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Federal arraignment in July for 3 ex-cops in George Floyd’s death From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



From left, former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. AP PhotoMINNEAPOLIS: Three former Minneapolis police officers who are charged with violating George Floyd’ s civil rights are scheduled to be arraigned in federal court in July, with a trial date to be determined. Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao will be arraigned on civil rights violations on July 14 in US District Court in Minneapolis, according to a scheduling order issued Friday. The court initially said the trial would be in August, but updated the schedule hours later to say it was still unscheduled. Last week, a federal grand jury indicted the former officers, along with their colleague Derek Chauvin, for allegedly willfully violating Floyd’s rights. Chauvin has already been convicted of state murder and manslaughter charges and is awaiting sentencing. It wasn’t immediately clear why he is not a part of Friday’s scheduling order, but he has not yet made an initial appearance on the federal charges. Messages left with Chauvin’s attorney and with a spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s Office weren’t immediately returned. Floyd, 46, died after Chauvin pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, even as Floyd, who was handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. Kueng and Lane also helped restrain Floyd – state prosecutors have said Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held down Floyd’s legs. Thao held back bystanders and kept them from intervening during the 9 1/2-minute restraint. The federal indictment alleges Chauvin violated Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and from unreasonable force by a police officer. It charges Thao and Kueng with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure by not intervening to stop Chauvin as he knelt on Floyd’s neck. All four officers are charged for their failure to provide Floyd with medical care. Chauvin was also charged in a second indictment, stemming from the use of force and neck restraint of a 14-year-old boy in 2017. Lane, Kueng and Thao are also charged on state charges of aiding and abetting both murder and manslaughter. They are scheduled to face trial on those charges next March. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Search for tiger continues as alleged owner returns to jail From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



Victor Hugo Cuevas . AP PhotoRICHMOND: While a Texas man who police allege is the owner of a tiger that frightened residents after it was seen briefly wandering around a Houston neighborhood was ordered back behind bars on Friday, the animal’s whereabouts remain a mystery. An all-day court hearing Friday didn’t reveal any new information on the tiger’s whereabouts as Houston police say about 300 tips they’ve so far received haven’t panned out. Police allege Victor Hugo Cuevas is the owner of the tiger, a nine-month-old male named India, and he is facing a charge of evading arrest after authorities allege he fled from Houston officers who responded to a call about a dangerous animal on Sunday night. After a court hearing in a separate case Cuevas, 26, is facing in neighboring Fort Bend County, his attorney, Michael W. Elliott, reiterated his client doesn’t own the tiger. Elliott said he only knew the first name of the owner, that he has been working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to find India and that Cuevas only wants for the animal to be safe. “We want to find India. Somebody knows where India is at. Hopefully the cat is still doing well,” Elliott said. At a separate news conference in Houston earlier Friday, police Cmdr. Ron Borza said some of the tips officers have received on the tiger’s possible location have been “a little bit crazy.” “We know the group of people that are involved in the exotic animal trade here in Houston … We have visited all of them and no luck so far,” Borza said. Investigators believe the tiger has likely been passed around between six and eight different locations in Houston in an effort to hide it but that the animal is probably still in the city, Borza said. Carole Baskin has offered a $5,000 reward