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Virginia Attorney General Concludes Race Information Is Not Necessary for Marriage Licenses

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 16:55

The state has new forms, which let applicants “Declined to Answer” about race

Mexico targets former attorney general in probe of missing students case

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 16:35

Mexican prosecutors will target a former attorney general and his top aides in their investigation into the handling of a controversial probe into the disappearance five years ago of 43 student teachers, a government official said on Sunday. The attorney general's office said on Saturday prosecutors would hold to account those who oversaw the widely-panned probe into the abduction and apparent massacre of the trainee teachers by corrupt police working with a violent drug gang. The scandal battered the reputation of then-president Enrique Pena Nieto.

If everyone except for Biden, Bernie, and Warren dropped out of the 2020 race right now, Biden would be the clear loser

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 15:19

Here's what would happen if Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren were the only ones left in the 2020 democratic presidential race.

Trump Must Not Give Israel a Blank Check in the Middle East

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 15:07

Israel has a right to defend itself, but not at the expense of regional stability and American interests.

Spanish activists prepare to take rape trial to supreme court in new challenge to consent laws

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 14:53

Spanish feminist groups are expecting a gang rape trial resuming in Barcelona on Monday to go to the supreme court, as activists criticise the country’s rape laws. The court has already heard the testimony of the alleged victim – who claims she was raped at a party in the Catalan town of Manresa in 2016 when she was 14 – and from the seven men accused of attacking her. The hearings will continue with the testimony of experts who will analyse DNA samples. Their conclusions could determine whether the seven men are convicted of rape or sexual abuse. Activists in Manresa fear the ruling in Barcelona will be too lenient, due to Spain’s idiosyncratic rape laws. “The fact that she went willingly with the accused because she knew one of them is what is seen as counting as consent. Was she taken away at knifepoint? No, so it is not rape [under Spanish law],” said Pilar Polo, a spokesman for the Vicki Bernadet Foundation. Spain’s rape laws came under scrutiny during the high-profile trial for the so-called Wolf Pack gang rape in 2018. The case sparked the biggest women’s rights protests in Spanish history after five men were initially convicted of sexual abuse instead of rape after attacking a woman in Pamplona. The Spanish supreme court changed the verdict to rape in June. The so-called 'Wolf Pack' gang rape in 2018 sparked the biggest women’s rights protests in Spanish history Credit: Gari Garaialde/Getty Images Anticipating a similar supreme court battle, supporters of the alleged victim in Manresa are set to launch a campaign to help pay for the proceedings. “We’ll be there when the trial resumes,” said Lila Corominas, a spokesman for Acció Lila, a leading feminist group. “Trials are long and hard. We also know they are not cheap.” The rise of the movement has triggered a backlash from anti-feminist groups, most notably Vox, the far-Right party. Vox’s political agenda includes repealing gender violence laws, banning abortion, and combating what it calls “fake reports” of rapes. Commenting on the trial, Ignacio Garriga, the leader of Vox in Catalonia, said: “I’m sick at those who remain silent when a rape is committed by an undocumented migrant, or as it’s the case, migrant children.” Vox claims to be the party that “best defends” Spanish women, and says it does this by demanding prison without parole for rapes. It often links rapes with migration, with Santiago Abascal, its leader, claiming that “the great majority” of rapists are immigrants. Since the Pamplona trial, the number of rapes and gang rapes reported has increased dramatically. Experts and police believe the number of rapes committed has remained steady, but victims feel more confident to speak out.

