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Attorney for family of missing soldier calls on Congress to launch investigation against Fort Hood, launches "I am Vanessa" campaign

Attorney for family of missing soldier calls on Congress to launch investigation against Fort Hood, launches "I am Vanessa" campaignAs the search for 20-year-old Private First Class Vanessa Guillen continues, the Guillen family attorney, Natalie Khawam has requested a congressional investigation into Fort Hood and Vanessa’s disappearance. Vanessa was last seen on April 22, 2020, in a parking lot at Fort Hood, in Texas, where she's stationed. Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. Her phone is still missing. The U.S. Army

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Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for use in country's military after clinical trials

Chinese coronavirus vaccine approved for use in country's military after clinical trialsChina's military has approved a coronavirus vaccine developed by its own research staff and a Chinese biotech firm, it was announced on Monday. The vaccine was given the green light for use by troops after trials proved it was both safe and effective, said CanSino Biologics, the biotech firm involved. However, its use for the time being will be restricted to military personnel, who offer a tighter medical control group than the general public. The vaccine candidate, named Ad5-nCoV, was developed jointly by CanSino and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology in the Academy of Military Medical Sciences. It has been in development since March. CanSino said the results showed the vaccine candidate has potential to prevent diseases caused by the coronavirus, which has killed half a million people globally. The company added that it was not yet possible to say if it could be a commercial success, which would depend on being able to produce the vaccine cheaply as well as safely.



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U.S. agency prepares for massive staff cuts in blow to legal immigration system

U.S. agency prepares for massive staff cuts in blow to legal immigration systemThe U.S. agency in charge of processing immigration applications said on Wednesday it was preparing to furlough nearly 70% of its workforce unless it received fresh funding, a move employees say could bring an already backlogged system to a virtual halt. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is dependent on fees from new immigration applications for its operations and is facing a historic budget shortfall. Republican President Donald Trump has made cutting legal and illegal immigration a centerpiece of his 2020 re-election campaign.



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Businesses sue Seattle over 'occupied' protest zone

Businesses sue Seattle over 'occupied' protest zoneA collection of Seattle businesses, property owners and residents sued the city Wednesday over its tolerance of an “occupied” protest zone, saying officials have been complicit in depriving them of their rights to their property. The plaintiffs — including a tattoo parlor, auto repair shop and property management firm — emphasized in the lawsuit that they were not trying to undermine the anti-police-brutality or Black Lives Matter messaging of the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” “Rather, this lawsuit is about the constitutional and other legal rights of plaintiffs — businesses, employees, and residents in and around CHOP — which have been overrun by the city of Seattle’s unprecedented decision to abandon and close off an entire city neighborhood, leaving it unchecked by the police, unserved by fire and emergency health services, and inaccessible to the public at large,” the lawsuit said.



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First vaccinations begin in Africa for COVID-19 trial

First vaccinations begin in Africa for COVID-19 trialAfrica’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial started Wednesday as volunteers received injections developed at the University of Oxford in Britain, while officials said the continent of 1.3 billion people cannot be left behind. The large-scale trial is being conducted in South Africa, Britain and Brazil. The African continent now has nearly 325,000 cases as countries loosen restrictions under economic pressure from citizens who say they have to feed their families.



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Comey Told Obama that Flynn’s Conversations with Russian Ambassador ‘Appear Legit,’ According to Strzok Notes