for the tiger’s safe return. At the time of his arrest on Monday for allegedly evading Houston police, Cuevas was already out on bond for a murder charge in a 2017 fatal shooting in Fort Bend County. Cuevas has maintained the shooting was self-defense, Elliott said. Cuevas had been released on a separate bond for the evading arrest charge on Wednesday. During a court hearing Friday, Fort Bend County prosecutor Christopher Baugh asked Cuevas be held without a bond for the murder charge, alleging the incident with the tiger showed Cuevas “has a total disregard for the public safety.” State District Judge Frank J. Fraley did not grant the request, but instead revoked Cuevas’ current $125,000 bond and issued a new bond for $300,000. It was the fifth time that Cuevas’ bond had been revoked in the murder case. Borza said that Cuevas and his attorney have not cooperated with Houston police in the search for the tiger but “maybe if he goes to jail he’d be more cooperative with us. We’ll see how that goes.” During Friday’s court hearing, Waller County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wes Manion testified he lives in the Houston neighborhood and was alerted about the tiger by a neighbor. Manion testified he interacted with the tiger for about 10 minutes to make sure it didn’t go after someone else and that Cuevas came out of his house yelling, “Don’t kill it” and that it was his tiger. “He approached the tiger, grabbed it by the collar, kissed its forehead,” Manion said. The deputy said he identified himself to Cuevas and told him not to leave after he loaded the animal in the back of a white Jeep Cherokee but that Cuevas fled the scene just as Houston police arrived. During the court hearing, Elliott argued Cuevas was not aware that Houston police wanted to question him and that he only left because he feared for the tiger’s safety because Manion had been aggressive. Elliott said the tiger’s release was an accident as it likely jumped a fence. Elliott also said Cuevas did nothing illegal as Texas has no statewide law forbidding private ownership of tigers and other exotic animals. Tigers are not allowed within Houston city limits under a city ordinance unless the handler, such as a zoo, is licensed to have exotic animals. After the court hearing, Elliott described the tiger as more of a pet, like a dog, and that Cuevas would occasionally take care of the animal for its owner. Elliott provided copies of pictures that showed Cuevas cuddling with the tiger and kissing it. Elliott said Cuevas, who is a mixed martial arts fighter and has also worked as a barber, first met the tiger’s owner after buying a dog from him and that the man later informed him he had other animals, including the tiger. “This (tiger) is loved like a dog. Victor’s love for this cat … is real,” Elliott said. Elliott said he did not know if Cuevas would be able to post his new bond but if he is again released, Cuevas will do all he can to find the tiger and have it live the rest of its life in a wildlife preserve. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Former Italian PM Berlusconi slips out of hospital unseen From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



MILAN: Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has left Milan’s San Raffaele hospital after a five-day stay, a spokesman for his Forza Italia (Go Italy!) party said on Saturday. Berlusconi, 84, exited via a side entrance and was not seen by photographers and cameramen waiting outside the main doors. Speculation has mounted in recent days that Berlusconi’s health is deteriorating badly. His doctors have not released a detailed update on his condition for weeks, however, his party denied on Friday that he was in a critical condition. “This is not the moment for obituaries,” one party source said. The billionaire businessman has checked into hospital on a number of occasions after coming down with coronavirus last September. He told reporters at the time he had survived “the most dangerous challenge” of his life, but sources later said he continued to suffer ill effects from the deadly virus. He was hospitalised in March and twice in April. He also went to hospital in January due to a heart problem. Political ally Matteo Salvini told reporters on Friday that Berlusconi was “not very well”, but predicted he would swiftly bounce back.







