Iconic Fifth Avenue Tiffany&Co Building is Ravaged by Fire After $500m Refurbishment
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A fire torched through parts of the newly-refurbished Tiffany & Co. building on Manhattan’s iconic Fifth Avenue on Thursday morning.

Photos from the store, which is directly adjacent to Trump Tower, show crews of FDNY firefighters tackling the blaze which began as an underground street fire, according to a spokesman for the fire department.

The source is believed to be an electrical vault.

Employees were seen being taken to the hospital in ambulances. The fire occurred at around 9.38am – just as staff were preparing to open the store to customers.

Store floor staff and chefs from the sixth floor Blue Box Café were among those on the street watching the smoke billowing through windows.

The building was recently reopened following a lengthy and expensive refurbishment. Stars like Katy Perry, Hailey Bieber and Blake Lively attended its grand reopening in April.

The store is on a highly-prized corner of Manhattan shopping real estate – it shares the block with Trump Tower.

LVMH, the European luxury brand power house, bought Tiffany in 2021 for $16billion.

The renovations were estimated by some experts to have cost $500million.

Bernard Arnault, LVMH’s chairman and owner, would not confirm the figure earlier this year when interviewed about the opening.

He described renovating the entire building – first opened in 1940 – to make each floor different.

‘We got lost in the building. Here is a guy getting lost in his own shop. I said, “We have some work to do on this.”‘

Part of the renovation was the addition of The Blue Box Café on the sixth floor.

The first floor is occupied with an expansive showroom and store. There are ten floors total – half of which are open to the public.

In a statement, a Tiffany’s spokesperson said: ‘This morning prior to store opening hours, an electrical fire broke out in the basement on the periphery of the Tiffany Landmark on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

‘The fire has since been put out and we are working with the New York Fire Department to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our employees and clients.

‘The store is expected to open later today following inspection by the Fire Marshal.’

The flagship store opened in 1940 but was made famous around the world 21 years later in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Its iconic windows are where Audrey Hepburn, playing the penniless Holly Golightly, gazed at diamonds and pearls while nibbling croissants after a night on the town.

In January 2020, the store – pending the LVMH deal – closed for refurbishments that were due to only take a year.

The deal faltered during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic and renovations took longer than expected. It finally reopened in April.

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  • fedup says:

    American iconic store foreign owned.

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    Venezuela Is Preparing to Invade Oil-Rich Neighbor Guyana



    Venezuela’s president on Tuesday published a new map of the region showing two thirds of neighboring Guyana ‘reclaimed’ by Caracas and ordered the state-owned energy companies to ‘immediately’ begin exploration in the area, as fears rose that Nicolas Maduro could start a war.

    Venezuela has claimed Guyana’s Esequiba region for over 100 years – ever since the border of the present-day country was drawn up, in 1899. But on Sunday, with his own popularity falling in the face of a newly-unified opposition, Maduro organized a ‘referendum’ on whether to pursue Venezuela’s claim to the territory.

    Voters were asked if they agreed with creating a Venezuelan state in the Esequiba region, providing its population with Venezuelan citizenship, and ‘incorporating that state into the map of Venezuelan territory.’

    The Maduro-controlled Venezuelan National Electoral Council said voters chose ‘yes’ more than 95 percent of the time on each of five questions on the ballot, and on Tuesday Maduro published his new map.

    He has appointed a general, Alexis Rodríguez Cabello, as head of the region and on Tuesday dispatched him to the town of Tumeremo, a remote mining town in the jungle, 120 miles from the border.

    Esequiba, about the size of Florida, is rich in minerals and accounts for two thirds of the territory of Guyana – an English speaking nation, which gained its independence from Britain in 1966. Guyana is the only English-speaking country in South America.

    Venezuela protested an oil tender announced by Guyana in September, arguing that the offshore areas are subject to dispute and the companies awarded the fields will not have the rights to explore them.

    Guyana has denounced Sunday’s referendum as pretext to annex the land: in the days running up to it, the Venezuelan defense minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez, known for his ties to his counterparts in Russia and Iran, posted a video of Venezuela troops on parade, waving flags saying ‘Guyana Esequiba’, colored in the Venezuelan flag.

    President Irfaan Ali called the move by Maduro ‘reckless’ and said his country plans to alert both regional and world leaders of Maduro’s attempt to disrupt the peace in the hemisphere.

    ‘It is unfortunate that President Maduro would choose the road of defying an international court order. This speaks volumes about the way in which President Maduro prefers to operate and also points to the fact that he’s unconcerned about the peace and security of this region,’ he told The Miami Herald.

    ‘The order of the [U.N. court] made it very clear that Venezuela cannot act or take any action that would disrupt the status quo and the status quo is that Guyana exercises governance and control of Essequibo,’ he said.

    He added that he is seeking the support of the United Nations Security Council, the United States, the Caribbean Community, the Organization of American States and other countries to ensure Guyana’s territory is ‘not violated.’

    ‘We once again call on Venezuela to retract from this reckless, adventurous move and to allow international law and the ruling of the [U.N. court] to guide our action,’ Ali added.

    Guyana has appealed to the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ top court, which on Friday ordered Venezuela not to take any action to change the status quo until the panel can rule on the two countries’ competing claims. Any decision could take years.

    Meanwhile, Guyana is nervously eyeing its giant neighbor to the north.

    Venezuela’s military, backed by Russia, Iran and Cuba, massively outnumbers tiny Guyana’s: the Venezuelan military counts 123,000 active personnel versus only 3,400 for Guyana, according to an analysis in Brazil’s Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

    Guyana is also dwarfed by Venezuela in weaponry, with Venezuela having 514 armored vehicles compared to only six owned by Guyana.

    Such an attack would draw a strong international response, with the lead likely played by Brazil, which borders both Venezuela and Guyana and whose military is significantly larger and more professional than either country’s.

    At the end of November, Brazil’s defense ministry said it ‘has intensified defensive actions’ along its northern border.

    ‘The Ministry of Defense has been monitoring the situation. Defensive actions have been intensified in the northern border region of the country, promoting a greater military presence,’ it said in a statement.

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    Republicans Storm Out of Briefing as Congress Battles Over Israel and Ukraine Aid Package



    A classified briefing on the national security supplemental package went south on Tuesday due to a fight over the border, prompting GOP lawmakers to storm out of the meeting on Ukraine and Israel early.

    The Tuesday briefing, which featured Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. C.Q. Brown, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, was meant to focus on Democrats’ pitch for $111 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the southern border. But it hit a snag before it even got started when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was supposed to appear via teleconference, pulled out.

    About 40 minutes into the briefing, several Republicans left the classified session fuming. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) — a defense hawk and Ukraine aid supporter — complained to reporters that the administration was offering bland, repetitious answers on Ukraine and not answering Republican questions about the U.S.-Mexico border.

    “Many of us just walked out, we’ve had it, we’ve had it,” Fischer, a senior Senate Armed Services Committee member, told reporters. “When you have Deb Fischer walking out, you have a problem.”

    Senate Intelligence Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) conceded: “Feelings were running high.”

    Majority Leader Chuck Schumer argued that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “hijacked” the meeting by calling on Sen. James Lankford (Okla.), the lead GOP negotiator on border talks, to discuss the border.

    “I understand our Republican colleagues are under tremendous pressure with the vote we’re going to have,” Schumer told reporters.

    Schumer plans to hold an initial vote Wednesday on the supplemental, which Republicans are widely expected to block.

    “They’re in a box. They don’t know what to do,” Schumer said. “Hopefully they’ll come to a conclusion that the best thing to do is for them to offer an amendment and try to get 11 Democratic votes, get 60.”

    “We’ll see how it works out,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who chairs the Appropriations panel on defense. “I mean, hopefully, everybody will come together because the aid, particularly for Ukraine, is very, very time-sensitive. And if we screw up on this, there’ll be people’s lives at stake in Europe, I think, within a year or so.”

