'Spider-Man' Movie Banned from Muslim Countries After Promoting Transgender Agenda
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Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been banned in several Middle Eastern countries after it was revealed that the animated superhero movie promotes the transgender agenda, specifically gender reassignment for children.

The movie has been yanked from release schedules in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim countries in the region for failing to pass censorship reviews, according to a report in Esquire Middle East.

The sequel was reportedly scheduled to debut on June 22 across the region ahead of the the upcoming Eid Al Adha holiday.

While no official reasons for the act of censorship were given, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse promotes transgenderism in at least two scenes.

As Breitbart News reported, a transgender flag can be spotted in one scene set in Gwen Stacy’s bedroom. The pink-and-blue trans pride flag situated over her door reads “Protect Trans Kids.”

Some reports have interpreted this to mean that Gwen (voiced by Hailee Steinfeld) is a transgender character, though nothing in the history of the Spider-man comics or movies has ever indicated this.

In another scene, viewers can see a police uniform worn by Gwen’s father, George Stacy. The uniform features a trans pride flag patch on the lapel.

Transgenderism is still considered taboo in many majority Muslim countries.

Last year, the UAE banned Disney Pixar’s animated Toy Story spin-off Lightyear from showing in cinemas. The movie features a features a lesbian kiss.

Disney also yanked the move from the version of its Disney+ streaming service available in the region, along with the Baymax series, which has a transgender “man” who menstruates.

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Florida Man Arrested Over Death Threats to Trump, Vance

A man in Florida has been arrested after he made threats to kill former President Trump and Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio), Trump’s newly named vice-presidential pick.

The Jupiter Police Department in Florida announced Friday that Michael Wiseman had been arrested on charges of Written Threats to Kill after an investigation found that he wrote threats on social media against Trump, Vance and their families.

Police said they were alerted to the threats through “multiple online crime tips as well as residents who expressed their concern in person.”

Jupiter police investigated and found he had made threats to Trump, who officially became the Republican Party’s presidential nominee at the Republican National Convention, and threats to Vance, who was named Trump’s running mate at the convention.

“Threats were also made concerning bodily harm to members of the Trump and Vance families,” police said.

Jupiter police said it coordinated the investigation with the Secret Service and the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.

“JPD officers took Wiseman into custody without incident,” the police said.

The arrest follows last Saturday’s assassination attempt against Trump. A gunman allegedly climbed a roof at Trump’s Butler, Pa., rally and had a clear line of vision to the former president when he began firing.

A bullet grazed Trump’s ear. One event attendee was killed and two others were critically injured. The gunman, identified as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, was killed by police.

The assassination attempt happened just days before the convention.

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Dies After Battle with Cancer

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, has died at the age of 74 after a battle with cancer, her family announced on Friday.

“Today, with incredible grief for our loss yet deep gratitude for the life she shared with us, we announce the passing of United States Representative Sheila Jackson Lee of the 18th Congressional District of Texas,” her family said in a statement.

“A local, national, and international humanitarian, she was acknowledged worldwide for her courageous fights for racial justice, criminal justice, and human rights, with a special emphasis on women and children,” the statement said.

Jackson Lee announced in June that she had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was undergoing treatment.

The longtime congresswoman served in the House since 1995 and leaves a legacy of pushing for legislation related to civil rights.

Jackson Lee was the lead sponsor of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, and she pushed for the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, as well as the George Floyd Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act.

“This is America’s holiday. And America’s holiday is not just for Black people,” Jackson Lee said of Juneteenth in a 2023 MSNBC interview. “It is about freedom, and it is about democracy.”

The Texas Democrat introduced legislation for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which President Joe Biden signed in 2022.

Jackson Lee was born in Queens, New York. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School, she worked as a lawyer in private practice and as a staff counsel for the House Select Committee on Assassinations.

She went on to serve in Houston’s government as a member of the City Council and municipal judge before being elected to Congress, where she sat on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Budget committees.

Jackson Lee ran for Houston mayor in 2023 but ultimately lost in a runoff to state Sen. John Whitmire. She was later reelected to her House seat.

Congressional colleagues and political figures from both sides of the aisle remembered Jackson Lee and her commitment to her constituents.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said in a post that Jackson Lee was “a proud Texan and a tireless advocate for the people of Houston.”

“Her legacy of public service and dedication to Texas will live on,” he said.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of his friend and colleague. “I will always cherish our friendship & the laughs we shared throughout the years,” Cruz said.

“No one worked harder for her community and if Houston needed something, she got it done,” Sen. Colin Allred, D-Texas, said.

Former Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, whom she ran to succeed last year, wrote that Jackson Lee’s work on the ground as well as “her uncanny ability to be everywhere, working every day for those who needed a champion, made her truly exceptional.”

Jackson Lee’s family said that funeral arrangements for the congresswoman are pending.

“She will be dearly missed, but her legacy will continue to inspire all who believe in freedom, justice, and democracy,” her family’s statement concluded. “God bless you Congresswoman and God bless the United States of America.”

She is survived by her husband, two children and two grandchildren.

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Trump and Zelenskyy Hold Phone Call — And Ukraine Says It Liked What It Heard

Former President Donald Trump spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday for the first time since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and unlike their last controversial phone call, both sides claimed to be satisfied with how the conversation went.

Trump said that it was a “very good call” and that he will work to negotiate a peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv. A person close to Zelenskyy who requested anonymity to discuss the private conversation said it went “exceedingly well” and that Trump pledged to “achieve a just peace in Ukraine” if he wins back the White House.

Zelenskyy wrote in a post on X that he and Trump agreed to schedule a “personal meeting” to discuss “what steps can make peace fair and truly lasting.”

Trump has pledged to swiftly end the war in Ukraine if reelected in November, going so far as to state he would negotiate peace before he assumes office in January, and has disparagingly called Zelenskyy “the greatest salesman of all time” for his efforts to secure billions of dollars in military, economic and humanitarian aid from Washington.

The war in Ukraine was not a major topic of discussion at the Republican National Convention this week in Milwaukee, though as Trump accepted the Republican nomination on Thursday night, he boasted that “I will end every single international crisis that the current administration has created, including the horrible war with Russia and Ukraine, which would have never happened if I was president.”

The conversation came just a few days shy of the five-year anniversary of the phone call between the two leaders that led to Trump’s first impeachment, after he asked Zelenskyy to consider investigating Joe Biden on discredited allegations.

According to both sides, Friday’s call was more traditionally diplomatic, with Zelenskyy congratulating Trump on officially becoming the Republican Party’s presidential nominee.

Zelenskyy initiated the call nearly a week ago after the assassination attempt against Trump at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, the person close to Zelenskyy said. Zelenskyy himself was the subject of an assassination attempt by Russia in the early days of Moscow’s full-scale invasion in 2022.

The prospect of Trump’s reelection has alarmed officials in Europe and Ukraine who are concerned that his administration will halt U.S. military and economic support for Kyiv.

Those anxieties only increased in recent weeks as Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the final day of the NATO summit in Washington and picked Sen. JD Vance (R-Ohio) as his running mate.

Vance once described Zelenskyy’s efforts to restore Ukraine’s 1991 borders as “fantastical” and has stated that he “doesn’t care” what happens in Ukraine.

A Trump spokesperson did not reply to a request for comment.

Though Trump’s recent foreign policy comments have been cause for concern in Kyiv and other EU capitals, Zelenskyy’s aides and advisers were thrilled by how well the call went, according to the person close to Zelenskyy.

