From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Eight
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved

    This file is attached to from “Beast That Came Out Of The Sea” - Chapter Eight by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved.
    This link will return you to Astronomical Events To Appear Between 2014 Through 2017 A.D.
    This link will return you to King Of The West 2021 July or continue to King Of The West 2021 September

8/1/2021 NO Oil or DOW info.

8/1/2021 Rep. McCarthy: Give Me Speaker’s Gavel And We’ll Investigate Powerful Democrats by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 29: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) speaks
during a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has promised to investigate Democrats for fraud and abuse if he’s given the speaker’s gavel after the midterms.    In an interview with Breitbart on Saturday, the California Republican said Americans are suffering from inflation while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, seem to be making money however they want.
    “Which American would not be worried about inflation? Pelosi wouldn’t be worried about it because her and her husband just made $5 million, not buying stock, but trading options on tech stocks when Congress was actually taking legislation up, $5 million in one month,” said McCarthy.     He pointed out recent financial disclosures showed Pelosi’s husband used call options on Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., just before anti-trust legislation came down the pipe.    He also brought up Hunter Biden selling his paintings for $550,000 a piece and said he should be investigated by Republicans.

8/1/2021 NIH Director Supports Businesses Requiring Proof Of COVID-19 Vaccine by OAN Newsroom
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins attends a Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions
Committee hearing on new coronavirus tests on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
    The Director of the National Institute of Health has shown support for businesses to require customers to provide proof of vaccination.    During an interview on Sunday, Dr. Francis Collins claimed this would encourage the unvaccinated to get the vaccine if they wanted to be a part of public events.
    Collins went on to applaud Joe Biden’s move, which has required federal employees to either get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 tests.
    “I think maybe that’s what it will take for some of those who’ve still been a little reluctant to say, okay, it’s time,” he stated.    “The data will support the decision.    They are making the right choice for their own safety, but sometimes it takes a nudge.”
    This comes after some restaurants around the country have already started to require proof of vaccination at the door.    In regards to airlines, Collins said that would be up to the companies, but noted it could be another incentive for people to become vaccinated.

8/1/2021 Reports: 233 Health Workers In San Francisco Get ‘Breakthrough COVID’ by OAN Newsroom
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 16: A view of the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and
Trauma Center on May 16, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Hundreds of vaccinated people in San Francisco caught COVID-19 in a flurry of so-called breakthrough cases.    Reports on Sunday found at least 233 staff members between two San Francisco hospitals tested positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.
    This alleged outbreak has affected 80 percent of staff at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and 153 out of 183 employees at UCSF Medical Center.    This comes as Joe Biden and administration officials have consistently blamed unvaccinated Americans for the alleged rise in COVID cases.
    Meanwhile, reports said only two of the infected health workers required hospitalization.

8/1/2021 Texas Reps. Introduce Bill To Help Farmers Pay For Damages To Property Stemming From Illegal Immigration by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 10: Rep. August Pfluger speaks remotely as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. (Ken Cedeno-Pool/Getty Images)
    Texas congressmen have introduced a measure that aims to help farmers whose properties have been damaged by illegal immigrants.    Republican August Pfluger proposed the bill on Friday, which looks to allocate $300 million in unused COVID relief funds to farmers who have felt the brunt of the border crisis.
    Farmers have accrued damages, including livestock loss, crop loss, perimeter fence replacements, defacement to physical structures and property loss.
    Pfluger was joined by fellow Texas Republican Tony Gonzalez, as well as Texas Democrats Henry Cuellar and Vincente Gonzalez.    Gonzalez notably said Texans should not be responsible for bearing the costs of Joe Biden’s border crisis.

8/1/2021 Fmr. Asst. Health Secy.: Lockdowns On The Table If More People Don’t Get Vaccinated by OAN Newsroom
Former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Health Adm. Brett Giroir
on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)
    Former Assistant Health Secretary Brett Giroir warned of more lockdowns in the near future.    In an interview on Friday, the Trump-era coronavirus testing czar said indoor masks would be needed if vaccinations continued at their current pace.
    The former four-star admiral warned if more people didn’t get vaccinated, the government would be put into the situation of considering more lockdowns.    He added this would be a “disaster” and insisted lockdowns were counter-productive as well as “horrible for our children.”
    Giroir went on to slam public health advisers for changing masking guidelines while not releasing the data behind the decision at the same time.    However, he suggested individuals in high-risk areas to continue the usage of masks in effort to avoid becoming infected with the Delta variant.
    According to the CDC, 49.6 percent of the U.S. population have been fully vaccinated, while 57.7 percent have received the first dose.

8/1/2021 Sens. Scott And Johnson Demand Biden Admin. Be Fully Transparent On COVID by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott, left, talks to Sen. Ron Johnson, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/ Pool via AP)
    Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) have ramped up efforts to hold the Biden administration accountable for withheld information about COVID-19.    The two Republicans urged Joe Biden’s officials to release all information on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s role in Wuhan lab research.
    In addition, Scott and Johnson touted subpoenas for Fauci’s unredacted emails about the gain of function research.    This came after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) found Fauci’s National Institute of Health sent $600,000 per year to the Wuhan lab.
    Meanwhile, GOP senators suspect China could have used U.S. taxpayer money to create the virus and release it onto the U.S.

8/1/2021 Sen. Collins Believes Infrastructure Bill Will Get Enough GOP Support To Avoid Filibuster by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 28: Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) walks to the Senate floor after speaking to reporters after meeting
privately with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she hopes lawmakers will finish crafting the infrastructure bill by the end of the week.    During an interview on Sunday, Collins said she thinks lawmakers will be able to lay down the bill soon and perhaps begin consideration of some amendments in the Senate.
    The Maine senator also noted she believes 10 Republicans in the Chamber will support the bill, which is what Democrats need in order to avoid a potential filibuster of the legislation.    Although, Collins estimated the bill will receive more than 10 Republican votes and cited past support for infrastructure improvement under the previous administration.
    “It’s worth pointing out that President Trump proposed an infrastructure package of, I think, $1.5 trillion.    So, he too at one point recognized the need for investment in infrastructure,” said Collins.
    The bill, which the White House has backed, is estimated to direct more than $1 trillion towards infrastructure spending over the next eight years.

8/1/2021 Rep. Issa: There Could Be A New America By Popular Revolt by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 10: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken
testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs. (Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
    Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said he believes Democrats don’t actually want the pandemic to end.    In an interview on Friday, the California Republican said Democrats have implied the pandemic isn’t close to being over through their actions.
    Issa suggested Democrats are trying to extend the eviction moratorium using the pandemic as continued cover.    He said without relief from the vaccine, there would never be relief from the pandemic.
    Issa predicted this lack of relief would lead to a popular revolt among the American people.    His interview came on the heels of Joe Biden discussing the future of lockdowns, where he said they are still possible in the U.S. despite high vaccination rates.

8/1/2021 Pelosi Mask Mandate On House Floor Unpopular With Many Republicans by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 27: U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) (2nd L) speaks as Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) (R) and Rep.
Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) (L) listen during a news conference outside U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has decided to follow suit with her own mandate on the floor and in the halls of the House.    Pelosi has also ordered Capitol Police to arrest anyone from tourists to staff and even to members themselves if they are seen without a mask.
    In a recent interview, South Carolina Republican Nancy Mace said she views the mandate as an act of politics and a reach for power.    She suggested arresting people for not complying to mask mandates is sending the wrong message and not getting more Americans vaccinated.
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) criticized the mandate to which Pelosi referred to him as a “moron.”    McCarthy responded to the name calling, saying Democrats are mad with power.
    The House has been ahead of the curve when it comes to implementing new mask mandates.    Meanwhile, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) didn’t implement an indoor mandate until days after Pelosi’s personal mandate.    Additionally, the Senate has still not placed a mask mandate on its members or visitors.
    Many other Republicans have made a point to refuse to wear a mask and announced they are taking the fines to court.     Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) argued that Pelosi doesn’t even wear her mask wherever she goes in the House.    He said she thinks she is the queen of Congress.
    Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) mocked the mandate under the Capitol Rotunda.    She also set up her own Checkpoint Charlie in the Capitol, named for the main checkpoint at the Berlin Wall between communism and freedom in Germany.
    Pelosi defended her stance as following updated CDC guidance recommending masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.    This follows an increase in case counts with cases higher now than at any point since February.    However, death counts are at their lowest point since March of 2020 and have not been increasing as significantly as cases increase.

8/1/2021 Rep. Jordan: Congress Must Probe Pelosi Over Jan. 6 Clashes by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Jim Jordan on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
    Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) has demanded Nancy Pelosi to be investigated over her role behind the violence that occurred during the January 6 protest.    In an interview on Sunday, the representative from Ohio urged Pelosi to testify before her own January 6 commission.
    Jordan added the house speaker must answer why there wasn’t better security at the Capitol during the protest.    Pelosi’s job has granted her immense power over how Capitol police and national guardsmen were deployed.
    Critics condemned her seemingly neglectful preparation for possible violence on January 6.
    “Pelosi’s office had previously impressed upon the Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving that the National Guard was to remain off Capitol grounds,” he discussed.    “Irving told House administration discussions centered around the quote ‘optics.’     Why were the Democrats so concerned about the optics?    Why were they so concerned about how it would look?
    Jordan went on to say Pelosi’s commission was a partisan effort that was not seeking to reveal the truth.

8/1/2021 GOP Strategist: Biden, Democrats Use COVID To Install Authoritarianism by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Senior Republican strategist and adviser to Donald Trump Jr., Andy Surabian, insisted government officials have been using COVID-19 to expand their grip on political power.    During an interview on Saturday, Surabian said Joe Biden and the Democrats refused to give up the powers they obtained through COVID lockdowns.
    He went on to say, “it’s almost been a year and a half of these crazy COVID authoritarian restrictions.”
    Surabian added new COVID policies had nothing to do with public health and were purely political.
    “If you can’t fight COVID authoritarianism with everything that you have, then we can’t trust you to fight for anything else,” he asserted.    “These governors, these Democrats, want to keep our kids masked up in school.    They want to keep businesses closed down.”
    Surabian went on to say Republicans must take back the House and Senate as well as immediately investigate the handling of COVID-19 by Dr. Anthony Fauci and Democrat officials.

8/1/2021 Giuliani Refutes Democrat Accusations Of ‘Crimes’ In Ukraine by OAN Newsroom
Rudy Giuliani speaks during a news conference at the Republican National
Committee headquarters in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
    Rudy Giuliani expressed confidence he would handily defeat in court any accusations of crime that have been thrown at him by Democrats.    During an interview on Sunday, former attorney for President Trump said he has upheld the rule of law and highlighted his efforts fighting the mafia, terrorist cells and Ed Koch.
    This comes after Democrats accused him of criminal conduct in Ukraine for exposing Joe and Hunter Biden’s corruption schemes in that country.    Giuliani added any charges and accusations against him have been purely political.     “I’m more than willing to go to jail if they want to put me in jail and if they do they are going to suffer the consequences in heaven.    I’m not because I didn’t do anything wrong,” he expressed.    “When you see the differences between the way a Cuomo is treated and the way I’m treated and you don’t realize there’s a very, very terrible distortion of justice because that’s not the only example.”
    Giuliani went on to say the real wrongdoing was detailed in Hunter Biden’s laptop, which the FBI did not want to look into.    He added he expected to be fully vindicated.

8/1/2021 Pfizer, Moderna Hike Vaccine Prices For EU Market by OAN Newsroom
The logo on Pfizer’s oldest production plant founded in 1849 hangs near the
back door in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
    Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna have reportedly increased consumer prices on their coronavirus vaccines.
    According to the Financial Times on Sunday, the two companies raised vaccine prices for European Union countries, with a similar move expected in other markets.
    The new price of a Pfizer shot was reported at $23, which was an increase from the previous cost of $18. Similarly, a jab of Moderna has increased from $22.50 to $25.
    The two companies citied global inflation, supply chain bottleneck and a high demand for the vaccines as reasons to hike prices.
    Meanwhile, both Pfizer and Moderna are pushing for so-called booster shots to sell a third dose of the vaccine to governments around the world.

8/1/2021 Zoom Settles $85M Lawsuit Regarding Violation Of Privacy by OAN Newsroom
In this photo illustration a Zoom App logo is displayed on a smartphone in
Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
    Zoom has settled a privacy lawsuit for millions of dollars.    The preliminary settlement was filed on Saturday, which required the video conferencing platform to fork over $85 million in a class action lawsuit.
    The suit claimed Zoom was sharing personal data with different social media platforms, while also allowing hackers to disrupt meetings.    Part of the settlement has instructed Zoom to update its security measures and also conduct “better training for employees on privacy and date handling.”
    Subscribers involved in the suit could get some refunds on their subscriptions.    However, Zoom has denied any wrongdoing.
Australian Kayaker Murray Stewart participates in a Zoom call in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
    Meanwhile, the settlement still requires a judge’s approval.

8/1/2021 Moderate GOP Senators Call Jan. 6 Commission ‘Partisan’ by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 28: The lead GOP negotiators on the bipartisan infrastructure legislation, L-R, Sen. Lisa Murkowski
(R-Ark.), Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) speak to reporters after
meeting privately with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) said she believes Jan. 6 was a very dark day for the U.S., but she also said that doesn’t legitimize House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) partisan committee.    Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, she said she doesn’t believe the committee will be seen as credible.
    She went on to say how she fought hard for a bipartisan commission and is disappointed that such was not approved.    “I think it would have had far more credibility than Pelosi’s partisan committee that she has set up,” Collins said referring to her hopes there would be a 9/11 style commission.
    Immediately running cover for Pelosi, Tapper interjected to defend the stance that the committee actually was partisan because of the presence of anti-Trump Republicans Liz Cheney (Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (Ill.).    When asked if she trusted the pair’s judgement, Collins said she does, but how it still did not mean the committee would be fair.
    Tapper commented again, trying to justify Pelosi throwing Republicans Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Jim Banks (Ind.) off the committee and called them “election liars” for their reluctance to certify what they saw as a fraudulent election.
    Collins is the latest in a long line of Republicans to openly call the commission partisan.    Even among Republican senators who voted to convict President Trump in the second impeachment, Collins isn’t the first to speak up.    Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R) also supported a bipartisan commission to look into the events of that day.
    However, in an interview last week, Toomey said the point of Pelosi’s partisan commission is to target all Republicans.    “I think we should be candid about the fact that it is politically to the advantage of Democrats to try to keep this issue in the forefront,” said Toomey.
    Meanwhile, the Democrat commission had its first meeting last week.    While it involved many tears and bold allegations, polls showed more Americans thought Congress should spend its time investigating last summer’s rioting over spending time on Jan. 6.

8/1/2021 Ariz. AG Brnovich: Democrats And Far-Left Abused Election Law For Years by OAN Newsroom
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in front of the State House
of Representatives in Phoenix. (John Samora/The Arizona Republic via AP, File
    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has called on other states to join the efforts to restore integrity of U.S. elections.    In a statement on Saturday, Brnovich said Democrats and left-wing activists have abused U.S. election laws for many years.
    Brnovich has been a strong and dedicated advocate for defending election integrity.    He insisted Democrats have used COVID-19 to bypass state legislatures and changed election laws were the latest examples of such abuse.
    In a separate interview the same day, the Arizona attorney general said American voters must be able to trust election results, but Democrats have been making it impossible.    He went on to urge all states ban abusive electoral practices to reduce fraud going forward.
    Brnovich announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Arizona in June, with his fight for election integrity at the forefront of his campaign.

8/2/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/2/2021 Exclusive-U.S. To Begin New Afghan Refugee Program – Sources by Ted Hesson, Jonathan Landay and Idrees Ali
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag is reflected on the windows of the U.S. Embassy in
Kabul, Afghanistan July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration will launch a new program to resettle certain Afghans as refugees in the United States, an administration official and two knowledgeable sources said on Sunday.
    The U.S. State Department was expected to announce the setting-up of the so-called Priority Two refugee program on Monday, the three sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The program comes as fighting surges in Afghanistan ahead of the formal completion of the U.S. troop withdrawal at the end of this month, with the Taliban pushing to capture key provincial capitals.
    Biden has faced pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups to aid Afghans at risk of Taliban retaliation because of their association with the United States during the 20-year U.S. war.
    The administration official said the new refugee program would cover Afghans who worked for U.S.-funded projects and for U.S.-based non-government bodies and media outlets.
    Those Afghans do not qualify for the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program that covers interpreters and others who worked for the U.S. government, and their families.
    About 200 SIV applicants whose visas are in the final stages of processing and family members flew into the United States last week at the start of an evacuation effort dubbed “Operation Allies Refuge” that could include as many as 50,000 people or more.
    They were taken to stay at a military base in Virginia to complete their final formalities before being resettled around the country.
    The administration official said the new program for Afghans would differ from a Prority Two refugee program for Iraqis that has been indefinitely suspended while U.S. officials pursue a sweeping fraud investigation.
    The new Afghan program will require applicants to be referred by U.S. agencies, senior U.S. officials, non-government bodies or media outlets, the official added.
    The referral requirement is a key difference between the new Afghan program and the Iraqi program, which allows Iraqis to apply directly without a referral, the official said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Ted Hesson and Idrees Ali; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

8/2/2021 Senators Announce Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., arrives to meet with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., before an event
to promote investments in clean jobs, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 28, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    After months of negotiations, lawmakers said they have come to a deal for the nearly $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill.    The U.S. Senate convened for a session Sunday to work out the final details of the bill after being unable to wrap it up in a session on Saturday.
    Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) congratulated the members of the bipartisan group while noting they hadn’t done a large bipartisan bill “of this nature” in a long time.
    “In the end, the bipartisan group of senators have produced a bill that will dedicate substantial resources to repair, maintain and upgrade our nation’s physical infrastructure,” stated the New York Democrat.    “It’s been decades…decades since Congress passed such a significant, stand alone investment and u salute the hard work that was done here by everybody.”
    Schumer also said amendments will be considered for the bill.    The $1.2 trillion deal is expected to include funding to major infrastructure such as roads, bridges, broadband, clean drinking water and infrastructure for electric vehicles among other initiatives.
    In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, however, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said House Democrats won’t approve the bipartisan bill unless the Democrat’s partisan $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is passed as well in the Senate.
    The Senate would need to first pass a budget resolution before working on a reconciliation bill.    The reconciliation bill would reportedly increase spending on education, climate change and child care among other items.
    “If there is not a reconciliation bill in the House and if the Senate does not pass the reconciliation bill, we will uphold our end of the bargain and not pass the bipartisan bill until we get all of these investments in,” stated Ocasio-Cortez.
    However, the reconciliation bill has stirred opposition as some Republicans and Democrats have voiced their concerns over the high price tag.    While Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) believes the bipartisan bill is important, his views differ in relation to Democrat’s counter efforts with the separate reconciliation bill.
    “This kind of focused compromise that our colleagues have been hashing out could not contrast more sharply with the multi-trillion-dollar reckless taxing and spending spree that Democrats hope to ram through on a party-line vote later this year,” he stated.
    In response to finalizing details on the bipartisan bill, Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said, “nobody got what they wanted, but everybody got what we needed.”

8/2/2021 Dick Morris: Biden Approval Dropping ‘Precipitously’ by OAN Newsroom
FILE – President Joe Biden speaks from the East Room of the White House
in Washington, Thursday, July 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
    Joe Biden’s approval ratings are declining amid a series of controversies.    Political strategist Dick Morris said in an interview on Sunday that Biden’s approval rating is dropping due to what he called the big three: immigration, inflation and crime.
    However, Morris went on to suggest that Biden’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was the biggest area where voters were displeased with his performance.    Additionally, he cited a recent ABC IPSOS poll, which showed 55 percent of Americans have a pessimistic outlook on where the country is headed.
    “Well, Biden is dropping precipitously in his ratings…a move in the country from optimism to pessimism and the number of people who were optimistic about the future of the country was down 20 percent in eight weeks and the percent that were pessimistic was up by 20 percent,” Morris explained.
    The political strategist went on to say Biden ran as a single-issue candidate with the coronavirus as the focus of his campaign.    He added, Biden’s decision is now coming back to haunt him.

8/2/2021 Larry Kudlow: ‘Green’ Energy Only Makes Energy More Expensive by OAN Newsroom
FILE- Former White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow is pictured. (RICHARD DREW/AP Photo)
    Former White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow recently explained the issues with the Democrats’ “green energy” push.     In an interview Sunday, he highlighted the millions-of-dollars in the new bipartisan infrastructure deal that has been earmarked for green investments.
    “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” Kudlow stated.    “We’ve got the infrastructure bill…I could do without all the ‘green’ stuff, which inflated the cost to taxpayers.”
    The former economic adviser pointed out that while Democrats have claimed their energy solutions, such as wind and solar, would produce more energy, the policies enacted under President Donald Trump were actually more beneficial.
    “You know the Trump policies gave us cheap and plentiful energy, and the biggest beneficiaries was the blue-collar middle class and the lower income classes,” he explained.    “This so-called climate crisis, which I can’t find, will raise all these costs and really do a lot of damage to the very people who can least afford it.”
    Kudlow went on to say that the only thing investing in green energy does is make energy more expensive.

8/2/2021 Fla. Gov. DeSantis: CDC Wants Students In Masks Forever by OAN Newsroom
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during the American Legislative Exchange Council
Wednesday, July 28, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said if health bureaucrats get their way, students will be forced to wear face masks forever. During an interview over the weekend, the Republican said he won’t be surprised if the CDC’s next move is getting students to wear face coverings every flu season.
    The CDC recommended all students wear face coverings indoors, just weeks after admitting schools are one of the lowest risk environments for COVID-19 transmission. DeSantis warned the agency’s guidance is out-of-touch with what most Americans want, which ultimately led him to sign an executive order last weekend that makes masks optional in public schools<.br>
(Ron DeSantis executive order)
    Meanwhile, public schools in Florida are set to open for in-person learning this month.

8/2/2021 Protesters Gather At Speaker Pelosi’s House To Demand Eviction Moratorium Extension by OAN Newsroom
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pauses between questions as she and Democratic leaders
discuss their legislative agenda, including voting rights, public health, and infrastructure, during a
news conference at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Activists gathered at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) home to demand her eviction in jest. While organizing Saturday in conjunction with Rep. Cori Bush’s (D-Mo.) protest on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, activists demanded a congressional session to extend the eviction moratorium.
    The notice claims because of rising COVID case counts, people should be allowed to stay in their homes regardless of rent payment status.    The House went into its Summer recess Friday without passing the moratorium extension.
    Pelosi originally claimed Republicans were solely to blame for their failures despite Democrats controlling the House and Senate. She also pointed to the CDC while asserting it’s the national public health agency’s duty to extend the moratorium. Although, the Democrat Party has failed to elongate the measure, Pelosi claimed “ensuring every American has a roof overhead is a value that unites” them.

8/2/2021 Sen. Manchin: Can’t Imagine Carve-Out For Filibuster by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a key negotiator in the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, stands outside the chamber as the Senate
advances the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure plan at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is standing up to members of his own party trying to carve-out exceptions for filibuster reform.    In an interview Sunday, the moderate Democrat said he can’t imagine supporting a change in filibuster rules to support voting rights legislation.
    The West Virginia lawmaker pointed to the last time a so-called carve-out was done occurred when Democrats changed the rules of the filibuster to allow cabinet nominations to be brought to the Senate floor with a simple majority vote.
    Manchin’s comments came after fellow Senate Democrat Mark Warner (D-Va.) said while he does not support eliminating the filibuster altogether, he would support a carve-out for pieces of legislation regarding voting reform.

8/2/2021 Mexico Referendum On Ex-Leaders Falls Short Of Turnout Target
FILE PHOTO: A man casts his vote during a referendum to decide whether to investigate five former Mexican leaders, championed
by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, at a polling station in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A referendum backed by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on whether to investigate Mexico’s former political leaders has fallen short of the required turnout though it had overwhelming backing from those who voted, initial results showed on Monday.
    Mexico’s National Electoral Institute said that, according to a preliminary count of nearly 99% of ballots, 97.7% of participants supported the proposal of putting the decisions of previous political leaders under investigation.
    Still, turnout for the referendum was just over 7%, far below the 40% threshold set to make it binding.
    Speaking at his regular news conference, Lopez Obrador said he was pleased with the outcome, arguing it marked the start of a practice that would become a “habit” for Mexican voters.
    He added that he would press ahead with plans to hold a referendum in March on whether he should stay in office until the end of his term, which is due to conclude on Sept. 30, 2024.
    Lopez Obrador has used plebiscites to overturn decisions by past governments, including major infrastructure investments such as a partly built new Mexico City airport.
    The leftist leader has blamed former Presidents Carlos Salinas, Ernesto Zedillo, Vicente Fox, Felipe Calderon and Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administrations extended from 1988 to 2018, for fueling corruption, inequality and violence in Mexico.
    Sunday’s referendum asked voters to reject or back “a process of investigation of political decisions taken in past years by political actors” that would be aimed at “guaranteeing justice and the rights of possible victims.”
    Lopez Obrador originally wanted the referendum to ask voters if they wanted the former presidents to be prosecuted, but Mexico’s Supreme Court ordered a broader formulation of the question to protect due process and the presumption of innocence.
(Reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

8/2/2021 Attacked By Bolsonaro, Brazil’s Top Judges Say Electronic Voting Is Free Of Fraud by Lisandra Paraguassu
FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro talks during a ceremony of signing a decree establishing the Public Integrity
System of the Federal government at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo
    BRASILIA (Reuters) – A group of 18 active and former Brazilian Supreme Court justices, who also act as judges in the Supreme Electoral Court, said on Monday that the election system is free of fraud in the face of consistent attacks by President Jair Bolsonaro.
    Over the weekend, demonstrators demanded that there be a paper trail of printed ballots, changing the current all-electronic voting system.
    Bolsonaro has in recent weeks repeatedly claimed that the electronic voting system is subject to fraud, without providing any evidence.    He has said he might not accept the result of next year’s presidential election if the system is not changed.
    In the statement, the judges said “Brazil has eliminated a history of election fraud,” and that since the electronic voting system was adopted in 1996, there has never been a documented fraud case in any elections.
    “The electronic voting system is subject to audits before, during and after the election.”    The judges said all the steps are monitored by political parties, prosecutors, federal police, universities, and the Brazilian Bar Association.
    The judges said printed ballots are less safe than electronic voting and that if Brazil goes back to manual counting of 150 million printed ballots, the chance of fraud would be higher.
    The statement was sent by the judges after Bolsonaro said in an interview with a radio station earlier on Monday that Supreme Court Justice Luis Roberto Barroso, who currently heads the electoral court, “wants the elections to be manipulated.”
    A congressional committee will vote on Thursday on a proposal pushed by Bolsonaro to introduce paper ballots.
(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; writing by Tatiana Bautzer; editing by Grant McCool)

8/2/2021 Delta Spreads ‘Like Wildfire’ As Doctors Study Whether It Makes Patients Sicker by Deena Beasley
FILE PHOTO: Nurses wait for people to come by to receive their coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a mobile pop-up
vaccination clinic hosted by the Detroit Health Department with the Detroit Public Schools Community District
at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Emily Elconin/File Photo
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With a new wave of COVID-19 infections fueled by the Delta variant striking countries worldwide, disease experts are scrambling to learn whether the latest version of coronavirus is making people – mainly the unvaccinated – sicker than before.
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Delta, first identified in India and now dominant worldwide, is “likely more severe” than earlier versions of the virus, according to an internal report made public on Friday.
    The agency cited research in Canada, Singapore and Scotland showing that people infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients earlier in the pandemic.
    In interviews with Reuters, disease experts said the three papers suggest a greater risk from the variant, but the study populations are limited and the findings have not yet been reviewed by outside experts.    Doctors treating patients infected with Delta described a more rapid onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and in many regions an overall increase serious cases.
    But the experts said more work is needed to compare outcomes among larger numbers of individuals in epidemiologic studies to sort out whether one variant causes more severe disease than another.
    “It’s difficult to pin down increase in severity and population bias,” said Lawrence Young, a virologist at the UK’s Warwick Medical School.
    In addition, it is likely that the extraordinary rate of Delta transmission is also contributing to a greater number of severe cases arriving at hospitals, the experts said.
    Delta is as contagious as chickenpox and far more contagious than the common cold or flu, according to the CDC report.
    Shane Crotty, a virologist at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in San Diego, said the clearest indication that the variant may cause more severe disease comes from the Scotland study, which found that Delta roughly doubled the risk of hospitalization compared to an earlier version.
    The majority of hospitalizations and deaths from coronavirus in the United States are occurring in people who have not been vaccinated.    But there is evidence that the shots are less effective in people with compromised immune systems, including the elderly.
    For vaccinated, otherwise healthy individuals, the odds are that if they contract COVID-19 they will only experience asymptomatic or mild disease, said Dr. Gregory Poland, infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic.
    “But they can pass it on to family members and others who may not be so lucky,” Poland said.    “We have to be vaccinated and masked or we will, for the fourth time now, endure another surge and out of that will come worse variants.”
    The rate of severe illness, especially in regions where vaccination rates are low, is again straining healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic.
    “This is like a wildfire, this is not a smoldering campfire.    It is full-on flames right now,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, senior medical director of infection prevention and control at Colorado’s UCHealth.
    Research from China suggesting that the Delta variant replicates much faster and generates 1,000 times more virus in the body compared to the original strain highlights the biggest danger of this new wave, Barron said.
    “It is hard to tell if they are more sick because of the Delta variant or if they would have been more sick anyway,” she said.
    Other doctors said patients infected with Delta appear to become ill more quickly, and in some cases with more severe symptoms, than those they treated earlier in the pandemic.
    “We are seeing more patients requiring oxygen sooner,” said Dr. Benjamin Barlow, chief medical officer at American Family Care, a 28-state chain of urgent care clinics.
    At his clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, Barlow said that around 20% of patients are testing positive for COVID-19, compared with 2-3% a few weeks ago.    Patients are assessed at that time for potential hospital admission and oxygen support.
    David Montefiori, director of the Laboratory for AIDS Vaccine Research and Development at Duke University Medical Center, said the Delta variant is more infectious and leads to faster onset of illness – particularly for the unvaccinated.
    “Frankly there’s a severity that comes from this variant that is a little more severe,” Montefiori said on a webcast last week.    “It’s not just easier to transmit, it makes you sicker.”
(Reporting by Deena Beasley in Los Angeles, Josephine Mason in London and Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Daniel Wallis)

8/2/2021 Maricopa County Board Issues Defiant Response To Audit Subpoenas by OAN Newsroom
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Phoenix, Arizona. (AP Photo/Terry Tang)
    Election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona issued a confrontational response to election audit subpoenas by the state’s Senate.    In a letter on Monday, Maricopa Board Chairman Jack Sellers claimed the 2020 election was “over” and asserted it was “free” and “fair.”
    Sellers failed to address the Senate’s requests to turn in routers and voting machines for forensic examination.    He also threatened legal action in case the audit revealed any fraud or wrongdoing by Maricopa officials.
    Arizona GOP chair Kelly Ward said Sellers’s response was unacceptable and vowed he would be held to account for such blatant defiance of legal subpoenas.
    “All passwords, access keys and tokens required to examine the tabulating machines be turned over to the Arizona state Senate by August 2,” she explained.    “Maricopa County said they don’t have access to those tokens, they don’t have those passwords.    Only their election vendor does.”
    Dominion Voting Systems issued a similarly defiant response to the state senate subpoenas the same day.    State senators have been expected to hold Maricopa officials in contempt over their obstruction of the audit.

8/2/2021 Treasury Dept. Taking ‘Extraordinary Measures’ To Avoid Default After Congress Failed To Raise Debt Ceiling by OAN Newsroom
Janet Yellen in the Fox Washington bureau in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen laid out a number of “extraordinary measures” to avoid a default on national debt.    In a letter to Congress on Monday, Yellen announced the Treasury suspended investments in retirement services for civil servants and postal workers.
    In 2019, Congress voted to suspend the federal debt limit for two years.    On Saturday, that suspension expired with an increase in federal debt limit to about $28.5 trillion.
    Before heading out for legislative recess, the House failed to address the end of the suspension.    Yellen went on to say she was unsure how long the Treasury would be able to maintain these measures in order to buy more time for Congress to address the issue.
    “It’s like a game of chicken.    We see in the U.S. two cars heading towards each other like they’re gonna crash.    One car has to swerve first, otherwise they’ll crash,” she explained.    “So we’re gonna see instead, both sides pulling away at some of their demands, probably postponing certain things, trying to negotiate and see which side wins first.”
    The U.S. has been able to avoid a default for over 30 years with the federal government occasionally shutting down until a deal was made.    The Congressional Budget Office estimated the measures to free up over $340 billion in borrowing capacity, along with the Treasury’s current balance of $459 billion.
    If Congress takes no action, those funds will last until late October or early November.

8/2/2021 Biden COVID Adviser: Face Masks Don’t Help Much From COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota in Minnesota. (Stubbe, Glen/AP, FILE)
    A top COVID adviser for Joe Biden has admitted face masks were not very effective against COVID-19 and said they only served a political purpose.    In an interview on Monday, Michael Osterholm said if particles of smoke could get through a mask, so could the virus.
    “Many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out,” he explained.    “Either you’re breathing out or you’re breathing in.”
    Over the past year and a half, Democrats and mainstream media fiercely attacked anyone who questioned the efficacy of masks from COVID-19.    However, Osterholm called for the universal use of respirators by general population.
    “We need to talk about better masking.    We need to talk about N95 respirators, which would do a lot for both people who are not yet vaccinated or not previously infected,” he explained.    “Protecting them as well as keeping other who might become infected having been vaccinated.”
    Meanwhile, critics say Democrats appear to reverse their stance on face masks because the latest CDC guidelines is unpopular with the mostly vaccinated Democrat voting base.

8/2/2021 Gov. Noem: Find Another Employer If You Don’t Like Vaccine Mandates by OAN Newsroom
S.D. Gov. Kristi Noem addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference
held in the Hyatt Regency in Orland, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) urged workers unhappy with their employer’s vaccine mandates to just quit.    In a tweet over the weekend, Noem said employees had the power to say no.
    The Republican went on to remind employees they could find another job that valued personal choice and responsibility.    She added there were many other work opportunities due to the state’s robust economy and job market.
    Noem’s comments come as a growing number of companies across the country are now requiring their employees to be vaccinated as a condition of continued employment.

8/2/2021 Caitlyn Jenner Campaign Is Going Broke by OAN Newsroom
Caitlyn Jenner, Republican candidate for California governor, speaks during
a news conference in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
    Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign for California governor has ran low on finances.    According to a financial campaign statement, Jenner’s campaign has fallen $156,000 in debt.
    The statement showed Jenner had raised $737,000, but has already spent over $910,000.    This comes shortly after Jenner announced she was going on a statewide bus tour to promote her campaign.
    Meanwhile, a poll by U.C. Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies earlier this week has shows Larry Elder is leading the race.

8/2/2021 Texas Rep. Pfluger Delivers Weekly Republican Address by OAN Newsroom
Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
    Texas Rep. August Pfluger (R) touched on several pressing issues in this week’s Republican Address, which primarily brought more attention to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.    Pfluger, who has represented a district exposed to the full effects of the Biden border crisis, told the story of what he has seen and heard in his own community each day.
    “I’ve spoken with many Border Patrol officers who tell me the tragic stories of human trafficking that are occurring every day,” he explained.    “I’ve also heard from our local law agents who are overwhelmed, being pulled from their important posts, down to the border.”
    He added parents have become increasingly worried about their children’s safety and most attributed their discomfort to Joe Biden’s refusal to address the issue.    The congressman also addressed the monetary issues threatened the livelihoods of all Americans by blaming the Biden administration’s desire to just keep spending.
    “The answer can’t be more spending, yet the Biden administration keeps rolling out trillion dollar packages chalk full of socialist and green new deal policies,” he stated.    “As if the pockets of taxpayers are an endless piggy bank for Democrats to keep digging into.”
    Pfluger ended with the reminder that Republicans have been offering solutions, but the Democrat majority in Congress refused to come to the table as they have continued to cater to Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

8/3/2021 Oil down $2.45 to $71.35, DOW down 97 to 34,838.

8/3/2021 U.S. Offers Refuge To More Afghans Who Aided Americans In New Program by Jonathan Landay and Simon Lewis
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about refugee programs for Afghans who aided the U.S. during
a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 2, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Thousands more Afghans who may be targets of Taliban violence due to their U.S. affiliations will have the opportunity to resettle as refugees in the United States under a program announced by the State Department on Monday.
    Reuters first reported earlier on Monday the plans to set up the “Priority Two” refugee program, covering Afghans who worked for U.S.-funded projects and for U.S.-based non-government bodies and media outlets.
    The program, which the State Department said could help “many thousands” of Afghans, comes as fighting surges in Afghanistan ahead of the formal completion of the U.S. troop withdrawal at the end of this month, with the Taliban pushing to capture key provincial capitals
    President Joe Biden has faced pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups to help Afghans at risk of Taliban retaliation because of their association with the United States during the 20-year war.
    The program applies to Afghans who do not qualify for the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) program that covers interpreters and others who worked for the U.S. government, and their families.
    About 400 SIV applicants whose visas are in the final stages of processing and family members have arrived in recent days at the start of an evacuation effort dubbed “Operation Allies Refuge” that could include as many as 50,000 people or more.
    Those who worked on U.S.-funded projects and Afghans employed by a U.S.-based media organization or non-governmental organization (NGO) are among those eligible for the program, the State Department said.
    They must be referred by a U.S. agency or the senior-most U.S. citizen employee of an NGO or media organization headquartered in the United States.
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States had an obligation “i>to make sure that we are making good on our commitments to those who in particular put themselves on the line, their families on the line, to help us.”
    Once they have applied, Afghans will be contacted by email to let them know they are in a U.S. government system and will then have to make their own way out of Afghanistan to a third country, where they will wait 12 to 14 months for their application to be processed, officials said.
    “We recognize that… it is extremely difficult for Afghans to obtain a visa to a third country or in some cases to find a way to enter a third country,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
    U.S. officials were continuing to review the situation on the ground in Afghanistan and “our planning will evolve,” Price said.
    “We’ve already been in discussion with neighboring countries, as well as (the U.N. refugee agency), to be prepared for potential outflows,” said a senior State Department official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, adding that it was important that Pakistan’s borders with Afghanistan remain open, while others might travel to Turkey via Iran.
    Iran and Pakistan have boosted security along their borders, making it more difficult for Afghans trying to take advantage of the program to cross, said Bill Frelick, director of the Human Rights Watch refugee and migrant rights division.
    While crossing the long and porous borders is not impossible, it carries risks, Frelick added.
    “If you are forcing people to cross irregularly through difficult terrain, forcing them to put themselves in hands of traffickers or smugglers, that ups the ante in terms of risk,” Frelick said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay, Simon Lewis, Lisa Lambert, Ted Hesson, Idrees Ali, and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Will Dunham and Howard Goller)

8/3/2021 U.S. Says Myanmar Poll Plan Shows Need For ASEAN To Step Up Efforts by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis
FILE PHOTO: A bird flies near the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) secretariat building,
ahead of the ASEAN leaders' meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The plan by Myanmar’s ruling generals to hold elections in two years shows they are stalling for time and the need for Southeast Asian countries to step up pressure on them, a senior State Department official said on Monday.
    “It’s clear that the Burmese junta is just stalling for time and wants to keep prolonging the calendar to its own advantage,” the official told reporters ahead of a ministerial meeting this week between the United States and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes Myanmar.
    “So, all the more reason why ASEAN has to engage on this and… uphold the terms of the five point consensus that Myanmar also signed up to,” he said referring to a plan by ASEAN leaders to tackle the turmoil.
    The official briefing reporters ahead of a week of virtual meetings involving U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and regional counterparts said Washington had proposed expanding engagement with ASEAN to include five new “multi-ministerial”-level dialogues, which it hoped the bloc would agree to soon.
    The official said one of the areas was climate, but did not list the others.
    He said he expected Blinken to provide details to ASEAN ministers of continued U.S support for Southeast Asia in the fight against COVID-19, which has hit the region hard.
    Blinken would also raise what Washington sees as China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet, he said.
    Asked about China’s warnings that if Washington expected cooperation on issues such as climate, it would need to de-escalate tensions, the official replied:
    “Look, if we can’t force China to cooperate, we can continue to point out the advantages, and hopefully they’ll see that this is also in their advantage to work with us on climate issues.”
    Washington is seeking to show through Blinken’s participation in five consecutive days of regional meetings that the Biden administration is serious about engaging with allies and partners in its bid to push back against China’s growing influence.
    As well as the U.S.-ASEAN ministerial talks, Blinken will also participate virtually this week in ministerial meetings of the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Mekong-U.S. Partnership and the Friends of the Mekong initiative.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)

8/3/2021 Brazil Court To Probe Bolsonaro For Attacks On Voting System by Lisandra Paraguassu
FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro talks during a ceremony of signing a decree establishing the Public
Integrity System of the Federal government at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo
    BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazil’s Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) decided on Monday to open an investigation into far-right President Jair Bolsonaro for his statements claiming there will be fraud in next year’s elections.
    Bolsonaro, who is expected to seek a second term in 2022, has repeatedly said Brazil’s electronic voting system is vulnerable to fraud.
    Critics say Bolsonaro, like former U.S. President Donald Trump, is sowing doubts with his unfounded claims in order to pave the way for him not to accept defeat in 2022.
    The TSE also decided to ask the Supreme Court to investigate whether Bolsonaro committed a crime by attacking the electoral system on social media and threatening Brazil’s democracy.     The TSE voted to investigate Bolsonaro after he accused the court’s members of complicity in maintaining a voting system that would help former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva return to power.
    Bolsonaro is calling for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if any election result is disputed, a paper trail that would change the current all-electronic voting system.    Bolsonaro has said he might not accept the result of next year’s presidential election if the system is not changed.
    Over the weekend, supporters of the president held demonstrations in several cities backing his proposal.
    Earlier on Monday, a group of 18 active and former Brazilian Supreme Court justices, who also serve as judges on the TSE, said the election system is free of fraud.
    “Brazil has eliminated a history of election fraud,” the judges said in a statement, saying that since the electronic voting system was adopted in 1996, there has never been a documented fraud case in any election.
    “The electronic voting system is subject to audits before, during and after the election,” they said.    The judges said all the steps are monitored by political parties, prosecutors, federal police, universities and the Brazilian Bar Association.
    The judges said printed ballots are less safe than electronic voting, and that if Brazil goes back to manual counting of 150 million printed ballots, the chance of fraud would be higher.
    A congressional committee will vote Thursday on a proposal pushed by Bolsonaro to introduce paper ballots.
    The government solicitor general’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the TSE decision.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito Lisandra Paraguassu in Brasilia; writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/3/2021 Intel Analyst: President Trump Won 7 ‘Biden’ States In 2020 by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections
conference in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
    Election analyst Seth Keshel discovered at least 8.1 million fraudulent votes nationwide cast for Joe Biden last November.    On Monday, Keshel explained how he compared purported election results with voter registration data and demographic trends.
    The Intelligence analyst went on to claim the numbers in many states and counties didn’t add up.    Keshel said his research has shown Trump apparently won in seven swing states including Georgia, Pennsylvania and Nevada.
    “You have people showing up in a drive through voting lane with 15 IDs and here come 15 ballots.    Same guy fills all ballots out,” he explained.    “…You have these massive unexplainable gains that conflict with your other trends across the nation.”
    Keshel went on to say Trump also won by the number of clean votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona.    He also asserted elections in California, New York and Virginia were mired in so much fraud, it would be impossible to tell who won there.

8/3/2021 Pentagon Police Officer Dies After Being Stabbed, Suspect Shot Dead by OAN Newsroom
Police are looking at a scene and items are seen on the ground near a Metrobus outside the
Pentagon Metro area, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    A Pentagon police officer has died after a shooting incident outside the Defense Department headquarters.    On Tuesday, officials reported the so-called “shooting event” attack happened near a platform by the Pentagon Metro Station earlier that day.
    According to reports, the officer was stabbed and later died, while the suspect was shot dead in the incident.    The Pentagon was briefly placed on lockdown and the public was ordered to stay away from the area.
    Authorities said the area remained an active crime scene amid the ongoing investigation.    The circumstances of the incident have been unclear.
    This comes amid an uptick in violent crime in the area, including a fatal shooting about a mile from the White House and a shooting outside a Washington Nationals game last month.

8/3/2021 N.Y. AG Probe Finds Gov. Cuomo Sexually Harassed 11 Women by OAN Newsroom
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)
    New York Attorney General Leticia James announced the findings of the independent probe into Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D-N.Y.) sexual harassment allegations.    According to James on Tuesday, the probe turned up extensive evidence that Cuomo had sexually harassed multiple women and created a toxic work environment.
    Independent investigators Joon Kim and Anne Clark found Cuomo engaged in unwanted groping and kissing as well as took action to retaliate against one former employee for coming forward with her story.    They interviewed 179 individuals and reviewed over 74,000 pieces of evidence.
    “The investigators found the Governor Cuomo’s actions and those of the executive chamber violated multiple state and federal laws as well as the executive chamber’s own written policies,” James announced.    “This investigation has revealed conduct that corrodes the very fabric and character of our state government.”
    Though the probe was not a criminal one, it could influence the state legislature’s impeachment inquiry.    Cuomo has denied all allegations.

8/3/2021 Biden Admin. Renews Trump-Era Border Policy Title 42 by OAN Newsroom
Border Patrol agents hold a news conference at a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporary
facility near the Donna International Bridge in Donna, Texas. (ERIC GAY/AP-FILE)
    The Biden administration has extended a Trump-era policy, which allowed for illegal immigrants to be turned away at the border to help stop the spread of COVID-19.    On Monday, the CDC announced the so-called Title 42 policy would remain in effect until there was no longer a health threat from non-citizens.
    This comes after the White House has faced backlash for their failures to enforce the policy, while allowing thousands of COVID positive illegals to be transported and released into cities around the country.    In addition, a record number of unaccompanied minors were stopped at the border last month.
    Critics have argued exemption from this rule for minors would exacerbate the problem.
    “We know how that’s going to be translated by the coyotes and the cartels, but still it was a step in the right direction,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) explained.    “I will give the Biden administration credit for that.    It was late it should have happened easily a month ago, if not two months ago.”
    The renewal of Title 42 came after the American Civil Liberties Union revived their lawsuit to overturn the order on Monday.    The DHS responded in a court filing by saying the U.S. has encountered a record number of 210,000 illegal immigrants in July alone, which has strained operations, filled facilities beyond normal operating capacity and created a significant health risk.

8/3/2021 Mo. Rep. Ann Wagner Running For Reelection by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Ann Wagner is photographed. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)
    Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner (R) put an end to speculation over a possible Senate run. In an interview released on Tuesday, the Republican congresswoman confirmed she did not plan to launch a bid for the U.S. Senate, but instead run for reelection in the state’s second district.
    Wagner went on to add Missouri needed a fighter who would hold the Biden administration accountable.    She slammed both Joe Biden and the Democrats for not supporting pro-life legislation, failing to hold China accountable for the pandemic and not securing the southern border.
    “It is a crisis that is owned and created by Joe Biden,” she asserted.    “He has got to do something to fix it.”
    Wagner has held Missouri’s second congressional seat since 2013.    She will be facing at least four other challengers in her 2022 bid for reelection.

8/3/2021 Biden Admin. Blames Trump For Issues At Border, Labels Jan. 6 Protesters As White Supremacists by OAN Newsroom
FILE – Alejandro Mayorkas testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    The secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, is blaming the 45th presdient for the consequences of the Biden administration’s policies and is labeling January 6 protesters as terrorists.
    Specifically, he’s blaming President Donald Trump for the border crisis.    During an interview Monday, Mayorkas admitted there’s a problem at the southern border, but gave no fault to Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or himself.    Instead, he insisted the issue stems from the Trump administration not sending enough money to other countries.
    “Let me, if I can share with you what makes the challenge so acute at this point in time,” Mayorkas stated.    “We are following an administration that, frankly, dismantled our capabilities to address it and so we are building it from the ground up.    We lost four years of investing in the countries from which these individuals are migrating.”    The DHS secretary also said the administration’s plan to solve the problem is in place and working, adding he has “remarkable people” addressing the Biden border crisis.    Yet, little action has been taken by the his administration to reduce illegal border crossings.
    Also in his interview, Mayorkas went on to say “domestic violent extremism” is the biggest terrorist threat to the U.S. pertaining to the January 6 protests.    GOP lawmakers have said January 6 protesters are facing political persecution after participating in the rally.
    Mayorkas alluded to a political purge suggesting one is underway in the U.S. military.    Many warn this is the first time in U.S. history when servicemen and women are labeled as “terrorists,” along with millions of other patriotic Americans.

8/3/2021 Thousands Of Migrant Kids Stuck In U.S. Border Patrol Custody, Again by Mica Rosenberg and Go Nakamura
FILE PHOTO: Unaccompanied minor migrants from Central America wait to be processed by the U.S. Border Patrol agents after
crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
    ROMA, Texas (Reuters) -The number of migrant children in Border Patrol facilities has been steadily rising, an analysis of U.S. government data shows, as record numbers crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in July, renewing a politically sensitive issue for President Joe Biden.
    On Aug. 1 there were more than 2,200 unaccompanied children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, more than double the number just a month earlier, according to daily statistics provided by the government since March and compiled by Reuters.
    A CBP spokesperson said that number includes Mexican children who are quickly returned to their home country, as well as Central American children who are transferred to U.S. federal shelters.
    The average time unaccompanied children are spending in CBP custody is around 60 hours, according to one source familiar with matter, which is just under a 72-hour limit set by a long-standing court settlement.    However, as of Tuesday there were 877 kids who had been held for over 72 hours, according to another source familiar with the data.
(For a graphic on the number of migrant kids in custody:
    The recent rise is alarming migrant advocates, who say the facilities are not appropriate for young children, even though levels are still below those seen in mid-March when CBP held more than 5,700 unaccompanied kids at border stations.
    Record numbers of unaccompanied children, more than 19,000, were likely encountered by border patrol agents in July, said David Shahoulian, a top U.S. Department of Homeland Security official, in a court declaration filed on Monday.
    At the same time, overall apprehensions, including of families and single adults, are on pace to be the highest ever recorded this fiscal year, he said.    The numbers include individuals who may have crossed multiple times.
    The situation is straining resources, Shahoulian said, with Border Patrol facilities filled way over capacity limits set during COVID across the Southwestern border and more than 10,000 people in custody in the Rio Grande Valley alone as of Aug. 1.
    (For graphics on border apprehensions:
    Children traveling on their own are supposed to be transferred from CBP custody to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelters, where they wait to be released to U.S. sponsors, often parents or other family members.
    There are now more than 14,400 kids in HHS shelters, the daily government data showed.
    CBP said its ability to transfer unaccompanied children out of its facilities depends on HHS capacity.    HHS said in a statement that the agency is “not currently experiencing any delays that prevent prompt identification of an appropriate placement within our shelter network.”
    Earlier this year the Biden administration came under intense pressure from advocacy groups and fellow Democrats to transfer children more quickly from overcrowded CBP border facilities not designed to hold them.    The government set up more emergency shelters and the number of kids in CBP border facilities quickly dropped.
    But some large convention centers converted to house children have shut down since then and there are now only four emergency shelters left, along with an existing network of state-licensed facilities and foster homes.
    Several whistleblowers raised complaints about one of the emergency sites still open at Fort Bliss in Texas, saying “organizational chaos” and bad management by private contractors resulted in conditions that endanger children.    HHS’ Office of Inspector     General said on its website on Monday that it will investigate “case management challenges at Fort Bliss that may have impeded the safe and timely release of children to sponsors.”
    Over the course of two nights last week, hundreds of mostly Central American migrants, including families with young children and kids traveling unaccompanied, arrived on rafts after crossing the Rio Grande river near Roma, Texas, according to a Reuters witness.
    They turned themselves over to border agents, who were handing out masks, forming long lines for processing.    Most carried no belongings and some were from countries like Haiti, which is experiencing renewed political turmoil.
    Under a Trump-era public health policy that Biden has kept in place, many face immediate expulsion.    However, Biden exempted unaccompanied children from the policy.    Families are still subject to the policy – on paper, but in practice most are allowed in to pursue immigration cases in U.S. courts.
    Images posted on Twitter over the weekend showed hundreds of people crowding under a bridge in Mission, Texas, where agents were holding migrants outside. With concerns rising about the rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the accumulation of migrants in custody is worrying local officials.
    The Texas Border Coalition, which groups mayors, county judges and economic development commissions along the Texas-Mexico border, said in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that absent more immediate attention, “there is growing potential for the situation to spin out of control.”
Graphic on the number of migrant kids in custody
Graphic 1 on border apprehensions
Graphic 2 on border apprehensions
(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York; Additional reporting by Go Nakamura in Roma, Texas, and Ted Hesson and Richard Cowan in Washington and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; Editing by Ross Colvin and Dan Grebler)

8/3/2021 Biden Blames Texas, Fla. For COVID ‘Surge’ After Flooding U.S. With Over 100k Untested, Unquarantined Illegal Aliens by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House where he addressed the importance of
people getting a COVID-19 vaccination in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    The White House has targeted Republican officials for the rise in coronavirus cases.    Speaking from the White House on Tuesday, Joe Biden specifically blamed Texas and Florida.
    He went on to say, “just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country.”
    Biden went on to denounce the “bad” policy of governors who have made mask wearing and vaccinations optional.    He ordered them to “get out of the way.”
    “I say to these governors, please help,” he stated.    “If you’re not going to help at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing.”
    Critics were quick to refute Biden’s claims by calling them ill-informed and politically motivated.    Many have cited the fact that more than 100,000 illegal aliens arrived in Texas last month alone.    Many of whom tested positive for COVID or were experiencing viral symptoms.
    On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who may have earned a target on his back amid rumors of his potential 2024 presidential bid, warned Biden mandate interventions have “failed time and time again throughout this pandemic.”
    DeSantis went on to correct the record by pointing out hospital admissions in his state were slowing down and COVID mortality has continued to decline.

8/3/2021 Police Officer Dies Following Attack Outside Pentagon by OAN Newsroom
Police are looking at a scene and items are seen on the ground near a Metrobus outside the Pentagon
Metro area, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021 at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    A Pentagon police officer has died after a shooting incident outside the Defense Department headquarters.    Officials said the attack happened Tuesday morning on a Metrobus platform.
    According to reports, the officer was ambushed by the suspect and stabbed in the neck.    The suspect was shot dead during the incident.
    The Pentagon was temporarily placed on lockdown and the public was ordered to stay away from the area.    During a Defense Department briefing, authorities said the investigation was ongoing, with the FBI leading the investigation.
    Chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Woodrow Kusse gave remarks as to the status of the incident during the briefing.
    “The incident is over,” he stated.    “The scene is secure and most importantly, there’s not continuing threat to our community.”
    Kusse responded to the question regarding the Pentagon Metro entrance, which asked if “additional force protection measures” would be necessary due to the incident.    He said there were a number of measures in place already, but they would be reevaluated.
    “We will certainly, as this investigation concludes, take another look at any measures,” he explained.    “Our mission is to protect not just the building, but the community we serve that transits through that station.”
    The Pentagon Force Protection Agency confirmed the officer’s death in a tweet later in the day.    The agency said “our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family.”    Additional details on the officer have not yet been released.
    U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered flags on the Pentagon reservation to be flown at half-staff “in honor of his loss.”

