In the News

News and Headlines.12/8/2020

News and Headlines: In The News, Politics, World News, Commentary/Opinion.

In The News:

Ex-federal guard gets over 3 years for sexually abusing female inmates

Colin Akparanta (left)Bill Farrington/John R
Colin Akparanta (left)Bill Farrington/John R

Colin Akparanta, 43, preyed on women at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan from 2012 to 2018, smuggling contraband into the facility to coerce his victims into performing sex acts, according to prosecutors.

“This was not a momentary lapse in judgment,” the prosecutor said. “He abused his position of authority for his own sexual gratification … over a period of several years.”

Akparanta, whose children listened in on the hearing, which was conducted via video, expressed remorse for his misconduct.

“Judge, I’m very sorry for what happened,” he said. “I can only say sorry … please, judge, forgive me.”

A massive explosion at a house in Omaha, Neb. has left one person dead and two critically injured, fire officials said.

Police officers stand at the scene of a deadly explosion that leveled a home in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Police officers stand at the scene of a deadly explosion that leveled a home in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The explosion completely flattened the residence. Two neighboring homes were badly damaged by the fire. Debris and ash were found hundreds of feet away.

Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the explosion. Omaha police are assisting with the investigation, Fitzpatrick said.

Deputy Police Chief Greg Gonzalez have asked residents to stay away from the area.

“I know folks felt the explosion from blocks away but the scene is being secured,” Gonzalez tweeted Tuesday morning.

Federal indictment accuses Koran tutor of transporting child pornography

A Northern Virginia man who tutors children on the Koran and Arabic has been accused of transporting child pornography and sending it to himself electronically at the homes of several students, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Majed Talat Hajbeh, who also goes by Abu Khaled, admitted to FBI agents he used a messaging application to receive and view child pornography, according to the indictment in federal court in Alexandria. Hajbeh, of Woodbridge, runs a company called Hajbeh Tutoring.

Hajbeh tutored children at their homes and at Northern Virginia mosques, according to the indictment. Hajbeh, who was arrested Tuesday, is not accused in the indictment of having illicit contact with any of his students.

‘Survival mode’: Over 68% of Americans had financial setbacks in 2020 amid the pandemic

The report by the financial services company also looked at how Americans plan to handle their finances as they head into 2021 and continue to face challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the 3,011 surveyed adults, over 38% said they will spend the year in “survival mode,” meaning they’ll focus on the day-to-day rather than long-term goals to try to get themselves and their families through 2021.

Although some respondents maintained their usual income over the past year, 68% had setbacks. Of those, 23% lost a job or household income; 20% had an unexpected non-health emergency; 18% had to provide unexpected financial aid to family or friends; and 16% had a health emergency in their family. 

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Hollywood Celebrities Attack Rudy Giuliani After COVID-19 Diagnosis: He Should Be ‘Disbarred, Prosecuted and Jailed’

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/Michael Zorn/Invision/AP
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/Michael Zorn/Invision/AP

Hollywood stars used Giuliani’s COVID-19 diagnosis to go on the offensive — making fun of the 76-year-old attorney and even wishing for his arrest and imprisonment.

Actress Bette Midler, a longtime New Yorker, tweeted mock sympathy for the healthcare workers who have to treat him. She also wished that Giuliani and President Trump “be charged with murder.”

The Daily Show host Trevor Noah smugly mocked Giuliani on Monday’s episode, saying “We didn’t even think that dead guys could get corona.” He also claimed the former mayor farted on television.

Army Fires, Suspends 14 After Scathing Report on Fort Hood Murder

Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, appears at a briefing on an investigation into Fort Hood, Texas at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy, appears at a briefing on an investigation into Fort Hood, Texas at the Pentagon, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“I have determined the issues at Fort Hood are directly related to leadership failures,” McCarthy said.

“I am gravely disappointed that leaders failed to effectively create a climate that treated all soldiers with dignity and respect, and that failed to reinforce everyone’s obligation to prevent and properly respond to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault.”

McCarthy said he is creating a “People First Task Force” that will be responsible for making plans to implement the committee’s recommendations, beginning in March, according to CBS.

Special education teacher chases off knife-wielding robber during Zoom call with student’s family

Image Source: YouTube screenshot
Image Source: YouTube screenshot

A convicted felon who had just been released from prison 36 days before had broken into her home and was rummaging through things downstairs.

Thankfully, the student’s dad was able to call 911 and describe the situation while Zupancic tried to protect herself from the intruder, later identified as Charles Derosett.

“The teacher that teaches my son, somebody broke into her house, we saw it on the Zoom,” he explained to emergency operators. “I guess she heard the man say, ‘Get on the floor. I’m going to cut your f-ing throat.'”