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Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s combative behavior could spark ethics review From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



Marjorie Taylor Greene. AP PhotoWASHINGTON: A year before her election to Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene searched for Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at her Capitol office, taunting the New York Democrat to “get rid of your diaper” and “talk to the American citizens,” as shown in video unearthed Friday by CNN. “I am an American citizen. I pay your salary through the taxes that you collect from me through the IRS,” Greene says through the mail slot of a locked door. “I am a woman. I am a female business owner and I’m proud to be an American woman. And I do not support your socialist policies.” The Georgia Republican continued: “If you want to be a big girl, you need to get rid of your diaper and come out and be able to talk to the American citizens.” Two men appear along with her in the video, also mocking Ocasio-Cortez and her staff through the mail slot. The release of the since-deleted video, which was initially broadcast in February 2019 on Facebook Live, came the same week that Greene followed Ocasio-Cortez off the House floor, shouting that the Democrat supported “terrorists” and doesn’t “care about the American people,” as first reported by The Washington Post. She has been challenging Ocasio-Cortez to a debate on Twitter, entreaties that Ocasio-Cortez had been ignoring. Asked Friday about the “context” of the 2019 video, Greene told reporters, “Walking around and talking to members of Congress who serve the taxpayers that, now we’ve got taxpayers aren’t even allowed to come talk to us, that’s the context.” The incidents add to a portrait of the activist-turned-lawmaker who has shown little interest in governing, but has instead used her platform to float conspiracy theories, push Donald Trump’s false claims about a stolen 2020 election and further her own notoriety. Her combativeness toward colleagues has only grown after an unprecedented rebuke where the House stripped her of committee assignments, effectively ending her ability to shape legislation. Another confrontation Friday involved a member of her staff. Rep. Eric Swalwell said a staffer for Greene yelled at him to take his mask off after stepping off the House floor, an unusual of breach of decorum. Though the CDC has relaxed mask-wearing guidelines for those who have been vaccinated, many lawmakers continue to wear them, and they are still required on the House floor. “I had a mask on as I stepped off the Floor. An aide with @mtgreenee yelled at me to take my mask off. No one should be bullied for wearing a mask,”‘ Swalwell tweeted. “So I told the bully what I thought of his order.” On Twitter Friday, Greene said she had witnessed the confrontation and claimed, “No one yelled.” Greene’s behavior has alarmed some members of Congress, where feelings remain raw after the deadly Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters intent on overturning the outcome of the 2020 election. “This is a woman that’s deeply unwell and clearly needs some help,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Friday. “Her kind of fixation has lasted for several years now” and the “depth of that unwellness has raised concerns for other members, as well.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Greene’s behavior was “beyond the pale” and raised the possibility of an ethics investigation. “This is beneath the dignity of a person serving in the Congress of the United States and is a cause for trauma, and fear among members, especially on the heels of an insurrection,” Pelosi said Thursday.. Yet so far, Republicans have shown little appetite for punishing Greene. They rallied around her in February after some of her past comments came to light, including her endorsement of calls to assassinate leading Democrats. That left it to Democrats, who were joined by 11 Republicans, in voting to strip her of her committee assignments. As a congressional candidate, Greene posted a photo in 2020 of herself with a gun next to images of Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Before her election, she also supported Facebook posts that advocated violence against Democrats and the FBI. One suggested shooting Pelosi in the head. In response to a post raising the prospect of hanging former President Barack Obama, Greene responded that the “stage is being set.” In one 2018 Facebook posts, she speculated that “lasers or blue beams of light” controlled by a left-wing cabal tied to a powerful Jewish family could have been responsible for sparking California wildfires. And in February 2019, Greene appeared in an another online video filmed at the US Capitol, arguing that Omar and Tlaib weren’t “really official” members of Congress because they didn’t take the oath of office on the Bible. Both women are Muslim. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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China completes historic Mars spacecraft landing From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