8/3/2021 Senate Foreign Relations Committee Discusses Repeal Of 2002 Iraq AUMF by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) attends a Senate Foreign Relations Committee
in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Senators have pushed for an official end to policies related to the 2002 Iraq War.    On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to discuss the abolition of the Authorization of Use of Military Force, which allowed the Bush administration to send troops to the Middle Eastern country.
    Democrats, who have advocated for an outright repeal, said the AUMF was designed as a measure to defend American interests in Iraq and combat threats against the regime headed by Saadam Hussein.    The authorization allowed the U.S. to use “any means necessary” to defend U.S. interests and “enforce all relevant” United Nations Security Council resolutions.
    However, some Democrats have argued the AUMF has become unnecessary by citing Hussein’s execution in 2006.
    “The Biden administration has made clear to a formal statement of administration policy that it is not relying on the 2002 AUMF for ongoing operations or detention authority,” explained Sen. Bob Menendez (R-N.J.).    “Logically, as the terms of the AUMG applied only to threats emanating from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”
    Even diplomats in Joe Biden’s State Department expressed support of the repeal by saying the order has outlived its usefulness.    Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman agreed with Democrats and claimed the move wouldn’t effect diplomatic relations with Iraq.
    Sherman added there were no ongoing military efforts solely focused on Iraq.
    “Our current assessment is that we will not need the 2002 AUMF to protect American interests in the foreseeable future,” she stated.    “If we do need additional authorities to defend our people, we will not hesitate to come back to Congress to seek those authorities.”
    However, Republicans in the Senate have urged their Democrat colleagues to take a repeal and replace approach.
    Utah Sen. Mitt Romney (R) warned of the rising threats in the region from groups linked to the Taliban, ISIS and the Iranian regime.    He warned if repealing the 2002 AUMF resulted in the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, such as the current drawdown in Afghanistan, there would be a power vacuum where insurgents would take over the country.
    In addition, former U.S. ambassador to Japan Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) expressed the same concerns with Iran.    He proposed Congress and the Biden administration repeal the 2002 authorization and replace it with an updated measure to combat the modern security concerns American troops have been facing from Iran-backed terrorism.
    However, other GOP senators, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), said it was time to officially end the war, in which the fighting stopped nearly a decade ago.    Paul said AUMFs, such as the one under discussion, took an immense toll on the men and women who serve in the U.S. military.
    “People who want to keep it in place have to realize this vote will be similar to the vote in 2002.    The vote in 2002 allowed 100,000 troops or more to be in Iraq.    It allowed 2,000 of our soldiers to die.    It allowed 20,000 people to be wounded,” he expressed.    “…That’s what you are voting for now.”
    The hearing came after House lawmakers voted to repeal a handful of AUMFs from the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm and the 2002 Iraq War.    The push came after Biden ordered air strikes in Syria in February and June of this year without consulting with Congress beforehand.
    Lawmakers have been looking to hinder a president’s ability to abuse AUMFs, while promoting ways to keep U.S. troops safe.

8/3/2021 Gov. DeSantis: New Spike In Cases Won’t Make Me Shut Down My State by OAN Newsroom
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a COVID-19 testing site outside
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has refused to shut his state down as Democrats have been pestering him for another lockdown.    On Tuesday, DeSantis said the Sunshine State would stay open to protect Floridians and their livelihoods.
    DeSantis argued draconian lockdown measures never worked in the past and there was no evidence they would work now.
    “These interventions have failed time and time again throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States, but abroad,” he expressed.    “They have not stopped the spread and particularly with Delta, which is even more transmissible.    If it didn’t stop it before, it definitely ain’t going to stop it now.”
    Florida has now become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with over 11,500 hospitalizations as of Tuesday.    However, DeSantis assured his state was doing whatever it took to protect vulnerable populations from contracting the virus, while allowing everyone else to continue living normal lives.
    “At the end of the day, would I rather have 5,000 cases amongst 20-year-olds or 500 cases amongst seniors?” he questioned.    “I would rather have the younger because of the effect that it has and so I think protecting the vulnerable has been the right way to go.”
    DeSantis also pointed out hospitals still had plenty of room for new patients.    He added he didn’t want people with other illnesses to stay home instead of seeking treatment because of what he called media fear mongering over the coronavirus.
    “I think it’s important to point out because obviously media does hysteria.    You try to fear monger,” he asserted.    “COVID patients represent a fraction of the overall hospital beds.    I don’t want to see a repeat because of the media hysteria, where people who have heart problems or stroke are not going in to get care.”
    Meanwhile, data has shown hospitalizations are far lower now than they were this time last year and COVID-19 deaths are averaging 58 per day in comparison to 180 a year ago.

8/3/2021 Biden Touts Incentivizing Americans To Take Experimental Vaccines In New Gaffe by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
    Joe Biden’s latest gaffe highlighted his administration’s attempts to push Americans to take experimental COVID-19 vaccines.    Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Biden claimed government handouts of $100 helped increase vaccination rates.     “Places that have offered the 100 thousand, the 100 thousand, the 100 dollars,” he stuttered.    “That’d be really good! I’d go back and get vaccinated three times.”
    Biden also tried to attack Republican-led states for “low vaccination rates,” despite an increase in new COVID-19 cases among the vaccinated.
    “But all kidding aside, offered the 100 dollars to get vaccination, have seen an uptick of 25 percent on daily vaccination rates,” he stated.    “If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it.”
    This comes as some White House officials are calling for vaccine mandates, although it would violate the Nuremberg Code.

8/4/2021 Oil down $0.87 to $70.41, DOW up 278 to 35,116.

8/4/2021 Bolsonaro’s ‘Land Grab’ Bill Passes Brazil’s Lower House
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view shows a tree at the center of a deforested plot of the Amazon near
Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino
    BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s lower house of Congress passed a land bill on Tuesday that is backed by the country’s powerful farm sector but that environmentalists say will contribute to deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
    The bill allows squatters on public land to more easily receive deeds to their properties and was initially proposed by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in a move to please farmers, who overwhelmingly supported his 2018 election.
    The lower house approved the basic text of the bill by 296 votes for and 136 against. It still needs to pass in the Senate.
    Brazilians have been settling the Amazon rainforest for decades, but many lack official deeds, putting them in a legal gray area.
    Proponents of the bill say granting deeds to settlers will encourage them to comply with laws to curb deforestation.    But critics say it will reward past crimes of illegal land grabbers, who often deforest land to increase its value for agriculture.
    Greenpeace said the bill, if it becomes law, will in practice be an amnesty for land invasions.
    “The message lawmakers are sending Brazilians is that it pays to invade and deforest public lands,” said Greenpeace’s Mariana Mota.
    “No one is happier today than the land grabbers, who have government and Congress on their side,” she said.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Sandra Maler)

8/4/2021 Athenians Told To Stay Inside As Wildfires Cloud City Skies by Angeliki Koutantou
A firefighter sprays water in an attempt to help fight a wildfire at Varympompi
suburb north of Athens, Greece, August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek authorities told people in Athens to stay indoors on Wednesday as a wildfire raging uncontrolled north of the city covered the sky in a thick cloud of smoke.
    More than 500 firefighters battled the blaze on the lower slopes of Mount Parnitha, on the city outskirts, assisted by nine helicopters, five aircraft, policy and the army in a densely vegetated area in the region of>     “The fire is still raging, its perimeter is very wide and the heat load is very strong,” a fire brigade official said.
    Despite sweltering heat and stifling conditions, the national observatory advised people in the city to keep windows shut and to reduce movement outside because of the harmful particles in the sky.
    Temperatures have been over 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) but Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said the situation on Wednesday appeared somewhat better, helped by lower winds and humidity.    One front was burning strongly but another three were abating and no casualties were reported.
    The blaze broke out on Tuesday in the town of Varympompi some 20 km north of central Athens.    In scorching temperatures, it spread to nearby towns burning homes and cars and forcing residents to flee.
    “Thank God we haven’t had any loss of human life so far,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said after an inspection visit early on Wednsday.
    Power grid operator IPTO was trying to restore power in parts of the metropolitan region after the fire damaged parts of the grid.
    Europe is grappling with a summer of extreme weather, from heavy flooding in the north to the severe heatwaves and fires that have engulfed several areas in the Mediterranean with Greece’s neighbour Turkey battling fires for the past week.
(Reporting by Athens bureau; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

8/4/2021 Democrats Call For Gov. Cuomo To Resign, Threaten Impeachment by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: People participate in a protest against N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and protest
for a moratorium on evictions on August 4, 2021 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
    Democrats have called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign following the release of the state’s attorney general’s report on allegations of sexual harassment.    Cuomo has quickly lost favor within his own party after the investigation found the Democrat had sexually harassed multiple women who worked for the state.
    Following the release of the report on Tuesday, multiple Democrats spoke out to condemn Cuomo for his actions while urging the governor to resign.    Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y) commended the multiple women for their bravery and for speaking out.
    Additionally on CNN, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted Cuomo and said the Democrat is not fit to hold office.    Further, the leader of the Democrat Party severed ties with Cuomo after Joe Biden doubled down on his previous calls for the governor’s resignation.
    "This is textbook sexual harassment… Disgusting and troubling and unacceptable and he needs to leave office immediately," says New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on the state attorney general's investigation report of sexual harassment allegations levied at Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) August 3, 2021
    Despite the evidence against him and calls to step down, Cuomo claimed the real facts are much different from the investigation.    In the meantime, Democrat state lawmakers are looking to finish their impeachment investigation as quickly as possible.

8/4/2021 R.I. BLM PAC Demands Resignation Of Dem Strategist After Crude Tweet About Sen. Graham Having COVID
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 30: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration,
during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    The Black Lives Matter Rhode Island PAC has called for the resignation of its Democrat strategist after she tweeted about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) COVID diagnosis.    The organization said Kate Coyne-McCoy’s comments were “extremely distasteful and insensitive.”
    Coyne-McCoy came under fire on Tuesday after asking in a now deleted tweet if it’s wrong to hope the Republican senator dies from COVID.    Upon deleting her comment, she also responded saying she was not proud of her reaction.
    However, the group also cited past remarks made by Coyne-McCoy in which she wished death on President Trump and his inner circle.    They added that regardless of political affiliation, those kinds of comments are never acceptable.

8/4/2021 FDA Authorizes Antibody Cocktail As Preventative COVID Treatment by OAN Newsroom
WHITE OAK, MD – JULY 20: A sign for the Food And Drug Administration is seen outside of the
headquarters on July 20, 2020 in White Oak, Maryland. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images)
    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a monoclonal antibody cocktail as a treatment for immunocompromised people who are at risk of COVID exposure.    Reports on Tuesday detailed the authorization made last week, which said those with compromised immune systems could receive the optional treatment.
    “It’s good to know that for people who do not respond well to vaccines, including those who do not make antibodies, we can now help protect them against getting infected with SARS-CoV-2 by giving them antibodies following exposure,” said Dr. Ghady Haidar, a transplant infectious diseases physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
    Experts said the antibodies prevent illness by overwhelming the infection while it’s still in the nose or throat.    This marks the first antibody treatment approved as a preventative measure for the three percent of Americans who are immunocompromised.

8/4/2021 Child Predator Sting Results In 17 Arrests by OAN Newsroom
General photo, police officer arrests a man for trespassing. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    There have been a total of 17 people arrested as part of a Florida undercover child predator sting operation. Following a six-day undercover operation, authorities in Florida arrested over a dozen suspects who allegedly were trying to coerce minors into engaging in unlawful sexual activity.
    During a press conference on Tuesday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd explained the joint investigation dubbed “Operation Child Protector.”    From July 27 to Aug. 1, detectives went undercover as minors across different social media platforms and mobile apps in hopes of apprehending individuals who prey on children online.
    According to Judd, the suspects showed up at an undisclosed location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children.    In total, authorities arrested the 17 suspects ranging in age from 26 to 47.    Upon further investigation, police said three of the suspects revealed they were Walt Disney employees.
    Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, worked as a lifeguard at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel in Orlando.    Judd then identified the two other individuals as 34-year-old Jonathan McGrew and his girlfriend Savannah Lawrence, 29, who were custodians at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios.
    He noted none of the suspects engaged in any illegal activity while on park property.    Judd went on to express his disgust over the content obtained throughout the sting from the suspects.    He then commended the detectives who worked diligently to capture the predators.
    Meanwhile, all of the suspects face a total of 49 felony charges and two misdemeanor charges.

8/4/2021 Suspect Who Stabbed, Killed Pentagon Officer Identified by OAN Newsroom
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – AUGUST 03: Emergency first responders investigate the scene of a shooting with multiple victims at
a mass transit station outside the Pentagon on August 03, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    The suspect who is believed to have killed a Pentagon officer has been identified. Law enforcement officials identified the suspect on Tuesday as 27-year-old Austin William Lanz.
    Lanz is originally from Georgia and has been arrested multiple times in the state for differing charges.    He was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2012, but according to the branch, he was administratively separated less than a month later and was never given the title of Marine.
    The 27-year-old allegedly attacked a Pentagon officer, stabbing and killing him.    The suspect was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
    The Pentagon police officer died after the incident that occurred outside the Defense Department headquarters.    Officials said the attack happened Tuesday morning on a metro bus platform.
    Reports added the officer was ambushed by the suspect and stabbed in the neck later confirming his death.    The Pentagon was temporarily placed on lockdown and the public was ordered to stay away from the area.
    During a Defense Department briefing, authorities said the investigation was still ongoing and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had been placed in charge.    Chief of the Pentagon Force Protection Agency Woodrow Kusse gave remarks as to the status of the incident during the briefing.
    Kusse also responded to a question regarding the Pentagon metro entrance that asked if additional force protection measures would be necessary due to the incident.    He said there were a number of measures in place already, but that they would reevaluate.
    Additional details on the officer have not yet been released.    In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ordered flags on the Pentagon reservation be flown at half-staff “in honor of his loss.”

8/4/2021 Psaki Downplays Record Illegal Immigration Numbers by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the
White House in Washington, D.C. on August 4, 2021. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Biden administration has fallen under pressure as the crisis on the southern border has continued to escalate.    During a briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked to explain why there were a record number of illegal border crossings last month, even amid extreme temperatures.
    This comes as officials recorded more than 1.1 million apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year, which is a 15-year high. Psaki went on to list the so-called root causes behind the recent uptick in border crossings.
    However, Republicans like Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Americans are tired of the Biden administration’s blanket statements and demand action now.    Lankford continued on to say the root cause of immigration into the U.S. is the nation’s freedom and economy.    Further, he suggested it’s Joe Biden’s responsibility to preserve it for the American people.

8/4/2021 Bipartisan Bill Seeks To Penalize Colleges, While Providing Relief To Student Loan Borrowers by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – on July 14: Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) speaks during a press conference about the
southern border at the U.S. Capitol on July 14, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    The Senate Judiciary Committee has introduced a new piece of legislation to address student loan debt. On Tuesday, Republicans and Democrats gathered on Capitol Hill for a hearing as they introduced the Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021.
    Texas senator and bill co-sponsor, John Cornyn (R), said the bill would hold colleges accountable while also providing relief to struggling students.
    Unlike the far-left goal of total student loan forgiveness, the Fresh Start Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021 only discharges after ten years of consistent payments.    In order to qualify, the borrower also needs to show “undue hardship” as a result of the loan payments.
    The bill would also reverse a 2005 act by Congress, which made student loan bankruptcy harder to achieve.    Cornyn said schools provide useless degrees while charging astronomical costs and not properly educating their consumers, who are ultimately the students.    The Republican went on to say the staggering amount of people with student loans indicates a larger problem within the higher education system.
    Illinois senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dick Durbin (D), began the hearing by reading testimonials from borrowers who described their crippling debt. The federal reserve said around 30 percent of U.S. adults have incurred some sort of debt for their education with monthly payments ranging between $200 and $300.
    According to the chairman, current student loan code makes it extremely difficult for borrowers to get their loans forgiven.    Experts noted college tuition has more than doubled in the last 20 years.    Cornyn said while his bill aims to help the borrower, it also goes after the higher education industry for “playing with House money.”
    According to Cornyn, the bill punishes schools who don’t properly council their students.    “Some schools have taken advantage of the American taxpayer for too long, and the students are the ones harmed by their excess,” said the senator.
    Meanwhile, federal student loan payments have been stalled for over a year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.    Payments are set to resume Oct. 1 of this year as no further action has been taken by the federal government.

8/4/2021 Sen. Sanders Hoping To Pass Socialist Wishlist by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 03: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks to reporters as he leaves
the U.S. Capitol following a vote on August 03, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) is excited about the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, which he wrote himself.    In an op-ed this week, Sanders praised the American Rescue Plan passed in March for saving the economy.
    However, he said he believes there needs to be deeper structural reforms.    This comes as he’s been working hard to write and push for an over $3 trillion reconciliation package.
    In the op-ed, Sen. Sanders laid out his favorite portions of the bill.    Among those were the complete overhauling of the immigration system.    He proudly stated the bill provides a so-called pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, allowing them the privilege to enter the country at any point along the border and be placed in the same line as legal immigrants.
    He also expressed his love for a provision, which some experts said would lead to more poverty and starvation in the world.    If the bill is passed, it would make fossil fuel energy harder to obtain while shifting to green energy regardless of future expenses.    It would also create a centralized federal government agency run by young climate activists to enforce its provisions.
    In a recent interview, Sanders was asked to respond to Republicans who oppose the bill and who point out how it seems like he’s just trying to bring socialism to America.    Although, Republicans are not the only ones with concerns about the bill.    Moderate red state Democrats like West Virginia’s Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have gone on the record to say they would not support Sanders’ bill if the costs are not reduced.

8/4/2021 WHO Calls For Halting COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters In Favor Of Unvaccinated by Manas Mishra and Dania Nadeem
FILE PHOTO: World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a
bilateral meeting with Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset on the sidelines of the opening of the
74th World Health Assembly at the WHO headquarters, in Geneva, Switzerland May 24, 2021. Laurent Gillieron/Pool via REUTERS
    (Reuters) -The World Health Organization is calling for a halt on COVID-19 vaccine boosters until at least the end of September, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, as the gap between vaccinations in wealthy and poor countries widens.
    The call for a moratorium is the strongest statement yet from the UN agency at a time when countries deliberate the need for boosters to combat the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus.
    “I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant. But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” Tedros added.
    High-income countries administered around 50 doses for every 100 people in May, and that number has since doubled, according to WHO. Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supply.
    “We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries to the majority going to low-income countries,” Tedros said.
    To counter the spread of the Delta variant, some countries have begun to use or started weighing on the need for booster doses even as scientists debate over whether or not extra shots are needed.
    “The fact that we are vaccinating healthy adults with a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccines is a short-sighted way of thinking,” said Elin Hoffmann Dahl, infectious diseases medical adviser to Medecins Sans Frontieres’ access campaign.
    “With the emergence of new variants, if we continue to leave the majority of the world unvaccinated, we will most definitely need adjusted vaccines in the future,” Dahl told Reuters.
    Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog received a third shot of coronavirus vaccine, kicking off a campaign to give booster doses to people aged over 60 in the country.
    The United States in July signed a deal with Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech to buy 200 million additional doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to help with pediatric vaccination as well as possible booster shots.
    U.S. health regulators were still assessing the need for a booster dose.
(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Dania Nadeem in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Shinjini Ganguli)

8/4/2021 GOP-Led House Bill Seeks To Restore National Forests, End Overregulation Of Forest Management by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 29: U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) testifies during a Republican-led
forum on the origins of the COVID-19 virus at the U.S. Capitol. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Members of the GOP introduced a bipartisan measure to protect the health of federal forests.    Recent reports detailed the Resilient Federal Forests Act, which was introduced in recent weeks by Washington lawmakers Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse.    The bill was initially proposed by Arkansas Congressman Bruce Westerman, who serves as the ranking member of the House’s Natural Resources Committee.
    Reports said more than 80 million acres of national forests are overgrown and fire-prone. They added the forests are in need of active land management.     House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) recently praised Westerman and the bill.
    “This bill is especially critical to a state like California, where our communities are annually devastated by catastrophic wildfires,” said McCarthy.
    According to lawmakers, the bill would use state of the art science to determine the top 10 percent of high-risk fire sheds, improve wildlife habitats, protect infrastructure and public safety where forests and urban areas intersect, encourage quick reforestation and remove hazardous trees while revitalizing the economy of rural areas.    It also seeks to reduce frivolous lawsuits while increasing the pace and scale of critical restoration projects.
    McMorris Rodgers pointed to the fires burning through the northwest, saying we can’t allow decades of overregulation and legal issues to stall forest management efforts any longer.    She noted it’s time to cut through the red tape and give the forest service the tools it needs to better manage our forests.
In this long exposure photograph, trees smolder and burn during the Dixie fire
near Greenville, California on August 3, 2021. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    The issue of forest management has long been on the Washington lawmaker’s plate, as she spoke about the issue at the beginning of last year.
    We should all, Republicans and Democrats, be able to come together to support healthy forests.    When our forests are healthy, it becomes harder for these fires to take off,” stressed McMorris Rodgers.    “But right now, we are not effectively managing our increasingly at-risk forests.”
    Both McMorris Rodgers and Newhouse have also sponsored an additional act that would give rural communities more resources to deal with wildfires.    Fighting wildfires is also included in the Senate bipartisan infrastructure proposal with more than $3 billion devoted to wildland firefighting efforts and almost $6 billion toward national resource related infrastructure, including fire management and restoration.

8/4/2021 Fla. Gov. DeSantis Highlights Monoclonal Antibodies Treatment At Roundtable On COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JULY 13: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes part in a roundtable discussion about the uprising in
Cuba at the American Museum of the Cuba Diaspora on July 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said the use of monoclonal antibodies in people who have contracted COVID has shown promising results.    Speaking during a Zoom roundtable with hospital CEO’s on Wednesday, DeSantis said he doesn’t think he’s spoken to anyone who wasn’t happy they underwent the treatment.
    The treatment, which consists of COVID antibodies made in a lab, has been approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.    DeSantis echoed comments from health officials who said the treatment has been very effective and has been most effective if administered five to seven days after a person gets sick.
    DeSantis also pointed out the vast majority of new coronavirus hospitalizations are among a younger demographic that hasn’t gotten the vaccine.    However, there have been breakthrough cases.

8/4/2021 Calif. Republicans Set To Debate In Gov. Newsom Recall Election by OAN Newsroom
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 16: California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a a news conference about the state’s
efforts on the homelessness crisis on January 16, 2020 in Oakland, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    The race to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has continued to intensify as Republican candidates prepare for their first debate on Wednesday.    John Cox is one of four Republicans taking the stage for the first televised debate in the recall election.    The businessman has labeled his campaign as the “Beauty Vs. the Beast” and said Californians are tired of pretty boy politicians.
    Kevin Faulconer said his record on how he handled issues as San Diego’s mayor is a model of how he would tackle statewide issues.    “I’ve won twice in the second largest city in California.    A Republican who can win in Democrat strongholds.    Why?    Because we stand up and because I get the results,” said Faulconer.
    Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is also in the race.    Kiley added this is a non-partisan movement started by Californians who are fed up with the failures of California’s Democrat controlled legislature.
    Joining the list is former Congressman Doug Ose who said it’s time for the governor to be replaced.    However, some high-profile Republicans won’t be on the debate stage.
    Conservative radio host Larry Elder, who has led in recent polls, will instead be attending a fundraiser, while reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner will be in Australia filming Celebrity Big Brother.    In addition, Gov. Newsom will also not be in attendance.
    Analysists have advised Republican candidates to not focus on undercutting each other, but to pile up their attacks on Newsom.    Voters will begin receiving their ballots later this month ahead of the Sept. 14 recall election.    They’ll be asked two questions; should Gov. Newsom be replaced and which candidate should replace him?

8/5/2021 Oil down $2.17 to $68.01, DOW down 324 to 34,793.

8/5/2021 Sao Paulo’s Glass Box Lookout Puts Fear Of Heights To The Test by Pablo Garcia
Influencer Renata Tellers walks inside Sampa Sky, a reinforced glass box that protrudes beyond the building and allows to see not
only the horizon, but also the ground below your feet, in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
    SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Visitors lie with their feet in the air, sit on the glass floor and walk to the edge of a transparent box as they pose for photos in a new sky deck on the 42nd level of Sao Paulo’s tallest building, the Mirante do Vale.
    Called the Sampa Sky, the dizzying lookout officially opens on Sunday, but some people got a sneak peek on Wednesday.
    “I think it’s beautiful, I love it.    It was something that was missing in Sao Paulo,” said Sylvia Barreto, who admitted she was a little scared when she stepped out into the glass box.
    The deck, nine floors below the top of the 170-metre-high (558-feet) building, was inspired by Chicago’s Skydeck, on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower.
    “It’s an incredible sensation,” said Deise Remos.    “I am scared to death of heights, I must confess, but I worked through the fear.    After the first step it was incredible, it is incredible to see the city from this height.”
(Reporting by Pablo Garcia; Editing by Karishma Singh and Jane Wardell)

8/5/2021 England Scraps France Quarantine For Fully Vaccinated Travellers by Sarah Young
FILE PHOTO: Arriving passengers queue at UK Border Control at the Terminal 5
at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will scrap quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers returning to England and Scotland from France, rowing back on a rule that had infuriated French politicians and thrown millions of holidays into confusion.
    Britain has double vaccinated a higher proportion of its population against COVID-19 than most other countries, but a maze of rules has prevented travel to many countries, devasting the travel industry.
    Britain’s transport minister, Grant Shapps, said the easing of the rules would ease pressure on the struggling travel industry and give sun seekers a chance to meet up with friends and family.
    England and Scotland also eased rules for Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway, though it upped the price for obligatory quarantine hotel stays for red list countries by 60% to 2,285 pounds ($3,173) per adult.
    “While we must continue to be cautious, today’s changes reopen a range of different holiday destinations across the globe, which is good news for both the sector and travelling public,” Shapps said in a statement.
    Scotland is also easing the rules.
    The United Kingdon operates a “traffic light” system for international travel, with low-risk countries rated green for quarantine-free travel, medium risk countries rated amber, and red countries requiring arrivals to spend 10 days in isolation in a hotel.
    Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway will all be added to England’s green list for low-risk travel from Aug. 8, the government said, meaning that arrivals into England from those places do not have to self-isolate whether they are fully vaccinated or not.
    Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s travel regulations have angered some of Britain’s European allies, frustrated millions of sun-seeking Britons and brought dire warnings from airports, airlines and tour companies.
    British Airways welcomed the easing of the rules but said the government had to go further.
    “We welcome more low-risk countries being added to the green list but urge the government to go further, end uncertainty and allow people to benefit from our world-leading vaccination programme,” said Sean Doyle, the airline’s chairman and CEO.
    “The UK’s economic recovery is reliant on a thriving travel sector and right now we’re lagging behind Europe, with our more stringent testing requirements and a red list significantly broader than our European peers.”
    The airline lobby group, Airlines UK, said the government’s move was too late to save the crucial summer holiday season.
    “This is another missed opportunity and with the summer season nearing its conclusion means international travel has not had anything like the reopening it was hoping for,” it said.    “The UK continues to open up far slower than the rest of Europe.”
    The change to the status of France, the second most popular destination for Britons before the pandemic, means it rejoins the amber list.    The government said it made the change because the prevalence of the Beta variant of COVID-19 there had now fallen.
    France had been on the amber list but became the only “amber plus” country in mid-July, meaning that with just two days notice even fully vaccinated people still had to quarantine on their return, prompting an outcry from the travel industry and French politicians.
    There had been worries that Spain, the top destination for Britons, would be added to the “amber plus” list in this latest review, but the government instead advised arrivals from there to take a PCR test pre-departure, rather than a cheaper lateral flow test, where possible.
    “UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep abreast of the latest data and picture of cases in Spain,” the government said.
($1 = 0.7201 pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Guy Faulconbridge)

8/5/2021 ‘Not The Plan’: Guatemalan Migrants Lament Fast-Track Deportations by Sofia Menchu
A government employee walks with families deported from the U.S. under Title 42 as part of the efforts
of the U.S. government to expedite removals of some families to dissuade record numbers of migrants from making
the journey north, at the La Aurora     International airport in Guatemala City, Guatemala August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
    GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala has begun to receive flights of undocumented migrants sent back from the United States under a new policy allowing fast-track expulsions for some families at the U.S.-Mexico border, Guatemalan and U.S. authorities said on Wednesday.
    The measure announced by U.S. officials last week, called “expedited removal,” applies to families that have not sought U.S. asylum or who do not qualify, and comes as border arrests in recent months have risen to 20-year highs.
    A flight from Brownsville, Texas, arrived in Guatemala on Wednesday with 16 families comprising 50 people, including a number of young toddlers carried off the plane in their parents’ arms.
    Among the passengers was Marvin Santos, 25, who had trekked to the United States with his wife and 5-year-old daughter, hoping to meet up with relatives already in the United States and pursue a better life.
    The journey cost him about $11,600, which he financed by selling his motorcycle and other belongings as well as taking out a bank loan, he said.
    Once his family crossed into the United States, they were detained. Within a week, they were tested for COVID-19 and told they would be sent back to Guatemala.
    “We started to cry because that was not the plan we had … We basically have nothing here, we sold everything,” Santos said in an interview shortly after stepping off the plane, as his wife cried by his side.
    The flights returning families to Guatemala began on Friday, with 83 people from Alexandria, Louisiana, and continued on Monday with 34 people from Brownsville.
    “The message is clear: That they shouldn’t migrate.    Here in Guatemala, the government is looking after them,” said Manuel Rodriguez, head of Guatemala’s migration institute, after the third flight landed in Guatemala City on Wednesday.
    The new rapid expulsion policy, which has also begun for Salvadoran and Honduran migrants, comes after U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris visited Guatemala in June, telling migrants: “do not come.”
    President Joe Biden’s administration has said it is working on offering more ways for Central American migrants to legally enter the United States.
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Stephen Coates)

8/5/2021 Chile’s Dictatorship-Era Water Code Is Getting A Makeover
FILE PHOTO: A block of ice broken off from Grey glacier floats at the Torres
del Paine National Park in Chile, November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
    SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean lawmakers took further votes on Wednesday to overhaul the country’s dictatorship-era water code, aiming to replace decades-old legislation that largely privatized water rights with a new code that prioritizes human consumption and the environment.
    The reform bill, which has languished in Congress for 10 years, has made big strides thus far in 2021, including a unanimous Senate vote late last month blessing the overall goals of the legislation.
    The revamped code approved late on Wednesday requires that new concessions for water be temporary and not indefinite, as was the case under the original code passed during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in the early 1980s.    The legislation also prohibits water rights over glaciers, protects water in indigenous territories and allows the government to establish reserves in environmentally sensitive areas.
    Socialist Senator Isabel Allende said in the debate that lawmakers’ object was not to eliminate rights, but to put them under a microscope and provide strong regulation that prioritizes human consumption.
    “Future [rights] will not be saleable or inheritable…and speculation will not be permitted,” Allende said. “These are enormous advances.”
    The bill now heads back to the Chamber of Deputies for final procedural votes.
    Chile, the world’s top copper miner, has been hit by severe drought for nearly a decade that has forced mines to double down on efforts to reduce water use and build desalinization plants, and farms and vineyards to rethink sources for irrigation.
    Mounting pressure for change following countrywide protests over inequality in 2019 has further forced the hand of lawmakers who long dragged their feet on the reforms.
    But the last word is likely to come from the country’s recently convened constitutional convention, which is currently drafting a new constitution.    Many of the convention’s delegates have called for water to be enshrined in the new Magna Carta as a human right.
    “Until we recognize water as a fundamental right in the Constitution, this project is only an advance … the task of the Constitutional Convention is clear,” lawmaker Ximena Rincon, of the centrist Christian Democratic party, said during a session late last month.
(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/5/2021 Senate Republicans Vow To Block $3.5T Dem Reconciliation Bill by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 04: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), joined by fellow Republican Senators, speaks on a proposed
Democratic tax plan during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on August 04, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Top Republicans have pledged to do all they can to stop Democrat efforts in passing a massive $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.    During a press conference on Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argued the proposal isn’t in the best interests of the American people or the economy.
    He asserted passing the package would put the nation’s economic recovery at risk.    McConnell went on to point out the economy has already been threatened by raging inflation caused by the COVID-19 relief bill passed earlier this year.
    Additionally, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) warned the bill would be a catastrophe for many Americans.
    “We’re going to do everything we can to stop it.    And I hope that we have some Democrats that will help because if this is in size and scope and scale of what we hear and believe, it’s going to be catastrophic for a lot of folks around the country, namely a lot of the farmers and ranchers who would get hit with the double death tax,” said Thune.
    Under the current markup of the Senate, Republicans would need one Democrat to join them in order to block the budget from being passed through reconciliation.    In the meantime, two of the more modest Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), have shown opposition towards the $3.5 trillion bill, suggesting they would fight to lower its price tag.

8/5/2021 Biden Offers ‘Safe Haven’ To Hong Kong Residents In U.S. After China Crackdown by Michael Martina, Ted Hesson and David Brunnstrom
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House
in Washington, U.S. August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Thursday offered temporary “safe haven” to Hong Kong residents in the United States, allowing what could be thousands of people to extend their stay in the country in response to Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in the Chinese territory.
    In a signed memo, Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security to implement a “deferral of removal” for up to 18 months for Hong Kong residents currently in the United States, citing “compelling foreign policy reasons.”
    “Over the last year, the PRC has continued its assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press,” Biden said in the memo, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.
    “Offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents who have been deprived of their guaranteed freedoms in Hong Kong furthers United States interests in the region.    The United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong,” Biden said.
    The vast majority of Hong Kong residents currently in the United States are expected to be eligible, according to a senior administration official, but some legal conditions apply, such as individuals not having been convicted of felonies.
    The White House said in a statement the move made clear the United States “will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community.”
    Those eligible may also seek employment authorization, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement.
    The measure is the latest in a series of actions Biden has taken to address what his administration says is the erosion of rule of law in the former British colony, which returned to Beijing’s control in 1997.
    The U.S. government in July applied more sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong, and issued an updated business advisory warning companies of risks of operating under the national security law, which China implemented last year to criminalize what it considers subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.
    Critics say the law facilitates a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and a free press in the territory, after Beijing agreed to allow considerable political autonomy for 50 years.
    China retaliated against the U.S. actions last month with its own sanctions on American individuals, including former U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.
    China’s embassy in Washington did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the safe haven measure.
    U.S. lawmakers have sought legislation that would make it easier for people from Hong Kong to obtain U.S. refugee status if they feared persecution after joining protests against China.    Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States should accept people fleeing the Hong Kong crackdown.
    “The PRC has fundamentally altered the bedrock of Hong Kong’s institutions,” Blinken said in a statement, noting that Chinese and Hong Kong authorities had arbitrarily delayed scheduled elections, disqualified lawmakers, undermined press freedom, and arrested more than 10,000 people.
    Blinken added the United States was joining allies to offer the protection, in keeping with the Biden administration’s push to counter China in concert with likeminded partners.
    Britain’s foreign minister Dominic Raab on Twitter welcomed the “big-hearted decision,” and said the U.K. was offering British Nationals (Overseas) in Hong Kong a path to citizenship.
    Other countries, including Canada and Australia, have taken steps to facilitate Hong Kong immigration or permanent residency following Beijing’s crackdown.
    The Biden administration’s move falls under the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program, which does not offer a pathway to citizenship, but can be renewed indefinitely by a president.
    In 2019, Congress created a path to citizenship for thousands of Liberians covered by the DED program due to armed conflict in that country, which immigration experts called the first legislation of its kind in nearly two decades.
    Biden’s administration has granted deportation relief under a similar program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to about 500,000 Venezuelans and Haitians living in the United States, as well as thousands of people from Myanmar, Somalia, Syria and Yemen.
    Republican Senator Ben Sasse called the safe haven move a “solid step,” but said the U.S. government needed to go further.
    “We need to offer full asylum to Hong Kongers who flee Chairman Xi’s brutal oppression,” Sasse said in a statement, referring to China’s leader Xi Jinping.
(Reporting by Michael Martina, Ted Hesson and David Brunnstrom; editing by Gerry Doyle, Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio)

8/5/2021 ‘I’m Going To Die’: A Migrant Recalls His Perilous Channel Crossing by Lucy Marks and Natalie Thomas
Migrants claiming to be from Darfur, Sudan cross the English Channel in an
inflatable boat near Dover, Britain, August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
    DOVER, England (Reuters) – Sitting in a small boat with 22 other migrants, lashed by driving rain and heaving waves, Abdullah al Badri thought he was going to drown in the English Channel.
    The 27-year-old Bedouin from Kuwait had been travelling across Europe for four years, a stateless refugee looking for a new home.
    “It was really horrible.    It was a way of dying,” al Badri told Reuters as he recalled his crossing to Britain from France.    He doesn’t know his exact departure point, but says it was near a forest.
    “It was really not easy to go in the boat and I was saying to myself, ‘what’s going to happen?    I’m going to die like the child from Syria’,” he said, referring to three-year-old Alan Kurdi, found drowned on a Turkish beach in 2012.
    Al Badri said the six-metre boat was buffeted by waves and rain in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
    “Then someone fell out of the boat and then we have to get him out (of the water) and everyone gets scared.”
    The boat became lost and after 10 hours al Badri called British emergency services, who took them to Dover.
    He says it was difficult to leave his family in Kuwait and join a wave of migrants heading out of the Middle East and elsewhere L8N2PB6YJ, fleeing conflict and hardship over the past few years in search of new lives in Europe.
    “I’m Bedouin.    The reason I left my country is we don’t have status.    We don’t have freedom and we don’t have any right to choose in our country,” he said.
    Al Badri says he was born without citizenship, unable to access essential services such as healthcare, open a bank account or claim other rights.
    The Kuwaiti government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Authorities in Kuwait and other Gulf states say many stateless people are “illegal residents” and include immigrants who hid or destroyed their passports to claim nationality and take advantage of financial benefits granted to citizens.
    Many people among the nomadic Bedouin tribes failed to acquire citizenship when Kuwait became independent in 1961.
    Unable to get a passport, al Badri said his family raised 9,000 Kuwait dinars ($20,000) in 2017 to pay people smugglers who facilitated his travel over the next four years, starting with a flight to Turkey on falsified documents.
    He travelled on to Greece and then Belgium, where he stayed for two years before his refugee claim was rejected.    He went to Switzerland and then France, where he began what he hopes was his final journey to Britain.
    Al Badri is awaiting an interview with immigration officials to determine his refugee status.    If refused, he believes he would be deported.
    The British government says it wants to make the country less atrractive to asylum seekers.    Under proposed legislation, those trying to enter illegally would face up to four years in prison.
    Al Badri was among thousands who crossed the Channel in small boats this year.    He said he did not know it was illegal.
    In July, the French and British governments announced they planned to intensify efforts to intercept vessels and stop boats making the perilous voyage.
    At least 482 migrants crossed the Channel by boat on Wednesday, a record daily number, the Home Office said.
    Another man who took made the Channel crossing said he knew it was illegal but felt he had no choice.
    He asked Reuters not to identify him for fear of repercussions for his family in Iraq.    He said he fled persecution and had suffered repression as a gay man.
    “Three times I was in jail, just for that reason, I am gay,” he said.
    He said a police officer had assaulted him and said: “We will tell your family you are gay and when they know you are gay they will kill you.”
    “Because we have a problem in Iraq, in the Middle East with the culture, with our religion, they don’t accept your life,” he said.
    Iraq’s government says it is committed to guaranteeing rights for all minority groups, but its largely conservative society generally frowns upon homosexuality and gay men mostly try to hide their sexuality.
    The 32-year-old said he never felt safe in Iraq and so decided to leave.    After two years in Germany and failing to gain refugee status, he travelled through France and headed for Britain.
    Now living in Leeds, in northern England, and awaiting an interview to assess his refugee status, he is improving his language skills and hopes to work as an interpreter.
(Writing by Lucy Marks and Giles Elgood; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

8/5/2021 Macron’s COVID-19 Health Pass Rules Approved By Top Court by Richard Lough
FILE PHOTO: People jog on the Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir, amid the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19) outbreak in Paris, France, August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
    PARIS (Reuters) -France’s highest court upheld a new law requiring the public to hold a health pass to access bars and restaurants and health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-September, saying it complied with the republic’s founding charter.
    The legislation, drawn up as France tackles a fourth wave of infections driven by the Delta variant, goes further than most other European nations in conditioning daily-life activities on either a vaccine certificate or recent negative COVID-19 test.
    France had already required since July 21 a health pass to access museums, cinemas and swimming pools.    From Aug. 9, this will be extended to restaurants, bars, cafes, large shopping malls and long-distance trains.
    Meanwhile, healthcare workers must get inoculated by mid-September or face suspension until at least mid-November.
    Macron unveiled his plans for the legislation in July with the simple message: get the shot.
    The vaccination rate jumped as people faced the prospect of being deprived of everyday pleasures.    The majority of French people approve of the health pass requirements, an Elabe survey showed.
    But opponents of the law accuse Macron of trampling on freedoms and discriminating against the unvaccinated.
    “It’s depressing.    I sensed it was coming but it’s still a blow,” hospital administration worker Nathalie Juyot said at a low-key protest on Thursday.
    Juyot said she did not want the COVID vaccine but questioned what options she had.    “I can’t afford not to have a salary,” she continued.
    In its ruling on Thursday, the Constitutional Council did however strike down several clauses in the law.    It said a mandatory 10-day quarantine on anyone testing COVID-19 positive impinged on freedoms.
    It also ruled that while employers could suspend health and frontline workers who refuse to get a COVID-19 shot or show proof of a negative test, they could not dismiss those on short term contracts.
    Macron has spoken of what he says is the irresponsibility and selfishness of those refusing the vaccine and said he would not buckle to the demands of the anti-vaccine, anti-health pass demonstrators who have protested across France the past three weekends.
    “A few tens of thousands of people have lost their minds to such an extent that they say we live in a dictatorship,” Macron told Paris Match in an interview published on Wednesday.
    Renewed pressure on the healthcare system underlined the need for the health pass, the government said.
    Hospitals along the Riviera, in Corsica and the southern Occitanie region have this week again triggered their crisis management plans that include postponing some surgeries to free up beds.
    At the La Cabasse restaurant near the Mediterranean port city of Toulon, manager Laurent Bondil said he was certain the health pass would hit his earnings but that he would adhere to the new regulations.
    “Every day there’s a new rule.    But what counts is that we’re still here.”
(Reporting by Richard Lough in Paris, additional reporting by Clotaire Achi in Toulon; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Mark Heinrich, William Maclean and Daniel Wallis)

8/5/2021 Migrant Dinghies Dodge France’s Security Net To Reach The English Coast by Pascal Rossignol
FILE PHOTO: The flag of France is seen as French Gendarmerie officers patrol with a
dinghy along the French coast near Calais, France August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
    AMBLETEUSE, France (Reuters) – At the break of dawn on a beach in northern France, a dozen migrants waited for a police patrol to pass by, then quietly climbed into an inflatable dinghy.
    After a few minutes struggling to kick-start the motor, the group set course for England’s shores, waving at a man who had waded waist-deep into the water to push them out to sea.
    France and Britain agreed last month to deploy more police and invest in detection technology to stop migrants risking their lives crossing the Channel L8N2PC4LE, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, on overloaded rubber boats.
    But while French police are confiscating more dinghies and preventing more crossings, they can only reduce the flow of departures.
    The migrants are too numerous, the shore too long and the smugglers too good at eluding security.
    “We adapt all the time and the migrants adapt to us,” said Mathilde Potel, the deputy police chief for Calais, a migration hotspot.    The border “is still porous.    As long as there is a way through, there will be migrants coming to cross to England.”
    France beefed up controls last year, setting up special police units with boats and drones to watch the shores for departing dinghies.
    But with Britain so close – the shore is about 30km (20 miles) away at the nearest point and its territorial waters even nearer – many still try and many get through.
    More than 130km of beaches, sand dunes and cliffs make for a huge territory to control.
    When security is beefed up in one location, smugglers – who charge an average of around 2,000 euros ($2,400) per person – move to another, police said.
    “They adapt and change very quickly,” gendarmerie captain Laurent Martin de Morestel said.        “We have 24/7 surveillance … but sometimes there are multiple departure attempts every three or four kilometres.    We will stop one, two, three, four – but if we are busy elsewhere, the fifth or sixth will make it and leave.”
    The large inflatable dinghies that carry dozens of migrants can be transported in the back of a van or a large family car and then inflated within minutes and carried to the water’s edge.
    There the migrants, who often hide in dunes, emerge and climb aboard, sometimes too quickly for police to spot them. EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
    France has stopped twice as many attempted crossings in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, officials said.
    From January to July, police stopped 481 crossings, while 412 small boats that they know of successfully reached British shores.
    “Our objective is to stop them before they head out,” gendarmerie captain Ludovic Caulier said on a police patrol boat.     “Once they are at sea it’s basically too late.”
    Officials all stress how dangerous the Channel is.
    England may seem near – on a clear day you can sea its coast from France – but the crossing is perilous, said Dominique Consille, a deputy prefect for the area.
    The currents are strong and the boat traffic is heavy. Over-loaded dinghies often barely stay afloat and are at the mercy of waves.    Some people drown.
    One morning this week, police picked up bright orange life vests scattered on the beach, together with the remains of a dinghy which burst out soon after leaving the shore.
    The 30-35 people who had been onboard managed to get back to the beach, said witness Rene Duquesnoy who called police after seeing the dinghy sink.
    Chief-brigadier Patrice Villielm, an air force pilot, said his team saw one small dinghy that was on course to collide with a large cargo vessel.    They told the vessel to change course before disaster struck.
    Despite the risks, more keep coming.
    Back on the beach in northern France, the inflatable dinghy headed off towards the horizon.    They had run out of space, so they had to leave several men behind on the shoreline.
    “The boat, too small,” one of them told Reuters.    He would try again another day.
($1 = 0.8442 euros)
(Reporting by Pascal Rossignol; Writing and additional reporting by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Lough and Andrew Heavens)

8/5/2021 Ignoring WHO Call, Major Nations Stick To Vaccine Booster Plans by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Caroline Copley
FILE PHOTO: Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Judo - Men's 60kg - Last 32 - Nippon Budokan - Tokyo, Japan - July 24, 2021.
France's President Emmanuel Macron wearing a protective face mask watches judo REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
    PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany, France and Israel will go ahead with plans to administer COVID-19 vaccine boosters, disregarding an appeal by the World Health Organisation to hold off until more people are vaccinated around the world.
    The decision to press ahead with booster shots despite the WHO’s strongest statement yet highlights the huge inequities in responses to the pandemic as richer nations ramp up programmes to protect citizens from the more infectious Delta variant.
    French President Emmanuel Macron said France was working on rolling out third doses to the elderly and vulnerable from September.
    Germany intends to give boosters to immunocompromised patients, the very elderly and nursing home residents from September, the health ministry said.
    Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a statement urged older citizens to get a third shot after the government last month kicked off a campaign to give booster doses.
    “Whoever is over the age of 60, and has yet to receive the third dose of the vaccine, is six times more susceptible to severe illness and – heaven forbid – death,” Bennett said.
    In an online discussion with the public and journalists, Bennett said Israel’s drive to give third doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to people over 60 would provide vital information to the world on combating the Delta variant.
    Israel, with a population of 9.3 million, was a small country whose vaccine use “doesn’t really affect the world supply significantly,” he added.
    WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on Wednesday for a halt to boosters until at least the end of September, saying it was unacceptable for rich countries to use more of the global vaccine supply.
    High-income countries administered around 50 doses for every 100 people in May, and that number has since doubled, according to WHO.    Low-income countries have only been able to administer 1.5 doses for every 100 people, due to lack of supplies.
    “I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the Delta variant.    But we cannot accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it,” Tedros said.
    Germany rejected those accusations, saying it would also donate at least 30 million vaccine doses to poorer countries.
    “We want to provide the vulnerable groups in Germany with a precautionary third vaccination and at the same time support the vaccination of as many people in the world as possible,” the health ministry said.
    Following Tedros’ comments, the White House said on Wednesday it was prepared to provide booster shots if needed, suggesting it would not heed the WHO’s call either.
    Pfizer has said boosters are most likely needed due to waning antibody responses, particularly after six months.
    U.S. health regulators have said that more scientific evidence is needed to be certain boosters are needed, but have indicated they believe a third shot may be needed for people with compromised immune systems.
    Macron’s government is trying to step up France’s vaccination programme as the country faces a fourth wave of the virus and street demonstrations in protest against the government’s COVID policies.
    France and Germany have so far given at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 64.5% and 62% of their respective populations, with 49% of the French and 53% of Germans fully vaccinated.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Nicolas Delame in Paris, Alexander Ratz and Caroline Copley in Berlin, Jeffrey Heller in Jerusalem; Editing by Nick Macfie, Josephine Mason, Andrew Cawthorne, William Maclean)

8/5/2021 GOP Refuses To Give Up On Fight For Freedom In Cuba by OAN Newsroom
HIALEAH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 05: House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) addresses the media during a press conference
held at the Assault Brigade 2506 Honorary Museum on August 05, 2021 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Lawmakers have continued the fight to bring freedom to Cuba, demanding more action from the Biden administration.
    Republican leaders said they aren’t backing down from pushing freedom and democracy for the people of Cuba.
    On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) were among the attendees at a news conference in Miami, following a roundtable discussion with local Latin-American citizens.
    DeSantis conveyed the message that all Americans should be interested in helping Cuba, as toppling the regime removes communist influence from the entire western hemisphere.    The governor also reiterated the need for the U.S. to provide Cuba with internet in order to stop the communist dictatorship from silencing people’s communication with others on the island and with the outside world.
    Florida Congresswoman Maria Salazar (R) expanded on the idea, asserting if the White House doesn’t take action to empower Cuba with a Wi-Fi connectivity platform, leaders in Miami would take matters into their own hands.
    Leader McCarthy, who has recently earned high praise from the Cuban-American community for his outspokenness and firm support, expressed his desire to work with Joe Biden to help the people of Cuba.    However, he said Biden is providing no action to get behind.
    Meanwhile, the Biden administration recently announced sanctions against some Cuban government officials, but Cuban-Americans have noted the daily dictatorial repression on the island has continued and reported no consequences for the regime’s unjust arrests of more than 600 nonviolent protesters, some of which are missing.

8/5/2021 Gov. DeSantis To Biden: I’m Standing In Your Way by OAN Newsroom
HIALEAH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 05: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the
Assault Brigade 2506 Honorary Museum on August 05, 2021 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    The feud between Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Joe Biden has ramped up to a whole new level. On Tuesday, Biden launched criticism targeting the governors of Texas and Florida where he commanded them to help him or “get out of the way.”
    During a speech on Wednesday that covered Florida’s economy, DeSantis addressed Biden’s statements and pointed a finger right back at him.
    “Joe Biden has taken to himself to try and single out Florida over COVID. This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to ‘shutdown the virus’ and what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border,” stated DeSantis.
    The governor’s point matched that of many lawmakers and health officials who have expressed worry over the effect of the Biden border crisis on the U.S.’s coronavirus infection rate.    He went on to expose the hypocrisy of illegals being shipped all over the country, quite possibly spreading the new COVID variants Biden is so watchful of.
    DeSantis instructed Biden to do his job and secure our border, adding he doesn’t want to hear a “blip about COVID” out of Biden until that’s done.    The governor ended his remarks with a direct response to the man in the White House, letting him know he will stand in the way of the government infringing on Florida’s freedom.
    The Biden-DeSantis COVID war comes as the Biden administration has urged states to bring back lockdowns and impose vaccine mandates, while DeSantis leads a number of other governors vowing to follow the science and let people live their lives.

8/5/2021 Senate Committee Fails To Move Forward Biden Education Dept. Nominee, Vote Split by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 13: Catherine Lhamon addresses a post-midterm election meeting of Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in the
Kennedy Caucus Room at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill November 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden’s nominee for the Education Department’s top civil rights position has hit a roadblock.    The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions failed to advance Catherine Lhamon this week.
    Lhamon previously served in the same position under the Obama administration from 2013 to 2017.    The nomination now goes to Senate Majority Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) who must discharge her nomination before going to a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.

8/5/2021 Sen. Rubio Hears Testimonies On Malicious Chinese Influence In U.S. by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Republican Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, speaks during a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Select Committee on the
threats to national security from China on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, on August 4, 2021. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
    Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) opened the Senate Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on Wednesday, where several witnesses came forward to speak on counter intelligence threats posed by China and the Chinese Communist Party.    Warner said China’s activity within the U.S. has been working to “acquire critical U.S. technologies, intellectual property, hack into the U.S. cyber networks and conduct operations to shape narratives to be more favorable for the PRC and CCP.”
    However, Warner stressed the problems they had were tied to Chinese leaders and not the Chinese people.    In discussions, he said China is focused on targeting key U.S. technologies, including “aerospace, advanced manufacturing, AI biotech, data analytics, semiconductors and renewables.”<
    Warner also mentioned China’s pursuit of 5G tech and the threat that would ensue if all networks suddenly became reliant on one Chinese provider.
    Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) also questioned security officials about Chinese propaganda and how it has continued to shape public opinion in the U.S. During the Intelligence Committee hearing, several officials said China had spread false information and conducted operations on social media to advance its interests.    Rubio said in 2020 alone, China stole between $300 and $600 billion of American technology and intellectual property.
    Rubio stressed how Chinese influence isn’t a distant threat to the U.S. because it’s already here.    He added that it’s time to “wake up” to the threat posed by China.
    For the hearing, some witnesses declined to participate as they were afraid of retribution.    However, the witnesses that spoke gave a variety of recommendations aimed at tackling the threat coming from China.    They added China is buying influence through U.S. businesses.
    The meeting took place as tensions between the U.S. and China have increased.

8/5/2021 At Least 10 Killed, Over A Dozen Injured In Texas Van Crash by OAN Newsroom
Texas Department of Public Safety officers stand near a vehicle where multiple people died after a van carrying migrants tipped over
just south of the Brooks County community of Encino on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Encino, Texas. (Delcia Lopez/The Monitor via AP)
    At least 10 people have been pronounced dead after a van reportedly carrying dozens of migrants crashed in South Texas.
    On Wednesday, the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office confirmed 10 people were killed and 20 others were injured when the vehicle veered off the highway about 50 miles north of McAllen.
    The van reportedly struck a metal pole killing the driver and nine others on impact.    The injured passengers were taken to local hospitals for treatment, where some are said to be in critical condition.    The crash was said to have happened close to a nearby border patrol checkpoint.
    “As of right now, it looks like undocumented immigrants, but right now we’re trying to ID everybody and then we’re going to have to also go through the Mexican Consulate to confirm if they are from out of the country or not,” said Sgt. Nathan Bradley from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
    According to officials, the van didn’t have seats or seatbelts and was carrying twice its capacity, which could have played a role in the wreck.    Texas authorities are currently working with the Mexico Consulate to identify the victims, however, those identities will not be released until family members are first notified.

