Portland protesters set fires, use mortar; 2 officers hurt

Portland protesters set fires, use mortar; 2 officers hurtProtesters outside a Portland police union building set fires and used a mortar to launch commercial grade fireworks at police and officials said Monday that two officers were injured and 16 demonstrators were arrested. A day after demonstrators managed to get inside the union building and set a fire, the protesters on Sunday night blocked a road and set dumpster fires outside it, police said in a statement. The fireworks were launched at police as they tried to clear out the demonstrators and one of the two officers treated at the scene suffered a burn on her neck.



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She Was Charged With Murder After Her Baby Was Stillborn. Now California’s AG Has Stepped In.

She Was Charged With Murder After Her Baby Was Stillborn. Now California’s AG Has Stepped In.For more than nine months, five of them during a global pandemic, a 26-year-old woman named Chelsea Becker has been sitting in Kings County Jail, under a $ 2 million bail, for giving birth to a stillborn baby.Becker has been there since November, when police arrested her and prosecutors charged her with murder. The District Attorney argued that Becker’s methamphetamine addiction had caused the stillbirth, citing a 50-year-old law that civil rights advocates say was never supposed to apply to pregnant women. It has put Becker at the heart of a national debate over criminalizing fetal death. On Friday, however, California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra intervened. In an amicus brief to end the case against Becker, Becerra argued the prosecution’s legal interpretation would lead to “absurd—and constitutionally questionable—results.”“We believe the law was misapplied and misinterpreted,” Becerra said in a statement about the brief. “Our laws in California do not convict women who suffer the loss of their pregnancy, and in our filing today we are making clear that this law has been misused to the detriment of women, children, and families.” An American Surrogate Had His Baby. Then Coronavirus Hit.Back in September, Becker, then 25, was eight and a half months pregnant when she thought her water broke, only to discover it was blood. Becker’s mother called an ambulance to her home in the San Joaquin Valley, according to The Los Angeles Times. Three hours later, Becker gave birth in Adventist Health Hanford hospital to a boy with no pulse, whom she had planned to name Zachariah.Suspicious that the fetus suffered from drug exposure, hospital employees alerted the Kings County Medical Examiner’s Office, which conducted an autopsy. The exam found methamphetamine in the fetus’ system, a Times report states, that amounted to more than five times the level thought to be toxic. They ruled the case a homicide. Becker had grown up in Hanford, a working class town in Kings County, that serves as a trading hub in the agrarian San Joaquin Valley. The nearly half Hispanic town recently made headlines when 183 meatpacking workers came down with COVID-19. According to the Census Bureau, 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line. Before the pandemic, county unemployment levels hovered at 7.9 percent—they have since soared to 14.6 percent.Becker told the Times that as a teen, she spent some time living with her father in Minnesota, where she became addicted to methamphetamine. She came home to Hanford at 19, where she had two other children, both of whom were removed from her care. In early November, prosecutors charged Becker with murder, holding the mother on a $ 5 million bail, later reduced to $ 2 million. Their case hinged on an amendment, passed in 1970, to the state’s murder statute: Penal Code section 187. Earlier that year, the California Supreme Court had overturned the murder conviction of man who had assaulted his pregnant wife, causing the death of their fetus. The code, the court had concluded, only addressed the killing of “a human being,” making the man ineligible for a murder charge. In response, the legislature amended the statute to include the “unlawful killing” of a “fetus.” That was the language prosecutors seized on to charge Becker with murder.“The conduct of the defendant resulted in the death of a fetus, which is a crime in California,” said District Attorney Keith Fagundes told The Los Angeles Times. He did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment on Saturday.At her arraignment, Becker pleaded not guilty, and later filed a motion calling the code’s application to a pregnant woman unconstitutional. The amendment had been made to protect victims of domestic violence, Becker’s lawyers argued, not criminalize women who miscarried, had stillbirths, or sought abortions. “Penal Code 187(b)(3) by its own plain terms,” they wrote, “precludes the prosecution of a woman for the consensual acts in which she may engage while pregnant.” Becker’s attorney, Roger Nuttall, and Becerra did not immediately return requests for comment. “Ms. Becker had experienced a stillbirth that the prosecutor claims (without scientific basis) was caused by her methamphetamine use during pregnancy,” the National Advocates for Pregnant Women wrote in a statement on Becker’s case. “Ms. Becker was charged with this crime despite the fact that §187 does not authorize, nor has it ever been interpreted to authorize prosecution of a woman in relation to her own pregnancy or any outcome of a pregnancy.”https://www.facebook.com/NationalAdvocatesforPregnantWomen/photos/a.190808107181/10157715445342182/?type=3&theaterIn the decades since 1970, California prosecutors have tried to charge women for stillbirths, but none has secured a conviction until 2018, when another woman was arrested for the same crime in the same town of Hanford.Like Becker, Adora Perez was in her late 20s and addicted to methamphetamine when she gave birth to a stillborn baby at Adventist Health. Also like Becker, hospital employees alerted the Medical Examiner’s Office when the fetus tested positive for the drug, according to reports in The Fresno Bee. Fagundes charged her with murder. Perez, however, took a plea deal. Now 32, she is serving an 11-year sentence in state prison for voluntary manslaughter—the first time in decades that a charge of this kind ended in jail time. The unprecedented charges against Becker and Perez have alarmed pregnancy advocates, medical professionals, drug policy organizations, and civil rights groups across the country. In April, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in support of Becker. The same day, a coalition of 15 organizations, from the Drug Policy Alliance to California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, filed another.“Broadly accepted medical, public health, and scientific evidence supports the Legislature’s drafting of the statute to avoid criminalizing women with respect to their pregnancies,” the coalition wrote. “Pregnancy and use of controlled substances is a medical and public health issue, not an issue that should be subject to state intervention and control.”Attempts to criminalize pregnant women who suffer from addiction have backfired in the past. In 2014, Tennessee passed a wildly controversial bill, attempting to target what they called “fetal assault.” The bill allowed prosecutors to bring charges against women with drug addictions, if their fetuses were born still or disabled. It proved so polarizing that it was given a two-year trial phase and then, in 2016, deemed a failure and discontinued. “As a result of the law,” the National Advocates for Pregnant Women wrote in a statement, “women steered clear of prenatal care and drug treatment and avoided delivering their babies in hospital settings.”Nevertheless in June, the superior court denied Becker’s motion to have the case declared unconstitutional. The next month, she filed a writ of prohibition––a motion to stop the court proceedings––arguing that “a woman cannot be prosecuted for murder as a result of her own omissions or actions that might result in pregnancy loss.” In his amicus brief on her case, Becerra agreed: “The superior court erred in concluding otherwise.” “The Legislature’s purpose in adding the killing of a fetus to Penal Code section 187 was not to punish women who do not—or cannot, because of addiction or resources—follow best practices for prenatal health,” Becerra wrote. “The courts should not assume that the Legislature intended such a sweeping and invasive change to the criminal law affecting women’s lives without clear evidence of that intent. And such evidence is absent here.”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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Biden teases VP pick: 'Are you ready?'

