Former model and actress Amy Dorris is the latest to come forward and accuse Donald Trump of sexual assault, alleging the incident occurred at the 1997 US Open. The president has vehemently denied her claims.

In an interview with the Guardian published on Thursday, Dorris claims she attended the tennis event with Trump while she was dating her then-boyfriend Jason Binn, a friend of Trump’s at the time.

What are Dorris' claims?

According to Dorris, who was 24 at the time of the alleged incident, Trump assaulted her while they were in his VIP box at the tournament. The former model and actress said she went to use the bathroom in the box when Trump approached her.

“He just shoved his tongue down my throat and I was pushing him off. And then that’s when his grip became tighter and his hands were very gropey and all over my butt, my breasts, my back, everything,” she said, adding she pushed him away and may have bit his tongue in the altercation.

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She also claimed she said “no” and told him to “get away” multiple times. Trump, 51 at the time, was still married to his second wife, Marla Maples.

Corroborating evidence?

While Dorris presented no direct witnesses to the alleged incident, several people including her mother and a therapist, confirmed that she had told the story to them around the time it allegedly occurred or in the years since.

Dorris also presented her ticket for the tennis championship and several photos she took with Trump during the time they spent together. 

After the alleged incident, Dorris spent more time with Trump and her boyfriend, even attending another day of the US Open the day after. She said she did not leave because she “was there from Florida and I was with Jason. I had no money, nowhere to go. We were going from event to event and it was overwhelming.”

How has Trump reacted?

Through his lawyers, the president “denied in the strongest possible terms having ever harassed, abused or behaved improperly toward Dorris.” They also said Binn, Dorris’ boyfriend at the event, had told them he has “no recollection of Dorris telling him that anything inappropriate had happened with Trump or that she felt uncomfortable around him,” according to the Guardian.

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Dorris said she cannot recall if she told Binn about the alleged incident, but she does remember telling him to warn Trump to stay away from her. 

Trump’s lawyers have also questioned why Dorris would spend more time with Trump if she were assaulted, even sitting next to him at the Gianni Versace memorial in the days following what she claimed happened. 

They have also questioned the fact that there are no first-hand witnesses to the story, saying the VIP box area would make it difficult for no one to see what allegedly happened. Dorris says the bathroom area was hidden behind a partition, cutting it off from other guests. 

Why did Dorris only come forward now?

The timing of the story has also been questioned by Trump’s legal team, with the presidential election only weeks away, suggesting her accusations may be “politically motivated.”

Dorris, who first revealed her allegations to the Guardian 15 months ago, but chose not to go public, said she considered coming forward in 2016 when several other women came forward with stories of allegedly inappropriate behavior by the future president. She said she decided to do so now for her two daughters.

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The president has been accused of sexual misconduct by over two dozen women, though none of the allegations have led to legal action. He is, however, currently facing two civil lawsuits for defamation by two of his accusers, Summer Zervos and E. Jean Carroll. He has denied all allegations against him. 

Political fallout

Trump’s critics have capitalized on the latest allegation against the president, saying it adds further weight to previous allegations of inappropriate behavior against women. Carroll herself also weighed in on Twitter, hailing Dorris as a “gallant woman” who is coming forward in support of “all women.”

The response from conservatives, however, has been minimal, with many also questioning the timing of Dorris’ public revelation, as well as the fact that there are no direct witnesses – although lack of witnesses would not be unusual for such an incident.

“Give me a break. Wouldn’t you tell your boyfriend, who was just in another room, that another man had sexually assaulted you. He said she never mentioned it,” Juanita Broaddrick, who has accused former President Bill Clinton of rape, tweeted

“Amy Dorris was so traumatized that she waited 23 years and a month before an election to talk about it,” conservative journalist Carmine Sabia added

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Russia is reprising its still-unproven 2016 election meddling efforts, this time targeting Democratic challenger Joe Biden, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, who gave no evidence to support his crowd-pleasing claims.

Wray told the House of Representatives that Russia is taking a “very active” role in the 2020 US election, claiming Moscow “continues to try to influence our elections, primarily through what we call malign foreign influence” during a Thursday hearing on national security threats.

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According to the FBI director, the Russians’ primary goal seems to be not only to “sow divisiveness and discord,” but to trash Democratic nominee Joe Biden – along with “what the Russians see as a kind of anti-Russian establishment” – through social media, “use of proxies,” state-run media, and “online journals.”

Wray contrasted 2020’s alleged meddling with that of 2016, which he claimed involved “an effort to target election infrastructure,” presenting no evidence to back up either current or past claims – other than that the FBI or other intelligence agencies had made the same claims in the past. There is no actual evidence that Russia interfered with election infrastructure in 2016.

While four years of similarly flavored conspiracy theories blaming Russia for Donald Trump’s 2016 win have come up empty-handed, the paucity of real-world evidence for ‘Russian meddling’ has not stopped Wray and other US intel officials from hyping it up as a major threat to the integrity of the democratic process.

