WATCH: Chris Stapleton Delivers Moving Rendition of National Anthem at Super Bowl LVII
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Country star Chris Stapleton delivered a moving rendition of the national anthem on Sunday at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona that left many in tears, including players.

Before the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles played in the worlds biggest game, the 44-year-old country singer delivered what many on social media are calling one of the best renditions of the “Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl.


Eagles coach Nick Sirianni could be seen on camera with tears pouring down his cheeks as the “Tennessee Whiskey” hitmaker belted out one incredible line after another.

Philadelphia lineman Jason Kelce, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones, and many more were clearly moved by Stapleton’s performance.

Pop star Pink tweeted that, “[ChrisStapleton] my good lord — you and Whitney own the national anthem. Forever and ever.”

One person wrote, “A Chris Stapleton National Anthem just hits different. #SuperBowl.”

“Kentucky proud! [ChrisStapleton just crushed the national anthem and made me cry,” another tweeted.

While another wrote, “Chris Stapleton just delivered one of the best National Anthem performances I’ve heard in a long time.”

Immediately after the “Broken Halos” hitmaker left people in tears, fans witnessed an all-female fly over as players from both teams waited to play against each other.

Emmy-award winner and Golden Globe-nominate Sheryl Lee Ralph started things off Sunday by singing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the black national anthem. She was followed by twelve-time Grammy winner, Babyface, who sang a great version of “America the Beautiful,” just before the eight-time Grammy winner brought down the house.

Stapleton, known for hit songs like “Fire Away” shared the news in January with his 1.8 million followers on Instagram that he would perform on the world’s biggest stage.

The line-up last year for Super Bowl LVI in Inglewood, California, included artist Mickey Guyton, who sang the national anthem; R&B hitmaker Jhené Aiko, who performed “America the Beautiful”; and the gospel duo Mary Mary, who sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as they were accompanied by the L.A. Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra.

It was previously announced that Rihanna would headline the halftime show following last year’s star-studded performance from Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar.

Read 3 Comments
  • John says:

    Just wondering if all the black racist woke dope anti-American black fake victims were on their knees when this man was playing the National Anthem with such talent, I don’t need my national anthem blackified by communist Antichrist black racist demons and anti-white programmed indoctrinated communist Democrat jealous haters, so when it comes to their fake black national anthem placing my countries original, I’ll be one more fake victim entitlement kneeling n**ge* just like them, for disrespect my American real national anthem and Heritage you get it right back that is the scales of Justice in a country I served & most of them didn’t.

  • Lorac says:

    Chris Stapleton is a 100% class act. Love his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

    • THOMAS says:

      Just one time I wish to hear The Star Spangler Banner played and sang as originally written !
      It is shameful and degrading to have someone always screw it up ! Put someone in place that knows the words and can actually can sing !

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    A powerful tornado cut a devastating path of at least 170 miles (274 kilometers) through parts of the Deep South on Friday night, killing at least 23 people in Mississippi and obliterating dozens of buildings as it stayed on the ground for more than an hour.

    The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said in a Twitter post that search and rescue teams from local and state agencies were deployed to help victims impacted by the tornadoes. The agency confirmed early Saturday that 23 people had died, four were missing and dozens were injured.

    A few minutes later, the agency warned the casualty toll could go higher, tweeting: “Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change.”

    Throughout Saturday morning, people walked around dazed and in shock as they broke through debris and fallen trees with chain saws, searching for survivors. Power lines were pinned under decades-old oaks, their roots torn from the ground.

    Wonder Bolden was holding her granddaughter, Journey, while standing outside the remnants of her mother’s now-leveled mobile home in Rolling Fork on Saturday morning.

    “There’s nothing left,” the 44-year-old hospice worker said, looking out at the car that had landed on top of a diner that used to be 60 feet (18 meters) away from her driveway. “There’s just the breeze that’s running, going through — just nothing.”

    Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves tweeted Saturday that he was headed to the town, describing what happened as “a tragedy.”

    Video shot as daylight broke in the town showed houses reduced to piles of rubble, cars flipped on their sides and trees stripped of their branches. Occasionally, in the midst of the wreckage, a home would be spared, seemingly undamaged.

    The National Weather Service sent crews to survey the tornado, but preliminary information based on estimates from storm reports and radar data indicate that it was on the ground for more than an hour, said Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Jackson, Mississippi, office.

    “That’s rare — very, very rare,” he said, attributing the wide path to widespread atmospheric instability. “All the ingredients were there.”

    Perrilloux said preliminary findings are that the tornado began its path of destruction just southwest of Rolling Fork before continuing northeast toward the rural communities of Midnight and Silver City before moving toward Tchula, Black Hawk and Winona.

    The National Weather Service issued an alert Friday night as the storm was hitting that didn’t mince words: “To protect your life, TAKE COVER NOW!”

    Sheddrick Bell, his partner and two daughters crouched in a closet of their Rolling Fork home for 15 minutes as the tornado barreled through. The family listened as the tornado winds tore through, bursting windows and toppling trees. His daughters wouldn’t stop crying. He could hear his partner praying out loud beside him.

    “I was just thinking, ‘If I can still open my eyes and move around, I’m good,’” he said.

    Cornel Knight told The Associated Press that he, his wife and their 3-year-old daughter were at a relative’s home in Rolling Fork when the tornado struck. He said the sky was dark but “you could see the direction from every transformer that blew.”

    Knight said he watched from a doorway until the tornado was, he estimated, less than a mile away. Then he told everyone in the house to take cover in a hallway. He said the tornado struck another relative’s home across a wide corn field from where he was. A wall in that home collapsed and trapped several people inside.

    Royce Steed, the emergency manager in Humphreys County, where Silver City is located, likened the damage to the deadly 2011 Tuscaloosa–Birmingham tornado and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

    “It is almost complete devastation,” he said after crews switched finished searching buildings and switched to damage assessments. “This little old town, I don’t know what the population is, it is more or less wiped off the map.”

    In the town, the roof had torn off Noel Crook’s home, where he lives there with his wife.

    “Yesterday was yesterday and that’s gone – there’s nothing I can do about it,” Crook said. “Tomorrow is not here yet. You don’t have any control over it, so here I am today.”

    The tornado looked so powerful on radar as it neared the town of Amory, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Tupelo, that one Mississippi meteorologist paused to say a prayer after new radar information came in.

    “Oh man,” WTVA’s Matt Laubhan said on the live broadcast. “Dear Jesus, please help them. Amen.”

    The damage in Rolling Fork was so widespread that several storm chasers — who follow severe weather and often put up livestreams showing dramatic funnel clouds — pleaded for search and rescue help. Others abandoned the chase to drive injured people to the hospitals themselves.

    The Sharkey-Issaquena Community Hospital on the west side of Rolling Fork was damaged, WAPT reported.