    Fischer made clear Republicans would be galvanized around their border demands no matter what arguments the administration presented on Ukraine and Israel.

    “When the border was brought up … there was spirited discussion, and I don’t think Democrats realized there will be no movement on a supplemental unless we have policy changes on the border, our own border,” Fischer said.

    “We don’t know who’s coming into this country, and we’re supposed to tell Americans that the United States can’t balance being a leader in the world … and yet we’re not able to protect our own country at the southern border?” she said. “That is baloney.”

    Added Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), the second-highest Republican in the chamber: “They didn’t have answers to some of the questions our members had, specifically about the broad national security crisis we face including at the border. They didn’t want to respond to that.”

    Even some of the most ardent GOP backers of additional aid to Ukraine left the briefing upset.

    “Their clear lack of preparedness to discuss and clear apprehension to utter a word as it pertains to border security policy was not just an oversight,” said Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a defense hawk. “It was intentional.”

    Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) called the briefing “ridiculous,” “unserious” and offering no new information to senators.

    “Chuck Schumer is doing everything he can to flush this whole thing down the drain,” he said. “Keeping the southern border wide open is so important to him he’s willing to kill the supplemental to do it. And that’s exactly what he’s gonna do.”

    McConnell didn’t respond to reporters’ questions following the briefing. It came mere hours after Schumer made his offer of a border security amendment to the supplemental package during a weekly press availability — albeit to a cool immediate reaction from Republicans.

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    Key Takeaways from Trump’s Town Hall with Sean Hannity



    Former President Trump participated in a town hall hosted by Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Tuesday, a night before the fourth Republican primary debate that the GOP frontrunner is once again skipping.

    The former president was asked questions by only Hannity of a variety of topics, from reports that cast his second term as a dictatorship, President Biden’s age and health and Trump’s stances on foreign policy and energy issues before a friendly crowd that largely cheered Trump on when he took the stage.

    The event comes just weeks ahead of the Iowa caucus on Jan. 15, 2024, the first in the nation caucuses in the primary calendar and in a state Trump is leading his main GOP rivals by double-digits, according to recent surveys.

    Here are five takeaways from Trump’s town hall with Hannity.

    Trump answers ‘dictator’ question

    In one of Hannity’s early questions of Trump, he asked the former president about media reports from over the weekend that cast a potential second-term as a dictatorship, something Trump’s allies later fired back on.

    “They want to call you a dictator,” Hannity said referring to the media reports. “To be clear, do you in any way have any plans whatsoever, if reelected president, to abuse power, to break the law, to use the government to go after people?”

    “You mean like they’re using right now,” Trump initially responded, before pivoting to speaking about the criminal indictments he faces.

    Hannity again revisited the question just before a commercial break, asking: “[U]nder no circumstances. You are promising America tonight. You would never abuse power as retribution against anybody?”

    “Except for day one,” Trump responded.

    “Except, what? Hannity asked, before Trump said “He’s going crazy. Except for day one.”

    “Meaning?” Hannity asked.

    “I want to close the border and I want to drill, drill, drill,” Trump responded.

    “That’s not retribution,” Hannity said.

    “I love this guy, he says, ‘you’re not going to be a dictator are you?’ I said no, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator,” Trump said to the Fox News host.

    The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and President Biden’s reelection campaign quickly seized on the comments, with the campaign sharing a video of the remarks and the DNC sharing the video with the caption “And there you have it.” The Biden campaign also blasted out an email to its supports right after the town hall wrapped with the subject line: “Donald Trump: Day One Dictator.”

    Trump swipes at Biden’s ‘cognitive state’

    Trump bashed Biden after being asked about the current president’s “cognitive state” amid concerns about the president’s age and health as he runs for reelection for another four years.

    Trump initially responded that it’s “not for me to say,” but went on to suggest that Biden “doesn’t know he’s alive” and contended he doesn’t think the president can “physically” make it through another term.

    “Nuclear weapons are the biggest problem we have. And we have a man that can’t put two sentences together. We have a man that doesn’t know he’s alive. And he’s backed up by the media,” the former president added.

    At 81, Biden is the oldest sitting president in the country’s history, and would be 86 at the end of a second term — which has prompted concerns about his health and whether he’s too old for reelection.

    Hannity noted Biden criticism from some Democrats — including from former President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod, who recently suggested Biden drop out of the 2024 race — and asked Trump whether he thinks the incumbent will be the Democrats’ nominee in 2024.

    “I personally don’t think he makes it. I haven’t said that, I’ve been saving it for this big town hall,” Trump said, adding that he thinks Biden is in “bad shape physically” and joking that if he blew on Biden, the president would fall over.

    “I personally don’t think he makes it physically,” Trump said. “Mentally, I would say he’s equally as bad and maybe worse.”

    Trump slams indictments

    The former president likened himself to infamous gangster Al Capone in talking about the slew of criminal indictments he faces both on the federal and state levels involving the potential mishandling of classified documents and election interference.

    “I’ve often said, Al Capone, he was one of the greatest of all time, if you like criminals. He was a mob boss, the likes of which — Scarface, they call him. And he got indicted once. I got indicted four times,” Trump said to laughter from the crowd. “I wonder what my father and mother would say looking down.”

    Trump has previously said he’s been indicted more than Capone, including in a speech last month in Iowa. The former president has criminal indictments in four separate cases, making him the first former or current president to ever be indicted for an alleged crime.

    He has pleaded not guilty to all 91 charges he faces. His legal troubles have so far only widened his massive lead in the Republican primary ahead of his opponents.

    The indictments involve the potential mishandling of classified documents, some of which were taken as part of an FBI search of his Florida estate in Mar-a-Lago, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia, a federal case over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and falsifying business records in a hush money case in New York.

    Energy, foreign policy at forefront

    Energy and foreign policy were at the forefront as Trump talked about his priorities and actions he’d take during a second term in the Oval Office.

    Responding to Hannity’s questions about whether he’d act as a “dictator” or “abuse power as retribution” during another presidential term, Trump said he’d do so only on day one — to close the border and to drill for oil.

    “We will close the border. Day one: the border gets closed. Day one and a half: we drill,” Trump said. “And probably on day two we will get rid of this ridiculous electric car mandate.”

    On energy, he also claimed that U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is laughed at by people “all over the world” as he pushes to get rid of coal plants.

    Kerry said this week that “there shouldn’t be any more coal power plants permitted anywhere in the world,” sounding alarms about the connections between the climate crisis and health problems.

    “Our country can be rich again. John Kerry has to be stopped. He is destroying our country, this guy,” Trump told Hannity. “He goes all over the world talking to these people about getting rid of coal plants. They all laugh at him.”

    And on foreign policy, Trump stressed concerns about the southern border and touted the travel ban that went into effect during his administration, targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

    “Remember, I had the travel ban. I said ‘I don’t want people coming from countries that want to blow us up.’ And we put a travel ban and some people thought I was discriminating, but think about it. I went four years with no problem,” Trump said.

    “We didn’t have buildings being knocked down. We didn’t have World Trade Centers,” he added, in apparent reference to the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City.

    ‘Blitzing’ Iowa

    Trump expressed confidence going into the Iowa caucus next month, saying he had two big victories there the last two times he ran in 2016 and 2020 and expects to win by even more in 2024.

    He also said he plans to spend the weeks leading up to the caucus “blitzing” Iowa.

    “I love you very much. You’ve been so incredible to me. I’m gonna be around for the next, you know, five weeks now. And we’ll be coming here a little bit and then the last couple of weeks we’ll be blitzing because we don’t want to take—we’re up I guess by like 30 or 40 points, but we’re not taking any chances. We don’t want to take any chances,” Trump said.

    Polls have consistently shown Trump leading his rivals by more than 20 percentage points in Iowa and his lead in national polls is even greater.

    The former president also touted that he fought to keep Iowa caucuses first in the nation after the Democrats opted to put South Carolina first in 2024, in a move pushed by Biden.