Biden teases VP pick: 'Are you ready?'Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is expected to announce his running mate this week, teasing a reporter on Sunday by asking, "Are you ready?"Biden has said he will choose a woman as his vice presidential pick, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice having emerged as frontrunners. Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and California Rep. Karen Bass have also been floated by analysts as potential picks."[Biden] has a very difficult decision to make … but it's almost an embarrassment of riches," Howard University political science professor Niambi Carter told USA Today, while others have worried that Biden's delay has made his choice "messier than it should be" and pitted "women, especially Black women, against one another." Check out the seven candidates The Week's Matthew Walther believes have the best chance here.More stories from theweek.com QAnon goes mainstream Donald Trump's impotent tyranny 5 scathing cartoons about Trump's 'it is what it is' COVID response



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Ron Johnson Subpoenas FBI Director Wray in Probe of Crossfire Hurricane Origins

Ron Johnson Subpoenas FBI Director Wray in Probe of Crossfire Hurricane OriginsSenator Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) subpoenaed FBI director Christopher Wray last week for documents pertaining to the Russia investigation.Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, issued the subpoena as part of the committee's probe into the origins of the Russia investigation, dubbed Crossfire Hurricane by the FBI.The subpoena, obtained by Fox News, demands that Wray make available "all records related to the Crossfire Hurricane investigation. This includes, but is not limited to, all records provided or made available to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice for its review.""The FBI has already been producing documents and information to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which are directly responsive to this subpoena," the FBI told Fox. "As always, the FBI will continue to cooperate with the Committee’s requests, consistent with our law enforcement and national security obligations."Both the Homeland Security committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee are conducting investigations into the origins of the Crossfire Hurricane probe, whose stated aim was to uncover alleged collusion between Russian operatives and 2016 Trump-campaign officials. Intelligence officials have already declassified various documents pertaining to Crossfire Hurricane as part of the Judiciary Committee's investigation.Many of those documents were uncovered by DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz as part of his own investigation into the FBI's applications for FISA warrants to surveil former Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page. Horowitz found "at least 17 significant errors or omissions in the Carter Page FISA applications."



