'General Hospital' Actor Shot and Killed After Theft Gone Wrong in Downtown LA
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Citizen Frank



Johnny Wactor — an actor best known for appearing in nearly 200 episodes of “General Hospital” — has died, TMZ reported.

Wactor was shot and killed in downtown Los Angeles early Saturday morning, his mother Scarlett tells TMZ. She says Johnny was with a coworker when they saw three men messing with Johnny’s car. While authorities haven’t release his name, this matches the description of an incident where three suspects allegedly tried to steal a catalytic converter.

Scarlett says she was told Johnny didn’t try to fight or stop them … but, the men shot him anyway before taking off. According to police info, paramedics rushed to the scene just after 3 AM PT. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Police have not provided a description of the suspects … but, Johnny’s mother says she hopes they’ll be found quickly.

Johnny got his start in acting back in 2007 on the hit Lifetime show “Army Wives,” playing a few different roles before working steadily over the next two decades.

Some of his bigger credits include “Westworld,” “The OA,” “NCIS,” “Station 19,” “Criminal Minds,” and “Hollywood Girl.”

Many of Johnny’s fans will remember him for his time on ‘GH’ where he played Brando Corbin — married to drug addict Sasha Corbin in the series.

He played the role from 2020 until his character was written off the program in 2022.

Wactor’s mother remembers him as a loving young man … adding his death leaves a huge hole in the family’s heart.

He’s survived by his mother, and his younger brothers Lance and Grant. He was 37.

Read 23 Comments
  • Avatar Mary says:


  • Avatar Dorothy says:

    Our Politicians have no love of country and none for the American people. This is Biden’s World and Newsome. My heart goes out to the family who could probably not believe what is going on in this country.. Should not have happened. If they truly cared. This is the Democrat’s law and order. Let these people do as they please.

  • Avatar vickie says:

    find them and hang them….its the only deterant…

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    House Votes to Hold AG Merrick Garland in Contempt

    Citizen Frank



    The House voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview in his classified documents case, Republicans’ latest and strongest rebuke of the Justice Department as partisan conflict over the rule of law animates the 2024 presidential campaign.

    The 216-207 vote fell along party lines, with Republicans coalescing behind the contempt effort despite reservations among some of the party’s more centrist members. Only one Republican — Rep. David Joyce of Ohio — voted against it.

    Garland said in a statement late Wednesday, “It is deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon. Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees.”

    He added, “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

    Garland is now the third attorney general to be held in contempt of Congress. Yet it is unlikely that the Justice Department — which Garland oversees — will prosecute him. The White House’s decision to exert executive privilege over the audio recording, shielding it from Congress, would make it exceedingly difficult to make a criminal case against Garland.

    Nonetheless, Speaker Mike Johnson defended the decision to push ahead with what is now a mostly symbolic effort.

    “Look, we did our job on the contempt, and I think it sends an important message,” the Louisiana Republican said following the vote. “We’ll see what happens next, but, I mean, the House has to do its work and I’m pleased with the outcome today.”

    The White House and congressional Democrats have slammed Republicans’ motives for pursuing contempt and dismissed their efforts to obtain the audio as purely political. They also pointed out that Rep. Jim Jordan, the GOP chair of the House Judiciary Committee, defied his own congressional subpoena last session.

    “This contempt resolution will do very little, other than smear the reputation of Merrick Garland, who will remain a good and decent public servant no matter what Republicans say about him today,” New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on Judiciary Committee, said during floor debate.

    Garland has defended the Justice Department, saying officials have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide information to the committees about Special Counsel Robert Hur’s classified documents investigation, including a transcript of Biden’s interview with him.

    “There have been a series of unprecedented and frankly unfounded attacks on the Justice Department,” Garland said in a press conference last month. “This request, this effort to use contempt as a method of obtaining our sensitive law enforcement files is just most recent.”

    Republicans were incensed when Hur declined to prosecute Biden over his handling of classified documents and quickly opened an investigation. GOP lawmakers — led by Jordan and Rep. James Comer — sent a subpoena for audio of Hur’s interviews with Biden during the spring. But the Justice Department only turned over some of the records, leaving out audio of the interview with the president.

    On the last day to comply with the Republicans’ subpoena for the audio, the White House blocked the release by invoking executive privilege. It said that Republicans in Congress only wanted the recordings “to chop them up” and use them for political purposes.

    Executive privilege gives presidents the right to keep information from the courts, Congress and the public to protect the confidentiality of decision-making, though it can be challenged in court.

    Administrations of both political parties have long held the position that officials who assert a president’s claim of executive privilege can’t be prosecuted for contempt of Congress, a Justice Department official told Republicans last month.

    Assistant Attorney General Carlos Felipe Uriarte cited a committee’s decision in 2008 to back down from a contempt effort after President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege to keep Congress from getting records involving Vice President Dick Cheney.

    Before Garland, the last attorney general held in contempt was Bill Barr in 2019. That was when the Democratically controlled House voted to issue a referral against Barr after he refused to turn over documents related to a special counsel investigation into Trump.

    Years before that, then-Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt related to the gun-running operation known as Operation Fast and Furious. In each of those instances, the Justice Department took no action against the attorney general.

    The special counsel in Biden’s case, Hur, spent a year investigating the president’s improper retention of classified documents, from his time as a senator and as vice president. The result was a 345-page report that questioned Biden’s age and mental competence but recommended no criminal charges for the 81-year-old. Hur said he found insufficient evidence to successfully prosecute a case in court.

    In March, Hur stood by his no-prosecution assessment in testimony before the Judiciary Committee, where he was grilled for more than four hours by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

    His defense did not satisfy Republicans, who insist that there is a politically motivated double standard at the Justice Department, which is prosecuting former President Donald Trump over his retention of classified documents at his Florida club after he left the White House.

    But there are major differences between the two probes. Biden’s team returned the documents after they were discovered, and the president cooperated with the investigation by voluntarily sitting for an interview and consenting to searches of his homes.

    Trump, by contrast, is accused of enlisting the help of aides and lawyers to conceal the documents from the government and of seeking to have potentially incriminating evidence destroyed.

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    Musk Says His $56 Billion Pay at Tesla Is Passing by ‘Wide Margins’

    Citizen Frank



    Elon Musk said late Wednesday in the US that resolutions to re-ratify his pay package and move Tesla Inc.’s legal home to Texas from Delaware are currently passing by “wide margins.”

    The preliminary results are great news for Musk and for Tesla, which has been rallying support for both measures for weeks among large institutional investors and the company’s army of retail shareholders.

    Tesla’s annual meeting is on June 13 and investors have been voting on the same $56 billion compensation package for Chief Executive Officer Musk that was voided by a Delaware court earlier this year.

    The hotly contested pay package easily passed back in 2018 but was struck down in January by a judge in Delaware, who said investors weren’t fully informed of key details.

    Under the plan, Musk is eligible for as much as $55.8 billion in stock options if Tesla hit certain milestones, which the company has reached.

    Those in support include Scottish asset manager Baillie Gifford & Co., Cathie Wood’s Ark Investment Management LLC and Ron Baron, who runs Baron Funds.

    Baron, a longtime Tesla investor, said in an open letter backing Musk’s package that the will of the shareholders who voted in 2018 should be favored. Without Musk, there would “be no Tesla,” and this vote might determine whether he stays at the company, he said.

    Those against include Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, Norges Bank, and California Public Employees’ Retirement System.

    Tesla Chair Robyn Denholm has been engaging with large institutional investors and Tesla has posted several ads on X, which Musk owns.

    In the final days of the campaign, several Tesla engineers and current and former executives posted on X in support of Musk’s leadership.