    “Iowa represents this country more than any place and it also represents tradition. When you think of Iowa you think of farms and politics. And we’re going to keep it that way, okay?” Trump said as part of his final remarks.

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    Biden Says He Might Not Be Running if Trump Weren’t in Race



    President Biden said Tuesday that he might have retired after a single term of office if former President Donald Trump wasn’t running in next year’s election.

    “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” the 81-year-old president told a group of Democratic donors in Boston. “But we cannot let him win.”

    The remark at a fundraiser was a stunning self-assessment of the implications of Biden’s age.

    Biden already is the oldest-ever president and would be 86 if he completes a full second term in January 2029.

    Critics routinely highlight instances in which Biden appears confused or shares false memories — and several polls this year found that about two-thirds of voters are concerned about Biden’s mental acuity.

    Trump, 77, is the heavy favorite for the Republican nomination and polls show him beating Biden due in large part to economic pessimism linked to high inflation and interest rates.

    The RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls shows Trump with 46.7% support and Biden at 44.7%.

    Swing-state polling released last month by the New York Times found Trump also is ahead in battlegrounds including Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

    Although Trump has an edge, he’s due to stand trial in four criminal cases during the coming months, which is expected to impact the campaign.

    Trump’s first trial is scheduled to begin in March in Washington on federal charges of trying to reverse his 2020 election results. Later that month, he’s due in Manhattan for trial on falsifying business records charges related to hush money payments during the 2016 campaign.

    Trump’s federal trial for allegedly mishandling national security documents is schedule to begin in May in Miami and his trial on state charges linked to challenging Georgia’s election results is tentatively set for August.

    Biden also faces variables — such as the possibility that the House of Representatives will impeach him for alleged corruption linked to his son Hunter Biden and brother James Biden’s dealings in countries such as China and Ukraine.

    A successful impeachment vote would put a rare blemish on Biden’s record and make him the fourth president in US history to get the admonishment, joining Trump, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson.

    Biden almost certainly would be acquitted by the Democrat-held Senate, but his trial in the upper chamber would feature a public airing of evidence that could harm his standing.

    A poll released in October by The Associated Press found that a resounding 68% of the public already believes that Biden acted illegally or unethically with regard to his son’s businesses, including 40% of Democrats.

    Hunter Biden, 53, also faces a trial on federal gun charges in Delaware and a Los Angeles grand jury is considering possible federal tax charges that could implicate his father, especially if the first son is indicted for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act as a result of introducing colleagues to his dad and other Obama-Biden administration figures.

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    Patrick McHenry, Ex-Speaker Pro Tempore, to Retire at End of Term



    Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the chair of the Financial Services Committee who memorably served as the Speaker pro tempore after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was unseated, said Tuesday he will retire at the end of this Congress.

    The announcement puts a bookend on McHenry’s nearly two-decade tenure in Congress that this year put him at the center of attention during the McCarthy drama. McHenry was generally applauded by members on both sides of the aisle for how he handled that situation, and there was talk of whether he’d become Speaker.

    “I will be retiring from Congress at the end of my current term,” McHenry wrote in a statement. “This is not a decision I come to lightly, but I believe there is a season for everything and—for me—this season has come to an end.”

    McHenry’s announcement is a reversal from late October, when the North Carolina Republican said he would run for reelection in the state’s newly drawn 10th Congressional District. The area is a safe GOP stronghold — it broke for former President Trump by nearly 40 percentage points in 2020.

    McHenry, 48, did not say why he flipped on his plans, but he is currently serving his third — and what could have been his final — term as Financial Services Committee chairman. GOP conference rules only allow lawmakers to serve three conservative terms as top Republican on the committee. If vying for a third stretch as chair, lawmakers must receive a waiver for the top job.

    McHenry, who was first elected to the House in 2004, rose to the top of the chamber in October when he was named Speaker pro tempore immediately following the stunning — and historic — ouster of McCarthy.

    McHenry’s name was the first on a list of replacements McCarthy provided to the clerk’s office in case the Speakership suddenly became vacant. Submitting the list became a requirement of the Speaker after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack to ensure continuity of government.

    Lawmakers from both parties pushed to expand McHenry’s powers during his time in the job to allow the chamber to resume legislative business, a prospect that the North Carolina Republican dismissed. McHenry said he studied the power vested in a Speaker pro tempore and came to the conclusion that his only role was to preside over the election of a new Speaker.

    McHenry himself received some votes for Speaker during the marathon race.

    When Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) was finally sworn into the top job, three weeks after McCarthy’s ouster, McHenry received bipartisan applause in the chamber.

    Before the Speaker saga, McHenry played a key role in negotiations over the debt ceiling, which ended with a deal between President Biden and McCarthy to raise the borrowing limit. McHenry was a lead GOP negotiator, engaging with White House officials to avoid an economic default.

    “Past, present, and future, the House of Representatives is the center of our American republic. Through good and bad, during the highest of days and the lowest, and from proud to infamous times, the House is the venue for our nation’s disagreements bound up in our hopes for a better tomorrow,” McHenry said in his statement on Tuesday.

    McHenry is the latest in a string of lawmakers who have decided to leave Congress at the end of next year. The North Carolina Republican, however, cautioned against drawing conclusions about the fate of Congress based on that growing list.

    “There has been a great deal of handwringing and ink spilled about the future of this institution because some—like me—have decided to leave. Those concerns are exaggerated,” McHenry said. “I’ve seen a lot of change over twenty years. I truly feel this institution is on the verge of the next great turn. Whether its 1974, 1994, or 2010, we’ve seen the House evolve over time.”

    “Evolutions are often lumpy and disjointed but at each stage, new leaders emerge,” he continued. “There are many smart and capable members who remain, and others are on their way. I’m confident the House is in good hands.”

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    WATCH: Sparks Fly Between Riley Gaines and Dem Rep During Hearing on Biden Proposal to Rewrite Title IX



    Representatives and witnesses highlighted concerns for girls and women during a contentious hearing on Tuesday challenging the Biden administration’s proposed changes to Title IX, which would effectively broaden the definition of sex to include “gender identity.”

    The proposed changes would rewrite Title IX in such a way that policies banning biological males who identify as trans from competing with or against females would now be in violation of law. Issuing such sex distinctions to protect girls sports, therefore, could strip a school of its funding. The rule would be applied to public K-12 schools, colleges, universities, and other institutions that receive federal funding.

    The hearing opened with a rather fiery interaction between former NCAA swimmer-turned-advocate Riley Gaines and Democratic Rep. Summer Lee (PA), who preemptively suggested Gaines and other witnesses’ testimonies would be “transphobic” and filled with “hateful misinformation.”

    “And Ranking Member Lee, if my testimony makes me transphobic, then I believe you’re opening monologue makes you a misogynist,” Gaines said in closing her opening statement.

    Lee interrupted the next witness to ask to have Gaines’ words taken down. Gaines chimed in, “Can I just ask, how it’s fair to be called transphobic —” before Lee interjected, “I never called you anything.”

    Lee was ultimately unsuccessful in her effort, as the point of order was withdrawn.

    Gaines and other witnesses argued that refusing to separate sports by sex harms women and girls; they cited studies showing the physical differences between males and females post-puberty, even after hormone treatments; argued that women and girls are losing out on scholarships and other opportunities; discussed the invasion of girls’ privacy in places like locker rooms; and noted female athletes who’ve been physically harmed by biologically male opponents.

    “Not only do women have to worry about losing out on opportunities and being exploited in locker rooms, allowing men into women’s sports also puts girls at greater risk of injury,” Gaines said.

    “In September of last year, North Carolina volleyball player Payton McNabb suffered serious injury after a trans-identified male player spiked a ball at her head, rendering her unconscious. Payton experienced extensive trauma to her head and neck and long-term concussion symptoms. Still to this day, a year and three-ish months later, she is still partially paralyzed on her right side, her vision is impaired, and she isn’t playing college sports, like she had dreamed of.”

