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Churches burnt as Chile anniversary rallies turn violent

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Tens of thousands of Chileans gathered in the central square of Santiago to mark the one-year anniversary of mass protests that left over 30 dead and thousands injured, with peaceful rallies on Sunday devolving by nightfall into riots and looting.

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People gathered early in the day in demonstrations downtown and in cities throughout Chile that gained size and fervor through the evening. Many touted signs and rainbow colored homemade banners calling for a "yes" vote next Sunday in a referendum over whether to scrap the country's dictatorship-era Constitution, a key demand of the 2019 protests.

The demonstrations, while largely peaceful early on, were marred by increasing incidents of violence, looting of supermarkets and clashes with police across the capital later in the day. Fire truck sirens, burning barricades on roadways and fireworks on downtown streets added to a sense of chaos in some neighborhoods.

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Interior Minister Victor Perez spoke late in the evening, praising the early, peaceful rallies while blasting the late-night mayhem. He called on Chileans to settle their differences by voting in the upcoming Oct. 25 constitutional referendum.

"Those who carry out these acts of violence do not want Chileans to solve our problems through democratic means," Perez told reporters, vowing to punish those who crossed the line Sunday.

Early in the day, an angry mob jeered and threatened a Communist Party mayor. Later, masked individuals firebombed a police headquarters and church. Vandals attacked another Santiago church in the early evening, setting its spire aflame and choking side streets with smoke.

More than 15 metro stations were temporarily closed amid the unrest. Police fired tear gas and water cannons in skirmishes with sometimes violent, hooded and masked people.

Last year's protests, which began Oct. 18, raged until mid-December as Chileans gathered nationwide to call for reforms to the pensioRead More – Source

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Trump gaffe demotes France’s Macron from president to prime minister

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President Donald Trump likes to make fun of his rival Joe Biden's verbal lapses but on Saturday he made his own goof as he took a pot shot at French President Emmanuel Macron and effectively demoted him.

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Trump's error downgrading Macron to prime minister came as he spoke at a campaign rally in Michigan, one of a flurry of stops he is making in the final three weeks of the presidential race as he trails Democrat Biden in the polls.

Trump had been speaking about the old NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, which he called a bad deal for America and insisted on renegotiating, when he turned his attention to Macron and the Paris climate change accord.

Trump, who questions the science behind global warming, pulled the US out of that landmark global accord in 2017, saying it was costing American jobs.

"And you know what else I stopped? The Paris environmental accord," Trump said.

"And I like Prime Minister Macron a lot. But I said 'how's it going over there? How is the accord doing?' They're not doing too good," Trump said.

"I savRead More – Source

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Deadly wildfires scorch northern California, ravaging wine country

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Northern California’s wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuated. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire further north in the state.

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In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of San Francisco came as the region nears the third anniversary of deadly wildfires that erupted in 2017, including one that killed 22 people. Just a month ago, many of those same residents were evacuated from the path of a lightning-sparked fire that became the fourth-largest in state history.

“Our firefighters have not had much of a break, and these residents have not had much of a break,” said Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as Cal Fire.

Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin evacuated her property in the Oakmont community of Santa Rosa at about 1 a.m. She is rebuilding a home damaged in the 2017 fires.

Gorin said she saw three neighboring houses in flames as she fled early Monday.

“We’re experienced with that,” she said of the fires. “Once you lose a house and represent thousands of folks who’ve lost homes, you become pretty fatalistic that this is a new way of life and, depressingly, a normal way of life, the megafires that are spreading throughout the West.”

More than 68,000 people in Sonoma and Napa counties have been evacuated in the latest inferno, one of nearly 30 fire clusters burning across the state, said Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nichols.

Trump, Biden face off in first US presidential debate of 2020

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Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden will square off on Tuesday in the first of three scheduled debates, an encounter that will showcase a stark clash of styles andRead More – Source

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US-Canada border closure puts sick Americans’ lives in danger

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FOCUS © FRANCE 24

By: François RIHOUAY | Gloria Henriquez

Since the spring, the border between the United States and Canada has been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. TRead More – Source

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‘Round 1: Mayhem’: US press reacts to first presidential debate

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IN THE PAPERS – Wednesday, September 30: We take a look at reactions in the American press following a chaotic first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. We then turn to Lebanon, where Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has reacted to French President Emmanuel Macron's recent criticism of Lebanese politicians. We also tRead More – Source

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Trump vs Biden: Watch the full presidential debate

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Democrat Joe Biden told a raging President Donald Trump to "shut up" in a chaotic opening debate that turned almost immediately into a shouting match weeks ahead of the most tense US election in recent memory. The two rivals battled fiercely over Trump’s record on the coronavirus pandemic, heathcare, the economy and even their respective families in a chaotic and bad-tempered debate marked by personal insults and the incumRead More – Source

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Undecided voters ‘clear losers’ from chaotic first US presidential debate

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The "clear loser" in the first US presidential debate was the ten percent or so of undecided US voters who tuned in hoping to see a reasonable discussion of the major issues. That's the view of Thomas Gift, lecturer in political science at UCL, London and founding director of the Centre on US Politics. He says the "cRead More – Source

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Undecided voters ‘clear losers’ from chaotic first US presidential debate

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The "clear loser" in the first US presidential debate was the ten percent or so of undecided US voters who tuned in hoping to see a reasonable discussion of the major issues. That's the view of Thomas Gift, lecturer in political science at UCL, London and founding director of the Centre on US Politics. He says the "cRead More – Source

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Google to pay publishers $1 billion over three years for news content

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Google plans to pay $1 billion to publishers globally for their news over the next three years, its CEO said on Thursday, a step that could help it win over a powerful group amid heightened regulatory scrutiny worldwide.

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News publishers have long fought the world's most popular internet search engine for compensation for using their content, with European media groups leading the charge.

CEO Sundar Pichai said the new product called Google News Showcase will launch first in Germany, where it has signed up German newspapers including Der Spiegel, Stern, Die Zeit, and in Brazil with Folha de S.Paulo, Band and Infobae.

It will be rolled out in Belgium, India, the Netherlands and other countries. About 200 publishers in Argentina, Australia, Britain, Brazil, Canada and Germany have signed up to the product.

"This financial commitment — our biggest to date — will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience," Pichai said in a blog post.

Google parent Alphabet reported a net profit of $34.3 billion on revenue of almost $162 billion last year.

The product, which allows publishers to pick and present their stories, will launch on Google News on Android devices and eventually on Apple devices.

"This approach is distinct from our other news products because it leans on the editorial choices individual publishers make about which stories to show readers and how to present them," Pichai said.

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