First Lady Melania Trump Participates in a Toys for Tots Event

Judge dismisses Michael Flynn case following Trump pardon

Judge Emmet Sullivan, who has handled the case against Flynn since December 2017, issued a 43-page opinion along with his order to dismiss the case, seemingly putting an end to a legal drama that began during the 2016 election amid the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation and continued into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and beyond.

The judge had been resisting quickly granting the Justice Department’s initial motion to dismiss the case since May.

Staggering data shows just how destructive COVID-related lockdowns have been on the restaurant industry

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

“The vast majority of permanently closed restaurants were well-established businesses, and fixtures in their communities.

On average these restaurants had been in business for 16 years, and 16% had been open for at least 30 years,” the NRA said.

In fact, the NRA found that 87% of full-service restaurants reported, on average, a 36% drop in revenue during the pandemic, while revenue is projected to continue tanking for at least the next three months.

But the problems don’t end there. Because restaurants have spent money modifying their business plans to accommodate take-out business and indoor dining regulations, restaurants told the NRA that expenditures are actually, on average, greater than in pre-pandemic times.

Man whose arrest sparked Wisconsin protest pleads guilty

Devonere Johnson, 29,
Devonere Johnson, 29,

Devonere Johnson, 29, entered the pleas Monday to resisting arrest, criminal damage to property and two counts of disorderly conduct in a plea deal with the Dane County district attorney, the State Journal reported.

Johnson didn’t make a statement in court Monday, but said at an earlier hearing that he had learned self-control during his time in jail.

The disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges relate to threatening business owners, creating disturbances and resisting officers who were trying to arrest him June 23.

A suspected Chinese spy slept with at least 2 mayors and got close to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell in a years-long intelligence campaign, report says

The Chinese flag above the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty
The Chinese flag above the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty

A woman suspected of being a Chinese spy slept with at least two US mayors and got close to numerous Bay Area politicians in a years-long intelligence campaign directed at influencing American officials early in their careers, Axios reported on Tuesday.

Fang Fang, also known as Christine Fang, was heavily involved in Bay Area and national US politics from 2011 to 2015, the outlet reported.

Two US representatives Fang reportedly fundraised for — Eric Swalwell and Tulsi Gabbard — both ran as 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.

Politics:

Warnock Voter-Registration Group Received $482,000 in PPP Loans

Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock (D.) / Getty Images
Georgia Senate candidate Raphael Warnock (D.) / Getty Images

The New Georgia Project, a voter-registration nonprofit founded by Stacey Abrams and helmed by Warnock until earlier this year, took in the nearly half-million-dollar sum from the Paycheck Protection Program, new data show.

The loan program was created to help small businesses struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

Through Abrams, the nonprofit has connections to high-level Democratic donors and operatives. In April 2018, the failed gubernatorial candidate appeared at a closed-door meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a billionaire donor club, and led a panel that included talks of fighting for reparations by 2022.

Top Democratic operatives, such as DNC chairman Tom Perez, attended the gathering.

The New Georgia Project has also come under fire for alleged financial mismanagement. During her tenure leading the group, Abrams faced criticism for paying herself a $177,500 salary for 20 hours of work per week. The nonprofit is now under investigation by Georgia’s secretary of state,

Republicans Block Inaugural Resolution Recognizing Biden’s Win

Republicans on the congressional panel planning inauguration ceremonies blocked a resolution stating that they were preparing for the swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden, as President Donald Trump’s continues his bitter battle over the election result.

“The extent to which Republicans are refusing to accept the outcome of the election and recognize Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and vice president is astounding,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota are the committee’s other Democrats.

Roger Stone: Trump WARNED YOU about this for months…

Commentary/Opinion: Longtime political consultant and Trump confidant Roger Stone, who became a victim of the ‘witch hunt’ against the Trump administration, speaks out to Newsmax TV about the investigation into himself, how he feels about Special Counsel Robert Mueller,

Trump’s current efforts to ‘stop the steal,’ and more. – with Newsmax TV’s Rob Schmitt.

No, Joe Biden shouldn’t “forgive” college debt

Commentary/Opinion:
Biden’s plan is not only unfair, it will make the problem worse.

Liz Wheeler.

Biden’s EPA Frontrunner Worked to Ban Gas-Powered Cars

Mary Nichols / Getty Images
Mary Nichols / Getty Images

Mary Nichols has been touted as a leading candidate to head the EPA thanks to her record as chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board.

In 2019, Nichols threatened to ban gasoline-powered vehicles in the state after President Trump rolled back vehicle emissions standards.

In September, Nichols made headlines for her plan to transition to zero-emission vehicles in California by 2035, weaning the state off of gas-powered vehicles. As of 2018, electric-powered cars comprised only 1 percent of all vehicles.