    Sarah Parshall Perry of The Heritage Foundation, another witness at the hearing, argued that separating sports by sex comes down to common sense, adding that it’s also widely supported by the American people.

    “Ultimately, what keeps us here is our failure to identify biological distinctions between one sex and another,” Perry said. “We can use terms like ‘cis’ or ‘trans’ all we want, but men and women are different and the American public knows it, which is why 70% of the American populace wants sports separated by sex.”

    Perry also noted that nearly two dozen states have already passed legislation to protect girls and women’s sports; those states would face “significant financial harm” under the proposed Biden rule-change. She also predicted that if the Biden rule were to go through, it would “automatically be challenged in a federal court.”

    Supporters of the Biden rule-change spoke a lot about supposed “bigotry” and “transphobia” of those who disagree with them, as underscored by Lee’s opening remarks. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) even argued that supporting sex-separated sports is akin to supporting racism.

    Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, agreed with AOC that rules protecting women’s sports hurt black and brown people most. She also argued that the issue of women’s privacy in locker rooms could be addressed by “curtains” or “doors” during a heated exchange with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).

    “I actually think this is really, really important,” Graves said when pressed by MTG about Gaines having to share a locker room with a biological male during collegiate swimming. “The issue of privacy in locker rooms and in bathrooms – there’s a wide range of ways to address this. … You could put up a curtain, you could put up a door, you could have rotations.”

    Greene moved on to Gaines, who said those are not in swimming locker rooms and suggested that the onus should not be on women and girls.

    The hearing also made mention of DailyWire+ comedy “Lady Ballers,” which skewers radical gender ideology in women’s sports. Gaines said she was pleased that the movie “mocked the mockery” some on the Left have made of women and girls.

    “I encourage everyone to watch it,” she said. “Watching that movie … didn’t feel like satire. It felt like a documentary of what, again, myself and girls around the country continue to go through.”


    Notably, Daily Wire co-founder and “Lady Ballers” director and star Jeremy Boreing announced online that he sent a free screener of the film to those at the hearing.

    “Ahead of today’s Title IX hearing, every member of the committee received a free screener of #LadyBallers,” he wrote. “I thought they needed a reminder that men pretending to be women and brutally dominating women’s sports is something to be mocked, not an idea to be written into law.”

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    Washington Post Journalists Plan Strike



    Unionized journalists at The Washington Post said they would stage a 24-hour strike on Thursday to protest staff cuts and what they call management’s failure to bargain in good faith in contract talks that have stretched on for 18 months.

    The planned one-day walkout would mark the first general work stoppage at the Post since the bitter, 20-week pressmen’s strike of 1975-76, when Katharine Graham was publisher, according to union officials.

    The latest labor clash comes a little more than a month after William Lewis, former publisher of The Wall Street Journal, was named chief executive and publisher of the Post as the venerable Washington daily newspaper was projecting a year-end loss of $100 million. Lewis is due to take charge on Jan. 2, 2024.

    The Post is one of many news outlets struggling to devise a sustainable business model in the decades since the internet upended the economics of journalism and digital advertising rates plummeted.

    Executives at the Post, which is owned by billionaire founder Jeff Bezos, said at the time of the Lewis announcement that they were offering voluntary buyouts across the company in a bid to reduce employee headcount by about 10% and shrink the size of the newsroom to about 940 journalists.

    The Washington-Baltimore News Guild, which represents more than 1,000 editorial, advertising and other non-news staff at the Post, said mismanagement by the previous publisher led to nearly 40 layoffs last year – half from the newsroom – and the company was now seeking to cut another 240 jobs through buyouts.

    According to the union, management has threatened to impose more layoffs if too few staffers accept voluntary severance packages.

    “That means fewer Post employees making the critical journalism that keeps our communities informed and holds our public officials accountable,” the Guild said in an online statement.

    Moreover, after 18 months of contract negotiations, “the company is refusing to pay us what we’re worth or bargain in good faith,” the union said on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. “So on Dec. 7, we’re walking off the job for 24 hours.”

    A Guild-produced online video features numerous Post journalists, including chief Ukraine correspondent Siobhan O’Grady, pledging to strike and urging readers to “respect our picket line by avoiding Washington Post journalism” during the walkout.

    They assert the company’s wage proposals would fail to keep pace with inflation or with the pay of competitors.

    The minute-long video ends with the refrain, “because we’re worth more, worth more than our bosses are offering.”

    Of the 1,000-plus Post employees covered under the News Guild’s contract, more than 700 are dues-paying members of the union, while nearly 750 staffers have pledged to observe the walkout, Sarah Kaplan, chief guild steward at the newspaper, said on Tuesday.

    “The paper will suffer for a day, and that’s not something we take lightly,” she said, adding that the strike is intended to send the message that “cutting and disinvesting in employees is not a path to success.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Macy’s Security Guard Killed After Confronting Shoplifter in Philly



    A Macy’s security guard was killed and another wounded in a double-stabbing by a man who allegedly tried to steal multiple hats from the Philadelphia department store Monday morning, authorities said.

    The guard was fatally knifed about 15 minutes after unarmed security prevented the suspected killer from stealing the merchandise around 10:45 a.m., according to Philadelphia police.

    The suspect was allowed to leave following his attempted theft but returned to “immediately” attack one of the guards before redirecting his violent rage toward a second guard.

    “Runs directly to that security guard with a knife already exposed and begins to stab him,” Interim Police Commissioner John Stanford Jr. said.

    “There’s a scuffle with the second security guard trying to save the first guard that’s stabbed and that security guard sustained several stab wounds as well or slash wounds as well.”

    Both guards were rushed to Jefferson Hospital. A 30-year-old guard was stabbed in the neck and pronounced dead there. A 23-year-old guard was stabbed in the face and arm. He was recovering Monday night.

    The suspect fled but was later arrested at a Philadelphia subway station.

    “Just a tragic situation right here, few weeks before the holiday. These security officers are just doing their jobs,” Stanford said.

    It’s unclear what sparked the alleged stabber to attack the guards after he initially left the store.

    The stabbing comes as the City of Brotherly Love struggles with sustained crime, including rampant shoplifting.

    Macy’s has faced one of the highest rates of retail theft in City Center, police said. It’s located right across the street from City Hall.

    Year-to-date the store has reported more than 250 thefts, Stanford said.

    “It is an ongoing situation, an ongoing problem,” he said, stressing it’s a citywide issue that needs to be tackled.

    “What started as a retail theft has ended in a homicide here,” he added. “So again it’s still a very important crime that we have to continue to work toward making sure we see a little bit of a decrease in.”

    Macy’s said in a statement the store would be closed for now as store officials work with authorities probing the crime.

    “We are heartbroken about the tragedy that took place today at Macy’s Center City,” a company spokesperson said, adding. “Ensuring the safety and well-being of our customers and colleagues is always our top priority.”


    The attacker was identified as Tyrone Garcell Tunnell, 30.

    “According to court documents, Tunnell has been arrested more than a dozen times for retail theft, robbery and drug offenses across the region, including Philadelphia and Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties.,” WPVI reported.

    Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced charges against Tunnell on Tuesday. “Tunnell was charged with murder, attempted murder and other related charges for his role in the fatal stabbing,” CBS News reported.

    The victim was identified as Eric Harrison, 27.

    VIDEO (warning: graphic):

    More on this stabbing from WPVI:

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Liz Cheney Says She’s Considering a Third-Party Presidential Bid



    Former Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she is contemplating a third-party presidential run, warning of the dangers that would come from former President Donald Trump serving as president next year for a second term.

    Speaking to the Washington Post on Monday while promoting her new book, Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning, Cheney said she would not have thought about a third-party run several years ago but feels the former president’s presidential bid threatens democracy.

    “I happen to think democracy is at risk at home, obviously, as a result of Donald Trump’s continued grip on the Republican Party, and I think democracy is at risk internationally as well,” Cheney said.

    Cheney, once a rising star in the Republican Party before becoming one of Trump’s most outspoken GOP critics, said she would make a final decision within the next few months.