8/5/2021 Dem N.Y. State Assembly Member: Cuomo Standing On Ship Of One by OAN Newsroom
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks to members of New York state’s Electoral College before voting for President and Vice President
in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol in Albany, New York on December 14, 2020. (HANS PENNINK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    The New York State Assembly has considered impeaching disgraced Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) after an investigation found he sexually harassed at least 11 women who worked for the state.    On Wednesday, Democrat State Assembly Member Kenny Burgos said the report is clear-cut and even colleagues who were once on the fence, have agreed Cuomo is no longer fit to serve as governor.
    “So at this point, Andrew Cuomo is standing on a ship of one: Andrew Cuomo.    So, I don’t know how you can really recover from this, especially with this timeline, especially because the Assembly essentially holds your fate in their hands and there’s no vote of confidence in him,” said Burgos.
    On Tuesday, Assembly Democrats debated for hours about whether to impeach Cuomo now or wait to see him resign.    Burgos said the fact is the majority of state Democrats have been praying he resigns and if he fails to do so, then they would have no choice but to impeach him.
    He added it would be a much better situation for Cuomo if he resigned because they can’t afford any more distractions, especially as they try to help New Yorkers grapple with the aftermath of his lockdown orders.    Many New Yorkers like Vera Penavic agreed and said stepping down would be the least Cuomo could do considering the suffering he caused his female staffers for years.
    In the meantime, the New York State Assembly is conducting their own investigation into the Democrat governor for additional points of concern, like his $5 million book deal where more controversy is sure to surface.    However, this does not need to be complete before they file articles of impeachment.

8/5/2021 Festivals For Britain As Events Get $1 Billion COVID Reinsurance Cover by Carolyn Cohn
FILE PHOTO: Revellers dance while attending GALA festival in south London, Britain, August 1, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain launched a government-backed reinsurance scheme totalling more than 750 million pounds ($1 billion) on Thursday to cover live events against cancellation risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after intense industry lobbying.
    Insurers stripped coronavirus cover from event cancellation policies after the pandemic took hold last year, prompting top entertainment industry figures such as Andrew Lloyd-Webber to demand a government-backed scheme to enable events to go ahead.
    Festivals, concerts and exhibitions have already suffered cancellations due to the lack of insurance during the pandemic, despite intensive efforts to limit the health risks for performers, events staff and ticket holders.
    Music festival Womad cancelled its July 2021 event, citing the government’s unwillingness to provide insurance support.
    The British government is now working with specialist insurance market Lloyd’s of London to provide the scheme, the finance ministry said in a statement.
    And events organisers will from September be able to buy extra insurance against cancellation due to government COVID-19 restrictions, alongside standard events insurance.
    The insurance will be available from Lloyd’s of London syndicates including Beazley, Hiscox and Munich Re, with the government acting as a reinsurer.
    “With this new insurance scheme, everything from live music in Margate to business events in Birmingham can go ahead with confidence,” British finance minister Rishi Sunak said.
    Tim Thornhill, director of insurance broker Tysers, said the scheme was “the news that the events industry needed.”
    It follows a similar 500 million pound backstop for the film and television industry last year, which has supported 610 independent film and TV productions.
    However, some industry sources said the new live events scheme was limited, as it covers government lockdowns but does not cover broader social distancing restrictions, or artists’ or staff illness due to COVID-19.
    Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, said it was “imperative” that the government continued to work with the industry to “ensure that organisers can plan with increased confidence for 2022.”
($1 = 0.7179 pounds)
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by Alexander Smith)

8/6/2021 Oil up $1.09 to $69.09, DOW up 272 to 35,064.

8/6/2021 Biden Offers ‘Safe Haven’ To Hong Kong Residents In U.S. After China Crackdown by Michael Martina, Ted Hesson and David Brunnstrom
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House
in Washington, U.S. August 3, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden on Thursday offered temporary “safe haven” to Hong Kong residents in the United States, allowing what could be thousands of people to extend their stay in response to Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in the Chinese territory.
    Biden directed the Department of Homeland Security to implement a “deferral of removal” for up to 18 months for Hong Kong residents in the United States, citing “compelling foreign policy reasons.”
    “Over the last year, the PRC has continued its assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy, undermining its remaining democratic processes and institutions, imposing limits on academic freedom, and cracking down on freedom of the press,” Biden said in the memo, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
    He said offering safe haven for Hong Kong residents “furthers United States interests in the region.    The United States will not waver in our support of people in Hong Kong.”
    It is not clear how many people the offer would affect, but the vast majority of Hong Kong residents in the United States are expected to be eligible, according to a senior administration official.
    The White House said the measure made clear the United States “will not stand idly by as the PRC breaks its promises to Hong Kong and to the international community.”
    Those eligible may also seek employment authorization, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said.
    It is the latest in a series of actions Biden has taken to address what his administration says is the erosion of rule of law in the former British colony, which returned to Beijing’s control in 1997.
    The U.S. government in July applied more sanctions on Chinese officials in Hong Kong, and warned companies of risks of operating under a national security law China implemented last year to criminalize what it considers subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.
    Critics say the law facilitates a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and a free press despite Beijing’s having agreed to allow Hong Kong considerable political autonomy for 50 years.
    China retaliated against U.S. actions last month with its own sanctions on Americans, including former U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross.
    Liu Pengyu, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said the U.S. characterization of the situation in Hong Kong “confounds black and white” and the national security law had created a safer environment and protected freedoms.
    “Such moves disregard and distort facts, and grossly interfere in China’s internal affairs,” he said, referring to the U.S. announcement.
    China’s foreign ministry office in Hong Kong said on Friday the offer was an attempt “to bad-mouth Hong Kong, smear China, and engage in actions to destroy the city’s prosperity and stability.”
    U.S. lawmakers have sought legislation that would make it easier for people from Hong Kong to obtain U.S. refugee status if they feared persecution after joining protests against China.
    “The PRC has fundamentally altered the bedrock of Hong Kong’s institutions,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, noting that Chinese and Hong Kong authorities had arbitrarily delayed scheduled elections, disqualified lawmakers, undermined press freedom and arrested more than 10,000 people.
    Blinken said Washington was joining allies to offer the protection, in keeping with the Biden administration’s push to counter China in concert with likeminded partners.
    Britain’s foreign minister, Dominic Raab, on Twitter welcomed the “big-hearted decision.”    The UK early this year allowed Hong Kong residents to apply for a new visa offering the opportunity to become British citizens.
    Other countries, including Canada and Australia, have also taken steps to facilitate Hong Kong immigration or permanent residency following Beijing’s crackdown.
    The Biden administration’s move falls under the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program, which does not offer a pathway to citizenship but can be renewed indefinitely by a president.
    Republican Senator Ben Sasse called the safe haven move a “solid step,” but said the government should go further and offer full asylum to Hong Kongers.
    Asked about prospects for permanent residency, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Hong Kong people could still be referred for consideration to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
    Samuel Chu, managing director of the Washington-based advocacy group Hong Kong Democracy Council, said data was limited, but possibly tens of thousands of people could be eligible for the DED program, including thousands on student visas.    He said the will for many to return to Hong Kong was strong, but that it might take more than one 18-month cycle.
    “The overwhelming desire of Hong Kongers is to continue to fight for restoring their autonomy and freedoms,” Chu said.
(Reporting by Michael Martina, Ted Hesson, David Brunnstrom, Daphne Psaledakis and Jarrett Renshaw; editing by David Gregorio, Alistair Bell and Leslie Adler)

8/6/2021 Hundreds Evacuated By Sea From Island As Greek Wildfires Rage by Costas Baltas and Angeliki Koutantou
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Hundreds of people were evacuated by boat from an island near Athens as Greece braced for a fourth day of wildfires on Friday with emergency services forecasting strong winds and searing temperatures.
    Coastguard vessels assisted by tourist boats have picked up 631 people since late Thursday from three beaches on the island of Evia, where the flames have burned through a vast area of pine forest since Tuesday and reached the sea.
    They were all moved to safety and sea patrols are continuing in case of emergency, a coastguard official said.
    The skies of Athens were again clouded by thick smoke from wildfires on the northern outskirts of the city, which burst back into life on Thursday after dying down earlier in the week.
    A number of suburbs have been evacuated as the fire burned around the main highway linking Athens to northern Greece and hundreds of firefighters with water-bombing aircraft were trying to prevent the flames reaching the nearby town of Marathon.
    Temperatures have been over 40 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit) all week and no let up was expected on Friday with gale force winds expected to spread the flames further.
    So far, at least nine people have been taken to hospital with varying degrees of injury, including two volunteer firefighters treated for burns in intensive care units in Athens, health officials said.
    With neighbouring Turkey also battling huge wildfires for more than a week, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Thursday Greece needed to strengthen its preparedness for severe weather brought on by climate change.
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)

8/6/2021 Are COVID Vaccine Passes Moving The Needle On Getting People Inoculated?
FILE PHOTO: People queue outside a mass vaccination center in Paris, as part of the coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign in France, May 12, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
    PARIS (Reuters) - People in France have been rushing for COVID-19 vaccines since the government introduced a mandatory health pass to access bars and restaurants, stirring the debate about how to get more shots in arms to combat the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
    Governments around the world are resorting to creative ways to encourage citizens to get inoculated – several countries are offering lottery tickets, the Netherlands gave away pickled herring and the U.S. plans to offer $100 cash rewards to entice vaccine stragglers.     France has taken an altogether tougher approach, requiring health workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, while the country’s highest court on Thursday backed the introduction of the health passes from Aug. 9.
    Trade unions and some scientists have said the move, which has sparked protests in major towns and cities, is too blunt an instrument and may deepen opposition to vaccines among people who are already reluctant.
    French President Emmanuel Macron also runs a risk that the health pass could revive the kind of Yellow Vest street protests that roiled the country in the early part of his term and knocked his agenda off course for months.
    But the country’s vaccination rate has jumped since the policy was announced on July 12 and so far polling has shown public support for the stringent measures.
    A survey conducted by polling organisation IPSOS on July 26 and 27 found that 60% of French people surveyed were in favour of requiring a health pass to gain access to restaurants, cafes, shopping centres and for long-distance travel.
    Research by another pollster, Ifop, conducted on July 21 and 22, found that 35% of people support anti-health pass protests, 16% are indifferent, and 49% oppose the protests.
    Meanwhile, the move appears to be paying off: France overtook the United States on the pace of first-dose vaccinations on July 19 and then its neighbour Germany on July 28, according to Our World in Data.
    Just under 64% of people had received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by Aug. 2, compared with 53.6% on July 12.
    It’s not clear if the strong pace will be maintained and some scientists caution the health pass may give vaccinated people confidence to socialise even though early data suggests shots do not stop transmission.
    “Clearly, there has been a Macron effect when you look at vaccination bookings,” Martin Blachier, an epidemiologist with Paris-based healthcare data analysis firm Public Health Expertise.
    “Now we are wondering how things will play out at the end of the summer,” he said.
    The data though may offer confidence to countries worried about plateauing vaccination rates as the Delta variant, the fastest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, raises concerns about potential fresh lockdowns.
    U.S. President Joe Biden has said it will be compulsory for federal workers to be vaccinated while English nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will require patrons to present proof of full vaccination from the end of September.
    France has seen a steady rise in daily inoculations – more than 240,000 got their first injection on July 18, just over 300,000 on July 21 and more than 360,000 on Aug. 1.
    By July 12, 36.16 million had received one jab, rising to 42.53 million by Aug. 1.     Vaccination rates have also been rising steadily in Italy where the government on July 22 announced that proof of vaccination or immunity would shortly be mandatory for an array of activities, including indoor dining and entering places such as gyms, pools, museums and cinemas.
    Some 63.9% of adults there have received a first dose, according to Our World in Data, up from 61.33%, a less pronounced rise than in France.
    That may be due to people being away on summer holidays, it may be too soon to show up in the data, but it may also be a sign that a stick rather than a carrot approach won’t work everywhere.
    Nino Cartabellotta, chairman of the Gimbe health institute, said vaccine hesitancy in people over 50 years old continues to hurt the roll-out in Italy and concerns remain about getting children over 12 years old inoculated ahead of the next school year.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London, Ingrid Melander, Christian Lowe and Matthias Blamont in Paris and Giselda Vagnoni and Emilio Parodi in Milan;Writing by Josephne Mason; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

8/6/2021 Legality Of Eviction Ban Extension In Question, Landlord Speaks Out On Lost Funds From Renters And Federal Govt. by OAN Newsroom
People participate in a protest for a moratorium on evictions
in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
    Just days after the federal eviction moratorium ended, the Biden administration announced a new halt of evictions set to last until October 3.    However, doubts concerning the legality of Tuesday’s extension had Americans question if the administration held the authority to extend the eviction ban, with landlords up in arms over the continued debts they have accumulated.
    Earlier this week, the Biden administration said a Supreme Court ruling stood in the way of a moratorium. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki disregarded concerns that Joe Biden was not following the rule of law in that decision during a press conference on Wednesday.
    “I’m not sure there are Americans evaluating it to that degree,” she expressed.    “…He’s gonna do everything in his power to make sure they can stay in their homes as long as possible.”
    The move has been met with heavy criticism from landlords who argued they held the burden of providing free housing and many have not received promised payment from the government during the first eviction moratorium.    North Carolina landlord Buddy Shoup said he was out $24,000 in unpaid rent from tenants, while one of his renters purchased three boats during the eviction moratorium.
    A study by NBC found of the $46 billion in federal aid given to states, only 26 states have allocated 10 percent of the money given to them due to the inconvenient and lengthy process for residents to apply for the assistance.
    Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a Kansas City landlord, explained housing providers have been hurt and many have fallen behind on mortgages because of late rental payments.
    “All of a sudden you expect your rental payments to make your mortgage payments and then to be able to maintain your property.    The government steps in and not only tells us we can’t do that, but demands that we give our product away for free,” she explained.    “You do not see that with any other industry.    So while they shut the economy down, the burden is on back of the housing provider to house our fellow citizens free of charge.    That is not only not fair, it’s not constitutional and it’s not sustainable.”
    Johnson-Cosby added renters needed to be made aware they were still reliable for the funds that haven’t been paid.    Prior to the extension, Democrat Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) protested the end to the eviction moratorium by sleeping outside the Capitol building.
    Meanwhile, the Biden administration maintains the extension is a short term fix they hope will give states the time to create a better system that allocates funds to tenants in need as well as get landlords caught up on missed payments.

8/6/2021 Gov. Newsom Enters Panic Mode Ahead Of Recall Election by OAN Newsroom
Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
in Rancho Cordova, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)
    California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has pointed fingers over the effort to get him out of office.    When asked what the consequences of a successful recall would be during an interview last week, Newsom argued they would be negative and warned Democrats the effects would be “felt across the country” if the National Democratic Party did not help save him.
    “I can think it will be quite pronounced for many, many years.    I think it will be felt all across the country.    I think that people really haven’t thought that through,” he stated.    “I don’t think they’re asking that question.    I don’t think the National Democratic Party is asking themselves that question.”
    Newsom claimed the judge who approved the recall as well as TV news networks have been biased against him.    He added voters who signed the petition did not read it through.
    The governor also tried to justify his record and argued voters should just wait for his term to expire.
    “Look, you don’t like me, you have a chance to vote me out start of the primary next year,” he expressed.    “We elect people for terms.    Two year, four year terms.”
    Newsom’s plea for people to hold off until next year could be prompted by a poll released on Wednesday, which showed 51 percent of California voters wanted him recalled.    Most cited his poor handling of COVID-19 and senseless business closures.
    Meanwhile, out of the 46 candidates running to replace the liberal Democrat, conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder by far leads the pack.

8/6/2021 U.S. Coast Guard Seizes $1.4 Billion Worth Of Drugs by OAN Newsroom
Crew members from the HMCS Shawinigan, of Canada, stand at the ready before a joint news conference with the U.S.
Coast Guard, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021, at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
    The U.S. has seized thousands of pounds of illicit drugs in a massive drug bust.    On Thursday, officials announced they offloaded nearly 60,000 pounds of cocaine and nearly 15,000 of marijuana at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
    The crew of the Cutter James reported the value of the drugs totaled over $1.4 billion.
    “Today, the crew of James will offload 26 metric tons of cocaine and marijuana interdicted by multiple Coast Guard units, CBP air assets and Canadian partners,” Coast Guard Cpt. Todd Vance announced.    “With a wholesale street value of over one billion dollars, which is the largest offload in James’s operational history.”
    The U.S. Coast Guard said the bust took months of meticulous planning as it has been constantly fighting against international drug conglomerates.
    “Interdicting these drugs helps bring hope, stability and economic prosperity to the western hemisphere,” expressed Vice Admiral Steven Poulin of the Coast Guard.    “…Together, we will disrupt, defeat and degrade transnational organized crime.”
    According to the Coast Guard, this was the largest offload in its history.

8/6/2021 Biden Unveils 2030 Target Of 50% Electric Vehicles by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Joe Biden has taken continued aim at American manufacturing with more regulations on the auto industry.    The Democrat signed an executive order at a press conference on Thursday, which outlined an objective for car manufacturers to make electric vehicles roughly half of U.S. sales by the end of 2030 as well as improve gas mileage and cut tailpipe pollution by model year 2026.
    “You see that sucker over there? Zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds.    It’s all electric,” he stated.
    “They’re a vision of the future that is now beginning to happen.    A future of the automobile industry that is electric, battery electric, plug in hybrid electric, fuel cell electric.”
    Biden went on to claim his latest executive order would create union jobs because the new batteries these electric vehicles require would need to be built.
    “Our Build Back Better plan makes the largest investment of research and development in generations.    This will help innovate, manufacture and build supply chains for batteries, semi conductors, those small computer chips,” he explained.    “Electric trucks and cars are going to be even more reliant as we move forward.”
    Biden then appeared all too eager to say he was rolling back President Trump’s more relaxed government regulations on emissions.
    He went on to say, “I’m following through on the campaign commitment to reverse the previous administrations short sighted rollback of vehicle emissions and efficiency standards.”
    While it’s unclear how this order will impact the cost of vehicles for everyday Americans, Biden dismissed concerns and instead bragged about the news that he will be test driving the first electric corvette.

8/6/2021 Lawmakers Ask Gov. Cuomo To Produce Final Defense Evidence by OAN Newsroom
People participate in a protest against N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
    New York state lawmakers warned Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) attorneys the Assembly’s impeachment probe into his sexual harassment allegations was coming to a close.    On Thursday, the state’s judiciary committee told the governor he had until August 13 to provide any final evidence in his defense.
    Sources mentioned they wanted the governor to submit his evidence in writing as having him testify would give him more attention.    In addition, the assembly wrote they would “soon consider potential articles of impeachment against the client.”
    Experts on the matter have believed Cuomo’s impeachment report would not be limited to state Attorney General Letitia James’s sexual harassment findings, but also the governor’s controversial $5 million book deal and his role in the nursing home deaths scandal.
    If the New York Assembly voted for articles of impeachment, the matter would be pushed to the Senate floor for trial.
    Meanwhile, Democrat and Republican politicians have been calling on Cuomo to resign and suggested it was in everyone’s best interest.
    “If he was not such a narcissist and he could actually think about other human beings, he would say ‘hey, I’m doing a lot of damage at this point, it’s time to go,'” expressed.    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D).    “Think about those 11 women and what he put them through.    Just out of respect for how he wronged them and to atone for his sins, he should step aside now.”
    However, Cuomo said he would not resign.    His refusal would likely result in an impeachment trial.
    Meanwhile, New York lawmakers claim there to be challenges of impeaching Cuomo.    The biggest has been the lack of precedent as only one New York governor has ever been impeached, which occurred over 100 years ago.

8/6/2021 ‘Weapon Of War’: The U.S. Rifle Loved By Drug Cartels And Feared By Mexican Police by Diego Oré and Drazen Jorgic
FILE PHOTO: A soldier walks in front of arms confiscated by national security authorities inside the
deposit of weapons at a military zone of Mexico City April 17, 2013. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido/File Photo
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The flow of high-caliber arms smuggled across the porous U.S. border has alarmed Mexican officials and few weapons are as powerful as the U.S.-made M82 semi-automatic rifle increasingly favored by the powerful drug cartels.
    The M82 can easily penetrate bulletproof vests, concrete walls and even tanks, says its manufacturer Barrett Firearms.    It is also one of the weapons of choice for drug cartels, according to the Mexican government, which this week filed a lawsuit in the U.S.
    District Court in Massachusetts against the company and 10 other gun manufacturers.
    Weapons such as the M82 are part of a “torrent” of illegal arms flowing south, Mexico alleges, partly due to the manufacturers’ negligent business practices that had encouraged illegal arms trafficking.
    None of the manufacturers, including Barrett, responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.
    First manufactured in the 1980s, the M82 rose to prominence during the first Gulf War when it was adopted by the U.S. military.    Now it’s used by more than 70 security agencies across the world, according to Barrett.
    In Mexico, the weapon has disrupted the balance of power between criminal groups and poorly equipped police forces, according to Romain Le Cour Grandmaison, Program Director at the Mexico and Central America Office of Noria, a think tank.
    “If you have a Barrett, it means that any non-special forces such as the local police and the municipal police cannot fight you,” Grandmaison said.
    “That leaves the military as the only ones able to battle the cartels.”
    The M82 guns, often fitted with a scope to act as sniper’s weapon, can fire 70 rounds per minute with a maximum range of 2,500 meters.
    Between 2009 and 2020, authorities seized 358 M82 rifles, according to official figures cited by the Milenio newspaper.    In 2019, a record 68 such weapons were captured.
    The raw power of the rifle, which weighs about 14 kilograms (31 lb) and is 1.5 meters long, was on show in mid-2020 during a military-style assassination attempt on Mexico City’s police chief that was captured by surveillance cameras.
    Gunmen who left behind at least one M82 rifle were seen spraying the armor-plated car of police chief Omar Garcia Harfuch with high-velocity rounds.    He was badly wounded, while two bodyguards and an innocent bystander were killed.
    In 2016, members of the “Knights Templar” cartel in Michoacan state allegedly downed a helicopter with an M82 rifle, the Mexican lawsuit said.
    The Barrett M82 was a “serious problem” for security forces because its armor-piercing bullets can knock out the motors of reconnaissance vehicles and endanger helicopters, said a Mexican official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
    The gun should not be in the hands of civilians, the official said.
    “It’s a weapon of war,” added the official.
    For the cartels, the M82 has also become a status symbol.
    Criminal gangs that wish to project power often post photos on social media of their members toting M82 guns and latest military gadgets, mimicking the style of special forces units.
    “It’s a very symbolic weapon in the narco world and for the narco aesthetic,” Grandmaison said.
    “It shows you’re on top of the game.”
(Additional reporting by Dave Graham; Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

8/6/2021 9/11 Families Tell Biden To Skip Memorial If He Does Not Declassify Files by Jan Wolfe
FILE PHOTO: The Statue of Liberty and One World Trade Center are seen as the Tribute in Light shines in downtown
Manhattan to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center at the
9/11 Memorial & Museum in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
    (Reuters) -Family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks are opposing U.S. President Joe Biden’s participation in memorial events unless he declassifies government documents that they contend will show Saudi Arabian leaders supported the attacks.
    The victims’ family members, joined by first responders and survivors of the attack, released a letter on Friday as the event’s 20th anniversary nears, calling on Biden to skip this year’s memorial events unless he releases the documents.
    “Twenty years later, there is simply no reason – unmerited claims of ‘national security’ or otherwise – to keep this information secret,” the letter stated.    “But if President Biden reneges on his commitment and sides with the Saudi government, we would be compelled to publicly stand in objection to any participation by his administration in any memorial ceremony of 9/11.”
    In total, about 1,700 people directly affected by the 9/11 attacks signed the letter.
    The Saudi embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a news conference that Biden remains committed a pledge made as a candidate “to work constructively on resolving issues relating to the previous administrations’ invocation of the states secrets privilege.”
    White House officials have had several meeting with the families, she added.
    Family members of 9/11 victims have long sought U.S. government documents related to whether Saudi Arabia aided or financed any of the 19 people associated with al Qaeda who carried out the devastating attack, crashing airplanes into New York’s World     Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington and a Pennsylvania field.    Nearly 3,000 people died.
    Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. A U.S. government commission found no evidence that Saudi Arabia directly funded al Qaeda.    It left open whether individual officials might have.
    Saudi Arabia is being sued for billions of dollars by the families of roughly 2,500 of those killed, and by more than 20,000 people who suffered injuries, businesses and various insurers.
(Reporting by Jan WolfeEditing by Matthew Lewis and Marguerita Choy)

8/6/2021 U.S. Senate Passes Bill To Help Taiwan Regain WHO Status
FILE PHOTO: Flags of Taiwan and U.S. are placed for a meeting in Taipei, Taiwan March 27, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate passed a bill late on Thursday calling on the State Department to submit a plan to help Taiwan regain its observer status at the World Health Organization, one of several U.S. bids to boost Taiwan as it faces pressure from Beijing.
    Taiwan is excluded from most global organizations such as the WHO, the U.N. health agency, because of the objections of China, which considers the island one of its provinces and not a separate country.
    The legislation, passed by unanimous consent, was sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
    The two are also co-chairmen of the Senate Taiwan Caucus.
    “The U.S. must continue to stand by Taiwan, and do more to reaffirm our support for our ally’s international engagement,” Menendez said in a statement on Friday.
    The measure directs the Secretary of State to establish a strategy for obtaining observer status at the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.
    The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved a similar bill earlier this year, but there has been no word on when the measure might come up for a vote in the full House.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

8/6/2021 NYC Mayoral Candidate Stands Against Vaccine Mandates by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 07: Republican nominee for the 2021 New York City mayoral election Curtis Sliwa
attends the “Hometown Heroes” Ticker Tape Parade on July 07, 2021 in New York. (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
    GOP New York City mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa (R) has spoken out against the recently imposed vaccine mandates in the Big Apple. During a rally in front of City Hall on Thursday, Sliwa blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and Democrats for failing to provide the science when imposing the new requirement.
    The Guardian Angels founder mentioned how the new mandate has already caused confusion throughout the city, making things even more challenging for business owners.    Sliwa also questioned why Democrats are trying to punish those who choose not to get the vaccine and urged New Yorkers to rise against the imposed mandates.
    “We’re on our way to 80 percent.    That’s herd immunity and yet there’d always be those who choose not to get the vaccine or can’t get the vaccine, but why should we penalize everybody for that,” stated Sliwa.    “So today, we stand in unity against these mandates, against these crackdowns.    We are not France, we are not Italy, we are America where we are free, where we have a choice.”
    Meanwhile, Sliwa is currently running against Democrat mayoral candidate Eric Adams, who is in favor of the new mandates.

8/6/2021 Gas Prices Jump To Highest Price In Nearly 7 Years by OAN Newsroom
Fuel trucks fill their tanks at a fuel terminal in Richmond, Calif. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    Gas prices have reached a seven-year high with motorists paying 15 cents more to fill up compared to three months ago.    According to Thursday reports, the national average for a gallon of regular gas reached between $3.15 and $3.19 as of Monday.
    This has marked the highest prices seen since October 2014.    Experts warned prices were expected to peak in the coming weeks and wouldn’t drop until the vacation season came to an end.
    However, experts also cited concern over a potential rise in the price of crude oil amid concerns over COVID-19 case numbers and how the could affect future demand.

8/6/2021 Report: Kamala Harris Holds Crisis Dinner Amid Negative Press by OAN Newsroom
Kamala Harris addresses the National Bar Association virtually at the White House
in Washington, D.C, on July 27, 2021. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
    Kamala Harris recently met with her female colleagues amid ongoing negative press.    According to Axios on Friday, Harris hosted a dinner with top Democrat women last month in hopes of coming up with a response to her damaging media coverage.
    The event was reportedly hosted by former Clinton advisor and Democrat public affairs strategist Kiki McLean.    Other guests included former Obama White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri and several Democratic National Committee (DNC) officials.
    This comes after bombshell reports of a toxic workplace and ongoing criticism of her role as Joe Biden’s so-called border czar.
    “People are thrown under the bus from the very top, there are short fuses and it’s an abusive environment,” a source quoted in the Politico report said. “It’s not a healthy environment and people often feel mistreated.”

8/6/2021 Calif. Republican Party To Hold Virtual Endorsement Meeting In Governor Recall Election by OAN Newsroom
From left, Republican candidates for California Governor John Cox, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley and Doug Ose participate
in a debate at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Yorba Linda, Calif. California
Gov. Gavin Newsom faces a Sept. 14 recall election that could remove him from office. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    The California Republican Party is set to decide which candidate they’ll endorse in the state’s gubernatorial recall election.    Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder has been leading in the polls in the race to recall and replace Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom.    Elder is one of four GOP candidates the California Republican Party has considered endorsing in the recall election.
    Kevin Faulconer could also potentially win the support of the California GOP. The former San Diego mayor has slammed Newsom over his handling of the pandemic and has pointed to his record as he vows to tackle the many issues Californians are facing.
    In addition, State Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is also being considered.    As well as, former California Congressman Doug Ose who stressed government overreach needs to stop.
    The California GOP is slated to hold a virtual meeting on Saturday to decide which candidate they will endorse in the Sept. 14 election. A candidate must win 60 percent of the party’s votes to be endorsed, otherwise no endorsement will be made.

8/6/2021 Sen Cruz: $1.2T Infrastructure Bill A Trap by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 12: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) gestures as he speaks during a news conference on the U.S. southern border and
Joe Biden’s immigration policies, in the Hart Senate Office Building on May 12, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) blasted the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, warning of the massive amount of inflation it would create.    The Texas lawmaker spoke about the bill on Thursday, saying Democrats are looking to give billions of dollars to unelected bureaucrats to spend how they please.
    He warned the bill would raise prices for everyday consumers and adversely affect manufacturing states like Texas.    Cruz added the fact of the matter is the bill spends too much money and it’s not paid for.
    “The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill today is roughly 12 times the new spending on roads and bridges,” said Cruz.    “So, they’re selling the roads and bridges, but the bill’s 12 times bigger.”
    Cruz pointed out the spending in the proposal is greater than what the U.S. spent to win World War II and claimed it is causing inflation across the country. He said Republicans should play their part and say enough is enough.

8/6/2021 Sen. Manchin: ‘Increasingly Alarmed’ By Fed Policies by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 03: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) leaves the U.S. Capitol following
a vote on August 03, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
    Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) said he’s alarmed by the Federal Reserve’s current monetary policy.    In a letter to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday, Manchin called for the central bank to peel back its pandemic-era stimulus measures.
    He said although he believes the measures were necessary during the start of the COVID pandemic, they are now sparking record inflation.    “It is imperative we begin to understand that long-term policy responses tailored for an economic depression, may not be what is required for today’s economy and could result in higher than desired inflation if not removed in time,” wrote Manchin.
    Last year, the Fed set short-term interest rates to near zero and started purchasing $120 billion per month in bonds to help stimulate the economy amid pandemic lockdowns.    Manchin said he’s concerned with the Fed’s continuous spending at emergency levels despite the economy being fully opened at this point.

8/6/2021 White House: Violence Won’t Help Taliban Gain International Legitimacy by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the
White House in Washington, D.C on August 4, 2021. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    The White House has condemned the Taliban’s recent violent attacks, urging the terrorist group to shift its priorities to ongoing peace negotiations with the Afghan government. During a press briefing on Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki denounced the Taliban’s assassination of an Afghanistan government officials and a series of bombings this week.    Psaki added the Biden administration is closely monitoring the Taliban’s efforts.
    “Additionally, there are credible reports that you’ve touched on, atrocities and retaliation against civilians in other Taliban controlled areas, which of course we are closely tracking and concerned about,” said Psaki.    “If the Taliban claims to want international legitimacy, these actions are not going to get them the legitimacy they seek.”
    The organization isn’t just attacking people, but also conquering land at an alarming rate.    On Friday, the Taliban appeared to have used offensive military tactics to take control of the city of Zaranj, it’s first provincial capital.    However, the Afghan government suggested the city had not quite fallen yet.
    In the meantime, the Taliban has continued to ramp up its attacks as the U.S. withdrawals troops from the war-torn country with the goal of exiting the Middle East by the end of August.    When asked during the briefing whether the surge in Taliban attacks alters the Biden administration’s stance on leaving Afghanistan, Psaki suggested it’s not America’s responsibility to risk American lives to extend an unbeatable 20-year war.

8/6/2021 Sheriff: Gov. Cuomo Could Be Arrested If Allegations Verified by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office of the
Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
    Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) could face jail time after one of his accusers filed a criminal complaint against him.    The victim, identified as “executive assistant #1,” met with law enforcement in Albany on Thursday before filing the complaint against the Democrat.
    During the meeting, she laid out a detailed timeline of events, as well as evidence of multiple incidents of alleged sexual assault she encountered while working for the governor.    Albany County sheriff’s officials said they may arrest Cuomo if the allegations are substantiated.
    In the meantime, Cuomo’s lawyers responded publicly on Friday to the state attorney general’s damning report on Cuomo’s sexual misconduct, claiming the investigation was conducted in a manner to support a predetermined narrative.    In addition, Cuomo has continued to defend his actions stating, “the facts are much different than what has been portrayed.”

8/6/2021 Sen. Cotton Says Biden Border Policies Are Contributing To Uptick In Violence From Migrants, Illegal Drug Trafficking From China by OAN Newsroom
Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) attends a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on voting rights
on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C on April 20, 2021. (EVELYN HOCKSTEIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) said Joe Biden’s border policies are resulting in dangerous migrants coming into America.    During an interview with Breitbart News, Cotton claimed some illegal immigrants are committing major crime all across the country, attributing the surge to Biden.
    Cotton said he believes the crisis at the border is happening because Biden won’t visit the southern border and is taking steps to halt the construction of the border wall.    He went on to say a lot of the illegal drugs coming into the U.S. are coming from China.
    “The evidence on that is clear.    China has super case laboratories where they make the precursors to synthetic opioids like fentanyl,” said Cotton.    “They send them to the cartels in Mexico which finish the job by pressing them into pills or cutting them into other drugs, and they ship them into America.”
    He added this may have contributed to the largest number of drug overdoses last year.    Additionally, to combat the trend in violence, the Arkansas senator has called on the Department of Homeland Security to limit the number of immigrants coming into the U.S.

8/6/2021 Texas Democrat Judge Calls Out Biden For Ignoring Invitation To Border by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden answers a question during his first press briefing in the East Room of the
White House in Washington, D.C, on March 25, 2021. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Texas Judge Richard Cortez voiced his growing frustration with Joe Biden’s lack of attention towards the border.    In a press conference on Thursday, the Hidalgo County judge said they never heard back from the Biden administration.    Cortez said the issue has only gotten worse as the border patrol has released over 7,000 COVID positive illegal immigrants since February.
    Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) chimed into the conversation last week when he spoke with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), where he pleaded something has to change at the border.    He also claimed change will not occur with Kamala Harris as border czar.     “We need some help, and what we’re asking through the letter is to put a new set of eyes in a constructive way…somebody that has the experience that can deal with the border,” said Cuellar.
    This comes as the Department of Homeland Security has continued to release illegal immigrants throughout the country without first being tested for COVID-19.

8/6/2021 Calif. Issues State Public Health Order Directing All Health Care Workers Be Vaccinated By Sept. 30 by OAN Newsroom
A group of doctors working with patients infected with COVID-19 wear face shields at the Intensive Care Unit of the
Hospital de Clinicas in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on April 15, 2020. (SILVIO AVILA/AFP via Getty Images)
    The California Department of Public Health has issued a public health order requiring all health care workers be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The order came down on Thursday and sets a deadline of Sept. 30 for health care workers to have both shots.
    The order applies to those working in hospitals, nursing facilities and most health care settings, and marks the first of its kind in the nation.    This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) said last week that state and health care workers would need to prove full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.
    “As we continue to see an increase in cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, it’s important that we protect the vulnerable patients in these settings,” said Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer, in a statement.    The order does allow for exemptions when it comes to medical and religious reasons.
    A second public health order directs hospitals and nursing care facilities to verify visitors are vaccinated or test negative for COVID 72 hours before indoor visits.

8/7/2021 Oil down $1.03 to $68.07, DOW up 144 to 35,209.

8/7/2021 Canadian Government, Border Staff Reach Deal, Ending Strike - Union
A car waits to enter a checkpoint to enter Canada at the Canada-United States border crossing at the
Thousand Islands Bridge, which remains closed to non-essential traffic to combat the spread
of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Lansdowne, Ontario, Canada September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Lars Hagberg
    VANCOUVER (Reuters) – The Canadian government and border staff have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract, the unions representing the workers said on Friday, bringing a swift end to strike action that began earlier in the day.
    The disruption caused a backlog at the border and came just as Canada prepared to allow fully vaccinated U.S. visitors in for the first time in sixteen months on Monday.
    Talks between two unions representing Canadian border guards and staff – the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) – and the federal government had reached an impasse in December 2020.
    Union demands included higher pay and the ability to carry their guns in some areas such as airports.    Their members have been without a contract for three years.
    Earlier in the day, delays at the Canada-U.S. border slowed commercial crossings to a crawl and airports warned of lengthy delays. [L1N2PE008]
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

8/7/2021 UK PM Johnson Won’t Isolate After Staff Member’s Positive COVID Test
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson does not need to self-isolate even though a member of his staff on a recent trip to Scotland tested positive for the coronavirus, his Downing Street office said.
    Johnson visited a police college in Fife on Wednesday and a wind farm off Aberdeenshire on Thursday.
    Local media reported a member of Johnson’s staff who accompanied him to the police college and travelled with him on a plane tested positive for coronavirus.
    “The Prime Minister regularly visits communities across the UK and all aspects of visits are carried out in line with COVID guidance,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.
    “The Prime Minister has not come into close contact with anyone who has tested positive.”
    Last month Johnson and finance minister Rishi Sunak both self-isolated in line with national guidance, abandoning heavily criticised plans to take part in a pilot scheme that would have allowed them to continue working.
    “It’s clear the Prime Minister hasn’t learned anything from what happened last time he tried to cook up a reason to be above the rules everyone else has to follow,” said Anneliese Dodds, chair of the opposition Labour Party.
    “Senior Conservatives are really taking the public for fools.    This is yet another example of one rule for them and another for everyone else.”
(Reporting by James Davey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

8/7/2021 U.S. State Department Announces Five Additions To Global Terrorist List
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to reporters at the
State Department in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/Pool
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The State Department on Friday announced the addition of five alleged Islamist militants to its Specially Designated Global Terrorist list, requiring the blocking of any ownership or interests in U.S. properties they hold.
    The designations also expose to possible U.S. sanctions individuals or foreign financial institutions who engage in certain transactions with the five.
    They include Bonomade Machude Omar, the senior military commander of Islamic State’s affiliate in Mozambique, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.    Omar led a group of extremists who killed dozens of people in an attack on the Amarula Hotel in the town of Palma in March, Blinken said.
    He also is responsible for attacks elsewhere in Mozambique and in Tanzania, Blinken said.
    Sidang Hitta and Salem Ould al-Hasan, senior leaders of Mali-based al Qaeda-linked Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, also were designated, as were Ali Mohamed Rage and Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, leaders of the al Shabaab group of Somalia, Blinken said.
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/7/2021 Critics Blast Infrastructure Bill For Spending, No Clear Source Of Funding For Bill’s Proposals by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito speaks during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing
in Washington, D.C. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Details of the bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill have continued to be revealed as critics questioned exactly how it was supposed to be paid for.    The focus shifted to what appeared to be a bailout proposal for the struggling Highway Trust Fund.
    According to the bill, $90 billion would be transferred to the highway account of the fund, with another $28 billion to the mass transit account for a total of $118 billion.
    The Highway Trust Fund mainly financed the federal government’s surface transportation programs and has been funded through federal taxes on gas and diesel fuel.
    However, the bill failed to specify where the $118 billion would come from to cover the bailout funds.    Some have speculated the funding would come from a pilot program, which charged drivers based on the number of miles they traveled.
    Reports recently detailed the national motor vehicle per-mile user fee program put in place to help fund the infrastructure bill.    The Treasury and Transportation secretaries would provide recommendations to Congress after three years, when lawmakers would decide whether to keep the program going.
    The program would come in place of a gas tax increase.    However, the per-mile user fee program has already come under fire as West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) addressed the issue in April.
    “You mentioned that if the VMT (vehicle miles travelled tax) was put into effect at one cent per mile, it would generate $2.6 billion,” she stated.    “Previously, you had mentioned the shortfall is $195 billion, so we’ve got a big gap here.”
    White House officials mentioned the launch the program didn’t guarantee the fee would be established.    The bill as a whole has been slammed by some Republicans for the amount of spending proposed and has been called a “down payment for a liberal wish list.”
    According to reports, the national debt has already increased more than $5 trillion since the start of 2020, with the economy at risk of serious inflation. Critics argued the bill added as much spending to things like mass transit as it does to highway, even though mass transit accounted for a much smaller part of overall travel.
    This week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) warned of the inflation the bill would create by saying the spending in the proposal was greater than what the U.S. spent to win World War II.
    “The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill today is roughly 12 times the new spending on roads and bridges,” he explained.    “So, they’re selling the roads and bridges, but the bill’s 12 times bigger.”
    Cruz went on to add the fact of the matter is the bill spends too much money and is not paid for.    He called on Republicans to play their part and say “enough is enough.”

8/7/2021 Fmr. President Trump Aide: China Has A Dossier Worth Of Data On Every American Adult by OAN Newsroom
Matthew Pottinger in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C.
    A former national security adviser to President Trump has warned China acquired enough data to “build a dossier on every single American adult.”    Matthew Pottinger raised concerns over the communist nation this week during a Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing.
    Pottinger went on to explain China had a massive data collection operation ongoing to target every American.    Anna Puglisi, Senior Fellow at the Center for Security and Emerging Technology at Georgetown University, added we should believe China when they tell us they hope to overcome us.
    “Let me be clear, China says it will use any knowledge or technology it acquires for its military.    This is not conjuncture or profiling or analysis, but China’s stated position and I would add for decades, we should believe them,” she explained.
    “Given the scope and scale of China’s activities, a reevaluation of our underlying assumptions and how we evaluate risk will be essential to counter these efforts.”
    In June, a Republican House Intelligence Committee investigation notably revealed China had ramped up its influence in corporate America.

8/7/2021 Texas Democrats Plan To Stay In D.C. Amid Second Special Legislative Session by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Texas), center left, and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), joined at left by Rep. Chris Turner, chairman of the Texas House Democratic Caucus,
welcome Democratic members of the Texas legislature at a news conference at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Texas Democrats have made plans to stay in Washington D.C. after Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) called for a second special session to pass a state election integrity bill.    In D.C. on Friday, Democrats stood together in protest against the GOP efforts to create safe and secure elections.
    Texas Rep. Chris Turner (D) went on to say, “we will never stop fighting Texas Republicans’ continued efforts to roll back Texans’ freedom to vote.”
    In addition, Democrats pressured the Biden administration to pass federal legislation that would override the Republican bill.
    “Our resolve and hard work across these past few weeks have resulted in clear action and clear progress here on Capitol Hill to accelerate that legislation,” Turner stated.    “We are closer, much closer than we were a few weeks ago, to passing the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.”
    Meanwhile, Abbott made it clear he would continue calling for special sessions until the Texas Democrats return to their responsibilities.

8/7/2021 Biden Grants Temporary Asylum To Thousands Of Hong Kong Refugees by OAN Newsroom
A supporter holds a poster showing some of the 47 pro-democracy activists on trial at the West Kowloon Court
in Hong Kong on charges of conspiracy to commit subversion under the national security law for taking part in
unauthorized pro-democracy primaries in July 2020. (Photo by ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden has granted temporary asylum to several thousand Hong Kong refugees. A memorandum signed by Biden on Thursday blocked the removal of Hong Kong residents who have sought a safe haven in the U.S.
    Hong Kong residents in the U.S. have been permitted to work in the country for 18 months.
    Under new Chinese national security law, 100 activists, politicians and demonstrators have been arrested. Another 10,000 have been arrested in connection to antigovernment protests.
    “We strongly urge Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to cease their continued attacks on Hong Kong for exercising protected rights and freedoms,” U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price expressed.    “That includes the freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, and to allow people in Hong Kong to participate meaningfully in their own governance.”
    Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have asked Congress to pass legislation for refugee status after police in Hong Kong announced they would arrest those attempting to leave.

8/7/2021 Sen. Sinema Warns Democrats Eliminating The Filibuster Could Backfire Down The Road by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) speaks at the Capitol in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
    Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) warned removal of the filibuster would backfire on Democrats in the future.    While appearing on The View on Friday, co-host Joy Behar said unless Congress got rid of the filibuster, no one would be able to vote.
    Sinema responded by asking the liberal hosts to think into the future and to not act impulsively today.
    “If you eliminate the filibuster to pass that piece of legislation, then in four years or anytime when the other party gains control, without the filibuster in place, all of those voting rights protections could be easily wiped out with a simple majority vote,” she explained.    “You could have a nationwide ban on mail in voting.”
    Sinema’s position is one also held by moderate Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.). Sinema warned without the filibuster, the dominating party could jam legislation, which would be wiped out once the opposing party gained control.

8/7/2021 ‘We Don’t Want Your Health Pass’ – Protesters March In France For Fourth Weekend by Richard Lough
Bar and restaurant owners protest against France's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) safety
restrictions in Cambrai, France, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
    PARIS (Reuters) - Protesters marched in cities across France on Saturday in a fourth consecutive weekend of demonstrations, denouncing what they see as oppressive rules compelling health workers to get COVID-19 shots and citizens to have a health pass for many daily activities.
    In Lyon, police fired teargas to disperse protesters hurling projectiles at their lines, TV images showed.
    Protesters also rallied through the streets of Paris, Nice, Montpellier and other towns waving placards reading “No to dictatorship” and chanting “Macron, we don’t want your health pass.”
    Over 230,000 took part in protests across France, the highest number over the past month, the interior ministry said.
    The protests have united a disparate group against President Emmanuel Macron’s legislation, which is meant to help contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections spreading across France and help safeguard the country’s economic recovery.
    Among the protesters are hard-left anarchists and far-right militants, remnants of the anti-government “Yellow Vest” movement that shook Macron’s leadership during 2018-2019, and also other citizens who are anti-vaccine or consider the health pass to be discriminatory.
    Vaccination rates jumped after Macron unveiled his health pass plans last month.    Two thirds of all French people have now received one dose and 55% are fully vaccinated.
    From Monday, people will have to show a health pass to eat in a restaurant, access non-emergency treatment in a hospital or travel on an intercity train.    They are already needed to access swimming pools, museums and nightclubs.
    Health employees have until Sept. 15 to get their vaccinations or face suspension.
    “I’d rather not be paid than be forced to have the vaccine,” hospital psychiatrist Diane Hekking told Reuters as she protested in Paris.
    Similar health passes – which show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test – have been introduced in other European countries but France’s pass and its mandatory vaccine order for health workers are perhaps the most far-reaching.
    The protesters in France accuse Macron of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.    The president says freedoms carry responsibilities that include protecting the health of others.
    Health Ministry data showed nine in every 10 COVID patients admitted to intensive care in late July had not been vaccinated. A majority of French support the health pass, surveys show.
    France’s highest constitutional authority ruled on Thursday that the legislation complied with the republic’s founding charter.
    In the northern town of Cambrai, nearly every restaurant and cafe closed their doors to protest against the health pass requirements.
    “We’re not against the vaccine. We’re against having to run checks on our patrons,” said bar manager Laurent>     In Poland, thousands marched to protest against COVID-19 restrictions in the southern city of Katowice as the country’s government debated whether to place restrictions on unvaccinated people.
    Some carried placards that said “Enough of coronapsychosis,” but no major incidents were recorded.
    Poles are split on the issue with several surveys showing support for restrictions on unvaccinated people at between 43-54%, depending on the severity of the restrictions.
(Reporting by Richard Lough, Clotaire Achi and Ardee Napolitano in Paris, Alicja Ptak in WarsawAdditional reporting by Pascal Rossignol in CambraiEditing by Frances Kerry and Christina Fincher)

8/7/2021 Argentines Stream Through City Streets To Press For More Jobs, Food by Nicolás Misculin
An Argentine Catholic holds an image of San Cayetano (Saint Cajetan), patron saint of labour and bread, during
his feast day, at San Cayetano church in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Saturday to protest over poverty and a lack of jobs amid a lengthy economic crisis that has only deepened with the coronavirus pandemic.
    Organisations working with the unemployed and leftist groups led the protest that started at a church to the west of the Argentine capital where thousands of pilgrims travel each year to pray at the shrine of San Cayetano, the patron saint of work, whose feast day is Saturday. It ended in the Plaza de Mayo, a massive square in front of the seat of government where protests habitually take place.
    “I come on behalf of people who do not have work: my brother, my neighbors and many people who you see really struggling everywhere,” Néstor Pluis, a 41-year-old educational assistant, told Reuters.
    Protests also took place in other parts of the country, including in Argentina’s second city of Cordoba and the western city of Mendoza.
    Lawmaker Juan Carlos Alderete, leader of the left-wing party Corriente Clasista y Combativa, said the needs of people in some neighbourhoods were “tremendous.”
    “The soup kitchens are seeing whole families coming to eat and many of the children have to be attended to by health professionals because they are malnourished,” he said.
    A total of 19 million people, 42% of Argentina’s population, was classified as living below the poverty line in the second half of 2020 and unemployment at present stands at 10.2%.
    Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday that he saw brighter days ahead, and the first rebound in the economy in three years this year with 7% growth.
    “Argentina is growing, recuperating jobs and will recover income,” Fernandez pledged.
    Ahead of the legislative elections in November, the government also announced on Friday a relaxation of COVID restrictions in the hope of speeding economic recovery.
(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin, writing by Aislinn Laing; editing by Diane Craft)

8/7/2021 Italy’s 5-Star Movement Elects Former PM Conte As Leader
Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte speaks at a news conference to discuss
the 5-Star political party, in Rome, Italy, June 28, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been officially elected leader of the 5-Star Movement, ending months of uncertainty and division since he was first asked to head up the troubled party in February.
    5-Star is the largest group in parliament following its triumph at 2018 elections when it took 32% of the vote, but its support has ebbed due to infighting and policy U-turns and it is now polling at around 16%.
    Conte, who opinion polls show is Italy’s second most popular politician after Prime Minister Mario Draghi having earned widespread respect for guiding Italy through the worst of the coronavirus crisis, was elected late on Friday after a two-day online vote by the party’s members.
    Some 93% of those who voted answered yes to the question “are you in favour of the election of professor Giuseppe Conte as president of the 5-Star Movement.”    There were no other candidates.
    “The hard work of these last months has paid off and now we can start from a solid base,” Conte said on Facebook.    He promised to tour Italy from September to meet 5-Star supporters and gather ideas for its programme.
    5-Star is part of Draghi’s national unity government but often appears uneasy in the ruling coalition.    In the most recent example, after drawn-out negotiations it secured changes to a reform of the justice system that had been backed by most of the other parties.
    Conte, a former law professor who previously had no party affiliation, agreed to take the reins of 5-Star after his coalition government collapsed seven months ago and he was replaced by Draghi as premier.
    He was asked to take charge by 73-year-old former comedian Beppe Grillo, who founded 5-Star in 2009 as an anti-establishment protest movement.
    However, the former premier’s appointment proved far more problematic than expected as the two men argued over Grillo’s future role in the party, and at one point Conte appeared on the verge of pulling out.
    In recent years 5-Star has gradually abandoned its anti-establishment roots and moved towards the centre-left political mainstream.
(Reporting By Gavin Jones; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

8/7/2021 German SPD Has Support To Lead Three-Way Coalition - INSA Poll
FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) speaks during the weekly German cabinet
meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, August 4, 2021. Kay Nietfeld/Pool via REUTERS
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Rising support has drawn Germany’s Social Democrats level with the Greens and suggests their popular chancellor candidate could lead a three-way coalition government after a Sept. 26 federal election, an opinion poll showed on Sunday.
    The INSA poll for Bild am Sonntag put support for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) at 18%, pointing for the first time in this year’s election campaign to a majority for a three-way coalition led by the left-leaning party.
    The Greens were also at 18%, and the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) at 12%, the poll showed.
    Together, the three would have 48% support and a majority for a “traffic light” coalition, so-called after their respective colours, as support for other parties totalled 8%.    Parties must surpass a 5% threshold to win seats in parliament.
    The poll put support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives at 26%.    The far-right AfD was at 11% and the leftist Linke at 7%. Merkel, in power since 2005, plans to stand down after the election.
    Armin Laschet, the conservative candidate to succeed Merkel as chancellor, has suffered a slump in support after he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town.    The SPD has gone on the attack, scenting a chance to win.
    The INSA poll showed that in a hypothetical direct vote for chancellor, the SPD’s candidate Olaf Scholz was well ahead, with 27% support – a five point gain from the previous week.
    Laschet languished on 14%, one point ahead of the Greens’ candidate, Annalena Baerbock, on 13%.
    The Greens presented an “emergency climate protection programme” on Tuesday, aiming to reset their national election campaign after a raft of mistakes squandered their early surge in opinion polls.
(Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by David Gregorio)

8/7/2021 Senate Infrastructure Package Stalled Over Spending Concerns by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 06: The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    The bipartisan infrastructure deal passed a procedural vote before stalled negotiations caused the bill to halt in its tracks.    In a premature victory, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal moved forward in a 67 to 27 vote by the Senate on Saturday.
    The deal, which includes nearly $550 billion in new spending, would go towards major infrastructure such as roads, bridges, airports and waterways, among other items. The debate on the floor included a hot topic with several Republicans regarding the bill’s funding.
    Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) voiced similar frustrations after she spoke with people in her state.    “They look at what is happening here in Washington, and they are saying why are you in such a rush to force us into bankruptcy,” relayed Blackburn.
    Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) said he’s also concerned that rushing the bipartisan deal has ulterior motives.    “It’s tied to what I believe is the Democrat’s real ambition: Which is their multi-trillion-dollar march to socialism that they will unveil right after this infrastructure legislation is passed,” suggested Hagerty.
    The legislation Hagerty referred to, the $3.5 trillion partisan spending package, would allegedly fill in the gaps of items Democrats say are not included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.    However, lawmakers were working to come to an agreement on amendments to the bill when progress was ultimately stalled.
    The Senate is set to reconvene Sunday at 12 p.m. EST to further consider the proponents of the bill.

