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Barbara Walters, Legendary ABC News Journalist, Dies
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Barbara Walters, a journalist at ABC News who helped forge the way for women to appear on news broadcasts, has died. She was 93 years old.

ABC News broke the story on her death, but provided no details or any statements from her family.

Walters joined ABC News in 1976, where she was the first woman to anchor a nightly news show, the network said. She later co-hosted “20/20” and launched “The View.”

Walters stepped down from co-hosting “The View” in 2014, saying at the time: “I do not want to appear on another program or climb another mountain. I want instead to sit on a sunny field and admire the very gifted women — and OK, some men too — who will be taking my place.”

Walters, who was born in 1929, grew up around celebrities because her father worked in show business. This experience taught her valuable lessons that would later help her in her career.

“I would see them onstage looking one way and offstage often looking very different. I would hear my parents talk about them and know that even though those performers were very special people, they were also human beings with real-life problems,” Walters said decades ago. “I can have respect and admiration for famous people, but I have never had a sense of fear or awe.”

Disney CEO Robert Iger responded to Walters’ death in a statement that praised her career.

“Barbara was a true legend, a pioneer not just for women in journalism but for journalism itself,” Iger said. “She was a one-of-a-kind reporter who landed many of the most important interviews of our time, from heads of state and leaders of regimes to the biggest celebrities and sports icons.”

“I had the pleasure of calling Barbara a colleague for more than three decades, but more importantly, I was able to call her a dear friend,” he continued. “She will be missed by all of us at The Walt Disney Company, and we send our deepest condolences to her daughter, Jacqueline.”

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3 Comments
  • Rudog says:

    yeh….Barbie…. c’ya!!!!

  • dis_regard says:

    My brother in law was an engineer manager at ABC. During a strike he had to work tge news cycle as a camera operator. Walter’s and Harry Reasoner were co-anchors and after the first live news cast had to remain on set until after the west coast feed. During this time it was reported how foul mouth Walter’s wS toward Harry. I never cared for Walter’s and at this point my comment is, we all die!

  • ronald edward kempa says:

    she is a good liberal now mush mouth lair good bye ahole !!!!

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    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who was recently booted off the House Intelligence Committee, faced scrutiny during an interview on Sunday over past examples of him allegedly politicizing intelligence information for partisan gain.

    Schiff made the remarks during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Dana Bash while talking about losing his spot on the committee.

    “You said that there was direct evidence of the fact that Donald Trump colluded with Russia back in 2016. Special counsel Robert Mueller said in his report — quote — ‘The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government,’” Bash said. “Republicans argue that’s proof that you used your position the Intelligence Committee to intentionally mislead Americans, which is why you should not be on that committee.”

    Schiff claimed that the report did not say that and that the report revealed that then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign manager shared internal campaign polling data with a Russian agent. “To most Americans, that is collusion,” he claimed. “Now, whether it’s proof beyond a reasonable doubt of the crime of conspiracy — that’s what Bob Mueller was talking about — I have always distinguished between the two.”

    Bash responded by highlighting another example that Republicans point to when they mention the problems that they have with Schiff being on the Intelligence Committee.

    “Ahead of the first Trump impeachment, you said the committee had not spoken to a whistle-blower,” Bash said. “In fact, that turned out not to be true.”

    “When I was asked the question, I thought they were referring to whether we had brought the whistle-blower in,” Schiff claimed. “And I should have been more clear in my answer.”

    Bash noted that “The Washington Post” fact-check team said that his claim about whistleblower were false.

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    WATCH: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is Filmed Dancing in Streets of Windy City, as Crime Soars 61%

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    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been blasted over a video of her dancing on the streets, amid continued violent crime and the loss of more flagship stores on the city’s ‘Magnificent Mile’ shopping district that now sits one third empty.

    Lightfoot, who is four weeks shy of what polls have shown is an uphill Democratic primary battle with several opponents, was seen dancing along to a drumline at the city’s Lunar New Year parade Sunday.

    It caused one Twitter user to say: ‘Since [Lightfoot]’s term began, Chicago has suffered 2,278 homicides and over 9,000 shot. Since January 1, the city has endured 41 homicides and 194 shot. Yet here Lightfoot is blissfully dancing and asking voters to return her to office. Lightfoot is detached from reality.’

    In addition to rising crime – overall crime is up a shocking 61 percent in the first four weeks of 2023 from the same period last year – Lightfoot has overseen vacancy rates of nearly 30 percent after flagship stores on the Magnificent Mile bailed.