The National Counterintelligence and Security Center suggested last month that, while Russia would interfere in the election in favor of Trump, China and Iran would meddle on behalf of Biden – implying Americans couldn’t vote at all without doing the bidding of a foreign nation.

Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats even suggested Congress create another election integrity body to supervise the vote in November, apparently concerned the existing authorities – all 54 of them, one for each state plus four federal entities tasked with keeping meddlers, foreign and domestic, shut out – weren’t enough.

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Wray insisted the FBI was not only working closely with its state and federal counterparts, but also interfacing on a daily basis with social media companies – though he did not go into detail regarding what information the tech giants were handing over to law enforcement (or vice versa).

During his testimony before Congress, Wray also broke with the Trump administration’s viewpoint on the subject of Antifa, insisting the often-violent leftist group was “more of an ideology than an organization.” However, he admitted “we have seen folks who subscribe or identify with the Antifa movement, who coalesce regionally into small groups or nodes, and they are certainly organized at that level.” Trump has called for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization.

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Europe is facing a “very serious situation” with the coronavirus spreading at “alarming rates,” the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, as France reported its highest number of new cases in 24 hours since the outbreak hit.

The number of new Covid-19 cases in Europe has surpassed the spikes observed during the first wave of the disease that swept across the continent early this year, WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge said during a news conference on Thursday.

“Weekly cases have now exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March,” he said. “Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients.”

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Over half of European nations have reported an increase of more than 10 percent in their new coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, while seven of them have seen a more-than-twofold increase, the official said, urging the nations to re-impose lockdown measures as soon as possible.

“In the spring and early summer we were able to see the impact of strict lockdown measures. Our efforts, our sacrifices, paid off. In June, cases hit an all-time low. The September case numbers, however, should serve as a wake-up call for all of us,” he warned.

Even those countries which been relatively spared by the pandemic have observed a sharp increase in active cases. Ireland, for instance, currently has over 6,600 coronavirus patients – with some 32,000 cases registered in total since the beginning of the pandemic. Irish health experts warned on Wednesday the country might be facing an “exponential growth” in cases, urging everyone to “immediately act to break chains of transmission of the virus.”

France, which is among the worst coronavirus-affected nations in Europe, registered 10,593 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, setting a new all-time record for the country. The number is some 3,000 higher than observed during France’s worst days in the first wave. The nation’s cumulative tally has surpassed 415,000 cases, with over 31,000 people succumbing to the disease to date.

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Globally, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is hovering just below the 30 million mark, with the US, India and Brazil accounting for over half, the latest figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University show. More than 942,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus since the outbreak began.

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Critical race theory and revisionist history such as the New York Times’ 1619 Project are “toxic” need to be countered with patriotic education, US president Donald Trump vowed, announcing a new initiative to do so.

Speaking on Thursday on the occasion of Constitution Day – the anniversary of the US founding document being signed in 1787 – Trump denounced the radicals who seek to “demolish this treasured and precious inheritance,” specifically naming critical race theory, the 1619 Project, and Howard Zinn’s ‘People’s History of the United States.’

“The left-wing rioting and mayhem are the direct result of decades of left-wing indoctrination in our schools,” Trump said, referring to unrest that began at the end of May and spread across the country ostensibly in name of racial justice.

Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and the crusade against American history is toxic propaganda — an ideological poison that, if not removed, will dissolve the civic bonds that tie us together.

Teaching critical race theory in schools is child abuse “in the truest sense of those words,” Trump said.

Calling the US “the most fair, equal and prosperous nation in human history,” Trump said that Americans will never submit to “tyranny” of cancel culture and will “reclaim our history, and our country, for citizens of every race, color, religion and creed.”

As a specific measure to achieve this, he announced the establishment of a presidential commission on patriotic education, called the “1776 commission” after the year the original 13 American colonies declared independence from Britain.

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The New York Times embraced the 1619 project last year, as part of a pivot from ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy theories to accusing Trump of racism. The author of its flagship essay, Nikole Hannah-Jones, was rewarded with the Pulitzer Prize in March.Through the partnership with the Pulitzer Center, Hannah-Jones’s work has already been distributed to thousands of US classrooms. Her essay had to be corrected several times, however, as it inaccurately claimed – among other things – that the American revolution was fought to preserve slavery.

In response to the White House releasing excerpts from Trump’s speech, on Thursday, some mainstream media outlets rallied to condemn his criticism of the 1619 project and declare Hannah-Jones a “national treasure.”

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The Democrat-dominated US House of Representatives has voted for a resolution against terms such as “Chinese virus.” Nothing was said about blaming Russia for everything, or giving additional coronavirus relief to Americans.

Criticizing President Donald Trump for using terms such as “Chinese virus” to refer to the Covid-19-causing pathogen, Democrats insisted his rhetoric has increased “discrimination” against Asian-Americans. Their resolution, sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-New York) all the way back in March, passed on Thursday in a 243-164 vote.

“Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington, and you would think, I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian-Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false, and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said on the House floor before the vote. 