Comey Told Obama that Flynn’s Conversations with Russian Ambassador ‘Appear Legit,’ According to Strzok NotesFormer FBI director James Comey told President Obama that the 2016 conversations between Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and incoming national-security adviser Michael Flynn were not criminal in nature, according to notes from former agent Peter Strzok released by Flynn's legal team.The page of notes was taken by Strzok appears to describe a January 5, 2017 meeting of President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and national security officials. This meeting occurred amid accusations that incoming Trump administration officials had colluded with Russian operatives. Strzok was not present at the meeting, and it is unclear what record of the meeting he consulted in taking the notes.Strzok writes that "P," presumably President Obama, asked, "Is there anything I shouldn't be telling transition team?"Strzok records that "D," or Director Comey, responded "Kislyak calls but appear legit."> ALSO JUST IN: Flynn legal team files a page of Strzok's notes, which appear to describe the Jan. 5 meetign with Obama and natsec team> > Notes indicate Biden mentioned the Logan Act, but entirely devoid of context. pic.twitter.com/lGsj0DepHm> > — Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 24, 2020In transcripts of conversations between Flynn and Kislyak released on May 29 of this year, Flynn is recorded asking the Russian ambassador not to escalate tensions in response to U.S. sanctions. Those sanctions were implemented by the Obama administration following reports that Russia attempted to interfere in the U.S. general election.Strzok's notes also indicate that "VP" Biden mentioned the "Logan Act" during the meeting, although the context of Biden's remark is unclear. The Logan Act of 1799 forbids U.S. citizens from intervening in disputes with foreign nations without authorization. The law has been cited only twice in U.S. history in two cases in the 1800's and no one has ever been found guilty of violating the statute.While the FBI had monitored Flynn's conversations with Kislyak, the agency moved to close the case on January 4, 2017, indicating it had found "no derogatory information" on Flynn. However, that same day Strzok intervened to keep the case open. Strzok told an unknown individual that day that the "7th floor [is] involved," apparently referring to senior FBI leadership at the bureau's headquarters.Strzok was fired by the FBI after anti-Trump texts between him and agency lawyer Lisa Page were revealed."Your excessive, repeated, and politically charged text messages while you were assigned as the lead case agent on the FBI’s two biggest and most politically sensitive investigations in decades, demonstrated a gross lack of professionalism and exceptionally poor judgement,” the Justice Department said in 2019.



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Study confirms the key symptoms to look out for in cases of COVID-19

Study confirms the key symptoms to look out for in cases of COVID-19A new large-scale review has confirmed some of the major symptoms associated with COVID-19, including a persistent cough, fever and loss of smell. Carried out by researchers from the University of Leeds, UK along with four other universities, the new review is one of the biggest so far to investigate COVID-19 symptoms and included data from 148 separate studies. In total, the researchers had access to data on 24,410 adult cases of COVID-19 in nine countries, including the UK, China and the USA, which enabled them to identify the common symptoms of the virus.



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Exclusive: U.S. warns Russia, China of U.N. isolation if Iran arms ban extension blocked

Exclusive: U.S. warns Russia, China of U.N. isolation if Iran arms ban extension blockedRussia and China will be isolated at the United Nations if they continue down the “road to dystopia” by blocking a U.S. bid to extend a weapons ban on Iran, U.S. Iran envoy Brian Hook told Reuters ahead of his formal pitch of the embargo to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. The 13-year-old arms restrictions on Iran are due to expire in October under the terms of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.



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A police officer charged with assaulting Black youths has worked for 9 different police departments, collecting use-of-force incidents and complaints along the way

A police officer charged with assaulting Black youths has worked for 9 different police departments, collecting use-of-force incidents and complaints along the wayCamden County prosecutors charged Officer Ryan Dubiel with assault, alleging he pepper-sprayed the youths "without provocation" on June 4.



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Kosovo president, 9 others indicted on war crimes charges

Kosovo president, 9 others indicted on war crimes chargesKosovo President Hashim Thaci and nine other former separatist fighters were indicted Wednesday on a range of crimes against humanity and war crimes charges, including murder, by an international prosecutor probing their actions against ethnic Serbs and others during and after Kosovo’s 1998-99 independence war with Serbia. Because of the indictment, Thaci has postponed his trip to Washington, where he was to meet Saturday for talks at the White House with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.



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US records highest one-day total in coronavirus cases since April