8/7/2021 Zuckerberg-Funded Group Gives $12M To Dem Consulting Firms by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives to testify before a combined Senate Judiciary
and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    A Zuckerberg-funded group has given nearly $12 million to Democrats for nonpartisan voter education effort purposes.    The group known as the Center for Election Innovation and Research, received $69.5 million from Mark Zuckerberg in 2020.
    In addition, $12 million of that money went to the nonprofit known as the Michigan Center for Election Law and Administration.    The Michigan nonprofit then funneled $11 million to two Democrat aligned companies, Waterfront Strategies and Alper Strategies.
    CEIR noted the money provided was used specifically for messaging about election information, which targeted Michigan voters.
    “In addition to a statewide messaging campaign, Michigan sent out targeted mailings to engage voters.    Active registered voters received information about ways to vote, elections deadlines and how to request a mail ballot, and those who had not yet returned their mail ballot received instructions on how to do so.”
    The groups are known to have done work with high-profile Democrats, including the Clintons, Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

8/7/2021 Boosted Unemployment Benefits Set To End Sept. 6 by OAN Newsroom
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – AUGUST 06: A ‘Now Hiring’ sign is posted at a 7-Eleven store
on August 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
    Millions of Americans are set to lose their extra unemployment benefits next month. According to recent reports, 7.5 million workers will be cut off from the supplemental federal relief payments by Sept. 6.    This includes the extra $300 per week on top of regular unemployment payments.
    Businesses have complained about a lack of workers, despite the fact there are more than 9 million open jobs for around 5.5 million unemployed workers.    Reports suggest there is little momentum for the White House to extend unemployment benefits beyond Labor Day.

8/7/2021 Biden Admin. Expected To Issue Guidance On Third Vaccine Shot By Early September by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 11: Joe Biden gives a speech on his foreign policy plan
on July 11, 2019 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration is reportedly gearing up to issue new guidance on a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.    Reports said the Food and Drug Administration is expected to make the announcement in the coming month, advising people with weakened immune systems to receive a third shot.
    This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director said the agency will use evidence, such as immune responses and vaccine effectiveness, to come to a decision on booster shots.    Pfizer is already seeking authorization for a booster shot, while Moderna said it expects people to need a third shot by this winter.
    This all comes as reports on Saturday said some Americans are lying to clinics and getting a third vaccine dose even though it has not yet been approved.    “We are just starting to get data on [people who were able to get a third shot],” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.    “We are trying hard to encourage people to report on the safety side if people have taken the initiative to get their third shot…again, not yet recommended.”

8/7/2021 Dem Rep. Conor Lamb Announces Senate Bid by OAN Newsroom
PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 06: U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) announces his candidacy for the United States Senate at the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers on August 6, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
    On Friday, Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) jumped into the race to replace retiring Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).    The National Republican Congressional Committee congratulated Lamb’s decision to run for Senate in a statement.
    The organization said he is “opting to protect his own political ambitions rather than sticking around to clean up the disastrous mess he and House Democrats have created.”    Meanwhile, Republicans have been targeting Lamb’s seat even before his announcement and consider it a pickup opportunity in their bid to take back the lower chamber.
    “Campaigns are marathons, but the Democrat candidates in Pennsylvania are already sprinting as far left as possible, embracing Bernie Sanders’ agenda to ban fracking and destroy Pennsylvania energy jobs and agreeing with the Demorats’ reckless tax and spending spree,” said NRSC spokeswoman Lizzie Litzow.
    In the meantime, Lamb faces opponents Eric Orts, a business professor, and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.

8/7/2021 War Of Words Occurs Between Gov. DeSantis And White House by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (L) speaks about the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South
condo building in Surfside, during a briefing in Miami Beach, Florida, July 1, 2021. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) has fired back at attempted verbal assaults from the White House.    On Friday, DeSantis responded to Joe Biden dismissively referring to him as “governor who?.”
    “Well, I guess I’m not surprised that Biden doesn’t remember me.    I guess the question is what else has he forgotten?
    Biden’s forgotten about the crisis at the southern border, I can tell you that
,” said DeSantis.    “Biden’s forgotten about the inflation that’s biting the budgets of families all across the country.”
    DeSantis’ comments are just the latest in recent days as the White House has been singularly focusing on criticizing the governor.
    The Florida governor has refused to institute mask mandates in schools, contravening official Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.    He even threatened to defund public schools that forced masks on their staff and students in the state.    This opposition to new restrictions and forced masking has not sat well with the White House.
    Press Secretary Jen Psaki responded to DeSantis’ comment demanding the federal government stay out of the way of Florida’s parents, stating the pandemic is too serious to be name calling.    “We’re focused on providing public health data, information to the people of Florida to make sure they understand what steps they should be taking, even if those are not the steps taken at the top of the leadership of that state,” said Psaki.
    When the attacks fell flat, Psaki was asked if parents should have the “kind of power” to decide if their kids should be wearing masks or not.    Her response was to imply Gov. DeSantis has been doing nothing more than putting kids in danger in order to play politics.
    On top of pressure form Washington, Florida is facing lawsuits over the constitutionality of banning forced masks in schools.    Meanwhile, DeSantis supporters have praised the governor for standing firm against supposed health officials who have not been honest and forthcoming with citizens and imposed baseless mandates.

8/7/2021 Report: GOP Betting Big On Women Candidates To Win Back House Majority After Historic Turnout In 2020 by OAN Newsroom
Young Kim speaks to supporters Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in the Rowland Heights section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
    A new report suggested the GOP is looking for women candidates to help take back the House in 2022.    According to a report on Friday, 155 women are already filing to run for Congress as a Republican.
    “There are several roads to taking back the House, but I think one road contains a lot of Republican women on it,” said Rep. Young Kim (Calif.).    “Without a doubt, getting more GOP women elected to join the Republican conference is critically important.”    Kim is one of the women looking to help take back the House along with Michelle Steel (Calif.), who both unseated Democrats to win.
    Analysts said this could build off of momentum of the 2020 elections, where GOP women flipped 11 out of 15 seats last year.    “The party sees a recipe for electoral success and is now doubling down on that same strategy in the battle for the House next year,” noted the report.
    Republican operatives have reportedly set their sights on at least six races so far.    Meanwhile, the GOP only needs to flip five seats in order to gain a majority in the House.

8/7/2021 Primary Race Against Alaska Sen. Murkowski Heats Up by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this Sept. 26, 2019 fIle photo, Alaska Department of Administration Commissioner
Kelly Tshibaka addresses reporters in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
    The race to unseat Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) has heated up as more Republicans mull over a primary challenge.    This comes as President Trump’s son, Don Jr., released a fundraising appeal for candidate Kelly Tshibaka (R) on Friday. Don Jr. praised her as “the real deal” and an “America First conservative” who is exactly the type of leadership Alaska deserves.
    “I don’t have to tell you how important this election is.    This is our opportunity to ensure Alaska has an actual conservative representing them in the U.S. Senate,” said Don. Jr.
    Despite Trump already endorsing Tshibaka, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said she’s considering throwing her hat in the ring as well.    Meanwhile, Murkowski is being targeted for her vote to convict the 45th president in his second impeachment trial.
    Polling for the race, using ranked choice voting, showed Murkowski only has about a third of first round votes, but still ekes out a win against Tshibaka after all rounds of counting.

8/7/2021 Calif. GOP Declines To Make Endorsement In Gov. Newsom Recall Election by OAN Newsroom
From left, Republican candidates for governor John Cox, Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Kiley and Doug Ose participate in a
debate at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda on Aug. 4, 2021. (Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo
    The California Republican Party has decided not to officially endorse a candidate in the gubernatorial recall election.    In a statement released on Saturday, party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson announced delegates approved a motion to table an agenda item to make an endorsement.
    According to Patterson, the decision speaks to the strength of the field of GOP candidates running to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.).    She said the party is in an outstanding position headed into the election.
    Additionally, the chairwoman named four candidates who had qualified to be considered for an endorsement, including conservative commentator Larry Elder and former mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer.
    In the meantime, Faulconer recently called out Newsom for suggesting the recall election wasn’t about his performance in office.    During an interview published on Saturday, Faulconer said Newsom is trying to nationalize and partisanize the election.
    This comes after the Democrat implied to journalists on Thursday that the recall is an effort by the GOP to help their chances in the 2022 midterms.    Faulconer contended the recall is a referendum on Newsom’s failures on several fronts, including skyrocketing homelessness and lack of preparedness for wildfires, plus the coronavirus pandemic.

8/7/2021 President Trump: Why Did Wis. Wait Until After Election To Cancel 205,000 Voter Registrations? by OAN Newsroom
President Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    President Trump questioned why Wisconsin waited until after the election to cancel so many voter registrations.    In a statement released on Saturday through his Save America PAC, the 45th president pointed out Wisconsin canceled 205,000 voter registrations because they could not locate the voters.
    Wisconsin law has required election officials to identify and deactivate voters who have been absent from voting for a total of 4 years.    Trump questioned why officials waited until after the election and asked if it meant he would have won the state.
    Trump comments comes as the Chair of Wisconsin State Assembly’s election committee announced she was subpoenaing 2020 election materials in two large counties.    This would include physical ballots and voting machines.

8/8/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/8/2021 Top U.S. Diplomat: Nicaragua’s Ortega Clinging To Power ‘At All Costs’
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about refugee programs for Afghans who aided the U.S. during
a briefing at the State Department in Washington, DC, U.S. August 2, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS
    (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega of taking new “undemocratic, authoritarian actions” after police arrested another rival politician ahead of elections later this year.
    Singling out both Ortega and his wife Rosario Murillo, who holds the position of vice president, Blinken said in a statement on Saturday that the pair were seeking to hold on to power “at all costs” with a strategy of disqualifying potential opposition candidates.
    “The United States views the regime’s latest undemocratic, authoritarian actions — driven by Ortega’s fear of an electoral loss — as the final blow against Nicaragua’s prospects for a free and fair election,” Blinken said.
    The Central American country’s presidential election in November has already “lost all credibility,” the statement said.
    Ortega’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    On Wednesday, police put opposition politician Berenice Quezada under house arrest, accusing her of inciting hatred and violence.
    A former beauty queen turned Ortega critic, Quezada had been tapped last week by the Citizens Alliance for Liberty Party, or ACXL, to be the running mate of Oscar Sobalvarro.
    Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla who has turned against many of his one-time rebel allies, is seeking to retain his grip on power with a fourth consecutive term.
    His government has in recent months repeatedly detained political adversaries, including to date seven presidential hopefuls plus a couple dozen other opposition figures.    Many have been accused of undermining Nicaragua’s independence and sovereignty, and banned from running for office.
    On Friday, the U.S. State Department imposed visa restrictions on 50 relatives of Nicaraguan officials, including family members of lawmakers, prosecutors and judges.
(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

8/8/2021 Albany County Sheriff Announces Investigation Into Gov. Cuomo by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – JULY 23: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during the daily media briefing at the Office
of the Governor of the State of New York on July 23, 2020 in New York City. (Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
    Authorities in Albany County have opened an investigation into Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.), which stemmed from a criminal complaint filed from a former aid.    On Saturday, Sheriff Craig Apple announced the ongoing investigation into the embattled governor after the staffer complained Cuomo groped her at his state residence last year.
    “I cannot get into the nature of her specific allegations at this time obviously.    We are in the very infant stages of this investigation,” Apple explained.    “We have a lot of fact-finding to do, we have interviews to conduct and it would be totally premature to comment on any of that.”
    According to authorities, the Democrat governor could be arrested and face misdemeanor charges if it was determined a crime has been committed.    The sheriff said his office has requested investigative material from the state attorney general’s office as well as Cuomo’s lawyers.
    Following multiple investigations, which have stemmed from several allegations, the governor has denied any wrongdoing.
    Cuomo went on to say, “I want you to know directly from me that I never touched anyone inappropriately or made any inappropriate sexual advances.”
    This comes as Cuomo has come under fire by his fellow Democrat lawmakers, who have called for him to resign or for his impeachment. However, Cuomo and his lawyer have both maintained the allegations to be false.
    “At this point, I’m very comfortable and safe saying that she is, in fact, a victim,” Apple stated.    “Again, I commend all of them for coming forward.    This is a very tough time.”
    Albany County authorities have yet to provide an estimate on how long the investigation could take.
    Meanwhile, the state’s Assembly’s Judiciary committee is expected to meet regarding impeachment proceedings in nearly two thirds of the legislative body said they will favor if the governor does not resign.

8/8/2021 Gov. DeSantis Mask Mandate Ban Sees First Legal Challenges by OAN Newsroom
HIALEAH, FLORIDA – AUGUST 05: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks as House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) listens during
a press conference held at the Assault Brigade 2506 Honorary Museum on August 05, 2021 in Hialeah, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) ban on mask mandates in schools has seen its first legal challenge in the form of two lawsuits filed late last week.    Reports on Saturday said the suits challenge the constitutionality of the ban.
    The attorneys working on the suits argued the issue of masks in schools is being framed as a parent’s choice issue when it’s actually a public health issue.
    However, DeSantis said decisions over masks should be left up to the parents and not to the school boards.    He added he believes the suits will fail.
    “Parents have the fundamental right to raise their children, their health, their well-being, and that has to be respected by the state at all levels of government,” stated DeSantis.
    The Florida governor filed an executive order at the end of last month, preventing local school districts from requiring masks in schools.    He’s since butted heads with several politicians, including Joe Biden, over the move.

8/8/2021 Carlos Del Toro Confirmed As Secretary Of The Navy by OAN Newsroom
Carlos Del Toro, of Virginia, speaks during a Senate Armed Services hearing to examine Department of Defense
nominations, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin, AP)
    The Senate confirmed Carlos Del Toro as the secretary of the Navy, marking the second Hispanic secretary to hold the position.    The upper chamber approved Del Toro by unanimous consent late Saturday, making him the third civilian official elected to a top Defense Department job.
    “We remain the preeminent force in the world because of leaders like Carlos, and I have no doubt our Navy and our nation will be well served,” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.    “I congratulate him on his confirmation, look forward to working with him and take pleasure in welcoming him back aboard.”
    The Cuban-born Del Toro previously served in the Navy for 22 years and commanded a destroyer during Operation Desert Storm.    He’s since been running a Virginia-based government contractor he founded.
    Del Toro pledged to be exclusively focused on the China threat and protecting national security interests in the Indo-Pacific theater.

8/8/2021 Biden Off To Quick Start In Appointing Federal Judges, Outpacing Several Recent Predecessors by OAN Newsroom
US President Joe Biden walks to Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 6, 2021. – Biden travels
to his home in Wilmington, Delaware, where he will spend the weekend. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden has reportedly filed vacancies on the federal bench at a much quicker pace than 45th President Trump.    According to recent reports, eight of the 33 nominees the Democrat has put forward have already been confirmed by the Senate, including seven last month.
    An expert with the Bookings Institution said Biden has appointed more federal judges than any president, at this point in their tenure, in the last forty years. Additionally, 14 of Biden’s picks for the federal court are waiting for confirmation votes in the upper chamber.     For now, it’s unclear if Biden will catch the 45th president’s count of 234 judges confirmed in his first term.
[Here we go again Trump with the Senate approved 100's to fill the U.S. across the country and put a stop to the California dominance with the 9th Circut so now Joe thinks he is doing something but all the Dems are doing is setting up Federal judges but they do not tell you they will probably go to a certain circuit in a specific state so they control all judicial actions sent to them, Wake up Ameirca and shut them down as they are using the corrupt Brooking Institution to speed up things
    The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (in case citations, 2d Cir.) is one of the thirteen United States Courts of Appeals.    Its territory comprises the states of Connecticut, New York, and Vermont.    Appeals from: District of Connecticut; Eastern ...Circuit Justice: Sonia Sotomayor

8/8/2021 President Trump: If Not For Operation Warp Speed, 100M People Would Be Dead by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 08: President Donald Trump speaks at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine
Summit on December 08, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
    President Trump touted his work in getting Operation Warp Speed up and running, as well as a COVID vaccine developed in record time.    In an interview on Saturday, the 45th president said if a vaccine hadn’t been developed during his administration, the death toll would likely be around 100 million people.
    He called the vaccines a “tremendous thing” and something he’s very proud of.    Additionally, 200 million doses each of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were purchased by the Trump administration.
    However, Trump voiced his opposition to mandatory inoculations, saying he believes in choice and freedom.    He added people have to make that choice for themselves.

8/8/2021 Moderate Dems Urge House Speaker Pelosi To Separate Infrastructure Packages by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 21: U.S. House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) listens
during a news conference April 21, 2016 on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Moderate Democrats have urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to allow a stand-alone vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. In a letter circulated on Saturday, Democrat representatives from swing and Republican leaning districts called on Pelosi to pump the brakes on the partisan so-called human infrastructure deal.
    “As soon as the Senate completes its work, we must bring this bipartisan infrastructure bill to the House floor for a stand-alone vote,” reads the letter.    “This one-in-a-century investment deserves its own consideration, without regard to other legislation.”
    They reportedly state in the letter their concerns with the partisan plan and how they don’t want the bipartisan plan to get caught in the weeds.    Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi has been steadfast in her desire to see both the partisan and bipartisan deals passed at the same time.
    The bipartisan infrastructure bill advanced in the Senate on Saturday, however, there are still hurdles to push through before it passes either legislative body.

8/8/2021 Over 1K Migrants Released Daily Into McAllen, Texas by OAN Newsroom
Central American migrant families arrive at a Catholic Charities respite center after being released
from federal detention on June 12, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. (LOREN ELLIOTT/AFP via Getty Images)
    Hotels are reportedly overwhelmed by the influx of migrants coming into the border town of McAllen, Texas.    According to reports by Breitbart on Saturday, Catholic Charities Respite Center is struggling to deal with the massive numbers of migrants released into the town.
    Catholic Charities is the organization paying for the use of the hotels to quarantine over 1,000 COVID positive migrants outside border patrol’s overflow facility.    The group also welcomed migrants into the town in order to set up arrangements to travel across the U.S.
    “The National Border Patrol Council is extremely concerned with the administration turning a blind eye to the massive influx of illegal crossings along the southern border,” a spokesperson for the NBPC told Breitbart.    “It has been reported that in the last week, more than 1,500 COVID positive illegal border crossers have been released into the city of McAllen alone.”
    Over 1,000 migrants continue to be released into the town on a daily basis as the border crisis rages on.

8/8/2021 Texas Dems Sue Gov. Abbott For Threatening Arrest by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 06: Texas State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer (D-District 116), joined by fellow Democratic Texas state
representatives, speaks during a news conference about voting rights outside the U.S. Capitol. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    Democrats from Texas have sued Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights.
    According to the suit filed on Saturday, the Democrats who fled the state to prevent the passage of election integrity measures, said Abbott’s efforts to bring them back to Austin suppressed their freedom of speech.
    Some Democrats also claimed, without evidence, they faced racist abuse for fleeing the state.    They also said threats of arrest by the governor, despite being constitutional, violated the First Amendment.
    Following their flee to D.C., Abbott called for the arrest of more than 50 Democrats.    In the meantime, Gov. Abbott, who has previously called for the arrest of the absent Democrat lawmakers, announced his plan to call as many special sessions as needed in order to pass the bill.

8/8/2021 NRCC: Ohio Special Election Shows Americans Reject Biden Agenda, Looks Good For GOP Heading Into 2022 by OAN Newsroom
WELLINGTON, OHIO – JUNE 26: Mike Carey speaks at a rally hosted by President Donald Trump after
receiving his endorsement on June 26, 2021 in Wellington, Ohio. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    GOP operatives said they’re confident a Republican will win the special Congressional election in Ohio.    Speaking with Breitbart news on Saturday, the National Republican Congressional Committee said results of this week’s primary races show Americans are rejecting the Democrat agenda.
    The NRCC added it hopes the momentum will carry over into the 2022 midterm elections.    Operatives pointed to voter turnout for Republicans, citing data touting GOP primary winner Mike Carey.    Carey was endorsed by President Trump and received more votes than all votes cast for Democrats.
    In the meantime, Carey is expected to face-off against Democrat Allison Russo, when Ohioans in the state’s 15th District cast their votes in November.

8/8/2021 Venezuela’s Ruling Socialist Party Holds Primaries For November Regional Election
A man places his finger on the fingerprint machine to vote in Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party primaries for the November
regional election for governors and mayors, in Caracas, Venezuela August 8, 2021. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria
    CARACAS (Reuters) -Venezuela’s ruling Socialist Party on Sunday holds a primary to choose candidates for November elections for governors and mayors, an election that may see the return of opposition political parties that have boycotted recent ballots.
    Allies of President Nicolas Maduro will vie for the chance to be elected to 23 state and 335 governments municipal governments that have a been a key element of the Socialist Party’s dominance of the country’s politics.
    Sunday’s vote comes as the opposition and government prepare to enter into a negotiation process set to start later this month in Mexico, sources told Reuters. [L1N2PB320]
    “Winning the governorships and mayors in the mega-elections on November 21 will give us greater governance in the country,” Maduro said on Tuesday in a live broadcast on state television.    “The entire opposition knows that we will have clean and transparent elections.”
    Voting seemed slow in Caracas shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. on Sunday.    There were no lines at polling stations.
    The mainstream opposition boycotted presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018 and 2020, arguing they were rigged in favor of Maduro’s ruling socialist party.    But a coalition in the opposition has said its willing to participate in the November election.
    In May, the socialist-held National Assembly named two opposition-linked figures to a new elections council for the first time in years.    In June, the head of the electoral council said the government would allow a coalition of major opposition political parties to field candidates in November’s elections.
    The opposition is still negotiating conditions for participating in November and opposition leader Juan Guaido has not said whether or not he believes candidates should take part.
    The opposition, backed by the United States and most Western democracies, labels Maduro a dictator who has clung to power through rigged elections and persecution of opponents.    Maduro, supported by Russia and China, labels Guaido a puppet of Washington seeking to oust him in a coup.
(Reporting by Sarah KinosianEditing by Alistair Bell)

8/8/2021 Mexico’s Lopez Obrador To Talk Vaccines With Harris
FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris have a conversation after attending
the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the United States and Mexico to establish a strategic partnership to
cooperate on development programs in the Northern Triangle at the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City, Mexico June 8, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will discuss COVID-19 vaccines with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, amid recent caseload spikes in both nations driven by highly contagious new variants of the coronavirus.
    In a speech, the Mexican leader did not provide further details on other subjects he and Harris will discuss on the Monday phone call.
    Harris was tapped earlier this year by U.S. President Joe Biden to lead diplomatic efforts with Mexico and several Central American nations focusing in particular on regional migration and economic development.
    Lopez Obrador appeared to preview additional U.S. vaccine donations.
    “There are commitments for us to have more vaccines, provided by the United States government,” he said, speaking at a new national guard installation in the northern border city of Ciudad Juarez, just south of Texas.
    He also praised U.S.-Mexico relations under Biden’s six-month-old administration, describing them as based on “respect for our sovereignty and development cooperation.”
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Noe Torres; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Alistair Bell)

8/8/2021 Biden Envoy Told Brazil’s Bolsonaro Important Not To Undermine Elections – Source by Anthony Boadle
FILE PHOTO: Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro talks during a ceremony of signing a decree establishing the Public Integrity
System of the Federal government at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil July 27, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo
    BRASILIA (Reuters) – When U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan visited Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday, he brought a message from Washington: Don’t mess around with elections.
    A source familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that the Biden administration raised concerns over Bolsonaro’s unfounded claims of fraud in Brazil’s all-electronic voting system and his threat not to accept the results of next year’s election if the system is not changed.
    The nature of the message delivered by Sullivan was first reported in the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper on Saturday.    It quoted a U.S. official saying Sullivan stressed the importance of not undermining confidence in Brazil’s electoral process, especially given no evidence of fraud in previous elections has been presented.
    Bolsonaro has railed for weeks against the electronic machines used in Brazil and pushed for the adoption of printed receipts that can be counted if any election result is disputed. He has provided no evidence of past fraud or current vulnerabilities.    The president has vociferously attacked a Supreme Court justice for publicly doubting his unfounded claims and for saying the system could be audited.
    Critics fear Bolsonaro, like his ally former U.S. President Donald Trump, is sowing doubts in case he loses next year’s election.
    With his popularity falling amid the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, opinion polls show Bolsonaro trails former leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, though neither has officially announced their candidacy.
    Sullivan’s delegation conveyed U.S. confidence in the ability of Brazilian institutions to hold fair and free elections in 2022, the U.S. embassy said in a statement, without giving details.
    Sullivan also met with Defense Minister Walter Braga Netto and the Presidential Security Adviser Augusto Heleno, both retired army generals and close aides to Bolsonaro.
    Amid a worsening crisis, Bolsonaro has ignored calls – even from some of his own allies – to drop his feud with the Supreme Court.    On Friday, he called one of its justices a “son of a whore” amid rising tensions over his insistence that the machines are vulnerable to fraud.
    That came one day after a congressional committee voted to shelve a constitutional amendment that would have adopted the hybrid voting system sought by Bolsonaro where machines print a receipt that could be re-counted.
    The amendment will be put to the vote in the lower house plenary this coming week but is not expected to muster the three-fifth votes needed to pass.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

8/8/2021 Exclusive-Peru’s New Govt Eyes Natural Gas, Hydroelectric Sectors For Public Companies by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun
Peru's Prime Minister Guido Bellido speaks during an interview with Reuters in Lima, Peru, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce
    LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s new Prime Minister Guido Bellido told Reuters on Saturday that the state plans to participate in key industries, including natural gas and new hydroelectric projects, under a new leftist administration.
    Bellido, the top aide to newly inaugurated President Pedro Castillo, said the government will also seek to create new public companies, a shift for the Andean nation which in recent decades has focused on divesting its state-controlled corporations.
    Castillo, a former elementary school teacher, and Bellido are now poised to tilt Peru sharply to the left if they can surmount the significant hurdle of getting greenlit by the opposition-led Congress.
    They have also established a committee to keep inflation in check, Bellido said, and shore up the waning strength of the local sol currency, which is at a historic low against the dollar largely due to higher political risk, analysts say.
    Peru’s more moderate Economy Minister Pedro Francke will be in charge of the committee, he said, adding – “We need to stop the dollar’s rise” against the local Sol currency.
    Francke initially balked at serving under the newly elected party’s more hardline prime minister, sparking a last-minute impasse minutes before he was supposed to be sworn into the cabinet.    Bellido said that Francke would be expected to consult with the rest of the cabinet.
    “Everything is a dialogue, nobody can have an island, the economy is not an island,” he said.
    Bellido, who is also a congressman for his native Cuzco region, was little-known in Lima political circles before Castillo, won the presidency this June, campaigning with the Marxist-Leninist party Free Peru.
    Unlike Castillo, Bellido is a longtime member of Free Peru and defines himself as a socialist.
    His other priorities, he said, include ensuring that industries seek warmer relations with the communities they operate in and invest in environment protection.
    In a wide-ranging interview from Lima’s ornamental government palace, Bellido said he has little concern for potential challenges from Congress, and said Castillo will not be impeached, unlike his predecessor Martin Vizcarra.
    Castillo is Peru’s fifth president in five years due to continued political turmoil.    He has yet to give any interviews since taking office.
    “It is a lesson that a peasant is now the president of the republic, it is a cultural lesson,” Bellido said, referring to Castillo’s background growing up in an impoverished hamlet in rural Peru.
    During Castillo’s presidential campaign, he accused private enterprise of “plundering” the nation’s wealth and said he would seek to nationalize natural gas, gold, silver, uranium, copper and lithium mining projects.
    He later played down those comments, saying private investment would be respected.
    Bellido, however, said in the interview that the state will indeed have a degree of participation in key industries.
    “Our feeling is that strategic sectors need to be in the hands of the government,” he said.
    “In my opinion, natural gas is a strategic resource and needs to have government participation (as well) as new hydroelectric projects of large size,” he added, specifying that the mining sector of the world’s No. 2 copper producer would ultimately be left in the control of private enterprise.
    Bellido’s intent to have the government participate in natural gas could have significant implications for the Camisea consortium, the largest fuel producer in Peru.    The consortium is led by Argentina’s Pluspetrol, with smaller stakes held by South Korean conglomerate SK Group, Hunt Oil and Repsol SA.
    That natural gas is then liquefied by a separate consortium, called Peru LNG, which includes Royal Dutch Shell, Japan’s Marubeni Corp, SK and Hunt.
    Bellido was born in the Andean region of Cuzco and speaks the indigenous language Quechua, unlike most former prime ministers who were raised in Spanish-speaking Lima.
    Castillo, who has promised to prioritize marginalized Peruvians from remote regions, has been quick to dispatch Bellido to help mediate a mining conflict near his home region.    Chinese miner MMG LTD operates the Las Bambas mine, 1,100 km (700 miles) southeast of the capital Lima and one of the largest copper deposits in Peru.
    Residents of the area recently blocked a key road that MMG uses to transport copper to a coastal port.    They complain so many trucks cross a poorly-maintained dirt road that their agricultural fields spoil covered in mineral dust.
    Following Bellido’s visit, residents agreed to halt their protest for 60 days in search for a more permanent solution.     “In seeking high profitability, (miners) have cast aside their environmental responsibilities,” Bellido said of the dispute.
    While he acknowledged that Peru is a “mining country,” he said that under the new administration, corporations would need to invest more in improving relations with local communities.    But he stressed that the Castillo administration will seek to forge agreements rather than foment confrontation with miners.
    “We need to have dialogue, build consensus, we won’t impose anything here,” he said.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Aislinn Laing and Aurora Ellis)

8/8/2021 Report: Lt. Gov. Hochul Getting Ready To Become Gov. If Cuomo Resigns Or Is Removed From Office by OAN Newsroom
Lieutenant Governor of New York Kathy Hochul speaks at a ribbon cutting ceremony
in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
    New York Lt. Gov. Kath Hochul (D) has reportedly been making preparations to lead the Empire State on the chance embattled Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) were to step down or be ousted from office.    According to reports on Sunday, Hochul sought advice on potential hires as well as who to keep from Cuomo’s administration.
    The lieutenant governor has been said to believe she could end up in the governor’s office in a matter of weeks.    However, Hochul has yet to be informed of Cuomo’s plans.
    The Democrat would become the first female governor in state history if Cuomo resigned or was removed from office by the state legislature.

8/8/2021 Sturgis Biker Rally Attracts Crowds Despite Attacks By Democrats, Fauci Claims ‘Super-Spreader Event’ by OAN Newsroom
Motorcycle enthusiasts attend the 81st annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. The rally
is expect to draw more than 500,00 people during its 10-day run. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    Tens of thousands of bikers, music lovers and other patriotic Americans have celebrated their weekend at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.    The festival has remained ongoing, despite rampant attacks by Democrats and health bureaucrats.
    Anthony Fauci recently denounced the biker rally as a “super-spreader event.”    However, studies have shown last year’s rally in Sturgis did not result in mass infections.
    Attendees have said they refused to succumb to fear.
    “They could have shut the rally down and everybody else still showed up anyway, I think, last year.    So it’s a it’s one of those things that if you want to do it, that should be your choice to come out and have a good time,” attendee Aaron Harper stated.    “If not, then that’s your choice as well.”
    The 81st annual biker festival kicked off on Friday and is expected to last until August 15.

8/8/2021 FOIA Disclosure: Fauci Conducted Inhumane Tests On Dogs, NIAID Wasted $424k Of Taxpayer Funds To Infest Healthy Dogs With Parasites by OAN Newsroom
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)
    A Freedom of Information disclosure has found Anthony Fauci used U.S. taxpayer money to conduct inhumane experiments on dogs.    Documents obtained by the White Coat Waste Project showed Fauci’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious     Diseases spent $424,000 to infest healthy beagles with flies that carried dangerous parasites.
    Fauci’s experiments reportedly resulted in several dogs being infected by the parasites as well as euthanized blood collection.    Multiple dogs were bitten to death by those flies.
    NIAID claimed those experiments were carried out to test the effectiveness of anti-parasitic drugs, despite ethical concerns.    The few dogs that survived Fauci’s tests were later disposed of.
    “The NIH website says they choose beagles because they’re small and docile, means they are easy to abuse,” explained Justin Goodman of White Coat Waste Project.    “They took these 28 healthy beagles, infected them with with parasites by, as they’ve done in the past, strapping devices that allow them to eat them alive basically, give them parasites and then they killed the dogs at the end of the study.”
    Several federal agencies have allegedly moved away from experimenting products on dogs, but Fauci’s project seemed to have proceeded in a different way.

8/8/2021 Maduro Unveils Talks With Opposition Amid Primary Elections by OAN Newsroom
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix, File)
    Venezuela has selected its candidates for the upcoming elections this coming November. Venezuela’s Socialist Party held primary elections on Sunday amid an ongoing economic crisis and a political stalemate in the country.
    Embattled President Nicolas Maduro said following the vote, his officials would hold talks with leaders of opposition to see if they could form a more inclusive government this year.
    Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó has hoped to advance the talks, which would be mediated by Mexico and Norway.    Maduro also commented on the current state of U.S. relations.
    “We don’t have any communication with the White House.    In Trump’s time we had a lot of communication with the White House, with Elliott Abrams, with the State Department,” he stated.    “Today, we don’t have any communication with the U.S. government.”
Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó in Caracas, Venezuela. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
    Maduro went on to say talks with supporters of Guaidó have seven points on the agenda, which are aimed at resolving Venezuela’s lengthy political crisis.

8/8/2021 CDC: ‘Limited Evidence’ Recovered COVID-19 Patients Need Vaccine by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Thomas Massie ( R-Ky.) talks to reporters before leaving Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
    The CDC has finally admitted it did not have enough evidence to support vaccine mandates for people who have recovered from COVID-19.    Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) shared the CDC study on Twitter, which said the CDC had only “limited evidence” to suggest COVID vaccines would provide any benefits to recovered patients.
    The Kentucky Republican added the CDC’s admission rendered all vaccine mandates baseless.    He stressed the number of coronavirus cases were biased because the unvaccinated have been forced to get tested more often.
    In addition, a separate study by Fred Hutchinson Centre found those recovered from COVID-19 had a broad and lasting immunity from coronavirus and its variants.

8/8/2021 Sen. Blackburn: Democrats Want Permanent Pandemic by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Marsha Blackburn in Franklin, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
    Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) warned the left has grown fond of lockdowns.    During a recent interview, Blackburn claimed Democrats wanted a permanent pandemic because of the control it gave them.
    In addition, the Tennessee Republican touched on the Biden border crisis by stressing the border wall needed to be built.
    “The cartels are running that border.    They are making money off of every individual that crosses that border.    These people are being subjected to physical and sexual abuse,” she explained.    “…This is what we’re seeing in our communities.    Build the wall. Secure the border.”
    Blackburn went on to say Biden has pushed the U.S. towards a $30 trillion national debt with the bloated infrastructure package and other Democrat spending proposals.

8/8/2021 Rep. Stefanik Blasts N.Y. News Station For Being ‘Outrageously Sexist’ by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    A local news outlet has been under fire after a reporter and his guest made negative comments about Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-N.Y.) role as a mother and GOP leader.    Late last week, Vermont local reporter Darren Perron spoke with political scientist Harvey Schantz on how Stefanik’s pregnancy could hurt her role in the GOP.     The reporter asked digging questions into how her absence would impact the district.    Stefanik fired back in a tweet by saying the comments were “a disgrace from two sexist male commentators.”
    Darren Perron: “In terms of leadership will her absence though, physical absence on Capitol Hill hurt her role in the Republican Party.”
    Harvey Schantz: “The people in New York 21 will benefit while she’s not at full energy on her job by a congressional staff.”
    Stefanik went on to demand an apology from the local station and claimed they were the reason women chose to not run for office.

8/9/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/9/2021 Senate Ends Debate On Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill by OAN Newsroom
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) arrives with his security detail as senators convene for a rare weekend
session to continue work on the bipartisan infrastructure bill at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    68 senators voted on Sunday night to end debate on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.    The deal, after four months of negotiations, reached over 2,700 pages, which has included items from both Democrat and Republican wish lists.
    “It’s been a long day, but we have plowed through, as I have intended,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated.    “The cloture motion on the final bill has passed by a very handsome, overwhelming vote.”
    Despite the air of cooperation circulating the Capitol, Democrats haven’t passed up an opportunity to remind their Republican cohorts that while the bipartisan bill is currently on the table, it would quickly be followed by their massive reconciliation proposal.
    “We will move forward to wrap this up as expeditiously as possible and then move on to the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions,” Schumer explained.    “The bipartisan infrastructure bill and the budget resolution with reconciliation instructions.”
    In the wake of refusing to capitulate to Schumer’s type of cooperative leadership, some Republicans have reportedly prepared to utilize a procedural loophole that could extend the clock for more than 24 hours before a vote could be held.
    One such senator, Tennessee’s Bill Hagerty (R), has made it clear to both his fellow Republicans and the Democrats across the aisle that he would not move to speed up debate.
    “Democrats say that they want amendments, but they can’t take yes for an answer,” he expressed.    “Democrats true intention is to rush this bill through so that they can hurry up and light the fuse on the $3.5 trillion spending spree, a socialist debt bomb, then leave town for vacation.”
    The House is currently in recess, with both infrastructure packages waiting for discussion upon its return in September.

8/9/2021 Man Beaten In Broad Daylight In Seattle by OAN Newsroom
A general view of the Seattle Space Needle and downtown skyline with Mount Rainier in the background
in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images for Rock’n’Roll Marathon )
    A 22-year-old man was attacked and beaten in broad daylight.    Police released surveillance footage last week, which showed the suspect throw an unsuspecting victim to the ground and stomp on his head repeatedly until he lost consciousness.
    The assailant then reportedly stole his wallet, keys and cell phone before he casually walked away.    Police reported a bystander called 911 and the victim was transported to a nearby hospital with head trauma and significant facial injuries.
    The attack comes as Seattle experienced its deadliest June in at least 13 years, which has signaled the potential for another record-breaking year of violent crime.
    “It’s disheartening to see this happening around our city and nothing is being done about it,” Seattle resident Bishop Marshall expressed.    “It’s been going on for years and it seems to be the city council has continued to let this happen.”
    Seattle Police Officer’s Guild President Officer Mike Solan said the jump in violent crime was not surprising as it has been the direct result of the activist political class pushing the defund the police narrative.

8/9/2021 Cuomo Accuser Brittany Commisso Speaks Publicly For First Time by OAN Newsroom
This image provided by CBS This Morning/Times Union shows Brittany Commisso, left, answering questions during an interview with CBS
correspondent Jericka Duncan on CBS This Morning, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021, in New York. (CBS This Morning and Times Union via AP)
    One of the 11 women who have accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) of sexual harassment held her first public interview. During the interview on Sunday, Brittany Commisso said Cuomo broke the law and needed to be held accountable.
    Over the weekend, the 32-year-old filed a criminal complaint against the Democrat with the Albany County District’s office.    Before her name was released, Commisso was referred to as Executive Assistant One.
    Commisso went on to say she was afraid to say something until recently because she felt she had no one to turn to.
    “They started to be hugs with kisses on the cheek and then there was that one point a hug and then when he went to go kiss me on the cheek, he quickly turned his head and kissed me on the lips,” she explained.    “…I didn’t say anything this whole time.    People don’t understand that this is the governor of the state of New York."
    The Albany County Sheriff’s office said if the allegations in her criminal complaint were substantiated, an arrest was likely.

8/9/2021 Sen. Cotton Questions Ethics Of Hunter Biden Art Sale by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Tom Cotton at the Associated Press bureau in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) has questioned the ethics of Hunter Biden’s artwork ahead of a private auction. In an interview released on Sunday, the Arkansas Republican said although the White House has claimed buyers would remain anonymous, the sale as whole was an ill-advised idea.
    Hunter Biden’s artwork could fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece at an upcoming exhibition in New York. Cotton argued the sale was simply a name trade off.
    “I mean some of the pictures of his art have been online,” he stated.    “I mean, it looks like a coronavirus got sick with a bacteria.    I mean, come on, who is going to pay for a first-time artist whose art is mediocre at best thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars?
    Cotton went on to suggest Hunter Biden should wait until his dad was out of office before selling his paintings to ensure there would be no corruption.
Joe Biden, left, and his son Hunter Biden, right, in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

8/9/2021 Newt Gingrich: Where Is Biden Admin. Sending Illegal Immigrants? by OAN Newsroom
Migrants board a bus to be taken to a border patrol processing facility after crossing the
Rio Grande into the U.S. in La Joya, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration has faced scrutiny for the lack of transparency about where illegal immigrants have been released after at least 200,000 were apprehended just last month.    During an interview on Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the Biden administration owed it to the American people to come clean and explain which communities have been targeted.
    Gingrich went on to say, “when you have people coming over who have not been tested for COVID, who have many cases have not been checked for criminal record, to just put them on a Greyhound and say good luck, strikes me as really totally irresponsible and a threat to the country.”
    A leaked presidential briefing document obtained by NBC revealed during the last few weeks, at least 20 percent of unaccompanied migrant children have tested positive for COVID-19 after being released into U.S. communities by Border Patrol.
    “This is an issue that the members of the House and Senate ought to be asking, so who is coming to my district, and who is gonna pay for it?    It’s a real problem,” Gingrich expressed.    “In McAllen, Texas, their estimate was 16 percent of the people coming across the border had COVID.    Now that’s based on who was actually in McAllen.”
    COVID-positive migrants have been temporarily housed in McAllen, Texas in tents at a public park. At least 16 percent of aliens tested positive for COVID-19 upon entering the community.
    Residents have voiced concern about the public health and safety risk this posed. During an address last week, Mayor Javier Villalobos said until the Biden administration helped them, their hands were tied.    He added because of overflowing detention facilities, it was between this or releasing them straight into the community.
    Meanwhile, Joe Biden is expected to receive a briefing about the surge of COVID-positive migrants on Thursday, but it remains unclear how or if the White House will address it.

8/9/2021 Long Delays As Canada Opens Border To Fully Vaccinated American Tourists After 16 Months
Travellers line up to enter Canada after border restrictions were loosened to allow fully vaccinated U.S. residents, after
the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic forced an unprecedented 16-month ban that many businesses complained was
crippling them, at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Jennifer Gauthier
    VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Long delays were reported at the Canadian-U.S. border on Monday as Ottawa finally opened doors to fully vaccinated American tourists for the first time in 16 months, causing a rush of tourists to travel north during the busy summer season.
    Government data showed a seven-hour wait time for the Fort Frances, Ontario, and International Falls, Minnesota, crossing.    Fort Frances advertises itself online as “rarely experiencing delays.”
    Several crossings in Ontario and New Brunswick – between the states of New York and Maine – had waits of three hours.
    Canada barred all leisure travel from the United States in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but as of August 9 fully vaccinated travelers are able to enter the country.    International travelers who are fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter in early September.
    Late on Friday, the Canadian government and border staff reached a tentative deal to end a strike action that began earlier in the day.
    Prior to the pandemic, tourism was the fifth-largest industry in Canada, contributing C$105 billion ($83.4 billion) to the GDP and providing one in ten jobs, according to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
    Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, Canada’s biggest airport, has also asked travelers to brace for delays as American leisure travelers returns to Canada.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

8/9/2021 PM Apologises As Greece Counts Costs Of Wildfire Catastrophe by Lefteris Papadimas
FILE PHOTO: A damaged farm is seen following a wildfire in the village of Lasdikas
near ancient Olympia, Greece, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Giorgos Moutafis
    PEFKI, Greece (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised on Monday for failures in tackling the devastating wildfires that have burned across Greece for the past week as the country counted the cost in lost homes and livelihoods.
    As fires burned unabated in many parts of the country for a seventh day, the biggest front was on Evia, Greece’s second-biggest island located just off the mainland east of Athens.
    “It burned everything, there’s nothing left,” said 77-year-old Makis Ladogiannakis, sitting in a cafe in the seaside town of Pefki, where a ferry waited to evacuate more locals and tourists to safety if needed, as in previous days.
    “The fire was the biggest catastrophe for the village,” he said.    “People lived off resin production and the olive trees.”
    More than 500 fires have been burning across Greece, forcing the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people and there has been growing public anger at delays and breakdowns in the government’s response.
    Mitsotakis went on television late on Monday to make a public apology and promised that mistakes would be identified and rectified but called for unity.
    “I fully understand the pain of our fellow citizens who saw their homes or property burned,” he said.    “Any failures will be identified.    And responsibility will be assigned wherever necessary.”
    Mitsotakis promised that forests destroyed by the fires would be restored and climate defences be built up, and he pledged compensation for those whose property was destroyed in the fires.
    He approved a 500 million-euro package of aid for Evia and the Attica region around Athens.    Ministers were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss further support measures. [L8N2PG55U]
    Strong winds on Monday fuelled flare-ups on Evia after appearing to ease earlier in the day.    Water-bombing aircraft struggled to operate because of the large plumes of smoke blanketing the area, authorities said.
    The fires broke out last week during Greece’s worst heatwave in three decades, with searing temperatures and dry heat causing tinder box conditions.
    “The climate crisis is knocking on the door of the entire planet,” Mitsotakis said, just hours after a U.N. report said global warming was dangerously close to being out of control.
    Temperatures had cooled somewhat in Greece, but were forecast to rise again during the week, meaning the risk of flare-ups remained high.
    “It’s sad.    All my childhood memories are burned right now,” said Richard Konstantine Allen, who lives in Athens but went back to try to save his property.    “I used to run in this forest, to cycle to collect fruit, now everything is gone.”
    In Athens, officials began to assess the damage from a blaze which tore through several suburbs north of the city last week before beginning to recede on Saturday.
    “Our aim is to complete the inventory as soon as possible, in order to immediately begin the process of compensating our affected fellow citizens,” the ministry of infrastructure and transport said in a statement.
    The blaze, which broke out on the foothills of Mount Parthina on the outskirts of the capital, sent thousands of people fleeing and damaged homes and businesses as well as thousands of hectares of forest land.
    Almost 1,000 firefighters, nine aircraft and 200 vehicles have been sent to Greece from other European countries to help with the wildfires.    In addition, Greece said on Monday it was expecting two aircraft from Turkey and an additional plane from Russia.
    More than 2,000 residents and tourists have been evacuated by ferry since last Tuesday – the images of them departing against the backdrop of a dark red sky becoming emblematic of the blazes.
(Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Alison Williams)

8/9/2021 Greek PM Approves 500 Million Euro Budget For Wildfire Relief, Reforestation
FILE PHOTO: Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses the media as he arrives on the first day of the
European Union summit at The European Council Building in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS
    ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Monday he had approved a supplemental budget of 500 million euros ($587 million) to fund relief and compensation for people who have lost homes and property in wildfires that have hit the country.
    “The extent of the destruction blackens our hearts, I apologise for the losses,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address, promising his government would stand by all those hurt by the blazes.
    Firefighters on the ground and from the air were still battling to halt wildfires on the island of Evia, Greece’s second largest near Athens, as they threatened to engulf the town of Istiaia in the north of the island.
    Strong winds fuelled flare-ups on the island after the fires appeared to ease earlier on Monday.    Water-bombing aircraft struggled to operate because of the large plumes of smoke blanketing the area, authorities said.
    “Those who lost homes and property will be compensated.    The burned areas will be reforested,” Mitsotakis pledged.
    The government’s relief measures will be detailed after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
    Mitsotakis said government services had to deal with 586 wildfires “in all corners of Greece” amid a heatwave.    He thanked countries that sent assistance and the many volunteers who helped firefighting efforts.
    He said possible failings would be investigated.    Angry Greeks are criticising the government’s response to the devastation.
    “The climate crisis is knocking on the door of the entire planet,” he said.
($1 = 0.8516 euros)
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Mark Potter)

8/9/2021 Protesters Block Roads Across Guatemala, Urging President To Step Down by Sofia Menchu
FILE PHOTO: Police officers walk past Mayan indigenous people blocking a road during a protest to demand
the resignation of Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General Maria Porras,
in San Cristobal Totonicapan, Guatemala July 29, 2021. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria
    GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Members of one of Guatemala’s biggest farmers and indigenous groups blocked roads across the nation on Monday, calling on President Alejandro Giammattei and his attorney general to resign over the firing of a top anti-graft prosecutor.
    It was the third time in the last 15 days that people took to the streets to protest the ousting of Juan Francisco Sandoval, the internationally recognized head of the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), who was investigating potential acts of corruption by Giammattei.
    Attorney General Maria Porras said Sandoval had undermined her work and named the electoral crimes prosecutor to take Sandoval’s role.
    In Guatemala City, police patrolled government buildings, while on the outskirts of the capital, members of the farmers rights group CODECA placed planks of wood fitted with nails across highways to stop cars from circulating.    Images in Guatemalan media and social media showed roadblocks in other parts of the country.
    “We are calling for the resignation and investigation of President Alejandro Giammattei and Attorney General (Maria) Consuelo Porras,” Telma Cabrera, an indigenous former presidential candidate for the Movement for the Liberation of Peoples party and a leader of CODECA, told reporters.
    Many university students have joined the protests organized by CODECA, which said it plans to maintain roadblocks throughout the day.
    Some CODECA leaders said they also plan to protest outside Giammattei’s government office.
    The latest protests highlight growing frustrations in Guatemala over corruption and the dismantling of judicial independence.    In 2015, waves of such anti-corruption demonstrations brought about the downfall of then-president Otto Perez Molina.
(Reporting by Sofia Menchu; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

8/9/2021 Pentagon To Require COVID-19 Vaccine For All Troops By Sept. 15 by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listens to a question as he speaks during a media
briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    The Pentagon announced requirements for all members of the military to get the COVID-19 vaccine by September 15.    In a memo sent to Department of Defense employees on Monday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he would seek Joe Biden’s approval to mandate vaccines for all active-duty troops.
    Austin added he would not hesitate to move up the deadline in infections continued to rise. He added if the FDA gave final approval of the vaccines earlier than expected, the deadline could also be pushed to an earlier date.
    The decision comes just days after Biden announced all federal employees to either be vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.    Biden would have to give final approval for the military mandate.

8/9/2021 Sen. Paul Urges All Americans To Resist Mask, Vaccine Mandates by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via AP, Pool)
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called on all Americans to oppose masks and vaccines, along with a new round of lockdowns.    The Kentucky senator said the latest Democrat proposals on public health were not based on science and would only increase the power of the government.
    Paul argued Democrats have used vast amounts of propaganda and fear to justify their actions.    He added Americans could avoid government tyranny by simply standing up for the truth.
    “We will make our own health choices.    We will not show you a passport.    We will not wear a mask,” he asserted.    “…Biden, we will not accept your agencies’ mandates or your reported moves towards a lockdown.    No one should follow the CDC’s anti-science mask mandates.”
    Paul also warned he would block any bill to fund the federal government if the Biden administration were to shut down federal agencies again.

8/9/2021 RNC Chair McDaniel: Joe Biden Fails To Act As U.S. Border Crumbles by OAN Newsroom
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks during a news conference
at the Republican National Committee in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized Joe Biden for the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.    In a series of tweets on Monday, McDaniel warned “illegal border crossings continued to surge.”
    McDaniel urged Biden to retract his claims that violations of the U.S. border were seasonal.    In addition, lawmakers have expressed concerns over illegals posing a systemic threat to the U.S. immigration system.
    The RNC chair added Biden has repeatedly lied about the border crisis, while his border czar Kamala Harris hasn’t appeared to be bothered.
    McDaniel went on to say the Democrat media has refused to cover Biden’s failures on immigrations.

8/9/2021 Yellen: Debt Limit Must Be Raised To Avoid Default by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen in London, England. (Photo by Justin Tallis – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged Congress to raise the debt limit once again. In a statement issued on Monday, Yellen pointed out the debt limit had been raised on a bipartisan basis in previous years.
    While waiting for the limit to be raised again, Yellen said the Treasury Department has taken extraordinary measures to prevent a default on debt.    She added failure to act would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy as well as the livelihoods of all Americans.
    Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vows Republicans will not support any proposal to raise the debt limit.

8/10/2021 Oil down $1.02 to $66.80, DOW down 107 to 35,102.

8/10/2021 Police Clear Climate Activists From Zurich Financial Zone by Michael Shields
Climate activists of "Rise up for Change" block an entrance of Credit Suiesse to protest against big banks' financing of fossil
fuel projects that damage the environment in Zurich, Germany, August 2, 2021. Schweiz Rise Up For Change/Handout via REUTERS
    ZURICH (Reuters) - Police cleared climate activists from the heart of Zurich’s financial district on Monday after dozens blocked entrances to offices of Switzerland’s two biggest banks to protest against their financing of fossil fuel projects, authorities said.
    Police in Switzerland’s financial hub said they had taken around 30 people into temporary custody during the peaceful protest that was still under way around midday.
    Police led or carried away singing and chanting activists who had taken up positions at the entrances to the headquarters of Credit Suisse and a major UBS office block on Paradeplatz square in central Zurich after they refused to disperse.
    Credit Suisse and UBS have so far failed to respond adequately to the climate crisis, Frida Kohlmann, spokesperson for the Rise Up for Change group, said in a statement.    “That is why the climate justice movement is occupying the Credit Suisse headquarters and the nearby UBS office today to draw attention to the consequences of the Swiss financial institutions’ inaction.”
    In response UBS said in a statement: “Climate protection is a top priority at UBS … We are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our business to net zero by 2050, with science-based interim targets for 2025, 2030 and 2035.”
    Credit Suisse had no comment on the protest, but said: “Credit Suisse is committed to climate protection and achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” referring to the 2015 international treaty on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
    It noted it was working help clients transition to low-carbon business models, aiming to provide at least 300 billion Swiss francs ($331.5 billion) in sustainable financing over the next decade.    It also provides sustainable finance solutions for customers and was working to reduce its own carbon footprint.
    The protest comes amid a wave of civil disobedience by activists in Switzerland, where the climate is warming at about twice the pace of the global average and changing its famed mountain landscapes.
($1 = 0.9050 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Michael ShieldsEditing by Robert Birsel and David Holmes)

8/10/2021 House GOP Demand DHS Explain Southern Border Crisis by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky File)
    GOP lawmakers have made demands for the Department of Homeland Security to explain why so many illegal immigrants have been able to breach the southern border.    A group of Republicans, led by Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas), sent a letter to the DHS secretary on Monday.
    The group of lawmakers asked the DHS to report how many migrants have entered the U.S. this year as well as how many were either deported or released.    The Republicans also asked how many immigrants tested positive for COVID-19 and if they faced possible human rights violations in Biden’s migrant camps.
    Estimates have shown more than one million migrants entered the U.S. illegally this year so far.
    The Republicans went on to say they would pass a resolution of inquiry if the DHS ignored their letter.

