Trump squirms in TV spotlight as voters pin him down on Covid, health and race

In a rare excursion outside the friendly media bubble of Fox News on Tuesday night, Donald Trump took questions directly from uncommitted American voters at a televised “town hall” type event, in an experiment his campaign might not be in a hurry to repeat. Under sometimes aggressive questioning from ordinary members of the voting public about healthcare, immigration and the coronavirus, Trump at times twisted in the spotlight, narrowing his eyes at a question about the “race problem in America” and trying to interrupt another voter’s question about health insurance. But the voter shut the president down. “Please stop and let me finish my question, sir,” said the questioner, Ellesia Blaque, a professor from Philadelphia who explained that as a Black woman with a pre-existing health condition, “I’m minimized and not taken seriously.” Trump looked away sourly, but did not try to interrupt again. Political analysts could not look away …

Trump officials altered intel to downplay threats from Russia, White supremacists, DHS whistleblower says

WASHINGTON – A former acting undersecretary at the Department of Homeland Security accused top officials there of ordering him to stop sharing intelligence assessments on Russia’s efforts to interfere in the U.S. election because they “made the President look bad.” According to a whistleblower complaint filed by Brian Murphy, former head of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at DHS, top brass also told Murphy to downplay a threat assessment about White supremacy. The formal whistleblower complaint describes a “repeated pattern of abuse of authority, attempted censorship of intelligence analysis and improper administration of an intelligence program related to Russian efforts to influence and undermine United States interests.” Among the most serious allegations are that acting Secretary Chad Wolf earlier this year instructed Murphy “to cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States, and instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran.” …

Belarus opposition figure Maxim Znak taken from office by masked men

Belarusian authorities have detained one of the last leading members of an opposition council who had remained free, moving methodically to end a month of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko. Maxim Znak, a lawyer and member of the coordination council created by the opposition to facilitate talks with the country’s leader on a transition of power, was taken out of the council’s office by unidentified people in ski masks, his associate Gleb German said. He said Znak only had time to text message “masks” before they took the phone away from him. Unidentified people were also trying to enter the apartment of the last member of the council’s executive presidium who remained free, Svetlana Alexievich, who won the 2015 Nobel prize in literature. Last month Alexievich was questioned by Belarusian investigators, who have opened a criminal investigation into members of the coordination council, accusing them of undermining national security by …

Prince Harry pays back £2.4m for Frogmore Cottage renovation

The Duke of Sussex has paid back £2.4m of taxpayers’ money used to renovate Frogmore Cottage, his spokesperson has said. Harry and Meghan’s official residence was gifted to them by the Queen but required extensive renovation to make it habitable for the couple and their son, Archie. In January, they announced that they were stepping back from their senior roles in the royal family and planned to split their time between the UK and North America, the continent of Meghan’s birth. They recently bought a home in Montecito, near Santa Barbara in California. As part of Harry and Meghan’s change of role they said they would work to become financially independent and repay the Frogmore Cottage costs. It is understood they have been able to make the payment now because of their recently signed multimillion-pound Netflix deal. Harry’s spokesman said: “A contribution has been made to the sovereign grant [the …

India becomes country with second highest number of Covid cases

India has surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases, as the virus continues to spread through the country of 1.3 billion at the fastest rate of anywhere in the world. India recorded more than 90,000 cases overnight, bringing the number of infections in the country past 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil, which with 4.1 million cases had been the second worst-affected country for several months. India now only lags behind the United States, which has had 6.2 million cases so far. However, while cases in the US have begun to level off, the rate of infection in India is worsening by the day, with no signs of when it will hit the peak, and experts are predicting the south Asian country will soon tally the most cases in the world. The death toll stands at 71,000, equating to 50 deaths per million, which …

As virus cases drop, governors may gamble on bars. Again.

As the number of coronavirus cases fall in the U.S., governors in hard-hit states are rethinking lockdown orders on bars By PAUL J. WEBER Associated Press September 7, 2020, 12:11 AM • 5 min read AUSTIN, Texas — A guy walks into a bar, which still isn’t allowed in Texas. But Jeff Brightwell owns this bar. Two months into an indefinite shutdown, he’s just checking on the place — the tables six feet apart, the “Covid 19 House Rules” sign instructing drinkers not to mingle. All the safeguards that didn’t keep the doors open because Dot’s Hop House & Cocktail Courtyard is a bar under Texas law. And bars, in a pandemic? “Really not good,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s infectious disease expert, told Congress in June. But some governors are warming up to good enough. Thousands of bars forced to close after massive virus outbreaks swept across the U.S. …

Closeted Hasidic trans woman inches closer to her ‘feminine dream’

Rivky strolled through the Zara store in Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood, one eye examining the racks of skirts and blouses and the other looking out for anyone she might know. She was looking for something that would fit her broad frame. Rivky made her way to the women’s dressing room line, dresses and skirts piled on her forearms. The female attendant looked confused and then chuckled. Why was this male-presenting person — wearing traditional Hasidic Jewish men’s attire — walking into the fitting room with women’s clothing? Rivky, 41, is not your typical gender-conforming religious observer. Her white dress shirt, black vest and black slacks — the daily dress code for Hasidic men — serve as culturally acceptable covers for the bra and women’s underwear she frequently wears underneath. She feels her best when dressed in women’s attire, and at home she regularly strips down to just a bra, panties …