    The Sharkey County Sheriff’s Office in Rolling Fork reported gas leaks and people trapped in piles of rubble, according to the Vicksburg News. Some law enforcement units were unaccounted for in Sharkey, according to the the newspaper.

    According to, 40,000 customers were without power in Tennessee; 15,000 customers were left without power in Mississippi; and 20,000 were without power in Alabama.

    Rolling Fork and the surrounding area has wide expanses of cotton, corn and soybean fields and catfish farming ponds. More than a half-dozen shelters were opened in the state by emergency officials.

    This was a supercell, the nasty type of storm that brews the deadliest tornado and most damaging hail in the United States, said Northern Illinois University meteorology professor Walker Ashley. What’s more, this one happened at nighttime, which is “the worst kind,” he said.

    Meteorologists saw a big tornado risk coming for the general region, not the specific area, as much as a week in advance, said Ashley, who was discussing it with his colleagues as early as March 17. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center put out a long-range alert for the area on March 19, he said.

    Tornado experts like Ashley have been warning about increased risk exposure in the region because of people building more.

    “You mix a particularly socioeconomically vulnerable landscape with a fast-moving, long-track nocturnal tornado, and, disaster will happen,” Ashley said in an email.

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    DeSantis Gives Direct Answer When Asked About Joining Trump Ticket



    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis explained on Thursday that he is “more of an executive guy” in response to a question about whether or not he would join a potential ticket as former President Trump’s running mate come 2024.

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    “We’re able to make things happen, and I think that’s probably what I am best suited for,” said DeSantis.

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    “The whole party, regardless of any personalities or individuals, you have got to be looking at 2024 and saying, if the Biden regime continues, and they’re able to pick up 10-15 seats in the House and a Senate seat or two, this country is going to be in really, really bad shape,” he said.

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    “Well, I would say if you look at some of the change from that … the major thing that’s happened that’s changed his tune was my re-election victory,” DeSantis told Fox Nation’s “Piers Morgan Uncensored” last week.

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    Thousands of Trump Supporters Line Up Hours Before He Is Due to Speak in Waco, Texas



    Hours before Donald Trump is set to speak in Waco, Texas, his fans have already begun lining up to see their presidential candidate.

    The former president, 76, is set to hold a rally in Waco this afternoon, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the FBI raid on Branch Davidians formerly led by David Koresh.

    Thousands of Trump fans dressed in the Republican’s merchandise, from ‘Trump Girl’ shirts to Make America Great Again hats, lined up in droves as early as 7am.

    The event officially starts at 2pm and Trump is expected to give a 60 to 90-minute speech around 5pm. The Branch Davidians are said to be excited about Trump’s weekend rally in Waco.

    The Branch Davidians are said to consider the former president as ‘the battering ram that God is using to bring down the Deep State of Babylon.’

    The 1993 Waco siege was a 51-day standoff between the US government and the Branch Davidians.

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    Pentagon Pulls Radical Anti-White DEI Official from Key Post



    A radical activist who has made anti-white comments is no longer in charge of “diversity” at the schools children of military members attend — though she hasn’t been fired or disciplined, the Pentagon said Thursday.

    Kelisa Wing, the former Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Chief for the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) schools, made numerous comments such as: “I’m so exhausted at these white folx in these PD sessions this lady actually had the CAUdacity to say that black people can be racist too… I had to stop the session and give Karen the BUSINESS.”

    She wrote books with lines such as “If you are White you might feel bad about hurting others or you might feel afraid to lose this privilege” — as well as one called “What Does It Mean to Defund the Police.” She also said that people needed to “agitate, agitate, agitate” for “revolutionary” changes, and that “If another Karen tells me about her feelings … I might lose it.”

    In September, 22 members of Congress called for an internal investigation, writing that “we are concerned that Ms. Wing’s rhetoric is not in line with the values and standards of the DoD.” They asked “Has Ms. Wing’s radical ideology been integrated into the curriculum proposed by DoDEA?”

    The Pentagon said soon after that it would launch an investigation, but it did not follow up with a letter until three hours before a congressional hearing Thursday examining the impact of DEI policies on the military, according to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

    “The employee was speaking in a personal capacity… as a result, the Director, DoDEA took no disciplinary action,” the letter said. “The Director, DoDEA concluded that it was appropriate for the employee to continue working for DoDEA. Separately, as part of a headquarters restructuring, the employee was reassigned to another position that does not include diversity, equity, and inclusion,” it added.

    Despite taking six months to investigate, the letter’s author, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert R. Cisneros, seemed unfamiliar with the topic when Stefanik grilled him at the hearing.


    He said he had “no idea” what “caudacity” meant, though he also said “I do agree that this is not acceptable. It is not condoned. It is not something that I condone. It is not condoned by DoDEA or the Department of Defense.”

    He would not commit to publicly sharing the results of the investigation, citing Wing’s privacy. He was unaware that Wing’s own books were in the libraries of the schools she oversaw.

    Stefanik retorted: “You should know, you are a DoD official … One reason you should know that is in her own presentation as a DoD employee at a DoDEA summit, she stated, ‘My passion work is dismantling disparate discipline systems, and I am hugely passionate about dismantling the school to prison pipeline, I have written a book [called] Promises and Possibilities Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline — shameless plug.’ That’s her words.”

    Stefanik said she suspects the “restructuring” was due to the public becoming aware of Wing’s true feelings. “She should have been fired completely, but she was at least moved somewhere else, not dealing with our kids’ educational systems,” she said.

    However, the comments that the DoD determined were merely “personal” were only one of the issues raised by, a leading government transparency organization. OpenTheBooks found that while working as a DOD employee, she also ran a consulting firm called Promises & Possibilities LLC that has collected tens of thousands of dollars from other sources.

    A FOIA request showed that New Jersey’s Cresskill School District paid Wing $26,200 simultaneous to her DOD job, before cancelling her contract following news of her offensive statements. “Despite a full-time job based in Virginia, Wing often spent time during the work week conducting virtual or in-person training sessions for Cresskill staff,” OpenTheBooks found. The DOD refused to fulfill OpenTheBooks’ FOIA request for timecards and conflict-of-interest disclosures that could show whether this amounted to misconduct. (Wing told the Military Times that “I disclose to my employer my private activities as required.”)

    OpenTheBooks founder Adam Andrzejewski told The Daily Wire Friday that “Wing had stated that her mission was to ‘… uproot, tear down, rip up and destroy inequitable spaces.’ In addition to her six-figure GS-14 government job, Wing was also collecting tens of thousands of dollars through her private consultancy, offering these diversity and equity materials to public schools at large. This included the same professional trainings for staff that she was giving teachers in DODEA schools.”

    “It took multiple investigations from us and multiple hearings from Congress to finally get some answers and some action from the Department of Defense. Unfortunately, there are still outstanding questions for the Pentagon, including whether they plan to eliminate the role or find a replacement for Wing. The DoD also should account for how much public money is being spent on DEI material and trainings all across the Defense Department,” he said.