    “We face threats that could be existential to the United States, and we need a candidate who is going to be able to deal with and address and confront all of those challenges,” Cheney said. “That will all be part of my calculation as we go into the early months of 2024.”

    Cheney served as vice chairwoman of the House Jan. 6 committee and was one of 10 House Republicans who joined all Democrats in voting to impeach Trump for a second time following the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. She was ousted in the Wyoming primary last year by a Trump-backed challenger, now-Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-WY).

    She has not ruled out voting for President Joe Biden if he is the 2024 Democratic nominee, telling CBS on Sunday that a Republican congressional majority with Trump in the White House would pose a threat to democracy.

    Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, has been on a string of media appearances, further fueling speculation about a presidential bid.

    “I don’t even want to imagine a situation where he has won,” Cheney said on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show. “I think we have to do everything we can to stop him in terms of, again, the kind of things we have been working on, working in a nonpartisan fashion.”

    Cheney emphasized Republicans, Democrats, and independents need to “work together” and “vote together” to “make clear that Donald Trump is not an acceptable alternative.”

    “He is not the lesser of two evils,” Cheney said. “He is a completely unfit man for office. He’s already shown us what he would do, and he can never be near the Oval Office again.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    FBI Director: US Facing Highest Risk of Terror Attack in Years



    FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that the United States is facing the highest risk of a terrorist attack in years in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas atrocity in Israel.

    Wray warned the Senate Judiciary Committee that there are ‘blinking red lights everywhere’ when asked to assess the ‘threat matrix’ faced by the U.S.

    ‘The threat level has gone to a whole ‘other level since October 7,’ Wray said.

    His comments come at a time when U.S. forces are being subjected to a barrage of strikes in the Middle East and with Jewish and Muslim communities being targeted at home.

    There have been at least 74 attacks on U.S. bases and troops since October 17.

    The bureau is ‘moving quickly’ to stop threats against Jews and Muslims across the country, he insisted, and gave his dire analysis of the situation at the border.

    He said enough fentanyl flooded in from Mexico to kill every American and admitted he was ‘concerned’ migrant crossings are adding to the terrorist risks.

    Wray warned that ‘violent extremists’ in the U.S. and abroad could draw inspiration from the Hamas attack, and the FBI is ‘working around the clock’ to stop these potential attacks.

    He said: ‘What I would say that is unique about the environment that we’re in right now, in my career, is that, while there may have been times over the years where individual threats could have been higher here or there than where they may be right now, I’ve never seen a time where all the threats, or so many of the threats, are all elevated, all at exactly the same time.’

    Republican senator Lindsey Graham asked him: ‘So, blinking red lights analogy about 9/11 – all the lights were blinking red before 9/11 apparently.

    ‘Obviously, all of us missed it. Would you say there’s multiple blinking red lights out there?’

    Wray replied: ‘I see blinking red lights everywhere.’

    He said the U.S. was facing threats from a a ‘veritable rogues’ gallery of terrorists’.

    Wray used the hearing to make a fresh pitch for renewal of a key spy program and said it would be ‘devastating’ if it was allowed to lapse.

    Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is due to expire at the end of the year.

    It allows the U.S. government to collect, without a warrant, the communications of targeted foreigners outside America.

    The program was created in the aftermath of the September. 11, 2001 terror attacks, and will cease at the end of this month unless Congress votes to reauthorize it.

    However, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have balked at renewing it .

    Wray said: “702 allows us to stay a step ahead of foreign actors located outside the United States who pose a threat to national security.

    “And the expiration of our 702 authorities would be devastating to the FBI’s ability to protect Americans from those threats.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    IDF Begins to Flood Tunnel Network



    Israeli troops are plotting to flood Hamas’s tunnel network with seawater in a bid to flush out terrorists.

    At least five huge pumps have been set up close to the Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza as Israel looks to take down the terror group following the horror October 7 massacre.

    The pumps are capable of flooding the vast underground maze within weeks by pouring in thousands of cubic metres of water per hour from the Mediterranean Sea, reports The Wall Street Journal.

    It would also drive out or drown Hamas terrorists using the tunnels as a hideout as Israeli forces push ahead with their ground assault.

    US officials said Israel alerted American authorities about its plan last month – but a decision has not been made on whether to go ahead yet.

    It is not clear whether the IDF would consider using the pumps before all the hostages are released.

    Hamas has previously said it has hidden captives in “safe places and tunnels”.

    The terror group claims the sprawling underground labyrinth stretches some 500km (310 miles).

    Hidden up to 100ft below the surface, the entrances are enclosed under the floors of homes, mosques and schools – allowing fighters to move unseen between homes and alleyways within Gaza.

    It is used by the warped group to transport people and goods as well as store rocks and ammunition.

    The tunnels are understood to be connected to launch pits where rockets have been fired from towards Israeli areas.

    Hamas’ command and control centres are also housed in the intricate system away from Israel’s watch.

    And it’s understood the entire network is heavily laden with booby traps and homemade bombs.

    Each tunnel is reinforced with concrete and some are so narrow fighters are unable to stand up in them.

    Others, however, are much more spacious – allowing terrorists to run through them and transport weapons and contraband.

    They are extremely difficult to detect from the air and have long frustrated Israel’s military as despite being armed with top-of-the-range equipment, they have so far been unable to wipe them out.

    A US official said it made sense for Israel to render the tunnels inoperable and that the country was exploring a range of ways to do that.

    The IDF has not commented on the flooding plan, but an official told the WSJ: “The IDF is operating to dismantle Hamass terror capabilities in various ways, using different military and technological tools.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Senate Confirms 425 Military Nominees After Sen. Tuberville Drops His Hold



    The Senate confirmed more than 400 military nominees Tuesday afternoon after Sen. Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala., announced he would drop the bulk of his holds, ending a monthslong campaign.

    Tuberville told reporters earlier Tuesday that he had lifted his hold on all military promotions at three-star rank and below, amounting to over 425 promotions.

    “I’m releasing everybody. I still got a hold on, I think, 11 four-star generals. Everybody else is completely released from me.” Tuberville told reporters. “But other than that, it’s over.”

    Hours later, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the Senate floor to confirm all 425 of those nominees unanimously, saying members of the military and their families “can breathe a sigh of relief.”

    He then took aim at Tuberville for his 10-month hold, saying it risked national security while putting military families through a “pointless and gravely damaging ordeal.” Schumer went on to warn other senators against pursuing a similar tactic in the future.

    “Let this incident be a warning,” Schumer said, “No one — no one — should attempt this in the Senate again. The senior senator from Alabama has nothing to show for his 10 months of delay.”

    Tuberville had been holding up military nominations in protest of the Defense Department’s policy that allows service members to be reimbursed for travel costs related to getting abortions. The policy is still in place.

    Schumer said the Senate “will work to confirm the rest of the nominees” whom Tuberville is blocking “soon.” It’s not clear whether the Senate will process those one by one in the coming weeks or whether Democrats will push to do them as a group.

    Tuberville had signaled last week that he might drop some of his holds “very soon,” as pressure from members of both parties mounted. He didn’t specify at the time how many promotions he would let through but said he wanted to get as many people as possible through “in the next week or so” and wouldn’t decide based on “levels” of rankings.

    “I know these people, you know, need to be promoted,” he said last week.

    Earlier Tuesday, Tuberville announced a news conference about the holds for 1:40 p.m. ET and then canceled it with giving a reason.

    Tuberville drew criticism from members of his own party. A group of Republican senators tried multiple times on the Senate floor to confirm military nominees, but every time, Tuberville blocked them. Schumer thanked that group in his remarks Tuesday afternoon.

    GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley had also denounced Tuberville’s effort, saying in August that his blockade was having a detrimental effect on service members, as well as military readiness.

    Top military leaders, including Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, warned for months about the consequences of Tuberville’s hold, including the possibility of losing talent.

    Schumer said last week that he would bring to the floor a Democratic resolution to bypass Tuberville’s holds, but it wasn’t clear whether he’d have the votes to pass it.