    Huge brands like Macy’s, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap, Uniqlo and Timberland have all fled large premises since Covid shutdowns and ensuing riots.

    Many were driven away by soaring crime and violence, with the vacancy rate on the once tony shopping strip rising 10-fold since 2016, when it sat at just 3.6 percent, to the current 30.1 percent vacancy rate.

    A journalist recorded a video of an empty shopping district in Chicago on Sunday that in the past, despite the poor weather, would have been filled with people.

    The Magnificent Mile’s vacancy rate was under five percent just six years ago, according to NBC Chicago.

    Lightfoot made history as the first black woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago mayor, sailing to victory four years ago as an outsider who vowed to rid City Hall of corruption and deliver a safer, more equitable city.

    But her bid for a second term is very much in question amid concerns about continuing high crime in the nation’s third-largest city and accusations that she is overly hostile and sometimes flat-out mean – criticism she has dismissed as sexist and racist smears against a tough leader who is passionate about Chicago.

    Ahead of a crowded February 28 election, Lightfoot has been forced to go on the defensive in a heated race that has turned into both a personality contest and a policy debate.

    ‘We have started to change Chicago around for the better,’ Lightfoot said during a recent debate. ‘I want to finish the job that we have started.’

    With nine candidates in the race, it is unlikely that anyone will exceed the 50 percent threshold needed to win the officially nonpartisan election outright. That means the winner is likely to be decided in an April 4 runoff between the top two.

    Were she to lose, Lightfoot would be the first Chicago mayor in decades to run for reelection and fail. And unlike her predecessors, Lightfoot doesn’t enjoy a fundraising advantage over her top rivals.

    The election will be an early test this year of how crime factors into mayoral races in big-city Democratic strongholds. Other major cities electing mayors this year, including Philadelphia, are also grappling with how to balance progressive ideals with residents’ day-to-day concerns about keeping their families safe.

    Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor who had never before run for political office, emerged from a crowded field in 2019 to defeat far better known candidates with support from voters weary of political corruption and cover-ups.

    She says her administration has made concrete progress on critical issues, from putting money into neighborhoods that have seen decades of disinvestment to taking illegal guns off the streets.

    But she notes that the last four years haven’t been easy, with a global pandemic and protests over police violence that she said represented ‘some of the toughest times that we´ve ever faced’ in Chicago.

    Lightfoot’s handling of crises has sometimes drawn praise, such as when she ordered lockdowns early in the coronavirus pandemic and an image of the stern-faced mayor became a popular meme. But at other times, Lightfoot´s actions have been questioned.

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    Major Insurers Plan to Drop Two Car Models’ Coverage Due to Thefts

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    At least two major automotive insurers are refusing to protect certain Kia and Hyundai models because they lack anti-theft common in today’s cars, according to reports.

    Both State Farm and Progressive confirmed with CNN that they no longer write policies for some Kia and Hyundai models manufactured between 2015-2019.

    In September 2022, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IHHS, and Highway Loss Data Institute reported that vehicle theft claims for 2015-19 Hyundai and Kia vehicles were nearly twice as common as the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

    “Car theft spiked during the pandemic,” HLDI Senior Vice President Matt Moore said in the report. “These numbers tell us that some vehicles may be targeted because they’re fast or worth a lot of money, and others because they’re easy to steal.”

    The report also noted that the Hyundai and Kia vehicles being stolen lack electronic mobilizers that can hinder a thief’s ability to steal a car from just breaking into the car and bypassing the ignition. Once immobilizers were added to the cars, Moore said, vehicle thefts of Kias and Hyundais “plunged.”

    The report also notes that immobilizers were standard in 26 percent of Kia and Hyundai vehicle models in 2015, but standard in 96 percent of all other manufacturers.

    State Farm and Progressive did not immediately respond to inquiries seeking additional information about the claims.

    In a statement to CNN, State Farm confirmed the temporary halting of writing insurance policies in some states for some Kia and Hyundai model years and trim levels.

    Progressive also confirmed with CNN that they were making changes. In some areas, Progressive is increasing rates and limiting the sale of new insurance policies for those who have Kias and Hyundais that fit within the slot of vehicles that are at substantial risk.

    Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts are up as much as 300% over the past two years in some cities.