“I, as your next President of the United States, will bring peace to the world and end the war that has cost so many lives and devastated countless innocent families,” Trump wrote on Truth Social after he got off the phone with Zelenskyy.

“Both sides will be able to come together and negotiate a deal that ends the violence and paves a path forward to prosperity,” Trump added.

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Thomas Crooks Used Drone to Scope Out Rally Grounds Just Hours Before Trump Speech

It has been revealed that the gunman who attempted to assassinate Trump at a Pennsylvania rally last week flew a drone over the site just hours before the shooting.

Thomas Matthew Crooks, 20, was able to navigate the drone over the western Pennsylvania fairgrounds and obtain aerial footage on July 13 – the same day as Trump’s Butler rally.

Crooks allegedly flew the drone on a programmed flight path earlier in the day, and officials say that the predetermined path suggests Crooks had flown the small aircraft more than once in order to scope out the site of the rally.

The shocking revelation was made on Friday – almost a week after the ill-fated campaign event – by law-enforcement officials, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It was yet another example of how the Secret Service failed to do an adequate job of securing the area, leaving the MAGA crowd and the former president exposed to the subsequent dangerous situation.

Trump sustained a wound on his ear from a gunshot graze and one spectator was killed when at least six rounds of ammunition were fired by the assassin.

Crooks was killed following the shooting after a Secret Service sniper team returned fire.

The Secret Service have come under intense scrutiny since they botched the job – with many calling for the resignation of its director, Kimberly Cheatle.

The incident is being described as an enormous security failure with an increasing list of things that went wrong leading up to and during the assassination attempt.

Terrifying video from TMZ captured the moment Thomas Matthew Crooks of Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, lay down on the roof of a nearby building, in full view of horrified Trump supporters, and fired towards the stage.

He had previously been spotted and then watched by law enforcement at the Trump rally site because they sensed something wasn’t right, according to reports. But then they lost sight of him before the carnage unfolded.

Witnesses say they warned cops about a man armed with an AR-style rifle climbing on top of a building, but he was still able to open fire.

In a damning statement on Saturday night, FBI Special Agent Kevin Rojek said it was ‘surprising’ Crooks managed to fire off so many shots.

Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., became the first lawmaker to say that Cheatle ‘needs to go.’

Speaking to ABC News on Tuesday, Cheatle claimed that agents were not positioned on top of the sloped building, deeming it too dangerous – despite images from the scene showing Secret Service snipers set up on a sloped roof behind where Trump was delivering his speech.

President Joe Biden, addressing Americans from the White House Sunday, promised an ‘independent review’ into what happened at the rally.

‘I’m directing an independent review on national security [at] yesterday’s rally to assess exactly what happened, and we’ll share the results of that independent review with the American people as well,’ Biden stated.

Former Secret Service agent Joseph LaSorsa said there will be an ‘intensive review’ and ‘massive realignment’ in the agency. ‘This cannot happen’ he said.

He told that it was very lucky Trump turned his head at the last second so the bullet only hit his ear.

A shocking animation has shown just how close Trump came to death has the bullet whizzed past his brain and impacted his ear.

Days later, Cheatle was shielded by her own officers after furious US senators pursued her down the corridors of the RNC, demanding she explain how a gunman was able to get a clear shot at Donald Trump.

She was in the Milwaukee convention hall to oversee security arrangements on Wednesday evening – just hours after making a ‘cover-your-a** call’ to senators about the shooting in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee led the chase, complaining that they had not had a chance to put their questions to Cheatle during the call.

A frustrated Barrasso then issued an ultimatum to the security chief.

‘You put him within less than an inch of his life,’ Barrasso yelled at Cheatle. ‘So resignation or full explanation.’

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Shooting Victim Speaks Out After Surviving Trump Assassination Attempt

Five days after the shooting that nearly took the life of former President Donald Trump, one of the surviving victims released a statement on the horrific scene that had played out at a Pennsylvania campaign rally.

James Copenhaver, who is just a few days from celebrating his 51st wedding anniversary, described his feelings on the shooting that upended what should have been a fun and peaceful day rallying for a political candidate.

Fox News anchor Shannon Bream shared the full statement in a post to X, along with a note stating that Copenhaver had expressed his desire to celebrate his anniversary somewhere other than the hospital — “No offense to the hospital.”

“First and foremost, me and my family continue to extend the most heartfelt condolences to the family of Corey Comperatore,” Copenhaver began, paying his respects to the firefighter hailed as a hero for shielding his family with his own body before he was struck by the bullet that killed him.

“We also continue to offer our thoughts and prayers for the full and speedy recovery of Mr. David Dutch and for the full recovery of President Donald Trump,” he continued. “I am thankful for all of my amazing caregivers who have done a wonderful job saving my life and helping me on my road to recovery. Recovery will be slow, but steady.”

He went on to offer personal thanks to his best friend, who was the first to tend to his injuries in chaos and the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

“I hope to get back onto my Harley Davidson someday and go for a ride with my best friend Randy, who attended the rally with me that day and was the first person to care for me after being shot,” he said, adding, “I cannot express enough gratitude and love for my wife, who has been by my side for not only the past few days but also for over half a century. I look forward to spending our 51st wedding anniversary together this Sunday, even though I wish we didn’t have to spend it in the hospital. No offense to the hospital.”

He concluded with a message about his support for former President Trump and called on Americans to reject violence as a political expression.

“The events that transpired on Saturday, July 13, 2024 at the rally were tragic and completely unnecessary. No person should be fearful to express their support for a candidate or attend an event,” he said.

“My unwavering support for President Trump will continue and I am happy and unafraid to support him on his way to becoming the 47th President of the United States of America. I will close by saying thank you again for the outpouring of support from so many people across the country. The thoughts and prayers have made each day a little easier. My hope is that despite the differences we may have politically, we will always remain UNITED as Americans.”

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Historic First Baptist Church in Dallas Burns in Four-Alarm Fire

A massive downtown four-alarm fire at historic First Baptist Dallas has been “knocked down and contained,” fire officials said late Friday.

The initial call reporting the fire at 1717 San Jacinto St. came in just after 6 p.m. Friday. Fire officials upgraded it from a three-alarm fire to a four-alarm fire at about 8:15 p.m.

A spokesman for the church initially said heavy smoke was coming from the historic sanctuary.

“The structure has largely collapsed, which has caused many void spaces with ‘hot spots,'” Dallas Fire-Rescue said in a release just before 10 p.m. “While there is no indication that the fire will escalate, DFR is expected to maintain an extended presence on the scene to extinguish all lingering areas of fire and to maintain a safe perimeter around the unstable building.”

No injuries have been reported. The fire’s cause is under investigation, Dallas Fire-Rescue said.

The sanctuary was opened in 1890 and was in use until they moved into their new facility in 2013, said Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 16,000-member, 156-year-old church.

Considered a significant landmark in downtown Dallas, the church said the sanctuary was “the site of visits from Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush. President Donald Trump visited the new worship center of the church in 2021.”

“We are grateful that no life has been lost that we know of even though we just had 2,000 children and volunteers on campus for Vacation Bible School earlier in the day,” said Jeffress, who grew up in First Baptist Dallas, was baptized in the sanctuary there at age 9 and ordained there at age 21.

“As tragic as the loss of this old sanctuary is, we are grateful that the church is not bricks and wood but composed of over 16,000 people who are determined more than ever before to reach the world for the gospel of Christ.”