8/10/2021 Democrats Unveil Outline For $3.5T Budget Resolution Package by OAN Newsroom
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y. on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
    Democrats unveiled their $3.5 trillion budget framework.    The text was released on Monday and has been a hot topic of concern with Republicans as many have openly rejected the legislation.
    Major aspects of the budget framework outlined billions towards childcare and schooling, expanding Medicare, addressing alleged climate change, housing and clean energy. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said committees had a deadline to “submit their reconciliation legislation” by September 15 and touted the package’s importance.
    He went on to say, “democratic budget will be the most significant legislation for American families since the era of the new deal and the great society.”
    However, some have expressed opposition to the bill’s high price tag, such as Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also criticized the bill.
    “In just a few days, our colleagues will start ramming through yet another, another reckless taxing and spending spree,” he expressed.    “Trillions more in inflationary spending when families just want good jobs and stable prices.”
    As Republicans have publicly decried the effort, Democrats hoped to skirt around the Senate filibuster by first passing a budget resolution.    This would have permitted Democrats the opportunity to work on a reconciliation bill.
    McConnell stated Democrats are on their own.
    The Republican went on to say, “if they want all this spending and debt to be their signature legacy, they should leap at the chance to own every bit of it.”
    Democrats are reportedly looking to pass the budget resolution this week after the Senate finishes the bipartisan infrastructure package.

8/10/2021 Larry Elder Criticizes Calif. Public Schools And Homelessness by OAN Newsroom
Conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder speaks to supporters during a campaign
stop in Norwalk, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
    California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder said he wanted to fix school in the Golden State by giving parents the right of choice in education.    During a speech in San Diego on Monday, Elder slammed the state’s public education system and highlighted how children have been failing state standardized tests.
    “Two percent of the kids at Crenshaw High School are math proficient,” he explained.    “Now, who sends their kid to a school where only two percent of the kids are math proficient if they have an option out?    I want to give parents choice in education.”
    Elder also hit at Democrat policies, which he argued made affordable housing near impossible as well as contributed to the rise in homelessness.
    “Many of them have mental illness.    Many of them have substance abuse.    They need to be treated.    They need to be cared for, but we need to build low cost housing so they have somewhere to go,” he asserted.    “We cannot tolerate what’s going on, having people pitching tents and sleeping on sidewalks.    That’s not going to be tolerated.”
    This comes as new data has shown Elder has been leading the field of Republicans in the recall election and averaging nearly $250,000 in daily donations.

8/10/2021 Sen. Scott Opposes Democrat Tax And Spend Policies by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
    Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) slammed Democrats’ reckless tax and spending policies just before the upper chamber passed the infrastructure bill.    Speaking on Capitol Hill on Monday, Scott criticized the left by saying it appeared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had taken control of the Democrat Party.
    “It sure looks like Bernie Sanders now controls the party,” he stated. “It’s systemic socialism. It’s exactly what he’s always proposed.”     Scott added the Democrats’ agenda of “systemic socialism” put American families on the hook with higher taxes, skyrocketing debt and raging inflation.    He pointed to the Democrats’ new budget outlook by saying the federal government was not living within its means and the left wasn’t trying to balance their spending.
    “We’re at a little over $28 trillion worth of debt.    I think 28.5 and we’re about to hit 30 trillion.    We’ve already passed the debt ceiling,” he explained.    “They’re projecting to take our federal debt to $45 trillion.    They’re assuming interest rates are going to stay down.    They’re assuming in 2031, the annual interest expense will be $1 trillion.”
    Scott had been among several GOP lawmakers who were in favor of improving U.S. infrastructure, but in a way he said was fiscally responsible.    He argued Congress needed to become more honest with the American people.
    “I talk to families about issues they deal with.    The biggest issue they’re dealing with now is inflation,” he explained.     “…The poorest families in this country, the families on a fixed income, they can’t afford what we’re doing to them. We’ve got to stop wasteful spending.”
    Inflation and reckless spending has not been the only concern that was brought forward by Republicans.    The GOP has been drawing attention to Democrat-lead efforts to make changes to the death tax, which was one of several changes to tax code the left has proposed in order to fund their massive spending.
    In an op-ed published on Monday, South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) asserted Americans could be forced into selling their family-owned farms just to pay Biden’s proposed double death tax.    He argued the U.S. tax code has allowed family-run businesses to be passed down to the next generation without the imposition of capital gains taxes on the built-in gains from the prior generation.
    Thune added many of these “gains” were unrealized.    The price of the land may have risen since being owned by previous generations, but farmers haven’t seen a penny of actual gain.    It’s called “step-up in basis” and it prevented families from large payments when a loved one dies.
    Thune warned this would crush the dream of farmers in his state, many of whom wish to pass their business onto a loved one in better condition.
    He went on to say, “the families who depend on these generationally-owned operations will be watching.”

8/10/2021 Dr. Fauci Warns Vaccine Mandates Likely Coming Following Full FDA Approval Of COVID-19 Vaccines by OAN Newsroom
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the
coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Americans to expect a “flood” of COVID-19 vaccine mandates once the FDA has fully approved the vaccines.    The chief medical adviser to Joe Biden said while the mandates weren’t expected to happen at the federal level, schools and other institutions would likely require people to be vaccinated before entering.
    However, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) insisted Fauci was not to be trusted.    He added the doctor has been proven wrong time and time again.
    “I have been telling everyone for a year now, Dr. Fauci and other public health bureaucrats were not following the science,” he stated.    “I have been proving right time and time again, but I’m not the only one who is fed up.    I can’t go anywhere these days without people coming up and thanking me for standing up to them.”
    So far, the three vaccines administered in America have only received emergency authorization from the FDA.    Fauci went on to say he remained hopeful the FDA would fully approve the vaccines within the coming weeks.

8/10/2021 Pentagon Announces Mandatory Vaccination For Military by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listens to a question as he speaks during
a media briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
    The Pentagon announced requirements for all members of the military to get the COVID-19 vaccine.    Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby announced the plan on Monday and highlighted the military was in compliance with Joe Biden’s direction.
    “You can consider this memo today as what we would call in the military a warning order.    A warning order to the force that this is coming and we want you to be ready for it as well,” he stated.    “Obviously, we’d prefer that you get the vaccine now and not wait for the mandate.”
    In a memo, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced employees of the Department of Defense would have until September 15 to get the COVID-19 vaccination.
    Austin went on to say, “I will not hesitate to act sooner or recommend a different course.”
    Kirby reiterated the secretary’s sentiments by saying the military was following Biden’s recommendations.
    “We are going to be developing policies to comply with the president’s direction that the unvaccinated will have to be subjected to certain requirements and restrictions,” he explained.    “…We’re working hard on what will be a policy directive to come in the coming days that will make it clear what those requirements and restrictions are and how they apply to everybody in the duty workforce, including uniformed personnel.”
    Those who would be resistant to receiving the shot may be faced with obstacles and punishments.    Austin said the military would comply with Biden’s “direction regarding additional restrictions and requirements for unvaccinated federal personnel.”
[Comment by Jim A. Cornwell: If you have read my life history at the top of my site at and when I joined the Air Force in the 70's I soon realized I lost some of my rights in the Constitution and as my story goes you can see I became a person who fought back to help airmen get their rights and eventually myself and I remember they gave us shots without telling us what they were and but what you are reading above is not a reason to give all that shot and it sounds to me they are using them like test to see what the percentages and effects on that population like guinea pigs.].

8/10/2021 Greek Villagers Mount Vigil To Save Homes As Wildfires Burn For Eighth Day by Lefteris Papadimas and Leon Malherbe
A soldier looks at a smoking log following a wildfire in the suburb of
Varympompi, in Athens, Greece, August 9, 2021. REUTERS/Louiza Vradi
    AVGARIA, Greece (Reuters) - Residents mounted a round-the-clock watch on Tuesday to try to save their homes from wildfires ravaging the Greek island of Evia as the government defended its handling of the crisis.
    Greek fire crews, backed by foreign firefighters and volunteers, battled flare-ups on Greece’s second-largest island, where fires were burning for an eighth day. Other fronts in the Peloponnese also reignited, and authorities ordered the evacuation of 20 more villages in the region of Arkadia.
    The government announced relief measures for those who have lost homes and property, but some villagers said they could not leave their houses to the flames that have turned the skies a deep red.
    “Police came and told us to evacuate the village of Avgaria but we cannot, this is our property.    We cannot let our homes burn,” said Ioannis Aggelopoulos, 55, who owns a car body shop at Istiaia, on the island’s northern tip.
    “We have been sleeping in shifts.”
    Residents used hoses to put out fires burning near their homes and helped firefighters and volunteers.
    “They’re the ones who saved the village today,” one elderly resident said, pointing to a team of Slovak firefighters tackling flames in a forested area.
    “It’s a huge fire, it’s not easy to get it under control,” said the crew’s team leader, Peter Kovalik.    “We are doing our best.”
    In Athens, the main political opposition blamed the government for using climate change as an excuse to cover up deficiencies in its handling of the crisis.
    “Climate change is without doubt an especially dangerous reality.    However, it cannot be used as an excuse by the government because it ignored our warnings and those of scientists,” Alexis Tsipras, head of the left-wing SYRIZA party, told reporters.
    On Monday, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis apologised for failures in tackling the wildfires that have burned across the country as authorities began counting the cost in lost homes and livelihoods.
    Mitsotakis approved a 500-million-euro ($585.85 million) aid budget for Evia and the Attica region around Athens and said all forests destroyed by the fires would be restored.
    As part of the relief measures detailed by the government on Tuesday, those affected would receive compensation for the damage to homes or businesses, they would be exempt from property tax and receive rent subsidies.
    Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias told reporters the state apparatus did all it could in the face of 586 wildfires in eight days during the worst heatwave in 30 years.
    “Do not shoot the fighters in the hour of battle.    Every home lost for us is a stab in the heart,” Hardalias said.    “The losses we suffered involved fighters, not civilians.”
    One volunteer firefighter has died and three others have been hospitalised.
    Sentinel-2 satellite imagery showed swathes of forest scorched by the wildfires in Attica, Evia and the Peloponnese, with the Athens National Observatory estimating that about 65,000 hectares had been burned in total until Sunday.
    The more than 500 fires have forced the evacuation of dozens of villages and thousands of people.    Almost 1,000 firefighters, nine aircraft and 200 vehicles have been sent to Greece from other European countries to help.
    Israel said it was sending two firefighting planes on Tuesday as well as an Israeli Air Force cargo plane, with equipment to support the aircraft and crews.
($1 = 0.8535 euros)
(Additional reporting by Marco Trujillo and Stelios Misinas on EVIA, Karolina Tagaris and George Georgiopoulos in ATHENS, Jeffrey Heller in JERUSALEMEditing by Alison Williams, Janet Lawrence and Barbara Lewis)

8/10/2021 President Trump Ally Running For Ga. Lt. Gov. by OAN Newsroom
Georgia state Sen. Burt Jones speaks to a Senate committee in Atlanta. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)
    State Sen. Burt Jones (R-Ga.), a stalwart supporter of President Trump, has said he hoped to continue the legacy of America First as Georgia’s next lieutenant governor.    In his first campaign ad released this week, Jones said he wanted to bring the Georgia GOP in a more conservative direction.
    Jones has been a staunch proponent of President Trump’s claims the election in Georgia was stolen.    Since November, Jones has been leading the charge to look into the election in Fulton County.
    For the Republican’s continued push, he was stripped of his committee assignments in January.    However, he did receive the praise of President Trump for his efforts.
    “Burt Jones, I want to thank you Burt, for being here,” Trump stated.    “…He’s a man of courage.    Thank you very much, Burt.    I appreciate everything you’re doing and so does this big crowd.”
    Despite being cut from his assignments, he has continued to push for audits into the election.    Speaking to One America News recently, Jones said he was disappointed in the Republican leadership in his state.
    “It’s unfortunate that we were unable to get it to the special session to address some of those glaring issues that we witnessed during the election cycle,” he expressed.    “A group of people that sit in the leadership posts did not want to listen to us rank and file election officials.”
    Incumbent Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) was the driving force in throwing Jones and others off their committee assignments for questioning the 2020 election results.    Following his efforts to force the Democrat Party line in the state, Duncan lost popularity among the Republican base and announced he would not run for a second term.
    Instead, he planned on forming an advocacy group for so-called moderate Republicans in the post Trump era.    This has left Jones to face only one major opponent for the GOP nomination.    President Pro Temp of the Georgia Senate Butch Miller (R) threw his hat in the ring a few months ago.
    Miller has been an outspoken critic of President Trump following the election.    For his criticisms, he received the 45th president’s ire, who asked any other Republican to run against him.
    Being the only other option at this time, President Trump could very well give Jones the boost he needs if he gets the endorsement.

8/10/2021 U.S. District Judge Hears Arguments Over Latest Eviction Moratorium Extension by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    A federal judge weighed in on the Biden administration’s latest eviction moratorium extension.    On Monday, a U.S. district judge heard arguments from government lawyers, as well as attorneys representing a group of landlords and realtors, regarding that extension.
    White House lawyers argued the spiking number of COVID-19 cases was grounds for a new extension.    However, a Supreme Court ruling in June was a complicating factor, with the court heavily insinuating it would be against another extension that wasn’t approved by Congress.
    A decision on whether to block the CDC’s order is expected in the near future.

8/10/2021 Colo. GOP Candidate Announces Bid For U.S. Senate by OAN Newsroom
Modern pentathlon athlete Eli Bremer poses for a portrait during the
USOC Media Summit in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
    Former Olympian and Air Force veteran Eli Bremer launched a bid for the U.S. Senate in Colorado. On Tuesday, Bremer announced he was entering the GOP Senate primary in the 2022 midterm elections.
    The GOP candidate sought to run against Democrat incumbent Michael Bennet.    Bremer took aim at Bennet by saying in 12 years, he has only authorized one piece of legislation that was signed into law.
    “The problem with career politicians like Michael Bennet is that they spend more time hiding from their constituents then actually serving them,” he stated.    “More time at cocktail parties in D.C. than solving our problems back at home or talking to voters in New Hampshire rather than Colorado.”
    Bremer said he was proud to serve the country in both the military and the Olympics. He added he would be proud to do it again in the U.S. Senate.

8/10/2021 Rep. Andy Biggs Files To Impeach Biden’s DHS Secy. Mayorkas by OAN Newsroom
Alejandro Mayorkas on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
    Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) filed articles of impeachment against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas over the worsening crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Arizona lawmaker made the announcement on Tuesday.
    Biggs argued Mayorkas failed to uphold his oath of office and recklessly abandoned border security.    He added the DHS secretary also undermined the enforcement of immigration law and his impeachment has been long overdue.
    At least one million illegal aliens have breached the U.S. border this year so far. Many were reportedly infected with COVID-19.
    Biggs went on to stress Mayorkas subjected Americans to unnecessary risk and must be removed.

8/11/2021 Oil up $1.64 to $68.46, DOW up 163 to 35,265.

8/11/2021 CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC - Governor orders in-school masking - Mandate applies to vaccinated as well by Olivia Krauth and Sarah Ladd, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Gov. Andy Beshear issued a new mask mandate Tuesday for Kentucky’s schools, less than a day before many districts will welcome kids back to class.
    Under the new requirement, anyone inside a Kentucky school facility will be required to wear a face mask, regardless of their vaccination status against COVID-19.
    Beshear’s executive order applies to all public and private schools, as well as preschools and child care centers.
    “This is how we make sure we protect our children, but this is also how we make sure that they stay in," Beshear said Tuesday afternoon.
    Dozens of Kentucky’s 171 school districts are scheduled to start a new school year Wednesday morning.    Kentucky is in the midst of one of the fastest surges of COVID-19 cases yet, Beshear said.
    COVID-19 is “hitting kids in a way that we haven’t seen before,” Beshear said.
    A majority of kids don’t end up in the hospital, Kentucky Children’s Hospital Physician in Chief Dr. Scottie Day said, but there has been an increase of children being hospitalized week over week.
    “Kids are not immortal,” Day said. “It should be rare that a child would need to go to the hospital.”

8/11/2021 Mexico And U.S. Vow To Expand Cooperation To Address Immigration In High-Level Talks
FILE PHOTO: Vehicles wait in line to cross the Cordova Bridge of the Americas (El Paso CBOA) towards El Paso, Texas, U.S.,
as Mexico's Department of Foreign Relations requested another month-long extension on land-crossing restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border
due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) -Top Mexican and U.S. officials discussed increasing bilateral cooperation to address immigration during a meeting in Mexico City, the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
    Mexican Foreign Ninister Marcelo Ebrard met in Mexico City with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and the National Security Council’s senior director for the Western Hemisphere, Juan Gonzalez.
    “The delegations agreed to expand cooperation in order to manage orderly, safe and regular migration flows with respect for the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers,” the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement following the meeting.
    After the gathering, Ebrard said on Twitter that Mexico’s relationship with the United States was “going very well” and that the meeting had been “productive.”
    At a news conference earlier in the day, Ebrard said the talks would encompass efforts to reopen the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as measures being put forward by the United States aimed at containing immigration from Central America.
    The talks came after Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador spoke to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday, discussing migration, the fight against COVID-19 and the need to strengthen Central American economies.
    During their call, the United States agreed to send Mexico 3.5 million doses of drugmaker Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine and up to 5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Ebrard said, noting that the vaccines would likely arrive in August.
    Ebrard added that he did not expect the U.S.-Mexico land border to reopen by Aug. 21, and that more time would be needed to resume transit for so-called nonessential trips, including for those who cross the border to work or attend school.
    Speaking at the news conference, Lopez Obrador said that Harris agreed with him on the need to reopen their shared land border, but did not provide a specific timetable.
    Ebrard said Lopez Obrador and Harris had also discussed plans to revive, in early September, a forum for bilateral talks known as the high-level economic dialogue, which is aimed at improving economic integration and boosting growth.
    When asked what such discussions could encompass, Ebrard noted that North America was gearing up for technological changes, such as the transition to electric cars, underlining the importance of companies like Tesla Inc in the industry.
    “Obviously we’re interested in being a part of that,” he said.
(Reporting by David Alire Garcia and Raul Cortes Fernandez in Mexico CityEditing by Dave Graham, Matthew Lewis and Michael Perry)

8/11/2021 Soaring Number Of Nicaraguans Seek Refuge In Costa Rica Amid Domestic Crackdown by Alvaro Murillo
FILE PHOTO: Nicaraguans exiled in Costa Rica take part in a march named "Nicaragua no estas sola" (Nicaragua you're not alone), against the
Government of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and the upcoming November 7 general elections, in San Jose, Costa Rica July 18, 2021. REUTERS/Mayela Lopez
    San Jose (Reuters) – Costa Rica received the highest number of refugee applications from Nicaraguans in July since the 2018 protests in Nicaragua, according to Costa Rican government data, following a wave of arrests against opponents of President Daniel Ortega in June.
    There were 5,379 refugee requests by Nicaraguans submitted in July, Costa Rica’s migration agency told Reuters, triple the May figure.
    The spike came as the Nicaraguan government arrested some 30 activists and political opponents, including potential candidates in the November presidential election.
    The July figures also top the requests made in the same month of 2018, when thousands of Nicaraguans fled to the neighboring Central American nation amid a crackdown on protests that began in April of that year and left more than 300 dead.
    “We are amazed at the number of people who have arrived, most of them activists or people from civil society organizations,” said Claudia Vargas, coordinator of the Nicaraguan community for the Arias Foundation in San Jose and herself a refugee.
    Vargas said most of her compatriots entered Costa Rica through informal points along 300 kilometers of the shared border, avoiding official crossing points for fear of being detained by the Nicaraguan military.
    Since 2018, some 80,000 Nicaraguans have fled to Costa Rica.
    Ortega, who has been in power for the second time since 2007 and is seeking re-election in November, has been facing increasing international pressure for the crackdown on political opponents and allegations of human rights violations.
    He accuses his critics of conspiring to intervene in his country’s affairs.
(Reporting by Alvaro Murillo in San Jose; writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/11/2021 Brazil Congress Blocks Changes To Voting System Despite Military Show Of Force by Anthony Boadle
Brazilian Navy tanks pass in front of the Planalto presidential palace during
a military parade in Brasilia, Brazil August 10, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado
    BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted down a plan by far-right President Jair Bolsonaro to alter the country’s voting system on Tuesday, despite on an unusual display of military hardware by the armed forces.
    Politicians of all stripes called the parade of navy tanks, armored personnel carriers and amphibious vehicles a form of intimidation hours before lawmakers were set to vote on a constitutional amendment backed by Bolsonaro.
    Brazil’s lower house of Congress voted down the proposal with 229 votes in favor, 218 against and 1 abstention, with dozens of lawmakers absent.    The vote fell 79 votes short of the three-fifths majority needed to approve a constitutional amendment.
    The Navy said the parade had been planned long before the vote in the lower house of Congress was scheduled and it was meant to invite the president to an annual military exercise on Sunday.
    The presidential media office did not respond to a request for comment on the parade.
    With his popularity flagging amid the world’s second-deadliest COVID-19 outbreak, Bolsonaro has insisted in recent weeks on adopting paper ballots for the 2022 election, based on unproven claims of fraud in Brazil’s electronic voting system.
    He has threatened not to accept the results of next year’s presidential election, which polls show him losing to former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.    Neither man has officially announced his candidacy.
    Flanked by the commanders of the armed forces, Bolsonaro stood outside the Planalto presidential palace as the military parade passed by.    A Navy officer in combat gear walked up the ramp to hand him the invitation.
    The sight of tanks by the presidential palace unsettled Brazilians who had lived under the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.
    Lawmaker Arthur Lira, speaker of the lower chamber of Congress, called the military parade ahead of a major vote a “tragic coincidence,” and he did not accept an invitation to attend the armed forces’ exercise.
    Other lawmakers said the unusual military presence in front of the presidential palace was meant to intimidate them.
    “Tanks in the street, precisely on the day of the vote on the paper ballot amendment, is real, clear and unconstitutional intimidation,” Senator Simone Tebet of the centrist Brazilian Democratic Movement party said on social media.
    “Bolsonaro has turned a military training exercise into a political spectacle,” said leftist Congresswoman Perpetua Almeida, calling it a show of force in reaction to his dropping poll numbers.    “This shot will backfire,” she tweeted.
(Reporting by Anthony BoadleAdditonal reporting by Maria Carolina MarcelloEditing by Brad Haynes, Angus MacSwan and Leslie Adler)

8/11/2021 As Cuomo Resigns, Fresh Calls From N.Y. Dems To Pursue Nursing Home Deaths Pours In by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 04: People participate in a protest against N.Y. Governor Andrew Cuomo and protest for a
moratorium on evictions on August 4, 2021 in New York City. The dual issues arose after New York Attorney General
Letitia James investigation concluded that Governor Cuomo did sexually harass multiple women and the eviction moratorium
instated by the CDC due to the COVID-19 pandemic is slated to elapse at the end of the month. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
    Embattled New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo announced he would be officially stepping down from his position as governor in a matter of weeks following an attorney general report on sexual harassment allegations against him.    Cuomo’s Tuesday announcement of his imminent resignation has been met with universal praise from across the political spectrum.
    However, some of the Democrats celebrating have joined others in asking people to make sure Cuomo’s other scandals are not forgotten.    Namely, they have called out Attorney General Letitia James’ other report on nursing home deaths in the state.
    According to that bombshell report, Cuomo undercounted deaths in New York nursing homes by 50 percent when the first wave of COVID decimated the state.    This cover-up followed a Cuomo order that forced nursing homes to accept COVID-positive patients.
    State Assemblyman Ron Kim (D) was one of the first individuals to call for Cuomo to resign, after Kim lost his veteran grandfather in a state nursing home.
    In a recent interview, Kim was asked how he felt about Cuomo finally resigning amid the sexual harassment allegations.    Kim said he and his colleagues, along with New Yorkers, are relieved he’s stepping aside.    However, Kim said “we’re also a little worried that we may not get the accountability that we deserve to make sure we understand what went wrong.”
    State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D) was also asked about his feelings on the resignation.    He said that Cuomo is a political fighter, so his resignation means there was no other way out for the governor.    He added that the resignation buys Cuomo a couple extra weeks in New York, whereas a vote to impeach is an automatic removal from office.
    With Cuomo leaving office, many New Yorkers have looked to pursue him criminally.    If some Democrats get their way, those criminal pursuits could include further investigation into the thousands of unnecessary nursing home deaths due to Cuomo’s alleged negligence.

8/11/2021 GOP Lawmakers Criticize Dems Tax And Spending Policies by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 08: (L-R) U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) head to the floor
of the Senate for a round of votes on August 8, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
    As the Senate passes the long-debated infrastructure bill, Republicans have grown more concerned with Democrats’ careless spending. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) slammed Democrats’ reckless tax and spending policies just before the upper chamber passed the infrastructure bill.     Speaking on Capitol Hill on Monday, Scott criticized the left saying it appeared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was now in control of the Democrat Party.    He pointed to the Democrats’ new budget outlook, claiming the federal government isn’t living within its means and the left isn’t even trying to balance their spending.     Scott is among several GOP lawmakers who are for improving U.S. infrastructure, but in a way he said is fiscally responsible.    He said Congress needs to be honest with the American people.
    Additionally, the GOP has drawn attention to Democrat-led efforts to make changes to the death tax, which is one of several changes to the tax code the left has proposed in order to fund their massive spending.    In an op-ed published on Monday, South Dakota Sen. John Thune (R) asserted Americans could be forced into selling their family-owned farms just to pay for Joe Biden’s proposed double death tax.
    He argued the U.S. tax code allows family-run businesses to be passed down to the next generation without imposing capital gains taxes on the built-in gains from the prior generation.    Thune said many of these gains are unrealized, including the price of the land which may have risen since being owned by previous generations.    However, farmers aren’t seeing a penny of actual gain.    He called it a step-up in basis and suggested it prevents families from paying a fortune when a loved one passes.
    Thune warned this would crush the dream of farmers in his state, many of whom wish to pass their business onto a loved one in better condition.    He said “the families who depend on these generationally-owned operations will be watching.”

8/11/2021 Senate Democrats Okay Budget Resolution, Fuels Spending Concerns by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 11: Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) walks to his office after speaking on the passage
of the bipartisan infrastructure bill at the U.S. Capitol on August 11, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    The Senate has agreed to move forward with the blueprint for the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.    The motion passed in a slim 50 to 49 vote early on Wednesday, after the Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package on Tuesday.
    However, Republicans have sounded the alarm on the left’s unbalanced spending and their work to push their agenda while they still hold the majority.    In addition, Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) have continued to warn their own party of the grave consequences such unbridled spending will ultimately have.
    The resolution includes everything from making way for the Green New Deal, which GOP lawmakers have warned would crush the fossil fuel industry, eliminate millions of American jobs and America’s energy independence, forcing the U.S. to rely on foreign adversaries.
    Republicans also cautioned taxes on job creators will skyrocket costing jobs and wages, ultimately pushing jobs offshore.    The budget would also accommodate Democrats’ push toward socialized health care with conservative lawmakers suggesting it could move America toward a more European socialist model of health care, leading to longer wait times, fewer choices and lower quality care.
    Furthermore, Republicans voiced concerns about the left’s motivations, pointing to unions that would potentially benefit from the plan, which are those that fund Democrat campaigns.    Additionally, they have warned against the package’s high spending, saying it may be convenient for today’s politicians, but could prove cumbersome for future generations.
    Moving forward, the House is expected to take up a vote on the issue the week of Aug. 23, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has set a Sept. 15 deadline for committees to finish writing portions of the budget resolution.

8/11/2021 GOP In 2 Wyo. Counties No Longer Recognize Rep. Cheney As A Republican by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Liz Cheney speaks to the media at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 12, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Republican parties of two Wyoming counties announced they will no longer recognize Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as a member of the GOP.    The Republican parties in Park and Carbon Counties recently voted in support of the move.
    In a letter to Cheney, the leaders of the Park County Republican Party said they would no longer recognize her as the official Republican Congressional Representative.    The president of the Carbon County GOP wrote a similar letter to Cheney and added more counties will follow the suit.
    Cheney has been highly criticized for her vote to impeach President Trump.    She was also ousted from House GOP leadership in May and replaced by New York Rep. Elise Stefanik.

8/11/2021 Texas House Speaker Signs Civil Arrest Warrants For Fleeing Dems by OAN Newsroom
AUSTIN, TX – JULY 08: Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan gavels in the 87th Legislature’s special session
in the House chamber at the State Capitol on July 8, 2021 in Austin, Texas.    Republican Gov. Greg Abbott called the legislature
into a special session, asking lawmakers to prioritize his agenda items that include overhauling the states voting laws,
bail reform, border security, social media censorship, and critical race theory. (Photo by Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images)
    A last ditch effort by a group of wayward Texas House Democrats to avoid a vote has continued to backfire as the state’s House Speaker officially signed civil arrest warrants in an effort to achieve quorum.    On Tuesday, House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Texas) signed warrants for the last remaining 52 runaways after lawmakers cleared the way with an 80 to 12 majority vote.
    The Texas Supreme Court ruled earlier on Tuesday that authorities could now escort Democrats to the State Capital if they fail to show up and vote.    Republicans like State House Caucus Chairman Jim Murphy said they hope all this will be enough to get four of the 52 Democrats to do their job, which is the amount they would need to advance election integrity laws that Texan taxpayers overwhelmingly support.
    However, 52 Texas state House Democrats were absent again on Tuesday. Democrat Rep. Celia Israel warned their showdown is far from over.    She also appeared all too eager to blame their decision to flee the state on private jets on Gov. Greg Abbott.
    Meanwhile, runaway lawmakers have until Thursday to respond, but even Democrat State Rep. Mary Gonzalez admitted at this point her party is unpredictable.

8/11/2021 Senate Passes Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 69-30 by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 02: The U.S. Capitol Dome is illuminated by the sunset. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Senators on both sides of the aisle finally reached a vote on the more than $1 trillion infrastructure package.    On Tuesday, the bipartisan bill passed through the Senate with 19 GOP senators, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) siding with all Democrats.    The vote comes after months of negotiations and debate, bleeding into this past weekend and the Senate’s August recess.
    Roughly $550 billion is expected to be allocated toward traditional infrastructure.    This includes, $110 billion to modernize roads and bridges, $66 billion to bolster America’s railroads and $40 billion to revamp our transit system. Additionally, lawmakers included $66 billion to expand the reach of America’s broadband networks.
    “It’s been a long and winding road, but we have persisted and now we have arrived,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).     “There were many logs in our path, detours along the way, but the American people will now see the most robust injection of funds into infrastructure in decades.”
    However, Republican critics have decried provisions aimed at bolstering Democrats’ climate agenda, like the more than $7 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, the $65 billion to modernize our electric grid and $21 billion for environmental remediation projects.
    Critics added there are gaps in how the bill will be paid for. They claimed while more than $260 billion have been set aside from untapped COVID-relief funds and extra federal unemployment benefits, relying on dynamic scoring or future projections of the U.S. economy, will not pay for the bill in the proposed five-year timeline.
    They also warned this and other bloated spending proposals will devastate the U.S. economy and further fuel rising inflation.
    “If this historically reckless taxing and spending spree is how the modern Democratic Party wants to define itself, if they want inflation and tax hikes to be their legacy, then Republicans do not currently have the votes to spare American families this nightmare,” said McConnell.
    In the meantime, the amended bill is expected to head back down to the House where its future remains uncertain.    Members of the House Progressive Caucus penned a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) stating they would not vote yes unless the Senate also passed the bloated $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill.    Although, experts warned the debate on reconciliation may bleed into fall.

8/11/2021 Biden Admin. Implements New Border Security Policies by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 11: An image of Joe Biden is displayed on a sign before a news conference with House Republicans
about U.S.-Mexico border policy outside the U.S. Capitol on March 11, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration has finally begun cracking down on the illegal immigration surge at the southern border.    On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki unveiled a series of steps the Department of Homeland Security is taking to secure the border and assist migrants in seeking asylum.
    Psaki mentioned one step to mitigate the border crisis would be the relocation of migrants from where they cross to other parts of the country.    “Lateral flights, which is a newer step that we have started to take, which is moving migrants from one part of the border to another where there might be more processing capability or facility capacity to expel migrants under Title 42,” said Psaki.
    This comes after the Biden administration faced criticism for previously implementing policies that encouraged the spread of the Delta variant on the border.    Psaki also claimed the administration is moving to increase the speed by which unfit migrants are deported out of the U.S.
    In the meantime, Republicans have demanded for Democrats to enforce even stricter immigration policies as the crisis at the southern border seems to get worse by the day.

8/11/2021 Oakland Official Calls On Calif. Gov. Newsom To Issue State Of Emergency Amid Rising Crime Rates In City by OAN Newsroom
Sprinklers and smoke fill the air at a vandalized Mercedes-Benz dealership in
Oakland California on May 30, 2020. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Residents in Oakland, California have called on state officials to take action against the rising crime rates in the city and throughout the state.    In a press event on Tuesday, Oakland’s Chinatown Chamber of Commerce President Carl Chan called on California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to help with the rise in robberies and assaults hurting the city.
    Chan said people shouldn’t blame local police, saying residents appreciate what they’re doing and “their job is not easy.”    He added the main factor for the rise in crime was due to defunding and demonizing the Oakland Police Department.
    This comes after the Oakland City Council voted to move more than $17 million in funds from the OPD in June and allocate the money to other programs.    Oakland Police chief Leronne Armstrong slammed the decision.     “That additional $17 million that was reduced from the police department’s budget will have an impact, when you hear the statement from those that say nothing will change, that is not true. Yes it will,” said Armstrong.
    Now, Chan has called on Newsom to send help, but not just to Chinatown.    His calls come after a man was shot in Oakland’s Chinatown on Saturday after trying to stop a robbery.    The man was struck in the armpit and leg.    He has since been released from the hospital and is recovering.

8/11/2021 N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Resigns by OAN Newsroom
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo addresses a regional summit of governors in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)
    After over an hour of defense from his lawyer addressing sexual assault allegations on Tuesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said that he takes full responsibility for his actions, announcing he’s stepping aside from his office.    He said it’s is instinct to fight through the controversy and the numerous sexual assault allegations against him, but it would only generate what he called “months of political and legal controversy.
    The Democrat went on to say, “the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to governing.”
    Cuomo announced his resignation at a press briefing on Tuesday after defending his actions, insisting norms and behaviors had changed over time.
    A New York state investigation released last week found Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and violated state law.    Cuomo claimed the independent probe, led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, was politically motivated.
    “When there is a bias or a lack of fairness in the justice system, it is a concern for everyone, not just those immediately effected,” he stated.    “The most serious allegations made against me had no credible factual basis in the report.”
    However, he did admit he had been too familiar with people and apologized to the women he said he truly offended.
    His official resignation will take effect in 14 days, with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) stepping up to replace him.    She will be the first female governor of New York.

8/11/2021 U.S. Tries Again To Extradite Wikileaks’ Assange From Britain by Alistair Smout
Supporters of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange display a banner outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the U.S. government appeal
against a ruling by a British judge that Assange should not be extradited, in London, Britain August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
    LONDON (Reuters) – A London judge on Wednesday widened the scope of a U.S. appeal against a block on the extradition of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Britain and will hear the renewed bid in late October.
    A judge ruled in January that Assange should not be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges including breaking a spying law, saying his mental health problems meant he would be at risk of suicide.
    Assange faces 18 criminal charges in the United States of breaking an espionage law and conspiring to hack government computers.
    WikiLeaks published a U.S. military video in 2010 showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters in Baghdad that killed a dozen people, including two Reuters news staff.    It then released thousands of secret classified files and diplomatic cables.
    The legal saga began soon afterwards when Sweden sought Assange’s extradition from Britain over allegations of sex crimes.    When he lost that case in 2012, he fled to the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he spent seven years.
    When he was finally dragged out in April 2019, he was jailed for breaching British bail conditions although the Swedish case against him had been dropped.
    The United States had already been given permission to appeal the January ruling on three grounds, but on Wednesday asked that the scope of it be expanded to include a reassessment of the expert evidence used to evaluate Assange’s risk of suicide.
    Judge Timothy Holroyde said that it was unusual for an appelate court to reconsider evidence from an expert witness when it has been accepted by a lower court.
    But he said it was arguable that the appeal court might make a different assessment, given that a key expert had omitted to disclose what he knew about Assange’s relationship with his partner Stella Moris.
    “It is my view arguable that the… DJ (district judge) erred,” he said.
    Lawyers for both sides agreed that the full appeal hearing should be scheduled for October 27 and 28.
    Assange joined the hearing by videolink, wearing glasses, a facemask and a white shirt.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

8/11/2021 EU Countries At Odds On Migrant Returns As Afghan Conflict Grows by Karolina Tagaris and Toby Sterling
FILE PHOTO: European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters
in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo
    ATHENS/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – The European Union is no position to deal with a repeat of the 2015 migration crisis and must try to keep people from fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Greece said on Wednesday, as unity between EU member states over deportations crumbled.
    Greece, which last week co-signed a letter with five other EU countries saying deportations of failed asylum-seekers should continue despite the fighting, said ending such returns “would send the wrong message.”
    “It would lead to more people trying to leave and come to the European Union,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi told Reuters.
    However, two other signatories to the letter, the Netherlands and Germany, abruptly reversed course on Wednesday, saying they would not, for now, deport Afghan citizens who are seeking asylum, given the rapidly escalating conflict there.
    Among other signatories, Austria said it was sticking to its position and Denmark and Belgium declined to comment.    But German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said a state based on the rule of law had a responsibility to ensure any deportations did not put people in danger.
    “The security situation is changing so rapidly that we cannot meet this responsibility,” he said.
    The disagreement underlined the differences over the issue within the EU, which Mitarachi said was unprepared for a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis when more than a million people, most of them Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, arrived seeking refuge.
    “Absolutely not, the EU is not ready and does not have the capacity to handle another major migration crisis,” he said.
    For now, the issue is largely theoretical as returns have not been possible due to the Afghan situation.    Last week Germany cancelled a flight due to deport six Afghans convicted of criminal offences to Kabul because of security risks.
    Fears of a new migrant crisis have escalated as Taliban fighters have made sudden, strong gains in their campaign to defeat the Kabul government following the withdrawal of U.S.-led foreign forces after a 20-year presence.
    Mitarachi said the EU should offer more support to help Greece’s neighbour Turkey handle more arrivals from Afghanistan.    A European Commission spokesperson said on Tuesday it was for member states to determine their approach to deportations.    However, a senior EU official said it was “hard to imagine” forced returns would go ahead in current conditions.
(Additional reporting by Holger Hansen, Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Stine Jacobsen, Alexander Ratz; Editing by Gareth Jones)

8/11/2021 Germany Arrests British Man Suspected Of Spying For Russia
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks in front of the British embassy in Berlin, November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
    BERLIN (Reuters) -German police have arrested a British man who worked at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of passing documents to the Russian intelligence service in exchange for cash, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
    German prosecutors said the apartment and workplace of the man, identified only as David S., had been searched and he would be brought before an investigating judge later on Wednesday.
    British police said the man was 57.
    “On at least one occasion, he passed on documents he had obtained in the course of his professional activities to a representative of a Russian intelligence service,” Germany’s chief federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
    “The accused received cash in an as yet unknown amount in return for his transmission of information,” it added.
    An investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice later approved the arrest warrant “on suspicion of secret service agent activity,” meaning the man can be held in custody and the investigation can go ahead, the prosecutor’s office said.
    A Western security source said the motivation of the British man was likely money.    As a locally engaged staffer, he did not have access to highly classified material, the source said, adding Britain’s MI5 counter-intelligence service was involved in catching him.
    German online magazine Focus Online reported that he provided the Russians with documents containing information on counterterrorism.
    Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) did not immediately reply to requests for comment.    The Russian Embassy in Germany declined to comment on reports about the case to the Interfax news agency.
    The British embassy in Berlin is just around the corner from the iconic Brandenburg Gate and a short, 250-metre (273 yard) walk from the Russian embassy, which is on the famous Unter den Linden boulevard.
    In May, Britain set out plans to crack down on hostile activity by foreign states, introducing a proposed law to give security services and law enforcement new powers to tackle growing threats.
    The man was arrested on Tuesday in Potsdam, just outside Berlin.    He was employed as a local staff member at the embassy until his arrest, which was the result of a joint investigation by German and British authorities, the prosecutors said.
    police said in a statement the man was arrested on suspicion of committing offences relating to being engaged in “Intelligence Agent activity.”
    British spy chiefs say both China and Russia have sought to steal commercially sensitive data and intellectual property as well as to interfere in politics, while Russian agents are also accused of carrying out an attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal on British soil in 2018.
    Beijing and Moscow say the West is gripped with a paranoia about plots.    Both Russia and China deny they meddle abroad, seek to steal technology, carry out cyberattacks or sow discord.
    The Berlin case has echoes of the shadowy world of espionage practised during the Cold War, when double agent Kim Philby and others in a ring of British spies known as the “Cambridge Five” passed information to the Soviet Union.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson and Paul Carrel in Berlin, by Ekaterina Golubkova and Anton Kolodyazhnyy in Moscow, and by Guy Faulconbridge in London;Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Kirsten Donovan and Mark Potter)

8/11/2021 State Dept Says U.S. Invited ‘Well Established’ And Emerging Democracies To Summit
FILE PHOTO: People walk beneath U.S. flags surrounding the Washington monument on the
National mall, near the White House in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States has reached out to “well-established” and emerging democracies to take part in the Summit of Democracies, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Wednesday, in reference to President Joe Biden’s planned virtual gathering to be held in December.
    The White House earlier said Biden will bring together heads of state from other democratic nations for a virtual summit on Dec. 9 and 10.    Neither the White House nor State Department’s Price named any potential attendees.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis, Doyinsola Oladipo and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Leslie Adler)

8/11/2021 Biden Taps Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar To Serve In Position Full-Time by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks on his Build Back Better economic agenda, in the East Room of the
White House in Washington, D.C., on August 11, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden has nominated Idaho attorney Elizabeth Prelogar to be the next U.S. Solicitor General.    On Wednesday morning, the White House confirmed Prelogar had been tapped to serve in the position on a permanent basis.
    The attorney has spent the past seven months in the role in an acting capacity.    Prelogar also served as a prosecutor for Robert Muellar during his independent probe into now-debunked accusations that President Trump worked with Russia in 2016.    Additionally, she clerked for Attorney General Merrick Garland when he was on the U.S. court of appeals in Washington, D.C.
    Her nomination is now headed to the Senate for confirmation.

8/11/2021 Gun Owners’ Group Fights For Right To Carry At Minn. State Fair by OAN Newsroom
Minnesota State Fair (Credit: Minnesota State Fair Site)
    A group of gun owners has sued a Minnesota County and the State Fair to allow permit holders to carry guns during “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”    On Tuesday, the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus filed the lawsuit claiming the Minnesota State Agricultural Society lacks authority to impose the gun ban.
    The State Fair released a statement saying, “we will maintain our time-honored Minnesota tradition of peaceful family-friendly fairs by protecting the safety and security of our guests.”
    However, the group claimed the State Fair’s ban on guns violates the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
    The lawsuit requests the court order fair security to allow those carrying valid permits, to bring their pistols onto the fairgrounds for self-defense.    The plaintiffs said they seek an injunction that would prevent fair security from denying entrance to, or detaining, permitted gun owners.

8/12/2021 Oil up $0.81 to $69.36, DOW up 220 to 35,435.

8/12/2021 AG scolds Beshear for mask mandate - Cameron files rebuke with state’s high court by Joe Sonka, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Attorney General Daniel Cameron, in a filing Wednesday to the Kentucky Supreme Court, sharply rebuked Gov. Andy Beshear for issuing a new school mask mandate the previous day, stating he was prohibited from doing so by a previous court ruling.
    Beshear’s emergency order requires anyone above the age of 2 inside a Kentucky school or child care facility to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, citing the exponential rise of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout the state with the more-transmissible delta variant.
    The extent of the governor’s power to issue new emergency orders related to the pandemic is currently before the Kentucky Supreme Court, as the justices heard oral arguments in June related to two different lawsuits challenging Beshear’s restrictions at the time and new legislation limiting his powers.
    Though the court’s judgment in this case may give clear guidance on the governor’s power to implement emergency restrictions going forward, the next scheduled rendition day for the release of new opinions by the court is not until Aug. 26.
    However, Cameron’s filing with the court noted a Boone Circuit Court ruling two days before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, which enjoined Beshear from issuing new emergency restrictions under legislation passed earlier this year.
    In a press release Wednesday, Cameron said Beshear “directly ignored the court and engaged in an unlawful exercise of power by issuing his executive order.”

8/12/2021 Germany Won’t Give Money To Afghanistan If Sharia Law Introduced - Foreign Minister
FILE PHOTO: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas addresses the media during a joint news conference with his counterpart from
Bahrain, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, after a meeting in Berlin, Germany, August 11, 2021. Michael Sohn/Pool via REUTERS
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany will not provide any financial support to Afghanistan if the Taliban takes over power in the country and introduces Sharia law, its foreign minister told broadcaster ZDF on Thursday.
    “We provide 430 million euros ($505 million) every year, we will not give another cent if the Taliban takes over the country and introduces Sharia law,” Heiko Maas said.
    Afghan government forces battled Taliban fighters in and around several cities on Thursday, according to officials, as the militants pressed on with their offensive that U.S. intelligence believes could see them take over the capital, Kabul, within 90 days.
($1 = 0.8519 euros)
(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Maria Sheahan)

8/12/2021 Madagascar President Sacks Ministers, Saying Some Were Poor Performers
FILE PHOTO: Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina attends a meeting to discuss the 20th replenishment of the
World Bank's International Development Association, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
    ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) – Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has sacked all his ministers, his office said, days after he criticised some of their performances as below par and weeks after officials said they had thwarted a plot to kill the former coup leader.
    Rajoelina’s office gave no reason for the dismissals in a statement issued late on Wednesday.
    On Sunday, Rajoelina said the performance of some ministers was unsatisfactory.
    “Like in a football team, you have to change when there are failures in government,” he said in comments broadcast on national television.
    “There will be a change and this concerns those who do not carry out the work entrusted to them.”
    Last week, a senior prosecutor said Madagascar had arrested 21 more suspects, including 12 military personnel, in connection with a plot to kill Rajoelina and topple the government.
    Six people, one of them a French citizen, were arrested last month on suspicion of involvement in the plot, after what officials said was a months-long investigation in the Indian Ocean island.
    Madagascar, an impoverished former French colony of 26 million, has a history of political violence and instability.
    Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president in 2019 after a hotly contested election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival.
    Rajoelina first took power in a March 2009 coup, unseating Marc Ravalomanana.    He remained in control at the head of a transitional government until 2014.
    In the 2019 elections, Ravalomanana challenged Rajoelina, lost, and said the vote was fraudulent.
(Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

8/12/2021 Panama, Colombia Reach Deal To Manage Migration Over Shared Border by Elida Moreno
FILE PHOTO: Migrants gather next to stores as they wait to cross into Panama to continue
their journey toward the U.S., in Necocli, Colombia August 5, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Esquivel
    PANAMA CITY (Reuters) – Panama and Colombia agreed on Wednesday to receive up to 650 migrants each day, amid a humanitarian crisis at their shared border, where thousands of migrants are stranded in northern Colombia, waiting to continue north toward the United States.
    Thousands of migrants – most of them Haitian but also from Cuba and various African countries – are stuck in Necocli, a remote resort on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, waiting for scarce boat transport toward Panama’s dangerous Darien Gap region, which many will cross on foot.
    Many migrants were held back by COVID-19 border closures and have recently overwhelmed re-opened crossing points.
    Panamanian Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes said the daily figure of 650 would be progressively reduced downward as the crisis abates.
    “A staggered number was established downward, first, to address the crisis, from 650, and progressively towards 500 with specific days within which they can enter,” Mouynes told a news conference after a virtual meeting with officials from nine countries, including Colombia, the United States and Canada.
    The agreement will be approved with Costa Rica, which also shares a border with Panama and through which migrants will cross as they head through Central America en route to the United States.
    Mouynes said less than 1% of migrants who pass through Panama request asylum on the isthmus.    Most of the migrants are Haitians and Cubans, but there are also Africans and Asians.
    Colombia’s Migration Director Juan Francisco Espinosa said that the number of migrants in Necocli dropped to 3,000 on Tuesday from a high of 12,000 last week.
    So far this year, a record of more than 42,000 migrants have arrived to Panama through Darien, with authorities expecting the figure will continue to rise as the borders reopen worldwide.
(Reporting by Elida Moreno in Panama City, writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Michael Perry)

8/12/2021 Senate Passes Amendment To Provide Uncensored Internet To Anti-Communist Cuban Protesters by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation
hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C, April 21, 2021. (GRAEME JENNINGS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Senate passed an amendment to provide uncensored internet access to the people of Cuba as they fight for their freedom.    The amendment was added to the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution.
    Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rick Scott (Fla.) added that the amendment aims to create a Deficit Neutral Reserve Fund in the reconciliation bill in order to provide internet access to anti-communist protesters on the island.    On Tuesday, Sen. Rubio took to the Senate floor to advocate for U.S. support of the Cuban people against their oppressive government.
    Rubio also said they want to send a bipartisan message that the U.S. is committed to giving Cubans unrestricted internet access.    The GOP senators said the communist regime is terrified of the Cuban people and added it’s time the Biden administration takes action to “amplify the voices of the Cuban people.”
    “As the Cuban people take to the streets to call for freedom and democracy, and an end to the brutal, illegitimate communist Cuban regime, the United States must stand with these brave freedom fighters,” stated Sen. Scott.

8/12/2021 GOP Blocks ‘For The People Act’ From Moving Forward Before Senate Goes On Recess by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 11: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) leaves the Senate
Chamber in the U.S. Capitol on August 11, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Liz Lynch/Getty Images)
    Just before adjourning for the rest of the month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) set up a battle over Democrats’ so-called voting rights legislation.    Early Wednesday morning, Senate Republicans blocked a Democrat attempt to advance the ‘For the People Act.’
    Heading into the vote, Democrats signaled they knew the legislation wouldn’t have the votes to pass through and that it was designed to show Senate Democrats are still trying to pass their agenda through before going on legislative recess.    Meanwhile, Democrats have been trying to pass the so-called ‘For the People Act’ for months, which contains many provisions that Republicans along with some moderate Democrats have said would amount to government overreach.
    Speaking on the floor, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the package is a major partisan power grab on the part of Democrats. While Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), who ultimately voted to open the bill up for debate, said he’s concerned over     Democrat attempts to expand the federal government’s control over elections and their opposition to basic efforts to strengthen election integrity.
    “I firmly believe that we need common sense voter ID requirements, just like we have in West Virginia,” said Manchin.    “They strengthen the security of our elections without making it harder for Americans to vote.    I also firmly believe that we shouldn’t politicize the federal elections commission, prohibit any guardrails on vote-by-mail, or prevent local election officials from doing basic maintenance of voter roles.”
    In the meantime, while also speaking on the floor, Majority Leader Schumer attempted to frame the bill as a class and race issue, pointing to a number of bills passed by Republican-led state legislators nationwide aimed at protecting election integrity.
    “In America today, we are witnessing the most sweeping and coordinated attacks on voting rights since the era of Jim Crow,” stated Schumer.    “Reactionary Republican legislatures are making it harder for poorer, younger and non-white Americans to vote.    While at the same time, making it easier for partisan actors to steal an election.”
    Schumer said Senators have been working on a compromise bill, which they plan to unveil as the First Amendment to the ‘For the People Act’ when the Senate returns in September.

8/12/2021 Future N.Y. Gov. Kathy Hochul Distances Herself From Gov. Cuomo by OAN Newsroom
ALBANY, NEW YORK – AUGUST 11: Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during a press conference at the
New York State Capitol on August 11, 2021 in Albany City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
    Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) made her first statement since Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) announced his resignation.    In her first remarks, Hochul appeared to distance herself from the controversial governor.
    In a press conference on Wednesday, she focused on the things she would do differently.    Some of her remarks even appeared to be swipes at Cuomo, who is stepping down amid controversies relating to sexual harassment in the workplace.
    “At the end of my term, whenever that ends, no one will ever describe my administration as a toxic work environment,” said Lt. Gov. Hochul.    She added herself and Cuomo are not close, and she spends the least amount of time possible in his presence.
    Hochul also made clear her intent to lay out her vision for the state after she is officially governor.    However, some are less certain she will be much different than her predecessor.
    New York Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R) stated on Tuesday he believes Hochul empowered Cuomo in all of his controversies, while acting as his lieutenant governor, including the deaths of thousands of elderly people in nursing homes due to COVID.    Zeldin added Hochul has been silent scandal after scandal, and the state needs to rid itself of the Cuomo-Hochul administration in addition to its disgraceful legacy.

8/12/2021 Calif. Becomes First State Requiring All School Staff To Be Vaccinated Or Tested Weekly by OAN Newsroom
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 14: Gov. Gavin Newsom watches as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
is prepared by Director of Inpatient Pharmacy David Cheng at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
on December 14, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Jae C. Hong-Pool/Getty Images)
    California has become the first state in the country to require all teachers and school staff be vaccinated or otherwise undergo weekly COVID testing. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) announced the new mandate at a news conference on Wednesday.     “The state of California is trying to lead by example and also assert that we need to do more and we need to be better by becoming the first state in the country to require vaccine mandates, or at least verification and/or a testing requirement,” stated Newsom.
    Currently, most states are allowing individual school districts to decide on vaccine and mask requirements.
    Newsom’s decision comes after California’s Health Department issued a similar vaccine mandate for all health care workers last week. In response, parents have expressed their frustration over prolonged school closures in the Golden State and have reportedly been pushing to oust Newsom in the upcoming recall election.
    Although the Democrat said a majority of Californians have already received their first jab of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said there is still more work to be done.    “While we’re proud of the fact that California has among the highest vaccination rates in America, now 77.5 percent of all eligible Californians have received at least one dose, it’s not good enough,” said Newsom.
    The new mandate is set to go into effect on Thursday.

8/12/2021 Chicago Mayor Lightfoot To Increase Police Budget After Roughly 1K Officers Resign, 1 Officer Murdered by OAN Newsroom
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – JULY 16: Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot takes a question during a press conference with Transportation Secretary
Pete Buttigieg during a visit to a commuter transportation hub on July 16, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    Chicago’s Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot has agreed to boost police funding after tragedy struck her city’s police department.    Following hundreds of police officers’ resignations in the Windy City and one officer recently murdered, Lightfoot said at a press conference on Wednesday that she promises to increase police funding in 2022.
    On Saturday, 29-year-old Chicago police officer Ella French was shot during a traffic stop and later died from her wounds.    Her partner was also shot and hospitalized with his condition remaining unknown.
    Following the tragic incident, Mayor Lightfoot went to the hospital where the wounded officers were taken.    However, police officers visiting their colleagues reportedly turned their backs on the far-left lawmaker who previously proposed a mass cut to the department’s budget.
    When reporters asked Lightfoot about the encounter, she shifted the focus and didn’t provide a response to the officers dismissal of her.    “There was a lot of emotion running that night.    There were hundreds of officers that were there and there was a lot of emotion on the range of spectrum and that’s to be expected,” said Lightfoot.    “This was a really hard loss.”
    Additionally, Lightfoot didn’t indicate just how much she would increase the department’s $1.6 billion budget, but said they need to bring in the “next generation of officers.”
    Chicago Alderman Matt O’Shea said he’s heard from police that they feel like both leaders and residents in Chicago don’t support them. They believe this could be a factor that has likely led to the thousand officer loss seen in the city, showing a major decline compared to prior years.
    In addition, police superintendent David O’Neal Brown said nearly 40 officers have been shot at or struck in 2021 alone.    Timing for Lightfoot’s new push to provide additional funding for police comes after officer morale has reached all time lows and growing crime has continued to threaten the Chicago area.