    The deadline for investors to vote is 10:59 p.m. central time on June 12.

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    Boston Airport Sheltering Over 100 illegal Migrants: ‘They Arrive at All Hours’

    Citizen Frank



    More than 100 migrants are sleeping on the floors of Boston’s Logan International Airport as more continue to stream in and use the facility as a shelter.

    A police source confirmed to Fox News that the hundreds of people pictured lining the floors of Boston’s main air hub with makeshift beds and air mattresses are migrants that have been using the facility as a shelter.

    The number of migrants being housed at the airport has increased in recent weeks, according to a report from the New York Post, increasing from only a few dozen who were at the facility a few months ago.

    “We continue to see migrants at the airport. They come to Logan a number of ways. They also arrive at Logan at all hours,” a representative from MassPort said of the situation, according to the report.

    Compounding the issue is a lack of staff and resources at surrounding facilities, the representative said, causing migrants to be bussed to state welcome centers during the day, only to be transported back to the airport at night.

    Migrants staying at the airport have been living in poor conditions, the report notes, sleeping on hard and cold floors, facing up at lights that are always on, and being constantly awakened by airport announcements.

    The migrants have been forced to stay at the airport after state shelters reached their maximum capacity of 7,500 families in November, with those at the airport sitting on a wait list for shelter room to open.

    While Massachusetts does not have any laws making the state a sanctuary jurisdiction, many local cities, including Boston, have some form of sanctuary laws on the books.

    Nevertheless, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has attempted to address the lack of room in state shelters, announcing in May that a former prison south of Boston would be converted into a shelter that could host 400 homeless families, including 150 migrant families.

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    Inside Trump’s Veepstakes: Top Contender Falls Down Shortlist

    Citizen Frank



    South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott long seen as the odds-on favorite to be Donald Trump’s running mate this year is slipping in the VP race and is now widely seen by people close to the presumptive Republican nominee as “extremely unlikely” to be chosen, The Post has learned.

    Scott, 58, was considered the leading choice for much of the past year due to his passionate support for Trump, 77, and the possibility that he could help draw black voters into the Republican fold, a trend that polls indicate already is underway.

    The mercurial Trump is expected to announce his pick sometime in the next month and could still choose Scott — but sources familiar with the situation say the chances are becoming more remote.

    “I think it is extremely unlikely he will be picked,” said one insider. “You go down the list of reasons to choose a VP, and he isn’t a standout or game-changer in any category.”

    “His star has become less bright, for sure,” said a second well-connected source. “Still a top five pick — but not the strongest.”

    This person also warned that Scott, who has repped South Carolina in the Senate since 2013, “might not resonate with the black community in a way that’s worth putting him on the ticket.

    “There are stronger options, and Tim has the potential to serve in the Cabinet, so I think he’ll still play an important role.”

    A third insider indicated that Scott was “still in the mix, but I suspect his biggest issue is that he’s just not very good on TV.”

    A fourth told The Post that the former president “doesn’t believe that the VP matters electorally” — meaning that Scott and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose parents are Cuban, wouldn’t have an advantage over other contenders such as North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Ohio Sen. JD Vance based on demographics alone.

    In addition to the widely cited “top four” of Burgum, Rubio, Scott and Vance, there are a host of dark horse contenders — including Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, a former White House press secretary under Trump; Texas Gov. Greg Abbott; Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY); Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.); and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

    “Trump is looking for three things,” the fourth source said. “He’s looking for who can raise money, he’s looking for who is an effective surrogate on TV with adversarial media, and he’s looking at who will do the best job debating Kamala Harris.

    “Tim Scott is in contention, but probably the least likely of the four. There hasn’t been any data or evidence pointing to either Tim Scott or Marco Rubio adding to Trump’s margins with minorities.”

    Two additional sources said they shared the impression that the 45th president’s interest in Scott as a potential No. 2 was waning.

    Other Trump advisers pointed out that the candidate “could go in any direction at any time” and that the contenders have already started jockeying for position, leading to potential biases among sources pulling for different names.

    A source close to Trump who spoke positively of Scott stressed to The Post that the former president was “raving” about the senator “campaigning on his behalf” in closed-door meetings as recently as Tuesday, “saying how great of a job Tim Scott had been doing for him.”

    A pro-Scott source said he and Trump speak weekly and noted both men are expected to attend a Detroit rally on Saturday. This person added that Scott has been linked in recent reporting to billionaires Ken Griffin and Bill Ackman, potentially boosting his standing with Trump.

    Scott is known in Washington for having an occasionally aloof demeanor and for rarely chumming it up with the Capitol press corps.

    His personality was mentioned as a possible issue in the decision-making process by some — but not all — of The Post’s sources.

    The senator toured his home state in the 1990s as a promoter of abstinence until marriage, and only got engaged this past January.

    Trump became known for cultivating dramatic character arcs on his long-running former NBC hit show “The Apprentice” and is widely expected to do the same in picking his latest VP candidate — with operatives and journalists long prepared for him to encourage leaks to generate suspense.

    Burgum, 67, is widely believed to have risen in Trump’s estimation.

    The North Dakota governor is one of America’s wealthiest officeholders and was a successful self-made businessman before his 2016 election to lead the country’s fourth-least-populous state.

    Burgum’s perceived advantages include his fresh persona, lack of controversy and the fact that he’s unlikely to snag the media spotlight from Trump.

    Rubio also is seen as a strong contender, in part due to the large number of Florida politicos in Trump’s campaign.

    However, skeptics note that Democrats are likely to dredge up Rubio and Trump’s history as rivals in the 2016 presidential campaign — during which Rubio claimed the real estate mogul couldn’t be trusted because he had “small hands,” implying that Trump was lacking in other physical attributes.

    Vance, who also had unflattering words for Trump in the past, benefits from his close relationship with Donald Trump Jr. and is touted by allies as having views consistent with the ex-president’s populist messaging.

    Trump senior adviser Brian Hughes told The Post that only Trump knows who he will pick, making all horserace reporting on the matter “inaccurate.”

    “Senator Scott is a respected leader and very strong supporter of President Trump,” Hughes said. “Any speculation of the likelihood of the Senator or any other possible choice is inaccurate because anyone claiming to know who or when President Trump will choose his VP is lying, unless the person is named Donald J. Trump.”

    Scott spokesman Nathan Brand said that Scott believes “this election is about creating opportunity, growing the party and saving the American dream, regardless of who is on the ticket.”

    “[Scott] and President Donald Trump partnered on significant legislative victories like tax cuts, HBCU funding and Opportunity Zones,” Brand said. “The senator has never though of adding value in terms of race, but in terms of actually passing good policy and reaching new voters. And he plans to do everything he can on the campaign trail and during the next Trump administration to continue protecting the American dream.”

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    Trump Visits Capitol Hill to Meet with Republican Lawmakers

    Citizen Frank



    Former President Donald Trump will discuss his legislative priorities in more detail when he meets with Republican lawmakers Thursday on Capitol Hill.

    In his third bid for the White House, Mr. Trump has laid out a wide-ranging Agenda 47, which focuses heavily on reversing President Biden’s executive actions on immigration, energy and equity programs.

    Mr. Trump needs Congress to score policy wins in Washington and, more importantly, enact structural changes to how the federal government operates. He said some of the restrictions handcuffed him in his first term.

    The former president will make his first visit to Capitol Hill since the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and since he became a convicted felon. A senior Trump campaign official said the meeting will focus on how Republicans can advance policies “protecting Social Security and Medicare, securing the southern border, and cutting taxes for hardworking families.”