“The World Health Organization and the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control, have explicitly warned against linking infectious diseases to specific ethnicities because of the stigmatizing effects, which has serious impacts on health and defeating the virus. As the CDC medical officer has said, stigma is the enemy of public health,” Pelosi added.

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Republicans condemned the resolution as partisan posturing and an attack on the president. They also criticized the House majority for “misplaced priorities,” noting that Democrats are still blocking the next round of Covid-19 relief unless it contains massive and unrelated bailouts for states like New York and California.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) noted that Democrats themselves used the term “Wuhan coronavirus” at a hearing in January. 

“Someone should have told the Democrats you can't use that term. But in the new woke world you can't state the truth,” Jordan told reporters, pointing out that the virus originated in Wuhan, China last year, from where it spread across the world.

For all their protestations about Democrats imposing “wokeness,” House Republicans have not bothered introducing a similar resolution condemning the rival party’s obsession with and stigmatization of everything Russian. Democrats have repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that Trump was “colluding” with Moscow and Pelosi herself has often claimed that for Trump, “all roads lead to Putin.” 

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Saudi energy minister threatens oil price gamblers with ‘ouching like hell’ and market destabilization

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, has promised to punish excessive betters in the oil markets with an “ouching like hell” by way of externally influencing the market.

Bin Salman’s comments come after he publicly condemned OPEC countries that exceed oil production quotas while enjoying membership of the organization during a virtual meeting with his fellow energy ministers on Thursday.

“Using tactics to overproduce and hide non-compliance [has] been tried many times in the past, and always end[s] in failure. They achieve nothing and bring harm to our reputation and credibility,” bin Salman, said, seemingly referring to the United Arab Emirates. The UAE made just 10 percent of its promised cuts in August, according to the International Energy Agency.

Bin Salman said he would try to make the market jumpy and said gamblers would be "ouching like hell."

He added that non-compliance weakens the collective goals of OPEC and that attempts to “outsmart” the energy market would fail.

OPEC members who have exceeded their quotas, including Nigeria and Iraq, have pledged to make additional cuts in the coming months.

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The quotas were initially designed to raise OPEC’s crude oil prices, and bin Salman’s comments appear to have helped them bounce, with prices rising by as much as 2.6 percent on Thursday – their highest level in almost two weeks.

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'I feel SORRY for your mom': FEUDING basketball WAG demands fans 'stay in their place' after husband is left out of All-NBA lineup

Kamiah Adams-Beal, the reality TV show wife of Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, has shown significantly less restraint than her husband by reacting furiously to his omission from the All-NBA team and rowing angrily with fans.

Beal's exclusion from the team, in which sportswriters and broadcasters pick their best players from the NBA season, was one of the most contentious calls of the annual selection, making the shooting guard the only NBA player in history to miss out despite averaging at least 30 points and six assists per game.

While Beal playfully amplified posts supporting him for an outstanding season and congratulated Jayson Tatum, his close friend at the Boston Celtics who was selected for the third All-NBA team, his partner engaged in bitter exchanges with the public after making her views clear on Twitter.

"Bradley Beal is a f*cking All-Star and All-NBA," she wrote in capital letters, adding ten exclamations for the benefit of anyone unaware of her feelings after Beal was not named alongside the likes of Los Angeles Lakers legend LeBron James in the lineup.

"Put some respect on his name. [He] has been undervalued and quite frankly disrespected far too long...them numbers don’t lie.

"And I don’t want to hear sh*t about 'the Wizards aren't winning, though.' All-NBA nba is an individual accolade. So miss me with the bullsh*t."

There was understandable surprise at the decision over the player who finished as the second leading scorer in the NBA last season, with a hefty average of 30.5 points per game for a team with an unimpressive 25-47 record that fell short of the playoffs.

Adams-Beal went further when a fan with a photo of Beal as their profile picture observed that "players' girls think they can chime in on these things", mockingly firing back: "When a 'fan' with my husband's picture as his profile pic thinks his opinion matters."

The mother of Beal's two sons, who appeared on TV show 'Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood' when she was in a relationship with rapper Lil' Fizz, told another respondent: "I feel sorry for your mom.

"What an embarrassment you are. And nerve struck? I think not – I just don’t respect a p*ssy who can’t [name me] when speaking on me."

Beal owns a beauty and health company, 'XO by Kamiah', and has the motto "be the change you wish to see in the world" at the top of her Instagram page, which is followed by more than 830,000 accounts.

She marked her five-year anniversary with Beal last month by telling him: "I'm so thankful...for your love, patience, kindness, for our union, for your friendship, protection, for you."

Beal responded to her outburst over the All-NBA team by professing his "love" for her and calling her his "ride or die".

The 27-year-old has spent the entirety of his eight-year senior career with the Wizards and was named in the NBA All-Star teams in 2018 and 2019.

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A California family blasted Governor Gavin Newsom and Senator Kamala Harris for trespassing in the charred remains of their home in a rural area near Fresno, saying the Democrats were using the photo-op to push a political agenda.