    As frustrations with Tuberville built within his own party, Senate Republicans last week began to express optimism that he would come to a resolution on his blockade before members left for the new year.

    “I was involved in a lot of conversations over the weekend on this subject, and I think that I’m hopeful,” Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., told reporters Tuesday morning. “I’m hopeful that today, we’re going to — keep your fingers crossed, we’ll see, I hope we have a breakthrough, but time will tell.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Conor McGregor Hints at Ireland Presidential Bid



    Conor McGregor has hinted that he may be considering a run for the presidency in 2025, and has criticised his potential rivals for the office.

    The MMA fighter also suggested that he would privately fund weekly votes to ensure accountability, stating: “It would not be me in power as President, people of Ireland. It would be me and you.”

    In a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today, McGregor assessed the “potential competition” if he runs for election, referring to former Taoisigh Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, as well as former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.

    “Gerry, 78. Bertie. 75. Enda, 74,” he wrote. However, all three ages are incorrect, as Mr Adams is 75; and both Mr Ahern and Mr Kenny are both 72.

    “Each with unbreakable ties to their individual parties politics. Regardless of what the public outside their parties feel,” he continued.

    “These parties govern themselves vs govern the people.”

    He juxtaposed the three retired politicians with himself, aged 35: “Young, active, passionate, fresh skin in the game,” he said. “I listen. I support. I act. I have no affiliation/bia/favoritism toward any party.”

    In order to get their name on the ballot, candidates must first secure the nominations of 20 Oireachtas members or four local authorities.

    It is unknown whether McGregor would have sufficient support among TDs, senators or councillors to secure a nomination.

    In his post on social media earlier today, the Crumlin native said: “They would genuinely be held to account regarding the current sway of public feeling. I’d even put it all to vote.

    “There’d be votes every week to make sure,” he added. “I can fund. It would not be me in power as President, people of Ireland. It would be me and you.”

    It followed an earlier post on X in which he shared a photograph of himself in a white suit, holding what appears to be a glass of whiskey. It was accompanied by a caption, reading: “Ireland, your President.”

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    UPDATE: Suspect ID’d in Arlington House Explosion Believed to Be Dead



    The Arlington man suspected of triggering an explosion at his Virginia home after firing more than thirty flares was a paranoid conspiracy theorist who believed the U.S. government wanted to kill him.

    James Yoo is presumed dead after his property erupted into a fireball, police confirmed on Tuesday. Human remains were found within the charred property.

    His now-deleted LinkedIn account contained a string of bizarre ramblings, including a recent post from December 1 that claimed his neighbors were spies who wanted to carry out his assassination. He also called his ex-wife a ‘witch’ and posted a series of anti-America posts on social media.

    His Linkedin profile described him as the former Head of Information and Physical Security for an international telecommunication company.’

    Yoo’s name has now been officially released by Arlington County police, after public records linked the long-time Virginia resident to the address where the blast took place late on Monday night.

    Arlington County Police Chief Andy Penn said at a press conference on Tuesday: ‘Human remains have been located at the scene.

    ‘The office of the Chief Medical Examiner will work to positively identify the individual and cause and manner of death.’

    Yoo had previously communicated with the FBI through phone calls, online tips and letters. David Sundberg, FBI assistant director for Washington, said: ‘I would characterize these communications as primarily complaints about alleged frauds he believed were perpetrated against him.’

    The 56-year-old, described by fellow residents of North Burlington Street as a ‘loner’, believed that locals were carrying out surveillance operations on his house and relaying information to the U.S. authorities.

    ‘Jamie/Rosemary and Lance and her two children are spies and act as buffers collecting my information and then delivering to their handlers,’ Yoo wrote in the unhinged social media entry.

    He bizarrely claimed that they were ‘working with the witch and the alien’ plotting a ‘surprise attack’ against him on December 7, the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.

    The posts refer to his ex-wife as a ‘witch,’ and anti-U.S. slogans including ‘#F—AMERICA.’

    He ranted: ‘This is how White people operate and have the luxury of outnumbering all other ‘races’ by almost 7 to 1 in ‘Merica.’

    Yoo provided no evidence for his unfounded allegations, but can reveal that he has a long history of filing lawsuits against state and federal authorities.

    He launched a 2018 case in New York against family members, including ex-wife Stephanie, and Rochester General Hospital for allegedly detaining him against his will.

    But his suit was thrown out by judges, who dismissed it as ‘frivolous.’

    ‘The Court has carefully reviewed each page of Plaintiff’s submissions. Plaintiff’s Complaint consists of delusional-sounding allegations intermixed with other statements that seem more factual,’ the court document reads.

    ‘Plaintiff believes he is the victim of conspiracy against him by his sister, his ex-wife, and others including RGH. Plaintiff believes, for example, that his sister, ex-wife and RGH conspired to prevent him from obtaining an attorney.’

    Dismissing his complaint, the judges said that Yoo ‘apparently believes there is a connection between the alleged conspiracy, the terrorism on September 11, 2001, and the current investigation into the 2016 presidential election by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.’

    Yoo had made attempts to contact Mueller, the court documents show, to warn him of those so-called links. can also reveal that his ex-wife Stephanie had filed for divorce on March 30 2017, citing ‘the irretrievable breakdown of their relationship.

    She won a court ruling rubber-stamping their split in the December of the following year.

    Yoo was told to pay her a sum of $80,000 as well as buy her out of her share of their now-destroyed former martial home for the sum of $150,000.

    The divorce records make no mention of any custody arrangements, suggesting the couple did not have any children.

    A police spokeswoman said they had come to execute a search warrant when the suspect, believed to be Yoo, discharged 30 to 40 shots of the flare gun.

    Emily Saxon, a 30-year-old nurse, said that blast sounded like an ‘earthquake’ and the shockwaves felt like ‘a car had run through my living room’

    Sam Kin, a 25-year-old consultant who lived next door to Yoo, filmed the police trying to coax the 56-year-old out of the house.

    He said the explosion was ‘traumatizing’ after getting hit by the shockwave.

    Astounding video showed the house erupt, sending debris in all directions as a SWAT vehicle sat outside. The sky was lit up in bright orange as glowing particles of the explosion fell down over the Virginia neighborhood.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    HORROR: Hamas Shot Female Soldiers in “Crotch and Breasts”



    Hamas terrorists shot female Israeli soldiers ‘in the crotch, intimate parts and breasts’ as part of a ‘systematic genital mutilation’, the IDF has claimed.

    Some of the female victims of the attack on October 7 were left with agonised looks on their faces in death, according to an Israeli unit that helped bless the bodies.

    Army reservist Shari Mendes said many bodies of female victims, both civilian and soldiers, arrived ‘in bloody shredded rags or just in underwear’.

    Mendes, whose unit is based at the Shura Army Base in central Israel, was speaking at a UN event in New York on Monday titled ‘Hear Our Voices: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the October 7 Hamas terror attack’.

    She said: ‘Our team commander saw several female soldiers who were shot in the crotch, intimate parts, vagina, or shot in the breast.

    ‘This seemed to be a systematic genital mutilation of a group of victims.’

    ‘These women arrived with their eyes opened, their mouths in grimaces, their fists clenched,’ she added.

    ‘The soldiers that we dealt with had expressions of agony on their faces still.

    ‘I remember one young woman whose arm was broken in so many places it was difficult for us to lay her arm in the burial shroud, her leg too.

    ‘In her case the entire left side of her body was shredded, torn apart, most likely by a grenade.’

    Mendes, describing the atrocities in graphic detail, said that she and her unit are forced to make a decision to not show the families of dead soldiers their bodies.

    ‘Some were shot in the heads were bashed in so badly that their brains were spilling out,’ she said.

    ‘Some were shot in the heads so many times at close range that their heads were almost blown off.’

    Mendes said the scene that lay before her as she arrived at Shura Army Base a day after Hamas killed 1,200 people during its incursion was ‘unimaginable in scale’.