8 earthquakes strike North Carolina within one week

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 13:53

In one week, eight earthquakes between magnitudes 1.4 to 2.5 hit the Western North Carolina region, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).A town called Cherokee in the western part of North Carolina experienced six tremors in five days last week.The strongest earthquake was a magnitude 2.5 around 11:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday approximately 2.5 miles southwest of Cherokee.> Last night's 2.3 magnitude earthquake near the North Carolina/Tennessee border is a reminder that eathhquakes can & do happen in our state. Register for the Southeast Shakeout earthquake drill on Oct. 17 and practice your earthquake preparedness. ReadyNChttps://t.co/u2rZRmmyCu pic.twitter.com/bxWv0jl0Ge> > -- NC Emergency Managem (@NCEmergency) September 12, 2019Three of the quakes were within hours of each other on Wednesday night, and they were nearby one another. The first one was a 2.3-magnitude earthquake at 8:13 p.m. EDT near Cherokee, North Carolina.Four hours later, at 11:03 p.m. EDT, a magnitude 2.5 earthquake struck approximately two and a half miles away.The third earthquake with a magnitude of 2.1 hit a few minutes later, at 11:14 p.m. EDT. The quake was almost at surface level, according to the USGS. Five of the earthquakes near Cherokee, North Carolina were in close to proximity to each other. Two more recent quakes struck closer to central North Carolina, near Greensboro. 1. Sept. 7, 8:14 p.m. EDT: 1.9 magnitude, 5 miles south of Cherokee, North Carolina 2. Sept. 9, 4:21 a.m. EDT: 1.4 magnitude, 3.1 miles south-southwest of Cherokee, North Carolina 3. Sept. 9, 3:08 p.m. EDT: 2.0 magnitude, 3.1 miles south-southwest of Cherokee, North Carolina 4. Sept. 11, 8:13 p.m. EDT: 2.3 magnitude, 3.7 miles south of Cherokee, North Carolina 5. Sept. 11, 11:03 p.m. EDT: 2.5 magnitude, 2.5 miles southwest of Cherokee, North Carolina 6. Sept. 11, 11:14 p.m. EDT: 2.1 magnitude, 3.7 miles south-southwest of Cherokee, North Carolina 7. Sept. 12, 10:48 p.m. EDT: 2.0 magnitude, 1.9 miles east-southeast of Greensboro, North Carolina 8. Sept. 13, 8:25 p.m. EDT: 2.4 magnitude, 3.7 miles east of Advance, North CarolinaMost of the quakes happened between three and four miles in depth below the surface. WFMY News reported people felt their house shake and heard a loud "boom" that sounded like an explosion in the 2.3-magnitude earthquake that hit in between Arcadia and Advance. Others felt the quake as far away as Winston-Salem.There were no reports of injuries or damage.

Hong Kong sees biggest protests since controversial bill dropped as demonstrators find their anthem

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 13:31

After three months of chaos in Hong Kong, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets with a new “protest anthem” on Sunday, despite the formal withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill. Protesters gathered outside a department store in the afternoon for a pro-democracy rally took place, despite being banned by police. Some protesters threw bricks at police outside the Chinese People's Liberation Army base in the city's Admiralty district, and tore down and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary on Oct 1 of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in a direct challenge to Beijing.  The illegal march marks the biggest protest since the withdrawal of the bill, which would have allowed the extradition of fugitives to mainland China.  However, protesters are urging the government to instate direct elections and an independent commission into police brutality. They are also calling for unconditional release of those detained, and an end to the authorities describing the protests as riots. Armed Riot police officers on patrol during an anti-government rally  Credit: JEROME FAVRE/EPA-EFE/REX “We are not even talking about being independent, as long as the government meets our demands, we will go home,” said James Wong, 25. “I guess this is not happening now because of the political circumstances. But I will continue to protest because this is our society, our generation. If we don’t speak out, we could be the next Xinjiang, we have to stay strong.” Protesters repeatedly sang Glory to Hong Kong, a song that has gained traction over the last few days and been dubbed the “unofficial national anthem”. The song, reportedly recently composed by a musician in his mid-20s and set to an orchestral backing, has been widely spread on social media.  Protesters sang in Cantonese: “Our flesh, our blood shall write this song. Free this land, stand with Hong Kong.” Police spray anti-government protesters with coloured water Credit: REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha Mostly in black t-shirts, protesters held signs saying: “I thought freedom was a basic human right” and “Guard our future”.  Riot police fired rounds of tear gas, and hundreds of protesters surrounded the Legislative Council building showed no signs of leaving, throwing bricks and petrol bombs towards the government offices. Police later deployed water cannon with blue and white dye, protesters and reporters changed clothes and washed off the dye on nearby overpass, and bystanders received first aid treatment with saline solution after rounds of tear gas. Since the protests kicked off, police have arrested more than 1300 protesters, aged between 12 and 76. “Hong Kong people have been living under white terror for three months, we are used to it,” said Anthony Chau, 22. “We won’t give up and I will continue to attend protests.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar defends her controversial World Trade Center remarks: '9/11 was an attack on all Americans'