US records highest one-day total in coronavirus cases since April* US federal government starts to roll back testing program * Americans urged to stick to guidelines as several states hit by increasesThe US has recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new Covid-19 cases, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University.A coronavirus resurgence is wiping out two months of progress in the US and sending infections to worrying new levels in southern and western states.Administrators and health experts warned on Wednesday that politicians and a public that, in many cases, is tired of being cooped up are letting a disaster unfold.While new infections have been declining steadily in early hotspots such as New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma.North Carolina and South Carolina joined some other states in breaking hospitalization records.“People got complacent,” said Marc Boom, the chief executive of the Houston Methodist hospital system. “And it’s coming back and biting us, quite frankly.”With the US death toll creeping towards 122,000 on Wednesday, and confirmed cases at almost 2.4 million for the US, a widely-cited University of Washington computer model of the outbreak projected nearly 180,000 deaths by 1 October.Stocks slid on Wall Street as the news dampened hopes for a quick economic turnaround. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 700 points for a drop of 2.7%. The broader S&P 500 fell 2.6%.Experts urged Americans to continue following guidelines to stop the spread of coronavirus as, in total, seven states reported record-high hospitalizations and 19 others saw new cases rising compared to last week.The increase is hitting states which eased lockdown restrictions in the past month. The federal government is also starting to roll back testing programs, including in states most affected by the resurgence in cases.The record-high hospitalizations indicate the rise in cases is not simply because of increased testing, a point confirmed by the leading public health expert on the White House coronavirus task force, Anthony Fauci, and in sharp contrast to views put forward by Donald Trump.Dr Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, said on Wednesday he expected that hospitals in Texas, California, Florida and Arizona would need to again suspend elective surgeries in order to have capacity to deal with coronavirus patients.“They’re going to be on a trajectory to get overwhelmed again,” Gottlieb said on CNBC.Epidemiologist Caitlin Rivers warned the national case count is going in the “wrong direction”.Rivers, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said in addition to her concerns about the increase in hospitalizations, she was worried about the higher percentage of positive tests.“In some ways this feels worse than April, because at least then there was energy around gaining control,” Rivers tweeted. “I sense less of that now.”Rivers is one of several public health experts to express concern that people are taking public health guidance less seriously though the threat of infection remains.States across the US have eased lockdown restrictions, but with inconsistent policies on what can open, where crowds can gather and how much these rules are enforced. Outside a Trump rally in Phoenix on Tuesday, few people wore masks and social distancing guidelines were ignored.Despite eased restrictions across the country, it is still important to follow local health guidance. This includes wearing masks, frequent hand washing and isolating if experiencing Covid-19 symptoms.> The safest place for you is at your home> > Greg AbbottTexasgovernor Greg Abbott urged people to stay at home, as a children’s hospital in Houston was forced to admit adults because of increasing coronavirus cases. Texas began lifting its shutdowns on 1 May and hospitalizations have doubled and new cases have tripled in two weeks. Abbott told local station KFDA-TV that the state is facing a “massive outbreak”.Meanwhile on Wednesday, California reported over 7,100 new cases in 24 hours, an all-time high. Florida’s single-day count surged to 5,500, a 25% jump from the record set last week and triple the level of two weeks ago.Amid the increase in cases, the Trump administration is ending funding and support for 13 testing sites in states including Texas this month, local officials told Talking Points Memo.Rocky Vaz, the director of emergency management for the city of Dallas, told the website that the city had asked the federal government to extend the testing program but it refused.Testing is crucial for monitoring the spread of the illness and for helping people to know when to isolate and warn others of possible exposure.Republican senator John Cornyn of Texas offered a rare rebuke of the president from the GOP over the president’s decision to wind down funding for testing sites – including some in Texas.“I know there’s concern, concern I share, over some of the statements being made about withdrawing federal support for coronavirus testing in Texas at the end of June,” Cornyn said. “It’s pretty clear to me, and I think it’s clear to all of us, that with the uptick of cases, now is not a time to retreat from our vigilance in testing.”He called on the White House to extend federal support for Texas, “at least until we get this most recent uptick in cases addressed”.And a spokesman for Ted Cruz, the other Republican senator of Texas, told NBC News that he “has urged and will continue to urge [health officials] to extend the community testing sites in Texas”.



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India says China amassed troops along border in violation of agreements

India says China amassed troops along border in violation of agreementsChina has deployed large numbers of troops and weapons along a disputed Himalayan border in violation of bilateral agreements, India’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, accusing Beijing of escalating tensions and triggering a deadly clash last week. “At the heart of the matter is that since early May the Chinese side had been amassing a large contingent of troops and armaments along the LAC,” ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava said in a briefing in New Delhi, referring to the Line of Actual Control, the de facto border. “This is not in accordance with the provisions of our various bilateral agreements,” he said, including a 1993 treaty that dictates that both sides will maintain limited border deployments.



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Was Seattle’s Notorious Protest Zone Doomed by Recent Shootings?