    ‘Body bags were piled to the ceiling, lining the corridors in every room. Refrigerator trucks were waiting outside, also full.

    ‘Body bags just kept coming in all shapes and sizes. Many were oozing liquids and the floors were wet.

    ‘The smell of death was already unbearable. It is impossible to overemphasise the number of bodies we were dealing with, the sense of shock and despair.’

    More and more reports of Hamas using sexual violence as a method of warfare during its bloody incursion on October 7 have been published in the weeks since.

    Yoni Saadon, 39, told the Sunday Times that he saw Hamas fighters targeting women at the Nova festival.

    ‘I saw this beautiful woman with the face of an angel and eight or ten of the fighters beating and raping her,’ he said.

    ‘She was screaming, ‘Stop it — already I’m going to die anyway from what you are doing, just kill me!’

    Saadon said that when they were done, they laughed and shot her in the head.

    ‘I kept thinking it could have been one of my daughters,’ added the father of four.

    ‘Or my sister — I had bought her a ticket but last minute she couldn’t come.’

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Kim Jong Un Cries in Front of Thousands of Women: We Need More Kids



    North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un cried as he called on women to have more children, saying that it was their duty to halt the country’s declining birth rate in order to strengthen national power.

    In his seemingly highly choreographed emotional plea, the authoritarian leader was seen dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief while addressing thousands of women gathered at a National Mothers’ Meeting in Pyongyang on Sunday.

    ‘Preventing a decline in birth rates and good childcare are all of our housekeeping duties we need to handle while working with mothers,’ Kim said at the event, while also urging them to instil the values of his communist party in their children.

    Many in the large audience – made up of women dressed in traditional multi-coloured garments – openly wept along with their leader.

    But it wasn’t all a sombre affair. Pictures released by North Korea’s state media also showed the adoring crowd clapping and cheering Kim as he waved back from his seat, flanked by male officials in suits and military uniform.

    The event – the first National Mothers’ Meeting in 11 years – was put on amid a fall in the isolationist state’s birth rate, which has evidently prompted concern among the DPRK’s (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) top officials.

    Addressing the audience as ‘Dear Mothers’, Kim told them ‘we are confronted with a host of social tasks that our mothers should join to tackle’.

    ‘These tasks,’ he said, ‘include bringing up their children so that they will steadfastly carry forward our revolution, eliminating the recently-increasing non-socialist practices, promoting family harmony and social unity, establishing a sound way of cultural and moral life, making the communist virtues and traits of helping and leading one another forward prevail over our society, stopping the declining birth rate, and taking good care of children and educating them effectively.

    ‘These belong to our common family affairs, which we need to deal with by joining hands with our mothers,’ he added.

    He went on to say that ‘in view of our mothers’ position and role in their families and society’, his government viewed the meeting of mothers as ‘no less important than a party congress or a plenary meeting of the Party Central Committee.’

    Getting a detailed idea of North Korea’s population trends is extremely difficult because of the limited statistics it discloses.

    The last census North Korea released was in 2008, which showed its population stood at 24 million. Estimates now suggest 25.7 million people inhabit the country.

    However, South Korea’s government assesses that the North’s fertility rate has declined steadily for the past 10 years.

    That is a concerning development for the socialist country that depends on mobilised labour to help keep its broken, heavily sanctioned economy afloat.

    It also follows a ‘military first’ approach which prioritises the Korean People’s Army when it comes to the allocation of resources.

    It is the country with the highest number of military and paramilitary personnel per capita, and its active-duty army of 1.28 million soldiers is the fourth largest in the world, despite having the world’s 56th largest population.

    According to South Korea’s government statistics agency, North Korea’s total fertility rate, or the average number of babies expected to be born to a woman over her lifetime, was 1.79 in 2022, down from 1.88 in 2014.

    Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝


    Massive Group of Military-Age Men from China Invade US Border



    A group of smartly-dressed Chinese migrants with pristine luggage were photographed being apprehended in California after illegally crossing the southern border.

    The migrants, reported to be mostly Chinese nationals fleeing authoritarian leader Xi Jinping, were lined up neatly dressed and with proper luggage as they were processed following their illegal crossing, NewsNation reported.

    They were lined up near the San Diego County town of Jacumba Hot Springs as the county debates approving millions more in emergency funding to help shelter them.

    While previously many of the migrants causing the US border crisis had come from central and South America, now thousands have come from China.

    Over the 2023 fiscal year, which ended in September, US Customs and Border Protection reported 24,048 Chinese citizens were apprehended at the Mexico border, more than in the ten preceding years combined.

    That’s up more than 10 times from the 1,970 arrests recorded during the 2022 fiscal year, and just 323 the year before, when China was under strict pandemic travel bans and lockdowns.

    Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted the new trend of people from Communist China and said it was only making President Biden’s battle at the border worse.

    ‘It is extraordinarily dangerous because, first of all, as you point out, we have people from China coming here.’

    ‘We also have people on the known terrorist watch list who are coming across the border. And so there’s extraordinary dangers, calls to our country by Biden’s open border policies,’ Abbott told Fox News on Sunday.

    ‘And obviously, Biden is doing nothing about it. And that’s why Texas has to step up and apprehend as many of these people as possible to make sure that they’re not posing a threat to our country,’ he added.

    ‘But this is a very serious existential threat to our country caused by Joe Biden. And that’s exactly why Texas is taking extraordinary steps to try to crack down on it.’

    In California, the migrant surge is forcing governments to ponder spending millions on further facilities to house people.

    In San Diego, the county board of supervisors is voting Tuesday on a bill that would allocate an additional $3million for migrant facilities, NBC News reported. They’ve already spent $3million since September.

    Around 100,000 of the 1.3 million people on final orders to be deported from the United States are Chinese nationals, the New York Times reported.

    The Times spoke with several of the migrants, who claimed they were fleeing the authoritarian government of Xi Jinping, whom President Biden has called a dictator.

    ‘The largest reason for me is the political environment,’ Mark Xu, 35, who teaches elementary and middle school English in China but is now in Colombia attempting to migrate north.

    He added that Xi’s COVID polices were making it ‘harder to breathe’ back home.

    Although Latin America remains by far the largest regional source of immigration, China and other nations in the Eastern Hemisphere represent a significant and growing minority of migration using the southern land route.

    Border Patrol arrested 41,719 Indian migrants crossing from Mexico in fiscal year 2023, up 129 percent on the previous year.

    Some 7,390 Russians were captured, up by 42 percent, while 15,429 Turks were detained, roughly flat from the prior year.

    Among nations not categorized by CBP, because they are traditionally not a significant source of illegal immigration, a total of 148,471 migrant were arrested at the southern border last fiscal year, three times more than the year before. This includes many countries in the Middle East and Africa.

    In total, Border Patrol apprehended 2,045,838 migrants at illegal crossing points on the southern border in the 12 months through September, and another 429,831 were expelled at ports of entry, for the highest annual total on record.

    The surge in migrants attempting to enter the US underscores the scale of the humanitarian crisis at the border, and the political challenge it presents for President Joe Biden as he seeks re-election in 2024.

    The influx of migrants from China follows years of draconian pandemic restrictions in that country, which threw the economy into disarray and shattered confidence in the ruling Communist Party.

    Chinese asylum-seekers who spoke to the Associated Press in a recent article say they are seeking to escape an increasingly repressive political climate and bleak economic prospects.

    Go deeper ( 3 min. read ) ➝


    US Considering “Apropriate Action” in Response to Houthi Missile Attacks in Red Sea



    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday said the U.S. is consulting with allies on “appropriate action” in response to the latest Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea.

    “We have made clear that the entire world needs to step up together, not the U.S. alone, but all of us working together to deal with this emerging challenge that the Houthis present, backed by Iran. We’re going to take appropriate action in consultation with others and we will do so at a time and place of our choosing.”