    Videos posted on social media show people how to start the vehicles without keys, but instead with the tip of a phone charger or USB cable, and the trend has prompted juveniles across the US to try and steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles to go for a joyride.

    The manufacturers are working through the thefts, with Hyundai offering steering wheel locks through municipalities like Clearwater, Florida.

    Another fix making the rounds was created by the Suntrup Automotive Group in St. Louis, Missouri, involving a redesigned off-the-shelf Bluetooth switch that could be hardwired to the car to immobilize the ignition.

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    WATCH: Finland Features 59-Year-Old Trans Skater at European Figure Skating Championships

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    Figure skater and trans-identified biological male Minna-Maaria Antikainen gave a debut performance at the European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo, Finland. That ceremony sees female figure skaters holding national flags while Antikainen, wobbling on white skates and with arms outstretched, skates a solo on the ice amid the girls who stand by and watch.

    Antikainen then stumbles and falls, and is unable to get back up off the ice until the skater carrying the flag of Finland comes to the center of the ice, helps Antikainen up, and hands the inept trans skater the national blue and white flag.

    Antikainen needs the help of a younger woman to be assisted up from the ice, and leans hard on the Finnish flag the young woman holds before taking that flag and skating off into the spotlight while the young woman becomes another face in the shadows.

    “The opening ceremony will present skaters at various levels from non-professionals to top athletes. On the ice, we will see Single Skaters, Synchronized Skaters, and Pairs. Included among the performers are Figure Skater Minna-Maaria Antikainen, who defines herself as a gender-neutral woman, adaptive skating performers, and a male synchronized skating team,” said coach Helena Tienhaara.

    “With the diverse group of performers, we want to show that the ice has space for everyone,” choreographer and coach Beata Leppilampi said.

    The Championships, running from January 25-29, saw Antikainen give an opening skate to mixed reviews from fans and critics.

    An old video, unearthed by Nilsen Report, shows Antikainen leearning ballet in toe-shoes while wearing women’s clothes before going out on the ice dressed as some kind of Brunhilda. The video, posted three years ago, indicates that there has been little improvement in Antikainen’s skill level

    The ISU European Figure Skating Championships claims that their opening ceremony, of which Antikainen was a part, was based on the theme “Just be you.” They state that the “Finnish Figure Skating Association promotes the importance of equality and diversity and develops skating according to its values.”

    Antikainen, who transitioned to presenting as female from male, now uses both male and female pronouns, and identifies as a “gender neutral woman.” Antikainen is 59 and was previously a farmer.

    Antikainen had a “childhood dream” to become a professional figure skater, though this performance does not indicate that, were it not for the new, much lauded transgender status, there would have been any hope of achieveing that dream.

    Executive Director of the Finnish Figure Skating Association and Secretary General of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships Outi Wuorenheimo praised the gender diversity shown in the opening ceremony, saying:

    “Figure skating is a very conservative sport with various strict rules. In international competitions, same-sex skating pairs are not allowed, and there is no category for non-binary skaters. I hope that every country will start working for equality and diversity in the field.”

    That diversity, apparently, includes males who pose as women and cannot skate.

    “We want to change the figure skating world by showing that talking about a skater’s weight is not the top priority, but muscular, healthy athletes may also succeed at the top level. It is important that we have different-looking skaters of various sizes in the competitions,” Wuorenheimo continued.

    In her view, figure skating is often perceived as elitist, and having a trans-identifed male who presents as female and wobbles on the ice can assuage those feelings that the sport is not for everyone.

    Recent years have seen the emergence of trans-identified males infiltrating women’s sports. Trans-identified Laurel Hubbard, a weight-lifter who represented New Zealand at the Olympics though did not place, achieved “Sportswoman of the Year.”

    Trans-identified college swimmer Lia Thomas represented UPenn at the level of national competition and made away with trophies, titles and records. Thomas was nominated by UPenn to be NCAA Woman of the Year, though backlash against a male being nominated for that honor previously reserved for women athletes was fierce.

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    Suicide Bomber Kills 34, Wounds 150 at Mosque in Pakistan

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    A suicide bombing at a crowded mosque in Pakistan’s Peshawar killed at least 34 people on Monday, the latest attack targeting police in this northwestern city where Islamist extremists remain active.

    Hospital officials said at least 150 people were wounded, with many of them in critical condition.

    Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif called the blast a suicide attack. There were at least 260 people in the mosque, police official Sikandar Khan added.