    A DoDEA web page previously said “The DODEA DEI Division was established in 2021 to create equitable access to opportunities, resources, and support for students, employees, and families through examination of beliefs, policies, practices, and interactions to eliminate inequities and disparities. The DEI division will advance equity and cultural proficiency by interrupting systems of inequity in our policies, practices, and procedures by creating a climate that ensures diversity, equity and inclusivity for all students, staff and families.” Now, it redirects to a generic DODEA page.

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    Biden Unveils New Restrictions on Air Conditioners Despite Backlash Over Gas Stove Restrictions



    Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm unveiled new climate and efficiency restrictions on air conditioners despite widespread criticism the Biden administration received after officials recently announced restrictions on gas stoves.

    The new energy efficiency standards, which will apply to room air conditioners and portable air cleaners, will enter into effect next year. The Energy Department contended that the new rules will assist with “tackling the climate crisis,” as well as save consumers $25 billion over the next three decades. Room air conditioners are more commonly called window air conditioners.

    “Today’s announcement builds on the historic actions President Biden took last year to strengthen outdated energy efficiency standards, which will help save on people’s energy bills and reduce our nation’s carbon footprint,” Granholm said in a press release. She added that the Energy Department will “continue to engage with our public and private sector partners to finalize additional proposals like today’s that lower household energy costs and deliver the safer, healthier communities that every American deserves.”

    The rules are the first federal standards for portable air cleaners. The Energy Department asserted that the regulations mark a consensus among “manufacturers, the manufacturing trade association, efficiency advocates, consumer advocacy groups, states, and utilities.”

    The policies come weeks after multiple senior officials in the Biden administration repeatedly backtracked on new energy efficiency standards for gas stoves amid mounting criticism. Controversy over the potential regulations emerged earlier this year when Consumer Product Safety Commission Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in an interview that gas stoves are a “hidden hazard” and declared that “any option is on the table” for a nationwide ban. Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric later posted a statement asserting that neither he nor the agency planned to outlaw gas stoves.

    The Energy Department then unveiled forthcoming efficiency standards which would impact approximately “half of the total gas cooking top market.” Proposed regulations would introduce a new “maximum integrated annual energy consumption” standard for gas stoves, marking a change from previous regulations that prohibited constant burning pilot lights in gas stoves, but placed no limits on energy consumption. Officials noted that “products achieving these standard levels are already commercially available for all product classes covered by this proposal” and cited “important and robust” climate benefits in documents justifying the new rules.

    Some 38% of households in the United States use gas stoves for cooking, with the figure approaching 70% for states such as California and New Jersey, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Those who use gas stoves often cite the easier temperature control offered by the appliances relative to electric alternatives.

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    WATCH: Massive Explosion at Pennsylvania Chocolate Factory Kills 5, Leaves 6 Missing



    An explosion at a chocolate factory in Pennsylvania on Friday killed two people and left five people missing, authorities said. One person was pulled from the rubble overnight.

    Rescue crews using dogs and imaging equipment continued to search through the rubble Saturday — hours after the blast that erupted just before 5 p.m. Friday at the R.M. Palmer Co. plant in the borough of West Reading, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.

    West Reading officials said Saturday they could confirm only two fatalities. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency had earlier said there were five fatalities, citing county emergency management officials, but after an update from the county also indicated that two had died and five were missing.

    Chief of Police Wayne Holben said the rescue of one person from the rubble “provides hope that others still may be found.” Rescue workers were continuing a thorough search using specialized equipment and techniques. Officials said dogs and imaging equipment were being used to look for signs of life during the careful removal of debris.

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    Gov. Josh Shapiro, who visited the site Saturday along with the emergency management agency director, vowed “any and all commonwealth resources needed to support ongoing recovery efforts — in addition to the extensive assets that have already been deployed.”

    A team of structural engineers and K-9s from a state urban search and rescue task force had been assisting since last night and additional personnel arrived Saturday, he said. A state police fire marshal was also assisting in the investigation, he said.

    Philip Wert, vice president of the West Reading council, said the building had been constructed in the late 1950s or early 1960s, and officials had to “access our archive to pull the blueprints last night, in order to get a better layout of the building and the mechanicals and the utilities, where things are.”

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    Officials said R.M. Palmer, which borough manager Dean Murray described as “a staple of the borough,” was expected to make a statement.

    R.M. Palmer’s website says it has been making “chocolate novelties” since 1948 and now has 850 employees at its West Reading headquarters. Its Facebook page includes entries earlier this month advertising Easter treats such as chocolate bunnies and “the newest milk chocolate hollow” in its “bunny family” as one with jelly beans inside. The company is by no means the region’s best-known chocolate manufacturer, with Hershey less than an hour to the west.

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    Women’s College Basketball Player Charged with Assault After Punching Opponent in Handshake Line



    Memphis Tigers’ player Jamirah Shutes has been charged with assault after appearing to punch a Bowling Green State University player in the face following their game on Thursday during the Women’s National Invitation Tournament in Ohio.

    On Friday, BGSU released a statement that read, “Following Thursday’s unwarranted physical incident after the WNIT home game, the Bowling Green State University Police Department has charged a member of the Memphis Women’s Basketball team with assault.”

    “Additionally, BGSU Athletics is conducting its own review,” the statement added. “Violence is never acceptable and our priority remains the health, safety and support of our student-athlete, who is recovering and doing well.”

    “This is an active investigation in conjunction with the City of Bowling Green Prosecutor, and no further comment is available at this time,” the statement concluded.

    After BGSU beat Memphis 73-60 in the third round of the tournament, the players were walking through the postgame handshake line when Falcons player Elissa Brett reportedly exchanged words with Shutes, Outkick reported.

    Shutes is then is seen in the clip below reaching out and appearing to punch Brett in the face. Brett falls to the ground as one of Shutes’ teammates pulls the Tigers player away from the area and Brett’s teammates surround her, calling for help.


    After Brett was hit, the crowd began to boo and coaches pointed in the direction of Shutes.

    Bowling Green coach Robyn Fralich later said the school was in the process of “figuring all those things out,” as to what went down in the handshake line after the match, the New York Post noted.

    BGSU released a statement posted on Twitter that there was a police investigation into the incident.

    “The incident that took place following tonight’s home WNIT game has been turned over to the BGSU Police Department,” Bowling Green’s statement read.

    “Bowling Green State University Athletics does not make comments about active police investigations,” it added. “Our priority is with the health, safety and support of our student-athletes.”

    Memphis later tweeted a post showing the final score and subsequently turned off the ability for social media users to comment.

    The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported that Shutes reportedly took an elbow to the face within the final seconds of the opening quarter of the game, ESPN noted. She returned to start the second half.

    Bowling Green will now move on to the next round of the tournament and face the Florida Gators at Stroh Center in Bowling Green on Monday March 27.