Harris, who is running for vice president as Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, accompanied Newsom on Tuesday to Auberry, in Fresno County. They posed for cameras in front of a home devastated by the Creek Fire and tweeted about firefighters and climate change.

There was only one problem – the family whose house they used as the backdrop for their photo op never gave them permission to enter their property, and fumed on social media afterwards.

"That truck you are standing by is my dad[']s work truck. He has had that thing for as long as I can remember. That land with all the rubble [you're] standing next too, that’s my house I grew up in," Bailee Patten said on Facebook. “You never got my parents permission to go on our property, nor did you ask if we needed help. What you did do is take my [family’s] loss and parade it all over social media and news networks to push your agenda.”

Her brother Trampas was furious as well, blasting “these two politicians” for using his family’s loss for a photo opportunity. His animosity wasn’t partisan, however.

“Political party wouldn’t have made a difference in this moment. Decent human beings that have character and class, wouldn’t air someone else’s misfortune on national television!” he added. 

While his parents haven’t been allowed back into Auberry “to sort through what is left of their lives,” the governor and the VP candidate “felt the need to go traipsing around” their property without permission, Trampas Patten noted.

“This isn't just devastation, this is our lives. This is where we grew up, these are our memories,” Bailee Patten later told Fresno’s KMPH-TV, a local Fox affiliate. The entire area remains under evacuation orders, so her parents have yet to be allowed back into Auberry to visit the property themselves.

Neither Newsom nor Harris have responded to KMPH’s requests for comment, the station said.

The Auberry photo-op took place during the same trip that saw Harris receive fawning attention from her sympathizers and mainstream media for wearing Timberland boots. 

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In a video clip shown by KMPH, one of their staffers can be heard telling the accompanying media “OK, pool...think we got the shot,” after which Harris and Newsom turn to walk away from the Pattens’ house.

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A habitable base in space? Russia’s Space Agency believes humans could one day live on Callisto, Jupiter’s second largest moon

Russian space agency, Roscosmos, considers Callisto, Jupiter's second-largest moon, as possible location for a habitable base in space. That's according to Alexander Bloshenko, the corporation's director for long-term programs.

"In terms of places where it is most suitable to set up a base for humans, Callisto is the third best, after the Moon and Mars," said Bloshenko.

In particular, Roscosmos is attracted to the natural satellite's surface of ice, which could have a subsurface ocean of liquid water. Moreover, seismic activity detected on the moon of Jupiter means that it must have a hot central core.

Discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei, Callisto has long been thought of as a possible place for future human habitation. Due to low levels of radiation and locational stability, it is believed that it could one day host a base for further exploration into the solar system. In 2022, the European Space Agency plans to send the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) to study three of the planet's moons, which are thought to be habitable environments. It will take over 7 years for the Explorer to reach Jupiter.

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Earlier this week, Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin announced that the space agency plans to send probes to Venus, calling it a "Russian planet." In 1970, the Soviet Union became the only country to successfully land on the second rock from the sun.

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'See you at the top!' Ex-Bellator champ Michael Chandler signs with UFC, immediately drafted in as backup for Khabib-Gaethje fight

Three-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler has signed with the UFC and been installed as the backup fighter ahead of Khabib Nurmagomedov's title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254.

Chandler, who is one of the most decorated fighters in Bellator history, entered free-agency after his knockout win over former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson at Bellator 243 on August 7.

His emergence as a free-agent sparked mass speculation over a possible move to the UFC, with the fighter expressing an interest in testing himself, and UFC president Dana White admitting he liked the American powerhouse.

Now the deal has been done to make Chandler a UFC fighter, and his first assignment could come as early as UFC 254, with the newcomer set to feature as a backup fighter for the lightweight title main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.

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UFC president Dana White confirmed the news to ESPN's Sportscenter in the United States, as Chandler arrives in the UFC lightweight division as an instant contender at 155 pounds.

Chandler's record reads 21 wins, 5 losses. He captured Bellator's lightweight title three times during his career with the promotion, and holds wins over the likes of former UFC champion Henderson and Eddie Alvarez, plus Brent Primus and Patricky "Pitbull" Freire. He lost his lightweight title to Patricky's brother Patricio, who knocked him out to become a two-division champion.

It looked like Chandler had positioned himself perfectly for a championship rematch with Patricio, but instead opted to sign with the UFC, where a host of huge potential matchups await.

Speaking to ESPN, Chandler reacted to his signing by saying, "Eventually hard work pays off, you just have to still be standing there when it does. I’m humbled by the opportunity and can’t wait to go prove what I have been saying for the past year; that I’m the best lightweight in the world. See you at the top!"

As well as Khabib and Gaethje, the UFC lightweight division boasts the likes of Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Dan Hooker and, of course, Conor McGregor.

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The EU Parliament’s call for a probe into the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, along with new sanctions against Moscow, is just a manifestation of the establishment’s “anti-Russian sentiment."