    No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which ripped through the mosque during noon prayers, causing a wall to collapse on top of worshippers. The building is located inside a highly fortified compound that includes the headquarters of the provincial police force and a counter-terrorism department.

    “We’re getting that the terrorist was standing in the first row,” Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told Geo TV.

    Footage from government broadcaster PTV showed police and residents scrambling to remove debris from the blast site and carrying wounded people on their shoulders.

    The attack was the city’s worst since March last year, when a suicide bombing at a Shi’ite Muslim mosque during Friday prayers killed at least 58 people and injured nearly 200. ISIS terrorist group extremists claimed responsibility for that bombing.

    Peshwar, which sits at the edge of Pakistan’s tribal districts bordering Afghanistan, is frequently targeted by terrorist groups, including the Pakistani Taliban.

    The group, known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is an umbrella of Sunni and sectarian Islamist groups that want to overthrow the government and replace it with their own brand of Islamic governance.

    The TTP has stepped up attacks since it ended a so-called peace deal last year with the Pakistani government, which was facilitated by Afghan Taliban.

    TTP has staged frequent attacks targeting police in the last few months. In December, Islamist terrorists seized a counter-terrorism center in the northwestern and took hostages to negotiate with government authorities.

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    The Shaming Images That Show Where Our iPhones, Laptops and Tesla Cars Really Come From

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    For years, big tech companies like Apple and Tesla have assured the customers of their glossy stores and showrooms that all their goods are ethically sourced and sold.

    But a new series of images taken from inside mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 90 percent of the world’s cobalt is mined and used to make the batteries that power our tech-led lives, raise uncomfortable questions.

    Cobalt is the chemical element found in almost every tech gadget that uses a lithium-powered battery on the market today – a smartphone, tablet or laptop requires a few grams of it, while an electric vehicle requires 10kg.

    Apple, Microsoft, Google, Tesla and others all insist that they hold cobalt suppliers to the highest of standards, and that they only trade with smelters and refiners who adhere to their codes of conduct.

    But the photos and videos that DailyMail.com can share today from some of the largest mines in Africa – where many of these suppliers get their cobalt – tell a different story.

    Barefoot children covered in chemicals, endlessly smashing open rocks for $2-a-day; exhausted new mothers with their babies strapped to them, sifting through nets of rocks in the hopes of finding the precious cobalt.

    Those are among the powerful images obtained by Siddharth Kara over the last several years in the Katanga region, that can be shared now ahead of the publication of his new book – Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers Our Lives.

    The book paints a damning picture of the desperate demand for cobalt in the West, and the deadly effects of it among African families.

    Speaking to DailyMail.com ahead of its release, Kara, an adjunct lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, said his research proves that the confident assurances of big tech can’t be trusted.

    ‘There are hundreds of thousands of the poorest people on the planet [mining for cobalt].

    ‘The moral clock has been dialed back to colonial times.

    ‘They’re doing it for $2-a-day and for them, it’s the difference between whether or not they eat that day so they don’t have the option of saying no.’

    The sudden demand for the eco-friendly vehicles, ironically driven by environmentally-conscious, is having a catastrophic effect in Congo, according to Kara.

    ‘It’s supposed to be a green choice, getting an EV. Well it’s not green for everybody.’

    Coupled with the immediate problems of overpopulated, underregulated mines is the added danger of cobalt’s toxicity.

    Prolonged exposure to cobalt can lead to lung disease, deafness and, according to Kara who has spent years in the Congo researching the subject, birth defects and various forms of cancer.

    ‘This is blood diamonds multiplied by a thousand – diamonds aren’t toxic.

    ‘And you buy a diamond once, maybe twice, in your life, whereas western society can’t function for more than 24 hours without devices that rely on cobalt,’ he said.

    Among his videos is one of two children, covered in toxic chemicals from the mine, smashing their rocks open.

    They cannot be older than seven or eight.

    Big tech companies like Microsoft, Tesla, Apple and Samsung have made various promises and commitments to move away from using cobalt in products.

    They have also leaned on the fact that many of the mines are Chinese owned and operated, claiming it’s out of their control what goes on those operations.

    In 2020, Tesla signed a multi-year deal to buy 6,000 tones of cobalt from the British-owned mining giant Glencore, which runs a copper and cobalt mine in the Katanga region.

    Glencore was the subject of a 2019 lawsuit filed by a human rights advocacy group on behalf of the families of 19 Congolese children who died in a mine that was operated by the company.