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Race in Mauritius to empty oil tanker before it breaks up

Race in Mauritius to empty oil tanker before it breaks upUrgent efforts increased in Mauritius on Monday to empty a stranded Japanese ship of an estimated 2,500 tons of oil before the vessel breaks up and increases the contamination of the island’s once-pristine coastline. Already more than 1,000 tons of the fuel has washed up on the eastern coast of Mauritius, polluting its coral reefs, protected lagoons and shoreline. High winds and waves are pounding the Japanese bulk carrier MV Wakashio, which ran aground on a coral reef two weeks ago and is showing signs of breaking up and dumping its remaining cargo of oil into the Indian Ocean waters surrounding Mauritius.



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Gunmen kill six French aid workers, their driver and guide in Niger, minister says

Gunmen kill six French aid workers, their driver and guide in Niger, minister saysGunmen on motorcycles killed six French aid workers, a Nigerien guide and a driver in a wildlife park in Niger on Sunday, officials said. The group was attacked in a giraffe reserve just 65 km (40 miles) from the West African country’s capital Niamey, the governor of Tillaberi region, Tidjani Ibrahim Katiella, told Reuters. The six worked for an international aid group, Niger’s Defence Minister Issoufou Katambé told Reuters.



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California's top public health director out, no reason given

California's top public health director out, no reason givenCalifornia's top public health official has resigned, just days after the state announced a fix for a glitch that caused a lag in reporting coronavirus test results used to make decisions about reopening businesses and schools. Dr. Sonia Angell said in a resignation letter made public late Sunday that she's departing from her role as director and state public health officer at the California Department of Public Health. Angell often appeared during news conferences about California's response to the pandemic alongside Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who had appointed her to the dual roles.



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Obama targets Texas in first round of 2020 endorsements

Obama targets Texas in first round of 2020 endorsementsFormer President Barack Obama unveiled his first round of 2020 endorsements on Monday, and he's got his eyes on Texas, at least at the local level.Obama is endorsing 27 Democratic candidates in Texas, including 19 for the state House, where Democrats need to win nine seats to grab the majority. The focus seems to make sense for Obama, The New York Times notes, because Texas districts will be redrawn after the 2020 census, and Democrats want to gain a foothold before that happens. The former president has made it a priority to back candidates whom the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has labeled key to the redistricting process.He decided to stay out of Texas' Senate race between incumbent Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and his Democratic challenger MJ Hegar, however. Obama similarly avoided other key Senate races in Republican states, including Montana, Kentucky, and Georgia, where his public support may not provide a boost, or could even prove harmful.> What's missing? Some key red state Senate races, including MT, KY, GA and TX where it is less clear that Obama's public backing would be a benefit.https://t.co/9rIjcI7SvE> > — Shane Goldmacher (@ShaneGoldmacher) August 3, 2020In races at the national level, Obama endorsed 52 Democratic House candidates and five for the Senate in battleground states, and he's set to announce a second wave of endorsements for states who have yet to hold their primaries. Read more at The New York Times.More stories from theweek.com The most damning inside portrait of the Trump administration yet 5 brutally funny cartoons about Bill Barr’s brand of justice Why Democratic voters might stay home on Election Day



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Navarro Throws Another White House Health Expert Under Bus Over Hydroxy

