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Trump admits to deliberately misleading US public over Covid-19, but will it matter?

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IN THE PAPERS – Thursday, September 10: We look at reactions in the papers to Donald Trump admitting that he deliberately misled the US public over coronavirus so as not to create panic. Also, Nafissatou Diallo, the New York hotel maid who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her in 2011, breaks her silence over the scandal. In France, a new petition calls for rebel poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine to be buried at the Panthéon. And find out how your fRead More – Source

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Protests against police brutality leave several dead, hundreds injured in Bogota

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Demonstrators took to the streets for a second night in Colombias capital Bogota on Thursday to press ahead with protests against police brutality that have erupted in violence and taken nine lives so far.

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The demonstrators were protesting the death this week of law student Javier Ordonez, 46. A widely-shared video filmed by Ordonezs friend showed the father of two being repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by police. He died later in a hospital.

Some 300 protesters gathered once again Thursday afternoon outside the police station in Villa Luz, where Ordonez was taken before his death and which was heavily damaged on Wednesday.

“How many are you going to kill today,” screamed barista Alejandra Pulido, 25. “The authorities that should protect us are killing us!”

“Pigs, pigs, pigs!” chanted the crowd, as police officers with riot shields stood in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

A number threw stones at the assembled police while others spray painted graffiti on their riot shields.

Bogota: several killed, dozens of police stations burned down in protests

Since the protests started Wednesday in Bogota and satellite city Soacha, at least nine people have been killed while hundreds of civilians and police officers have been injured.

Colombia’s defense minister apologizes over police brutality amid protests

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Colombia's defense minister apologized on Friday on behalf of the national police for an incident of police brutality that sparked two nights of protests that rocked parts of capital Bogota and satellite city Soacha, leaving 11 dead and hundreds injured.

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Demonstrators have taken to the streets for consecutive nights to protest the death on Wednesday of Javier Ordonez, 46. A widely-shared video filmed by Ordonez's friend showed the father of two being repeatedly shocked with a stun gun by police. He died later in a hospital.

"The national police apologize for any violation of the law or ignorance of regulations by any members of the institution", Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said in a video message.

The video of Ordonez shows him pinned to the ground by police officers and subjected to successive electric shocks early on Wednesday as he begs, "please, no more."

Police said Ordonez was found drinking alcohol in the street with friends in violation of coronavirus distancing rules. He was taken to a police station in western Bogota which has become a focal point of protests, and later died in hospital.

Two police officers implicated in Ordonez's death face charges of abusing authority and homicide. They have already been suspended and will be fired from the force.

A further five officers have been suspended in connection with Ordonez's death, Trujillo said.

Seven people aged between 17 and 27 years old died after being shot in Bogota during protests on Wednesday, according to the mayor's oRead More – Source

New Yorkers rejoice as the citys iconic cultural sites reopen

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New York City was the epicentre of the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States in March. Now the citys cultural sites are slowly reopening.

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After six months of hibernation, the American Museum of Natural History is slowly coming back to life.

The Upper West Side institution reopened its doors to the general public this Wednesday after the longest closure in its entire 150-year history.

But the hiatus did give the museum ample time to clean all of the dinosaurs teeth, offering a silver lining of the shutdown.

Among the first visitors to return were Chrissie Murphy and her two daughters, who danced between the T-Rex and the Apatosaurus through the hall of Saurischian fossils.

“To not be able to come here for six months has been really tough on us,” said the stay-at-home mother from Connecticut. “So just knowing that it was open again today, we were so excited to come back.”

Emma took a close look at the T-Rexs teeth. “It has giant teeth and I am wondering if it can crack bones,” she said. She got the unequivocal answer to that question – “T-Rex could pulverise bones, in a snap” – in the exhibition T. rex: The Ultimate Predator, which opened right before the pandemic and has been extended until spring next year.

Visitors have to book tickets ahead of time and they must wear a mask in the museum. It has only opened at 25 percent capacity, as is the case for most of the other cultural attractions in New York City.

Unrest in the United States: The rise of self-styled vigilantes

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In this week's show, we look at the civil unrest that continues to grip many American cities. We bring you a report which looks at the rising number of pro-Trump and right-wing vigilante groups.

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Next, our international affairs commentator Douglas Herbert gives us his take on the looming presidential election, as campaigning heats up ahead of the November poll. He explains why Donald Trump's promise to "protect" Americans from violence is the centerpiece of his re-election strategy.