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 13:25

Rep. Ilhan Omar responded to criticism from a 9/11 victim’s son, who, during a memorial reading of victims’ names at Ground Zero last week, called out the freshman congresswoman for past remarks she made about the terrorist attacks.

Black transgender woman found 'burned beyond recognition' in Florida, officials say

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:53

Bee Love Slater was found badly burned in a car in Florida earlier this month. Advocates believe she is the 18th transgender person killed this year.

A look at the corruption scandals facing Israel's Netanyahu

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 12:38

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to hold on to power in Tuesday's historic repeat election as the shadow of various corruption charges loom over his future. Israel's attorney general has recommended pressing criminal charges against him in three separate corruption cases, pending a long delayed pre-trial hearing scheduled for early October — just three weeks after the election.

Man who dragged shark to death from speedboat and poured alcohol down throats of fish is jailed

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:56

A Florida man who dragged a shark to its death from a high-speed boat has been jailed for 10 days.Robert Benac III will pay a $2,500 fine, perform 250 hours of service at an animal shelter and lose his fishing licence for three years after pleading guilty to misdemeanour of animal cruelty.

Trump defends Brett Kavanaugh amid new sexual misconduct allegations, says 'the lies being told about him are unbelievable'

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 11:41

President Trump defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh against a new report of sexual misconduct and accused the media of trying to “scare him into turning Liberal.”

Teachers in Chicago inch closer to possible strike

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 09:43

Teachers in the nation's third-largest school district are inching closer to a strike that could happen as early as next month. After rejecting the district's latest offer, Chicago educators are back at the bargaining table negotiating issues including pay, staffing shortages and class size. Chicago's last major teachers strike was seven years ago, but the tone, issues and financial backdrop this time around are totally different.

Rep. Meadows says Democrats' impeachment investigation already has 'made up conclusions'

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 09:05

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows calls the Democrats' impeachment push 'political theater.'

'It's really terrifying': Trump administration allows US hunter to import lion he killed in Africa

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 08:11

A hobby hunter from Florida has been given permission to can import a lion trophy from Tanzania – the first time the US has allowed such an import since it ruled the species should receive special protection three years ago.Carl Atkinson shot the animal dead during an £80,000, 21-day safari in 2016.

Afghan, U.S. forces kill Taliban governors, fighters

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 06:54

Afghan forces backed by U.S. forces killed two senior Taliban leaders and at least 38 fighters of the hardline insurgent group in joint air strikes conducted in northern and western regions of Afghanistan, officials said on Sunday. The operations, launched on Saturday night, were aimed at foiling attacks planned by the Taliban on Afghan forces, said a senior security official in capital Kabul, adding that clashes have escalated following the collapse of diplomatic talks between the U.S. and the Taliban. The defence ministry in a statement said that the Taliban's designate governor for northern Samangan province, Mawlavi Nooruddin, was killed along with four fighters in an air strike in Dara-e-Soof Payeen district.

Iran's Submarines: Could They Sink the U.S. Navy in a War?

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 06:30

Key Point: Though the new Iranian boats may remain far from the cutting edge of submarine design, they could still prove dangerous adversaries in the confined and shallow waters of the Persian Gulf.