    The lawsuit also named the tech companies as defendants, but a judge dismissed them, claiming it was too difficult to prove a connection between the dead kids and the businesses.

    Kara is calling on the American companies – whose values are in the trillions – to do more.

    ‘This is not on China. This is on big tech.

    ‘They are aware of the problems but they look the other way and blame China. China does dominate, but it’s non-sensical to say it can’t be fixed.

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    Cops Charged With Murder Of Tyre Nichols Hired After Job Requirements Lowered: Report

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    Some of the fired police officers charged with the murder of Tyre Nichols were reportedly hired after the Memphis Police Department lowered its job requirements.

    Nichols died on January 10, three days after Memphis police pulled him over in a traffic stop, local media reported. Nichols, and the five former police officers accused of murdering him, are black.

    Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmit Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr., and Justin Smith have all been charged with two counts of official misconduct, local media reported, with one count of official oppression, second-degree murder, aggravated assault-act in concert, and two counts of aggravated kidnapping.

    The New York Post reported that Bean and Haley joined the Memphis Police Department during the summer of 2020 as riots related to the death of George Floyd rocked the nation.

    Bean and Haley’s hiring by the department in August 2020 came two years after the department significantly lowered the education required to join the force.

    The lowered standards meant that recruits no longer needed an associate’s degree or 54 college credit hours to join, the report said, and could instead get by with just work experience.

    Experts who spoke to the Post said the lowered requirements meant “less desirable” candidates were being brought on by the department.

    A LinkedIn post by law enforcement official Karan Parmar claimed that sources inside the department said that the officers were not hired through the normal process that the department had implemented.

    “According to a source within the Memphis PD, the 5 charged officers weren’t hired through the usual structured PD hiring process,” Parmar claimed. “City leaders felt the existing process was too strict and kept certain people from getting jobs at the department. City leaders began their own hiring process and then pushed new hires into the agency, bypassing the testing procedures in place at the department. You can read between the lines what that all means.”

    “All 5 of the charged officers were hired by the City, and didn’t go through the rigorous PD testing process,” the statement continued. “This is what quota hiring looks like. Lawsuits and dead innocents. The city should pay (sic) the lawsuits instead of the Police department. This Murder wasn’t created by old school policing or by ‘white supremacy’. This murder was directly facilitated by liberal policy.”

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    Huge Explosion Rocks Arms Factory in Central Iran

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    A huge fire has erupted at an Iranian military industry factory following a suspected drone strike – as mystery surrounds who was responsible for the attack.

    A loud explosion struck the factory close to Iran’s central city of Isfahan overnight amid rising global tensions.

    Footage close to the scene shows huge flames engulfing the facility and plumes of black smoke rising from the area, while emergency vehicles and fire trucks could be seen outside the complex.

    The extent of the damage could not be independently confirmed, but officials in Tehran’s Defence Ministry have said the explosion caused only minor damage to the roof of a workshop building and there were no casualties.

    A statement to State television said: ‘Around 11.30pm (8pm GMT) on Saturday night, an unsuccessful attack was carried out using micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) on one of the ministry’s workshop sites.’

    Officials said one drone was shot down, while a further two were ‘caught in defence traps and blew up’.

    It added: ‘The attack has not affected our installations and mission… and such blind measures will not have an impact on the continuation of the country’s progress.’

    Elsewhere, a large fire broke out at a motor oil factory in an an industrial zone near the northwestern city of Tabriz on Sunday. No further information has been made available about the blaze.

    The drone attack comes amid tensions with the West over Tehran’s nuclear work and supply of arms for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as months of anti-Government demonstrations.

    Iran has also in the past accused Israel of planning attacks by using agents inside Iranian territory.

    In July, Tehran said it had arrested a sabotage team made up of Kurdish militants working for Israel who planned to blow up a ‘sensitive’ defence industry centre in Isfahan.

    An Israeli military spokesperson declined comment when asked if the country was responsible for the attack.

    Israel has long said it could attack Iran if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran’s nuclear or missile programmes, but has a policy of withholding comment on specific incidents.

    In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy linked the incident directly to the war there.

    Politician Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted: ‘War logic is inexorable & murderous. It bills the authors & accomplices strictly. Explosive night in Iran – drone & missile production, oil refineries. Did warn you.’

    Several Iranian nuclear sites are understood to be located in the Isfahan province, including Natanz, the centrepiece of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme, which it accuses Israel of sabotaging in 2021.