Was Seattle’s Notorious Protest Zone Doomed by Recent Shootings?After a few remarkable weeks of free food, far-right agitation, and most recently, multiple shootings, Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) looks like it might be on the rocks.The CHOP (formerly known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ) is an approximately six-block zone in Seattle where, after a violent crackdown by police against racial justice protesters, the city agreed to withdraw police and clear the streets for demonstrations. Activists quickly set up tents and issued a list of demands including police abolition and de-gentrification measures like rent control. But Seattle never agreed to keep police out forever. And after a trio of shootings in and around the zone, the city is calling to dismantle the CHOP, leaving activists wondering how to keep the protest going.In a Monday press conference, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city would work with activists to dismantle the CHOP.“It’s time for people to go home. It is time for us to restore Cal Anderson [Park] and Capitol Hill so it can be a vibrant part of the community,” Durkan said at the press conference. “We can still accommodate people who want to protest peacefully, come there and gather. But the impacts on the businesses and residents and community are now too much.”She added that police would re-enter the neighborhood precinct, which was boarded up when cops left the area on June 8, although she did not elaborate on a timeline for the reintroduction of police. Seattle Police did not return a request for comment.A spokesperson for the CHOP-affiliated group, Seattle Organized Protest Support said the disbandment talk had led to divergent views within the neighborhood."There is a lot of uncertainty going around in the CHOP right now, different people have different opinions," the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. "As far as the groups that I’m in, it seems that the general consensus is to follow Black leaders for the next step, which is tricky in and of itself because we never know who is working with the city and who isn’t."Other encampment-based movements have faced similar predicaments in the past. The Occupy Wall Street protests lasted approximately three months camped in a downtown Manhattan park before police raided the scene and sent the movement spiraling. Todd Gitlin, a Columbia University professor and author of the book Occupy Nation, said the uprooted camp sites face an ideological reckoning.“The problem for manifestations that come together around an occasion, like a park to occupy, is ‘well then what?’” Gitlin told The Daily Beast. “How do you sustain yourself when the occupation is over? In the case of Occupy, there were these hundreds of encampments, but they were all land-dependent. They had no other identity. They had no other connections.”Some Occupy organizers turned to more electoral politics, like joining the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, or became active in issues like housing rights, Gitlin noted. Others appeared to leave the political scene.The CHOP zone’s cop-free cred is one of its main attractions. But several shootings in or near the CHOP in recent days have left some Seattle officials, Durkan included, calling for resumed police details. Early Tuesday morning, a man was injured in a non-life-threatening shooting near—but apparently not in—the CHOP. The incident followed a Saturday morning shooting that left a 19-year-old dead and a 33-year-old critically wounded in the CHOP. A 17-year-old was also shot in the arm Sunday night.Some activists and at least one Seattle City Council member have sparred with officials over the characterization of the incidents.“We completely reject the characterizations – by right-wing & corporate media, Trump administration, and Seattle Police Officers Guild president – of the CHOP as a violent place & the claims that the presence of police would have prevented either shooting,” Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant tweeted on Monday. She noted that neither of the weekend shootings appear to have been committed by protesters. (Police have not made arrests in either case.)Other activists have taken issue with the police chief’s claim that a “hostile crowd” of protesters prevented officers from responding to the Saturday shooting. "No one within the CHOP denied entry to PD within any organizational capacity,” organizers told KOMO News after the shooting. “Officers deciding on their own not to enter an area is not the same as being denied entry." (Police body camera footage from the incident appears to show some people yelling at police, but officers moving without obstruction.)Nevertheless, the shootings have placed new challenges on a protest movement that was already a favorite villain of conservative voices and far-right groups, some of which have entered the CHOP armed and been involved in a fistfight near the zone.After the Saturday shooting, the group Voices of CHOP issued a letter “acknowledg[ing] that no organizations, protests, or revolutions are perfect. We must be willing to collectively learn and react quickly to mistakes within our movement. We do not want to see what was started with the  intention of lifting the BLM message destroyed.”The group suggested two changes to curb unruliness in the CHOP, including “safe [drug] use areas near the outskirts of C.H.O.P.,” along with signage asking people to “keep safe distance away from C.H.O.P. while intoxicated.” The letter also acknowledged that “the late hours of C.H.O.P. tend to give way to some problematic behavior.” The group suggested reducing the CHOP’s operating hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., clearing the zone out overnight but leaving enough people “for peace keeping and occupy purposes.”Sawant tweeted that her City Council office supports the proposal to cut operating hours in half. But momentum behind the protest zone shifting to part time also comes as attendance has apparently begun to fizzle out. A live-streamer who has closely covered the protests told the Washington Post attendance has dwindled since its beginning in early June.Amid the mayor’s calls to dissolve the CHOP, and the reportedly organic dissolution by protesters who’ve stopped showing up, some CHOP backers are emphasizing the protest’s more abstract qualities as a way to keep the movement alive.“As socialists,” Sawant tweeted, “we recognize capitalism is a deeply violent system, and that an occupation in a few city blocks cannot by itself form a society separate from the violence, trauma, and ills that absolutely pervade capitalist society as a whole.”For some protesters, that means returning to the protests extensive demands. As of Monday, a handmade sign on the zone’s abandoned precinct announced some activists’ stance not to leave until the city defunds its police force by 50 percent, introduces new funding for Black communities, and releases people arrested in the protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.The CHOP has been in place fewer than three weeks. Occupy Wall Street stayed in its encampment nearly three months—and even still, Gitlin characterized the protest as “more of a moment than a movement.”That said, Occupy made enduring political waves because “it was a moment that dovetailed with other moments, and we can see retrospectively that they contributed to a kind of revitalization or awakening outsider energy looking for ways to get traction in the American scene.”The CHOP might be short-lived, some organizers have indicated, but it stems from sweeping, nationwide protests, into which activists might continue their energy.The Seattle Organized Protest Support released its own statement on Monday reiterating those three demands, noting that, as an occupied area, “CHOP may not be a sustainable fight.”The six blocks weren't the point of the original protest, the SOPS spokesperson said."CHOP wasn’t the goal, and the people who are fighting the fight recognize that," the representative said. "The people came up with three demands that were the original goal, everything born out of that is temporary and was never meant to distract from the purpose of the fight."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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3 North Carolina police officers were fired after they were heard on camera making racist comments, including one threatening to 'slaughter' Black people in a new civil war