According to the Dallas Fire Department, crews arrived at 6:09 p.m. to heavy smoke and fire. A second alarm was requested at 6:20 p.m. It was upgraded from a two-alarm to a three-alarm fire at about 7:30 p.m. and then to a four-alarm fire at about 8:15 p.m.

According to CBS News Texas meteorologist Jeff Ray, smoke and heat from the fire could be picked up on radar.

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WaPo Deletes Post Scolding American Hostage Parents for Not Being Critical of Israel

The Washington Post came under fire after it scolded the parents of an American hostage in Gaza for not publicly criticizing Israel’s “assault” there and admitted Friday that its social media post was “unacceptable.”

“Omer Neutra has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. When his parents speak publicly, they don’t talk about Israel’s assault on Gaza that has killed over 38,000 Palestinians, according to local officials. Experts have warned of looming famine,” the Post wrote on X.

The post linked to an interview the paper conducted with Omer’s parents, Orna and Ronen Neutra, ahead of their speech on day three of the Republican National Convention.

The Post’s social media post attracted fierce criticism before the paper took it down hours later.

In another X post published Friday morning, the paper explained that it deleted the initial post because it had “mischaracterized the efforts of Neutra’s parents.” The paper followed up hours later with a more thorough explanation.

“A previous post referencing the below story was unacceptable and did not meet our editorial standards, and The Post has deleted it. The reporter of the story was not involved in crafting the tweet. We have taken the appropriate action regarding this incident,” The Post wrote on X.

Omer, 22, grew up in Long Island, New York, and was a dual American-Israeli citizen serving in the Israel Defense Forces. He is believed to have been abducted by Hamas on October 7 during its horrific terrorist attack.

A new version of the original post now reads, “Omer Neutra, an American hostage in the Israel-Hamas war, has been missing since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. His parents have mounted a relentless effort to get him released, speaking to anyone who might be able to support their cause.”

While the social media post was taken down, a similar paragraph remains in the body of the full story posted on the Post’s website.

“When the Neutras speak publicly, they don’t talk about the ferocity of Israel’s counterattack, which has killed more than 38,000 Palestinians and left nearly 90,000 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Swaths of the territory have been pulverized and international experts have warned of looming famine,” the article reads.

Immediately after this graph, the Post quotes the Neutras expressing empathy for Gazans.

“What’s happening in Gaza is ‘horrible,’ Orna said, but Hamas could end it by releasing the hostages. Ronen echoed that sentiment: Hamas is ‘not only holding hostage our son, they’re also holding hostage the people of Gaza,’” the story continues.

The paper has come under fire from Jewish groups for its reporting on the war in Gaza since the Hamas terror attack last October.

An antisemitism nonprofit accused the paper of “aligning” itself with pro-terrorist groups since the October 7 attacks after publishing a sympathetic story in April about individuals who’d lost their jobs for defending Hamas.

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Top UN Court: Israel’s Presence in Palestinian Territories Illegal

The International Court of Justice ruled on Friday that Israel’s presence in the occupied Palestinian territories is “unlawful” and called for it to end swiftly.

The court’s panel of 15 judges issued its nonbinding opinion, which is more likely to affect international sentiment toward Israel than change its behavior in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel’s “unlawful policies and practices are in breach of the Israeli government’s obligation to respect the right of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination,” the court said, adding that it should be ended as “rapidly as possible.”

The International Court of Justice said Israel should cease all new settlement activities, evacuate settlers from Palestinian territories, and provide reparations to Palestinians.

The International Court of Justice, which is based at The Hague in the Netherlands, had been looking into Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories following a request from the United Nations General Assembly that predates Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel and Israel’s subsequent response in Gaza.

Israeli officials have long claimed international bodies discriminate against them, and they did so again in response to the International Court of Justice’s ruling Friday, which is different than South Africa’s case in front of the court accusing Israel of carrying out a genocide in Gaza — a claim both Israel and the U.S. denies.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the court’s decision as “false,” adding, “The Jewish people are not conquerors in their own land,” referring to Jerusalem and the West Bank. “No false decision in The Hague will distort this historical truth, and likewise, the legality of Israeli settlement in all the territories of our homeland cannot be contested.”

Alternatively, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry called the opinion “a watershed moment,” adding that the “international community is under an obligation not just to reaffirm the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination but to see to it that this right is implemented immediately.”

Earlier this week, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution that rejected the establishment of a Palestinian state, a dramatic vote considering the long-term overwhelming support for a two-state solution.

The Biden administration has argued repeatedly that regional stability can be achieved through the two-state solution, which it argues has to come through direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis as opposed to unilateral recognition.

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Largest IT Outage in History: Airlines, Banks, Health Care Disrupted

Major airlines, medical facilities, businesses and police forces around the world are currently being affected by a massive information technology glitch affecting Microsoft cloud computing services early Friday.

The cybersecurity company CrowdStrike said Friday that the outages were the result of one of its routine software updates gone wrong, and was “not a security incident or cyberattack.”

CrowdStrike, which provides cybersecurity services and software for many large corporations that use Microsoft systems, has issued a new software update that has automatically fixed some computers. But some others must be manually restarted and patched, causing massive delays.

Microsoft announced late Friday morning that its 365 apps and services have recovered. Some individual customers may still be impacted, however.

The glitch has brought chaos to a number of key institutions and businesses around the world that may take some time to clear up.

Many flights have been grounded across the globe and stores and broadcasters in several countries went offline. According to aviation technology company FlightAware, the tech glitch was responsible for more than half of the U.S.’s 1,352 flight delays and cancellations before 8 a.m. (ET) on Friday.

Major carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, all issued ground stops Friday morning citing communications issues. Passengers traveling to the United States from as far away as Japan have had their flights canceled. Delta has ordered a “global ground stop,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a member of the House subcommittee on cybersecurity.

George Kurtz, president and CEO of CrowdStrike, said the problems could persist for some time yet.

“It could be some time for some systems that just automatically won’t recover,” he told NBC’s “TODAY” this morning.

Kurtz said the company was “deeply sorry for the impact that we’ve caused to customers, to travelers, to anyone affected by this,” adding the issue has been fixed on their end.

“Many of the customers are rebooting the system, and it’s coming up, and it’ll be operational because we fixed it on our end,” he said. “We’re just trying to sort out where the negative interaction was,” he said of the faulty update that affected Windows PCs.

Earlier, in a post on X, Kurtz said that the outages were due to a “defect found in a single content update for Windows hosts.”

In Europe, Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport said there would be delays to passenger check-ins “because of a technical fault,” and Aena, which manages 46 airports in Spain, said “an incident in the computer system” could cause delays. Several budget airlines in South Korea reported technical problems and delays, The Associated Press said. Sydney Airport, one of Australia’s largest, said there would be delays.

Paris’ airport authority said in a statement that while its systems were not affected ahead of next week’s Olympic Games opening ceremony, “this situation has an impact on the operations of airlines at Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly airports: delays in check-in, delays and temporary suspension of some flights,” according to the AP.

The Paris Olympics organizing committee told Reuters that while the outage was slowing its operations, its ticket sales remained unaffected. Elsewhere in the world of sports, British soccer team Manchester United delayed a ticket release scheduled for Friday, blaming problems with Microsoft.

That was just one of many businesses affected across the United Kingdom, with train operators blaming IT outages for cancellations Friday morning and the London Stock Exchange saying that a “3rd party global technical issue” for stopping its regulatory news service posting any new items.