    Rep. Jim Jordan, a top Trump ally from Ohio, said the Trump agenda includes reauthorizing the expiring 2017 tax cuts, opening up energy production by slashing federal regulations, stopping the weaponization of government agencies and “most importantly securing the border.”

    Others said they would seek more clarity from Mr. Trump.

    “I want to hear a really clear vision of what we’re going to do in January,” said Rep. Chip Roy, Texas Republican. “I just want to hear specifics about what we’re running on.”

    Mr. Trump’s Agenda 47 makes it clear he plans to lean on lawmakers to reshape the congressional budget process to give the executive branch more control over federal spending. He said it is “a crucial tool with which to obliterate the Deep State, Drain the Swamp, and starve the Warmongers — these people that want wars all over the place; killing, killing, killing, they love killing — and the Globalists out of government.”

    Mr. Trump wants to “totally reform FISA courts [and create] an independent auditing system to continually monitor our intelligence agencies to ensure they are not spying on our citizens or running disinformation campaigns against the American people,” according to the plan.

    The Trump legislative wish list also includes:

    • Requiring all U.S. states to recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states.

    • Establishing universal school choice and a parental bill of rights.

    • Giving “baby bonuses” to new parents.

    • Creating a constitutional amendment mandating term limits for Congress.

    • Banning sex-change procedures for minors and biological males playing in women’s sports.

    On the policy front, Mr. Trump has frustrated budget hawks by vowing to stop Republicans from voting to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security.

    The presumptive Republican nominee’s legislative agenda also aims to build off signature policy wins from his first term.

    Mr. Trump has vowed to extend the 2017 tax cuts, which are set to expire next year.

    He has promised to push Congress to slash the tax increases on oil and gas producers that Mr. Biden approved in the Inflation Reduction Act and eliminate taxes on tipped income for hospitality workers.

    On trade, he wants to expand on the United States-Mexico-Canada trade deal he signed into law in 2020, which fulfilled his campaign promise to update NAFTA and strengthen protections for workers.

    Mr. Trump has proposed a Trump Reciprocal Trade Act that will give him and his successors the power to slap countries with the same tariffs they impose on U.S.-made exports and more overall leeway to negotiate import tariffs.

    Mr. Trump is also looking to advance immigration legislation, which he failed to do during his first term. Instead, he relied on unilateral moves to strengthen the border.

    He will push Congress to greenlight legislation establishing a merit-based immigration system, the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers, and safeguards ensuring illegal immigrants do not receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits.

    Congress also would likely have to approve his pledge to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.

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    Police Report: Fetterman ‘At Fault’ for Recent Car Accident

    Citizen Frank



    Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., was speeding and “at fault” for the car accident that landed him, his wife and another driver in the hospital on Sunday, according to a Maryland State Police report obtained by USA TODAY.

    Fetterman, driving a Chevrolet Traverse, passed a witness on I-70 in northwest Maryland “at a high rate of speed, well over the posted speed limit” before rear ending a Chevrolet Impala around 7:45 a.m. near the exit to I-68, the six-page report said.

    The speed limit was 70 miles per hour.

    Fetterman and the other driver were not tested for alcohol or substance use, the report said.

    No citations were given and an investigation is ongoing, according to a Maryland State Police statement to USA TODAY earlier this week.

    Both vehicles were towed from the site of the accident and Fetterman, his wife Gisele Fetterman, and the driver of the other car, a 62-year-old woman from Pennsylvania, were taken to War Memorial Hospital in West Virginia in ambulances.

    The names of the woman hit by Fetterman and the witness were included in the public police record but USA TODAY is not publishing them to protect personal privacy.

    Fetterman was treated for a bruised shoulder, according to a spokesperson for the senator.

    The couple was discharged Sunday afternoon and posted a video to X thanking supporters for well wishes. “Not the best way to spend our 16th wedding anniversary but we’re doing well and happy to be back home in Braddock with the family,” he wrote.

    Fetterman has been the junior senator from Pennsylvania since 2023. He previously served as Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor and as the mayor of Braddock, near Pittsburgh.

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    Miami Flash Flood Emergency

    Citizen Frank



    A flash flood emergency and flash flood warnings were issued for parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties on Wednesday as storms soaked South Florida, causing dangerous widespread flooding.

    The flash flood warning was in effect until 8 p.m. and included Miami Gardens, North Miami Beach, Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood and Miramar, among other areas, the National Weather Service said.

    A rare flash flood emergency was also issued for parts of both counties, initially until 5:30 p.m. before it was extended until 8 p.m. Wednesday, and included areas from Dania Beach down to North Miami and goes from coastal areas to western cities including Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Miami Gardens and Opa-locka.

    A severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for a portion of southern Miami-Dade that included Homestead and Princeton and was in effect until it expired at 6:30 p.m.

    By 7 p.m. Wednesday, more than 13 inches of rain had fallen in Hollywood Beach, with over 12 inches reported in Surfside. More than 11 inches had fallen in Aventura, while Dania Beach and Fort Lauderdale had received over 10 inches.

    After the emergency and flash flood warnings expired, a flood warning remained in place until 8 a.m. Thursday in portions of both counties.

    The heavy rain caused widespread flooding across South Florida and even led to the closure of a stretch of Interstate 95 in Broward.

    “Life-threatening flooding is now ongoing. Please stay off the roadways and get to higher ground,” the NWS said in a post on X earlier in the day.

    Tornado warnings were also briefly in effect Wednesday for areas over the Florida Everglades before they expired.

    Some storms showed rotation, triggering the tornado warnings.

    Tuesday’s tropical rains produced between 3 and 6 inches of rainfall and multiple flash flood warnings in the season’s first significant rain event.

    A flood watch also was in effect for all of South Florida and the Florida Keys, as the stage is set for rounds of rainfall that may kick off further flooding. Breezy south winds of 10 to 20 mph are possible.

    The flood watch was extended until Thursday evening.

    An additional 2 to 4 inches of rain are possible through the day, with downpours likely to continue through Friday.

    By the weekend, it’s reasonable some locations could see five-day accumulations of 7 to 10 inches.

    This soggy pattern is due to the return of tropical moisture to the region, an element lacking since the South Florida rainy season started on May 15.

    In addition, a disturbance will move away from the peninsula Wednesday, dragging moisture behind it.

    The National Hurricane Center was giving this feature a 20% chance for development in the western Atlantic over the next several days, far removed from Florida.

    Otherwise, local conditions will remain supportive of heavy rainfall through Saturday, with more sunshine and fewer storms expected Sunday.

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    New Photos Reveal Savage Mega-Prison That Was Built to Hold 40K Inmates — With No Prisoner Ever Freed

    Citizen Frank



    A series of bone-chilling new photos show the barbarous conditions inside a mega-prison in El Salvador that was built to hold gangbangers from the country’s most violent criminal organizations — and no prisoner who’s ever walked in has breathed the free air ever again.

    Dubbed the Centre for the Confinement of Terrorism, the mammoth facility in Tecoluca can hold about 40,000 prisoners — the equivalent of two fully packed Madison Square Gardens — in the most inhumane of conditions.

    The photos, released by the government of El Salvador, show scores of shirtless, heavily tattooed inmates being shepherded into the maximum-security center, which houses them in cramped cells under harsh artificial light and the constant threat of torture or death.

    In one picture, the men pack themselves into a transport bus with their shaved heads tilted forward and their hands tied behind their backs.

    In another, the semi-naked prisoners squat in a long line, their heads again tilted forward until they’re nearly touching the back of the inmate in front of them — as heavily armed guards stand watch.

    Others show the men squatting on the floor of massive rooms, their hands on their heads as the guards take stock.