    There have been a number of explosions and fires around Iranian military, nuclear and industrial facilities in recent years.

    Talks between Tehran and world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear pact have stalled since September.

    Under the pact, abandoned by Washington under President Donald Trump, Iran agreed to limit nuclear work in return for easing of sanctions.

    Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia, but says they were sent before Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

    The Kremlin denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.

    Tehran has also faced internal turmoil in recent months, with a crackdown on widespread anti-Government demonstrations spurred by the death in custody of a woman held for violating rules on dress.

    WATCH:

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    Massive Fire Destroys Commercial Egg Farm Belonging To Top US Supplier

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    About 100,000 chickens may have been lost after a massive fire broke out at an egg farm in Bozrah, Connecticut, the Salvation Army said, according to reports.

    Multiple fire departments responded to the fire on Saturday afternoon at the Hillandale Farms at 17 Schwartz Road.

    Norwich Firefighters Local 892 listed about 20 companies that were dispatched, including Colchester, East Haddam, Salem, Gardner Lake, Lebanon, Franklin, Yantic, and Sterling, Taftville, Montville, Oakdale, and Lisbon.

    The Norwich Firefighters Local 892 said that a 150-foot-by-400-foot chicken coop was reportedly “well involved.”

    A Salvation Army canteen truck was on the scene, providing food. According to the Salvation Army, about 100,000 chickens may have died in the fire. It also said that no injuries had been reported.

    The Epoch Times cannot independently confirm the estimate. It remains unclear whether other livestock or people were injured.

    The Norwich Firefighters Local 892 shared a video on Facebook that showed thick plumes of smoke rapidly rising over the egg farm.

    Thick smoke could be seen miles from the farm, according to other video posted online.

    Fire crews remained on scene after the fire was put out to investigate the incident, according to local reports.

    The cause of the fire is unclear at this stage.

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    New Jersey Investigates Double Voting That May Have Flipped Local Race

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    An investigation is underway in New Jersey where double counting may have flipped the result of at least one local contest in the 2022 elections.

    The state’s attorney general, Matthew Platkin, announced an inquiry last week, citing public reports about voting problems in Monmouth County. “Protecting New Jerseyans’ right to vote in a free and fair election is paramount to our democracy, and ensuring the integrity of that process is essential,” Platkin said in a statement. He added “a full investigation is warranted to encourage and preserve public trust in our elections, including recommendations for reforms to benefit the conduct of contests statewide.”

    Several municipalities in Monmouth County, located on the coast of central New Jersey, experienced tabulation problems that were apparently only discovered two months after the midterm elections as part of Board of Elections investigation into an unrelated issue, the New Jersey Globe reported earlier this month. However, the news blog followed up with another report saying county officials were notified about the voting machine issues in November.

    While multiple towns were affected, one local race in particular, the contest for Ocean Township Board of Education, was close enough where double voting could flip the results. Steve Clayton, a former board member, emerged victorious over incumbent Jeffrey Weinstein by 20 votes, however an informal tally showed Weinstein ahead by one vote.

    Platkin joined forces with Monmouth County officials on January 20 in asking a court to allow a “full recount and recheck” in the towns affected by the voting system error, according to CNN. Clayton took office this month, but acknowledged the final results may change. “I’m a board member until I’m not a board member. My main concern is the integrity of the election and that whoever ends up taking the seat, the people have confidence in the outcome,” he told the Asbury Park Press.

    The county’s voting machine vendor, Election Systems and Software (ES&S), blamed “human procedural error” for what it described as an “isolated incident.” A technician, who was sent over the summer to investigate reports of slow performance in the county’s internal network, “excluded a step” that “optimizes the system database and ensures USB flash media cannot be read twice during the results loading process,” an ES&S spokeswoman said.

    Platkin said his office retained the law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb, and Tyler LLP on behalf of the Division on Civil Rights on a pro bono basis to investigate whether any person or entity engaged in unlawful conduct under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. Peter Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general and federal prosecutor, was picked to lead the investigation. Harvey brings “immense experience in civil rights matters and overseeing complex and sensitive investigations,” per the attorney general’s office.

    Monmouth County officials said they support any investigation by the New Jersey attorney general into the election software issue and called on the state to implement reforms. ES&S “pledges to work with Monmouth County to ensure all necessary steps are taken to ensure election accuracy,” a spokeswoman for the company said.

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