The country’s National Health Service posted on X that “the NHS is aware of a global IT outage and an issue with a [general practitioner] appointment and patient record system.” The statement added that the health system’s emergency phone service was still operating.

In Israel, too, at least 15 major hospitals have been affected, according to local media. However, most medical centers have now either returned to normal operations or reverted to manual operations. The emergency line of the country’s ambulance service is also affected.

At 2:20 a.m. (ET), Alaska State Troopers said that 911 and non-emergency phone numbers across the state were not working “due to a nationwide technology-related o kouts and countless websites.

The glitch has affected news outlets, too, including NBC News. Sky News, NBC News’ British partner broadcaster, was temporarily unable to air live news. Broadcasters in Australia also reported problems.

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Biden’s Family Discussing His Exit Plan from Race — White House Denies

Members of President Joe Biden’s family have discussed what an exit from his campaign might look like, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

The overall tone of the conversations has been that any exit plan — should Biden decide to take that step, as some of his closest allies increasingly believe he will — should put the party in the best position to beat former President Donald Trump while also being worthy of the more than five decades he has served the country in elected office, these people said.

Biden’s family members have specifically discussed how he would want to end his re-election bid on his own timing and with a carefully calculated plan in place. Considerations about the impact of the campaign on his health, his family and the stability of the country are among those at the forefront of the discussions, the people familiar with those discussions said.

The prospect of Biden’s considering stepping aside, much less that his family is gaming out a possible exit plan, is an extraordinary development that comes after he has repeatedly said he would not relinquish his position as the presumptive nominee of the party.

But concerns have mounted among party leaders, donors and even officials who are part of his re-election effort with every day that has passed since a devastating debate three weeks ago. At the same time, Democrats are watching Republicans rally around Trump, who just survived an assassination attempt and accepted his party’s nomination Thursday night.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates denied that any such exit discussions are happening among the family.

“That is not happening, period,” he said. “The individuals making those claims are not speaking for his family or his team — and they will be proven wrong. Keep the faith.”

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Friday, Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon acknowledged that the campaign has seen some “slippage,” but she said it’s been “a small movement” and insisted Biden is “absolutely” still in the race.

Ron Klain, Biden’s former White House chief of staff and an adviser to him for decades, said in an interview that Biden is hearing the public and private calls for him to exit the race.

“I think he’s feeling the pressure,” said Klain, who has spoken to Biden recently. “I want him to stay in.”

Klain’s take is that it makes no sense for Biden to be pushed aside. He said some in his party underestimate Trump at their own peril and undervalue the fact that Biden is the only one who has beaten him.

Biden and the people closest to him have felt burned by efforts to push him out that they see as backhanded and disrespectful. The family is distraught and moving through the stages of anger and grief over how people they perceived to be friends have treated the president.

“There was a much more dignified way to do this if this is what they wanted,” a Biden ally said. “This is no way to treat a public servant who has done a lot for this country.”

Discussions about how to game out a fitting plan for Biden to step aside have also played out among senior staff members, not just the president’s family, according to a person close to the re-election effort. Bates also denied these discussions are happening.

The family members Biden has relied on most include first lady Jill Biden, his son Hunter and his sister, Valerie Owens, as well as a few longtime close aides who have been at the core of the discussions.

The conversations about Biden’s political future have raged while he remains at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, sidelined after he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday.

On Thursday, some of Biden’s closest aides were calling trusted allies to get a sense of where they thought his political standing is, according to a person familiar with the phone calls.

A Democratic lawmaker described Biden in this moment as “reflective.” A third person close to Biden described the president as politically “fighting for his life.”

There are growing expectations among some allies that if Biden were to exit, it could be in the coming days. But they also caution that it still is up to him to make the decision and that he is not wired to quit even when he faces seemingly insurmountable adversity.

About the possibility any announcement is imminent, a person close to the Bidens said, “We don’t even know what we’re doing tomorrow.”

Still, Biden is not insusceptible to the mounting pressure from his own party, and he has said himself since the debate that he may consider leaving the race if there were no path for him to win.

“I think it’s inevitable,” a second person close to the re-election effort said of Biden’s withdrawing from the race.

As reports surfaced, including from NBC News, that Biden had shown signs that he could budge from his insistence that he remain the nominee, rumors and reports — some that the president’s allies flatly denied — began to fly. They included speculation about timing of a potential exit, whether Biden would immediately endorse Vice President Kamala Harris and who was on the shortlist to be her vice presidential running mate.

Among the reports: that longtime speechwriter and historian Jon Meacham was writing Biden’s exit remarks.

Meacham rebuffed the account.

“The report is totally false,” he said.

Amid the turmoil the Biden campaign sent out talking points to Democrats, according to a Democratic strategist: “President Biden has not spoken to congressional leadership today. The president is his party’s nominee, having won 14 million votes during the Democratic primary. He’s running for re-election, and that will not change until he wins re-election.”

As many in his own party turned against him, Biden continued this week to check in with allies and gauge their sentiments.

“With all the rumors that I’m leaving, I’m not,” Biden told the Rev. Al Sharpton, the civil rights leader and MSNBC host, in a phone call Monday, Sharpton said.

“I will support whatever you decide,” Sharpton said he told the president.

Sharpton said in an interview Thursday that legacy is something Biden “has to think of” as he contemplates his political future. “If there’s anyone that could make a comeback … it’s Joe Biden. Whether he chooses to or not, I don’t know.”

Some in Biden’s camp had hoped he would be able to weather the storm of pressure for him to step aside — that news events, including the Republican National Convention, would turn the national conversation away from whether and when he might end his campaign. But even the attempted assassination of Trump on Saturday did little to quell the furor around Biden. If anything, Democrats have since turned up the heat.

A major factor driving the private pressure on Biden is the fear among Democrats that his candidacy could rob them not only of the White House and the Senate but also of a chance to flip the House to their control. That helps explain why senior lawmakers have pushed on Biden to reconsider his decision to stay in the race.

“The House is on the brink,” said Brian Wolff, the treasurer of the House Majority PAC, the main super PAC supporting House Democratic candidates. “These candidates don’t deserve that.”

Wolff said Democratic incumbents and challengers in tough races cannot risk splintering their own voter coalitions by publicly taking one side or the other as Biden considers his options.

“They can’t afford to alienate the base that wants to support Biden or the base that wants someone else,” he said.

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Whistleblowers: Most of Trump’s Security Detail Were Not Secret Service

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wrote on X Friday that “whistleblowers tell me that MOST of Trump’s security detail working the event last Saturday were not even Secret Service.

“DHS assigned unprepared and inexperienced personnel,” he added, posting a letter he sent today to United States Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

“Whistleblowers who have direct knowledge of the event have approached my office. According to the allegations, the July 13 rally was considered to be a ‘loose’ security event. For example, detection canines were not used to monitor entry and detect threats in the usual manner,” Hawley wrote.

“Individuals without proper designations were able to gain access to backstage areas. Department personnel did not appropriately police the security buffer around the podium and were also not stationed at regular intervals around the event’s security perimeter.”

“In addition, whistleblower allegations suggest the majority of DHS officials were not in fact USSS agents but instead drawn from the department’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). This is especially concerning given that HSI agents were unfamiliar with standard protocols typically used at these types of events, according to the allegations,” Hawley also said.

Hawley used the letter to ask Mayorkas to respond to multiple questions regarding security at the Trump campaign event.