8/12/2021 Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium Faces Threats For Exposing 2020 Fraud by OAN Newsroom
DULUTH, MN – SEPTEMBER 30: Mike Lindell, CEO of MyPillow Inc., speaks during a campaign rally for President Donald Trump
at the Duluth International Airport on September 30, 2020 in Duluth, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
    With MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium underway, participants have reported multiple threats that they’ve faced during the three-day event. Lindell opened the third day of the election integrity forum, saying another whistleblower had their house raided with all electronic devices taken from their home.
    Lindell also said he was attacked outside his hotel in Sioux Falls after the symposium’s second day.    In addition, left-wing operatives have reportedly tried to infiltrate and disrupt the event.
    During the forum, Lindell has outlined evidence of cyber meddling in the 2020 elections.    “We are never quitting, til we get to the truth,” said Lindell.    “We got the truth, just to get it out there.”

8/12/2021 WHO Calls On Governments To Cooperate To Accelerate Studies Into Origins Of COVID-19
FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting
on update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    (Reuters) – The World Health Organization has called for all governments to cooperate to accelerate studies into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and “to depoliticize the situation.”
    “WHO reiterates that the search for the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is not and should not be an exercise in attributing blame, finger-pointing or political point-scoring,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)

8/12/2021 Biden’s Education Secy. Backs Forced Vaccinations Of School Staff by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the daily press briefing on August 5, 2021, in
the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has expressed his support for controversial vaccine mandates for U.S. schools.    Cardona said on Wednesday, he would favor the measures to require teachers and school staffs to have a COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the new school year.
    This comes after embattled California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered forced vaccinations for school personnel within the entire state. Cardona went on to claim mass vaccination is the best way to reopen schools.
    “We know they are lining up to get vaccinated.    Ninety percent of the teachers across the country have gotten vaccinated.     We’re proud of that,” said Cardona.    “We want to keep the efforts going. We want our youth to get vaccinated.”
    Cardona also said mass vaccination would allow for the lifting of face mask requirements, despite the Centers for Disease Control and     Prevention (CDC) recommending face masks for those who took the vaccine as well.

8/12/2021 President Trump Endorses Derrick Van Orden For Congress by OAN Newsroom
CLEVELAND, OH – JULY 21: President Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd during the evening session on the fourth day of
the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    President Trump officially threw his support behind Wisconsin Congressional candidate Derrick Van Orden.    In a statement on Thursday, Trump announced his endorsement of the retired Navy SEAL senior chief.
    He called Van Orden a strong supporter of the military and law enforcement.    Trump also added Van Orden will always fight for secure borders, the Second Amendment and the nation’s incredible farmers.
    Van Orden is seeking to flip Wisconsin’s Third Congressional District held by Democrat Rep. Ron Kind since 1997.    However, Kind announced his retirement this week confirming he will not be running for a 14th term in 2022.

8/12/2021 Biden Begs OPEC, Russia To Boost Oil Output After Hurting U.S. Oil Sector by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – JANUARY 27: Joe Biden speaks about climate change issues in the State Dining Room
of the White House on January 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden has asked the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia to increase oil production after decimating the U.S. energy industry and sparking massive inflation.    On Wednesday, Biden addressed OPEC and asked its members to boost output by more than 400,000 barrels per day in order to lower fuel prices in the U.S. and help combat runaway inflation.
    His administration also launched a probe into the U.S. energy industry over allegations of price gouging amid short supply.
    Earlier this year, Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline and banned drilling on federal lands.    As a result, U.S. gas prices surged 42 percent and overall energy costs rose 24 percent.    This ultimately lifted the costs of logistics, food and consumer goods.
    Experts said Biden’s latest action greatly benefits other countries, including Russia, which is now able to boost oil exports and rake in tens of billions of dollars in additional cash revenue.

8/12/2021 Runaway Texas Dems Double Down On D.C. Stunt by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 28: Ron Reynolds at a press conference at the
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on July 28, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Cheriss May/Getty Images)
    An attempt by Texas Democrats to virtue signal has backfired as their D.C. escapade recently reached new heights.
    Speaking from his hotel room at the nation’s capital on Wednesday, Democrat Rep. Ron Reynolds (Texas) said Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R-Texas) so-called extreme measures have turned him into a fugitive.
    Reynolds then doubled down on his effort to keep stirring up what he described as “good trouble.”    Despite delaying the passage of COVID relief measures by camping out in his D.C. hotel room, Reynolds wrapped up the rocky interview by fearmongering about COVID-19.
    Meanwhile, state Rep. Jim Murphy (R) said if a couple Democrats show up to the special session, residents could get resources for COVID-19 vaccinations and hospitals could receive more funding to help patients “almost immediately.”
    Although, it appears that the Democrats have different priorities

8/13/2021 Oil down $0.43 to $68.95, DOW up 15 to 35,500.

8/13/2021 Liberal lunatic’: School official criticizes Beshear, masks by Ayana Archie, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Parents in Pulaski County received an earful Tuesday, when they began receiving a voicemail from the school superintendent calling Gov. Andy Beshear a “liberal lunatic” for enacting a mask mandate in Kentucky schools.
    A voicemail sent by Science Hill Independent School District Superintendent Jimmy Dyehouse said, “As you already know and probably have already heard, this liberal lunatic that we have up in Frankfort has signed another executive order mandating masks for all students and adults in school.    What this means is the professional opinion of your superintendent doesn’t matter.    The opinion of your school board doesn’t matter.”
    The voicemail continued:
    “And you as parents, your opinion doesn’t matter because I know exactly how you all feel about your children wearing masks.    And believe me, I’m as frustrated as you are over this.    Starting in the morning, all students will have to wear masks on the bus and inside the building, as well as adults inside of our buildings will have to be masked tomorrow.    We’re hoping this will be fought in court this week and we’ll get this overturned.    I’ll let you know as soon as I hear something further.    I’m sorry.    Thank you.”
    The comments are in response to Beshear’s announcement Tuesday that he was enacting the mask mandate for all Kentucky schools.
    Dyehouse said he was driving home from Illinois and on the phone with board members discussing their plan to make masks optional when he got news of Beshear’s decision.
    Dyehouse said many parents share his sentiments of being able to choose whether their kids will wear a mask, so he felt it was important to send out a message immediately and pulled over in a Lowe’s parking lot.

8/13/2021 Mike Lindell Rips Into 2020 U.S. Election Fraud by OAN Newsroom
BEMIDJI, MN – SEPTEMBER 18: Mike Lindell points to the crowd during a rally for President Donald Trump
at the Bemidji Regional Airport on September 18, 2020 in Bemidji, Minnesota. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
    Election integrity took center stage at Mike Lindell’s much-anticipated cyber symposium. The MyPillow CEO kicked off his 72-hour event in Sioux Falls and said the last seven months came down to this moment despite attempts by left-wing operatives to derail the effort.
    He went on to add how every American should be concerned about the left’s threats toward people who question integrity of the U.S. election.
    Meanwhile, political commentator Steve Bannon then ripped into Maricopa County officials for refusing to hand over passwords for their machines, ultimately postponing the audit’s process.    However, the day was marred by news that a key witness for Lindell had been subjected to a raid as she attended the rally.
    On the final day of the symposium, Lindell’s team expanded on multiple threats they faced over the duration of their time in South Dakota.    In addition to the raid of the Colorado clerk, the inventor went on to detail a harrowing incident that had happened while outside of his hotel in Sioux Falls.
    Lindell claimed he was attacked around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday night.    “I’m OK.    It hurts a little bit.    I just want everyone to know all the evil that’s out there,” stated the MyPillow CEO.
    Moving forward, future political candidates said they will be referencing the fraud found in the 2020 elections and have promised their potential constituents to never allow an election to be so gravely and widely affected again.

8/13/2021 Reps. Introduce Bill To Break American Dependence On Chinese Pharmaceuticals by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Tim Ryan speaks at the Heartland Forum held on the campus of Buena Vista University
in Storm Lake, Iowa on March 30, 2019. (Nati Harnik/AP)
    A bipartisan duo has come together to push back against China’s growing influence and help the American pharmaceutical industry recover from foreign control. This week, Reps. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) introduced H.R. 5003, a bill aimed at decreasing American dependence on often-contaminated Chinese pharmaceuticals.
    While the problem has existed for decades, the shock to the medical infrastructure system caused by the coronavirus, brought to light how devastating it can be to a nation that must depend on other nation’s products and mood in order to survive.    According to the pair, 80 percent of U.S. pharmaceuticals come from overseas manufacturers and distributors.
    For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent report on antibiotic prescriptions showed that penicillin is the most commonly prescription antibiotic class with nearly 59 million prescriptions written in 2019 alone.    However, the U.S. hasn’t domestically produced penicillin since 2004.
    Yet, this isn’t the first time Posey has raised the alarm regarding America’s dependence on Chinese pharmaceuticals.
    During the last legislative session, Posey introduced the Safe Medicine Act and explained to the House China Task Force exactly how serious the issue is.
    Posey went on to add that not only does China have a near monopoly on the U.S. pharmaceutical supply, but they are willing to use it as a retaliatory measure if they so choose. Posey warned a similar fate could await the U.S. if immediate action isn’t taken.    His evidence to the task force appeared compelling as Ohio Rep. David Joyce (R) commended Posey for his work and asked to co-sponsor the bill.
    Meanwhile, H.R. 5003 has been introduced and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, Veterans’ Affairs and Ways and Means.

8/13/2021 U.S. To Send 3K Troops To Afghanistan To Help Evacuate Embassy Officials by OAN Newsroom
FORT DRUM, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 10: U.S. Army soldiers return home from a 9-month deployment
to Afghanistan on December 10, 2020 at Fort Drum, New York. (John Moore/Getty Images)
    The U.S. announced it would be sending thousands of troops back to Afghanistan despite a troop withdrawal underway. As the Biden administration aims to pullout troops from Afghanistan, the State Department said it would also be decreasing it’s staff at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
    Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed during a press briefing on Thursday that the Biden administration would be sending 3,000 troops to Afghanistan to help evacuate U.S. Embassy officials after key cities in the country were taken over by the Taliban.    Despite the thousands of troops being sent to Kabul, Kirby said they still plan to pullout the remaining American troops.
    “Again, what I said was, we are aiming to facilitate the reduction of the civilian personnel by Aug. 31. So, it’s all lining up on the same timeline,” said Kirby.    “I won’t speculate on what the footprint is going to look like post Aug. 31 because there is this additional mission set of helping process special immigrants so, we’re just gonna have to wait and see.”
    Kirby added that the 3,000 troops have a specific and narrow focus to safely remove officials amidst growing conflict in the region.    Additionally, spokesperson Ned Price said only “core diplomatic presence” would remain, as safety in the region continues to decline.    Price called the move a “reduction in the size of our civilian footprint.”

8/13/2021 Experts Say Census Data Favors Republicans by OAN Newsroom
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA – FEBRUARY 01: A map of the world showing where people have traveled from to attend
Groundhog Day on February 1, 2021 in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
    New population data from the U.S. Census shows six states gained seats in the House of Representatives while seven states lost seats.    On Thursday, the highly anticipated Census data was finally released after a four-month delay.
    Texas also came out a big winner, gaining two seats in the House of Representatives.    Along with Texas, Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon each gaining one seat.
    The data has also reignited the national debate on gerrymandering, as seats are set to be re-appropriated throughout the country.    California remains the largest state in the union, although due to birth rate declines and a mass exodus from the state, growth has been severely stunted causing it to lose a seat.
    In addition to California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia each lost one seat.    Census data also showed substantial rates of urbanization with 80 percent of metropolitan areas showing growth.
    Experts said despite this, Republicans will likely reap the benefits from the Census due to their control over most governments, making the re-drawing of district maps easier.

8/13/2021 L.A. County Waives Citizenship Requirement For Several Govt. Jobs by OAN Newsroom
TOPSHOT – This aerial view shows cars lined up at the Dodger Stadium parking lot for Covid-19 testing with the downtown
Los Angeles skyline in the distance, in Los Angeles, California, on November 14, 2020. (ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
    Los Angeles County announced they would no longer require U.S. citizenship for most of its government jobs.    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the motion this week, allowing the county to hire non-citizens to lead its agencies.    However, excluding the position of the county’s chief probation officer.
    This means eligibility will be extended to lawful permanent residents and those with work permits.    Meanwhile, migrants that lack legal status will remain ineligible.
    “Barriers to employment based on cultural, racial, ethnic, or religious characteristics are contrary to our core values,” said L.A. County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia.    “This motion by Supervisors Solis and Huehl, will promote equity in hiring and give the Public Defender’s Office access to the most qualified applicants for employment, irrespective of their citizenship status.”
    Further details of the county’s plan have yet to be made public.

8/13/2021 President Trump Praises Wis. State Rep. Brandtjen For Election Subpoenas by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing Harlingen, Texas
on January 12, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    President Trump said Wisconsin is lucky to have a “strong and great” leader like state Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R).    The 45th president released a statement on Thursday after the State Elections Committee, led by Brandtjen, issued two subpoenas to launch election audits in the biggest counties in the state.
    Trump said Wisconsin shows many signs of cheating in the 2020 election and people are demanding answers now.    Brandtjen Spoke to One America News about the subpoenas and said the people of Wisconsin deserve to know the truth.
    Trump went on to say we must demand elected officials follow the law and hold them accountable.    He also called on Republicans in the state to support Brandtjen’s efforts.

8/13/2021 Biden Endorses Gov. Newsom As Calif. Recall Worries Dems by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, on a screen, looks on during a meeting with state governors
on wildfire prevention and preparedness in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building,
next to the White House, in Washington, D.C. on July 30, 2021. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden gave his endorsement to Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) as the embattled California governor continues his fight to stay in office.    In a tweet on Thursday, Biden urged voters to “keep Newsom on the job and vote no on the recall.”
    This was his first public involvement in the recall, and White House officials suggested both he and Kamala Harris could make in-person campaign stops to support Newsom as the race tightens in the final weeks.    However, just one day earlier, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden had no plans to get involved in the race.
    Some analysts said they believe this marks a significant reversal from Democrats’ hands-off approach toward the recall efforts, possibly signaling party leaders may be growing worried.    Additionally, recent polls showed a near 50-50 split within the margin of error, with half of likely voters wanting to oust Newsom.
    Meanwhile, California’s gubernatorial recall election is slated for Sept. 14.

8/13/2021 Manhattan Sees Record 21% Office Vacancies by OAN Newsroom
Daniel Alpert, managing partner of Westwood Capital, is seen in his office on Fifth Avenue
in New York October 15, 2020. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
    Manhattan is experiencing a record high in office vacancies as businesses have continued to flee the Empire State.    A Newmark market report said Manhattan’s availability rate reached 21 percent in the second quarter of 2021, which set a new record for the region.
    Reports for Midtown and Midtown South showed similarly high vacancies.    Meanwhile, analysts said New York’s aggressive COVID-19 lockdown measures forced businesses and workers to leave the city in record numbers.
    “The other cities have become more competitive as a result of the pandemic and the whole remote work phenomenon,” said President of Business Organization Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde.    “It’s going to require a real shift in public policy toward focusing on quality of life, a positive business climate and affordability.”
    High tax rates and a drastic rise in crime have been cited for stunting New York’s economic recovery following the ease of coronavirus restrictions.

8/13/2021 In Desperation, U.S. Scours For Countries Willing To House Afghan Refugees by Idrees Ali, Humeyra Pamuk and Jonathan Landay
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. flag is reflected on the windows of the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden’s administration has been holding secret talks with more countries than previously known in a desperate attempt to secure deals to temporarily house at-risk Afghans who worked for the U.S. government, four U.S. officials told Reuters.
    The previously unreported discussions with such countries as Kosovo and Albania underscore the administration’s desire to protect U.S.-affiliated Afghans from Taliban reprisals while safely completing the process of approving their U.S. visas.
    With the Taliban tightening their grip on Afghanistan at a shockingly swift pace, the United States on Thursday announced it would send 1,000 personnel to Qatar to accelerate the processing of applications for Special Immigrant Visas (SIV).
    Afghans who served as interpreters for the U.S. government and in other jobs are entitled to apply for the SIV program.
    So far, about 1,200 Afghans have been evacuated to the United States and that number is set to rise to 3,500 in the coming weeks under “Operation Allies Refuge,” with some going to a U.S. military base in Virginia to finalize their paperwork and others directly to U.S. hosts.
    Fearful the Taliban’s advances are raising the threat to SIV applicants still awaiting processing, Washington is seeking third countries to host them until their paperwork is done and they can fly to the United States.
    “It is deeply troubling that there is no concrete plan in place to evacuate allies who are clearly in harm’s way,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service resettlement organization.
    “It is baffling why the administration has been taking so long in order to secure these agreements,” she said.
    While there still are no third country agreements, a State Department spokesperson said, “We are evaluating all available options.”
    Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said countries were hesitant to take in the Afghans because of concerns about the quality of security vetting and health screening for COVID-19 before they were allowed to fly.
    The Biden administration was exploring having Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan take in thousands of applicants, but that effort has made little progress.
    “There’s concerns that you might expect: ‘Who are these people? How do you know these people?    Can you assure that these people will get visas to the United States?    Who’s going to care for and feed these people.    What happens if these people wander off this facility you’ve got them in?” a senior State Department official said.
    The official declined to confirm the countries in talks with the United States.
    A deal to house about 8,000 Afghans in Qatar, which hosts a large U.S. military base, has been close for weeks, said a second U.S. official and another person familiar with the matter, but a formal agreement has yet to be announced.
    Officials warn the pace of any potential agreements may be stymied by the rapidly changing Afghanistan situation.
    U.S. Representative Jason Crow, who has led congressional efforts to speed SIV processing, said the administration should use a temporary U.S. troop deployment at Kabul airport for the drawdown of embassy staff to accelerate evacuations of SIV applicants irrespective of whether it has a third country deal.
    At the same time, Crow, a former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan, said it is very difficult to evacuate many SIV applicants and their families because they cannot reach Kabul.
    “If you’re not already in the Kabul security perimeter, getting there is very, very hard,” he told Reuters.    “That is a hard reality.”
    The reluctance of some countries has prompted the administration to appeal to others that may be willing to help if Washington provides some assistance, officials said.
    The United States has offered economic and political concessions to Kosovo for taking in several thousand Afghans, but there is concern in Washington about its ability to house the Afghans, sources said.
    The foreign ministry in Kosovo did not respond to a request for comment.    The embassies of Albania, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    The 1,200 Afghans evacuated are but a fraction of the 21,000 people in the SIV application pipeline and the Biden administration is still struggling to find temporary homes for the evacuees.
    Advocates estimate the total number of evacuees under the SIV program at between 50,000 and 80,000 when family members are included.
    James Miervaldis, chairman of the board of No One Left Behind, an organization that helps SIV applicants get to the United States, said there now appeared to be little chance that most of the SIV applicants will be evacuated.
    “The math and the timeline just do not add up … Those people are not going to be able to leave,” said Miervaldis, an Army Reserve non-commissioned officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The issue has been closely watched by lawmakers in Congress, including Biden’s allies.
    “We have to follow through on our promises to the thousands of Afghans who risked their lives to help us.    It’s time for the Biden (administration) to cut the red tape and get this done,” said Democratic congresswoman Sara Jacobs.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Jonathan Landay, Humeyra Pamuk and Ted Hesson; Additional reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina; Editing by Mary Milliken, Howard Goller and Daniel Wallis)

8/13/2021 S.C. Gov. Signs Open Carry With Training Act by OAN Newsroom
COLUMBIA, SC – NOVEMBER 03: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks to a crowd during an election night party
for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on November 3, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
    South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), along with his lieutenant governor and members of the State Assembly, took part in a ceremonial signing of the Open Carry with Training Act.    On Friday, the state took a step toward restoring constitutional freedoms for its residents at the Palmetto State Armory in Greenville.
    The new law will allow for any legal gun owner 21 and older in the state, who owns a concealed carry permit, to open carry in South Carolina.    In addition, those individuals do not have to respond to an officer if they ask to see a permit, unless there is probable cause.
    Those who apply for these permits after the law goes into effect, will have to go through at least eight hours of training.    However, they won’t have to pay the fee for the permit.
    Meanwhile, firearms will still no longer be allowed in no gun zones such as schools, while businesses still have the right to open carry on their property.    Also included in the law is additional training for members of law enforcement, which include scenarios surrounding South Carolinians openly carrying firearms.
    Additionally, under the law, South Carolina will be considered a Second Amendment sanctuary state.    McMaster said the bill is filled with the result of collaboration between gun owners, those who don’t own guns and businesses.    Further, he said it was a wash with constitutional influence.
    The law officially goes into effect on Sunday.

8/13/2021 Fmr. Secy. Of Interior Zinke Criticizes Biden’s OPEC Request by OAN Newsroom
In this Dec. 11, 2018 file photo, former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke speaks
at EPA headquarters in Washington. (Cliff Owen, AP file photo)
    Former Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke criticized Joe Biden’s latest request of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). During an interview on Thursday, Zinke said the U.S. is letting other countries take advantage of its energy needs, especially after canceling the Keystone Pipeline.
    He added under the Trump administration, America became the largest energy producer in the world.    However, Zinke lamented the U.S. is giving foreign allies the advantage of producing energy on their soil.    Additionally, forfeiting the ability to profit from and regulate the world’s energy.
    “The Biden administration cancels the Keystone Pipeline, but supports Russian pipelines.    This policy is anti-American, and it puts the nation at greater risk as far as national security goes,” said Zinke.    “Environmentally, it is better to produce energy in this country under reasonable regulation than watching it get produced overseas with no regulation.”
    Zinke’s comments come as he prepares to run for Montana’s newly added Congressional seat, where he claims to have endorsement from President Trump.

8/13/2021 Hearing Underway For $4.5B Purdue Pharma Settlement by OAN Newsroom
Fake pill bottles with messages about Purdue Pharma are displayed during a protest outside the courthouse where
the bankruptcy of the company is taking place in White Plains, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
    A court hearing is underway for OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, as the company faces scorching accusations.    On Thursday, the U.S. bankruptcy court heard a deal, which would force the wealthy Sackler family to pay more than $4 billion and give up control of Purdue Pharma.
    The high-profile company aims to resolve thousands of lawsuits, which accuse them of fueling the opioid crisis with their painkiller, OxyContin.    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the opioid crisis has claimed half a million lives since 1999.
    “The plan must be analyzed in light of the alternative, not a comparison to the ideal,” said Ed Neiger, a lawyer representing individual victims and their families.    “500,000 people have died as result of the opioid crisis thus far.    If we go the all-out litigation route, another 500,000 might die before we see a penny from the Sacklers.”
    The hearing is expected to last for a couple of weeks, but most states say the settlement fails to hold the company accountable.

8/14/2021 Oil down $0.98 to $67.97, DOW up 15 to 35,515.

8/14/2021 Venezuelan Government And Opposition Talks Open In Mexico City by Diego Oré and Sharay Angulo
Gerardo Blyde Perez, head of the opposition delegation of Venezuela, Dag Nylander, Representative of Norway government
and Jorge Rodriguez, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, sign the Memorandum of Understanding
of Venezuela in the framework of the negotiation and dialogue process, during a meeting to seek consensus on how to overcome
the economic and social crises gripping Venezuela, in Mexico City, Mexico August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Representatives of the Venezuelan government and the opposition began a round of talks on Friday in Mexico City aimed at overcoming Venezuela’s acute political and economic crisis, which has caused millions to flee the Latin American nation.
    Unlike previous negotiation efforts, the talks will include more than a dozen countries, among them the Netherlands, Russia, Bolivia, Turkey and Norway, which will act as the facilitator.
    At the National Museum of Anthropology, the parties agreed to a memorandum of understanding containing the road map that will guide the dialogue process.
    For the talks to advance to a potential agreement, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro demands that sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe on officials and institutions be lifted.    Venezuela says the sanctions are responsible for the OPEC member’s economic crisis.
    For its part, the opposition coalition calls to allow humanitarian aid, including vaccines against COVID-19, to enter into Venezuela; the release of dozens of supporters whom it considers “political prisoners;” and guarantees it will be allowed to participate in regional elections in November.
    “We already know what we do not agree on.    … The job now is to find points of confluence to guarantee the future and the happiness of the people of Venezuela,” Jorge Rodriguez, president of Venezuela’s parliament, said at the beginning of the talks.
    The return to the negotiating table represents a turnaround for the opposition, which in the past accused Maduro of using dialogue to buy time and defuse international pressure.    The Venezuelan government abandoned the 2019 dialogue, which took place in Barbados and Norway, after the United States tightened sanctions.
    “Today we are beginning the second stage of a negotiation process that we know will be complex, which will surely have very difficult moments,” said Gerardo Blyde, chair of the Venezuelan opposition delegation.
    “Between these two sidewalks where each party supports narratives that seem diametrically opposed is a street full of hopeless and suffering citizens, our people,” he added.
    U.S. President Joe Biden has not relaxed sanctions against the financial and oil sectors of Venezuela since taking office in January and has maintained support for opposition leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in January 2019 after claiming there was fraud in Maduro’s 2018 re-election.
    “We are willing to review sanctions policies on the basis of significant progress in the negotiation.    But that is what we need to see: significant progress,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Thursday.
    The Venezuelan crisis has generated a massive exodus that the Organization of American States recently estimated would reach 7 million people by 2022, the largest in the world, exceeding the likes of Syria.
(Reporting by Diego Ore and Sharay Angulo in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago in Caracas; Writing by Laura Gottesdiener; Editing by Grant McCool and Leslie Adler)

8/14/2021 Pentagon ‘Deeply Concerned’ With Taliban Advances In Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – AUGUST 13: U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby participates
in a news briefing at the Pentagon August 13, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has called on the Biden administration to take action against Taliban forces.    Following talks with Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S. on Friday, McConnell stressed it’s not too late to prevent Taliban advances in Kabul.
    He went on to call upon the U.S. to conduct airstrikes in the region and provide critical support to Afghan forces on the ground.    McConnell warned failure to do so, could result in increased security threats towards the U.S. and a catastrophic cost to the Afghan people.
    As discussions continue, the Pentagon is in the process of sending troops back to Afghanistan as officials say they are concerned with rapid gains being made by the Taliban.
    In a press briefing on Friday, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby warned that the Taliban is moving rapidly across the country.    This as reports said the terrorist group has overtaken around half of Afghanistan’s 34 provincial capitals and nearly two-thirds of the country as a whole.
    Kirby also touched on the Pentagon’s decision to deploy 3,000 troops to Afghanistan in order to help evacuate Americans and Afghans who’ve secured visas from the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.    He said time is a precious commodity and hopes the troops are able to help get thousands of people out of the war-torn country.
    In the meantime, staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul have been ordered to destroy any documents and computers with sensitive information.    Kirby said the Taliban is trying to surround Kabul, but remains confident the Afghan capital isn’t in immediate danger.
    Additionally, Kirby said he expects the troops to be fully deployed in Afghanistan by the end of the weekend.

8/14/2021 Haiti’s History Of Violence And Disasters
FILE PHOTO: Haitians made homeless in the 2010 earthquake stand outside their tents
on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince January 13, 2011. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo
    PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti became Latin America and the Caribbean’s first independent state of the colonial era and the first Black-led republic when it threw off French rule in the 19th century.
    But it has suffered cycles of violence, invasion and repression for most of its subsequent history, as well as natural disasters including an earthquake in 2010 that killed as many as 300,000 people.
    Here are some key events in Haiti’s history:
1492 – Spain colonizes the island of Hispaniola after the arrival of Christopher Columbus.    Two hundred years later Spain cedes the western half to France.    Plantations worked by slaves of African origin produce sugar, rum and coffee that enrich France.
1791 – Former slave Toussaint Louverture leads a successful revolt and in 1801 issues a constitution.    The revolution is often described as the world’s first and only successful slave rebellion.
1801-1809 – Under slave-owning President Thomas Jefferson, the United States cuts aid to Louverture and pursues a policy to isolate Haiti, concerned the Haitian revolution would inspire slaves in southern U.S. states. 1803 – Napoleon Bonaparte’s failed attempt to retake Haiti ends his dream of an expansive French empire in the Americas.    Haiti’s victory leads France to agree to the Louisiana Purchase, a bargain deal that doubles the size of the United States.
1804 – Haiti becomes independent under former slave Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who is assassinated in 1806.    The United States does not recognize Haitian independence until 1862.
1825 – France recognizes Haitian independence but imposes harsh reparations on its former slaves for lost income.    The loans Haiti takes with French banks to cover the debt, and subsequent interest, are only fully repaid in 1947.
1915 – The United States invades Haiti, withdraws in 1943 but keeps financial control and political influence.
1937 – In the worst incident of long-standing rivalry with neighboring Dominican Republic, thousands of Haitians in a border area are massacred by Dominican troops on the orders of dictator Trujillo.
1957 – Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier takes power with military backing, ushering in a period defined by widespread human-rights abuses.
1964 – Duvalier declares himself president-for-life. His dictatorship is marked by repression, enforced by the feared Tonton Macoutes secret police.
1971 – Duvalier dies and is succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude, or “Baby Doc.”    Repression increases.    In the following decades, thousands of Haitian “boat people” flee by sea to Florida, many dying on the way.
1986 – Popular revolt forces Baby Doc to flee Haiti to exile in France.    Lieutenant-General Henri Namphy takes over.
1988 – General Prosper Avril takes over from Namphy in a coup.
1990 – Avril declares a state of siege amid protests but resigns ahead of elections under international pressure.
1990 – Former parish priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a leftist champion of the poor, wins Haiti’s first free election.    He is ousted in a coup in 1991.
1994 – U.S. troops intervene to oust the military regime and Aristide returns.    U.N. peacekeepers deploy in 1995 and Aristide protege Rene Preval is elected president.
1999 – Aristide is elected president for a second term despite disputed results.
2004 – Political unrest forces Aristide to flee. The country descends into violence.
2006 – Preval wins election.
2008–2010. Protests triggered by food shortages, a cholera outbreak and electoral disputes.
2010 – An earthquake kills up to 300,000 people. Despite an international relief effort, the country is all but overwhelmed, exacerbating political, social and economic problems.
2011 – Michel Martelly wins second round of presidential election.
2012-14 – Frequent anti-government protests fueled by corruption and poverty. Demonstrators demand Martelly resign.
2016 – Hurricane Matthew kills more than 850 people and leaves tens of thousands homeless.
2017 – Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter-turned-politician, is declared winner of 2016 presidential election.
2019 – Moise steadily amasses power and rules by decree after Haiti fails to hold elections due to political gridlock and unrest.
2021 – Moise is shot dead after gunmen open fire with assault rifles in his private residence on July 7.
2021 – A 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes western Haiti on Aug. 14, likely causing high casualties and widespread disaster, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
(Compiled by Angus MacSwan, Frank Jack Daniel and Daniel Wallis; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Matthew Lewis)

8/14/2021 Protesters In France Denounce COVID Health Pass Rules For Fifth Weekend
Protesters march against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination and the use of health passes
to restaurants, bars, trains and planes in Nice, France, August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
    PARIS (Reuters) - Protesters have marched in cities across France for a fifth consecutive weekend against rules compelling them to show a COVID-19 health pass for daily activities, but in lesser numbers than a week ago.
    Crowds rallied through the streets of Paris, Marseille, Nice, Montpellier and other towns, waving placards reading “Pass=Apartheid” and chanting “Freedom, freedom.”
    Since last Monday, citizens have been required to show the pass in public places, proving that they have been vaccinated or have recently been tested negative for the coronavirus.
    After a week of leniency from the police, the government has vowed to get tougher on health pass checks, and testing, unless prescribed by a doctor, will no longer be free from October.
    The protests have united a disparate group against President Emmanuel Macron’s legislation, which is meant to help contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections spreading across France and help safeguard the country’s economic recovery.
    The total number of participants in the latest protests had diminished to almost 215,000, according to the interior ministry, after a steady rise from 114,000 on the first Saturday of protest on July 17 to 237,000 on Aug. 7.
    Authorities had initially anticipated that the 217 overwhelmingly peaceful rallies around the country would total around 250,000 demonstrators.
    The number of people being treated for COVID-19 in intensive care units has more than doubled in less than a month, standing at 1,831 as of Friday.    That’s less than a third of the third lockdown peak of 6,001, but high enough to trigger restrictive measures in certain areas.
    Health Ministry data showed nine in every 10 COVID patients recently admitted to intensive care had not been vaccinated.     A majority of French support the health pass, surveys show.
    Among the protesters are remnants of the anti-government “Yellow Vest” movement that shook Macron’s leadership during 2018-2019, and also other citizens who are anti-vaccine or consider the health pass to be discriminatory.
    Vaccination rates jumped after Macron unveiled his health pass plans last month.    Almost 70% of all French people have now received one dose and 57.5% are fully vaccinated.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Michaela CabreraEditing by Christina Fincher and David Holmes)

8/14/2021 Italy Arrests Two Sicilian Sheep Farmers For Lighting Wildfires
Carabinieri military police are seen finding a petrol can in a car during a investigation that led to the arrest of two
suspected arsonists in Buccheri, Italy August 14, 2021 in a video screengrab. Siracusa Carabinieri/Handout via REUTERS
    ROME (Reuters) – Italian police arrested two farmers in Sicily on Saturday on suspicion of lighting recent wildfires to create grazing land for their sheep, and said the two had been planning another large and dangerous blaze.
    Wildfires have torn through swathes of southern Italy this summer, helped by record high temperatures, ravaging woodland in Calabria and on the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.
    Police in Syracuse, south-east Sicily, a region where temperatures hit almost 49 Celsius (120.2 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday, said their investigations showed the men were responsible for at least two of a series of fires in the area in July.
    “Their goal was to increase the grazing area of their animals with the declared intention of saving money on forage,” police said in a statement.
    Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani has said at least 70% of the wildfires this summer have been started deliberately or through carelessness.    Police last week caught a man on video lighting dry shrub in the countryside near Naples.
    Authorities cite various motives for arson involving wildfires, from clearing land for grazing or construction, to insurance claims and even creating overtime work for firefighters.
    The police said their recordings of the two men’s conversations showed they planned a new fire on Sunday to clear a much larger area of land “with unimaginable consequences for the environment and public order and safety.”
    Greece and Turkey have also battled extensive wildfires in recent weeks.
(This story corrects spelling of city name in fourth paragraph to Syracuse)
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry)

8/14/2021 Gov. DeSantis Announces Rapid Response Team To Expand Use Of Monoclonal Antibody Treatments For COVID-19 Patients by OAN Newsroom
SURFSIDE, FLORIDA – AUGUST 10: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event to give out bonuses to first
responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the launch of a rapid response team to expand the use of monoclonal antibody treatments for COVID-19 patients.    DeSantis touted the effectiveness of the monoclonal antibody treatment in a press conference on Thursday.    He added the procedure was specifically designed for high-risk patients, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.
    The antibody procedure can reportedly be used to treat mild to moderate COVID-19 cases in anyone over the age of 12 and can be used on both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.
    “This is the most effective treatment that we’ve yet encountered for people who are actually infected with COVID-19 and the way it works, I mean, that there’s a core group of people that benefit from this and those are folks that are at the most high risk for severe illness from COVID-19,” said DeSantis.
    Florida officials have been looking to expand the use of the treatment amid a surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the Sunshine State, in an effort to relieve pressure on the state’s healthcare systems.

8/14/2021 Report: More Than 200K Illegal Immigrant Encounters In July by OAN Newsroom
LA JOYA, TEXAS – JUNE 21: Medical personnel check in with immigrants after they crossed the
Rio Grande into the U.S. on June 21, 2021 in La Joya, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration has stuck by its border policy even as 200,000 migrants were arrested in the month of July.    The Department of Homeland Security has found itself torn between two messages, with one being spread by the head of the department and the other by the facts.
    According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials, migrant arrests at the southern border reached a 21-year record high in July.    Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Biden administration is “confronting” the border crisis.
    Mayorkas attempted to escape responsibility for the 212,672 encounters by shifting the blame to the Trump administration for the migrant influx.    He also tried to twist President Trump’s strong policies by calling them unfair to illegal immigrants.
    “As I think all of you know, in the prior administration, Title 42 authority of the Centers for Disease Control was used to expel unaccompanied children regardless of their age and that is a practice that we discontinued immediately in the Biden administration,” said Mayorkas.
    However, the problems brought on by Joe Biden’s border crisis don’t end with immigration. CBP agents in July seized 46,000 pounds of illegal drugs.    While sizable, this amount actually marks the lowest in the last four Julys, meaning either drug smugglers have chosen to take a break to generously allow the waves of immigrants to sneak their way across the border first or     CBP is just simply seizing less.
    In the first seven months of the year, there were 7,344 NCIC arrests, or otherwise arrests where the immigrant was wanted on the National Crime Information Center.    Those arrests marked an increase to last year’s total of 7,108.    Although, Mayorkas said the record numbers aren’t due to a Biden administration policy, rather it has to do with the internal polices of Central and South American countries.
    “Worsening conditions, of course, in the origin, including poverty, a rise in violence, and corruption,” Mayorkas pointed out.
While the Biden administration continues to contort itself around accepting responsibility, border states have been working to draft their own plans of attack as Republican lawmakers try desperately to protect their citizens before an already perilous crisis gets worse.

8/14/2021 House Speaker Pelosi Extends Proxy Voting To October by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 06: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks at her weekly
news conference at the Capitol building. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has extended House proxy voting regulations through October.    On Friday, Pelosi said she had extended the proxy voting system through Oct. 1, citing concerns over a surge of the more contagious Delta variant virus cases nationwide.
    Critics have blasted the move, asserting it was no longer necessary and was being used by lawmakers to avoid their legislative responsibilities.    This comes after Pelosi’s previous extension came to an end Aug. 18.
    Conservative lawmakers filed a suit last month against Pelosi over the proxy voting rules, but the case was later dismissed by a judge who said the court didn’t have the authority to govern House rules.

8/14/2021 Judge Rejects Ghislaine Maxwell Bid To Have Trafficking Charges Dropped by OAN Newsroom
In this July 2, 2020 file photo, Audrey Strauss, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York,
points to a photo of Jeffrey Epstein and his ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
    A federal judge rejected Ghislaine Maxwell’s bid to have sex trafficking charges against her dropped.    Judge Alison Nathan ruled against Maxwell’s push on Friday, saying she was not immunized under a prior 2007 non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein.
    Maxwell’s attorneys previously argued the case should be ruled similarly to that of the case against comedian Bill Cosby, arguing she had signed a similar plea deal with prosecutors.    However, Nathan defended the decision, saying the New York court was not bound under the same promise as her former boyfriend.
    “Even if this court agreed with the analysis in [Cosby’s case], that opinion sheds no light on the proper interpretation of the NPA in this case,” wrote Nathan.
    Maxwell is currently being held in a Brooklyn federal jail after pleading not guilty to an eight-count indictment accusing her of grooming underage rape victims to Epstein.    If convicted, she could face 80 years.

8/14/2021 Anti-Trumpers Make Claims Of Imminent Violence From Trump Supporters by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) questions witnesses during the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6 protest on the
U.S. Capitol on July 27, 2021 at the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)
    Appearing on CNN Friday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) alleged that Republicans are being led to believe lies because of President Donald Trump.    The anti-Trump Republican further claimed that because of Trump’s promotion of election fraud theories, violence is likely to occur.
    “When somebody with authority speaks conspiracy or when somebody with authority speaks that dark part in everybody’s heart that we always have to fight against, the desire to hate, the desire to divide, it gets permission to let that overtake you,” said Kinzinger.    “We can’t be surprised when this happens to a large scale like we saw on Jan. 6 and like we are concerned about in the future.”
    Despite Kinzinger’s stance, only one death was the result of violence that occurred during the Capitol protest.    Ashli Babbitt fell victim to a fatal gunshot wound by a Capitol Police officer.
    After taking the job, Kinzinger notably received GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) ire.    Additionally, fellow Republican Lauren Boebert (Colo.) demanded Kinzinger, along with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), be expelled from the party.
    Former Trump White House staffer, Miles Taylor, has also been promoting theories of the 45th president causing violence.     The originally anonymous author of “A Warning,” a book describing Taylor’s efforts to thwart the will of the elected president, came forward just before the election to campaign for Joe Biden.
    President Trump called him a nobody who he’s never heard of. Speaking to MSNBC recently, Taylor too pushed the theory that Trump and his supporters are violent liars.
    So far, from those arrested in the FBI’s massive dragnet over Jan. 6, nobody has been charged with terrorism or insurrection. Instead, most of those arrested are being charged with nonviolent picketing offenses, which is a far cry from the theory that domestic terrorism from Trump supporters is imminent.

8/14/2021 Larry Elder Promises End To Mask, Vaccine Mandates by OAN Newsroom
Gregg Donovan, a supporter of the California recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican candidate
Larry Elder holds a sign outside of a debate by Republican gubernatorial candidates at the Richard Nixon
Presidential Library Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Yorba Linda, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    GOP gubernatorial candidate for California, Larry Elder, has promised to repeal mask and vaccine mandates if elected governor. Speaking to a crowded church on Thursday, the Republican show host said he believes Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) locked down     California harder than any other state in the union.
    The Bay Area church was chosen specifically because they have racked up $1 million in fines for defying COVID restrictions.    Elder said all such restrictions on the people, businesses and churches in California would be lifted as his first act of governor.
    Meanwhile, embattled Democrat Gov. Newsom has started up his own campaign to urge Californians to vote no on recalling him.    He compared Larry Elder to President Donald Trump, implying the two have a close relationship that is bad for Californians.

8/14/2021 Caitlyn Jenner Visits Southern Border by OAN Newsroom
Gubernatorial candidate for California Caitlyn Jenner speaks with a Border Patrol Council member during a tour
of the border area in Otay Mesa, California on August 13, 2021. (SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images)
    GOP California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner recently paid a visit to the southern border.    Jenner toured the Otay Mesa Port of Entry with border agents on Friday, where she vowed to support them 100 percent if elected governor.
    She noted illegal immigration is one of the biggest issues in the recall election and stressed it’s very important for the state and federal government to control the border.    Jenner also emphasized that the state needs to provide more resources to help secure the southern border.
    “Federal issues have to change.    We need, as Californians, to, bottom line, secure this border,” said Jenner.    “Whatever it takes.    We need to have the resources down here, whether it’s state, most cases state resources, to fill in all the gaps.    We don’t have a state.    We do not have a country unless we have a secure border.    Bottom line, that’s it.”
    In a tweet on her visit, Jenner promised to finish the southern border wall in California with state funds and called out Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) for allowing illegal immigration to run rampant.

8/14/2021 Ky. High School Students And Staff Protest Mask Mandate by OAN Newsroom
Masked students walk the halls between classes during the first day of school. (John Moore/Getty Images)
    Students and staff members at a Kentucky high school walked out of campus after being forced to wear masks.    On Friday, both teachers and students at Hickman County High School launched a protest against the school board’s decision to mandate face coverings.
    This comes as the Kentucky Board of Education passed a 270-day emergency mask regulation for public schools statewide.    Reports said students at Hickman High School were asked to either wear a mask or leave, with many choosing to leave.
    “He [the superintendent] never did say he would send our children home.    I would not have sent my kids to school today knowing that,” said Kory Narnjo, parent of a student who attends Hickman.    “Our kids came to school.    If they didn’t have a mask, they sent them home.”
    Tensions rose following an announcement by the superintendent this week, where he told parents that students and staff wouldn’t face repercussions for not wearing masks.

8/15/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/15/2021 Texas Judges Temporarily Block Gov. Abbott’s Executive Orders by OAN Newsroom
AUSTIN, TEXAS – MARCH 29: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott arrives for his COVID-19 press
conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin. (Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images)
    Two Texas judges have blocked separate executive orders imposed by Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas).    One federal judge extended a temporary restraining order against the executive order imposed by the Texas governor.    On Friday, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Cardone extended the order to Aug. 27, blocking Abbott’s directive for state troopers to pull over any vehicle suspected of transporting migrants who may pose a risk of carrying COVID-19.
    A temporary restraining order was granted earlier this month per request from the Justice Department and was originally set to expire on Friday.    Abbott has previously defended the measure for the health and safety of Texans, while many opponents have said it could lead to racial profiling.
    Meanwhile, a separate Texas judge blocked another one of Abbott’s orders later on Friday, which bans local governments and schools from imposing mask mandates. In a statement to KEYE, Travis County Judge Andy Brown said the order overreaches and limits the ability of county officials and health authorities to protect their communities.
    However, earlier this week, Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton criticized “attention grabbing judges and mayors” who defied executive orders when the pandemic first began, adding they’ve lost before.
    In the meantime, the Republican governor vowed any school district, local government, or public university that chooses to defy the directive, would be taken to court.

8/15/2021 Teachers’ Union Sues Parent Over Public Records Release by OAN Newsroom
TOPSHOT – Children listen to their teacher as they sit in a classroom on the first day
of the start of the school year. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)
    The National Education Association announced it is suing the mother of a kindergarten student after she requested information about the schools’ teaching of critical race theory.    The country’s largest teachers’ union filed the suit along with a temporary restraining order with the Rhode Island Superior Court earlier this month.
    Nicole Solas said this isn’t the first time she has been targeted by the group.    She stressed this is a matter of public concern that is subject to public disclosure.
    “Every parent has the right to request this information and every parent should.    You can request the communications of NEA members with public school officials and public-school employees, and you can read their emails to see exactly how they are implementing critical race theory,” said Solas.
    Solas has not received the information she requested and further, the school district slapped her with a $74,000 so-called “record retrieval bill” for the information she was seeking.
    Solas attorney, Jon Riches of the Goldwater Institute, said the public records laws are intended to open government up so that the public knows what the government is up to.    He also pointed out they were never meant to be turned around on parents just trying to find out what their kids are learning in school.
    Solas said she believes the NEA of Rhode Island is simply hiding how gender and critical race theory is being imposed on kindergarteners, and is shielding teachers from the inevitable public outrage if parents were privy to their curriculum.
    Point 70 of the union’s legal complaint reads, “it is likely that any teachers who are identifiable and have engaged in discussions about things like critical race theory will then be the subject of teacher harassment by national conservative groups opposed to critical race theory.”

8/15/2021 Gov. Cuomo Argues He Would Have Defeated Impeachment, Says Resigning Was The ‘Right Thing’ For N.Y. by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 02: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks in New York City. (Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he feels he did the right thing in stepping down from his position.    During an interview with New York Magazine on Friday, Cuomo said he wasn’t going to drag the state through the mud for a months-long impeachment process and then “win.”
    The governor has continued to maintain his innocence following months of mounting pressure from several GOP and Democrat officials calling for his removal.
    In an interview on Sunday, incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul said it won’t be difficult for her to end the legacy of sleaze.
    “Everyone who’s known my career over 27 years of elected office know that I have very high ethical standards,” said Hochul.    “And I will go in there and literally say ‘it’s a new day.'    Zero tolerance, I’m going to be very firm in my expectations and how my administration conducts themselves.”
    In the meantime, Cuomo didn’t say what his next steps would be, but assured he would not be disappearing from the public eye.

8/15/2021 Britain Says Taliban Should Not Be Recognised As Afghan Government
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures before boarding the vessel Alba in Fraserburgh Harbour, which will
transport him to the Moray Offshore Windfarm East during his visit to Scotland, Britain August 5, 2021. Jane Barlow/Pool via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) – Nobody should bilaterally recognise the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday, adding it was clear that there would be a new administration in the country very shortly.
    “We don’t want anybody bilaterally recognising the Taliban,” Johnson said in an interview clip, urging the West to work together on Afghanistan through mechanisms such as the United Nations and NATO.
    “We want a united position amongst all the like-minded as far as we can get one so that we do whatever we can to prevent Afghanistan lapsing back into being a breeding ground for terror.”
    Taliban insurgents entered Kabul on Sunday, President Ashraf Ghani left the country and the U.S. Embassy said the capital’s airport, where diplomats, officials and other Afghans had fled, had come under fire.
    “The (UK) ambassador is working round the clock, has been there at the airport to help process the applications,” said Johnson.
    Asked whether he would have expected the country to fall to the Taliban so quickly, he replied:
    “I think it’s fair to say that the U.S. decision to pull out has accelerated things.”
    Separately, Russia said earlier on Sunday that it does not yet recognise the Taliban insurgents as Afghanistan’s new lawful authority, RIA state news agency reported.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alison Williams and Susan Fenton)

8/15/2021 Pressed By U.S., Mexico Hastens Migrant Expulsions With Flights South by Dave Graham and Laura Gottesdiener
FILE PHOTO: Migrants, who were expelled from the U.S and sent back to Mexico under Title 42, queue outside of a
National Institute of Migration (INM) building in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico August 13, 2021. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Under pressure from the U.S. government to contain illegal immigration, Mexico has been quietly flying thousands of undocumented migrants to the south of the country to expedite their departure, according to officials and migrants.
    The government said in late May it had carried out four return flights of migrants as it began a so-called “air bridge” south, without saying how many people were on them.
    Mexico has now sent roughly 13,000 people from northern cities to its southern border on about 100 flights, complementing U.S. efforts to return migrants to Central America, two Mexican officials familiar with the matter said.
    Some 1,200 people were flown south in the past week alone, they said.    The figures have not been previously reported.
    Mexico’s National Migration Institute declined to comment.    The foreign ministry said in a statement it supported a humane migratory system that respected national and international law, and was working with Washington to tackle the causes of migration.
    The migrant flights come as the Biden administration faces increasing criticism over its management of the issue.
    “This is all being done to accommodate the Americans, who are very worried about migration,” said one of the Mexican officials.    “Efforts are being made to speed up expulsions.”
    Mexico, meanwhile, is pushing for the United States to lift restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared border that were imposed during the pandemic.
    The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Earlier this month, the U.S. administration of President Joe Biden began flying Central American and Mexican families to southern Mexico to deter migration – resuming a practice seen under his predecessor Donald Trump.
    The migrants put on the Mexican domestic flights were from all over the world and had either been detained under Mexican law, or expelled from the United States under measures such as Title 42, a mechanism used to expedite removals in the pandemic under the Trump administration, one of the officials said.
    Apprehensions of undocumented migrants on the U.S. southern border with Mexico have leapt in 2021, piling pressure on Biden, and with it, the Mexican government to stem the flow.
    Since October of last year, U.S. agents have conducted 1,276,000 apprehensions or expulsions of migrants crossing the U.S. border illegally, including nearly 200,000 in July alone.
    On Tuesday, a flight carrying dozens of migrants, including children, landed in the southern city of Tapachula, according to a Reuters witness and observers from the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), an advocacy group.
    Mexican authorities then loaded the migrants onto buses, drove them about a half an hour to a remote border crossing, and instructed them to walk across the pedestrian bridge into Guatemala, according to the witnesses.
    A member of Mexico’s National Guard in Tapachula said that when the planes land, the migrants are transported on immigration agency buses to crossing points in Talisman and Ciudad Hidalgo, from which they enter Guatemala.
    Guatemala’s government did not respond to a request for comment.
    Among those on Tuesday’s flight was Antonio, a 26-year-old Honduran, who broke down in tears after he and his young son found themselves in the tiny Guatemalan town of El Carmen.
    Declining to give his last name, Antonio said that he and his boy were apprehended by Mexican immigration authorities in the northern city of Monterrey and made to board the southbound plane, despite hoping to seek asylum in Mexico.
    Arturo Viscarra, staff attorney with CHIRLA, which has documented the Mexican flights, argued the process was denying migrants asylum rights, leaving them “dumped in the middle of the night in Guatemala,” vulnerable to deprivation and crime. Antonio echoed that concern.
    “I don’t have a single peso,” he said, weeping.    “And my son hasn’t even eaten since yesterday.”
    Mexico’s government in its statement said it was committed to protecting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Laura Gottesdiener; Additional reporting by Jose Torres in Tapachula; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

8/15/2021 Secy. Blinken: We’d Be Back At War With The Taliban If We Hadn’t Withdrawn From Afghanistan Now by OAN Newsroom
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about infrastructure investment at the University of Marylands A. James Clark
School of Engineering, on August 9, 2021, in College Park, Maryland. (PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he fears U.S. troops would have come under Taliban attack if they’d remained in Afghanistan any longer.    In an interview on Sunday, Blinken tried to defend Joe Biden’s plan to withdraw troops, despite having to redeploy them amid a Taliban takeover.
    Biden has taken heat over the move after saying just last month that it was unlikely the Taliban would overrun the country.    According to Blinken, maintaining the status quo of troops in Afghanistan would have resulted in attacks on those troops.
    “Like it or not, there was an agreement that the forces would come out May 1.    Had they not, had we not begun that process, which is what the President did and the Taliban saw, then we would have been back at war with the Taliban,” stated Blinken.
    When asked why troops weren’t being kept in the country until all personnel were out, Blinken said the quick redeployment of troops showed the administration was prepared for every contingency.    He noted the Taliban has been warned of a swift response if they interfere with U.S. personnel or operations.

8/15/2021 Judge Rules Rep. Nunes Defamation Suit Against Washington Post Can Move Forward by OAN Newsroom
The building of the Washington Post newspaper headquarters is seen on K Street
in Washington D.C. on May 16, 2019. (ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
    A federal judge has ruled in favor of Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and his defamation suit against the Washington Post.    In a recent interview, the California lawmaker said he looks forward to deposing the Post as part of his suit.
    The judge ruled against the Washington Post’s motion to dismiss the defamation claim last week, after a 2017 article described what it called a “late night visit” by Nunes to the White House.    The Post later issued a correction, saying Nunes pointed out he didn’t believe the Obama administration had been wiretapping Trump Tower.
    According to the federal judge, the Washington Post wrote and published the article with “at least reckless disregard of the truth that it had previously reported.”
    Nunes said the process may take a few months, saying he’s trying to track people down from five years ago and hold them accountable.

8/15/2021 Fmr. Google Employee Reveals Company Changed News Algorithm To Target President Trump by OAN Newsroom
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – OCTOBER 18: The Google logo is seen on display at the company’s
headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
    A Big Tech whistleblower has spoken out on Google’s latest attempts to censor conservative speech.    Zach Vorhies exposed Google and how it changed their news algorithms in order to target President Trump.
    In his new book, “Google Leaks: A Whistleblower’s Expose,” the former Google and YouTube employee details how the Big Tech conglomerate celebrated their attempts to redirect the truth during the 2016 election and how they did it.
    “One of the things that most people noticed was one of the questions that was asked by the audience.    Which asked Sundar Pichai what Google had done best during the 2016 election.    To which Sundar replied, that it was the use of machine learning in order to censor the fake news,” said Vorhies.
    He also explained how the process worked during an interview with the Epoch Times.    Vorhies went on to clarify how these classifiers were trained by people with biases based on what they believed to be fake or misleading news.    The classifiers allow Google to automatically filter out content they believe goes against the truth and their political narrative.
    Vorhies added Google’s algorithm attached new negative stories about Trump onto old ones in order to keep them trending at the top of their search results longer.    He concluded by exposing Google’s attempt to rewrite its’ operating code to prevent many in the U.S. from participating in the national discussion.