Climate Activists Don’t Know How to Talk to Christians

Top Stories - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 04:56

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photo GettyThis story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  Religious Christians are the key to America taking action on global warming. And yet, the way climate activists frame the issue often alienates the very people they most need to persuade. First, the math. Seventy percent of Americans say they want the government to take action to combat global warming. But the Republican Party has, in the last two decades, gone from accommodating a wide range of perspectives on climate change to marching lock-step to the energy industry’s climate denial tune.Most Republicans, however, don’t work for the energy industry. Over half of Republican voters identify as conservative Christians—either evangelicals, Catholics, or others. These voters may be right-wing on social issues, right-wing on immigration, and right-wing on ‘big government.’ But they’re not necessarily right-wing on allowing the Earth’s climate to be radically disrupted—and if they move, the Republican Party will have to move too.But according to two new studies conducted by the Yale Program for Climate Communication and published in the journal Science Communication, most religious Christians understand global warming in very different terms from others.The first study “found that ‘protect God’s creation’ is one of the most important motivations that Christians report for wanting to mitigate global warming.” Resonant messages included “God made humans responsible for taking care of His creation”; “We can use nature for our benefit, but it is not OK to destroy God’s garden that He entrusted to us”; and the language of “stewardship” over the Earth.And the second study found that framing the issue of global warming in moral and religious terms was crucial for Christians to care about it, because it suggested that “people like themselves” care about the issue.“People derive values, a sense of self, and social norms from the groups to which they belong,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program and a co-author of the two studies. “Messages that resonate with group identities may be especially effective in influencing people’s attitudes.”In other words, we think the way our group thinks. If we believe that no one in our group cares about a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it. If we believe that our core values have nothing to do with a certain issue, we’re less likely to care about it.Unfortunately, when one turns to how the issue is framed in public, these messaging frames are conspicuously absent.For example, the introduction to next week’s U.N. Climate Action Summit reads, in part:> Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.> > The impacts of climate change are being felt everywhere and are having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.If you’re like me—highly educated, privileged, urban-dwelling, and liberal—that language is probably pretty effective. But according to the new Yale studies, it will probably ring hollow for the constituency that’s most central to changing the United States’ current intransigence on climate science and climate action.Indeed, the U.N. language doesn’t even include the “most important reason to reduce global warming” chosen by both Christians and non-Christians in the Yale studies, namely: “Provide a better life for our children and grandchildren.” Instead, it provides a bunch of ecological verbiage about coral reefs and food security.Nor, of course, is the problem confined to the United Nations.The Environmental Defense Fund—one of the more centrist and mainstream of American environmental organizations—likewise only mentions the environmental impacts of global warming on its page “why fighting change is so urgent”: “extreme weather events… chunks of ice in the Antarctic have broken apart… wildfire seasons are months longer… coral reefs have been bleached of their colors… mosquitoes are expanding their territory, able to spread disease.” And yet it doesn’t provide the primary reasons given by people in general (leaving a better world for our children) or Christians in particular (protecting God’s creation). Of course, these omissions make sense in some ways. First, obviously, plenty of atheists, Jews, Muslims, and people of other religious backgrounds care about climate change. Especially anyone with kids or grandkids.But it’s also unlikely that the people writing copy for climate change websites are religious Christians themselves, and are using language that “preaches to the choir,” which in this case means other secular environmentalists. But if no one speaks in terms that Christians, especially conservative Christians, care about, then climate activists are only going to be talking to themselves.Which is exactly what’s happened. Levels of understanding and concern about climate change have more or less plateaued in the last few years. On the political level, nothing is happening. Thirty-four percent of Americans still do not “believe” that global warming is being caused by humans, and only 44 percent of Americans say they “worry a great deal” about it. Another recent Yale study found that voters rank it just 17th among issues of concern.Given the extreme likelihood of an unprecedented refugee crisis brought on by rising seas and changing crop patterns, mass extinctions, and global food shortages, all of those numbers are shocking. According to the World Health Organization, 250,000 people will die each year from 2030-2050 because of increased rates of malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea, and heat stress. Climate denial, meanwhile, is now a billion-dollar industry, with energy-funded think tanks, pseudoscience, lobbying, and media campaigns. The energy industry is using the most persuasive, most effective methods to persuade people about global warming. Why isn’t the environmental movement?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


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