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LIST: 6 People Kamala Harris Could Choose for Her VP

Cries for President Joe Biden to drop his reelection bid have politicos bracing for movement from the president as soon as this weekend. If he does step down, Vice President Kamala Harris is considered the favorite to replace him.

And while Biden hasn’t announced anything yet, a future new Democratic Party ticket has already been speculated. Harris will need her own running mate.

Here are a few options for Harris if she takes the helm of the party, though there will be some notable omissions, including Govs. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Gretchen Whitmer (D-MI), who are reportedly not interested in being vice president.

Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY)

The southern governor’s name has been floated often as someone who could convince Republicans who are shaky about former President Donald Trump to vote for the Democratic ticket, given his history of capturing those votes in deep-red Kentucky.

He’s viewed as a good counterbalance to Harris, who showed very progressive views as a California senator.

Former North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue said Beshear fit the prototype of a “moderate, middle-of-the-road” Democrat unbeholden to the far Left.

“I do think he can be vice president,” she said.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ)

Kelly is the twice-elected senator of swing state Arizona who would bring his expertise and appeal as a veteran and former astronaut to the ticket if selected. Similar to Beshear, he’s considered a more centrist Democrat who could expand Harris’s voter base.

Kelly has routinely pushed for stronger border security measures, normally a strong part of the Republican platform, which could appeal to voters who don’t think the Democratic Party cares enough about the border crisis.

Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC)

Cooper is also similar to Beshear, more so than Kelly, given his status as a southern Democrat who found electoral success in a state that doesn’t usually vote blue in the presidential election.

North Carolina has only voted for a Democrat once since 1980 but has been considered a swing state in the past few election cycles, which have been very closely contested. If North Carolina voters who feel Cooper represents them on the national level and vote for the ticket, he could be invaluable to its success.

He recently campaigned with Harris in North Carolina, saying, “I know she is a fighter, I know she gets the job done, and I know that she and Joe Biden need four more years to finish the job.”

Gov. Josh Shapiro (D-PA)

Shapiro’s state is also invaluable to a possible Democratic victory in November. He’s also a rising star in the party who has cultivated his own popularity enough to be a candidate to replace Biden in his own right, which may affect his efforts to join Harris on the ticket.

Another complication is the fact Shapiro still has plenty of time to serve as his state’s governor, given he was recently elected for the first time in 2022. But if these matters were overcome, Shapiro could offer his services as a moderate who has been able to work across party lines.

Because of Shapiro’s popularity and how much time he has left serving his state, he could be the most unlikely pick for Harris’s running mate.

Gov. JB Pritzker (D-IL)

Pritzker doesn’t offer the bonuses other governors do. He isn’t the governor of a swing state, and he’s not as centrist as other Democratic governors, but he comes with his own outstanding personal wealth as a billionaire, which could serve Harris’s campaign well.

He’s a possible presidential replacement for Biden as well given his built-in campaign war chest, but has stuck by the president in public.

One undeniable appeal to Pritzker is that he is a midwestern governor who could relate to some of the blue wall states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and his home state of Illinois.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg

Buttigieg ran for president in 2020 and has been floated as a candidate to replace Biden as well. Unlike the others, Buttigieg already has a position within the Biden administration, which could make it easy for him to become vice president.

He also likely has a working relationship with Harris that not many of the other vice presidential candidates do, and he is 42 years old, only three years older than Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH), Trump’s running mate.

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Group of House Dems Releases Joint Statement Calling on Biden to Drop Out

Five more House Democrats on Friday joined the growing number of congressional lawmakers who have called on President Biden to drop out of the 2024 election.

In a joint statement, Reps. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., Marc Veasey, D-Texas, Chuy Garcia, D-Illinois and Marc Pocan, D-Wisc., urged Biden to “pass the torch to a new generation of Democratic leaders.”

“Mr. President, with great admiration for you personally, sincere respect for your decades of public service and patriotic leadership, and deep appreciation for everything we have accomplished together during your presidency, it is now time for you to pass the torch to a new generation of Democratic leaders,” the lawmakers wrote.

“We must defeat Donald Trump to save our democracy, protect our alliances and the rules-based international order, and continue building on the strong foundation you have established over the past four years,” they said.

“At this point, however, we must face the reality that widespread public concerns about your age and fitness are jeopardizing what should be a winning campaign. These perceptions may not be fair, but they have hardened in the aftermath of last month’s debate and are now unlikely to change. We believe the most responsible and patriotic thing you can do in this moment is to step aside as our nominee while continuing to lead our party from the White House.”

Veasey is the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group that has strongly backed Biden, to call for the president to step aside.

A fifth House Democrat, Rep. Sean Casten of Illinois, separately urged Biden to drop out in an op-ed for the Chicago Tribune.

“It’s time for Joe Biden to pass the torch,” Casten wrote.

“[P]olitics, like life, isn’t fair. And as long as this election is instead litigated over which candidate is more likely to be held accountable for public gaffes and ‘senior moments,’ I believe that Biden is not only going to lose but is also uniquely incapable of shifting that conversation.”

Additionally, Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., on Friday called on Biden to suspend his presidential campaign. He is now the third Democratic senator to do so.

“While the decision to withdraw from the campaign is President Biden’s alone, I believe it is in the best interests of our country for him to step aside,” Heinrich said in a statement.

There are now 28 Congressional Democrats who have called on Biden to step aside. That number represents more than 10% of elected Democrats in Congress.

Behind the scenes, more and more Democratic party officials, top donors and key Biden allies are reportedly urging the president to reconsider his decision to stay in the race. Should Biden drop out ahead of the Democratic National Committee convention in August, Vice President Kamala Harris is acknowledged to be in the best position to receive the party’s nomination — although some Democrats fear she would also lose to Trump and prefer that a candidate unaffiliated with the current administration be nominated in an open convention.

Biden has made no public indication that he intends to step aside, and his campaign has forcefully denied all suggestions to the contrary.

“Absolutely the president is in this race, you’ve heard him say that time and again,” Biden Campaign Chair Jen O’Malley Dillon said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I’m not here to say this hasn’t been a tough several weeks for the campaign, there’s no doubt that it has been, and we’ve definitely seen some slippage in support. But it has been a small movement.”

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Russia Sentences WSJ Reporter to 16 Years on Espionage Charges

Evan Gershkovich, the first American journalist to be arrested on espionage charges in Russia since the Cold War, has been found guilty of spying and sentenced to 16 years in prison by a Russian court, in a case that the US government, his newspaper and supporters have denounced as a sham.

The court in Yekaterinburg announced the guilty verdict and sentencing on Friday shortly after 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. ET).

The court heard closing arguments and 32-year-old Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, delivered his closing remarks behind closed doors on Friday morning.

The case’s rapid conclusion comes just weeks after Gershkovich first appeared in a glass cage with his head recently shaved at the start of his trial on June 26. On that day, Gershkovich stood cross-armed, occasionally smiling and waving to the crowd of reporters.

The speed of the trial has raised questions over whether the Kremlin is intending to use him as part of a prisoner swap deal with the United States, suggestions which spokesman Dmitry Peskov left without comment when asked about them on a Friday conference call ahead of the verdict announcement.

In June, Moscow confirmed again that contacts are ongoing regarding a potential prisoner exchange deal for Gershkovich, but Peskov repeatedly insisted that those conversations were to be carried out in “absolute silence” to prevent complications.