The Long March 5 Y-4 rocket, carrying an unmanned Mars probe of the Tianwen-1 mission, takes off from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Wenchang, Hainan Province (File Photo)BEIJING: An uncrewed Chinese spacecraft successfully landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported, making China the second space-faring nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet. The Tianwen-1 spacecraft landed on a site on a vast plain known as Utopia Planitia, “leaving a Chinese footprint on Mars for the first time,” Xinhua said. Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a message of congratulations to all the people involved in the mission. “You were brave enough for the challenge, pursued excellence and placed our country in the advanced ranks of planetary exploration,” he said. “Your outstanding achievement will forever be etched in the memories of the motherland and the people.” The craft left its parked orbit at about 1700 GMT Friday (0100 Beijing time Saturday). The landing module separated from the orbiter three hours later and entered the Martian atmosphere, the official China Space News said. It said the landing process consisted of “nine minutes of terror” as the module decelerates and then slowly descends. The official landing time was 2318 GMT (0718 Beijing time), Xinhua said, citing the China National Space Administration. The rover took more than 17 minutes to unfold its solar panels and antenna and send signals to ground controllers more than 320 million kilometres away. The rover, named Zhurong, will now survey the landing site before departing from its platform to conduct inspections. Named after a mythical Chinese god of fire, Zhurong has six scientific instruments including a high-resolution topography camera. It will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere. Zhurong will also look for signs of ancient life, including any sub-surface water and ice, using a ground-penetrating radar. Tianwen-1, or “Questions to Heaven”, after a Chinese poem written two millennia ago, is China’s first independent mission to Mars. A probe co-launched with Russia in 2011 failed to leave the Earth’s orbit. The five-tonne spacecraft blasted off from the southern Chinese island of Hainan in July last year, launched by the powerful Long March 5 rocket. After more than six months in transit, Tianwen-1 reached the Red Planet in February where it had been in orbit since. If Zhurong is successfully deployed, China would be the first country to orbit, land and release a rover in its maiden mission to Mars. Tianwen-1 was one of three that reached Mars in February, with U.S. rover Perseverance successfully touching down on Feb. 18 in a huge depression called Jezero Crater, more than 2,000 km away from Utopia Planitia. Hope – the third spacecraft that arrived at Mars in February this year – is not designed to make a landing. Launched by the United Arab Emirates, it is currently orbiting above Mars gathering data on its weather and atmosphere. The first successful landing ever was made by NASA’s Viking 1 in July 1976 and then by Viking 2 in September that year. A Mars probe launched by the former Soviet Union landed in December 1971, but communication was lost seconds after landing. China is pursuing an ambitious space programme. It is testing reusable spacecraft and is also planning to establish manned lunar research station. In a commentary published on Saturday, Xinhua said China was “not looking to compete for leadership in space” but was committed to “unveiling the secrets of the universe and contributing to humanity’s peaceful use of space.” FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Water crisis ‘couldn’t be worse’ on Oregon-California border From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week. AP PhotoPORTLAND: The water crisis along the California-Oregon border went from dire to catastrophic this week as federal regulators shut off irrigation water to farmers from a critical reservoir and said they would not send extra water to dying salmon downstream or to a half-dozen wildlife refuges that harbor millions of migrating birds each year. In what is shaping up to be the worst water crisis in generations, the US Bureau of Reclamation said it will not release water this season into the main canal that feeds the bulk of the massive Klamath Reclamation Project, marking a first for the 114-year-old irrigation system. The agency announced last month that hundreds of irrigators would get dramatically less water than usual, but a worsening drought picture means water will be completely shut off instead. The entire region is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to federal monitoring reports, and Oregon’s Klamath County is experiencing its driest year in 127 years. “This year’s drought conditions are bringing unprecedented hardship to the communities of the Klamath Basin,” said Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton, calling the decision one of “historic consequence.” “Reclamation is dedicated to working with our water users, tribes and partners to get through this difficult year and developing long-term solutions for the basin.” The canal, a major component of the federally operated Klamath Reclamation Project, funnels Klamath River water from the Upper Klamath Lake just north of the Oregon-California border to more than 130,000 acres (52,600 hectares), where generations of ranchers and farmers have grown hay, alfalfa and potatoes and grazed cattle. Only one irrigation district within the 200,000-acre (80,940-hectare) project will receive any water from the Klamath River system this growing season, and it will have a severely limited supply, the Klamath Water Users Association said in a statement. Some other farmers rely on water from a different river, and they will also have a limited supply. “This just couldn’t be worse,” said Klamath Irrigation District president Ty Kliewer. “The impacts to our family farms and these rural communities will be off the scale.” At the same time, the agency said it would not release any so-called “flushing flows” from the same dam on the Upper Klamath Lake