Fire on oil tanker off Sri Lanka extinguished after 3 days

A team of experts is joining efforts to salvage a large oil tanker that has been burning for the fourth day Sunday off Sri Lanka By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI Associated Press September 6, 2020, 3:34 AM • 2 min read COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A team of experts is joining efforts to salvage a large oil tanker that has been burning for the fourth day Sunday off Sri Lanka, the country’s navy said. Four tug boats, three Sri Lankan navy ships and six Indian ships have been battling the fire on the MT New Diamond since Thursday. An additional five Sri Lankan coast guard ships and gun boats are supplying the others vessels. Navy spokesman Indika de Silva said the fire on the ship has been brought under control but is still not extinguished. There was no leak. A team led by an expert is already on one of the tug …

‘World’s loneliest elephant’ allowed to leave zoo for better life

An elephant who has become a cause célèbre for animal rights activists around the world will be allowed to leave his Pakistani zoo and be transferred to better conditions, the animal welfare group helping with the case has said. Dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” by his supporters, Kaavan has languished at a zoo in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for more than 35 years. Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws, said on Saturday that the elephant has finally been given medical approval to travel, most likely to Cambodia, where he will find companionship and better conditions. Kaavan, who is overweight, underwent a full medical examination at the zoo on Friday, said Bauer. Local wildlife officials and Four Paws vets feed Kaavan. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images In May, Pakistan’s high court ordered the Marghazar zoo closed because of its abysmal conditions, which were blamed on systemic negligence. The cause of …

Charlie Kaufman’s ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ isn’t a horror film. It’s better.

Road trips “remind you that the world is bigger than the inside of your own head,” observes a young woman played by Jessie Buckley in Charlie Kaufman’s elegiac thriller “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Netflix. Her statement is more or less in opposition to Kaufman’s entire body of work, which is dedicated to spelunking through the darkest recesses of the inside of his characters’ heads, so it should immediately be a little suspicious. This untrustworthy quality is worsened by her character’s boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), who seems to know what she’s thinking from moment to moment on their drive to meet his parents for dinner — a first for her. Then there are the incongruities and apparently intentional continuity errors: Sometimes she’s wearing a sweater; in the next shot, the sweater is gone. There’s an old man driving a truck in a series of interstitial scenes who doesn’t seem …

Who Was the Real ‘Father of Labor Day’? The Answer Is Complicated

Labor Day’s broad roots in the Labor movement are clear: President Grover Cleveland signed legislation on June 28, 1894, designating Labor Day a national holiday in the U.S. as a peace offering following a deadly railroad workers’ strike. But exactly who should count as the “founder” of Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September, has been the subject of debate since the 1890s. The two men who get the most credit are Peter J. McGuire and Matthew Maguire, who not only have similar-sounding names, but were also both active unionists of Irish descent who lived in New Jersey and campaigned for an eight-hour workday. McGuire is often credited for coming up with the idea of Labor Day and outlining its purpose, while Maguire (whose first name sometimes appears spelled as “Mathew”) is often credited for executing the idea. The first known Labor Day Parade was held …

Australia’s ANZ says 15,000 mortgage holders fear they can’t pay home loans

An ANZ sign adorns a branch of the bank in Sydney on May 3, 2016. William West | AFP | Getty Images About 15,000 people with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group mortgages fear they can no longer pay their home loans due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the head of Australia’s fourth-largest lender said on Friday. ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott told a parliamentary hearing the bank still did not know the true impact of the virus on the bank’s roughly A$246 billion ($179 billion) mortgage book since customers could pause repayments if they could not make them. However, of the bank’s 84,000 customers who had deferred loan repayments, “about 15,000 of those people have said ‘right now I’m really uncertain, I’ve lost my job … and I probably am going to need more help’ and they’re the people we’re talking to”, Elliott told parliament. “It’s going to …

US sanctions on ICC prosecutor unacceptable, says EU

The European Union’s top diplomat has called for Washington to reverse its sanctions on the international criminal court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another member of the ICC, calling the measures “unacceptable and unprecedented”. The US blacklisted Bensouda on Wednesday over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan, under sanctions authorised by Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans. Sanctions were also imposed on Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of The Hague-based ICC jurisdiction, complementarity and cooperation division. “The sanctions … are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the court’s investigations and judicial proceedings,” Josep Borrell said. Washington should “reconsider its position and reverse the measures it has taken”, he added. France’s foreign minister also condemned the sanctions and pledged his country’s unwavering support for the court and its staff. “The measures announced are a grave attack against the court … …

A young Latino was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy. His family is suing amid officers’ gang allegations.