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    Reality Star Quits OnlyFans, Removes Facial and Butt Fillers After Becoming a Christian



    Former stripper and OnlyFans content creator Blac Chyna explained in an interview published Friday why she chose to quit the platform and reverse some plastic surgery procedures.

    The 34-year-old celebrity said her conversion to Christianity inspired her to pursue a different way of life which didn’t include the “degrading” nature of OnlyFans, despite how lucrative it was for her. She also started using her given name, Angela White.

    “I’m not doing OnlyFans anymore. I’m kind of past that,” White said during an interview with The Daily Mail. “It is one of those things where I did what I needed to do at that moment because of the circumstances I was in.”

    “Besides, with me being baptized, that’s just not what God will want me to do. It’s kind of degrading,” she continued.

    The model joined the adult-oriented subscription site OnlyFans in 2020 and went on to become one of the top-earning performers on the platform, the publication noted. While some outlets estimated White was raking in $20 million per month, she has since said she made about $1 million per year thanks to monthly and annual subscriptions.

    White, who was once engaged to Rob Kardashian and shares a child with him, announced she was baptized as a Christian in 2022. She told The Daily Mail, “I think my baptism on my birthday played a big part. Everything has been kind of trickling down for me and lining up perfectly.”

    “Now I’m just going by faith. I’m not even really going by like the Blac Chyna way or the Angela way. Let me just let God lead me,” she added.

    The influencer also spoke about why she decided to pursue Christianity.

    “I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired of the same repetitive things,” White explained. “I thought, ‘Let me dig deep and see what it is that I’m doing wrong.’ Because obviously there’s something I’m not doing right, even if I think I am. Now I’m doing the right thing to the best of my ability so I can become whole.”

    Besides just changing her career, White decided to change her appearance, which meant removing her breast implants and dissolving fillers in her buttocks and face. White said fans have been very encouraging and supportive as she documents that process on social media.

    “As women, we want to look the best and like as fake as possible and plastic and everything needs to be perfect in this and that. But that’s not normal, that comes from insecurity and different things of that sort and just being in that certain kind of life and lifestyle,” the influencer told the publication.

    “So I’m kind of done with that type of lifestyle and I just want to step into my own and own it,” White said, clarifying that while she’s not against cosmetic procedures, she thinks she personally took it too far.

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    House Republicans Introduce Resolution to Remove Kamala Harris From Role as Border Czar



    Republican Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson on Friday reintroduced a resolution, first obtained by the Daily Caller, that calls for Vice President Kamala Harris to be removed from her position as border czar.

    Friday marks two years since President Joe Biden appointed Harris as head of the border crisis, something Republicans are saying she and the president have completely failed to handle.

    “Kamala Harris has done nothing to ‘address the root cause of migration’ or stop the influx of illegal immigrants coming across our border daily. She continues to sit by as the number of illegal immigrants coming across our border skyrockets, fentanyl deaths explode, and CBP officers are left to fend for themselves. She has completely betrayed the American people by blatantly disregarding her duties as Border Czar,” Jackson told the Caller before introducing the resolution.

    “Enough is enough! President Biden must remove Kamala Harris and replace her with someone who will put Americans first and stop the crisis at our southern border. Politics should never compromise our national security. We need change now!,” Jackson added.


    There were 164,973 encounters with migrants at the southern border in February of 2022, which is up 7% from January and also a 63% increase from the previous year, according to new U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data.

    Jackson has visited the border three times whereas Harris has visited the southern border just once. Harris has downplayed calls for her to make more appearances in states like Texas and Arizona as “political games.” Jackson has also introduced a bill requiring executive branch officials tasked with immigration policy to visit the southern border and issue reports about conditions.

    The original cosponsors of the resolution include Pennsylvania Rep. Dan Meuser, California Rep. Mike Garcia, Texas Rep. Brian Babin and Texas Rep. Randy Weber.

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    Here Are the 5 Republicans Who Voted Against the GOP’s Parents Bill of Rights



    House Republicans passed an education bill on Friday that emphasizes parental rights in the classroom, leaning into a hot-button, culture war issue that has gained popularity in GOP politics across the country.

    The legislation, titled the Parents Bill of Rights, passed in a 213-208 vote, and it now heads to the Senate for consideration. It is highly unlikely, however, that the Democratic-controlled chamber will take up the measure, with House Democrats dubbing the bill the “Politics over Parents Act.”

    Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Mike Lawler (N.Y.) and Matt Rosendale (Mont.) sided with all voting Democrats in opposing the measure.

    The measure would require schools to publish their curricula publicly, mandate that parents be allowed to meet with their children’s teachers and make schools give information to parents when violence occurs on school grounds.

    It would also demand that parents receive a list of books and reading materials accessible at the school library and give parents a say when schools are crafting or updating their policies and procedures for student privacy, among other tenets.

    At a time when Republicans have accused Democrats of painting parents as a threat and in the wake of contentious school board meetings around the country, the legislation also says school and government officials “should never seek to use law enforcement to criminalize the lawfully expressed concerns of parents about their children’s education,” and that the “First Amendment guarantees parents and other stakeholders the right to assemble and express their opinions on decisions affecting their children and communities.”

    “This bill is not complex or complicated,” the bill’s sponsor Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.) said during debate on the House floor Thursday. “Nor should it be partisan or polarizing, and contrary to what you may hear from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, it is not an attack on our hard-working teachers, who will always be the heroes in my eyes.”

    “It is not an attempt to have Congress dictate their curriculum or determine the books in the library,” she continued. “Instead, this bill aims to bring more transparency and accountability to education, allowing parents to be informed and when they have questions and concerns to lawfully bring them to their local school boards.”

    The chamber also approved a number of amendments to the bill, including one sponsored by Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) that says parents have a right to know if the school their child attends operates, sponsors or facilitates athletic programs or activities that allow transgender girls or women to participate in a sport that does not correspond with their sex assigned at birth.

    Another approved amendment, also sponsored by Boebert, says parents have a right to know if their child’s school allows a transgender girl or woman to use a bathroom or changing room that does not correspond with the sex assigned at birth.

    Letlow first introduced the legislation in 2021, when education emerged as a controversial issue amid protests at school board meetings that railed against COVID-19 restrictions, curricula and books pertaining to gender and sexuality, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She proposed the measure after Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) won his race on a platform that emphasized education and parental rights, making him the first Republican to win a statewide election in the Old Dominion in more than a decade.

    The measure, however, did not receive a vote in the Democratic-controlled House during the last Congress, leading Letlow to reintroduce it at the beginning of March. House Republicans during the 2022 campaign cycle vowed to advance the legislation if they were to win the majority that November.

    Although the bill is unlikely to get attention in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the House vote on the measure will almost certainly be used by Republicans to fuel attacks against Democrats on education, which has become an issue of heightened importance heading into the 2024 election cycle. Republicans have sought to paint Democrats as working to cut parents out of their children’s education.

    House Democrats this week argued the GOP’s bill does not give parents any new rights in education and that it could make it easier for books to be banned in schools.