8/15/2021 Sen. Graham Faces Grassroots Censure After Infrastructure Vote by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 30: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) attends a news conference on
southern border security and illegal immigration, at the U.S. Capitol. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has been censured by a local party for his vote to support infrastructure.    The Aiken County Republican Party silenced the senator this past week.
    In a statement following the censure, the county GOP said Graham violated the principles of the South Carolina GOP.    They also accused him of acceding to the demands of the “Marxist” agenda of the Democrat Party.
    “Support of the Invest in America Act is tantamount to supporting the Socialist Marxist agenda of the House and Senate Democrats who are using climate change as a way to force businesses and private citizens into tyrannical government compliance against our free enterprise system,” said the party.
    President Donald Trump has railed against the infrastructure bill and urged Republican senators to vote against it.    However, 19 Republicans voted for it anyway.

8/15/2021 Fla. Man Facing Several Charges For Allegedly Trafficking A Minor by OAN Newsroom
Taxis lined up are seen parking at Collins Avenue in Miami Beach on January 9, 2020. (EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images)
    A man in Florida is facing several felony charges for allegedly trafficking a teenage girl and forcing her into prostitution.    On Friday, 23-year-old Moise Junior Jasmin was arrested and later charged with several felonies including human trafficking, aggravated child abuse and sexual battery.
    Jasmin is alleged to have taken the girl from New York to Florida when she was just 13-years-old and forced her into prostitution.    According to officials, officers found the girl who is now 15-years-old and had been reported missing, while investigating a separate incident.
    Authorities also said they found explicit videos of Jasmin and the young girl online. The victim told officials she was ordered to tell people her age was 19.
    “Rescuing these victims and removing traffickers from our community are and will always be the main goals of my human trafficking task force," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.    “These dedicated police officers and investigators deserve a community-wide thanks.”

8/15/2021 Schumer Says Top U.S. Focus In Afghanistan Should Be On Safely Getting Personnel Out
FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) speaks outside the U.S. Capitol
in Washington, U.S., August 4, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein//File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States’ top focus in Afghanistan should be on safely getting U.S. personnel and Afghans who supported the United States out of the country, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Sunday.
    Schumer told a press conference that he had talked repeatedly to the Biden administration in the past week about making every effort to get “brave Afghans who helped our soldiers” out of Afghanistan.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

8/15/2021 U.N. Chief Urges Taliban Restraint, Is Concerned About Women, Girls by Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres addresses the media as he arrives on the first day of the
European Union summit at The European Council Building in Brussels, Belgium June 24, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday urged the Taliban and all other parties to exercise the utmost restraint in order to protect lives and expressed particular concern about the future of women and girls in Afghanistan.
    Taliban insurgents entered Kabul and President Ashraf Ghani left Afghanistan on Sunday, bringing the Islamist militants close to taking over the country two decades after they were overthrown by a U.S.-led invasion.
    “There continue to be reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement, adding that Guterres “is particularly concerned about the future of women and girls, whose hard-won rights must be protected.”
    “All abuses must stop. He calls on the Taliban and all other parties to ensure … the rights and freedoms of all people are respected and protected,” Dujarric said.
    Under Taliban rule between 1996 and 2001, women could not work, girls were not allowed to attend school and women had to cover their faces and be accompanied by a male relative if they wanted to venture out of their homes.
    Guterres will brief the U.N. Security Council on Monday on Afghanistan.    In an Aug. 3 statement, agreed by consensus, the 15 council members “declared that they do not support the restoration of the Islamic Emirate” (Taliban rule).
    Afghanistan’s U.N. ambassador, Ghulam Isaczai, appointed last month, told Reuters on Sunday: “The message I sent to the council today is to do everything to prevent further violence and ensure an orderly transition to a transitional government.”
    Guterres warned on Friday that Afghanistan was “spinning out of control” and called on the Taliban to halt their offensive.
    The United Nations has about 3,000 national staff and about 300 international staff on the ground in Afghanistan.    On Friday, Dujarric said some staff had been relocated to Kabul but that none had been evacuated from the country.
    “The United Nations remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need,” Dujarric said on Sunday.
    He said the need for assistance is “surging while the operating environment becomes more restricted due to the escalation of the conflict.” Guterres called on all parties to ensure unimpeded humanitarian aid access.
    In April, the Taliban stepped up a campaign to defeat the U.S.-backed government as foreign forces withdrew after 20 years of war.    U.S.-backed Afghan forces toppled the Taliban from power in late 2001 for refusing to hand over al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Peter Cooney)

8/16/2021 No Oil and DOW info.

8/16/2021 Venezuela Opposition Leader Guevara Released From Prison
Venezuelan opposition leader Freddy Guevara speaks to the media after leaving "El Helicoide", a detention centre
of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), where he had been imprisoned after he was charged with
terrorism, treason, and an attack on constitutional order, in Caracas, Venezuela August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Leonardo Fernandez Viloria
    CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Freddy Guevara was released from prison on Sunday, a month after his arrest and days after the start of talks in Mexico City between the opposition and the government of President Nicolas Maduro.
    Intelligence agents pulled Guevara from his car on a Caracas highway on July 12.    Officials later said he was linked to a bout of gang violence in the capital.
    The United States condemned his arrest, and his father and doctor last week said his health could be at risk.
    Guevara told reporters on Sunday he had been in isolation until several days ago and did not have any further details about his release, according to footage from local internet broadcaster VIVOPlay.
    “I’m not clear on what the limitations are,” Guevara said.
    Two sources with knowledge of the situation had earlier said Guevara was expected to be put under house arrest.
    The Venezuelan government and the opposition on Friday signed an initial agreement laying out guidelines for the dialogue in Mexico City.    The talks will include more than a dozen countries, including Norway, Russia and the Netherlands.
(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth and Deisy Buitrago; Editing by Tom Hogue)

8/16/2021 Pentagon Approves More Troops For Kabul As U.S. Seeks To Secure Airport For Evacuations
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about infrastructure investment at the University of Maryland's
A. James Clark School of Engineering in College Park, MD, U.S., August 9, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Pentagon authorized another 1,000 troops to help evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans who worked for them from Kabul as the U.S. government said it would assume air traffic control to facilitate the departure of thousands of Americans.
    A joint statement from the State Department and Pentagon after Taliban insurgents entered the Afghan capital confirmed that the United States over the next 48 hours will “have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control.”
    The statement said it was working to secure the airport in Kabul “to enable the safe departure of U.S. and allied personnel from Afghanistan via civilian and military flights.”
    State Department spokesman Ned Price said late Sunday in a statement “the safe evacuation of all Embassy personnel is now complete.    All Embassy personnel are located on the premises of Hamid Karzai International Airport, whose perimeter is secured by the U.S. military.”
    The joint statement added the United States “will be transferring out of the country thousands of American citizens” and others, and added the government would “accelerate the evacuation of thousands of Afghans eligible for U.S. Special Immigrant Visas.”
    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani confirmed he had left the country, leaving it unclear how power would be transferred following the sweep across Afghanistan that brought the Taliban back to the capital two decades after they were overthrown by U.S.-led forces.
    Residents reported sporadic gunfire in the area of the Kabul airport, the main point of evacuations out of Afghanistan.
    “There are reports of the airport taking fire; therefore we are instructing U.S. citizens to shelter in place,” the U.S. Embassy said in a security alert.
    Two sources familiar with the situation at the airport could not confirm the reports of firing there.
    A State Department official told Reuters late on Sunday that almost all embassy personnel had relocated to a facility at the Kabul airport and that the American flag had been lowered from the embassy compound.
    Sources told Reuters that most U.S. staff were expected to be evacuated from Kabul in the coming day or two.
    France and Germany, fellow members of NATO, said on Sunday they were moving their diplomats to the airport and sending military transport planes to Kabul to evacuate their citizens and their Afghan helpers.
    Asked if the evacuation was evocative of the U.S. departure from Vietnam in 1975, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier on Sunday: “Let’s take a step back.    This is manifestly not Saigon.”
    A U.S. intelligence assessment earlier in the week had said Kabul could be encircled in 30 days and could fall to the Taliban within 90 days, but the insurgents captured most of Afghanistan’s major cities in less than a week and entered the capital on Sunday.
    Some 4,200 people remained in the U.S. Embassy until Thursday, when the Taliban’s rapid gains forced President Joe Biden’s administration to begin flying in thousands of troops to help pull out many of the remaining diplomats.
    The deployment included an additional 1,000 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, who Biden said on Saturday would help evacuate citizens and ensure an “orderly and safe” drawdown of U.S. military personnel.
    On Sunday, U.S. officials said they were weighing whether more troops were needed.    An additional 3,000 are on standby in Kuwait.
    Washington invested billions of dollars over four U.S. administrations in Afghan government forces, giving them advantages over the Taliban, but they were unable to defend the country in the face of the militants’ advance, Blinken told CNN.
    The United States’ original mission in Afghanistan, launched to oust al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, had been fulfilled, Blinken said, saying Washington had prevented further attacks by militants harbored by the Taliban.
    But Biden has faced rising domestic criticism after sticking to the plan to withdraw, which was agreed under his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. On Saturday, Biden defended his decision, saying an “endless American presence in the middle of another country’s civil conflict was not acceptable to me.”
    Republican lawmaker Michael McCaul said a Taliban takeover would revive the threat to the United States.
    “We are going to go back to a pre-9/11 state.    A breeding ground for terrorism,” he told CNN on Sunday.
    Biden met with his national security team on Sunday by secure videoconference from the presidential retreat at Camp David to hear updates on evacuations and the security situation, a White House official said.
    Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told a news conference: “Job number one is for us to bring back, first, all American personnel … But second, all of the brave Afghans who helped our military, they have to be provided an exit to come to America.”
(Reporting by the Kabul bureau and Idrees Ali, David Shepardson Jonathan Landay, Chris Sanders, Michael Martina, Brad Heath and Steve Holland in Washington; Writing by Simon Lewis and Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Peter Cooney and Stephen Coates)

8/16/2021 More Than 60 Countries Say Afghans, Others Must Be Allowed To Leave Afghanistan by David Shepardson
FILE PHOTO: Youths take pictures next to an Afghan flag on a hilltop overlooking
Kabul, Afghanistan, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 60 countries issued a joint statement saying Afghans and international citizens who want to leave Afghanistan must be allowed to depart and added that airports and border crossings must remain open, the U.S. State Department said late on Sunday.
    The U.S. government and countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Qatar and the UK said in a joint statement that “those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan bear responsibility – and accountability – for the protection of human life and property, and for the immediate restoration of security and civil order.”
    It added that “the Afghan people deserve to live in safety, security and dignity.    We in the international community stand ready to assist them.”
    The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over after insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as U.S.-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled on Monday to evacuate thousands of their citizens.
    The Pentagon authorized another 1,000 troops to help evacuate U.S. citizens and Afghans who worked for them from Kabul as the U.S. government said it would assume air traffic control to facilitate the departure of thousands of Americans.
    A joint statement from the State Department and Pentagon after the Taliban entered the Afghan capital confirmed that the United States over the next 48 hours will “have expanded our security presence to nearly 6,000 troops, with a mission focused solely on facilitating these efforts and will be taking over air traffic control.”
    Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter “the United States joins the international community in affirming that Afghans and international citizens who wish to depart must be allowed to do so.    Roads, airports, and border crossing must remain open, and calm must be maintained.”
    Other countries signing the joint statement include Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and Yemen as well as the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy, the State Department said.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Peter Cooney)

8/16/2021 Republicans Call Out Biden Admin. Failure Over Disastrous Afghanistan Withdrawal by OAN Newsroom
President Joe Biden arrives at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. Biden will address the
nation on Monday about the U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan, after the planned withdrawal of American forces turned deadly
at Kabul’s airport as thousands tried to flee the country after the Taliban’s takeover. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
    Scenes of chaos coming out of Kabul have placed a stain on the Joe Biden’s foreign policy objectives.    Despite the disorder, an air of denial has descended on the administration’s senior military and foreign policy officials in recent media appearances.
    When asked by ABC how the withdrawal could go so wrong and why images were reminiscent of America’s withdrawal from Saigon in 1975, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken denied the similarities to Vietnam at all.
    “Let’s take a step back; this is manifestly not Saigon,” he stated.    “The fact of the matter is this: we went to Afghanistan 20-years ago with one mission in mind and that was to deal with the people who attacked on 9/11.    And that mission has been successful.    We brought Bin Laden to justice a decade ago.    Al-Qaeda, the group that attacked us, has been vastly diminished.”
    However, Republicans disagree that the mission has been accomplished successfully. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was asked for his comments on the disastrous withdrawal.    He did not hold back in placing the blame squarely on Biden and said if Donald Trump were still in the Oval Office then the withdrawal would have happened in an orderly manner.
    Jordan also slammed Biden for going to Camp David.    As a result, Biden was missing in action without any statements or press conferences for days while Americans are still trapped in Kabul.
    President Trump released a statement of his own on the situation, demanding Biden resign for his failure to protect American interests.
    Congressman Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) echoed President Trump’s statement.    He too called on Biden to resign, saying the administration has been failure after failure since January.    The Republican also called for Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to resign alongside Biden.
    Even those Republicans who have been accused of maintaining an anti-Trump bias have been extremely harsh in their criticism’s of Biden’s tragic withdrawal. For instance, congressman Peter Meijer (R-Mich) was up-front with how poorly he thought Biden handled the withdrawal.
    “There had been every, every assessment and every assurance that the Biden administration, that the Pentagon, that the State Department, Intelligence Community gave, you know, what’s clearly based on massive error,” Meijer asserted.    “And at this point, this is an intelligence and strategic policy failure of historic proportions.”
    As the administration scrambles to remedy their mistakes in Afghanistan, the fight at home over the legacy of the 20-year war and its disastrous ending is just beginning.

8/16/2021 Trump: Biden Must Resign In Disgrace Over Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
Taliban fighters stand guard in front of the Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021.
Thousands of people packed into the Afghan capital’s airport on Monday, rushing the tarmac and pushing onto planes in
desperate attempts to flee the country after the Taliban overthrew the Western-backed government. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
    President Donald Trump said Joe Biden must leave the White House in disgrace over the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.    In a statement Sunday, the 45th president said there are at least five reasons why Biden must resign now.    This includes the surge in COVID-19, the border crisis, the loss of U.S. energy independence along with the crippled U.S. economy.
    Trump said Biden’s biggest mistake was in Afghanistan, where U.S.-backed government fell apart after only a brief Taliban offensive.    This comes as Biden’s Pentagon has tried to blame the Afghan military for the Taliban takeover of the country after a rushed U.S. withdrawal.
    According to reports Sunday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told members of Congress that “you cannot buy willpower” while referring to the collapse of the Afghan Army. He said he was “beyond disappointed” that Afghan forces exhibited a “lack of leadership” and had mostly refused to fight the Taliban after U.S. forces left the country.
    Meanwhile, critics have said Biden’s officials are trying to shift blame for the Afghan disaster.
    “And it just gives you the feeling of abandonment,” stated Omaid Sharifi, founder of Social Charity ‘Art Lords’ in Afghanistan.    “You know that the world, the world countries and the world leaders, have a way to always abandon Afghanistan and leave us in this situation because we have been here before as well.    And all those memories are coming back, that apparently we don’t deserve a life with dignity.”
    According to human rights activists, millions of Afghans are now facing threats of political repression by a hardline Islamist regime while the tragedy of Afghanistan may become just another political talking point in Washington.

8/16/2021 Reports: Ariz. Auditors To Release Findings On Election Fraud by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this May 6, 2021 file photo, Maricopa County ballots cast in the 2020 general election are examined and recounted
by contractors working for Florida-based company, Cyber Ninjas at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York, Pool)
    The team of forensic auditors in Arizona are set to release their preliminary report on fraud in the 2020 election next week.    According to reports Sunday, state auditors will release their early findings the week of August 22.
    The preliminary report is expected to show data and election discrepancies found in Maricopa County that they have analyzed to date.    Meanwhile, auditors have yet to examine internet routers and voting machines under subpoenas by the state Senate.
    Republican state Sen. Wendy Rogers said other states can now use Arizona’s experience to conduct their own audits.
    “The media is beside itself because they won’t communicate the truth of the excruciating detail to which this analysis was done,” she stated.    “2.1 million ballots…this is a package-able effort, this is a transportable, usable again in other states project that you can take.”
    Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is now expected to enforce the subpoenas to acquire the routers, voting machines and other evidence from the Maricopa Board of Supervisors and Dominion Voting Systems.

8/16/2021 Talks Between Maduro Regime, Opposition Begin In Mexico City by OAN Newsroom
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a press conference after he voted in the ruling party’s
primary elections of United Socialist Party of Venezuela, at the Escuela Ecológica Bolivariana Simón Rodríguez
in the Fuerte Tiuna neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Matias Delacroix)
    Talks between Venezuelan socialist leader Nicolas Maduro’s regime and opposition leader Juan Guaido began in Mexico City.    According to reports, the talks are designed to set the stage for negotiations between the two parties to move forward in the South American country.
    The opposition, who is recognized as being the legitimate government by the U.S., is asking for the release of political prisoners and free elections.    For their part, Maduro’s regime is demanding the U.S. lift sanctions on the country for talks to move forward.
    U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price agreed with the opposition that free elections be held before sanctions are lifted.
    “We’ve also been clear that the Maduro regime can create a path to easing sanctions by allowing Venezuelans to participate in long overdue free and fair presidential, parliamentary and local elections,” Price explained.    “Creating the necessary conditions to enable free and fair elections take place in Venezuela.”
    The newest round of talks follow failed discussions in 2018 and 2019.    More than a dozen countries are expected to participate in the talks to end the crisis in Venezuela.

8/16/2021 Pence Criticizes Biden Admin. Over Taliban Takeover Of Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
File – Then-U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a campaign rally for gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, R-VA,
at the Washington County Fairgrounds on October 14, 2017 in Abingdon, Virginia. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
    Former Vice President Mike Pence joined 45th President Donald Trump in criticizing the Biden administration’s “disastrous withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
    In a tweet Sunday, Pence stressed that the rapid troop withdrawal dishonored the memory and sacrifice of American soldiers who “bravely served there defending freedom these past 20 years.”
    His remarks came after Trump issued a blistering statement against Joe Biden, urging him to resign after failing to follow the Afghanistan withdrawal plan laid out by Trump’s administration.    The 45th president noted, the U.S.-backed government fell apart after only a brief Taliban offensive.
    Pence added, “God bless our troops and our allies in this dark hour.”

8/16/2021 Rep. Johnson: Kabul Disaster Entirely Avoidable by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) is photographed. ( Alex Brandon/AP PHOTO)
    Lawmakers have urged Joe Biden to step up as Afghanistan has continued to crumble following the disastrous U.S. troop withdrawal.    Republican Rep. Mike Johnson (La.) released a statement on Monday, in which he called the chaos entirely incomprehensible and avoidable.
    Johnson pointed out Afghans who helped American forces during the war have been left for dead as the Taliban has taken control.    During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, the Louisiana Republican said Biden’s continued silence on the issue should be cause for concern about the future.
    “That this stunning failure has been met with silence from President Biden, calls into serious question his ability to carry out his duties as Commander in Chief,” he asserted.    “While he vacations at Camp David, America’s stature in the world has taken another massive step backwards.    It is shameful, and it is dangerous, and I hope every one of us will acknowledge that publicly.”
    According to Johnson, Biden has failed to follow a result-based orderly withdrawal to meet an arbitrary deadline, which has resulted in chaos in Kabul.

8/16/2021 France’s Macron Urges UN To Act With Single Voice On Afghanistan
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron attends a Defense Council at Fort de Bregancon
in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France August 11, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Pool
    PARIS (Reuters) -Islamist militants will seek to benefit from the turmoil in Afghanistan, said French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, adding that France would do all it could to ensure Russia, the United States and Europe responded with a common purpose.
    Afghan cities fell in just days and on Monday civilians thronged Kabul’s international airport after President Ashraf Ghani fled, saying he wanted to avoid a bloodbath, and the Taliban seized the capital.
    “Afghanistan must not become the haven for terrorists that it once was,” Macron said in a national address.
    “It is a challenge for peace and international stability, against a common enemy.    We will do everything we can so that Russia, the United States and Europe can cooperate efficiently, because our interests are the same."
    “The United Nations’ security council will have to come up with a common and united answer.”
    There was a risk that a wave of migrants would sweep towards Europe, Macron said.    France would continue to protect the most vulnerable and would play its part in an organised and fair international effort to share the burden, he added.
    France, Germany and some other European countries would take the initiative to build a “robust, united, and coordinated response” with the help of transit countries, Macron said.
(Reporting by Richard Lough, Writing by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Alex Richardson)

8/16/2021 Italy Diplomats And Afghan Helpers Return To Rome On Military Plane
FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi gestures as he speaks at a news conference where he is expected to map out the country's
next moves in loosening coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Rome, Italy, April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli/File Photo
    ROME (Reuters) -A first plane carrying Italian diplomats and their Afghan assistants arrived in Rome from Kabul on Monday as Prime Minister Mario Draghi vowed all Afghan citizens who assisted Italy’s mission in the country would be protected.
    Around 70 people were aboard the KC767 military aircraft that flew into Rome as part of a massive international airlift underway after the Taliban swept into the Afghan capital.
    Draghi said in a statement that Rome was working with its European partners to find a solution to the crisis in Afghanistan which would protect human rights, particularly those of women.
    “Italy’s commitment is to protect the Afghan citizens who helped us in our mission,” he said.
    The Italian ambassador to Kabul was on the flight along with roughly 20 Afghan citizens.
    One of them was Alif Uriake (phonetic spelling), a doctor, who called the situation he had fled in his country “a total disaster.”
    “We have left thousands of people and families who risk their lives.    … I launch an appeal to all the community that these people we have left in Kabul are saved,” he told reporters at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
    Domenico Frontoni, who works as a logistics advisor at an Italian agency for overseas cooperation, said he hoped to reunite soon with his former colleagues in Afghanistan.
    “Awful, it is just awful,” he said.    “Those of us in Afghanistan shared part of our lives (with the locals) and that remains in our hearts,” he said.
    Thousands of civilians desperate to leave Afghanistan thronged Kabul airport on Monday and five people were killed in the chaos.
    The Italian foreign ministry has said it is planning other such flights, but has not given any details.
    “It’s a desperate situation. … We saw the fear in the faces of our colleagues, they were afraid they will be persecuted and badly treated or even, in the worst case, killed,” said Pietro Del Sette, who also works at the Italian overseas cooperation agency.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti, Crispian Balmer, Gabriele Pileri and Angelo Amante; Editing by Gavin Jones and Jonathan Oatis)

8/16/2021 IAEA Reports Iranian Progress On Uranium Metal Despite Western Objections
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag waves in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters,
amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria May 23, 2021. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
    VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has made progress in its work on enriched uranium metal, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said in a report to member states on Monday seen by Reuters, despite Western warnings that such work threatens talks on reviving the Iran nuclear deal.
    “On 14 August 2021, the Agency verified … that Iran had used 257 g of uranium enriched up to 20% U-235 in the form of UF4 (uranium tetrafluoride) to produce 200 g of uranium metal enriched up to 20% U-235,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said, adding that this was step three in a four-step plan by Iran.    The fourth includes producing a reactor fuel plate.
    Iran’s work on enriched uranium metal has angered Europe’s three top powers and the United States because that technology, and knowledge of how to produce it, can be used to make the core of a nuclear bomb.    Iran insists its aims are entirely peaceful and it is developing a new type of reactor fuel.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Alison Williams)

8/16/2021 House Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing On Voting Rights Act by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OHIO) stands outside the U.S. Capitol before a news conference
with House Republicans in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    A House Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing regarding the Voting Rights Advancement Act.    The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties discussed the act on Monday as well as any potential legislative reforms.
    The controversial bill has potentially threatened election security and integrity at a time when states have been set to begin redistricting.    It would ban such a practice if deemed to give one party an advantage.
    Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson (R) argued the Democrats’ attempts to change states’ voting rights amounted to an unconstitutional power grab.
    “In 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act to overcome state resistance and barriers that prevented minorities from exercising their right, the right that’s guaranteed to vote by the 15th Amendment,” he noted.    “As we’ve discussed at all the prior hearings in 2013, the Supreme Court held in Shelby County v. Holder that continuing to require states to preclear election law changes based upon conduct from decades ago, was an unconstitutional invasion of state sovereignty.”
    Meanwhile, Republicans continue to push back and argue the plan would result in federalized elections.

8/16/2021 Voting Underway To Recall Gov. Gavin Newsom by OAN Newsroom
A ballot for a recall election seeking to remove Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is seen in
Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images)
    Pressure has continued to mount for California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) as voters started to cast their ballots in the state’s historical second-ever gubernatorial recall. California counties began sending out mail-in ballots on Monday.
    The ballots contain two questions to determine Newsom’s fate.    Question one, answered with a yes or no response, decides whether Newsom will be recalled from office. Question two allows voters to choose which of the 46 qualified candidates would replace him.
    Leading the popularity contest among replacements for the embattled governor has been radio talk show host Larry Elder.    Over the weekend, Newsom held a news conference with other Democrat leaders in which he repeatedly begged Californians to “just vote no.”
    Newsom also attempted to enrage and motivate left-wing voters by tying Elder to none other than President Trump.
    “He’s to the right of Donald Trump, to the right of Donald Trump,” he stated.    “That’s what’s at stake in this election and don’t think for a second you can’t do damage in that role.”
    The governor’s continued push to convince a majority of voters not to recall him comes as recent polling has shown an evenly divided state among those who want him out and those who wish to see him stay.    The election has been set to be held on September 14.

8/16/2021 Report: Defense Department Plans To Shelter Up To 30k Refugees On Military Bases by OAN Newsroom
Garry Reid, the lead for the DOD in supporting the U.S. State Department crisis action group, speaks during a press briefing
on the situation in Afghanistan at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Department of Defense announced plans to shelter tens of thousands of Afghan refugees on military bases.    According to recent reports, up to 30,000 Afghan individuals who have received Special Immigration Visas would be placed at Fort Bliss and Fort McCoy among other bases in the immediate future.
    The individuals will be granted visas under a program, which provides asylum to Afghans who worked for the U.S. during the war effort.    The Pentagon temporarily deployed 6,000 U.S. troops to aid in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and Afghan refugees.
    A Pentagon spokesperson said the U.S. could take in several thousand Afghan refugees immediately, but wanted to be prepared to potentially house tens of thousands.

8/16/2021 Ariz. Attorney General Calls On Biden To Replace DHS Secy. Mayorkas by OAN Newsroom
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaks at a news conference in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Bob Christie,File)
    Arizona’s attorney general called for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to be replaced.    In a letter sent last week to Joe Biden, Mark Brnovich slammed Mayorkas by calling his tenure a “unmitigated disaster.”
    Brnovich went on to ask Biden to fire and replace Mayorkas.    The attorney general stressed the need for a DHS secretary who committed to the rule of law and protected American communities, which he argued Mayorkas failed to do either.
    Brnovich has been one of many who have called for Mayorkas’s removal.    Last week, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) filed articles of impeachment.    The Arizona lawmaker highlighted the secretary’s abandonment of border security as well as the lack of enforcement of immigration law.
    The call for Mayorkas’s removal came shortly after he admitted the Biden border crisis has worsened.    He announced more than 200,000 migrant encounters in the month of July alone.

8/16/2021 Rep. Tlaib Falsely Claims U.S. ‘Backed The Taliban’ In 1980s by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, (D-Mich.) listens to a question from a constituent in Wixom, Mich. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
    Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) has been under fire for a false claim about the U.S. support of the Taliban.    In a Sunday tweet, Tlaib blamed the turmoil in Afghanistan on “failed U.S. policy going back to the 1980s when we backed the Taliban against the Soviets.”
    The Squad member received immediate pushback from critics, who asked her to update herself on history.    Many noted the Taliban did not even exist until the nineties.
    Other critics set the record straight by reminding the lawmaker the U.S. at the time backed Afghans defending themselves against a Russian invasion.
    Tlaib has yet to issue a correction to her tweet.

    Well it looks like BIden is missing in action when he is responsible for a crisis and as you see to the right that the Obama administrations people disappeared or on vacation all of sudden when it is their fault also and Joe is their fall guy who is hiding without backup or teleprompters to read off and he attempts to resolve it could not get even worse.

8/16/2021 Biden Doubles Down, Blames Afghan Army And President Trump For Chaos by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks about the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan from the East Room
of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden doubled down and shifted blame as Afghanistan further descended into chaos.    Speaking from the White House on Monday, Biden said he stood by his decisions and added after 20 years, there would never be a good time to pull U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.
    Biden went on to say the U.S. mission was never to nation build, but rather prevent a terror attack on the homeland.
    While he admitted everything unfolded faster than his administration anticipated, he continued to blame President Trump as well as Afghan leaders for running away as the Taliban rapidly took over the country.
    “Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.    The Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight,” he stated.    “If anything, the developments of the past week reinforce that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.    American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”
    Biden added U.S. troops would continue to evacuate Americans and vulnerable Afghans in the coming days and threatened swift action if the Taliban were to interfere.

8/16/2021 Sen. Scott: Biden’s Afghan Fiasco Grounds For Removal From Office by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) is photographed. (Mark Wallheiser/AP)
    Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) questioned Joe Biden’s fitness for office amid his handling of the Afghan withdrawal.    In a tweet on Monday, the senator from Florida said Biden’s failure in Afghanistan posed the question if he was mentally capable to serve as U.S. president.
    In addition, Scott highlighted Biden’s pattern of denying responsibility and placing blame on others for key issues in what the senator referred to as “pass the buck.”    He added Congress may have to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Biden from office.
    Scott also mentioned Biden’s mishandling of the U.S. economy, border crisis and the ballooning national debt.    The senator stressed Biden and the Democrats were fully responsible for all of those problems.

8/16/2021 Ga. Sen. Jones Promises To ‘Investigate And Expose’ Voter Fraud by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Burt Jones speaks to a Senate committee in Atlanta. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
    A Georgia state senator and lieutenant governor hopeful vowed to investigate all election fraud in the state.    In a campaign ad released on Monday, Sen. Burt Jones (R-Ga.) made fun of Democrat reactions to the calls for voter fraud investigations in Georgia.
    Jones went on to question why the left has reacted in such a manner if there truly was no fraud.
    “Let me ask you a simple question: if there wasn’t any cheating or fraud in the 2020 election, why every time we call for a full investigation does Stacey Abrams and the Democrats respond like this?” he questioned.    “i>Pretty much tells you everything you need to know.”
    Jones has won praise from President Trump as a result of his consistent push for election integrity.    The Trump ally filed paperwork to run for lieutenant governor as incumbent Geoff Duncan maintained he would not seek reelection.

8/17/2021 Oil down $0.56 to $67.48, DOW up 110 to 35.625.

8/17/2021 Biden Defends Afghanistan Decision, Blames Afghan Army’s Unwillingness To Fight by Steve Holland and Nandita Bose
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the crisis in Afghanistan during a speech
in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden said on Monday he stood “squarely behind” his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan despite searing images of chaos in Kabul that exposed the limits of U.S. power and plunged him into the worst crisis of his presidency.
    Breaking his silence on the U.S. pullout after scenes of bedlam dominated television news channels for days, Biden blamed the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan on Afghan political leaders who fled the country and the unwillingness of the U.S.-trained Afghan army to fight the militant group.
    He warned Taliban leaders they would face “devastating force” should they interfere with the U.S. pullout.    Biden was forced to send U.S. troop reinforcements to Kabul to ensure a safe withdrawal of American diplomatic personnel and civilians as well as     Afghan citizens who worked with the United States and could face reprisals.
    The panicked evacuation, coming weeks after Biden predicted the Taliban’s takeover in Afghanistan was not inevitable, has dented America’s image on the global stage just as Biden has sought to emphasize to world leaders that “America is back” after former     President Donald Trump’s tumultuous four years.
    The pullout has also raised fears that militant groups like al Qaeda could reconstitute under Taliban rule.
    Biden, rejecting harsh criticism of his Afghan policy from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, some former generals and human rights groups, was resolute in defending his withdrawal from a 20-year war that endured through four presidencies.
    “I stand squarely behind my decision,” Biden said in a televised speech at the White House.    “After 20 years I’ve learned the hard way that there was never a good time to withdraw U.S. forces.    That’s why we’re still there.”
    Biden said he found some of the scenes of chaos in Kabul “gut-wrenching” but that he did not start moving out evacuees sooner because Afghan President Ashraf Ghani did not want a mass exodus.
    He acknowledged that the Taliban’s speed in retaking the country was unexpected.    The rapid advance stunned American officials who predicted that the Afghan army would either repel the militants or hold them off for months.
    “The truth is: This did unfold more quickly than we anticipated.    So what’s happened?    Afghanistan political leaders gave up and fled the country.    The Afghan military gave up, sometimes without trying to fight,” Biden said.
    He also doled out criticism to his Republican predecessor, Trump, whose administration negotiated a deal with the Taliban that Biden said left the group “in the strongest position militarily since 2001.”
    Critics of Biden have focused on the way the U.S. withdrawal is being carried out, as video showed Afghans flooding runways at the Kabul airport and desperately trying to grab the fuselage of a U.S. plane rolling on the tarmac.
    “The president’s failure to acknowledge his disastrous withdrawal provides no comfort to Americans or our Afghan partners whose lives hang in the balance,” Republican Senator Mitt Romney said in a tweet.
    Biden singled out for criticism the two main Afghan leaders, Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, head of the country’s High Council for National Reconciliation, saying they had “flatly refused” his advice to seek a political settlement with the Taliban.
    “How many more generations of America’s daughters and sons would you have me send to fight Afghans – Afghanistan’s civil war, when Afghan troops will not?    How many more lives – American lives – is it worth?    How many endless rows of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery?” Biden asked.
    On Monday night, Biden on Monday authorized up to $500 million from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” refugee needs stemming from the situation in Afghanistan, including for Afghan special immigration visa applicants, the White House said.
    The United States is preparing to begin evacuating thousands of Afghan applicants for special immigration visas (SIVs) who risk retaliation from Taliban insurgents because they worked for the U.S. government.
    Whether Biden will face a long-term political risk for Afghanistan is unclear.    Foreign policy does not typically play a major role in U.S. elections.    Many Americans have expressed support for Trump’s and Biden’s decision to leave Afghanistan, America’s longest war.
    But Republican Representative Mike McCaul signaled his party might try to frame the Afghan chaos as a national security issue that makes the United States more vulnerable to terrorist attack.
    “I think it is going to taint this presidency, to a large degree, on national security,” he said.
    The United States and allies invaded Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington and toppled the Taliban, who had hosted al Qaeda militants responsible for the attack.
    Biden also said his decision was a result of the commitment he made to American troops that he was not going to ask them to continue to risk their lives for a war that should have ended long ago.
    “Our leaders did that in Vietnam when I got here as (a) young man.    I will not do it in Afghanistan,” he said.    “I know my decision will be criticized but I would rather take all that criticism than pass this decision on to another president.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Nandita Bose in Washington; Additional reporting by Jan Wolfe and Jarrett Renshaw in Washington; Editing by Ross Colvin, Grant McCool, Peter Cooney and Jane Wardell)

8/17/2021 Europe Needs Humanitarian Corridors For Afghan Refugees - EU Official Gentiloni
FILE PHOTO: EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni speaks during a news conference
on the European Semester Spring Package in Brussels, Belgium June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Pool
    MILAN (Reuters) – Europe has to create humanitarian corridors to receive refugees fleeing from Afghanistan, and also to avoid uncontrolled flows of illegal immigrants, the European Union’s Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Tuesday in an interview.
    “I think that Europe will inevitably have to equip itself for humanitarian corridors and organised reception, also to avoid uncontrolled flows of illegal immigrants.    Or, at least, the countries that are willing to do so, should,” he told Italian daily il Messaggero.
    European Union foreign ministers will hold a crisis meeting on Tuesday to discuss the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban Islamist militants.
(Reporting by Cristina Carlevaro; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

8/17/2021 U.S.’S Blinken Speaks To European Counterparts On Afghan Situation
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks about infrastructure investment at the University of Maryland's
A. James Clark School of Engineering in College Park, MD, U.S., August 9, 2021. Patrick Semansky/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held separate discussions on Monday with counterparts in Britain, the European Union, Turkey and NATO on the situation in Afghanistan and U.S. efforts to bring back their citizens, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
U.S. Top Diplomat Blinken Discusses Afghanistan With Pakistani Foreign Minister
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke on Monday with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the situation in Afghanistan, the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
    Blinken also held a call on Monday about Afghanistan with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the department said.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Sandra Maler)

8/17/2021 President Trump: Biden Handled Afghan Withdrawal ‘Disastrously’ by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
    President Trump slammed Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan as one of the worst disasters in history.    In a statement released on Tuesday, he said the collapse of the Afghan government has made the withdrawal from Vietnam look like “child’s play.”
    Trump went on to stress Biden has brought shame to the U.S.    The 45th president’s statement followed Biden’s attempts to blame both Trump and the Afghan people for the Taliban takeover of the country.
    However, Trump argued the withdrawal was handled horribly by Biden and his officials.

8/17/2021 Fed Chairman Powell: Not Clear Yet Whether The Delta Strain Will Have Important Effects On The Economy by OAN Newsroom
Federal Reserve Board chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill in
Washington. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP, File)
    Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the economy in some important ways, but only time could tell how long these changes would last. Powell made the comment during a virtual meeting with students and teachers on Tuesday, where he noted the pandemic has continued to cast a shadow on economic activity.     “A couple of months ago, we were ahead of many other similar countries in vaccination.    Now we’re falling behind,” he stated.    “One result you’re seeing is the current outbreak of the Delta strain that we’re seeing in some parts of the country.”
    Powell added the U.S. has remained well below levels of early 2020 employment in a number of areas including travel, leisure and hospitality.    In addition, Powell said people and businesses have learned to adapt, but the impact of the Delta variant on the economy’s recovery remained unknown.
    “So one thing that’s happened as the pandemic has continued is that people and businesses have improvised and learned to adapt to live their lives despite COVID,” he explained.    “I would say it’s not yet clear whether the Delta strain will have important effects on the economy.    We’ll have to see about that.”
    Meanwhile, Powell stressed millions of people who had service sector jobs are still out of work and that part of the economy’s recovery is still far from complete.

8/17/2021 Treasury Freezes Afghan Foreign Reserves In U.S. Banks by OAN Newsroom
The U.S. Treasury Department building at dusk in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
    Joe Biden’s Treasury froze billions of dollars in Afghan foreign currency reserves to prevent the Taliban from using those funds.    According to Tuesday reports, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control froze all Afghan government accounts in U.S. financial institutions.
    The move also froze foreign currency and gold reserves of the Afghan Central Bank, which was estimated at nearly $10 billion.    The Afghan national currency plunged to its lowest in history following the Treasury decision.
    Currency traders have said the Afghan economy was now in complete disarray.
    “Business is down.    I am hearing about the currency difference by 300 or 400 rupees.    The businesses will settle down when the Taliban announce their policy and it also depends on which countries recognize them,” explained Senior Member Aziz Jan Achakzai of Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan.    “…The whole set up has changed there in Afghanistan.”
    Economists expect elements of Afghanistan’s market economy to crumble, which would return the country to subsistence farming and drug trade.

8/17/2021 WH: Kabul Airport Is Secure, Evacuation Flights Have Resumed by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby, right, speaks as Army Major General William Taylor, left,
listens during a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    U.S. officials reported the Kabul airport has been secured and evacuation flights have resumed.    During a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday, Biden officials added they have been in contact with the Taliban to ensure safe passage for evacuees.
    However, some reports mentioned the Taliban set up checkpoints on roads leading to the airport and positioned militants in a circle around the facility.    According to the White House, 11,000 American citizens were confirmed to be stuck in Afghanistan and just 150 have been rescued.
    When grilled on the unorganized evacuation as well as reports of the Taliban beating and blocking people from passing through checkpoints, National Security Agency Adviser Jake Sullivan continued to downplay the dire situation.
    “First, the earliest evacuation flights in any evacuation tend not to have every seat filled because the process of getting any evacuation underway has a throughput issue,” he explained.    “Second, in terms of people being turned away, by and large, what we have found is that people have been able to get to the airport.    In fact, very large numbers of people have been able to get to the airport and present themselves.”
    According to reports, there are tens of thousands of individuals who need to be rescued, including American citizens, foreign diplomats and Afghan civilians who worked with U.S. troops.    However, the White House said it could not guarantee all U.S. citizens would be rescued.
    Meanwhile, while a Trump-era deal with the Taliban ensured the safety of thousands of U.S. troops during the pull out, they now face a September 11 deadline imposed by the Taliban to get out of the country.

8/17/2021 Pentagon Forms Joint Task Force To Assist Haiti by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Coast Guard carry medical supplies to the Ofatma Hospital in Les Cayes,
Haiti. (Photo by REGINALD LOUISSAINT JR/AFP via Getty Images)
    The U.S. sent a joint task force to Haiti to help with humanitarian efforts following a deadly earthquake.    Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby announced on Tuesday, the U.S. flew eight helicopters to the Caribbean nation to help ground crews with search and rescue operations.
    Two U.S. Naval Vessels were also set to be deployed to Haiti to transport supplies and provide medical assistance to those injured in the quake.    More than 1,400 people were killed in the magnitude 7.2 quake and over 6,900 others were injured.
    The U.S. Coast Guard also deployed humanitarian aid to Haiti. Coast Guard personnel landed in the Caribbean nation on Sunday and have been assisting search and rescue teams to find survivors buried in the rubble.
    Photos released on Monday showed a Coast Guard member carrying a critically injured child to emergency medical services.    Aircrews have also been transporting medical supplies to help with the rescue efforts.
    Kirby went on to say, “U.S. Southern Command is working to assess damage, develop common operational pictures and provide life-saving support for the people of Haiti.”
    Kirby said the aircraft would help provide a clear picture of the aftermath so they could help direct ground crews to those who are in need of help.

8/17/2021 Taliban Captures Billions In U.S. Supplied Military Equipment by OAN Newsroom
Taliban fighters stand guard at an entrance gate outside the Interior
Ministry in Kabul. (Photo by JAVED TANVEER/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Taliban has reportedly made off with billions of dollars in U.S. supplied military equipment and weapons.    During a press briefing on Tuesday, Biden’s National Security Agency Adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed a “fair amount” of weaponry fell into the hands of the terrorists.
    These U.S. military assets include ammo, firearms, helicopters and other combat aircraft surrendered or abandoned by the Afghan army.    Top military officials said they were unable to provide any sort of plan to stop the seizure or get the assets back.
    Reporter: “So there’s no U.S. actions being taken to prevent equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban by destroying it or anything else?
    U.S. Army Major Gen. Hank Taylor: “I don’t have the answer to that question.”
    Reporter: “You don’t have the answer.”
    According to the AP, the U.S. invested more than $83 billion into developing and sustaining Afghanistan’s army and police forces.

8/17/2021 Adam Laxalt Officially Throws His Hat In The Ring To Be Next Nev. Senator by OAN Newsroom
Adam Laxalt speaks at a campaign event for U.S. President Donald Trump at Xtreme
Manufacturing in Henderson, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
    Adam Laxalt has become the first big name Republican to throw his hat in the ring to take down Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto in Nevada.    Officially launching his campaign on Tuesday, Laxalt highlighted his kids love of Star Wars because of the clear distinctions between good versus evil.
    He went on to add the fight for the U.S. today has been a similar fight the Resistance faced in the hit space opera film series.
    “Right now, it seems like the wrong side is winning.    The radical left, rich elites, woke corporations, academia, Hollywood, and the media.    They’re taking over America,” he asserted.    “That’s your empire, right there.    Telling lie after lie. Making excuses for chaos and violence.”
    Laxalt was the former attorney general of Nevada and the youngest in the U.S. at the time he took office in 2015 at age 35.    While attorney general, he focused on protecting his state from federal government encroachment.    He also created the state’s Office of Military Legal Assistance, which was the first in the nation program to provide free legal services to veterans in Nevada.
    In 2018, Laxalt made a run at the governors mansion to hold it for Republicans.    He was defeated by Democrat Steve Sisolak by four points in that race.
    In 2020, he was a co-chair of 45th President Donald Trump’s campaign in Nevada.    Following the election, he unsuccessfully tried to challenge mail-in ballots alongside the national campaign after allegations of mail-in voter fraud surfaced.
    Making his third statewide run, he has already received high profile endorsements from national Republicans.    Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton appeared at a recent event with Laxalt, where Cotton endorsed him before the former attorney general announced his run.
    Cotton implied the path for Republicans to retake the Senate runs through the Battle Born State.
    “That change starts right here, in Nevada, when Adam Laxalt sends Cathy Cortez-Masto packing home for Nevada,” he stated.    “Adam Laxalt is going to the United States Senate for the Battle Born state in 2022.”
    Laxalt would first need to defeat a political novice and veteran in the GOP primary, although he has been the only big name running so far. If he were to win the primary, he would go forward to take on Masto for her seat and win statewide for the second time.
    Masto took over for the former Democrat Senate Leader Harry Reid when he retired in 2016.    She won the state alongside Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by less than three points.
    Laxalt hopes to take advantage of the narrow gap between recent statewide Democrat victors and their Republican challengers.    If he wins, he would flip this Senate seat for the Republicans for the first time since his grandfather, Sen. Paul Laxalt, won the seat in 1980.

8/17/2021 GOP Lawmakers In Wis. Work To Block Democrat Efforts To Edit Redistricting by OAN Newsroom
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos speaks at the state Capitol in
Madison Wis. (Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP, File)
    Republicans in Wisconsin aimed to make their case in a Democrat-led lawsuit, which has sought to intervene in the state’s redistricting. The GOP plan was introduced on Monday, but has been awaiting approval from a legislative panel.
    The plan comes after six Democratic voters filed a lawsuit, which argued the state’s district mapping was malapportioned.    If approved, it would give Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R) and State Senate Majority Leader Devin Lemahieu (R-Wis.) the power to hire lawyers to represent the party’s interests in the case against the Wisconsin Elections Commission.
    If Democrats were to win the lawsuit, Republicans and Democrat Gov. Tony Evers (Wis.) would be faced with a deadline to draw the new lines.     If it was not met, the courts would takeover.
    This could be the first of many legal battles over redistricting ahead of the 2022 midterms.

8/17/2021 Texas County Sends Law Enforcement To Help At Border by OAN Newsroom
Immigrants walk towards transport busses at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint after they
crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico in Roma, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
    Law enforcement officers from across Texas made way to Kinney County to help secure the border.    On Monday, Galveston County Constable Jimmy Fullen said he was happy to travel the 370 mile journey to help “beef up” the security presence at the border.
    Fullen recently helped the small area detain over 120 illegal immigrants with a focus on those who have been destroying property.    He said deputies were scheduled to work 12-hour shifts and would remain in the area as long as needed.
    Meanwhile, Kinney County mayor expressed he would gratefully accept any help offered to manage the crisis.    The area has reportedly seen a 500 percent increase in illegal immigrant apprehensions this year.
    According to Customs and Border Protection statistics, at least 10,000 illegal immigrants were detected just last month.

8/17/2021 Democrats Push For Reform In Voting Rights Act by OAN Newsroom
The Supreme Court in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
    Discussion has continued regarding the Voting Rights Advancement Act amid growing Republican opposition.    The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties held a hearing regarding the act and any potential legislative reforms on Monday.
    The act attempts to reverse the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v. Holder, where the high court determined that the federal government did not have the authority to single out certain states and districts for the purpose of electoral oversight.
    “When taking such extraordinary steps as subjecting state legislation to pre-clearance in Washington and applying that regime only to some disfavored states, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes speaks to current conditions,” stated John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
    The controversial act would bring back the section of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court struck down, Section Five, and would give the green-light to the federal government to require certain states get approval from the federal government before changing voting laws.
    Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson (R) said the Democrats’ attempts to change states’ voting rights amounts to an unconstitutional power grab.
    While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has all but confirmed the act will pass through the House, Republicans in the Senate are likely to kill it by filibuster.

8/17/2021 Calif. Nurses Protest Vaccine Mandate by OAN Newsroom
A COVID-19 vaccination card is displayed at the Banning Recreation Center
Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Wilmington, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
    Strict vaccine requirements in California has led health care workers to push-back against the mandate.    During a protest Monday, nurses from the Golden State came together outside the state capitol in Sacramento to show their opposition of the mandate.
    The demonstration came after Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom said earlier this month that state and health care workers would need to prove full vaccination or be tested at least once per week.
    An attendee of the protest, Sacramento nurse Carly Rinaldi, said it’s upsetting to hear fellow nurses be given an ultimatum over their job.    Meanwhile, nurse Laura Estrella from Modesto also weighed in by noting she wants the same rights as her patients.
    “The principle of forcing a vaccine on someone goes against everything we’ve ever been taught as nurses,” stated Estrella.    “When patients come in for procedures, we give them the choice whether or not to submit to the procedure we’re recommending and so they have the right to refuse.    That’s in their patient consent form and we just want that same right.”
    Additionally, she stressed that nurses should be have the right to decide while asserting it’s somebody’s personal choice whether to receive the vaccine or not.
    “You know, if we feel the vaccine’s not right us, we should be able to make that decision for our own body,” Estrella continued.    “We never gave up medical autonomy to anyone else.    We have autonomy over our own bodies to give ourselves what we feel is proper medical treatment for our condition.    And if we don’t want the vaccine, we shouldn’t have to take it.”
    As the California state government shows little sign of easing up on any such mandates, however, several organizers of Monday’s protest said they plan to rally until the feel they are being heard.

8/18/2021 Oil down $0.73 to $66.76, DOW down 280 to 35,346.