    Three commercial ships came under attack in the international waters of the Red Sea on Sunday, U.S. military officials said, as Houthi militants claimed responsibility for the latest incursion in the Middle East, where tensions have been high since the Israel-Hamas war began.

    The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer that has been patrolling in the area, intercepted and shot down three drones while assisting the vessels on Sunday, CENTCOM said.

    “The Carney took action as a drone was headed in its direction, but again we can’t say the Carney, at this time, was the intended target,” Sabrina Singh, the Pentagon’s deputy press secretary, said Monday although she added that the Pentagon was not ruling out the possibility.

    At the White House, ABC Chief White House Correspondent Mary Bruce pressed Sullivan on U.S. retaliatory efforts not having been effective so far given how the Houthis continue to fire off missiles and drones at commercial shipping in the Red Sea, forcing U.S. ships in the area to respond.

    He defended “steps” the administration has taken but acknowledged there continues to be what he called “very alarming behavior.”

    “We have taken a number of steps, including the movement of carriers, air wings and others to keep this war that is being waged now between Israel and Hamas in Gaza from spilling out into a broader conflict, a full-on regional conflict,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that we are not seeing very alarming behavior and there are two forms of it in particular, that we’re focused on: one is attacks by Iranian-enabled and aligned Shia militia groups in Iraq and Syria, attacking our forces. We are taking steps to protect our people and to strike back against them.”

    He continued to place blame for the Houthi attacks squarely on Iran, saying that country is supplying the Houthis with the weapons being used.

    “We are talking about the Houthis here, they are the ones with their finger on the trigger but that gun, the weapons here are being supplied by Iran, and Iran, we believe, is the ultimate party responsible for this.”

    Sullivan also said the commercial ships that were targeted had ties to 14 different countries and showed the extent of a “source of global concern and a threat to international peace and stability.” He added that the U.S. doesn’t think all three ships had ties to Israel.

    “It goes to show you the level of recklessness that the Houthis are operating on. Any ship they shoot at, whether its Israeli-owned or has some connection in the past to Israel, that doesn’t make it any more of a justifiable target under international law than if the ship didn’t have ties to Israel, but some of the ships we believe may not have.”

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    4 Republicans Qualify for Fourth 2024 Presidential Debate



    The field of candidates onstage for the fourth Republican presidential debate will be the smallest yet.

    Four hopefuls will participate in Wednesday night’s debate at the Moody Music Hall at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, according to the Republican National Committee.

    To qualify for the fourth debate, candidates needed at least 6% support in two national polls or 6% in one national poll as well as two polls from four of the early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. All the polls used for qualification must have been approved by the RNC.

    The White House hopefuls also needed at least 80,000 unique donors, with at least 200 of those coming from 20 states or territories. They also had to sign an RNC pledge promising to support the party’s eventual nominee.

    A look at where the candidates stand:

    WHO’S IN


    Initially seen as the top rival for Donald Trump, DeSantis has been locked in a battle for a distant second place to the front-runner, as well as wading through challenges within his operation.

    Over the weekend, several staffers parted ways with the super PAC that has been sustaining much of DeSantis’ early-state efforts. That’s been particularly true in Iowa, where DeSantis shifted some of his Florida-based campaign staff and where he recently completed a goal of holding events in all 99 counties.

    But the state is also ground zero for DeSantis’ battle with Trump, who said as both campaigned in Iowa over the weekend that the Florida governor’s campaign was falling “like a very seriously wounded bird.”


    Benefiting from increased attention — as well as the campaign’s shift toward foreign policy after Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attack on Israel — Haley is angling to keep that trend going with the fourth debate.

    There could be another opportunity for Haley to mix it up with DeSantis. For weeks the campaigns have been trading escalated barbs, like Haley’s recent comparison that his effort was a “dumpster fire” contrasted with hers.


    The political newcomer and youngest GOP hopeful has been a debate-stage target of attacks on his lack of experience. While the jabs have helped boost Ramaswamy’s campaign coffers and his name ID in the broad Republican field, he’s struggled to get much traction even as he’s filled his campaign calendar with scores of events, particularly across Iowa.

    Ramaswamy has had fiery debate-night clashes with Haley, and there could be more Wednesday night. During the last debate, Haley called the entrepreneur “scum” after he invoked Haley’s daughter during a critique of TikTok.


    The 2024 race’s most vocal critic of Trump, Christie has cast himself as the only Republican willing to take him on directly. Without Trump at the debates, Christie has been left without his intended target but has brought him up nonetheless.

    In September, Christie looked directly into the camera and declared that if Trump keeps skipping debates, he would deserve a new nickname: “Donald Duck.”



    The current GOP front-runner is skipping his fourth straight debate. Instead of going to Alabama — or holding his own counterprogramming event, as he has done for past debates — Trump is holding a closed-door campaign fundraiser in Florida.

    Trump has said he’s forgoing the primary debates because he does not want to elevate his lower-polling opponents by being onstage with them. He and his campaign have also called on the RNC to cancel the remainder of the debates and instead focus on backing him against President Joe Biden.



    The former two-term Arkansas governor participated in the first debate but has failed to qualify for subsequent ones. After missing out on the second debate, he said his goal was to increase his polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving.

    That didn’t happen, but Hutchinson has said there should not be a rush for candidates to drop out, arguing that voters should have plenty of choices when votes start in Iowa.


    Four days after barely qualifying for the third debate last month, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina abruptly shuttered his bid, saying that voters “have been really clear that they’re telling me, ‘Not now, Tim.’”

    On Monday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — who didn’t qualify for the third debate and wasn’t on track for the fourth — suspended his campaign, condemning ”the RNC’s clubhouse debate requirements” that he argued “are nationalizing the primary process.”

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    Douglas Mackey’s Meme-Related Prison Sentence Halted by Federal Court



    A federal court on Monday halted the prison sentence for Douglas Mackey, who was convicted earlier this year of election interference for posting memes that mocked Hillary Clinton voters to cast their ballot via text during the 2016 presidential election.

    Mackey was accused of a “scheme to deprive individuals of their constitutional right to vote” after a Twitter account he ran under the handle “Ricky Vaughn” posted memes in the lead-up to the election. In October, Judge Ann M. Donnelly of Federal District Court in Brooklyn sentenced Mackey to 7 months in prison, a $15,000 fine, and two years probation.

    However, Judge Omar Williams of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals reportedly overruled the appellate court in granting a motion for bond pending appeal, according to Mackey.

    “This ruling is huge because it means that the appeals court decided that my appeal presents ‘substantial’ and ‘debatable’ issues of law that, if resolved in my favor, will result in my conviction being vacated,” Mackey said on X.

    “The prosecution, on the other hand, argued that my appeal was frivolous and that this was a typical election crime case like any other in U.S. history. This is a very encouraging step towards vindication.”

    Mackey was charged one week after President Joe Biden assumed office and roughly four years after the 2016 election. The Justice Department claimed that Mackey had conspired to “injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate” people from exercising their right to vote.

    Prosecutors said that he and others had “intended variously to provoke, mislead, and, in some cases, deceive voters in the 2016 presidential election” with their posts.

    The Justice Department said that Mackey had worked with other influential Twitter users between September 2016 and November 2016 to “disseminate fraudulent messages” which persuaded voters for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to cast their ballots via phone or social media.

    One image showed a black woman standing in front of an “African Americans for Hillary” sign and said, “Avoid the Line. Vote from Home,” and “Text ‘Hillary’ to 59925.”

    According to the government, some 4,900 people texted the number, but it’s unclear how many people, if anyone, fell for the meme and did not cast the vote they intended to cast; or were merely participating in the joke.

    Hillary Clinton reportedly celebrated the arrest, saying Mackey’s meme went “from what you would consider free speech … to running a very deliberate effort to mislead people about where and how to vote. So it went from speech to action meant to subvert the election because thousands of people who they targeted through their algorithms, ‘oh I could text my vote for Hillary Clinton.’”

    Mackey said if he loses the appeal in the Second Circuit, he intends to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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