The parents of Andres Guardado filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County and its sheriff’s department Tuesday afternoon after waiting more than two months to get answers on their teen son’s fatal shooting involving two sheriff’s deputies. Guardado, 18, was shot five times in the back June 18 while working as a security guard at an auto body shop in Gardena. The officers involved in his killing have been identified as Deputies Miguel Vega, who opened fire, and Chris Hernandez, who didn’t shoot. Both are deputies at the sheriff’s station in Compton, California. Andres Guardado.Family photo Officers allegedly saw him with a gun; Guardado then ran away and officers chased him into an alley in the back of a building where he was killed, Capt. Kent Wegener, head of the homicide bureau, said in a press conference in June. While a 40-caliber semiautomatic pistol that hadn’t been fired …

Dow futures rise nearly 100 points after Wall Street’s strong start to September

A woman rides past the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on July 13, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.   U.S. stock futures rose early morning Wednesday following a strong start to September for the market. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose about 96 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also traded in positive territory. The major U.S. indexes all rose during Tuesday’s regular session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite closing at record highs. The S&P 500 rose 0.75%, which was its best first trading day of September since 2010, according to Bespoke Investment Group. Tuesday’s rally came after a banner month for the markets, with the Dow and S&P 500 both rising at least 7% to notch their best August in more than 30 years. The Nasdaq outperformed both of them, gaining 9.59% for the month. Morgan Stanley Chief U.S. Equity Strategist Mike …

Trump floats conspiracy theory, without evidence, about plane ‘loaded with thugs’

It was the latest in a long list of conspiracy theories Trump has promoted. September 1, 2020, 6:50 PM • 7 min read President Donald Trump on Tuesday provided no evidence for a conspiracy theory he promoted the day before about a supposed plane full of black-clad protesters he claimed had aimed to disrupt the Republican convention last week. Trump said in a Monday interview with Fox News that “people that are in the dark shadows” have “control” over his Democratic opponent for the presidency, former Vice President Joe Biden. “What does that mean?” the right-wing host, Trump ally Laura Ingraham, asked. “That sounds like a conspiracy theory.” Trump went on: “We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a …

Coronavirus Live Updates: COVID-19 Infection Rate For Young People On The Rise

HuffPost reporters around the world are tracking the pandemic and its effects. Read the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic below. (To see the latest updates, you may need to refresh the page. All times are Eastern. For earlier updates on the pandemic, go here.) Learning Gap Between Rich And Poor Students ‘Grows By 46%’ After U.K. Lockdown — 9/1/20, 4:45 a.m. ET The learning gap between disadvantaged pupils and their better-off peers has increased by 46% in the UK, a new survey has found. The poll of nearly 3,000 school leaders and teachers added the figure likely to be an “under-estimate.” Teachers estimated on average that their pupils were three months behind in their studies, the survey said. However, more than half (53%) of those teaching in the poorest schools in England reported their students were “four months or more” behind in their learning, compared to 15% of teachers …

Biden Asks Voters: ‘Do You Really Feel Safer Under Trump?’

For four nights last week, the speakers at the Republican National Convention imagined what life would be like in Joe Biden’s America. The picture they painted was dark: riots in the streets, economic devastation, a nation gripped by fear. At a rare live campaign event on Monday, Biden offered his response, reminding voters that the crises Republicans described was already happening in the real America, the one where Donald Trump has been President for four years. “These are not images of some imagined Joe Biden America in the future. These are images of Donald Trump’s America today,” Biden said in a speech in Pittsburgh. “He keeps telling you: if only he was President, it wouldn’t happen. He keeps telling us, if he was President, you’d feel safe. Well he is President, whether he knows it or not.” It was a clever way to turn the dark and ominous messaging of …

Supporters of ex-Ivory Coast president submit his candidacy

Supporters of Ivory Coast’s ex-president Laurent Gbagbo have submitted his documents to the electoral commission to get him registered as a candidate in the October elections after his name had been removed from the list of candidates By TOUSSAINT N’GOTTA Associated Press August 31, 2020, 6:08 PM • 2 min read ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — Supporters of Ivory Coast’s ex-president Laurent Gbagbo have submitted his documents to the electoral commission to get him registered as a candidate in the October elections, although his name had already been removed from the list of candidates. The head of the EDI party, Georges Armand-Ouegnin, said they were naming Gbagbo as the party’s candidate. He rejected an earlier decision by the electoral commission that took the former president’s name off the list saying it was a political move. The electoral commission announced earlier this month that Gbagbo does not qualify as a candidate because …

How Britain’s high streets are recovering after lockdown – visual analysis

Following the reopening of the UK’s retail and hospitality sectors through June and July, there were hopes that the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic could be lessened. But research from the Local Data Company shows that, as of July, 29% of English high street shops hadn’t reopened in the weeks after lockdown relaxation – with that proportion increasing to as much as 54% in some areas. The findings point to inner cities struggling as lockdown was lifted, with vast swathes of London lying quiet, restaurant chains and shops announcing closures and thousands of high streets jobs having already been lost. The University of Oxford Covid-19 Impact Monitor also shows that footfall on high streets has struggled to return to pre-lockdown levels, with visitors to inner-city areas down by half at the start of August. Tourists have helped boost footfall in some seaside towns recently, but these areas are still …