That's according to Maximilian Krah, a member of the European Parliament from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.  The “obscure” case involving the alleged poisoning of Navalny has been used by the EU establishment to launch another round of Moscow-bashing, he says.

The lawmaker explained that his fellow MEPs had not, in fact, seen a single piece of evidence suggesting the Russian government might have had a hand in what happened to Navalny. 

We don't have the evidence... none of the members of parliament who today voted in favor of sanctions has seen any evidence.

Krah said it was “unrealistic” to expect that Navalny’s case would not be politicized, arguing that it was “absolutely clear” it was being used to push an anti-Moscow agenda.

On Thursday morning, the EU Parliament passed a resolution calling on member states to “isolate Russia in international forums,” to “halt the Nord Stream 2 project” and to prioritize the approval of another round of sanctions against Moscow. 

The MEP also expressed skepticism about the prospects of the broader public ever getting to see any evidence linking the opposition figure’s sudden illness to Russian foul play.

“Evidence will only get published and provided to Russia if there is public pressure,” he said, adding that he does not see any such pressure building anywhere in the EU. Until that changes, Berlin is likely to continue demanding “answers” from Moscow while holding off on requests by Russian for cooperation, Krah believes.

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The German MEP also weighed in on the fate of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, suggesting that the alleged poisoning could work to Washington’s benefit, given that the White House has been seeking to undermine the project, liking Russian gas to Germany, for months. Krah said it was “clear from the beginning” that the US would try to use the situation to scupper the project, which he says would make Germany “more independent from American influence.”

The EU resolution, which is not legally binding but acts as an advisory for the bloc's leaders, was supported by 532 MEPs and opposed by 84, while 72 abstained. Fresh sanctions against Russia have been mulled by both the EU and US since news about Navalny’s alleged poisoning was made public. 

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Moscow has repeatedly expressed its readiness to cooperate with Germany in the probe into the incident, while stressing that the Russian medics who first treated Navalny when he fell ill found no traces of any poison in his body. The Kremlin has also repeatedly approached Berlin for data possessed by the German side, but has so far received none.

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A suspect was arrested on Thursday morning in connection with the murder of a teenage staffer for Lacy Johnson, the Republican challenger to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota). The shooting is not believed to be politically motivated.

The suspect was taken into custody after a high speed pursuit, according to the Minneapolis Police Department. Officers attempted to pull them over, but they fled, leading to the car chase which ended with the suspect crashing their vehicle. 

The shooting occurred on Monday at a service station where the assailant approached two Johnson staffers, who were among a group of people. Both were shot, with one sustaining non-life threatening injuries while the other, 17-year-old Andre Conley, died later in hospital. The shooter, who has yet to be identified by police, then fled the scene on foot. 

“It is shocking and unnecessary acts of violence like this that prove why change is needed now more than ever in our community,” Johnson tweeted about the attack. He referred to the victims as “young, motivated, [paid] members” of the political campaign’s outreach team, but added that it is not believed the shootings are related to the campaign.

“I'm not blaming anybody else, but us,” Johnson said at a Wednesday vigil held for Conley. “It's us. We got to take care of our own kids, we got to look after our own children.”

Police spokesman John Elder said before the arrest that there is no evidence at this time to suggest any political motivation. 

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Conley was a senior at Patrick Henry High School. A GoFundMe campaign was set up to help pay for the funeral arrangements, but his family has requested the funds go to the surviving victim as “he needs the help more.” 

Johnson is running against Omar in Minnesota’s fifth district. He has pledged to push back against the “defund the police” movement and blasted Omar for “coming up with excuses for rioting and looting” stemming from Black Lives Matter protests in the city.

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Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has urged Congress to create a commission of “elder statesmen” to restore faith in the US electoral process by monitoring November’s vote.

In an op-ed for the New York Times on Thursday, Coats called for a “supremely high-level bipartisan and nonpartisan commission to oversee the election.” While such a commission wouldn’t “circumvent existing electoral reporting systems or those that tabulate, evaluate or certify the results,” it would supervise those activities and ensure their incorruptibility, he suggested.

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Warning that “our democracy’s enemies, foreign and domestic” were licking their lips at the prospect of a fraudulent or contested election, Coats insisted the only way to thwart their machinations was to strip away the partisan bickering – by oath, if necessary. His electoral integrity commission would “accept as a personal moral responsibility to put the integrity and fairness of the electoral process above everything else.

We must firmly, unambiguously reassure all Americans that their vote will be counted, that it will matter, that their votes will not be questioned and will be respected and accepted,” he proclaimed – emphasizing that the goal of the commission would be “public reassurance” rather than actually ensuring every vote was counted.

Coats all but nominated himself to lead the commission, suggesting members should include “congressional leaders, current and former governors, ‘elder statespersons’, former national security leaders,” former Supreme Court justices, and even “business leaders from social media companies.

Some on social media questioned his apparent power-grab, noting there were already four federal bodies and 50 state entities tasked with ensuring election integrity, and that he – not “enemies foreign and domestic” – was the one calling their work into question.