    More than 1,600 books were banned in schools and libraries during the 2021-2022 school year, according to a report from PEN America, with the majority of the prohibitions occurring in Texas and Florida. A number of the books banned included LGBTQ themes and addressed issues of race and racism.

    “This legislation has nothing to do with parental involvement, parental engagement,” House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said on the House floor Thursday. “Parental empowerment has everything to do with jamming the extreme MAGA Republican ideology down the throats of the children and the parents of the United States of America.”

    “I think what we’re seeing here today is the Republicans’ attempt, Republican Party’s attempt, to take some of the most heinous legislation that we are seeing passed on the state level to attack our trans and LGBT as well as people from marginalized communities right to exist in schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said during Thursday’s debate.

    Republicans, however, pushed back on the idea that this bill will ban books. Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), the chairwoman for the House Committee on Education, noted on a number of occasions that the legislation mentions nothing about banning books.

    “The context here matters that we’re talking about legislation in this body to just ensure that parents know what’s in the libraries and what’s in the curriculum,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said. “It does nothing more.”

    “Yet, that’s the great offense, but in trying to perpetuate this myth about federal perpetuation of so-called book banning — and let me be clear, yes, some local jurisdictions removing certain books, absolutely, and God bless them for it,” he added. “Books about explicit sex acts. Let that hang over the chamber.”

    Democrats also highlighted their support for student-parent engagement, but said they don’t believe the legislation does anything to promote it.

    “First, let me be clear, the House Democrats believe parental engagement is central to student success,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Committee on Education and Workforce. “Parental engagement is, in schools is closely linked to better student behavior, higher academic achievement and enhanced social skills, but, unfortunately, the Politics over Parents act does not take meaningful steps to increase or support parental engagement.”

    “Congress has a constitutional authority to write laws. What a mockery and betrayal of that duty it would be to pass this stunt of a bill that doesn’t address a single priority of parents, bans books, undermines teachers and hurts our kids, Democrats are the party of parents and families,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said.

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    Fetterman Will ‘Be Back Soon,’ Comms Director Says



    Democratic Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who checked into Walter Reed National Military Medical Center more than a month ago due to clinical depression, will return “soon,” according to communications director Joe Calvello.

    “He’ll be back soon, at least over a week, but soon,” Joe Calvello noted Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

    Calvello said the lawmaker is getting daily in-person briefings from chief of staff Adam Jentleson, according to the outlet.

    “While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” a statement released last month by Jentleson said. “On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis,” the statement noted at the time.

    Earlier in February, Fetterman had been taken to George Washington University Hospital after experiencing lightheadedness, but he was released later the same week. “In addition to the CT, CTA, and MRI tests ruling out a stroke, his EEG test results came back normal, with no evidence of seizures,” a statement released at the time by Calvello noted.

    The left-wing politician had a pacemaker with a defibrillator implanted last year after suffering a stroke — he has been having problems with auditory processing in the wake of the stroke.

    He took office earlier this year after defeating Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Keystone State’s 2022 U.S. Senate race.

    Earlier this month, Jentleson indicated that Fetterman was “well on his way to recovery.”

    “Society’s expectations and traditional gender roles play a part in why men are less likely to discuss or seek help for their mental health. As always, John continues to challenge the conversation. So human, so kind, so cute,” Fetterman’s wife Gisele tweeted.

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    Package with Suspicious Powder Delivered to Bragg’s Office — ‘Alvin, I’ll Kill You’



    Emergency personnel have responded after a package with suspicious white powder was delivered to the mail room for the New York City building housing the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, according to police.

    A law enforcement source confirmed there was a note saying “Alvin – I’ll kill you” in the envelope. District Attorney Alvin Bragg is currently weighing whether to proceed with an indictment against former President Donald Trump for alleged hush money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

    The envelope delivered by the U.S. Postal Service Friday has been “deemed non-hazardous” at the scene, the mail room to the DA’s office, officials told Fox News.

    Police responded to the scene shortly after 12 p.m., and as yet, no one has been ordered to evacuate.

    The grand jury involved in the Trump case has been meeting in the building where the suspicious package was reported, but it does not sit on Fridays.

    The grand jury was scheduled to meet Wednesday to hear from at least one additional witness in the case, but proceedings were canceled.

    Two familiar sources told Fox News Digital on Wednesday that the grand jury was canceled amid “major dissension” within the district attorney’s office. One source claimed the district attorney is having trouble convincing the grand jury on potential charges due to the “weakness” of the case.

    Trump has not been formally notified about whether Bragg actually plans to bring charges against him, according to sources familiar.

    Last week, Trump posted on Truth Social that leaks from the district attorney’s office indicated he would be arrested on Tuesday. He encouraged his supporters to protest the expected indictment and accused Bragg’s office of conducting a political “witch hunt.”

    After the supposed arrest did not happen, Bragg wrote in a letter responding to several leading House Republicans’ requests for information on the Trump probe that the former president “created a false expectation” that his arrest was imminent.

    In a private memo sent to employees, Bragg decried attempts by Trump and GOP lawmakers to “intimidate” their office.

    “We do not tolerate attempts to intimidate our office or threaten the rule of law in New York,” Bragg said in an email to employees over the weekend that was obtained by Politico and confirmed by Fox News Digital. “Our law enforcement partners will ensure that any specific or credible threats against the office will be fully investigated and that the proper safeguards are in place so all 1,600 of us have a secure work environment.”

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    Iran Proxies Fire Missiles at U.S. Base in Syria After Airstrikes Kill Eight Militants



    Iran-backed proxy groups fired missiles at a U.S. military base near Al-Omar oil field in Syria on Friday after the U.S. killed eight militants in retaliatory airstrikes.

    White House national security spokesman John Kirby called the Friday missile attack ineffective. No U.S. injuries were reported, according to Reuters.

    The attack came after the United States delivered airstrikes against what the U.S. military said were facilities belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The American airstrikes hit a munition warehouse, a control building, and an intelligence-collection site, killing eight militants, according to The New York Times.

    U.S. forces suffered one casualty after a drone of “Iranian origin” struck a U.S. coalition base on Thursday afternoon. Five U.S. service members and another contractor were also injured in the attack.

    The family of the dead contractor was notified Thursday night, Kirby said during a Friday morning appearance on CNN. The contractor was an American citizen.

    Kirby stated that the U.S. would protect its service members and bases in the wake of the deadly attack. He said that the U.S. has made clear to Iran that it should not be involved in militant attacks on U.S.-led forces in Syria or elsewhere. He noted that Iran has continued to arm and train militants in Syria, however.

    Asked if the U.S. would seek war with Iran over the drone strike, Kirby said no.

    “We don’t seek a war with Iran. We’re not looking for an armed conflict with that country, or another war in the region,” Kirby said. “We do seek to make sure we can protect our people and our facilities against these Iran-backed groups. These are militant groups that Iran is funding, resourcing, even training. And they’ve got facilities there, Iran and the IRGC has facilities there in Syria from which a lot of that resourcing and training and facilitation occurs, and it was against some of those targets again that we struck back last night.”

