubt that the terrorist group knows exactly the level of devastation it wanted to cause in Israel and the threat it still poses. The Alma Research Center in Israel recently revealed that Hezbollah has 28 rocket-launch sites around Beirut. The recent explosion makes it clear that Hezbollah’s use of civilian areas for weapons storage must be stopped in Lebanon.Yet many countries looking to provide support for Lebanon will likely do so without seeking to disentangle Hezbollah. Russia, Iran, and China may be amenable to working with Nasrallah while Turkey, Qatar, and France could turn a blind eye to the group’s role. Saudi Arabia, once a major backer of Lebanon and broker of the 1989 accords that ended the country’s civil war, opposes Hezbollah’s role. As do other Gulf states, such as the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. can help Lebanon, monitor reconstruction, and advise on implementing financial and port-inspection standards, sidelining Hezbollah in the process.In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, aid will be concentrated on finding missing people and avoiding an economic collapse or a health crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Once this period has passed, it is essential that the dust not merely settle with Hezbollah more entrenched and powerful, its system of illicit weapons and warehouses full of munitions still dotting the civilian landscape. If Hezbollah does capitalize on this disaster, it will only accelerate Lebanon’s economic collapse, and hold the country hostage in a future war with Israel.


Fact check: Nancy Pelosi is not related to KKK grand wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 16:52:31 -0400
Claims that Nancy Pelosi is the great-granddaughter of Nathan Bedford Forrest have their origin in a satirical news article and are false.


Caesar 'the no drama llama' is helping keep the peace at the Portland protests
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 16:39:50 -0400
Caesar McCool, a retired grand champion show llama, diffuses tense situations and protesters and police officers visit with him for pets and photos.


Joshua Wong and other Hong Kong activists charged over banned June 4 vigil
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 09:02:40 -0400
Two dozen people in Hong Kong, including pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, have been charged with participating in an illegal assembly at a vigil on June 4 commemorating the crackdown on protesters in and around Beijing's Tiananmen square in 1989. It was the first time the vigil had been banned in semiautonomous Hong Kong, with police citing coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings in refusing permission for it to take place. The anniversary struck an especially sensitive nerve in the former British colony this year, falling just as China prepared to introduce national security legislation later that month in response to last year's often violent pro-democracy demonstrations.


Trump banned Jeffrey Epstein from Mar-a-Lago after he hit on teenage girl, book claims
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 10:54:56 -0400
Donald Trump banned Jeffrey Epstein from Mar-a-Lago after the disgraced financier hit on another member’s teenage daughter, a new book has claimed.Epstein was a member of the now-president’s Palm Beach, Florida, club until 2007, according to The Grifter’s Club, a detail that has contradicted what Mr Trump’s company previously said about the president’s relationship with the convicted sex predator.


A nuclear sea-launched cruise missile will help deter nuclear aggression
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 11:16:58 -0400
A Pentagon official argues a nuclear sea-launched cruise missile is a measured response to a growing threat from America's adversaries.


Esper says he underestimated how much racial injustice affects service members
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 18:31:08 -0400
Defense Secretary Mark Esper called George Floyd's death a wake-up call for military leadership.


Neighbor threatens Black man with burning cross, swastika, machete in Indiana, feds say
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 19:48:09 -0400
The suspect is a fugitive in Missouri, officials say.


2nd-grade student tests positive for the coronavirus after 1st day of school
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 11:43:27 -0400
The child's school is in Georgia's Cherokee County district, which recommends but does not require masks.


Lebanese officials unloaded a 'floating bomb' and apparently ignored warnings for years, according to reports
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 22:41:24 -0400
Lebanese officials knew they were storing dangerous, explosive materials at the port in Beirut, but ignored years of warnings.


Texas cancer researcher murdered on jog
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 09:26:13 -0400
A cancer researcher and mother of two is murdered on her daily jog; Sarmistha Sen was found dead near a creek in Plano, Texas.