to bolster water levels downstream in the lower Klamath River. The river is key to the survival of coho salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In better water years the pulses of water help keep the river cool and turbulent – conditions that help the fragile species. The fish are central to the diet and culture of the Yurok Tribe, California’s largest federally recognized tribe. The tribe said this week that low flows from drought and from previous mismanagement of the river by the federal agency was causing a die-off of juvenile salmon from a bacterial disease that flourishes when water levels are low. Yurok fish biologists who have been testing the baby salmon in the lower Klamath River are finding that 70% of the fish are already dead in the traps used to collect them and 97% are infected by the bacteria known as C. shasta. “Right now, the Klamath River is full of dead and dying fish on the Yurok Reservation,” said Frankie Myers, vice chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “This disease will kill most of the baby salmon in the Klamath, which will impact fish runs for many years to come. For salmon people, a juvenile fish kill is an absolute worst-case scenario.” Irrigators, meanwhile, reacted with disbelief as the news of a water shut-off in the canals spread. A newsletter published by the Klamath Water Users Association, which represents many of the region’s farmers, blared the headline, “Worst Day in the History of the Klamath Project.” Farmers reported already seeing dust storms that obscured vision for 100 yards (91 meters), and they worried about their wells running dry. About 30 protesters showed up Thursday at the head gates of the main dam to protest the shut-off and ask the irrigation district to defy federal orders and divert the water. The Herald and News reported that they were with a group called People’s Rights, a far-right organization founded by anti-government activist Ammon Bundy. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, have declared drought emergencies in the region, and the Bureau of Reclamation has set aside $15 million in immediate aid for irrigators. Another $10 million will be available for drought assistance from the US Department of Agriculture. Ben DuVal, president of the Klamath Water Users Association, urged his members to remain peaceful and not let the water crisis “be hijacked for other causes.” The seasonal allocations are the region’s most dramatic development since irrigation water was all but cut off to hundreds of farmers in 2001 amid another severe drought – the first time farmers’ interests took a backseat to fish and tribes. The crisis made the rural farming region hundreds of miles from any major city a national political flashpoint and became a touchstone for Republicans who used the crisis to take aim at the Endangered Species Act, with one GOP lawmaker calling the irrigation shutoff a “poster child” for why changes were needed. A “bucket brigade” protest attracted 15,000 people who scooped water from the Klamath River and passed it, hand over hand, to a parched irrigation canal. The situation in the Klamath Basin was set in motion more than a century ago, when the U.S. government began draining a network of shallow lakes and marshlands, redirecting the natural flow of water and constructing hundreds of miles of canals and drainage channels to create farmland. Homesteads were offered by lottery to World War II veterans. The project turned the region into an agricultural powerhouse – some of its potato farmers supply In ‘N Out burger – but permanently altered an intricate water system that spans hundreds of miles and from southern Oregon to Northern California. In 1988, two species of sucker fish were listed as endangered under federal law. Less than a decade later, coho salmon that spawn downstream from the reclamation project, in the lower Klamath River, were listed as threatened. The water necessary to sustain the coho salmon downstream comes from Upper Klamath Lake – the main holding tank for the farmers’ irrigation system. At the same time, the sucker fish in the lake need at least 1 to 2 feet (30 to 60 centimeters) of water covering the gravel beds they use as spawning grounds. The drought also means farmers this summer will not flush irrigation water into a network of six national wildlife refuges that are collectively called the Klamath National Wildlife Refuge Complex. The refuges, nicknamed the Everglades of the West, support up to 80% of the birds that migrate on the Pacific Flyway. The refuges also support the largest concentrations of wintering Bald Eagles in the lower 48 states. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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UN rights chief urges lowering Gaza tensions From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



BERLIN: The United Nations’ human rights chief is urging all in what has developed into a battle between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers to lower tensions, and faulted actions by both sides. Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement issued in Geneva on Saturday that “rather than seeking to calm tensions, inflammatory rhetoric from leaders on all sides appears to be seeking to excite tensions rather than to calm them.” Bachelet’s statement was issued on Saturday, shortly before an Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets. In the statement, Bachelet “warned that the firing of large numbers of indiscriminate rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel, including densely populated areas, in clear violation of international humanitarian law, amounts to war crimes.” There also are concerns that some attacks by the Israeli military in Gaza “have targeted civilian objects that, under international humanitarian law, do not meet the requirements to be considered as military objectives.” It added that “the failure to adhere to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in the conduct of military operations amounts to a serious violation of international humanitarian law and may constitute war crimes.” FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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House to vote soon on bills to protect Capitol after January 6 From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