Biden HHS Pick in Jeopardy Over Religious-Freedom Concerns

California attorney general Xavier Becerra (D.) / Getty Images
California attorney general Xavier Becerra (D.) / Getty Images

The selection of Xavier Becerra (D.), California’s attorney general and a former member of the House of Representatives, drew condemnation because of his record on religious liberty in one of the biggest jurisdictions in the country.

If confirmed, Becerra would head the department in charge of implementing federal health policy in hundreds of health care systems across the country.

“Xavier Becerra is a disaster for religious freedom and pro-life issues,” Daines said.

“He has made his career aggressively pursuing a radical pro-abortion agenda and attacking the religious freedom of Americans who believe in the sanctity of human life.”

Judge orders localities to fix counting errors in undecided House race in New York

Rep. Anthony Brindisi speaks to supporters on election night in Utica, N.Y. | Heather Ainsworth, File/AP Photo
Rep. Anthony Brindisi speaks to supporters on election night in Utica, N.Y. | Heather Ainsworth, File/AP Photo

Following a public hearing on Monday, state Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte, who has been overseeing the counts, said on Tuesday that more than 1,500 uncounted ballots will be included in the final count.

That will help determine whether or not Rep. Anthony Brindisi, a one-term Democrat, has survived a strong challenge from Republican Claudia Tenney, who held the seat for a term before Brindisi defeated her in 2018.

Tenney leads by a dozen votes out of more than 315,000 cast.

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Texas Goes Straight to the Supreme Court! Here’s what you need to know.

Commentary/Opinion:
Breaking Election News! Texas has filed a lawsuit against Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin at the Supreme Court over election rules.

Here’s what you need to know.

Bernie Sanders concedes Democrats held up coronavirus relief: ‘That’s right’

Sanders’ remarks seemed to clash with the Democratic narrative that Republicans are responsible for stalling coronavirus relief.

CNN host Jake Tapper asked the senator whether it was a mistake for Democrats to walk away from the White House’s $1.8 trillion bill, which likely would have included $1,200 direct payments to all Americans, when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was proposing a $2.2 trillion bill at the time.

Sanders said, “That’s right. … That’s what I’m saying.”

Why do lawmakers want to distribute COVID vaccine by race?

Commentary/Opinion:
‘Blackout’ author Candace Owens provides insight on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’.

FOX NEWS VIDEO: Tucker: America’s political elite have been working on behalf of China

Commentary/Opinion:
‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’ host calls out powerful lawmakers for standing by while Beijing harmed US.

Tucker: This is the greatest threat to democracy, freedom worldwide

Tucker Carlson speaks to DNI John Ratcliffe about the growing threat of China globally.

FOX NEWS VIDEO: China academic claims Beijing has ‘fooled’ US, has Wall Street allies

Commentary/Opinion:
China expert Gordon Chang warns of new dynamic under Biden administration on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’.

World News:

World first bill to force big tech to pay for news content

World first laws will be introduced in parliament today which would force tech giants such as Facebook and Google to pay for the news content published on their platforms.

The bill involves a raft of changes and is viewed as a lifeline by the media industry which has shed thousands of jobs over the last decade.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the “legislation will ensure that the rules of the digital world mirror the rules of the physical world”.

Iran source of MidEast conflicts,US says; France-Egypt bolster military ties -TV7 Israel News 08.12.

1) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated the Trump Administration’s position – which stipulated that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is not “the true cause of conflict in the Middle East.”

2) Foreign Ministers of European Union member states discussed a common position regarding Turkey’s defiant activities in the Eastern Mediterranean.

3) A Senior Armenian military official voices his love and respect for the state of Israel and its peoples.

Tesla: German court halts factory plan over snake and lizard habitats

GETTY IMAGES
Environmentalists argue Tesla's Grünheide site will endanger local snake and lizard species
GETTY IMAGES
Environmentalists argue Tesla’s Grünheide site will endanger local snake and lizard species

A similar court order was made earlier this year about Tesla’s plans for what it calls the Gigafactory in Grünheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg.

The earlier ruling was in response to concerns about wildlife and the water supply.

The environmentalist groups say Tesla’s deforestation will destroy the habitats of sand lizards and smooth snakes, both of which are protected species.

They have also expressed concern that the building work will disturb these reptiles during their winter hibernation.

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Commentary/Opinion:

Riverside Sheriff Defies California Lockdown Orders

“Leaders do not threaten, attempt to intimidate, or cause fear—bullies do.”

A powerful speech from the Riverside County Sheriff in response to California’s strict lockdown measures.

The Obama ‘Birther’ Question Began With The Hillary Campaign – Not Trump | Larry Elder

It’s time to set the record straight about the alleged “birther movement” about former President Barack Obama.

You know, the so-called racist birther lie claiming President Obama was born in Africa.

Who started it?

The majority believes it’s President Trump, and there is no doubt he pursued the allegation.
But why does that makes him a racist?

However, or whoever questioned President Obama’s origin of birth first, the controversy started before President Trump took all the heat.