'Blatant disrespect of Black women': Women leaders criticize treatment of Black women being considered as Biden VP pick
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:49:28 -0400
Sen. Kamala Harris, Rep. Karen Bass, Susan Rice, Rep. Val Demings and Stacey Abrams have all been floated as possible running mates for Biden.


Judge dismisses Rep. Nunes' lawsuit over Iowa farm story
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 19:34:24 -0400


One American is dying every 80 seconds from coronavirus as Trump shrugs off death toll: ‘It is what it is’
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 15:19:00 -0400
At least one person in the United States has died every 80 seconds on average over the last seven days, according to new research, as President Donald Trump said the nation’s soaring death toll “is what it is” in a recent interview.The grim figures were first reported by NBC News on Wednesday, which noted its own tally revealed 7,486 people died in the last seven days due to Covid-19.


Germany floats a new NATO spending yardstick: 10 percent
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:39:49 -0400
Officials are pushing for a new yardstick to measure Berlin's contributions to NATO, suggesting the country could shoulder 10 percent of alliance requirements.


Facebook bars pro-Trump PAC from advertising, citing repeated false posts
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:10:28 -0400
Facebook Inc is temporarily banning a Republican political action committee, the Committee to Defend the President, from advertising after it repeatedly shared content that was deemed false by external fact-checkers, the social media company said on Thursday. "As a result of the Committee to Defend the President's repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform," Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement. Politicians' ads and posts are not subject to Facebook fact-checking, a policy that has drawn heat from lawmakers, but content from political groups like PACs can be fact-checked.


ICE detained hundreds of Mississippi chicken plant workers. Now managers are charged
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 16:59:30 -0400
The indictments mark the first criminal action prosecutors have taken against company managers after ICE took close to 700 workers into custody last year during a massive raid on food processing plants.


Trolls doll pulled after complaints it promotes child abuse
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:10:28 -0400
The doll had been designed to giggle when placed in a sitting position, but some parents complain the sound activation button is inappropriately placed under the doll’s skirt and between her legs.


Massive Beirut Explosion Shows Mushroom Clouds Aren't Just for Nukes
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 08:53:00 -0400
Physics explains why the intense blast produced the menacing mushroom shape.


Former Saudi official accuses Mohammad bin Salman of 'sending hit squad' to kill him
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:24:32 -0400
A former senior Saudi intelligence official has claimed that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman sent a hit squad to Canada in an attempt to kill him. In a 107-page complaint, filed in a Washington DC court, Saad Aljabri claimed the assassins were intercepted by Canadian authorities. The incident was alleged to have happened less than two weeks after Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post columnist and Saudi dissident, was killed in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul. Mr Aljabri, who was living in self-imposed exile in Toronto, was said to have clashed with the crown prince over issues including the decision to go to war in Yemen, and was dismissed from his cabinet role in 2015. He is suing the crown prince and 24 others for an unset amount of damages In his complaint Mr Aljabri claimed the crown prince "dispatched a hit squad" to Canada in October 2018. The complaint said: "(A) team of Saudi nationals travelled across the Atlantic Ocean from Saudi Arabia ... with the intention of killing Dr Saad."


This is what it looked like after the US dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima 75 years ago
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 05:57:12 -0400
On August 6, 1945, a U.S. bomber famously known as the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, marking a historic act of nuclear warfare.


I tried making Guy Fieri's signature recipes for a week, and I didn't love my whole trip to Flavortown
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:18:05 -0400
The Food Network star's known for eating comfort food on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives," and I tried some of his favorite recipes and meals for a week.


New York attorney general sues to dissolve NRA
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 17:10:55 -0400
New York's attorney general announces a lawsuit aimed at dissolving the powerful gun lobbying group.


Trump's Iran envoy quits administration as US pushes embargo
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:38:50 -0400
The Trump administration’s top envoy for Iran is stepping down just as the United States tries to moves ahead with a major diplomatic effort that would extend a U.N. arms embargo against Tehran in the face of widespread international opposition. Brian Hook announced his departure on Thursday, a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would call for a U.N. Security Council vote next week on a resolution to indefinitely extend the embargo, which is due to expire in October.