The insurrection is an increasingly fraught subject in the House GOP conference. AP PhotoWASHINGTON: The House is expected to vote next week on two bills aimed at preventing more attacks on the US Capitol, with one seeking to establish a 9/11-style commission to study what went wrong on January 6 and the other allocating $1.9 billion to address the security problems revealed by the insurrection. The top Democrat and the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee on Friday unveiled their plan to form the commission after weeks of delicate negotiations. Modeled after the revered investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, their bill would establish an independent 10-member commission, evenly divided between the two parties, that would have subpoena power and an end-of-year deadline for completing its work. Efforts to stand up the commission had previously stalled amid partisan differences, with Republicans – including Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell – arguing that its scope should be widened to look at violence in cities around the country in the past year in reaction to the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. But the new bill appeared to be a breakthrough after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the legislation must be bipartisan. The emergency spending bill was also released Friday, a product of months of reviews about what is needed to “harden” security at the Capitol after the violent mob of former President Donald Trump’s supporters pushed past police officers and broke through windows and doors on Jan. 6. That legislation would include money for new retractable fencing around the building, added training and resources for the Capitol Police, and better security for members of Congress, among other measures. Pelosi said that protecting the Capitol and the people who work inside it is of “the highest priority,” and that a commission is imperative “to examine and report upon the facts, causes and security relating to the terrorist mob attack.” While both bills are expected to pass the House, it’s unclear how much Republican support they would receive. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Friday he had not read the details of the Jan. 6 commission bill and did not signal whether he would support it. In a letter to Pelosi earlier this week, McCarthy said that any panel should not have “any predetermined conclusions or findings” and suggested that money for security should wait until after the commission issues a report. The insurrection is an increasingly fraught subject in the House GOP conference. While almost every Republican member condemned the violent mob that day, and many criticized Trump for his role in egging them on, a growing number of them have downplayed the attack as time has passed. At a House hearing this week investigating the siege, one member denied there was an insurrection at all while another said a woman who was shot and killed by police while trying to break into the House chamber was “executed.” Many other Republicans have tried to change the subject, saying Democrats should focus on the violence in cities instead. The bill’s path forward is uncertain in the 50-50 Senate, where Republicans have been quiet on the commission in recent weeks. McConnell objected to an initial proposal by Pelosi that would have included more Democrats than Republicans on the panel, and said the scope should be widened to investigate the rioting in cities. But he has not spoken about it since Pelosi endorsed the new language that would make the commission an even partisan split. House Democrats negotiated the bill with Republican John Katko of New York, who was one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the insurrection for telling his supporters that day to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat. The legislation does have one other prominent GOP supporter: Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of House GOP leadership this week for calling out Trump for his false claims that the election was stolen from him. Cheney also voted to impeach Trump. “In the aftermath of national crises, such as Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, or September 11th, our nation has established commissions so the American people know the truth and we can prevent these events from happening again,” Cheney said in a statement. Like the 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks on the U.S., the Jan. 6 commission would be granted authority to issue subpoenas to obtain information, requiring the bipartisan agreement of both the chair and vice chair of the commission, or through a majority vote. The commission would be charged with issuing a final report by Dec. 31, along with recommendations to prevent future attacks. The security spending bill would seek to make security improvements in the meantime, creating a quick-reaction force that could respond quickly in the event of an