Navarro Throws Another White House Health Expert Under Bus Over HydroxyWhite House trade adviser Peter Navarro publicly bashed yet another White House public health expert on Monday while touting an unproven anti-malarial drug, saying he took “exception” to coronavirus testing czar Brett Giroir dismissing hydroxychloroquine as an effective coronavirus treatment.Days after CNN cut short a Navarro interview after he kept repeating the racist phrase “China virus,” the network invited him on for yet another contentious segment that featured the combative Trump aide disseminating coronavirus disinformation.Navarro, who has been an outspoken proponent of hydroxychloroquine and has repeatedly attacked top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci for warning about the drug’s lack of efficacy, doubled down on his embrace of the drug while taking aim at Giroir.“One of the president’s chief advisers on the coronavirus pandemic, Adm. Giroir, he said given five studies now that have found the drug hydroxychloroquine—that there’s no proof that it helps with COVID-19 patients,” host Jim Sciutto noted. “I just wonder, given your past public support for it, is it time for the administration to focus on proven treatments for COVID rather than one that has not been proven?”Navarro—who recently groused that the government is “sitting on millions of doses” of the drug—shot back that he takes “exception to Giroir’s analysis, adding that the HHS official “hasn’t looked at the data” within the past two weeks.“It’s his job to look at data,” Sciutto interjected.After demanding that CNN bring on a couple of doctors who claim the drug is beneficial for COVID-19 patients—CNN had actually interviewed one of them hours earlier—Navarro brushed off the large number of experts criticizing hydroxychloroquine.“My view of this now is doctors' opinions are a dime a dozen and some doctors say it doesn’t work,” he exclaimed. “You’ve got some doctors who say it does.”The CNN host, meanwhile, retorted that this isn’t a “both sides thing,” prompting Navarro to insist that is exactly what it is.“No, it is a both sides. It is—it is both sides,” he declared.Sciutto went on to note that several high-quality double-blinded clinical trials show that there is no benefit to the drug and that the FDA has revoked emergency use of hydroxychloroquine due to concerns over potentially deadly side effects.“This hasn’t passed muster so why all the focus on that drug,” the CNN anchor wondered aloud. “Why not focus on things that work like remdesivir?”Undeterred, Navarro claimed that there is now a study that shows hydroxychloroquine “works better” than remdesivir—even though White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said just last week that randomized trials have shown the anti-viral drug has no efficacy as a treatment. She also reiterated that there appears to be no benefit to hydroxychloroquine.Team Trump has suddenly rallied back around the controversial malaria drug after a fringe doctor—who believes that demon sperm causes female medical problems and “alien DNA” is being used in medication—proclaimed it a coronavirus “cure” in a viral video last week. Despite that doctor’s bizarre past claims, President Donald Trump has called her “spectacular,” “very respected,” and an “important voice.”Chris Wallace Confronts Trump Campaign Spox Jason Miller: Admit ‘You’re Losing’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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Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concerns

Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concernsSturgis is on. The message has been broadcast across social media as South Dakota, which has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, braces to host hundreds of thousands of bikers for the 80th edition of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns.



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Homicides Spike in 50 Largest Cities across Nation

Homicides Spike in 50 Largest Cities across NationHomicides and gun violence have spiked in major cities around the country since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, spurred by an economic recession and unrest that arose from protests against police brutality.Across the nation’s 50 largest cities, homicides are up 24 percent this year, totaling 3,612 so far, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of police department data. In 36 of those cities, the homicide rate increased by double digits.Shootings have also surged, but other kinds of violent crime have declined, including robberies, which sank 11 percent across the 41 cities that provided such data.Chicago saw the largest jump in homicides, reporting more than 400 more homicides than last year, an increase of more than 50 percent. Philadelphia and New York City came in just behind the country's third-largest city, both tallying more than 200 more homicides this year. Along with Chicago, Austin and Fort Worth, Tx. saw the largest increase in murders.The staggering increase in violence comes after months of protests against police departments that have included calls to defund and dismantle departments in Minneapolis, where the police custody death of George Floyd sparked national outrage. Homicides in Minneapolis have nearly doubled, with 41 homicides compared to 21 by this time last year.Police and crime experts have attributed the spike in violence to a variety of factors, including a rise in gang violence, an economic recession caused by the shutdown of businesses, and the lack of activity during the pandemic by social institutions that historically help tamp down crime, such as churches and schools.Meanwhile, lockdown orders that have kept residents in their homes may help explain the decline in robberies and rapes, since burglars are less likely to target a home with residents inside, and fewer potential victims were on the streets, experts said. The rise in shootings and murders was particularly stark in disadvantaged neighborhoods rather than the sites of protests against racism and police brutality in many cities.The homicide rate in the nation's major cities is still a far cry from the crime levels of previous decades, such as in 1990, when New York City recorded a total of 2,262 murders.