    More than 2,000 gang members from jails across the country were just transferred to the mega-jail, according to the Daily Mail. Most are members of the country’s main gangs, MS-13 and Barrio 18.

    Their confinement is part of President Nayib Bukele’s ruthless crackdown on the narcotics-fueled groups. Authorities have locked up more than 70,000 people in the last two years in the nation’s effort to eradicate street crime, the outlet added.

    Guests at the prison are forced to eat their meals of rice, pasta or hard-boiled eggs with their hands instead of utensils, which guards fear they could turn into deadly weapons.

    Inmates are only allowed out of their cells for a half-hour each day, and can only use their own bodyweight to exercise, since authorities don’t want them bludgeoning each other with weights and barbells, the Mail said.

    No one who has walked into what activists call the “black hole of human rights” with cuffs on has ever seen daylight again, the Mail reported.

    Activists compare the facility with Hitler’s concentration camps, and a report by human rights group Cristosal found that 174 inmates had been tortured and killed this year, the outlet added.

    The country’s human rights commissioner, however, has insisted the inmates are in “good condition” and their rights are being respected.

    For better or worse, Bukele’s crackdown has had an effect.

    The country’s homicides dropped nearly 57% in 2022 — a significant improvement for a nation often considered the murder capital of the world.

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    Russian Nuke-Powered Sub Arrives in Cuba

    Citizen Frank



    A Russian nuclear-powered submarine and other naval vessels arrived in Cuba Wednesday for a five-day visit to the communist island off Florida’s coast in a show of force amid spiraling US-Russian tensions.

    The submarine Kazan, which Cuba says is not carrying nuclear weapons, was accompanied by the frigate Admiral Gorshkov, as well as an oil tanker and a salvage tug.

    The Kazan and Admiral Gorshkov, which is one of Russia’s most modern warships, could be seen just off Havana, which is about 90 miles (145 km) from the tip of Florida.

    The tanker Pashin and the tug, flying the white, blue and red tricolor of Russia, entered the harbor early Wednesday morning, an AFP reporter said.

    The Cuban government announced that Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez was meeting his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, as the two former Cold War allies further tighten their links.

    The unusual deployment of the Russian military so close to the United States — particularly the powerful submarine — comes amid major tensions over the war in Ukraine, where the Western-backed government is fighting a Russian invasion.

    Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin last month for the annual May 9 military parade on Red Square outside the Kremlin.

    During the Cold War, Cuba was an important client state for the Soviet Union.

    The deployment of Soviet nuclear missile sites on the island triggered the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when Washington and Moscow came close to war.

    Relations between Russia and Cuba have become closer since a 2022 meeting between Diaz-Canel and Putin.

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    Hezbollah Launches Largest Attack on Israel Since Oct. 7

    Citizen Frank



    Lebanese militant group Hezbollah fired barrages of rockets at Israel on Wednesday and vowed to intensify its attacks after an Israeli strike killed a senior commander in south Lebanon the previous day.

    Hezbollah has traded near-daily cross-border fire with the Israeli army since its Palestinian ally Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, triggering war in the Gaza Strip.

    The exchanges have escalated in recent weeks, with Hezbollah stepping up its use of drones to attack Israeli military positions and Israel hitting back with targeted strikes against the militants.

    “We will increase the intensity, strength, quantity and quality of our attacks,” said senior Hezbollah official Hashem Safieddine, speaking at the funeral of commander Taleb Sami Abdallah, who was killed in Tuesday’s Israeli strike.

    In Doha, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed calls Wednesday for a diplomatic solution on the Israel-Lebanon border and said a long-sought Gaza ceasefire deal would “take a tremendous amount of pressure out of the system”.

    Hezbollah in statements said it launched “dozens of Katyusha rockets” at three bases and a barracks in northern Israel.

    The Iran-backed militant group said it also struck a “military factory” with guided missiles “in response to the assassination carried out by the Zionist enemy”.

    The Israeli army said more than 150 “projectiles” had been fired from Lebanon in three successive barrages.

    “Approximately 90 projectiles were identified crossing from Lebanon,” it said, adding several were intercepted but others struck inside Israel, sparking fires in parts of the north.

    The initial barrage was followed by a second of about 70 projectiles and a third of around 10, the military said, adding the army struck several sites in south Lebanon in response.

    ‘Knight of the resistance’

    As temperatures have soared in recent days, the exchanges of fire have sparked brush fires on both sides of the border.

    “Israel Fire and Rescue Services are currently operating to extinguish the fires that broke out as a result of the launches,” the military said.

    Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency medical service said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

    The Israeli army on Wednesday confirmed it had “eliminated” Taleb Sami Abdallah in a strike the day before on a Hezbollah command centre in southern Lebanon.

    In a statement, it called Abdallah “one of Hezbollah’s most senior commanders in southern Lebanon” and said he “planned, advanced, and carried out a large number of terror attacks against Israeli civilians”.

    Abdallah was killed along with three Hezbollah comrades in an Israeli strike on Jouaiyya, 15 kilometres (nine miles) from the border, a source close to the group told AFP.

    A Lebanese military source said the commander was “the most important in Hezbollah to be killed… since the start of the war”.

    The group had urged its supporters to attend Abdallah’s funeral in the southern suburbs of Beirut, describing him as “one of the knights of the resistance”.

    Men wearing military fatigues and black berets carried his coffin, covered in Hezbollah’s yellow flag, as a brass band played for the ceremony.

    ‘Harsh blow’

    Pro-Hezbollah newspaper Al-Akhbar described the strike that killed Abdallah as “a harsh blow” to the group.

    But Britain-based Middle East specialist Amal Saad played down the prospect of wider escalation.

    “I don’t think that the death of this highest-ranking commander is going to change any of Hezbollah’s calculations,” she said, adding civilian casualties were “red lines” for the group rather than the targeting of commanders or fighters.

    “We witnessed an escalation in quality and quantity of (Hezbollah) attacks in order to put pressure on Israel and the US in the ceasefire talks and improve Hamas’s bargaining position,” Saad said.

    On Tuesday, Hezbollah said it fired about 50 rockets at Israeli positions in the annexed Golan Heights.

    More than eight months of cross-border violence has killed at least 468 people in Lebanon, most of them fighters but also including 89 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

    Israeli authorities say at least 15 Israeli soldiers and 11 civilians have been killed.

    Tens of thousands of people have been displaced on both sides of the border since the violence erupted the day after the Hamas attack on southern Israel.

    The October 7 attack resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

    Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 37,202 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Sydney Powell Cleared of Charges in Texas

    Citizen Frank



    Former federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, who brought four lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 election, was cleared of charges from the State Bar of Texas by the Texas Court of Appeals this month.

    The court ruled in a 24-page opinion upholding the trial court that the Texas Bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline failed to show how she engaged in “dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation” in lawsuits she filed challenging former President Donald Trump’s presidential loss.

    The lower trial court found that the evidence against Powell  granted no-evidence summary judgment for her against the Texas Bar, which the bar appealed. The higher court criticized the Texas bar, “The Bar employed a ‘scattershot’ approach to the case, which left this court and the trial court ‘with the task of sorting through the argument to determine what issue ha[d] actually been raised.’”

    The court said Powell’s “lawsuits alleged a vast election fraud conspiracy involving U.S. Dominion, Inc. (‘Dominion’), a company that manufactures voting machines, foreign actors, state and party officials, and county elections workers.” The Texas Bar alleged that two of Powell’s exhibits had been altered. The court said, “Specifically, the Complaint described these exhibits as undated, and the copies attached were undated, but the documents were in fact dated.