Others declined to trust Coats due to his service in the Trump administration and continuing coziness with its cabinet. “This is the worst idea EVER!!” one commenter responded.  

A few reeled at the idea of social media billionaires being given even more influence over the electoral process.

However, many blue-checks applauded his idea.

Others even insisted his op-ed didn’t go far enough, daring him to call President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr, or other pet bogeymen out by name and accusing him of doing “too little, too late.” 

And a few specifically accused the former spook-in-chief of cowardice for holding back on his former boss. “Speak up!” one person urged, branding Coats a “coward.”

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After EU MEPs, on Thursday, called for sanctions over the alleged poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny, Moscow said the move merely fuels anti-Russia hysteria and is aimed at disrupting the Nord Stream 2 project.

The European Parliament resolution urges an international probe into the Navalny incident. Its approval followed comments by the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, who floated the idea of naming a new anti-Russian sanctions package after the anti-corruption campaigner, in a similar move to the US Magnitsky act.

That was named after a Russian tax auditor who died in a Moscow prison in 2009. Magnitsky was an associate of billionaire Bill Browder, who has been convicted in Russia of tax evasion, in absentia.

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A fresh round of threats before any actual investigation concludes clearly shows that Brussels is not seeking ways to establish the truth but only to hound Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“We perceive all the talk about naming these sanctions after Navalny only as a blatant attempt to add an openly anti-Russian flavor to the new EU restrictions,” Zakharova said.

A similar response came from by Russia’s permanent representative to the bloc, Aleksey Chizhov, who said the resolution appeared to be extremely rushed and contained even factual mistakes. Squarely calling the Navalny affair a “poisoning” shows the EU is trying to blame Russia for the incident instead of finding out what exactly happened, the diplomat said.

“Russia will find a way to retaliate if the EU decides to implement sanctions,” Chizhov warned.

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Among other things, the non-binding resolution urged a halt to construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and even the creation of a brand-new strategy for the “democratization” of Russia.

“This is not about protecting human rights or democracy, the only goal of this is to maintain a high degree of anti-Russian hysteria, including with respect to the Nord Stream 2 project,” head of the state Duma’s foreign affairs committee Leonid Slutsky said, branding the ongoing scandal as “anti-Russian theatrics.”

The Navalny saga began on August 20, when he fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow. The aircraft had to make an emergency stop in Omsk, another Siberian city 2,000 km east of the Russian capital, where the activist was taken to a local hospital in an unresponsive condition.

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Navalny was flown to Berlin’s Charité clinic two days later, and German doctors later claimed he was poisoned with a variant of a nerve agent from the notorious ‘Novichok’ group. Still, Omsk medics insisted they had not found any traces of toxic substances in Navalny’s samples, while the creators of the nerve agent said his symptoms did not correspond with exposure to it.

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'We did not want to risk anything': Football club deals with coronavirus fears by playing out 37-0 THRASHING to avoid fine (VIDEO)

A German football club has willingly endured a 37-0 hammering against their local rivals in order to avoid a fine for failing to field a team, playing seven hesitant volunteers because of fears over spreading the coronavirus.

SG Ripdorf/Molzen II deemed the conditions of play unsafe after learning that players from Holdenstedt, their opponents in the 11th tier of German football, had been in contact with a player who had been infected with COVID-19 in a previous match.

They avoided punishment for abandoning the match by fielding seven players, all of whom played little active part in the contest beyond returning the ball to Holdenstedt, allowing them to average more than a goal every three minutes.

Patrick Ristow, the co-chair of Ripdorf, thanked the seven volunteers for helping the Saxony club to avoid a damaging fine of around $235.

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"That’s a lot of money for us – especially amid the pandemic," he told ESPN.

"We tried to postpone the match but Holdenstedt wanted to play. When the game kicked off, one of our players passed the ball to the opponent and our team walked to the sidelines.

"They did not go into direct duels and observed the social distancing rules, keeping two meters between them and Holdenstedt players.

“The Holdenstedt players did not understand. But we did not want to risk anything. For the rest of the match, our players returned to the field but they only stood on the pitch.”

Footage of the no-contest accumulated tens of thousands of views on YouTube. "Just ridiculous, this corona panic," said one observer. "They shouldn't even start if they already think that the players could be at risk."

Another viewer who claimed to have knowledge of the local league said that other matches encountering similar problems had been canceled, replying: "They wanted to embarrass [Holdenstadt] because there was a corona case on the opposing team.

"I can't tell you how high the fine is, but especially in the [lower divisions], money is pretty tight."

Figures released by FIFA this week estimated that the sport has lost around $14 billion because of the three-month enforced hiatus earlier this year as a result of the pandemic.

Olli Rehn, the governor of the Bank of Finland appointed to lead the committee tackling the effects of the pandemic, admitted that he was "very concerned" about the impact on youth academies and lower division clubs and feared that the situation would worsen without the virus being tamed in the foreseeable future.