3 North Carolina police officers were fired after they were heard on camera making racist comments, including one threatening to 'slaughter' Black people in a new civil warJames Gilmore, Jesse Moore II, and Kevin Piner had been on the force for more than 20 years. Their conversations were caught on an in-car camera.



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Mourners pay respects to Rayshard Brooks at Ebenezer viewing

Mourners pay respects to Rayshard Brooks at Ebenezer viewingMourners filed through Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday for a public viewing of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man whose fatal shooting by a white police officer came amid growing calls for an end to racial injustice after the death of George Floyd. Latoya Spikes, 40, and her daughter, 12-year-old Morgan Green, arrived more than two hours early and were first in line outside the church where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was once pastor and where Brooks’ funeral is set for Tuesday. About an hour before the four-hour public viewing began, a gold-colored casket carrying Brooks’ body arrived at the church.



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Secret Service responds to reports that reporters were ordered to leave White House while protests took place nearby, says '4 members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service' to leave.

Secret Service responds to reports that reporters were ordered to leave White House while protests took place nearby, says '4 members of the media were misdirected by the Secret Service' to leave.Journalists were asked to vacate the White House while protests were taking place in nearby Lafayette Park, according to CNN.



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Democrats say U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty may be illegal

Democrats say U.S. withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty may be illegalSenior U.S. Senate Democrats on Monday accused President Donald Trump’s administration of violating the law when it declared his intention last month to withdraw the United States from the Open Skies Treaty. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mike Esper, the Democrats said the administration had not given the legally required 120 days’ advance notice to Congress before beginning the withdrawal process.



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Seattle police investigate new shooting near autonomous zone

Seattle police investigate new shooting near autonomous zonePolice tweeted the shooting took place on the edge of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP), or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, where demonstrators set up a police-free zone in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody. A man was taken to Harborview Medical Center at 5 a.m. after being shot near Cal Anderson Park and was in satisfactory condition, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. There have been no reports indicating that the shooting on the edge of Cal Anderson Park was related to the occupation zone.



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