    The court said two of the exhibits were “copied in landscape rather than portrait mode,” which is why the dates were cut off. Powell said she did not draft the complaint or download and attach the exhibits, relying on other counsel. She also said the date or signature on the certificate was in the public record, so “not an issue, and an ‘indisputable fact.’”

    The court said it would affirm a summary judgment if “there is a complete absence of evidence of a vital fact,” “the evidence offered to prove a vital fact is no more than a mere scintilla,” or one of a couple of other reasons.

    The Texas Bar claimed that Powell “knew of the falsity of the evidence she presented and did nothing to correct the same” when she referenced an exhibit filed by the Texas Bar, Exhibit (E), instead of another, Exhibit (G). The court disagreed, stating, “The Bar offers no explanation of the purported significance of the exhibit and supplies no authority to suggest that an opposing party’s arguments and allegations have any cognizable relationship to the claims asserted against Powell.”

    The court pointed out that the Texas Bar was guilty of doing the same thing it went after Powell for allegedly doing.

    “By its own admission, the Bar misidentified or failed to include multiple exhibits it claims to have relied on in its Second Amended Response,” the opinion said.

    “The deficiencies go far beyond mislabeling exhibits,” the opinion added.

    The court listed many more issues with the exhibits, including that “the Bar not only failed to cite to or argue about any additional documents — the documents are not mentioned at all.”

    Regarding whether Powell knew whether one of her exhibits had a date on it, the court said that “there is no competent summary judgment evidence that Powell had actual knowledge that the pleading included false information.” The opinion went on, “Although the Bar characterizes Exhibit F as ‘doctored,’ and ‘altered,’ there is no competent summary judgment evidence to establish the accuracy of these characterizations or to demonstrate that Powell knowingly made a false statement about the exhibits.”

    The Texas Bar accused Powell of ethics rules typically used against conservative attorneys. One was Disciplinary Rule 8.4(c), “A lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.” The court acknowledged that “the rules do not define ‘dishonesty,’ ‘deceit,’ or ‘misrepresentation.’”

    The justices refused to follow the Texas Bar’s expansive rule interpretation.

    “We are troubled by the Bar’s implicit suggestion that application of the ordinary meaning of the term dishonesty means the DR encompasses imprecise pleadings and carelessly filed exhibits,” they said. “Regardless of whether the challenged conduct must be knowing, intentional, or otherwise, a question we need not resolve here, it is axiomatic that dishonesty involves some conscious perversion of truth.” They went on, “As common sense dictates, and the case law illustrates, dishonesty involves something more than carelessness or inadvertent conduct.”

    Powell was one of 19 defendants, along with Trump, in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s RICO prosecution related to the 2020 election. She pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts related to election interference, which will be eliminated from her record completely after she serves six years of probation. Dominion and Smartmatic have pending defamation lawsuits against her.

    Fox News settled a defamation lawsuit from Dominion for $787.5 million. Dominion asserted that several people made defamatory statements on air about the company and election fraud, including Rudy Giuliani, Powell and Lou Dobbs.

    In Judge Eric M. Davis’s ruling on the parties’ motions for summary judgment, he indicated that he would instruct the jury that they must consider those statements false. “The evidence developed in this civil proceeding,” he said, “demonstrates that it “is CRYSTAL clear that none of the statements relating to Dominion about the 2020 election are true.”

    The Texas Bar has also targeted other conservative attorneys, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The Texas Bar issued sanctions against him over his efforts to challenge irregularities in the 2020 election, which he appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Top Takeaways from Tuesday’s Primaries in South Carolina, Nevada, and More

    Citizen Frank



    Congressional primaries in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina are once again proving how hard it is to unseat incumbent lawmakers.

    Reps. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Susie Lee (D-NV) all beat back competitors in their party primaries.

    Former President Donald Trump proved his hold over the Republican Party once again, even though he wasn’t on the primary ballots on Tuesday night, after most of his endorsed candidates saw success in several races.

    One of the Trump-backed candidates who saw success was Sam Brown, whom Republicans selected to compete against vulnerable Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in one of the most closely watched races this election cycle.

    Here are the top takeaways from Tuesday’s primaries.

    Nancy Mace survives McCarthy-backed primary challenger

    Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) overcame a GOP primary challenge from Catherine Templeton, who was backed by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

    Mace was among the eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy from the speakership last year. McCarthy’s revenge campaign against Mace failed on Tuesday night, as the Republican lawmaker had the crucial backing of Trump.

    The Associated Press called the race for Mace nearly two hours after polls closed at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Mace bested Templeton, 56.8% to 29.8%, with 70% of the votes counted.

    Mace’s victory also comes despite longtime Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) backing Templeton. Democrat Michael Moore won the primary to take on Mace, but the Palmetto State’s congressional map has made it more likely that Mace will cruise to victory in November.

    It’s official: Sam Brown to take on Sen. Jacky Rosen

    Nevada Republican and Army veteran Sam Brown won the GOP primary and is now gearing up for a general election matchup against Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) in one of the most crucial races that will determine control of the Senate.

    The Associated Press called the race for Brown more than one hour after polls closed. Brown won nearly 57%, with 58% of the votes counted.

    His closest competitor was Jeffrey Gunter, a former Trump ambassador to Iceland who pulled in nearly 17% of support.

    Trump made a late endorsement in the primary for Brown in a major snub of Gunter. Brown was also backed by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Steve Daines (R-MT).

    Republicans chose challengers to take on incumbent Democrats

    Maine state Rep. Austin Theriault won the GOP primary to take on Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) for the 2nd District.

    Theriault defeated Republican Michael Soboleski in the primary, 66.4% to 33.6%, with 73% of the votes counted, according to the Associated Press.

    Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) supported Theriault in the primary as the GOP hopes to flip Golden’s seat in November, helping maintain its control of the House.

    But Golden remains formidable. He defeated then-Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2018 and won reelection in 2020 despite Trump winning the district in 2016 and 2020.

    In Nevada, results from the Republican primary to decide who will run against incumbent Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV) in the general election race for the 3rd District had not been called as of midnight Wednesday morning. Tax analyst Drew Johnson led the field at 31.1%, with 74% of the votes counted.

    The district is another closely watched contest that will help determine control of the House.

    Ohio voters decide on Bill Johnson’s replacement

    Republican state Sen. Michael Rulli will finish former Republican Rep. Bill Johnson’s term for this Congress after winning the special election on Tuesday night.

    The Associated Press called the race at 9:02 p.m., with Rulli winning 52.7% of the votes counted at the time the race was decided.

    Rulli’s win gives Mike Johnson an extra boost to his already slim control of the House. Democrat Michael Kripchak will face off against Rulli in November for the seat’s full term.

    Kelly Armstrong wins primary to succeed Doug Burgum

    Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), the lone House member in North Dakota, won the GOP primary to succeed outgoing Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND).

    The victory all but ensures Armstrong will be the next governor in North Dakota, a state Trump won by nearly 34 percentage points in 2020.

    The Associated Press called the race for Armstrong, who had the backing of Trump, at 9:21 p.m. Eastern time at nearly 73%, with 89% of the votes counted. Lt. Gov. Tammy Miller, who was backed by Burgum, won 27.1%.

    The battle to replace Armstrong is set

    North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak and Democrat Trygve Hammer won their respective primaries to replace Armstrong in North Dakota’s 1st District.

    Fedorchak won 46.2% of the vote, with 91% of the ballots counted, defeating four other Republican candidates.

    Hammer defeated Roland Riemers in the Democratic primary, winning 74%, with 91% of the votes counted. The 1st District is a solidly Republican seat, meaning Fedorchak will likely become North Dakota’s sole member of the House after the November election.