Gershkovich was arrested while reporting for the WSJ, during a trip to Yekaterinburg in March 2023, and later accused of spying for the CIA. Russian authorities have never offered any public evidence to support their claims.

Within two weeks of his arrest in March 2023, the US State Department designated him as wrongfully detained and called for his immediate release.

In a statement following Friday’s sentencing, Gershkovich’s employer said: “This disgraceful, sham conviction comes after Evan has spent 478 days in prison, wrongfully detained, away from his family and friends, prevented from reporting, all for doing his job as a journalist.

“We will continue to do everything possible to press for Evan’s release and to support his family,” the statement from Dow Jones CEO and Wall Street Journal Publisher Almar Latour and Wall Street Journal Editor in Chief Emma Tucker continued.

“Journalism is not a crime, and we will not rest until he’s released. This must end now,” it added.

The verdict has yet to enter into force, and the defense can appeal the conviction within 15 days, judge Andrey Mineyev said while delivering his verdict. The court also ordered Gershkovich to pay procedural costs of 6,708 rubles ($77), and for some of his personal items, including an iPhone and a notepad, to be destroyed.

According to the judge, the time Gershkovich has already spent in detention since last March will count towards his sentence.

Following his arrest, Gershkovich was held in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison, spending almost every hour of the day in a small cell, before being transferred to the city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals more than 1,100 miles east of the capital. He passed the time by writing letters to his friends and family, his parents said in an interview with the WSJ, adding that he was allowed just one hour of walking per day.

Gershkovich, the US government, and the WSJ have vehemently denied the charges against him.

US and Western officials have accused Russia of using Gershkovich and other jailed foreigners as bargaining chips for possible prisoner exchanges.

A high-profile swap in 2022 saw US basketball star Brittney Griner exchanged for arms dealer Viktor Bout. But Russia refused to release another jailed US citizen, Paul Whelan, as it was seeking a former colonel from Russia’s domestic spy organization in return.

In an interview with right-wing US media personality Tucker Carlson in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested “an agreement can be reached” with the United States to release Gershkovich and alluded to the case of a Russian national convicted of carrying out an assassination in Berlin in 2019.

The trial of Gershkovich, the American-born son of Soviet-era emigres to the US, has highlighted the extent to which Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has harmed relations between Moscow and Washington.

In their indictment, Russian prosecutors said that “under instructions from the CIA” and “using painstaking conspiratorial methods,” Gershkovich “was collecting secret information” about a Russian tank factory.

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Appeals Court Blocks Biden Student Loan Plan

A federal appeals court blocked President Biden’s student loan repayment plan, which would have lowered payments for millions of people who borrowed money for education.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday, granting a motion for an administrative stay filed by Republican-led states. The order will prohibit the Biden administration from implementing parts of its Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) program that weren’t already blocked by lower courts, The Associated Press reported.

Earlier Thursday, the administration announced it would forgive another $1.2 billion in student loans for 35,000 people. The people who would have loans forgiven are teachers, nurses, law enforcement officers and first responders under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The announcement brings the total number of people who have received relief to 4.76 million.

The SAVE plan has faced two separate legal challenges.

In June, two injunctions handed down by federal judges put parts of the plan on pause. A Kansas judge said the Education Department can’t enact the full scope of the plan because it did not receive authority from Congress to do so. A judge in Missouri ruled the department can’t forgive loans because it illegally deprives state loan operators of revenue.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin posted online celebrating the appeals court decision in his lawsuit against Biden.

“This is the latest blow to President Biden’s unlawful plans to cancel student loans without congressional approval. The president is disregarding the separation of powers in the constitution and the fundamentals so clearly articulated in schoolhouse rock,” Griffin said.

The ruling blocks all aspects of the SAVE plan.

The Department of Education said in a statement to The Hill that it is assessing the impacts of the ruling and will be in touch with borrowers if it impacts them.

“Our Administration will continue to aggressively defend the SAVE Plan – which has been helping over 8 million borrowers access lower monthly payments, including 4.5 million borrowers who have had a zero dollar payment each month,” a department spokesperson said in a statement. “And, we won’t stop fighting against Republican elected officials’ efforts to raise costs on millions of their own constituents’ student loan payments.”

In a statement Thursday evening, Education Secretary Michael Cardona said the decision could have “devastating consequences” for millions if it remains in effect.

“It’s shameful that politically motivated lawsuits waged by Republican elected officials are once again standing in the way of lower payments for millions of borrowers,” he said.

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Zuck Calls Trump ‘Badass’ Without Endorsing Him

Mark Zuckerberg said that former President Donald Trump’s immediate reaction after being shot was “badass” and inspiring, and helps explain his appeal to voters.

“Seeing Donald Trump get up after getting shot in the face and pump his fist in the air with the American flag is one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen in my life,” the Meta Platforms Inc. chief executive officer said Thursday during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

“On some level as an American, it’s like hard to not get kind of emotional about that spirit and that fight, and I think that that’s why a lot of people like the guy.”

Zuckerberg, 40, declined to endorse Trump or his presumed opponent, President Joe Biden, adding that he’s “not planning” to be involved in the election in any way. Still, his comments add to a growing chorus of Silicon Valley leaders, including Tesla Inc. billionaire Elon Musk and venture capitalists Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, who are warming to the former president, some pledging donations to his campaign. Zuckerberg made the comments during a wide-ranging discussion about the future of AI, social media and more for The Circuit with Emily Chang. The full episode is set to air on Tuesday.

Zuckerberg said Meta is making changes that he hopes will mean Facebook is not as much of a flashpoint in elections going forward. “The main thing that I hear from people is that they actually want to see less political content on our services because they come to our services to connect with people.”

Meta is already recommending less political content to its users, he added. “I think you’re going to see our services play less of a role in this election than they have in the past.”

Zuckerberg’s relationship with Trump has been complicated by Trump’s use of Meta’s products to reach his followers. The former president’s posts have routinely contained misinformation or challenged Meta’s rules. The company suspended Trump from both Facebook and Instagram for two years in the wake of the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots. At the time, Zuckerberg posted that Trump was using his account to “undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor.”

While the accounts have since been reinstated, Trump indicated he hasn’t forgiven Meta or Zuckerberg, and recently suggested that he plans to retaliate. He called Facebook the “enemy of the people” in March. Earlier this month, Trump also appeared to warn Zuckerberg. “All I can say is that if I’m elected President, we will pursue Election Fraudsters at levels never seen before, and they will be sent to prison for long periods of time,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “We already know who you are. DON’T DO IT! ZUCKERBUCKS, be careful!”

Trump has reversed policy positions in the name of punishing Meta. While he was president, Trump pushed for a ban of the Chinese-owned video app, TikTok. Trump has since changed his stance, arguing in Businessweek that a ban would be too beneficial to Meta’s business.

Zuckerberg said he welcomes competition. “It’s good,” he said on The Circuit. “I think we’re doing pretty well here. We’re gaining market share. So I don’t know. They’ll go do what they need to do but I think we’re gonna be fine and we’re gonna continue doing well in this space either way.”

When asked if he thought TikTok should be banned, Zuckerberg demurred. “That’s above my pay grade,” he said.

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Lou Dobbs, Cable-News Pioneer and Conservative Pundit, Dies at 78

Lou Dobbs, the conservative political pundit and longtime host of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” on CNN and then Fox Business Network, has died. He was 78.