    Militant attacks on U.S. forces are common in Syria. Since 2021, the Pentagon estimates that Iran-backed groups have carried out 78 attacks on U.S. troops in the country.

    The U.S. military has over 900 troops and hundreds more contractors in Syria working with Kurdish fighters to ensure that the Islamic State, which controlled much of Syria and Iraq in 2014, cannot rebuild itself, according to the Times. Though the Islamic State has been pushed from most of its territory, pockets of terror groups still exist and continue to attack coalition forces.

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    What Is This ‘Unidentified Object’ Right Next to Nord Stream? — See the Photo



    Danish investigators invited the Nord Stream pipelines’ Russian operator to inspect and help recover an unidentified object found near the only remaining intact pipeline on Thursday.

    Last week, the pipelines’ Swiss-based operator found the cylindrical object jutting over a foot out of the seabed during an inspection of the last intact pipeline, according to Reuters. The other three pipelines that make up the Nord Stream network, which carries natural gas from Russia to Germany, were blown up in September in what several countries’ investigators have said was an intentional act of sabotage.

    “With a view to further clarifying the nature of the object, Danish authorities have decided to salvage the object with assistance from the Danish Defence,” Denmark’s Energy Agency said in a statement Thursday. “The Danish Energy Agency has in that context invited the owner of the pipeline, Nord Stream 2 AG, to participate in the operation.”

    Despite months of investigating, officials have yet to formally accuse anyone of blowing up the pipelines. German investigators have said the party of a yacht rented several weeks before the explosions is raising red flags. The mysterious crew, which rented the boat on September 6, has ties to Ukraine, investigators said.

    Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, dismissed questions that Ukraine’s government had been involved in the Nord Stream explosions.

    “Although I enjoy collecting amusing conspiracy theories about the [Ukrainian] government, I have to say: [Ukraine] has nothing to do with the Baltic Sea mishap and has no information about ‘pro-[Ukraine] sabotage groups,’” Podolyak said in a post on social media.

    Investigators say that the 50-foot-long yacht Andromeda, rented from a harbor in northern Germany, could have served as a staging point for divers to swim down to the pipelines on the bed of the Baltic Sea and rig them with explosives. The boat carried traces of explosives when investigators examined it.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin was under suspicion of ordering the sabotage early on, though no evidence has been found connecting Russia with the explosions. It is unclear what motive Putin would have to carry out the attack, and skeptics have pointed out that if Russia wanted the pipelines offline, it could have cut off the supply of fuel.

    Putin has dismissed reports that suggested Ukraine or pro-Ukraine militants were responsible for sabotaging the pipeline.

    “One should always look for those who are interested. And who is interested? Theoretically, of course, the United States is interested,” Putin said. The Russian president added that whoever was responsible needed state support to pull it off.

    The United States has been pointed to as a potential culprit, earning early suspicion because of some of President Joe Biden’s past opposition to Nord Stream and his pledge to “stop it.” Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who won a 1970 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting, but whose later journalism has been strongly questioned, reported in February that the United States sabotaged the pipeline with help from Norway.

    The U.S. and Norway have denied Hersh’s report, which has not been corroborated. “This is false and complete fiction,” White House spokeswoman Adrienne Watson told Hersh.

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    Death of Thiel Intimate Being Investigated as Suicide — Body Found Outside Luxury Miami Condo



    The death of male model Jeff Thomas who was allegedly involved in a romantic relationship with Peter Thiel is being investigated by police as a suicide.

    Miami police have been in contact with the German-American venture capitalist and will interview him as part of the probe, two sources with knowledge of the investigation told The Intercept.

    Thomas, 35, was found dead outside an apartment complex in Miami on March 8.

    An official cause of death has not been determined, but a police report shared with shows that Miami police were called to the Miami luxury building at 456 Brickell Avenue. Thomas was pronounced dead at 4:12pm.

    There is no suggestion of any impropriety by Thiel.

    Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and, Palantir Technologies, has been married to long-time partner Matt Danzeisen. The pair wed in October 2017 in Vienna, Austria and share two children together, sources said.

    The financier became involved with Thomas before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the news outlet.

    Thomas, whose muscular physique and handsome good looks made him a popular figure on Instagram with more than 120,000 followers.

    Many of his photos show him smiling with celebrities including, Megan Fox.

    Three days before his body was discovered outside the luxury complex Icon Brickell- situated on the bay with stunning views of the Miami River and is in close proximity to Miami’s trendy downtown area – he had gone to visit his beloved grandma.

    The day he may have jumped off the balcony, many eyewitnesses were outside the building. Animal control was present to retrieve a dog that was left in the apartment.

    In Thomas’ last social media video, posted just weeks before his death on February 28, he is seen working out in a gym, the Miami coastline partially visible through a nearby window.

    Captioning the footage, he wrote: ‘Set the tone with your warm up.’

    His final post, shared from a local spa the day of his shock death with the time stamp 11:43am, captured Thomas reclining in a plunge pool with the caption: ‘A cold plunge a day, keeps the doctor away.’

    Adding a series of hashtags, the model referenced ‘self-care’ and ‘mental health.’

    Friends, colleagues and followers have since paid tribute to the model across social media, with many praising him for his ‘positive energy.’

    Vice president of Men’s Design, Kris Haigh, wrote: ‘I met you many years ago in NY. You never failed to bring an upbeat energy every time I saw you.

    Another friend added: ‘My sweet Jeff. We were just making plans, you were just making jokes, we were just daydreaming about Europe together. It’s so hard to process, to think that there won’t be a next time.

    ‘There’s such a void. I know deep down you know that. You know we loved you so much and always wanted the best for you, the same way you wanted it for everyone else.

    ‘I’m going to miss you, your smile, your texts, your dancing so so so much.’

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    Afroman Sued By Ohio Law Enforcement Who Raided His Home



    Famed American ’90s-era rapper Afroman is being sued by seven members of a local Ohio sheriff’s office for invasion of privacy, among other claims, after the performer featured security footage of the plaintiffs raiding his home in music videos and social media posts.

    Afroman, whose legal name is Joeseph Foreman, is best known for his hit songs, including “Because I Got High” and “Colt 45.”

    In August 2022, local media reported Foreman had his home in the Tri-State area raided by four deputies, two sergeants, and a detective from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office last summer based on a search warrant claiming suspicion of drug trafficking and kidnapping. At the time of the search, Foreman accused authorities of traumatizing his children and destroying property while others held AR-15 rifles.

    The Adams County Prosecutor’s Office later said the raid failed after authorities did not submit criminal evidence to press charges, which the sheriff’s office never filed.

    Foreman produced two songs — “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door” — based on the experience, with accompanying music videos that highlighted the video footage from his wife’s cell phone and their home surveillance system, which shows the faces of the seven plaintiffs named in the lawsuit without their consent, which constitutes a misdemeanor violation under Ohio state law.