    Trump has mostly good night on endorsements

    The former president’s endorsement power proved to have the Midas touch as most of his endorsed candidates, including Mace, Theriault, and Brown, survived primary competitors.

    Meanwhile, in the Palmetto State’s 4th District, Trump-backed Rep. William Timmons won, with the Associated Press calling the race at 11:55 p.m. at 51.6%, with 99% of the votes counted. The race took more than five hours to call after polls closed at 7 p.m.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    NBA Legend Jerry West Dies at 86

    Citizen Frank



    Jerry West, the basketball legend whose silhouette still serves as the NBA’s logo, has passed away at 86. The Los Angeles Clippers revealed the news Wednesday, stating that West’s wife Karen was by his side.

    Known as ‘Zeke from Cabin Creek,’ the West Virginia native teamed with Elgin Baylor to turn the Los Angeles Lakers into a perennial contender in the 1960s, which unfortunately coincided with Bill Russell’s dominance with the rival Boston Celtics. Upon Russell’s retirement in 1969, West and Wilt Chamberlain led the Lakers to the 1972 NBA title, albeit without the retired Baylor.

    Chamberlain and Baylor died in 1999 and 2021, respectively. West, meanwhile, went on to have a remarkable front-office career, winning eight NBA crowns and two Executive of the Year awards. He was still serving in an executive role with the Clippers at the time of his death.

    News of West’s passing sparked an immediate outpouring of grief from fellow basketball legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

    ‘I am so deeply saddened at the news of Jerry’s passing,’ Jordan wrote in a statement provided to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith. ‘He was truly a friend and a mentor. Like an older brother to me. … Rest in Peace, Logo.’

    ‘Will truly miss our convos my dear friend!’ James wrote on X. ‘My thoughts and prayers goes out to your wonderful family! Forever love Jerry! Rest in Paradise my guy!

    In their statement, the Clippers described West as ‘the personification of basketball excellence and a friend to all who knew him.’

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued his own statement on Wednesday.

    ‘Jerry West was a basketball genius and a defining figure in our league for more than 60 years,’ Silver wrote. ‘He distinguished himself not only as an NBA champion and an All-Star in all 14 of his playing seasons, but also as a consummate competitor who embraced the biggest moments. He was the league’s first Finals MVP and made rising to the occasion his signature quality, earning him the nickname ”Mr. Clutch.”

    ‘I valued my friendship with Jerry and the knowledge he shared with me over many years about basketball and life,’ Silver continued. ‘On behalf of the NBA, we send our deepest condolences to Jerry’s wife, Karen, his family and his many friends in the NBA community.’

    West’s on-court success often came at a price. As he admitted years later, the 6-foot-3 guard typically battled depression in the offseason, much of which was tied to his six NBA Finals defeats to the hated Celtics.

    ‘I would go to bed feeling like I didn’t even want to live,’ West told HBO. ‘I’ve been so low sometimes and when everyone else would be so high because I didn’t like myself.’

    In his autobiography, ‘West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life,’ the West Virginia University legend wrote that he went unloved as a child and was often the focus of his abusive father’s rage.

    A mostly private figure, West had been with Karen since 1978 and they had two sons, Ryan and Jonnie, the later of whom played basketball at his father’s alma mater and later married golfer Michelle Wie.

    Previously West was married to his college sweetheart, with whom he had three sons: David, Mark and Michael.

    To many, West is known simply as ‘The Logo.’

    Legend has it that the current NBA shield was created by Alan Siegel in 1969 by incorporating West’s silhouette from a photo taken by Wen Roberts.

    The logo was modeled after Major League Baseball’s, which was a silhouette of a player that many erroneously believe to be Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew. (The image is supposedly a composite of several players in the late 1960s).

    The West logo debuted in 1971, and although the NBA has never confirmed that it is, indeed, him, there have been no denials either.

    ‘It sure looks a lot like him,’ a coy Silver said in 2021.

    The second-overall pick in the 1960 draft and a gold medalist at the 1960 Rome Games, West was named to 14 All-Star teams during his career, while averaging 27 points a game. He won the NBA’s scoring title in 1970, led the league in assists in 1972, and has since had his No. 44 retired by the Lakers.

    West went on to have an unsuccessful three-year run as Lakers head coach before taking up a scouting role and then becoming the team’s general manager during the famed ‘Showtime’ era.

    In the 80s and early 90s, West was credited with acquiring Lakers stars such as James Worthy, Byron Scott, AC Green, Vlade Divac, Nick Van Exel, and Derek Fisher.

    Later, West built the Lakers team that won three NBA titles between 2000 and 2002 with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and coach Phil Jackson.

    West famously acquired Bryant at the 1996 NBA Draft by trading Divac to the Charlotte Hornets for the rights to the 17-year-old phenom. Bryant rewarded West by winning the NBA’ Sixth Man of the Year award as a rookie, and ultimately becoming an 18-time All-Star.

    West later described himself as Bryant’s surrogate father due to their close bond.

    He left the Lakers to become general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002 before a brief retirement five years later. West ultimately earned his seventh and eighth titles as an executive with Golden State in 2015 and 2017, albeit in a secondary role.

    He also joined the board of the Clippers in 2017, helping to successfully recruit two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard as a free agent in 2020.

    West was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump in 2019.

    ‘You know, it never ceases to amaze me the places you can go in this world chasing a bouncing ball,’ West told reporters at the time. ‘My chase began in Chelyan, West Virginia, where I strung a wire basket with no net to the side of a bridge. If your shot didn’t go in, the ball rolled down a long bank and you would be chasing it forever. So, you better make it.

    ‘I was a dreamer. My family didn’t have much, but we had a clear view of the Appalachian Mountains, and I’d sit alone on our front porch and wonder, ”If I ever make it to the top of that mountain, what will I see on the other side?”

    ‘Well, I did make it to the other side, and my dreams have come true. I’ve been able to see the sides, thanks to that bouncing ball.’

    Many younger generations of players became familiar with West during Summer League play, where he would often evaluate the NBA’s young talent.

    ‘The game transcends many things,’ West told The Associated Press while attending Summer League last year. ‘The players change, the style of play may change, but the respect that you learn in this game never changes.’

    Tributes have been flooding social media since the tragedy was announced.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers called West ‘an indelible figure on the Los Angeles sports landscape for more than 60 years,’ and the NBA will do a tribute before Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

    ‘Jerry West is one of my favorite people that I had the honor to get to know in the NBA,’ Miami Heat managing general partner Micky Arison said Wednesday. ‘He welcomed me to the league, offered advice from the first day, and asked nothing in return. He will be missed.’

    Go deeper ( 5 min. read ) ➝


    Meet Haiti’s New Boss

    Citizen Frank



    Haiti formed a new government in the wake of mass resignations from the government of the former Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, and three years after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

    The political shift is a hopeful step for the struggling Caribbean as it continues to endure a large scale invasion from organized gangs, which now control large parts of the island, including its capital city of Port-Au-Prince.

    The new government replaces all the ministers from Henry’s government, who relinquished power earlier this year amid the growing violence and fear that has rocked the small nation for several months.

    The new cabinet announced the changes two weeks after the island’s transitional government council appointed Garry Conille as interim prime minister.

    He will now assume the role of interior minister, according to a decree, published in the country’s official gazette.

    As part of Conille and the transitional council’s role, they appointed new ministers and other officials to all of the central cabinet positions, according to Kettia Marcellus, a government spokeswoman.

    Conille’s lawyer, Carlos Hercules, is assuming the role of minister for justice and public security and Ketleen Florestal will preside over the finance ministry.

    Dominique Dupuy, who has been serving as Haiti’s ambassador to UNESCO will be serve as the nation’s new foreign affairs minister.