Children rapidly deported from the United States strain Guatemalan shelters
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 09:07:55 -0400
Hundreds of migrant children rapidly expelled from the United States under a coronavirus immigration policy are returning to shelters in Guatemala where virus testing and bed capacity are regularly stretched to their limits. Shelter operators, government officials in the Central American nation and international organizations said they are seeing rising numbers of children being sent back to Guatemala alone, with some unable to return to their homes because of domestic abuse or gang violence. "Child protection services, which were already overstretched and under-resourced have now been further compromised by COVID-19," said United Nations children's agency UNICEF spokesman Christopher Tidey.


Pope Francis appoints 6 women to senior roles
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 11:16:00 -0400
Pope Francis has ensured there are more women officials at the Vatican than ever before.


'Waking up suburbia': Trump's use of federal agents backfired, spurring members of the 'Wall of Moms' and 'Wall of Vets' groups into action in Portland
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 09:09:00 -0400
"I'm probably the last person anyone would expect to do something like this," said Duston Obermeyer, a Marine Corps vet. and an organizer of Wall of Vets.


Sarah Sanders: If Biden can't handle basic questions, how can he handle being president?
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 07:02:41 -0400
2020 hopeful Joe Biden snaps at a reporter who asked him if he took a cognitive test; former White House press secretary and Fox News contributor Sarah Sanders reacts.


Here’s how you can apply for up to $2,000 in COVID relief
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 13:29:27 -0400
Applications for the program, which kicked off Wednesday, are now available online in English, Creole and Spanish.


Woman who sued New Jersey country club over wine spilled on $30K Hermès handbag continues legal fight
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 19:11:09 -0400
The lawyer for a woman suing Alpine Country Club in New Jersey for damage to her $30K handbag plans to pursue the case again after judge's dismissal.


Op-Ed: U.S. leaders knew we didn't have to drop atomic bombs on Japan to win the war. We did it anyway
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 06:05:25 -0400
We've been taught that the U.S. had to drop atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II. Historical evidence shows Japan would have surrendered anyway.


Mississippi: More than 100 children and teachers in quarantine due to coronavirus outbreak two weeks after schools reopened
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:46:22 -0400
More than 100 people in a Mississippi school district have been instructed to self-isolate, due to an outbreak of coronavirus less than two weeks after they reopened.At least 116 people in Corinth, a city in Mississippi, have been told to quarantine for two weeks, after six students and one staff member tested positive for Covid-19 over the past week.


N. Korea's escalating virus response raises fear of outbreak
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 21:27:20 -0400
North Korea is quarantining thousands of people and shipping food and other aid to a southern city locked down over coronavirus worries, officials said, as the country’s response to a suspected case reinforces doubt about its longstanding claim to be virus-free. In late July, North Korea said it had imposed its “maximum emergency system” to guard against the virus spreading after finding a person with COVID-19 symptoms in Kaesong city, near the border with rival South Korea. State media reported that leader Kim Jong Un then ordered a total lockdown of Kaesong, and said the suspected case was a North Korean who had earlier fled to South Korea before slipping back into Kaesong last month.


Homeland Security chief says department is reviewing complaints excessive force used in Portland
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 14:07:37 -0400
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is reviewing "a number" of complaints that its agents used excessive force against anti-racism protesters in Portland, Oregon, though so far no one has been disciplined, the department's acting head said on Thursday. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf testified to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about the federal response to long-running protests in Portland, where state and city officials complained that the presence of federal officers inflamed protests.


Teens arrested with AK47 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida
Thu, 06 Aug 2020 20:11:17 -0400
The boys were fleeing police and "had no idea" they had entered the US president's property.


Baltimore is investigating after officials removed 5 approved Black Lives Matter murals
Wed, 05 Aug 2020 14:54:53 -0400
The city department blamed a "miscommunication" for the error, but also said a staff member accused of problematic behavior is under investigation.