    The plaintiffs argue that Foreman used their likeness and depictions “without the authorization of any of the plaintiffs to do so” and the seven authorities “suffered humiliation, ridicule, mental distress, embarrassment and loss of reputation” from the music videos and social media posts.

    “In some instances, it has made it more difficult and even more dangerous for Plaintiffs to carry out their official duties because of comments made and attitude expressed toward them by members of the public,” the lawsuit reads, adding authorities have received death threats “by anonymous members of the public who have seen some of Defendant’s above-described postings.”

    The lawsuit also says that Foreman used the footage to promote his tours, brand, social media posts, and more.

    Cincinnati attorney Robert Klingler filed the suit in Adams County Common Pleas Court on March 13 against Foreman, Hungry Hustler Records, Media Access Inc., and three John Doe defendants. Although more law enforcement was involved in the August 2022 raid, only seven are named in the complaint.

    According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argue they are entitled to all profits from Foreman’s songs, music videos, and live ticket events, including promoting Foreman’s “Afroman” brand. The plaintiffs also ask for an injunction to remove all videos and posts containing their identities.

    In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Foreman said he plans on countersuing the plaintiffs for the “undeniable damage this had on my clients, family, career, and property.”

    Foreman further blasted Adams County authorities in a rant to TMZ, calling the judge racist for signing a “fictitious false” warrant, which he says put the county sheriff’s “in a position to attempt to kill” him.

    “After the Adams County Sheriff burglarized, vandalized, and destroyed my property — they became thieves and stole my money,” Foreman said. “After they stole my money, they became criminals. After they became criminals, they lost their right to privacy.”

    Investigators told Foreman following the raid that authorities confiscated a vape pen, a joint, and $4,000 in cash that investigators believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking. However, Foreman asserts the cash came from his music. Local media reported that when the sheriff’s office returned the money to Foreman, authorities were about $400 short.

    “My house is my property,” he added. “My video camera films everything on my property.”

    TMZ reported an investigation conducted by the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office resolved that the Adams County sheriffs miscounted the money seized and returned the correct amount.

    Foreman accused authorities of being “criminals camouflaged by law enforcement” for allegedly vandalizing his property and stealing money from his house. He said he used the surveillance camera footage to identify those involved in the raid.

    “I use my footage of my property to raise money,” he said. “To pay for the damages they [have] done and to identify the criminals operating inside of the sheriff department that stole my money, ransack my house, and disconnected my video cameras.”

    Local media reported the plaintiffs are seeking to stop Foreman from using their likeness and personas for future commercial use while asking for more than $25,000 in damages, which they say is the profited amount.

    They also asked for this lawsuit to head to a trial by jury.

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    US Launches Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Kills US Contractor and Wounds 5 US Troops



    A strike Thursday by a suspected Iranian-made drone killed a U.S. contractor and wounded five American troops and another contractor in northeast Syria, the Pentagon said. American forces said they retaliated soon after with “precision airstrikes” in Syria targeting facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, with activist groups saying the U.S. bombing killed at least four people.

    The attack and the U.S. response threaten to upend recent efforts to deescalate tensions across the wider Middle East, whose rival powers have made steps toward détente in recent days after years of turmoil.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the American intelligence community had determined the drone was of Iranian origin, but offered no other immediate evidence to support the claim.

    “The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria” by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard, Austin said.

    Iran relies on a network of proxy forces through the Mideast to counter the U.S. and Israel, its arch regional enemy.

    The Pentagon said two of the wounded service members were treated on-site, while three others and the injured contractor were transported to medical facilities in Iraq.

    Overnight, videos on social media purported to show explosions in Syria’s Deir el-Zour, a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area, which also has seen suspected airstrikes by Israel in recent months allegedly targeting Iranian supply routes.

    Iran and Syria did not immediately acknowledge the strikes, nor did their officials at the United Nations in New York respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

    The activist group Deir Ezzor 24 put the death toll from the American strikes at four people. Deir Ezzor 24, which covers news in Deir el-Zour province, said the strikes hit the city of Deir el-Zour as well as militiamen posts near Mayadeen and Boukamal. It said the strikes also wounded people, including Iraqis.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported that the American strikes killed six Iranian-backed fighters at an arms depot in the Harabesh neighborhood in the city of Deir el-Zour. The Observatory, which relies on a network of local contacts in Syria, said U.S. bombing at a post near the town of Mayadeen killed two fighters.

    A separate American strike hit a military post near the town of Boukamal along the border with Iraq, killing another three fighters, the Observatory said.

    The AP could not immediately independently confirm the activist reports.

    Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been suspected of carrying out attacks with bomb-carrying drones across the wider Middle East.

    In recent months, Russia has begun using Iranian drones in its attacks on sites across Ukraine as part of its war on Kyiv. Iran has issued a series of conflicting denials about its drones being used in the war, though Western nations and experts have tied components in the drones back to Tehran.

    The exchange of strikes came as Saudi Arabia and Iran have been working toward reopening embassies in each other’s countries. The kingdom also acknowledged efforts to reopen a Saudi embassy in Syria, whose embattled President Bashar Assad has been backed by Iran in his country’s long war.

    U.S. Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the head of the American military’s Central Command, warned that American forces could carry out additional strikes if needed. “We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” Kurilla said in a statement.

    Addressing the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Kurilla warned lawmakers that the “Iran of today is exponentially more militarily capable than it was even five years ago.” He pointed to Iran’s arsenal of ballistic missiles and bomb-carrying drones.

    Kurilla also claimed that Iran had launched some 78 attacks on U.S. positions in Syria since January 2021.

    “What Iran does to hide its hand is they use Iranian proxies,” Kurilla said.

    Diplomacy to deescalate the crisis appeared to begin immediately around the strikes. Qatar’s state-run news agency reported a call between its foreign minister and Jake Sullivan, the U.S. national security adviser. Doha has been an interlocutor between Iran and the U.S. recently amid tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

    Qatar’s foreign minister also spoke around the same time with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian.

    Austin said he authorized the retaliatory strikes at the direction of President Joe Biden.

    “As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” Austin said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”

    The U.S. under Biden has struck Syria previously over tensions with Iran. In February and June of 2021, as well as August 2022, Biden launched attacks there.

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    5th Circuit Rules Biden Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional



    President Joe Biden’s order that federal employees get vaccinated against COVID-19 was blocked Thursday by a federal appeals court.

    The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans rejected arguments that Biden, as the nation’s chief executive, has the same authority as the CEO of a private corporation to require that employees be vaccinated.

    The ruling from the full appeals court, 16 full-time judges at the time the case was argued, reversed an earlier ruling by a three-judge 5th Circuit panel that had upheld the vaccination requirement. Judge Andrew Oldham, nominated to the court by then-President Donald Trump, wrote the opinion for a 10-member majority.