Ristow called Ripdorf's approach "a catch-22". “There is no perfect solution for it," he accepted. "We went down this route. We wished Holdenstedt no harm."

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Big Brother for sale: Moscow woman sues city authorities after 'buying data' on her own movements from dark web

A Moscow woman is suing the city's mayor's office and demanding that it stops using a facial recognition system on the Russian capital’s streets, after she bought data on the dark web about her own movements.

Anna Kuznetsova filed a lawsuit for 100,000 rubles ($1,300) of compensation, after she found a person selling data online and anonymously ordered information about herself. Kuznetsova works for Roskomsvoboda, a project which promotes freedom of information and privacy on the internet.

"She sent a photo, and two days later received a report for the previous month with detailed information about where her face was recorded," said Kuznetsova's lawyer, Ekaterina Abashina. "Almost all of the addresses matched the girl's actual movements. It cost 16 thousand rubles ($210)."

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With a small payment, anyone can get information about any other person's movements, according to Abashina, who called it a serious violation of the right to privacy. Kuznetsova wants the city to stop using facial recognition systems.

The allegations have been refuted by Moscow's Department of Information Technology, which claims that recordings by the city's surveillance system are just "pictures" and do not contain citizens’ personal data.

Moscow has one of the most extensive and sophisticated surveillance systems in the world, with over 193,000 cameras installed around the city. The camera recordings are all sent to a single storage center. According to the department, only authorized employees there have access to the data.

Despite assurances from Moscow authorities, the Department of Information Technology has previously been accused of having a lack of control over its data protection. As well as issues with the security of the cameras, switches, and servers, cybersecurity expert Ashot Hovhannisyan told Russian newspaper Kommersant that it is possible to pay for an account online to watch the surveillance feeds in real-time.

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"On the black market, accounts are sold that provide access to the single storage center, where you can view both the live camera and recordings," he said. "The cost of an account is about 30 thousand rubles ($400)."

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Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has said no one can prevent Indian soldiers from patrolling the border in Ladakh region. China has amassed troops in the area and will see India’s counter-deployment, he added.

The spate of skirmishes between Indian and Chinese soldiers over the last few months was primarily over the issue of patrolling the Ladakh border, the minister said. The incidents resulted in the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers, though Beijing has yet to confirm Chinese casualties.

Singh denied allegations that Indian forces are not being allowed to patrol in certain parts of the Galwan valley. “No force in the world can stop Indian soldiers from patrolling. Our soldiers have sacrificed their lives only for this,” he said.

The minister was speaking in Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s parliament, on the ongoing situation and insisted that the patrolling pattern is both traditional and well defined. He said that Beijing and New Delhi have yet to resolve the boundary issue, adding that “China does not accept the customary and traditional alignment of the boundary.”

The increased tensions between the two states center on the undemarcated mountain border in the Ladakh sector which adjoins Tibet. Last Monday, each accused the other’s troops of firing in the air on the southern bank of the lake.

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Singh also said on Thursday that China has amassed troops on the border, and in response, India has made appropriate counter-deployment.

In recent months, India has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies, and food into Ladakh, according to Reuters sources. The move was triggered by a border stand-off with China back in May which escalated in June into hand-to-hand combat.

The foreign ministers of China and India met in Moscow last week, and said that their discussion had yielded a five-point plan to ease the worst border crisis between the two countries in decades.

However, despite this seeming consensus, China on Wednesday blamed India for “violating” border agreements and said New Delhi bears responsibility for the recent tensions.

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Russia's biggest enemies? New poll suggests Uncle Sam, Perfidious Albion & estranged 'little brother' Ukraine are top three foes

The great French novelist Gustave Flaubert famously said that you can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies. If the same philosophy applies to countries, well then Russia isn't doing too badly.

Moscow's refusal to accept the vassal status the US had planned for it in the nineties has led to a furious pushback by Washington's allies. But the West's diminishing power means Russia has been able to offset somewhat by building new relations in the east. 

But who do Russians themselves see as their nation's main antagonists? Well, a new poll suggests 60% see the United States as a foe, followed by Ukraine (35%) and Britain (29%). Just 7% think that Russia has no enemies.

Regularly conducted by the Levada Center, which has received Western funding in the past, the list has been topped by the US since 2013. Before then, the top enemy ranking had been dominated by countries in the ‘near abroad,’ such as Georgia, Estonia, and Latvia.

The pollsters also revealed that Russians see the country’s closest friends as Belarus (58%), China (40%), and Kazakhstan (35%). Belarus has topped the friendship list since 2009, with the emergence of China as a partner coming in 2014. This was a pivotal year for Russia, when the Western-backed 'Maidan' in Ukraine led to the reabsorption of Crimea and Moscow being booted out of the G8, a group of the most powerful US-aligned states. 

The Levada Center also conducts a regular poll, taking place multiple times a year, asking Russians about their opinions of the United States and Belarus, along with several other countries. According to the results from August 2020, only 42% of Russians have a positive view of the US, while the vast majority (85%) saw Belarus favorably.