    The shift finally comes after a breaking point in the country in which former Prime Minister Ariel Henry could not even return to his home country because gangs had invaded the main airport in Port-au-Prince and he was denied entry in the Dominican Republic.

    The former prime minister was instead forced to land in Puerto Rico, when returning from a diplomacy mission in Kenya where he signed an agreement to recruit 1,000 police officers to help restore order in his homeland.

    The new government, along with the reopening of the country’s international airport, will hopefully create some hope for Haitians as they continue to try and take control back and quell continuing violence.

    “While some Haitians will be encouraged by these first steps towards normalcy, especially after the recent re-opening of the country’s international airport, others remain deeply worried about the scale of the task in front of the new cabinet,” the BBC wrote in a June 11 report.

    “Gangs still control most of the capital, Port-au-Prince, and gang leaders refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the interim council or any of the transitional leadership,” the wire service said.

    Gangs currently control about 80% of the nation’s capital city, according to a June 11 report published by The Associated Press.

    The new political shift is the latest move as Haiti continues try and reach a point of stability.

    Both the United Nations and Kenyan government have repeatedly offered assurances to former Prime Minister Ariel Henry and news outlets it would send security forces, but the island is still anxiously awaiting for its arrival.

    Gangs capitalized on the power vacuum left by the prime minister’s exit and expanded their control over swathes of the country, which has effectively become lawless in places.

    During Henry’s visit to the African country, President William Ruto assured the former Haitian prime minister, he would be able to deploy the force to the Caribbean island to help restore peace and security.

    An estimated 1,500 people have reportedly been killed and 800 injured in the first three months of 2024, and the island’s circumstances were called “cataclysmic” in a May 31, 2024 United Nations report (Report No. 25).

    That report noted the following highlights about the growing crisis on the island:

    • The World Food Program (WFP) has noted a significant 27% increase in the cost of the food basket between January and May 2024.

    • A cargo flight carrying almost 15 tons of medicines and other products vital to the humanitarian response landed in Port-au-Prince on 30 May.

    • Since 1 March, almost 13 million liters of water have been distributed by U.N. agencies and their partners, both local and governmental, to sites hosting internally displaced people in Port-au-Prince.

    • From 25 to 31 May, the WFP distributed 88,350 hot meals to more than 18,000 displaced people in 19 sites in Port-au-Prince, and 4,623 hot meals to 2,312 returnees from the Dominican Republic.

    • From 22 to 29 May, more than 4,400 IDPs benefited from awareness-raising sessions on child protection, gender-based violence (GBV) and protection against sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA).

    The U.N. revealed what it described as gang-driven “harrowing practices,” which have reportedly engaged in brutal violence and sexual assault against innocent civilians.

    The violence has also created complications for groups struggling to get aid, food and water to Haitian civilians who are trapped inside Port-au-Prince, igniting a potential starvation crisis.

    Haiti has had no elected president or sitting parliament since the presidential assassination of Jovenel Moïse in 2021.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    Senate Dem Launches Sweeping Probe Into Jared Kushner’s Investment Firm

    Citizen Frank



    Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden launched an investigation Wednesday of an investment firm run by Jared Kushner, saying the vast amount of foreign funding raises the risk that Middle Eastern states will curry favor with politically connected people who may return to power in Washington.

    Mr. Wyden, Oregon Democrat, alleged the structure of the payments to Affinity Partners, founded by Mr. Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump, shields them from public scrutiny and may be an end-run around the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    “It is deeply concerning that several Middle Eastern governments are using funds managed by Affinity as a means to pay tens of millions of dollars in fees every year to former President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, creating significant conflicts of interest and potential counterintelligence risks,” Mr. Wyden said.

    The Democrat launched the probe on the heels of President Biden’s son, Hunter, being convicted in Delaware of three federal gun crimes.

    Some Republicans say the trial obscured larger questions about Hunter Biden’s work to trade off his famous father’s name through businesses such as Seneca Global Advisors, which claimed to help companies expand into foreign markets. Hunter Biden’s foreign deals are also central to House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden, though the probe has largely stalled.

    House investigators say Hunter Biden and his partners used shell companies to obscure the foreign money, and the investments appeared to be an attempt to influence the elder Mr. Biden, who served as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

    Mr. Kushner’s firm, meanwhile, has made over $1 billion in investments in companies in Israel, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Europe. The firms range from car-leasing businesses to food companies in the Middle East to a $500 million hotel and condominium complex in Serbia.

    Mr. Kushner has said he follows the law and will make plenty of money for investors. He has also downplayed the idea he’s eager to return to the White House after serving as an adviser to President Trump.

    Democrats such as Mr. Wyden say the firm, which received 99% of its money from foreign sources, is fraught with potential conflicts of interest as Mr. Trump plots his return to the Oval Office.

    “This series of events creates an appearance that Affinity’s investors are motivated not by commercial interests of seeking a return on investment, but rather by strategic considerations of foreign nationals seeking to funnel money to U.S. individuals with personal connections to former President Trump,” Mr. Wyden wrote to Affinity Partners Chief Financial Officer Lauren Key.

    Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, had no comment on Mr. Wyden’s probe, according to his spokeswoman.

    Mr. Wyden requested an exhaustive list of information by June 26, including a list of Affinity employees and investors since 2021, communications with foreign entities and details on investment values, compensation and fees.

    The senator is particularly aiming at investments from Saudi Arabia.

    According to his letter, roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion worth of assets managed by Affinity Partners is from an investment made by the Saudi Public Investment Fund in June 2021, or shortly after Mr. Kushner left the White House.

    “As the founder and sole owner of Affinity, Kushner is the biggest beneficiary of the fees paid to Affinity by the Saudi PIF and other Gulf state clients,” the letter said.

    Mr. Wyden asserted that Mr. Kusher has little experience in private equity or hedge funds and took a soft approach to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the 2018 murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

    Mr. Kushner, speaking to a Miami summit hosted by Axios this year, said what happened to Khashoggi was “horrific” but defended his work with the crown prince.

    “Again, our job was to represent America and to try to push forward things in America,” Mr. Kushner said.

    Mr. Wyden’s letter said the Saudi PIF’s investment committee objected to Affinity Partners’ operations and lack of experience, only to be overruled by the crown prince and the PIF’s board of directors.

    Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has feuded with Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump, raised the issue during his short-lived 2024 GOP primary bid for president.

    “Why would you send Jared Kushner to the Middle East when you have Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo as secretaries of state?” Mr. Christie said during a town hall event. “We found out the answer six months after he left office — $2 billion from the Saudis.”

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    RESULTS: Primary Night in America

    Citizen Frank



    In one of the last primary election days before next month’s Republican National Convention in Milwaukee and Democrats’ August convention in Chicago, voters in a handful of states made their choice in state and congressional intraparty contests on Tuesday.

    This week, the primary path to November stopped in Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, and South Carolina. Plus, voters in Ohio turned out for a special congressional election.

    SOUTH CAROLINA — Polls close at 7:00 p.m. ET

    Sitting GOP U.S. Reps. Nancy Mace and William Timmons both face challenges in Tuesday’s primary elections, and there’s a crowded five-candidate Republican primary field in the Third Congressional District. South Carolina has a runoff trigger if any of the races end without a candidate gaining 50 percent of the vote.

    MAINE — Polls close at 8:00 p.m. ET

    There are Republican primaries in both of Maine’s two congressional districts, as well as uncontested races for U.S. Senate to choose the Republican and Democrat to challenge incumbent Senator Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

    NEVADA — Polls close at 10:00 p.m. ET

    Nevada Republicans will choose their preferred U.S. Senate candidate and four congressional candidates to represent the GOP in November’s general election.