Finally, we take a closer Read More – Source

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US health authorities tell states to prepare for Covid-19 vaccine by November

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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has asked state public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine to high-risk groups as soon as late October or early November, documents published by the agency showed on Wednesday.

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The timing of release of any vaccine has taken on political importance as US President Donald Trump seeks re-election in November, after putting substantial federal resources into vaccine development.

“For the purpose of initial planning, CDC provided states with certain planning assumptions as they work on state specific plans for vaccine distribution, including possibly having limited quantities of vaccines in October and November,” a CDC spokeswoman told Reuters.

The New York Times had earlier reported that the CDC had contacted officials in all 50 states and five large cities with the documents.

The countrys top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci earlier on Wednesday said on MSNBC that based on the patient enrollment rate in COVID-19 vaccine trials underway, there could be enough clinical data to know by November or December that one of the vaccines is safe and effective.

The documents put online by the New York Times showed that the CDC is preparing for one or two vaccines for COVID -19 to be available in limited doses as soon as late October.

The vaccines may be available free of cost first to high-risk groups including health care works, national security personnel, residents and staff at Covid-19 long-term care facilities, the agency said in the documents.

Drug developers including Read More – Source

Systemic racism? A reality for many African-Americans

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Following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a White police officer in the US state of Minneapolis back in May, the US erupted in protests as hundreds of thousands of people, regardless of skin colour, took to the streets to call for justice and police reform. But since then, Black Lives Matter protests have continued and other African-Americans have been killed or seriously injured by police forces. Do African-Americans face systemic racism? Our US corRead More – Source

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US slaps sanctions on ICC prosecutor Bensouda over Afghanistan war probe

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The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The Hague-based tribunal reacted denouncing an “unprecedented” attack against “the rule of law”.

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"The International Criminal Court condemns the economic sanctions imposed by the US earlier today on the court's prosecutor and a member of her office," an ICC statement said. "These coercive acts, directed at an international judicial institution and its civil servants, are unprecedented and constitute serious attacks against the court, the Rome Statute system of international criminal justice, and the rule of law more generally."

The war crimes court said it "continues to stand firmly by its personnel and its mission of fighting impunity for the world's most serious crimes."

Pompeo also said that Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of the ICC's Jurisdiction, Complementarity and Cooperation Division, had been blacklisted under sanctions authorised by President Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans.

"Today we take the next step, because the ICC continues to target Americans, sadly," Pompeo told reporters.

In addition, Pompeo said that individuals and entities that continue to materially support Bensouda and Mochochoko would risk exposure to sanctions as well.

The US State Department also restricted the issuance of visas for individuals Pompeo said were involved in the court's efforts to investigate US personnel. He did not name those affected, though.

Kangoroo court investigating war crimes in Afghanistan

Facebook announces ban on new political ads in last week before US election

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Facebook said on Thursday it would stop accepting new political ads in the week before the US election day on Nov. 3, in a series of moves the company billed as its final plan for reducing risks of misinformation and election interference.

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Facebook, the worlds biggest social network, will continue to allow campaigns and others to run political ads that are already in the system, and will permit them to change spending amounts and user targeting, but will block adjustments to the ads content or design.

The company also said it was creating a label for posts by candidates or campaigns that try to claim victory before the election results are official.

In an interview on CBS News aired on Thursday, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said of the measures: “This will definitely apply to the president once this policy goes into place, and it will apply to everyone equally.”

President Donald Trump is running for a second term, facing Democratic challenger Joe Biden, and there are also congressional and gubernatorial races.

In a Facebook post announcing the changes, Zuckerberg said he was concerned about the unique challenges voters would face this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted a surge in voting by mail.

“Im also worried that with our nation so divided and election results potentially taking days or even weeks to be finalized, there could be an increased risk of civil unrest across the country,” he said.

Zuckerberg has previously defended his decision to allow for a freewheeling political conversation on Facebook, including through paid ads, which the company exempts from its fact-checking program with external partners, including Reuters.

Los Angeles plagued by human trafficking and underage prostitution

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In the United States, a minor is exploited in the sex industry every two minutes, according to activists. Every year, a total of 150,000 young people, mostly girls who are US citizens, are forced by pimps to sell their bodies. The city of Los Angeles is a hub for prostitution. It's a lucrative "business": sex trafficking is the second most profitable criminal activity in the country, after drug trafficking. This report by our correspondents in California was filmed beRead More – Source

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