“It’s with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of ‘The Great Lou Dobbs,’” reads a post on Dobbs’ X account. “Lou was a fighter till the very end — fighting for what mattered to him the most, God, his family and the country. Lou’s legacy will forever live on as a patriot and a great American. We ask for your prayers for Lou’s wonderful wife Debu, children and grandchildren.”

Dobbs was a commentator, author and host of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which originally premiered on CNN in 1980 as “Moneyline.” Dobbs anchored the series and served as CNN’s chief economics correspondent, later taking on the role of executive vice president at the cable news channel.

As “Moneyline” evolved into a more opinion-based program, it was renamed to “Lou Dobbs Moneyline” and then “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which Dobbs presented from 2003 until he left CNN in 2009. He moved to Fox Business Network in 2011 and started up a new iteration of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” which was canceled in 2021 after Fox was hit with a defamation lawsuit from voting machine vendor Smartmatic, following comments made on-air by Dobbs and other commentators. Dobbs was also named in the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit, which Fox settled for $787.5 million. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” returned as a streaming program on Lindell TV in January 2024.

Donald Trump commemorated Dobbs, who showed staunch support for the former president, on Truth Social. “The Great Lou Dobbs has just passed away — A friend, and truly incredible Journalist, Reporter, and Talent,” Trump wrote. “He understood the World, and what was ‘happening,’ better than others. Lou was unique in so many ways, and loved our Country. Our warmest condolences to his wonderful wife, Debi, and family. He will be greatly missed!”

Dobbs was born in Childress County, Texas, in 1945 and attended Harvard University. He began his career in journalism in 1970 as a police and fire reporter for Arizona’s KBLU. He went on to become a TV anchor and reporter in Phoenix and then relocated to Seattle.

He joined CNN when it launched in 1980 and worked in high-powered positions at the cabler until 2009. During the Barack Obama administration, Dobbs promoted Birtherism, the false claim that the former president was not born in the U.S. He held strong anti-immigration views and supported Trump until the very end, posting on X about the former president just hours before his death.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Lou Dobbs,” said Fox News Media in a statement. “An incredible business mind with a gift for broadcasting, Lou helped pioneer cable news into a successful and influential industry. We are immensely grateful for his many contributions and send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

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RNC Day 4: Trump Accepts Nomination, Delivers Speech on ‘Unity’

On the final night of the Republican National Convention, former President Donald Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination and claimed an “incredible victory” in November to raucous applause.

“I am running to be president for all of America, not half of America, because there is no victory in winning for half of America,” Trump said after he surprised the crowd by appearing onstage during the musical rendition of “God Bless the USA.”

“So tonight, with faith and devotion, I proudly accept your nomination for president of the United States.

The address was his first since a gunman attempted to assassinate Trump during a Saturday rally in Butler, Pennsylvania, which has cast a long shadow over the convention. Trump’s ear was bandaged from a gunshot wound, and delegates throughout the week began to bandage their own ears in a show of unity with the former president.

“As you already know, the assassin’s bullet came within a quarter of an inch of taking my life. So many people have asked me what happened, tell us what happened please, and therefore I’ll tell you what happened, and you’ll never hear it from me a second time because it’s too painful to tell,” Trump explained.


“I had God on my side,” Trump said of his survival.

The Thursday night address represents Trump’s complete domination of the GOP eight years after he transformed American politics in the modern era. Most Republican dissension against Trump has turned into a whimper with many of his harshest critics losing influence in the national party or bending to Trump’s vision.

“I’m not supposed to be here tonight,” Trump said, but the crowd roared back, “Yes you are!

“Thank you,” Trump answered. “But I’m not.”

UFC President and CEO Dana White introduced Trump, who appeared at the convention all three previous nights but didn’t speak instead portraying himself as a silent warrior figure who watched the crowd and speakers champion his legacy to the American public. “He is willing to risk it all because he loves this country,” White said in a laudatory remarks.

Trump previously told the Washington Examiner’s Salena Zito that he rewrote his convention speech in the wake of Saturday’s events. The former president wanted his new speech to reunite the country and meet the demand of this critical moment.

Several speakers referenced the miraculous nature that Trump survived on Saturday and attributed the former president’s refusal to cower as a sign of the fighting spirit that will propel him to victory in November against President Joe Biden.

“I have seen this man dragged through hell and back, in and out of courtrooms, indictments, impeachments, mug shots, and even an assassination attempt, and yet, he has never backed down,” Lara Trump, the Republican National Committee co-chairwoman and the former president’s daughter-in-law, said when she spoke on Tuesday.

“What was my father’s reaction when his life was on the line? Not to cower, not to surrender, but to show for all the world to see that the next American president has the heart of a lion,” Donald Trump Jr. said on Wednesday.

Several delegates told the Washington Examiner before Donald Trump spoke that they fully expected him to galvanize the crowd, which has been waiting to hear the former president since he appeared on the convention floor on Monday.

“I hope that it’s a unifying speech. I hope that it puts America first,” Rachel Sikes, a Texas delegate wearing a bride-to-be sash, said. “I hope that it puts, even above America, I hope that it puts God first. I hope that he brings us together as a nation and does what he promises in his speeches and what he said up to this point.”

Trump also remains disciplined in not interjecting himself into the national conversation as Biden flounders and attempts to hold on to the Democratic presidential nomination despite growing calls from party members to step down.

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Read: Text of Trump’s RNC Speech

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday evening addressed the Republican National Convention. Read the full text of his speech below:


I stand before you this evening with a message of confidence, strength, and hope. Four months from now, we will have an incredible victory, and we will begin the four greatest years in the history of our country.


Together, we will launch a new era of safety, prosperity and freedom for citizens of every race, religion, color, and creed.


The discord and division in our society must be healed. As Americans, we are bound together by a single fate and a shared destiny. We rise together. Or we fall apart.


I am running to be president for ALL of America, not half of America, because there is no victory in winning for half of America.




Let me begin this evening by expressing my gratitude to the American people for your outpouring of love and support following the assassination attempt at my rally on Saturday.


As you already know, the assassin’s bullet came within a quarter of an inch of taking my life. So many people have asked me what happened, and therefore, I’ll tell you what happened, and you’ll never hear it from me a second time, because it’s too painful to tell.


Despite such a heinous attack, we unite this evening more determined than ever. Our resolve is unbroken, and our purpose is unchanged–to deliver a government that serves the American People.


Everything I have to give, with all of the energy and fight in my heart and soul, I pledge to our nation tonight.

This election should be about the issues facing our country and how to make America successful, safe, free, and great again.


In an age when our politics too often divide us, now is the time to remember that we are all fellow citizens—we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


On this journey, I am deeply honored to be joined by my amazing wife, Melania. Thank you, Melania, and thank you also for your beautiful letter to America calling for national unity. It captivated so many.


I also want to thank my entire family—Don and Kimberly, Ivanka and Jared, Eric and Lara, Tiffany and Michael, Barron, and of course, my ten wonderful grandchildren.


I am thrilled to have a new friend and partner fighting by my side: the next VICE PRESIDENT of the United States, the current Senator from Ohio, J.D. Vance, and his incredible wife, Usha.


And a very special thank you to the extraordinary people of Milwaukee and the great state of Wisconsin for hosting this outstanding convention.


We will Make Wisconsin Great Again, I promise.


I am here tonight to lay out a vision for the whole nation. To every citizen, whether you are young or old, man or woman, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, black or white, Asian or Hispanic, I extend to you a hand of loyalty and friendship.