Despite Russians thinking positively of Belarus, a poll last week by WCIOM (Russian Public Opinion Research Center) revealed that just 17% of respondents want the country to join with Russia to create a single state, with 43% rejecting all unification suggestions.

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Named for its founder, the late Yuri Levada, the polling company has been accused of liberal and western bias. In September 2016, the Russian Ministry of Justice ordered that the company be included on the register of foreign agents working within the country, after it admitted to receiving foreign funding.

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Nashville officials hid stats showing low coronavirus transmission in bars & restaurants, emails reveal

Coronavirus transmission in bars and restaurants in Nashville, Tennessee was so low the mayor’s office opted to hide it from the public, recently-leaked emails show. The statistics throw ongoing shutdowns elsewhere into question.

The Nashville Mayor’s office swept bar and restaurant transmission numbers under the rug because they were too low, emails obtained by local media suggest. The conversation between the mayor’s office and the local health department appears to show the figures were deliberately kept from the public to justify the shutdowns that put many Nashville residents out of work.

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After running contact tracing on the city’s new coronavirus cases in late June, the health department discovered nursing homes and construction sites were responsible for over 1,000 cases each – but bars and restaurants were responsible for just 22. 

That was apparently a problem, as health department official Leslie Waller contacted the mayor’s office to make sure Nashville residents weren’t going to see the results. “This isn’t going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor’s Office?” she asked in an email. A senior adviser to the mayor replied in the affirmative, and the stats went unseen by city residents. 

When a reporter asked a health department official a month later about a report that just 80 cases at the time had been traced to bars and restaurants out of more than 20,000 positive tests in the county, the official sent a panicked email to five of his colleagues asking them to “advise” on how he should respond.

The official was told to spin it as best as he could. “We have certainly refused to give counts per bar because those numbers are low per site. We could still release the total though, and then a response to the over 80 could be because that number is increasing all the time and we don’t want to say a specific number,” the replying official wrote. 

We raised taxes 34 percent and put hundreds, literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes… and we did it on bogus data,” Nashville council member Steve Glover told local Fox affiliate WZTV, incensed over the apparent coverup. “That should be illegal,” he added.

They are fabricating information… I don’t trust a thing they say going forward.

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When WZTV inquired further, they were told to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the city, with both the health department and the mayor’s office refusing to directly confirm the authenticity of the emails. However, Glover contacted an attorney on staff with the city who claimed he was able to verify the veracity of the emails with both the mayor’s office and the health department.

While keeping citizens scared of gathering in bars and restaurants would seem to be a ruinous move for a city that depends on tourism for much of its revenue, Nashville’s government may have a financial incentive to play up coronavirus transmission in public gathering places. 

The city earlier this week asked Tennessee Governor Bill Lee for $82.6 million in Covid-19 relief money to prop up its ailing tourism industry and expand social services. Around $12 million of the requested aid is supposed to help “put musicians safely back to work” in the city’s storied venues – though it would be split with other tourist-draw nonprofits like the Nashville Zoo.

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US Attorney General Bill Barr has made waves by calling stay-at-home orders and lockdowns meant to combat the spread of Covid-19 “the greatest intrusion of civil liberties” other than slavery.

Barr’s comments came while speaking at a Constitution Day event held in DC by Hillsdale College. Asked about coronavirus restrictions “forbidding a church from meeting” in many areas, the attorney general compared lockdowns to “house arrest.”

“Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, this is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American history,” Barr said.

Once his comments were shared more widely, few found legitimacy in the comparison.

“Bill Barr equates quarantine with chattel slavery as one of the greatest intrusions of civil liberties in American history. Statements like these make you realize many in this country know nothing about what it truly means to be oppressed,” ‘The View’ co-host Sunny Hostin tweeted in reaction to the comment. Another person criticized the remarks by simply saying, "What a disgrace."

“The thing about Bill Barr's comments is that he knows better. Which is what makes them a whole lot worse,” CNN political correspondent Abby D. Pillip added

“How about WW2 Japanese Internment camps? Jim Crow laws? segregation? Tuskegee Syphilis experiments?” another commenter tweeted, while Star Trek actor George Takei posted: “As someone who spent four years in U.S. internment camps during World War II, I think Bill Barr is full of horse manure.”

Barr’s comments also angered lockdown supporters, but he earned a round of applause at the DC event after making them. 

Some conservatives, many of whom have been critical of local governments’ response to the pandemic, also showed support for Barr amidst a pushback against his coronavirus comments and other actions as attorney general.

Since there was never any national lockdown in place, but rather various stay-at-home orders and business shutdown mandates - which still continue in certain areas in most states - Barr chided governors for acting like “bureaucrats” and treating “free citizens as babies that can’t take responsibility for themselves and others.”

Barr argued that people, especially business owners, should have been given the opportunity to remain working and issued “rules” to follow, such as the current mask mandates in place in a variety of states. 

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