attack. National Guard troops were delayed for hours on Jan. 6 as police were beaten and overwhelmed by the rioters who broke in. The bill includes money for new fencing – either retractable or “pop in,” according to Democrats – that would protect the grounds while removing the dark black fence that has surrounded the Capitol since Jan. 6. The legislation says that the money cannot be used to install permanent aboveground fencing, reflecting the wishes of most members of Congress that the area should be open to the public. Other improvements would be to better secure windows and doors, install new security vestibules and cameras, and protect members with increased security at home and in Washington. There is also money to protect federal judges who are prosecuting the rioters and have received threats. The legislation renames a wellness program for Capitol Police as the Howard C. “Howie” Liebengood Center for Wellness and adds mental health counselors and resilience specialists for trauma support. Liebengood was a Capitol Police officer who took his own life shortly after the attack. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Myanmar army battles anti-coup rebels in northwestern town From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



Anti-coup protesters flash the three-finger salute during a demonstration in Yangon, MyanmarMyanmar’s army battled local militia fighters in the northwestern town of Mindat on Saturday, residents said, to try to quell a rebellion that has sprung up to oppose the junta that seized power in the Southeast Asian country in February. The fighting in Mindat, Chin state, underlines the growing chaos in Myanmar as the junta struggles to impose authority in the face of daily protests, strikes and sabotage attacks after overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta imposed martial law in Mindat on Thursday and then stepped up attacks on what it called “armed terrorists”. A spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment on the fighting on Saturday. Residents taking cover in the town said fighting raged on Saturday. “There are soldiers everywhere,” said one man. Video shot by one resident of the hilly town and shared on social media showed a helicopter gunship firing a rocket. Reuters was not immediately able to verify the video. The Irrawaddy news service said some homes had been destroyed as the army resumed artillery bombardment on Saturday. “We are living in a nightmare. Mindat is literally a war zone,” a 32-year-old resident who gave his name as Mang told Reuters from the town late on Friday. “They are using heavy artillery, mortar shells against us. We cannot fight that, we are exhausting most of our ammunition and we are risking everything… I think there is a chance we may be slaughtered. We try our best to defend ourselves but we may not last much longer.” Myanmar already had some two dozen ethnic armed groups, who have waged war for decades against an army dominated by the Bamar majority. The Chinland Defence Force was set up in response to the coup. Reuters was unable to reach the group for comment on Saturday. The junta-controlled Myanmar News Agency said fighting on Wednesday and Thursday in Mindat involved 100 people who attacked a police station and about 50 targeting the state-run Myanmar Economic Bank. A local lawmaker said the fighting erupted after the military refused to release seven local youths detained by authorities. The number of casualties was unclear. At least 788 people have been killed by the junta’s security forces in crackdowns on protests against its rule, according to an advocacy group. The military, which disputes that number, imposes tight restrictions on media, information and the internet. Reuters cannot independently verify arrests and casualty numbers. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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Back-to-back tornadoes kill 10 in China; over 300 injured From “World News Headlines, Latest International News, World Breaking News – Times of India”



A tornado first struck Shengze, toppling factory buildings and damaging electricity facilities. AP PhotoBEIJING: Back-to-back tornadoes killed at least 10 people in central and eastern China and left more than 300 others injured, officials and state media reported Saturday. Six people died in the inland city of Wuhan and four others in the town of Shengze, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east in Jiangsu province, local government statements said. A tornado first struck Shengze about 7 pm Friday, toppling factory buildings and damaging electricity facilities, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The Suzhou city government, which oversees the town, said in a social media post that four people had died and 149 others had minor injuries. Shengze is near Shanghai on China’s east coast. A tornado then hit Wuhan about 8:40 pm with winds of 86 kilometers (53 miles) per hour, destroying more than two dozen homes and triggering a power outage affecting 26,600 households, Xinhua reported. The Wuhan government said six people had died and 218 were injured. Xinhua said that 27 homes collapsed in Wuhan, and another 130 were damaged. Construction site sheds and two cranes were also damaged, while downed power lines knocked out electricity, the news agency reported. Photos showed a swarm of rescuers searching through building debris in Wuhan after midnight Friday and workers clearing metallic debris at a factory in Shengze in the morning. Wuhan is the city where Covid-19 was first detected in late 2019. FacebookTwitterLinkedinEMail







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