    The ruling maintains the status quo for federal employee vaccines. It upholds a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate issued by a federal judge in January 2022. At that point, the administration said nearly 98% of covered employees had been vaccinated.

    And, Oldham noted, with the preliminary injunction arguments done, the case will return to that court for further arguments, when “both sides will have to grapple with the White House’s announcement that the COVID emergency will finally end on May 11, 2023.”

    Opponents of the policy said it was an encroachment on federal workers’ lives that neither the Constitution nor federal statutes authorize.

    Biden issued an executive order in September 2021 requiring vaccinations for all executive branch agency employees, with exceptions for medical and religious reasons. The requirement kicked in the following November. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown, who was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of Texas by Trump, issued a nationwide injunction against the requirement the following January.

    The case then went to the 5th Circuit.

    One panel of three 5th Circuit judges refused to immediately block the law.

    But a different panel, after hearing arguments, upheld Biden’s position. Judges Carl Stewart and James Dennis, both nominated to the court by President Bill Clinton, were in the majority. Judge Rhesa Barksdale, nominated by President George H.W. Bush, dissented, saying the relief the challengers sought does not fall under the Civil Service Reform Act cited by the administration.

    The broader court majority agreed, saying federal law does not preclude court jurisdiction over cases involving “private, irreversible medical decisions made in consultation with private medical professionals outside the federal workplace.”

    A majority of the full court voted to vacate that ruling and reconsider the case. The 16 active judges heard the case on Sept. 13, joined by Barksdale, who is now a senior judge with lighter duties than the full-time members of the court.

    Judge Stephen Higginson, a nominee of former President Barack Obama, wrote the main dissenting opinion. “For the wrong reasons, our court correctly concludes that we do have jurisdiction,” Higginson wrote. “But contrary to a dozen federal courts — and having left a government motion to stay the district court’s injunction pending for more than a year — our court still refuses to say why the President does not have the power to regulate workplace safety for his employees.”

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    Walmart Announces They’re Closing Dozens of Stores Across These 9 States



    Walmart announced they’re shuttering 12 stores across nine states and Washington DC this year due to failing profits – on the same day they announced hundreds of layoffs at fulfilment centers.

    The big box chain has been closing a handful of stores annually in recent years, always citing the location ‘underperforming.’

    The retail behemoth is also closing two stores in Illinois and Arkansas that were ‘pick-up only.’

    The main locations ending their run are in Washington DC, Florida, Illinois, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and Wisconsin.

    It comes the same day the company announced hundreds of workers at five facilities that fulfill e-commerce orders are being asked to find jobs within 90 days at other company locations.

    About 200 workers at Pedricktown, New Jersey, and hundreds of others at Fort Worth, Texas; Chino, California; Davenport, Florida; and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania were let go due to a reduction or elimination in evening and weekend shifts, the spokesperson said.

    The layoffs at Walmart, a retail bellwether because of its size, could be a harbinger of further turmoil in the U.S. economy, which many economists predict could enter recession this year.

    ‘We recently adjusted staffing levels to better prepare for the future needs of customers,’ Walmart said in a statement, adding that it would work closely with affected associates to find jobs at other locations.

    The spokesperson said impacted workers would be paid for 90 days to find jobs at other facilities, including those in Joliet, Illinois, and Lancaster, Texas, where the company has opened up new high-tech e-commerce distribution centers.

    Walmart has been investing heavily in automation over the past few years, partnering with automation companies such as Knapp to help it cut down the number of steps it takes employees to process e-commerce orders to five from 12, which has been implemented at its Pedricktown, New Jersey location, for instance.

    On a post-earnings call in February, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said he was ‘most excited about the automation opportunity we have’ with plans to increase investments in automation technology as part of its more than $15-billion capital expenditure budget this year.

    Workers being laid off at the five fulfillment centers will be eligible for roles at Walmart’s 5,000 U.S. stores, which the company has increasingly been using as a platform to ship orders to customers’ doorsteps, the spokesperson said.

    Walmart is the largest private employer in the United States with about 1.7 million U.S. workers.

    Apart from Pedricktown, New Jersey, Walmart did not post a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice for the layoffs, according to a Reuters review of labor government data.

    A WARN notice is mandated by U.S. labor law and requires companies with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days’ advance notification of plant closings and mass layoffs.

    The spokesperson declined to call them mass layoffs and said that the warehouses continued to operate normally.

    The company did not issue a WARN notification for the other locations as it is unsure about the total number of employees that will be eventually laid off and re-hired, the spokesperson added.

    The news comes months after the company let go off nearly 1,500 workers at an Atlanta, Georgia, online order fulfillment center, as part of a modernization plan to build warehouses with a more high-tech spin.

    The spokesperson said the new round of layoffs was unrelated to its modernization plans. In January, the company bumped up the minimum wage by $2 to $14 per hour.

    This, however, still lagged Target and Amazon, which pay workers a starting wage of at least $15 per hour.

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    California Senate Approves Newsom’s Anti-Price Gouging Bill Targeting Oil Refiners



    The California Senate passed a bill equipping state authorities to investigate and penalize oil refiners for high gas prices, advancing the anti-price gouging legislative push Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) initiated in response to the spike in fuel prices last summer.

    Newsom has accused refiners operating in the state, including Chevron and Phillips66, of gouging drivers and sought for months to advance legislation that would penalize them after retail fuel prices reached a record high last summer.

    The bill passed Thursday, which must pass the Democratic-led state Assembly before heading to Newsom’s desk, would establish a new watchdog agency within the California Energy Commission designed to keep an eye on oil and fuel markets. It also enables the commission to impose civil penalties on refiners charging above a “maximum allowable margin” for the price of gasoline, although they would have to be implemented via public rulemaking.

    The bill also includes new reporting requirements for refiners and gives the watchdog subpoena power over data and records, and it enables the agency to refer violations of law to the attorney general.

    “For decades, oil companies have gotten away with ripping off California families while making record profits and hiding their books from public view,” Newsom said in a statement Thursday. “With this proposal, California leaders are ending the era of oil’s outsized influence and holding them accountable.”

    The bill is a dialed-back version of what Newsom originally sought to implement.

    An initial proposal he promoted with Democratic state Sen. Nancy Skinner, which they announced in December in conjunction with the start of the special legislative session Newsom ordered to deal with refiners’ large windfall profits, would have effectively made it illegal for petroleum refiners to earn above a “maximum gross gasoline refining margin” calculated on a per-gallon basis.

    Some lawmakers, including some Democrats, opposed that version and said they worried the legislation could make gasoline more scarce if refiners exit the state or sell gasoline elsewhere rather than operate under the new limits.

    Refiners have blamed Newsom, state environmental regulations, and taxes as responsible for driving up the cost of fuel.

    President Joe Biden also criticized oil companies and refiners last year for high earnings and called on Congress to pass a windfall profits tax.

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