Together, we will lead America to new heights of greatness like the world has never seen before.


Under our leadership, the United States will be RESPECTED again. No nation will question our power. No enemy will doubt our might. Our borders will be totally SECURE. Our economy will soar. We will return LAW and ORDER to our streets, PATRIOTISM to our schools, and importantly, we will restore peace, stability, and harmony all throughout the world.


But to achieve this future, we must first rescue our nation from failed leadership. This will be the most important election in the history of our country.


Under the current administration, we are a nation in decline.


We have an INFLATION CRISIS that is making life unaffordable, ravaging the incomes of working and low-income families, and crushing our people.


We also have an ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION CRISIS – a massive invasion at our southern border that has spread misery, crime, poverty, disease, and destruction to communities all across our land.


Then there is an INTERNATIONAL CRISIS the likes of which the world has seldom seen. War is now raging in Europe and the Middle East, a growing specter of conflict hangs over Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and all of Asia, and our planet is teetering on the edge of World War Three, and this will be a war like no other.


It is time for a CHANGE. We simply cannot sustain four more years of this administration.


So tonight, I make this pledge to the great People of America.


I will END the devastating Inflation Crisis immediately, bring down interest rates, and lower the cost of energy—we will DRILL, BABY, DRILL, which will lead to a large-scale decline in prices.


I will END the Illegal Immigration Crisis by closing our border and finishing the wall, most of which I have already built.


I will END every single International Crisis that the current administration has created—including the horrible war with Russia and Ukraine, and the war caused by the attack on Israel, both of which would never have happened if I were president.


Together, we will restore VISION, STRENGTH, COMPETENCE, and COMMON SENSE to the Oval Office.


Just a few short years ago under my presidency, we had the most secure border and the best economy in the history of our country. We had NO inflation, soaring incomes, and the world was at peace.


But in less than four years, our opponents have turned incredible success into unparalleled tragedy and failure.


Today, our cities are flooded with illegal aliens. Americans are being squeezed out of the labor force and their jobs taken. Inflation has wiped out the life savings of our citizens, and forced the Middle Class into a state of depression and despair.


We cannot, and will not, let this continue. Less than four years ago, we were a great nation, and we will soon be a great nation again.


With proper leadership, every disaster we are now enduring will be fixed—and fixed quickly.


So tonight, whether you’ve supported me in the past or not, I hope you will support me in the future, because I will bring back the American Dream.

With great humility, I am asking you to be EXCITED about the future of our country.


This week, the entire Republican Party has formally adopted an agenda for America’s renewal.


First, we must get economic relief to our citizens. Starting on Day One, we will drive down prices and Make America AFFORDABLE again!


Under this administration, groceries are up 50%, gasoline is up 60%, mortgage rates have quadrupled, and you can’t get the money anyway. Total household costs have increased an average of $28,000 per family.


Republicans have a plan to bring down prices, and bring them down fast. By slashing energy costs, we will in turn reduce the cost of transportation, manufacturing, and all household goods. We have more liquid gold under our feet than any other country—we as a nation will make a fortune with oil and gas.


Next, we will end the ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars that is fueling the inflation crisis. And all of the trillions of dollars that are sitting there not yet spent, will be redirected for important projects like roads, bridges, dams, and we will not allow it to be spent on the meaningless Green New Scam.


I will END the Electric Vehicle Mandate on Day One—thereby saving the U.S. auto industry from complete obliteration, and saving U.S. customers thousands of dollars per car.


I will bring auto jobs back to our country, through the proper use of taxes, tariffs, and incentives, and will not allow massive auto manufacturing plants to be built in Mexico, China, or other countries, where they send the product back to the United States, and steal our jobs, creating a hopeless situation for our companies and autoworkers.


We have long been taken advantage of by other countries, often being considered our allies. We lose jobs and revenue, they gain everything, and wipe out our businesses. I stopped it four years ago, and I will stop it again. We will not let countries come in, take our jobs, and plunder our nation.


The way they will sell their product in America is to BUILD it in America, and ONLY in America. This will create massive jobs and wealth for our country.


At the center of our plan for economic relief are massive tax cuts for workers—and that includes NO TAX ON TIPS. That means if you are a restaurant worker, bartender, hospitality worker, caddy, barber, mover, driver, or anyone else who relies on tip income, your tips will be 100% YOURS.


I gave the biggest tax cut in history, bigger than the Reagan Tax Cuts, but I am going to lower taxes still further.


By contrast, Democrats have promised to end the Trump Tax Cuts and impose a record-setting $5 trillion tax hike. I am going to LOWER taxes—Democrats are going to RAISE taxes.


I am going to PROTECT Social Security and Medicare—Democrats are going to DESTROY Social Security and Medicare.


Under my plan, incomes will skyrocket, inflation will vanish, jobs will come roaring back, and the Middle Class will prosper like never before.


But no hope or dream we have for America can succeed unless we stop the illegal immigrant invasion at our Southern Border.


At the heart of the Republican platform is our pledge to end this border nightmare, and to fully restore the sacred and sovereign borders of the United States of America—on Day One.


Less than four years ago, I handed this administration the strongest border in American history.


We ended all catch-and-release. Shut down asylum fraud. Stopped human trafficking, and forged historic agreements to keep illegal aliens on foreign soil.


Under the Trump Administration, if you came in illegally, you were apprehended immediately and deported.


The current administration terminated every single one of those great Trump policies that I put in place.

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Drone Attack in Tel Aviv: 1 Dead, 10 Wounded

An apparent drone attack that was claimed by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia hit central Tel Aviv in the early hours of Friday, killing one man and wounding ten others, the Israeli military and emergency services said.

The explosion, which did not trigger air raid alarms, occurred hours after the Israeli military confirmed it had killed a senior commander of the Iran-backed Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon.

“An initial inquiry indicates that the explosion in Tel Aviv was caused by the falling of an aerial target, and no sirens were activated. The incident is under thorough review,” the military said in a statement.

The attack on Tel Aviv is likely to fan fears about further fallout from the Gaza war, as the Houthis and other Iranian proxies side with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It said air patrols had been increased to protect Israeli airspace but said it had not ordered new civil defence measures, however the mayor of Tel Aviv said the city, Israel’s economic centre, had been moved to a state of heightened alert.

A spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi militants, which like Hezbollah are backed by Iran, said the group had attacked Tel Aviv with a drone and would continue to target Israel in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza war.

In a televised speech, spokesperson Yahya Saree called Tel Aviv a primary target “within the range of our weapons”.

Israel’s emergency services said the body of a 50 year-old man was found in an apartment close to the explosion and said the circumstances were being investigated.

Four people were taken to hospital with slight shrapnel injuries and four others were treated for shock. All of them were later released, the hospital said.

Footage from the site showed an apparent impact on a building located close to U.S. embassy premises in Tel Aviv. Broken glass could be seen strewn across the city pavements as crowds of onlookers gathered nearby. The site was sealed off by police tape.

Israeli media said fragments from an drone of a kind widely used by Iranian-backed militia groups in the region had been recovered nearby.

Israel has been exchanging daily missile and artillery fire with Hezbollah along its northern border and in southern Lebanon since the start of the war in Gaza, prompting fears of a wider regional conflict if the situation escalates.

The Houthis have also stepped up attacks against Israel and Western targets, saying they are acting in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Israel invaded the Gaza Strip following an attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel in October last year.

Go deeper ( 2 min. read ) ➝

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