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Leaked report shows DHS targeted Americans who fought against ISIS in attempt to tie antifa to foreign power

Leaked report shows DHS targeted Americans who fought against ISIS in attempt to tie antifa to foreign powerA Department of Homeland Security intelligence report leaked to The Nation has some experts skeptical of the department's motives.The report targeted several left-wing American activists whom the department would normally be prohibited from gathering intelligence on unless they had reason to believe the individuals were operating on behalf of a foreign power. The people named in the report, many of whom have identified with far-left causes, do have connections abroad — they traveled to Syria in the past and fought against ISIS alongside Kurdish factions like the YPG, PKK, and the Peshmerga.The U.S., of course, considers ISIS an enemy, as well, so it may seem surprising that the U.S. government would focus on people who volunteered to fight against the terrorist group, but critics argue the Syria connection could be a front to root out potential antifa members. (Some of the individuals denied membership in antifa, which does not necessarily operate in any organized capacity to begin with.)> This is a big deal. Much as Trump et al want, domestic groups like the anti-fascist movement can't be formally labeled terror orgs. But tying them to foreign groups like the YPG (based on <12 people, incl. those who don't ID as antifa) opens them to otherwise-illegal surveillance https://t.co/upHP57QLdD> > — Kelly Weill (@KELLYWEILL) August 3, 2020The report eventually appears to conclude there is no evidence of a "centralized effort to give marching orders to returning antifa-affiliated" U.S. residents, but either way, the briefing didn't sit well with everyone. "They targeted Americans like they're Al-Qaeda," a former intelligence officer in the department with knowledge of the operations told The Nation. "They were essentially violating people's rights like this was the 60s." Read more at The Nation.More stories from theweek.com The most damning inside portrait of the Trump administration yet 5 brutally funny cartoons about Bill Barr’s brand of justice Why Democratic voters might stay home on Election Day



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Diesel truck soot likely sparked major California wildfire

Diesel truck soot likely sparked major California wildfireA California wildfire raging through dry brush and timber east of Los Angeles, forcing thousands of people from their homes, was likely sparked by burning soot from the exhaust of a diesel truck, investigators said on Monday. The blaze, dubbed the Apple Fire, has scorched more than 26,000 acres (10,500 hectares) since erupting last Friday in the Riverside County community of Cherry Valley, about 70 miles (120 km) east of Los Angeles, and was only 5% contained as of Monday, fire officials said. The fire posed an immediate threat to some 2,400 homes, prompting mandatory weekend evacuations of some 7,800 residents, said Fernando Herrera, a Riverside County Fire Department captain and spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire).



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Obama is now on a head-on collision course with Trump to save the 2020 US election

Obama is now on a head-on collision course with Trump to save the 2020 US electionBack in February 2008, congressman John Lewis had some bad news for Hillary Clinton and her presidential campaign.It was true that just a few months earlier, the civil rights hero had backed her bid to become the nation’s first woman president. But now, painfully and after no small consideration, he was having to take that endorsement back.



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Chris Wallace Confronts Trump Campaign Spox Jason Miller: Admit ‘You’re Losing’

Chris Wallace Confronts Trump Campaign Spox Jason Miller: Admit ‘You’re Losing’Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace interrupted his guest’s attacks on Joe Biden to bring up some important points about the Trump campaign this weekend.“Despite what you say about the Biden campaign, the fact is it is the Trump campaign that just replaced your campaign manager,” Wallace told Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller. “It’s the Trump campaign that just paused all television advertising for six days to recalibrate.” From there, Wallace put up on the screen a series of polling averages that show Trump trailing Biden by wide margins both nationally and in three of the crucial swing states he won in 2016. “How do you turn this around, because at this point, Jason, you’re losing?” the host asked.Unsurprisingly, Miller dismissed the premise of the question. “Well, we think we’re in great shape and well positioned to win this,” Miller said in response. He then falsely stated that in all the states President Trump needs to get to 270 electoral votes “he’s either leading or within the margin of error.” He also cited the outlier Rasmussen poll that has Trump with a 50 percent approval ratings as of this past Friday.‘He’s Terrified of Losing’—Trump Goes Into Hyperdrive to Delegitimize the ElectionBut when he started to attack Fox News’ polling specifically, Wallace stopped him. “I think the Fox poll compares very favorably to the Rasmussen  poll in terms of accuracy,” Wallace said. “I knew you were going to attack one poll. As I said the national poll is based on nine polls. The state polls, based on multiple polls as well. Are you really going to blame this—it seems to me that you hurt your credibility if you don’t admit, yeah, we’re losing and we’ve got to turn things around.”“I disagree,” Miller replied. Undeterred, he insisted, without evidence, that Trump is “in a good position right now.” Stephen Miller Spreads Blatant Lies About Mail-In Voting on ‘Fox & Friends’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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