    NORTH DAKOTA — Last polls close at 9:00 p.m. ET

    Republicans in North Dakota will choose their preferred candidate for governor after Doug Burgum decided not to run for a third term.

    Republicans will also vote in the primary for the state’s one at-large congressional district after current Rep. Kelly Armstrong opted to run for governor.

    OHIO — Polls Close at 7:30 p.m. ET

    A special election was held Tuesday for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District after now-former Rep. Bill Johnson resigned earlier this year to assume the presidency of Youngstown State University. Voters will choose between Republican state Senator Michael Rulli and Democrat Air Force veteran Michael Kripchak.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    8 Suspected Terrorists with Possible ISIS Ties Arrested in New York, L.A. and Philadelphia

    Citizen Frank



    Eight people from Tajikistan with suspected ties to the Islamic State group have been arrested in the United States in recent days, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

    The arrests took place in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and the individuals, who entered the U.S. through the southern border, are being held on immigration violations, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

    The nature of their suspected connections to the IS was not immediately clear, but the individuals were being tracked by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, or JTTF.

    They were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which made the arrests while working with the JTTF, pending proceedings to remove them from the country.

    The individuals from Tajikistan entered the country last spring and passed through the U.S. government’s screening process without turning up information that would have identified them as potential terrorism-related concerns, said one of the people familiar with the matter.

    The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a statement confirming the immigration-related arrests of “several non-citizens” but did not detail specifics.

    The agencies noted that the U.S. has been in a “heightened threat environment.”

    FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the U.S. is facing accelerating threats from homegrown violent extremists as well as foreign terrorist organizations, particularly in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel.

    He said at one recent congressional hearing that officials were “concerned about the terrorism implications from potential targeting of vulnerabilities at the border.”

    The Biden administration in August said that it had detected and stopped a network attempting to smuggle people from Uzbekistan into the U.S. and that at least one member of the network had links to a foreign terrorist group.

    “The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security,” the agencies said.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Democratic Leaders Arrested on Charges of Election Fraud in Connecticut

    Citizen Frank



    Two Democratic city officials and two Democratic campaign workers from Bridgeport, Connecticut, have been arrested and charged with election fraud.

    Wanda Geter-Pataky, deputy head of the city’s Democratic Town Committee, city Councilman Alfredo Castillo, Nilsa Heredia, a campaigner for Mayer Joe Ganim, and Josephine Edmonds, a supporter for state Sen. Marilyn Moore, have been charged due to their misuse of absentee ballots during the 2019 mayoral primary race.

    In 2019, Ganim won his primary bid against Moore by 270 absentee votes. Moore prompted a trial challenging the election results.

    The five-week trial included testimony from voters who said Ganim campaign workers picked up their completed absentee ballots, which is a violation of state law. Through their testimonies, it was revealed that ballot applications were improperly distributed and mailed out with address corrections.

    Superior Court Judge Barry Stevens ruled there was not enough evidence to overturn the election results despite clear evidence that some level of fraud had occurred with the handling of absentee ballots. Five days after the trial, Ganim won his reelection bid for mayor in the general election.

    Following these allegations, the office of the secretary of state sent a letter of referral to the State Elections Enforcement Commission, which then opened up a civil investigation. The SEEC voted that there was evidence of criminal conduct and referred the case to the Division of Criminal Justice on June 7, 2023. The Statewide Prosecution Bureau within the office of the chief state’s attorney moved forward with the referral.

    Geter-Pataky is accused of failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application that she had filled out on behalf of a prospective voter and misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot when she reportedly told a citizen not to vote in person and that she would pick up the citizen’s absentee ballot.

    Heredia is also accused of misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot. She had instructed voters on which candidate to select on their absentee ballots, and had admitted to not submitting an absentee ballot distribution list to the city of Bridgeport clerk’s office.

    Castillo is accused of failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list, misrepresenting eligibility requirements for voting by absentee ballot, and failing to sign as an assister on an absentee ballot application in August 2019.

    Edmonds is accused of being present when four voters filled out their absentee ballots and took possession of them when she left their home. She is also accused of failing to maintain an absentee ballot distribution list and tampering.

    All four defendants have been released from custody with the expectation of returning to court on June 24.

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    Steve Bannon Files Emergency Request to Delay Reporting to Prison

    Citizen Frank



    Former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon has filed an emergency request to avoid reporting to prison on July 1 after he was sentenced in October 2022 because he defied a House Jan. 6 committee subpoena.

    The request was filed in a federal appeals court in Washington, D.C.

    In order to justify his continued release, Bannon’s attorney cited his intention “to vigorously pursue his remaining appeals” in the case.

    Bannon is seeking a decision on his request by June 18, a week from now and less than two weeks before he’s scheduled to start his four-month prison stint.

    Bannon has already appealed the ruling in his case, but it was denied. If his request is approved, he will continue to remain out of prison and delay his four-month sentence.

    The former White House adviser is one of a few associates of the former president, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Trump adviser Peter Navarro, to face criminal charges.

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    Israel Eliminates Senior Hezbollah Official; Highest Ranking Officer Neutralized Since Oct. 7

    Citizen Frank



    Reports are emerging that the IDF hit a significant Hezbollah target in Lebanon on Tuesday afternoon.

    According to the reports, an Israeli strike in Jouya, in southern Lebanon, killed at least four Hezbollah officials. At least one of the members was a high-ranking field officer.

    A Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike late on Tuesday on the southern Lebanon town of Joya was the most senior member of the group to be killed in eight months of hostilities with Israel, a security source told Reuters.

    Hezbollah identified the killed commander by his rank in a statement, naming him as Taleb Abdallah.

    While the IDF has not released a statement, anonymous sources say this was a big hit.

    The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the commander’s role in Hezbollah was as significant as that of Wissam Tawil, a senior Hezbollah commander killed in an Israeli strike in January.

    An unconfirmed report on X says that the IDF received intel about a secret meeting and decided to crash the party.

    This comes only days after the heroic rescue of four hostages, which is now being called Operation Arnon. In the aftermath, protests have erupted around the U.S. and international criticism has mounted. Did we actually think that Israel would be celebrated for one of the most daring, masterful rescue operations in history? They could cure cancer, and somehow, it would be turned against them.

    Chaos erupted in New York as protestors called for a “Day of Rage” in vengeance for the attack. Others actually organized a funeral procession for the fallen “martyrs” (or, as some like to call them, monsters). Protestors also congregated in front of the Nova Festival exhibit honoring those who were murdered.

    And what does the IDF do? It keeps on keeping on, unphased. They are here to show the enemies that they will not back down.

    The hostilities with the Iran-backed proxy have caused many Israelis to be displaced from their homes. Israel has been sending a clear message that they mean business. It is reported that 300 Hezbollah members have been taken out by Israeli forces since Oct. 7.

    Also on Tuesday, the IDF struck a “significant” compound in response to a downed drone.

    “Three Hezbollah members were killed by nine Israeli missile strikes that targeted a convoy of tankers and a building” in a village in Hermel District on the border with Syria, the Hezbollah source told AFP, adding that three people were also wounded.

    This strike is one of the deepest locations within Lebanon that Israel has hit.

    The hostilities between Israel and the terrorist group on their northern front have seemed to be getting closer and closer to all-out war. The only chance that there may be to prevent this would be strong and swift military action now. Regardless, what Israel has shown in the last eight months is that they are here to stay and ready to fight.

    “Whoever thinks that they can harm us and we will sit idly by is making a big mistake,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday.

    “We are prepared for a very strong action in the north.”

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