8/18/2021 Biden’s Vow To Airlift Afghan Allies Meets Ticking Clock, Risky Rescue by Idrees Ali, Ted Hesson and Jonathan Landay
FILE PHOTO: Sayed Abdul Wase Majidi's older brother Sayad Khalil Majidi waits for his arrival along with Majidi's
niece, Stayesh Majidi, 6, nephew Said Mustafa Miri, 38, and Afghan Community organizer Besmellah Khuram at the
Sacramento International Airport, in Sacramento, California, U.S., August 5, 2021. REUTERS/Brittany Hosea-Small
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s pledge to evacuate thousands more at-risk Afghans who worked for the U.S. government will run into the cold reality of a fast-closing window of time, insecurity all over Afghanistan and major logistical hurdles.
    As one U.S. official told Reuters “too many things have to go 100 percent correctly” to execute the plan to move out those going through the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process.    The Pentagon is aiming to evacuate up to 22,000 SIV applicants, their families and other at-risk people.
    But officials and refugee resettlement groups said that number, while admirable, will be much more difficult to reach now that the Taliban have seized the capital Kabul and most of the country.
    Groups that work with refugees vigorously disputed Biden’s assertion in a speech on Monday that many applicants had not wanted to leave Afghanistan earlier.
    Biden announced his intent to start evacuating at-risk Afghans in July, despite calls by lawmakers and refugee groups to do so months earlier.    Since July, only 2,000 Afghans have been flown to the United States.
    “It’s a nice goal to have, but realistically it’s going to be a challenge,” the U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said of the 22,000-person benchmark.
    The hope is to fly out between 5,000 and 9,000 per day when the Pentagon reaches full capacity with 6,000 troops on the ground in Kabul. Only 4,000 troops have reached Kabul so far.
    Evacuating that many Afghans would require them to first be able to get to Kabul and then to the airport through a series of Taliban checkpoints, officials said.    The U.S. military would need to maintain some semblance of calm at the airport to allow flights to take off and land, and also need the weather to cooperate.
    Order has been restored at Kabul airport after five people were killed on Monday as thousands of desperate Afghans thronged the area.    The U.S. military temporarily suspended flights to clear the airfield.    The evacuation mission is set to end on Aug. 31.
    National security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Monday that the White House had received reports of people being beaten outside the airport even though the Taliban had agreed to allow civilians safe passage.
    Kim Staffieri, executive director of the Association of Wartime Allies, said the group’s contacts outside of Kabul are “terrified” and reporting that in some places, “Taliban fighters are going door to door and pulling people out who are not being seen again.”
    Jenny Yang, senior vice president at World Relief, a U.S. refugee resettlement agency, said that with the Taliban in control, “it’s going to be increasingly difficult for Afghans to leave.”
    Ideally, officials say the White House would have allowed the Pentagon to start evacuating people weeks earlier using military aircraft and moving them to bases in the United States.
    Instead, until last week the SIV applicants were slowly flown out through civilian aircraft and only one base in Virginia was tapped to house them.
    The State Department did not formally request the use of more military bases in the United States to house the Afghan applicants until Sunday, with the Taliban already in Kabul, another official said.
    Resettlement groups have said for months that at least 80,000 SIV applicants and their families need to be evacuated.
    Two U.S. officials told Reuters that Biden was concerned about the political impact of the large number of Afghan refugees flowing into the United States and preferred they be sent to third countries.
    Biden, a Democrat, has faced intense political pressure over immigration from opposition Republicans as arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border have soared to 20-year highs in recent months.
    Earlier this year, Biden delayed a decision to raise the cap for refugee admissions due to the political optics, U.S. officials told Reuters at the time.
    In his speech on Monday, Biden acknowledged concerns about why Afghans had not been evacuated earlier, but said the Afghan government had discouraged him from doing so.
    He also appeared to blame the applicants.
    “Some of the Afghans did not want to leave earlier, still hopeful for their country,” Biden said.
    The comments stunned officials and refugee groups, who have been working for years to streamline the lengthy process to get Afghan SIV applicants out of Afghanistan.
    People have been stuck waiting for visas for years, said Betsy Fisher, director of strategy at International Refugee Assistance Project.
    “To me that is extremely, extremely appalling to see that language coming out from the White House,” Fisher said.
    Some interpreters and translators for the U.S. government had been killed in the last few months waiting to get out, said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
    “To suggest that Afghans were not desperately seeking refuge here in the U.S. is utterly inconsistent with our experience,” Vignarajah said.
(This story corrects to add ‘the’ in 17th paragraph)
(Reporting by Idrees Ali, Ted Hesson and Jonathan Landay; Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

8/18/2021 First Lufthansa Plane With Afghanistan Evacuees Lands In Germany
A Lufthansa plane carrying people who have being evacuated from Kabul, Afghanistan
lands in Frankfurt, Germany August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
    BERLIN (Reuters) – The first Lufthansa plane carrying evacuees from Afghanistan landed in Frankfurt early on Wednesday with about 130 people aboard, the airline said.
    The Airbus A340 picked up passengers who had been taken by Bundeswehr flights from the Afghan capital of Kabul to the Uzbek capital of Tashkent.
    As part of an airlift effort in coordination with the German government, further special flights from Tashkent, Doha or other neighbouring nations in the next few days will evacuate more people from Afghanistan.
    Germany, which had the second largest military contingent in Afghanistan after the United States, wants to airlift thousands of German-Afghan dual nationals, rights activists, lawyers and people who worked with foreign forces.
    After dramatic images of throngs at Kabul airport trying to flee after the Afghan capital fell to the Taliban, U.S. forces have secured the airport and started an airlift to fly out diplomats and civilians.
(Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

8/18/2021 German SPD Overtakes Greens, Close In On Conservatives Before Election
FILE PHOTO: Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader and the party's top candidate for parliamentary elections Armin Laschet speaks
during a news conference after a party leadership meeting, in Berlin, Germany August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Christian Mang/Pool
    BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) have overtaken the Greens and are closing the gap with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives less than six weeks before a federal election, an opinion poll showed on Wednesday.
    Support for the conservative bloc led by Armin Laschet, who has been widely seen as frontrunner to succeed Merkel as chancellor after the Sept. 26 election, has ebbed since the end of June, when it was polling at 28%-30%.
    The latest poll by research institute Forsa put the conservatives on 23%, unchanged from a week ago.    The Social Democrats (SPD), whose chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz tops the popularity ratings, was up 2 points at 21%.
    This is the slimmest gap between the two parties since March 2017 and opens various coalition options.    The most likely scenario until a few weeks ago, a conservative-Greens alliance, now seems less likely.
    The Greens, led by chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock, were down 1 point at 19%.
    The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has had little impact on voting intentions although Germany had the second-largest military contingent there after the United States and is trying to evacuate>     After 16 years leading Europe’s biggest economy, Merkel is stepping down as chancellor after the election.    Her bloc, made up of her Christian Democrats and the Bavarian Christian Social Union, looks to be missing her electoral pull.
    The ratings of Laschet, premier of the most populous German state, North Rhine-Westphalia, have dropped since he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town and had to apologise.
    Voters widely see Scholz, finance minister in Merkel’s coalition, as a safe pair of hands.    Some 29% of respondents told Forsa they would back Scholz if there were a direct vote for chancellor, about 17 points ahead of Laschet.    Baerbock was on 15%.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

8/18/2021 More French Nationals And Afghans Evacuated From Afghanistan – Minister
FILE PHOTO: French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State
Antony Blinken at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, France, June 25, 2021. Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    PARIS (Reuters) – Twenty-five French nationals and 184 Afghans were evacuated from Afghanistan overnight and have just landed in Abu Dhabi, French Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday.
    More than 2,200 diplomats and other civilians have been evacuated from Afghanistan on military flights, a Western security official told Reuters, as efforts gathered pace to get people out after the Taliban seized the capital.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

8/18/2021 UK Getting 1,000 Out A Day From Afghanistan, Interior Minister Says
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks during a news conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus
disease (COVID-19) pandemic, inside 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain January 21, 2021. Matt Dunham/Pool via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has managed to remove around 1,000 people a day from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized control of the country, interior minister Priti Patel said on Wednesday.
    “We have been getting out approximately 1,000 people, so far, a day,” she told BBC TV.
    “We’re still bringing out British nationals… and those Afghan nationals who are part of our locally employed scheme.”
(Reporting by James Davey; writing by Kate Holton)

8/18/2021 Critics Slam Biden For Afghanistan Withdrawal, Question His Competency by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden removes his protective face mask at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
headquarters in Brussels. (Photo by STEPHANIE LECOCQ/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Many of Joe Biden’s typical supporters in the media and the Washington D.C. establishment are questioning his competency amid the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.
    On MSNBC Tuesday, anchor Chuck Todd admitted Biden’s handling of Afghanistan lost him his so-called “high-marks in competency.”    Todd added, Biden was unprepared to retreat from Afghanistan, which is causing a show and muddled response from the American government.
    “Joe Biden’s greatest strength against Donald Trump in the campaign was the idea that he’s been around the block, he knows what he’s doing, we’re facing this crisis with COVID, we need some basic competency back in government, no more chaos,” explained the anchor.    “He’s lost the competency, the high-marks he was getting at one time, and that’s tough to get back.”
    The criticism doesn’t stop there. Even several Obama-era officials are calling out Biden.    In an op-ed Monday, former diplomat Brett Bruen said Biden needs to shake up his National Security Council by firing his adviser Jake Sullivan. Bruen asserted that Sullivan has failed to adequately advise Biden and is contributing to the “unnecessarily embarrassing” situation in Afghanistan.
    Additionally, a top advisor to Obama, David Axelrod, stressed Biden should have embraced his response to the Taliban’s takeover.    Axelrod said the Biden administration can play the blame game all they want. It’s Biden who’s in charge of the withdrawal, however, not former administrations.
    “It’s a failure and he (Biden) needs to own that failure; he’s the Commander in Chief,” stated the former adviser.    “You know, it’s fine to say the Afghans didn’t fight.    That is true. We invested $90 billion or so in their army and the police there.    They folded immediately; that is true.    You can blame the Trump administration, but he’s the Commander in Chief now.”
    Meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pressing Biden to reveal his next steps in responding to the situation in Afghanistan.

8/18/2021 Reports: Top Taliban Leader Previously Freed By Obama In 2014 by OAN Newsroom
Khairullah Khairkhwa, former western Herat Governor and one of five Taliban released from the
U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay in exchange for U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, gestures during a joint news conference
in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
    A Taliban leader playing a large part in the takeover of Afghanistan turns out to be a prisoner released by former President Barack Obama.    Khairullah Khairkhwa was found to have been previously released from Guantanamo Bay Detention Center during the Obama administration.
    According to reports Tuesday, he was released back in 2014 along with four other Taliban leaders.    However, the Pentagon had classified Khairkhwa as “too dangerous to release.”
    The group was exchanged for a U.S. soldier who was captured by the Taliban after deserting his post in Afghanistan, a charge he plead guilty to and was dishonorably discharged for.    At the time, Obama assured Americans the released Taliban leaders would not take action against the U.S.
    When asked about Obama’s freeing of the terror leaders, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki attempted to blame 45th President Donald Trump instead.
    Since his release in 2014, Khairkhwa has become a part of the Taliban regime in exile in Qatar and is now reportedly the mastermind of the present Afghanistan regime change.
    Meanwhile, Joe Biden has continued the policy of his Democrat predecessor after releasing Guantanamo prisoner Abdul Latif Nasser in July.

8/18/2021 Trump: Biden Humiliated U.S., Taliban Set Us Up by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division stand security at Hamid Karzai International Airport,
in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. U.S. Soldiers and Marines are assisting the Department of State
with an orderly drawdown of designated personnel in Afghanistan. (Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)
    According to the 45th president, Joe Biden has humiliated the U.S. more than any other president in his handling of the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan.    In an interview Tuesday, Donald Trump called the incident a “terrible time for our country” while likening it to Jimmy Carter’s handling of the Iran hostage crisis in 1979.
    He also noted the U.S. was set up by people who are “very great negotiators” and said they likely consider anyone left in the country to be “hostages.”    Trump added, he never had confidence in the government of President Ashraf Ghani who he says was only in it for the money.
    Meanwhile, the Biden administration is reportedly admitting to being unable to guarantee safety of U.S. citizens who are seeking evacuation from the Middle Eastern country.    According to CBS news Tuesday, Americans stranded in Afghanistan are receiving a message instructing them to head to the airport in Kabul.
    The message explicitly says the “United States government cannot guarantee your security as you make this trip.”    The messages obtained by CBS also contradicts the State Department’s own statements on evacuations.
    “Our team is working hand in glove with military colleagues to help load planes safely and securely and as fast as possible,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.    “We’ve now completed our drawdown to the core diplomatic presence we need and at this time, we will no longer at this time, no longer need to facilitate departures for our embassy personnel.    All remaining embassy staff will be assisting departures from Afghanistan.”
    At least 10,000 Americans may still be trapped in Afghanistan amid the Taliban’s takeover.

8/18/2021 Fla. Health Officials Find Concerning Increase In COVID-19 Levels In Local Wastewater by OAN Newsroom
Amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, science teacher Ann Darby, left, uses a thermometer to check a student’s
temperature at Wylie High School Tuesday, July 14, 2020, in Wylie, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) SOURCE: AP/LM Otero
    Health officials in a Florida county are alerting residents of “very concerning” coronavirus levels in their wastewater.    On Monday, the director of Orange County Utilities in Florida, Ed Torres, claimed there’s a 600 percent increase of COVID-19 RNA concentration in the local wastewater.    Torres said the numbers come from sampling, which began in mid-May.
    “Orange County is actively participating in the CDC national waste water surveillance where concentration of SARS-CoV2 RNA are being monitored in the waste water through facilities around the country to better understand the spread of the virus,” Torres explained.
    He warned the data predicts hospitals could see more COVID cases and hospitalizations this week.    Torres added, having advanced notice on where to expect an uptick in illnesses can help health officials prepare resources ahead of time to help combat the spread.
    “What we measure in the wastewater are fragments of the virus that are known contagious, non-viable, that provide us with an advanced warning and serves as a predictor of upcoming cases within the coming four to 10 days or so,” he stated.    “Similar waste water surveillance programs are being used around the world as a very effective tool against the fight against the pandemic, determining spikes, trends and allocation of resources and public health preventative measures.”
    In the meantime, Torres urges residents to get vaccinated and continue taking proper precautions to contain the spread of the virus.

8/18/2021 U.K. Prime Minister Johnson To Host G7 Meeting On Afghan Security by OAN Newsroom
ROTHERHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 13: Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech at the Convention of the
North at the Magna Centre on September 13, 2019 in Rotherham, England. The Convention brings together the North’s
political, business, community and academic leaders, along with young people’s groups, to make a unified case
for tangible investment in the Northern Powerhouse. (Photo by Christopher Furlong – WPA Pool /Getty Images)
    The world’s largest industrialized nations are set to hold a meeting to address the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.    According to the White House Tuesday, leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) will hold a teleconference hosted by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
    The G7 is expected to agree on a “common strategy and approach” to Afghanistan under the impending Taliban rule.    The meeting was scheduled after Johnson said the U.K. would not recognize a Taliban government.
    However, the European Union and Germany are considering talks with the terrorist group despite opposition by British diplomats.
    “We’re using our G7 presidency to make very clear to the Taliban that we will hold them to account for their commitment and never to allow Afghanistan be used as a based for terror,” stated U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.    “To hold a more inclusive government and to protect the most essential human rights, including respecting the rights of women.”
    The G7 meeting is slated to take place next week.

8/18/2021 IMF Blocks Afghanistan’s Access To SDR Reserves Over Lack Of Clarity On Government by David Lawder
FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund logo is seen outside its headquarters during
the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it suspended Afghanistan’s access to IMF resources, including some $455 million in new monetary reserves, due to a lack of clarity over the country’s government after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.
    The IMF’s announcement came amid pressure from the U.S. Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the Fund, to ensure that Afghanistan’s share of a Special Drawing Rights reserves allocation scheduled for Monday not fall into Taliban hands.
    “There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources,” an IMF spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
    “As is always the case, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community,” the spokesperson added.
    The Fund has traditionally relied on its membership to decide whether to engage with governments that take power in coups or disputed elections.
    In 2019, the IMF suspended Venezuela’s SDR access after more than 50 member countries representing a majority of the Fund’s shareholding refused to recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s government following his disputed re-election.    The IMF also suspended dealings with Myanmar after the military seized power in a February coup.
    The IMF is due on Monday to complete a $650 billion allocation of SDRs – the fund’s unit of exchange based on dollars, euros, yen, sterling and yuan – to its 190 member countries in proportion to their shareholdings in the Fund.
    The increase in reserves is aimed at bolstering the balance sheets of poorer countries that have been severely strained by the coronavirus pandemic.    Afghanistan, based on its 0.07% quota shareholding, stands to receive about $455 million.
    A U.S. Treasury official said earlier on Wednesday that the department was taking steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing the country’s SDR reserves.
    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not provide details on the specific actions being taken by the Treasury, which follow a letter from Republican lawmakers urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to “intervene” at the IMF to ensure that no IMF Special Drawing Rights are made available to the Taliban.
    Even if Afghanistan were to regain access to the SDRs, it would be unlikely the Taliban could spend those resources because that would require another country to be willing to exchange the SDRs for underlying currencies, a transaction that would likely be blocked by long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against the Taliban.
    Afghan and U.S. officials have said most of the Afghan central bank’s nearly $10 billion in assets are held outside Afghanistan, likely putting them beyond the insurgents’ reach.    A Biden administration official said previously that any Afghan central bank assets held in the United States would not be made available to the Taliban.
(Reporting by David Lawder and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Peter Cooney)

8/18/2021 Mike Pence: Biden Violated Terms Of Taliban Deal By Remaining In Country Past May 1 by OAN Newsroom
COLUMBIA, S.C. – APRIL 29: Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks to a crowd during an event sponsored by
the Palmetto Family organization on April 29, 2021 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
    Former Vice President Mike Pence said Joe Biden violated the deal made with the Taliban by the Trump administration.    In an opinion piece penned by Pence in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, he said Biden set the stage for what he’s calling a foreign-policy humiliation.
    He noted Biden violated the agreement with the Taliban by remaining in Afghanistan after the May 1 deadline for “no clear reason.”    Pence said it appears to have been done simply because he didn’t want to appear to be abiding by the terms of President Trump’s deal.
    Pence added there was no plan put in place to remove American equipment, Americans still in Kabul or to resettle Afghan refugees ahead of the withdrawal.
    “There was no plan to transport the billions of dollars worth of American equipment recently captured by the Taliban, or evacuate the thousands of Americans now scrambling to escape Kabul, or facilitate the regional resettlement of the thousands of Afghan refugees who will now be seeking asylum in the U.S. with little or no vetting,” stated Pence.
    Pence ended his piece by calling Biden’s withdrawal a “disgrace.”

8/18/2021 Universities Fine Students For Not Getting Vaccinated by OAN Newsroom
A person puts on a mask outside the closed Wilson Library at the campus of the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on August 18, 2020. (Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images)
    As students prepare to return to campus, several universities said they are requiring mandatory vaccination.    Quinnipiac University in Connecticut announced in an email on Monday that students who aren’t vaccinated without exemption, could see up to a $2,275 fee for not complying.
    Along with the fine, students have the potential to also lose access to Wi-Fi and campus networks.    Meanwhile, students have until Sept. 14 to fulfill the requirement or face consequences.
    West Virginia Wesleyan College has implemented a similar protocol.    The university revealed they will now require all unvaccinated students to pay a one time non-refundable fee of $750.    Those particular students will also be required to undergo mandatory weekly testing while of course, always wearing masks.
    Dr. James Moore explained the fee would be used to cover expenses that come with increased testing and other resources that the college will have to utilize and deploy to keep every student safe.
    In June, Rhodes College in Tennessee was the first to mention plans of charging unvaccinated students a fee of $1,500 a semester.    Additionally, many colleges have begun a trend of handing out incentives for students to get the vaccine. The incentives include receiving laptops, gift certificates or even help with tuition.
    In the meantime, schools like the University of Connecticut have seen backlash from students who have already filed a lawsuit against their vaccine mandates for the upcoming school year.

8/18/2021 Report: Vaccine Booster Shots Expected To Be Available Sept. 20 by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program in the East Room
of the White House on August 18, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Health officials said they expect vaccine booster shots to be available to the public on Sept. 20.    That’s according to a statement released on Wednesday that said the availability of the shots is dependent on authorization by the Food and Drug Administration and approval by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Officials said they expect on that date those who were fully vaccinated during the earliest roll out, including health care workers and the elderly, will be eligible for the shot.    According to the surgeon general, protection against mild and moderate disease has decreased over time, attributing it to waning immunity and the Delta variant.
    “We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy.
    All other individuals will be able to receive the booster eight months after their second dose.    The initial boosters are said to be for those inoculated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, adding those who received the Johnson & Johnson shot will likely need boosters as well.

8/18/2021 Biden Admin. Releases New Plans For Asylum-Seekers At Southern Border by OAN Newsroom
Recently arrived migrants from Central America line up to receive dinner at a church shelter
for migrants who are seeking asylum on May 18, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration released its plans to speed up the asylum process for migrants wishing to enter the U.S. legally.    In a system overhaul on Wednesday, the administration said asylum officials would now have the authority to grant asylum requests, bypassing the months-long backlog of immigration court cases.
    Under the new regulations, asylum-seekers who said they could no longer safely return to their native countries, now have the opportunity to interview with an asylum officer.    The asylum officer is also granted the authority to decide whether those people are eligible for asylum.
    “If we can determine who is a legitimate asylum-seeker and who is not earlier in the process, I think that drives down some of the incentives for irregular migration,” said DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
    The proposed legislation comes amid record migrant surges at the southern border, with more than 212,000 migrants encountered in July alone.

8/18/2021 Biden Admin.: No Plans To Evacuate Americans Outside Kabul by OAN Newsroom
In this photo provided by the Spanish Defense Ministry and taken in Kabul, Afghanistan, people board a Spanish Air Force A400 plane
as part of an evacuation plan at Kabul airport in Afghanistan, Wednesday Aug. 18, 2021. (Spanish Defense Ministry via AP)
    The Biden administration revealed there are no plans to evacuate Americans outside the Afghan capital of Kabul.    Officials from various departments including State and Defense, told Senate staffers they don’t know of a way to get those Americans past Taliban checkpoints.
    The exact number of Americans still trapped outside Kabul is unknown.    However, reports said as many as 15,000 may still be in Afghanistan.
    Meanwhile, Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton pledged a hotline for Americans trapped behind enemy lines, stating they’ll do everything they can to keep them informed and to get get them out.
    “The situation is dire,” stressed Cotton.    “But we’ll do everything in our power to help keep you informed and to help get you out.”
    In the meantime, the State Department is still advising Americans to continue to shelter in place until further communication from the U.S. Embassy is provided.

8/18/2021 Ga. Board Launches Probe Into Fulton County Elections by OAN Newsroom
In this Jan. 5, 2021 file photo, Fulton County Georgia elections workers process absentee
ballots for the Senate runoff election in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Gray, File)
    A state board in Georgia has launched an investigation into election operations in Fulton County.    The Georgia Board of     Elections voted unanimously on Wednesday to establish a bipartisan panel in order to conduct a performance review of election officials in Fulton County.
    The panel is designed to examine maintenance and operation of election equipment, the voter registration and election process, as well as compliance with state law.
    One voter integrity group, Voter GA, has advanced a lawsuit to present what it says is evidence of fraud in Fulton County.
    “Defendants in the case have now responded and the responses are split.    Three of the five defendants have responded with another attempt to dismiss the case,” said Liza Miller.    “However, two of the five defendants want to move forward with inspection and are not opposing our efforts to inspect the ballots for counterfeits.    This should help us get court approval of the inspection.”
    The review will be followed by a hearing on the findings and could lead to the state board suspending the county board if it finds evidence of wrongdoing. Fulton County accounts for 11 percent of Georgia’s entire vote.


8/19/2021 Oil down $2.03 to $64.53, DOW down 383 to 34,961.

8/19/2021 Italy Pushes For Extraordinary G20 Summit On Afghanistan - Media
FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi departs on the second day of an EU summit at
the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium June 25, 2021. John Thys/Pool via REUTERS
    ROME (Reuters) -Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi is working to organise a summit of the Group of 20 major economies on the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover at the weekend, newspapers La Repubblica and Il Messaggero said on Thursday.
    Italy holds the rotating G20 presidency this year and a possible meeting is expected to be held before October’s scheduled summit in Rome, La Repubblica said.
    Draghi is expected to discuss the matter with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the two dailies added.
    A spokesperson for the prime minister’s office was not immediately available for comment.
    An online meeting of leaders of the G7 grouping has already been scheduled for next week to discuss a common strategy and approach on the situation in Afghanistan.
(Reporting by Giulia Segreti;Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

8/19/2021 Bolsonaro Blocks Critics On Social Media, Says Rights Group
FILE PHOTO: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro looks on as he adjusts his protective face mask during a ceremony launching a program
to expand access to credit at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Adriano Machado//File Photo
    BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, is blocking social media followers who criticize him, violating their rights of freedom of speech and access to information, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday.
    The rights group said it had identified 176 accounts that were blocked by Bolsonaro, including those of journalists, members of congress and social media influencers with more than a million followers.
    Social media has been a key means of public communication for Bolsonaro, helping him win office in 2018 and interact with supporters.    He has 6.9 million followers on his Twitter account, 14.2 million on Facebook and 18.6 million on Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app.
    “He is trying to rid his social media accounts of people and institutions that disagree with him and turn them into spaces where only applause is allowed,” said Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil director at Human Rights Watch.
    The presidential press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    As president, Bolsonaro has used social media to make official announcements, comment on foreign affairs and lash out at his opponents.
    Blocked people can no longer comment on his posts, which prevents them from participating in public debate and stops journalists from asking questions, infringing on freedom of the press, Human Rights Watch said.
    In April and June, the group posted messages on its Brazil Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts asking users if Bolsonaro had blocked them.    More than 400 said yes, the vast majority on Twitter. Among them, 176 provided screenshots showing their usernames.    Most said they were blocked after publishing comments criticizing the government.
    Blocked followers included the Brazil accounts of Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders and Human Rights Watch.
    In a case involving former U.S. President Donald Trump, a U.S. court ruled in 2019 that a public official cannot block people from social media accounts used for official business just because they express views with which the official disagrees.
(Reporting by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Peter Cooney)

8/19/2021 EU’s Borrell Brands Afghanistan Events ‘A Catastrophe And A Nightmare’
FILE PHOTO: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell speaks at the presidential
palace in Baabda, Lebanon June 19, 2021. Dalati Nohra/Handout via REUTERS
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s foreign policy chief branded developments in Afghanistan “a catastrophe and a nightmare” on Thursday, and said there had been a failure of intelligence to anticipate the Taliban’s return to power there.
    Josep Borrell told the European Parliament that a first group of 106 members of the EU staff in Afghanistan had been airlifted from the country and had arrived in Madrid, Spain.
(Reporting by John Chalmers)

8/19/2021 Afghanistan’s Fate Means West Is Now Perceived As Weak, UK Minister Says
FILE PHOTO: British Defense Minister Ben Wallace addresses a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya January 25, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya
    LONDON (Reuters) - The fate of Afghanistan after a 20-year war led by the United States means that the West’s resolve is now perceived as weak by major adversaries such as Russia, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Thursday.
    The war in Afghanistan has cost several hundred thousand lives and trillions of dollars but the Taliban are now back in power, and the West’s leading powers are scrambling to evacuate their diplomats and Afghan staff from Kabul airport.
    “What I’m uncomfortable with is that we have a world order now, where resolve is perceived by our adversaries as weak, the West’s resolve,” Wallace told BBC TV.
    “That is something we should all worry about: if the West is seen not to have resolve and it fractures, then our adversaries like Russia find that encouraging,” Wallace told LBC radio.
    Britain fears the Taliban’s return and the vacuum left by the West’s chaotic withdrawal will allow militants from al Qaeda to gain a foothold in Afghanistan, just 20 years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
    “Around the world, Islamists will see what they will view as a victory and that will inspire other terrorists,” Wallace said.
(Reporting by Sarah Young and Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kate Holton and Michael Holden)

8/19/2021 IMF Blocks Afghanistan’s Access To SDR Reserves Over Lack Of Clarity On Government by David Lawder
FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund logo is seen outside its headquarters during
the IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it suspended Afghanistan’s access to IMF resources, including around $440 million in new monetary reserves, due to a lack of clarity over the country’s government after the Taliban seized control of Kabul.
    The IMF’s announcement came amid pressure from the U.S. Treasury, which holds a controlling share in the Fund, to ensure that Afghanistan’s share of a Special Drawing Rights reserves allocation scheduled for Monday not fall into Taliban hands.
    “There is currently a lack of clarity within the international community regarding recognition of a government in Afghanistan, as a consequence of which the country cannot access SDRs or other IMF resources,” an IMF spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
    “As is always the case, the IMF is guided by the views of the international community,” the spokesperson added.
    The Fund has traditionally relied on its membership to decide whether to engage with governments that take power in coups or disputed elections.
    In 2019, the IMF suspended Venezuela’s SDR access after more than 50 member countries representing a majority of the Fund’s shareholding refused to recognize President Nicolas Maduro’s government following his disputed re-election.    The IMF also suspended dealings with Myanmar after the military seized power in a February coup.
    The IMF is due on Monday to complete a $650 billion allocation of SDRs – the fund’s unit of exchange based on dollars, euros, yen, sterling and yuan – to its 190 member countries in proportion to their shareholdings in the Fund.
    The increase in reserves is aimed at bolstering the balance sheets of poorer countries that have been severely strained by the coronavirus pandemic.
    The IMF will allocate 310 million SDRs on Afghanistan’s behalf, an IMF spokesperson said.    That is valued at about $440 million based on Wednesday’s SDR exchange rate
    A U.S. Treasury official said earlier on Wednesday that the department was taking steps to prevent the Taliban from accessing the country’s SDR reserves.
    The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, did not provide details on the specific actions being taken by the Treasury, which follow a letter from Republican lawmakers urging Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to “intervene” at the IMF to ensure that no IMF Special Drawing Rights are made available to the Taliban.
    Even if Afghanistan were to regain access to the SDRs, it would be unlikely the Taliban could spend those resources because that would require another country to be willing to exchange the SDRs for underlying currencies, a transaction that would likely be blocked by long-standing U.S. financial sanctions against the Taliban.
    Afghan and U.S. officials have said most of the Afghan central bank’s nearly $10 billion in assets are held outside Afghanistan, likely putting them beyond the insurgents’ reach.    A Biden administration official said previously that any Afghan central bank assets held in the United States would not be made available to the Taliban.
    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday it was too soon to determine whether the United States would recognize the Taliban as the legitimate governing power in Afghanistan, citing a “chaotic situation in Kabul.”
(Reporting by David Lawder and Tim Ahmann; Editing by Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman)

8/19/2021 No Need For COVID Booster Jabs For Now – WHO
FILE PHOTO: A man who had previously been inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) with Sinovac's Coronavac vaccine, gets
a third dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, in the Hospital de Clinicas, in Montevideo, Uruguay August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Mariana Greif
    GENEVA (Reuters) - Current data does not indicate that COVID-19 booster shots are needed, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, adding that the most vulnerable people worldwide should be fully vaccinated before high-income countries deploy a top-up.
    The comments came just before the U.S. government said it planned to make the booster shots widely available to all Americans starting on Sept. 20 as infections from the Delta variant of the coronavirus rise.
    WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan, asked about the need for boosters to increase protection against the disease, told a Geneva news conference: “We believe clearly that the data today does not indicate that boosters are needed.”
    Further research was needed, she added
    WHO senior adviser Bruce Aylward, referring to booster shots being administered in high-income countries, told reporters: “There is enough vaccine around the world, but it is not going to the right places in the right order.”
    Two doses should be given to the most vulnerable worldwide before boosters are administered to those fully-vaccinated, he said, adding: “We are a long, long way from that.”
(Reporting by Michael Shields, Stephanie Nebehay and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Alison Williams)

8/19/2021 Report: FBI Had Video Of Hunter Biden Saying Laptop Taken By Russians by OAN Newsroom
File – Hunter Biden, the son of Joe Biden, is pictured. (Getty Image)
    According to a new report, the FBI may have been aware that Hunter Biden was worried about potential blackmail by Russian intelligence. On Wednesday, the Federalist reported the FBI seized the hard drive of one of Hunter’s laptops back in December of 2019 that contained a video recently released by the Daily Mail.
    That video shows Hunter confessing that Russians took another laptop of his during a drug-fueled party in Las Vegas, Nevada a year prior.    Hunter also said that device contained videos of him “doing crazy sex” and Russians may use it against him.
    The Federalist discovered the FBI knew about that incident and asserted that it makes the whole Biden family a national security risk.
    No no no, because my dad running for president.    He is, he is, he is.    I talk about it all the time.    If they do, he also knows I make like a gazillion dollars.”
— Hunter Biden
The Federalist report also raises questions on whether the FBI briefed the 2020 Biden campaign on the matter. If so, then why did Joe Biden not tell his voters about it ahead of last year’s election?

8/19/2021 Biden Dismisses Concerns About Afghans Trying To Flee The Taliban by OAN Newsroom
President Joe Biden speaks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug 18, 2021, on the COVID-19 response
and vaccination program. U.S. health officials Wednesday announced plans to offer COVID-19 booster shots to all Americans to shore up
their protection amid the surging delta variant and signs that the vaccines’ effectiveness is falling. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Joe Biden dismissed concerns about fatalities of fleeing Afghans during a heated interview about the Taliban takeover.    On Wednesday, Biden was asked about recently surfaced videos, which show residents falling to their death as they cling to evacuation planes.    The Democrat brushed this off as something that happened “four-to-five days ago'” when it was, in fact, only two.
    Biden was then grilled for his judgment in July when he predicted a tragedy like this was highly unlikely.     “The idea that the Taliban would takeover was premised on the notion that somehow the 300,000 troops we had trained and equipped was gonna just collapse, they were gonna give up,” he previously stated.    “I don’t think anybody anticipated that.”
    Biden went on to say he does not believe there was a better way his administration could have withdrawn troops from Afghanistan.    However, a Trump-era program, which could quickly airlift Americans from Afghanistan, was found to have been scrapped by his administration.
    According to the National Pulse on Wednesday, Biden shut down the State Department’s Contingency and Crisis Response Program earlier this year.    The program, implemented by the Trump administration, was designed to provide diplomatic, medical and logistical support to Americans abroad to prevent Benghazi-style situations.    Biden’s officials reportedly defunded that program in June as part of its reversals of President Donald Trump’s policies.

8/19/2021 Larry Elder Vows To End Gavin Newsom’s Mask, Vaccine Mandates In Calif. by OAN Newsroom
FILE – In this July 13, 2021, file photo, conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder speaks
to supporters during a campaign stop in Norwalk, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
    California gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, who’s running as a Republican, has vowed to lift face mask and vaccine mandates if he wins in the recall election next month.
    In a series of recent statements, Elder said he would suspend all COVID-19 mandates in The Golden State immediately after taking office as governor.    He stressed that vaccines work, which means masks and mandates are redundant.
    Elder said people must assume responsibility for their own health choices, meaning vaccinations must be encouraged but not mandated.    He added, the values of freedom and liberty are equally as important as public health.
    “I would encourage people to get vaccinated.    I would not make it a mandate.    I think this is America and I think a lot of people, for whatever reason, do not want to be vaccinated. Either because they don’t feel the vaccine has been thoroughly tested, because they feel it was approved on an emergency basis…they don’t want to be pushed around.”
— Larry Elder
    Polls show roughly half of Californians support the recall of Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom due to his draconian lockdowns, crippling economic policies and a raging homeless crisis.    The recall election is slated for September 14.

8/19/2021 Sen. Cotton Discredits UN For Going Easy On Taliban by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., speaks to a reporter as he arrives to vote on the $1 trillion
bipartisan infrastructure package on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. The Senate approved the bill,
sending a cornerstone of the Biden agenda to the House. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) recently discredited United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield after she expressed the UN expects the Taliban to respect women’s rights.
    In a tweet Wednesday, the Arkansas Republican revealed the UN is giving the Taliban the benefit of the doubt.    He called out Thomas-Greenfield in disbelief that she would expect the Taliban to be respectful of women and humanitarian law when the complete opposite is happening.
    The senator then shared an article from the New York Post in which exposes the Taliban of going back on their word following Thomas-Greenfield’s comments in a recent interview.
    “We have expressed in no uncertain terms here at the United Nations through a very strongly worded press statement from the Security Council that we expect the Taliban to respect human rights,” stated the ambassador.
    His remarks came after the Taliban killed a woman earlier this week for not wearing a burqa.    The terror group also continued to beat women and children after saying they wouldn’t.

8/19/2021 Biden Says Taliban Must Decide If It Wants International Recognition – Interview
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and vaccination program
during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Taliban must decide whether it wants to be recognized by the international community, U.S. President Joe Biden said in an ABC interview aired on Thursday, adding that he did not think the group had changed its fundamental beliefs.
    Asked if he thought the Taliban had changed, Biden told ABC News, “No.”
    “I think they’re going through a sort of existential crisis about: Do they want to be recognized by the international community as being a legitimate government?    I’m not sure they do,” he said, adding that the group appeared more committed to its beliefs.
    But, he added, the Taliban also had to grapple with whether it could provide for Afghans.
    “They also care about whether they have food to eat, whether they have an income that … can run an economy, they care about whether or not they can hold together the society that they in fact say they care so much about,” Biden said in the interview, taped on Wednesday.    “I’m not counting on any of that.”
    He also added that it would take economic and diplomatic pressure — not military force — to ensure women’s rights.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Chizu Nomiyama)

8/19/2021 Biden’s Promised Review Of Pullout From Afghanistan Not Yet Started – Source
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response and vaccination program
during a speech in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration has not yet begun a promised review of its handling of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, as officials focus on the more immediate issue of evacuations, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
    President Joe Biden, facing strong criticism from bipartisan lawmakers for his handling of the crisis, told ABC News in an interview on Wednesday “we’re going to go back in hindsight and look” at whether the U.S. exit could have been conducted in a better way.
    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that “we will conduct an extensive hotwash,” meaning a performance evaluation, on how the pullout was handled.
    “We will take a look at every aspect of this from top to bottom,” he said.
    The source, asked Thursday if the review had begun, told Reuters on the condition of anonymity that the U.S. focus for now is on operations on the ground and getting as many people out of Afghanistan as possible.
    Several congressional committees have promised to hold hearings and House Intelligence Committee is to receive a classified briefing on Monday on the situation from the intelligence community.
    Biden told ABC Wednesday that “the idea that somehow there’s a way to have gotten out without chaos ensuing, I don’t know how that happens.”
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Heather Timmons and Diane Craft)

8/19/2021 U.S. Diplomats Sent Cable In Mid-July Warning Of Potential Swift Taliban Takeover - WSJ Report
FILE PHOTO: A Taliban fighter runs towards crowd outside Kabul airport, Kabul, Afghanistan
August 16, 2021, in this still image taken from a video. REUTERS TV/via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – About two dozen U.S. diplomats in Afghanistan sent an internal cable last month warning Secretary of State Antony Blinken of the potential fall of Kabul to the Taliban as U.S. troops withdrew from the country, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
    The newspaper said the confidential cable sent through a so-called dissent channel was signed on July 13 and offered recommendations on ways to mitigate the crisis and accelerate an evacuation.
    The administration has been criticized for leaving efforts to get American diplomats and other citizens, as well Afghan allies, out of the country, until after a Taliban takeover was well underway.
    U.S. officials declined to confirm specific details or share the contents of the cable.
    “I think the cable reflects what we’ve said all along, which is nobody had this exactly right in predicting that the government and army of Afghanistan were going to collapse in a matter of days,” White House deputy national security adviser Jonathan Finer told CNN.
    A source familiar with the situation said the State Department took on board the concerns of those who drafted the cable, including by condemning the Taliban’s atrocities ahead of the group seizing the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday.
    State Department spokesman Ned Price said diplomats’ views shared with Blinken through the channel were incorporated into policy and planning.
    “We value constructive internal dissent.    It’s patriotic.    It’s protected.    And it makes us more effective,” Price said.
(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Eric Beech; editing by Grant McCool)

8/19/2021 Facebook, Twitter And LinkedIn Secure Afghan Users’ Accounts Amid Taliban Takeover by Elizabeth Culliford
FILE PHOTO: The Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture
illustration taken December 2, 2019. REUTERS/Johanna Geron/Illustration
    (Reuters) – Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn said this week they had moved to secure the accounts of Afghan citizens to protect them against being targeted amid the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country.
    Facebook has temporarily removed the ability for people to view or search the friends lists of accounts in Afghanistan, its security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher tweeted on Thursday.
    Gleicher also said the company had launched a “one-click tool” for users in Afghanistan to lock down their accounts, so people who are not their Facebook friends would be unable to see their timeline posts or share their profile photos.
    Human rights groups have voiced concerns that the Taliban could use online platforms to track Afghans’ digital histories or social connections.    Amnesty International said this week that thousands of Afghans, including academics, journalists and human rights defenders, were at serious risk of Taliban reprisals.
    The former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team has also urged players to delete social media and erase their public identities.
    Twitter Inc said it was in touch with civil society partners to provide support to groups in the country and was working with the Internet Archive to expedite direct requests to remove archived tweets.
    It said if individuals were unable to access accounts containing information that could put them at risk, such as direct messages or followers, the company could temporarily suspend the accounts until users regain access and are able to delete their content.
    Twitter also said it was proactively monitoring accounts affiliated with government organizations and might temporarily suspend accounts pending additional information to confirm their identity.    A LinkedIn spokesman said the Microsoft-owned professional networking site had temporarily hidden the connections of its users in Afghanistan so other users would not be able to see them.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford in London; Editing by Chris Reese and Sam Holmes)

8/19/2021 U.S. ‘Laser Focused’ On Potential For Terrorist Attack By Taliban Foes, Says Security Adviser
U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan takes questions from the media during a news briefing about the
situation in Afghanistan at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government is “laser focused” on the potential for a terrorist attack in Afghanistan by a group like ISIS-K, a sworn enemy of the Taliban, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told NBC News on Thursday.
    Sullivan told NBC that getting Americans out of Afghanistan was “a risky operation” given questions about whether the Taliban would continue to allow the safe passage of people to the airport and other contingencies such as possible attack by an Islamist group such as ISIS-K.
    “One of the contingencies we are very focused on, laser focused on, is the potential for a terrorist attack by a group like ISIS-K, which of course is a sworn enemy of the Taliban, so we will keep working to minimize the risks and maximize the number of people on planes,” Sullivan said.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

8/19/2021 Video Resurfaces Of McCain Warning About Secy. Of State Blinken by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK – AUGUST 30: Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.) speaks during the evening session of day one of the 2004
Republican National Convention August 30, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Shaun Heasley/Getty Images)
    The rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan has shed light on the competency of top Biden administration officials.    On Thursday, video of late Sen. John McCain resurfaced and revealed his dire warning about now Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
    In the video from 2014, McCain railed against Blinken’s nomination as Deputy Secretary of State under President Obama.
    McCain, a decorated combat war veteran, said Blinken was dangerous to America and the men and women who serve.
    “Not often do I come to the floor to oppose a nomination of the President of the United States because I believe that elections have consequences,” stated McCain.    “In this case, this individual has actually been dangerous to America.”
    McCain went on to say America must leave a few thousand troops in Afghanistan as a stabilizing force.    Now, Blinken is one of several Biden administration officials being called on to testify before Congress on the failures in Afghanistan.

8/19/2021 Capitol Bomb Threat Suspect Identified by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger speaks to the press near the U.S. Capitol as police investigate
a possible bomb threat, in Washington, D.C., on August 19, 2021. (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)
    Police have identified the suspect accused of making a bomb threat outside of the Library of Congress on Thursday. Authorities said 49-year-old Floyd Roseberry of North Carolina was taken into custody without incident.
    This comes after officers negotiated with the suspect for hours.    The suspect appeared to be holding a detonator in a pickup truck, however, Roseberry eventually surrendered.
    Police said they are still trying to determine the man’s motives and said he has suffered from severe psychological distress.    Meanwhile, authorities said there was no bomb found in Roseberry’s truck, but they did find suspected bomb-making materials.
    “We do know that Mr. Roseberry has had some losses of family…we spoke with members of his family and there were other issues that he was dealing with,” confirmed Chief Tom Manger of the Capitol Police.
    Officials added they are working with prosecutors to put together charges against the suspect.

8/19/2021 Eviction Moratorium Devastates Landlords by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 11: Activists hold a protest against evictions near
City Hall on August 11, 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
    Many small landlords have sold their properties off to stem losses caused by the federal eviction moratorium, but they are selling to large conglomerates which could result in a more expensive market for rent.    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently extended the federal eviction moratorium to Oct. 3, when it was previously expected to expire at the beginning of August.
    As a result, many landlords have struggled to afford their mortgages as renters have been essentially excused from paying rent.
    “Well, without rent, we’re out of business.    It’s like a restaurant that doesn’t have patrons.    I don’t get the rent,” said Gary Zaremba, a landlord.    “I can’t pay my maintenance staff.    I have to lay them off.    I can’t fix the buildings and keep them in good repair.    So, that means they’re going to get even worse off. I can’t pay my taxes.”
    Many landlords have pointed to the policy as a failure of leadership.    “It’s poor public policy. It’s not good for anyone,” said Zaremba.
    Due to the lack of payment, small landlords have been hit with thousands of dollars in losses, some even opting to leave units vacant to avoid the potential hassle of having to deal with more non-paying tenants.
    Landlord Rick Martin cited the moratorium as the event which triggered his decision to sell two of his five rental properties.    Since selling those properties, one has been turned into condos and the other had its monthly rent doubled.
    Wealthy Wall Street firms have also taken to buying up family homes.    Companies like Blackstone bought $5.1 billion worth of apartments in July.    In June, Home Partners of America spent $6 billion and now owns more than 17,000 houses across the country to rent.
    The result of big corporations buying up homes has been increased rent across the board, ultimately pushing small landlords onto the streets.

8/19/2021 State Dept. Fails To Reveal Number Of Americans Still In Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price holds a press briefing on Afghanistan at the
State Department in Washington, D.C., August 16, 2021. (KEVIN LAMARQUE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    The State Department has been faced with addressing the tough questions regarding Afghanistan and still has yet to provide adequate answers.    State Department spokesperson Ned Price has come under fire for an apparent lack of preparation and transparency when giving updates on Afghanistan.
    At Thursday’s press briefing, several reporters asked Price the same question, which addressed the uncertainty of how many Americans still remain in Afghanistan.    Price repeatedly refused to answer the question, saying he couldn’t provide a number.
    Though a clear answer remained absent all throughout, Price repeated several times the State Department is doing all it can to relocate the unknown number of people out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible.    Also, when referring to those desperately trying to get into the Kabul airport, the spokesman acknowledged the “congestion” surrounding the airport.    However, he asserted things are moving efficiently.
    Price drew visible expressions of aggravation from members of the media as the reports of so-called “congestion” included video footage of violent Taliban attacks at checkpoints and even Afghan mothers handing over babies to U.S. troops.

8/20/2021 Oil down $0.91 to $63.50, DOW down 65 to 34,895.

8/20/2021 Texas Supreme Court Rejects Governor Abbott’s Ban On School Mask Mandates – CNN
FILE PHOTO: Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA)
convention in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 4, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
    (Reuters) – The Texas Supreme Court rejected Governor Greg Abbott’s intervention to suspend a mask mandate, thus allowing schools to require students to wear masks as per the mandates by local authorities, according to a CNN report on Thursday.
    Abbott had argued that state officials did not have time to go through the regular appeals process and allowing local governments to set their own mandate rules would cause confusion, the report added.
    The ruling comes amid the coronavirus political battle in the southern United States where new infections are highest.
    Several states across the U.S. have announced the change in plans on masking due to the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the country and the announcement of new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that requires fully vaccinated individuals to wear masks.
    However, a few republican states clashed with local officials who are resisting their orders banning school mask mandates, to which, the U.S. President Joe Biden reacted by saying on Aug. 12 that wearing masks is not about politics but about keeping children safe.
    On Aug. 18, Florida’s Miami-Dade County School Board had imposed a mask mandate for the district’s 360,000 students, as well as staff from Monday, defying the Governor Ron DeSantis’ rule of banning local mask mandates.
(Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by Michael Perry)

8/20/2021 Contrary To Intent, Biden’s Afghan Pullout Could Undermine Asia Shift by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the crisis in Afghanistan during a speech in the
East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kurt Campbell, the White House’s top Asia adviser, declared last month that a historic change in U.S. foreign policy was afoot, one that would shift U.S. focus away from the Middle East to Asia, where China’s growing might has cast shadows over Washington’s allies.
    “It will be painful, in all likelihood.    We’ll see some real challenges in places like Afghanistan,” Campbell told an Asia Society webinar, a blunt assessment of what since has come to pass as the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country has sparked a humanitarian crisis.
    Officials argued that withdrawing from Afghanistan would free up time and attention of senior U.S. political and military leaders, as well as some military assets, to focus on the Indo-Pacific.
    But experts and former officials say President Joe Biden’s poorly executed troop withdrawal from Afghanistan appears – in the near term and possibly for much longer – to be undermining the very goal of freeing the United States to concentrate on China, something successive presidents have sought, only to be pulled back to the Middle East.
    Contrary to the planned quick pullout, Biden has been forced to send in thousands of troops to protect the evacuation of U.S. personnel and Afghans potentially subject to Taliban retribution, while the chaos has unleashed a political storm at home.
    Biden has said the original Aug. 31 deadline for troop withdrawal now may be extended to finish the job.
    Moreover, the United States was forced to move its lone aircraft carrier in the Asia-Pacific, the Ronald Reagan, to the Middle East in June to help with the withdrawal.    As the situation in Kabul has deteriorated, jets from the carrier have been flying over the city to provide extra security.
    While the redeployment may only be short-term, the need to divert the carrier from the Asia-Pacific has raised questions about U.S. ability to project power there.
    U.S. operations in Afghanistan are also likely to continue to consume the attention of senior officials who might otherwise have their eyes on Beijing.
    “As Assistant Secretary for the Indo-Pacific, Ely Ratner has Afghanistan in his portfolio. Where do you think his primary focus is for the next three months or longer?” said Eric Sayers, a defense policy expert at the American Enterprise Institute.
    Others warn that terrorist groups will likely reestablish themselves in Afghanistan under the Taliban, raising the prospect that the United States will need to return in some fashion, much like it returned to Iraq to combat the rise of Islamic State.
    David Sedney, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, dismissed claims by U.S. officials that counterterrorism operations could be conducted from outside the country as a mirage.
    “No one who is serious about counterterrorism believes it,” he said.    “The United States is going to pay a terrible price for this at some point in the future. Another 9/11.”
    For Campbell, architect of former President Barack Obama’s halting pivot to Asia, building U.S. bona fides in the Indo-Pacific has meant making good on unfinished business and Afghanistan was an enduring distraction.
    Yet the chaotic evacuations from Kabul have evoked images of the 1975 U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, a country Vice President Kamala Harris will visit next week to push back on China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.
    That trip, which includes a stop in Singapore, will make her the latest in a string of senior officials to travel to Asia as part of Biden’s effort to step up engagement there.
    “Our strategic competitors around the world would have liked nothing more than to see us in Afghanistan for another 5, 10, 20 years dedicating even more resources to Afghanistan while it remained in the midst of a civil war,” a senior U.S. official told Reuters.
    But the hasty pullout following a failed 20-year project in Afghanistan appears to have shaken some of the very allies Washington hoped to bolster with its Indo-Pacific push.
    In Chinese-claimed Taiwan, President Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday responded to the chaos in Afghanistan by saying the self-ruled island had no choice but to boost its own>     “It is not an option for us to do nothing ourselves and rely only on the protection of others,” she said.
China’s state-controlled media have seized on Afghan developments, portraying U.S. support for allies as fickle.
    And while experts are quick to dismiss most geopolitical comparisons of Afghanistan and Taiwan, there is general concern that this latest blow to American prestige undermines Biden’s pledge that U.S. leadership was back following the isolationist tendencies of the Trump administration.
    “As bin Laden said back around 2001, this is an issue of demonstrating who was the stronger horse.    The U.S. appears to be producing nags and mules, rather than racehorses,” said Dean Cheng of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, referring to Osama bin Laden, whose orchestration of the 9/11 attacks led the United States to invade Afghanistan.
    “Taiwan and other East Asian states will be thinking about this.”
(Reporting by Michael Martina, David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington, additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei; editing by Jane Wardell)

8/20/2021 Harris Faces Task Of Convincing Asia Of U.S. Reliability After Afghan Chaos by Nandita Bose and David Brunnstrom
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris discusses the U.S. Senate's passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill,
during a meeting in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., August 10, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Vice President Kamala Harris, in a visit to Singapore and Vietnam next week that aims to counter China’s growing influence, will have to contend with a new problem: the collapse of Afghanistan, which has left allies questioning the credibility of U.S. foreign policy promises.
    U.S. allies have complained they were not fully consulted on President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by Aug. 31, which appeared at odds with his promises to recommit to global engagement.
    With the Taliban’s rapid takeover putting their national security interests at risk, countries in both Europe and Asia are wondering whether they can rely on Washington to fulfill long-standing security commitments, experts say.
    Harris’ trip aims to establish deeper ties with Southeast Asia, a region Washington considers key to checking Chinese expansion.    A senior White House official told Reuters this month the vice president’s focus would be on defending international rules in the South China Sea, strengthening U.S. regional leadership and expanding security cooperation.
    Regional experts like Murray Hiebert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies said Harris would have to try to reassure her hosts that Washington’s commitment to Southeast Asia is firm and not a parallel to Afghanistan.
    “The debacle in Afghanistan will prompt concerns again about U.S. staying power and keeping promises to allies,” he said.
    The chaotic evacuations from Kabul have evoked images of the 1975 U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, whose Communist-ruled government Washington sought to isolate for two decades after the Vietnam War, but with which it now enjoys warm ties given shared concerns about China.
    A senior administration official said Harris’ trip would show that the United States was in the region “to stay,” but concerns about the outcome in Afghanistan could muddy that message.
    “What has happened in Afghanistan has been quite frustrating and upsetting for a lot of countries,” said Yun Sun, co-director of the East Asia Program at the Stimson Center think tank.    “The concern is one day when the United States determines you are no longer as important, they can just pack up and leave and there is nothing you can do about it.”
    “And of course, there’s China trying to capitalize on that narrative.”
    Vietnam has been a vocal opponent of China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and Singapore shares concerns about Beijing’s increasingly assertive behavior in the region.
    They and other Southeast Asian countries have welcomed the U.S. military presence there given China’s militarization of the South China Sea and its vast coast guard and fishing fleet.
    The U.S. Navy has maintained a steady pattern of freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea and near Taiwan, but those appear to have done little to discourage Beijing.
    The senior administration official said Washington was confident the United States’ Indo-Pacific allies saw it as a “steadfast partner” and Harris would emphasize that on her trip.
    The official said Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific were priorities for the Biden administration and “that hasn’t changed with Afghanistan.”
    “There’s a difference between ensuring open sea lanes in Asia, which is a priority for the United States, and the continued involvement in another country’s civil war,” he said.     At the same time, he said, Harris would continue to work on issues tied to Afghanistan during her trip, adding: “We can do more than one thing at a time.”
    Some experts point to a silver lining for Southeast Asia from the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying it will enable Washington to free up resources from a counterterrorism mission and focus more on countering Beijing.
    “The shift to deterring and preparing for a conflict with a near-peer competitor will be accelerated as the counterterrorism mindset recedes,” said Bonnie Glaser of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, referring to China.
    Others warn that the chaos in Kabul could at least delay that shift.
    Harris is due in Singapore on Sunday and will become the first U.S. vice president to visit Vietnam when she arrives there on Tuesday.    She departs Vietnam two days later.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Peter Cooney)

8/20/2021 U.S. Will Limit Some Chinese Passenger Air Carriers To 40% Capacity - Order by David Shepardson
FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside a company building in Shanghai, China April 14, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Transportation Department on Wednesday said it will limit some flights from Chinese carriers to 40% passenger capacity for four weeks after the Chinese government imposed similar limits on four United Airlines flights.
    China told United on Aug. 6 it was imposing sanctions after it alleged five passengers who traveled from San Francisco to Shanghai tested positive for COVID-19 on July 21.
    The U.S. order said the department will limit over a four-week period each of four Chinese carriers to 40% capacity on a single China-U.S. flight.
    United Airlines said it was “pleased to see this action by the (Transportation Department) in pursuit of fairness in this important market.”
    Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said on Thursday that the United States has no ground to limit inbound air passenger capacity on Chinese carriers.
    China’s “circuit breaker” policy treats all airlines fairly, including domestic carriers, said Hua, adding that China will continue with its epidemic control policies to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
    The U.S. government says China’s “circuit breaker” policy violates the nations’ air services agreement and “places undue culpability on carriers with respect to travelers that test positive for COVID-19 after their arrival in China.”
    The department added carriers “have no means to independently verify positive test results alleged by Chinese authorities. Furthermore, there is no way to establish where or when a traveler may have contracted” the virus.
    Chinese authorities gave United three options: cancel two San Francisco to Shanghai flights; operate two without passengers; or operate four flights with up to 40% of passenger capacity.
    The limits were imposed on four Wednesday United San Francisco-Shanghai flights, beginning with an Aug. 11 flight.
    The Biden administration said it will impose identical limits on four flights over four weeks – one each from Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines Co and Xiamen Airlines.
    The limits come as many Chinese students are headed to the United States for the start of fall classes.
    Since the COVID-19 pandemic, China and the United States have sparred over air services.
    In June 2020, the United States threatened to bar Chinese passenger flights after Beijing did not immediately agree to restore flights by U.S. airlines.
    U.S. carriers voluntary halted flights to China after the coronavirus outbreak. Then-President Donald Trump on Jan. 31, 2020 barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the United States who had been in China within the last 14 days.
    Those restrictions on Chinese travelers remain in place.    The Biden administration in April eased restrictions on Chinese students traveling to U.S. schools effective Aug. 1.
    A long-standing air agreement between China and the United States allows both countries to operate more than 100 weekly flights between the two nations but only a fraction of those are currently operating.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Additional reporting by Stella Qiu; Editing by Diane Craft and Lincoln Feast)

8/20/2021 G7 Calls For International Shared Mission To Limit Afghan Crisis
Civilians prepare to board a plane during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport,
Kabul, Afghanistan August 18, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/Handout via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) -G7 foreign ministers urged the international community on Thursday to unite in its response to the crisis in Afghanistan to prevent it from escalating, British foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement.
    Taliban militants seized control over the weekend in an upheaval that sent thousands of civilians and Afghan military allies fleeing for safety.    Many fear a return to the austere interpretation of Islamic law imposed during the previous Taliban rule that ended 20 years ago.
    “The G7 Ministers call on the international community to come together with a shared mission to prevent the crisis in Afghanistan escalating,” said Raab’s statement after a meeting of G7 foreign ministers.
    Britain currently holds the rotating leadership of the G7, which also includes the United States, Italy, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.
    “The crisis in Afghanistan requires an international response including intensive engagement on the critical questions facing Afghanistan and the region: with the Afghans most affected, parties to the conflict, the UN Security Council, the G20, international donors, and with Afghanistan’s regional neighbours,” the statement said.
    The UK said on Wednesday it would double its humanitarian and development aid to Afghanistan to 286 million pounds ($390 million) this year.
    Karen Pierce, UK ambassador to the United States, said Britain wanted to use a meeting of G7 leaders next week to work out “how to preserve the gains we’ve made and how to stop it becoming a breeding ground for terror.”
    Pierce told broadcaster NPR’s “All Things Considered” program that Britain and the United States had been in almost daily contact with the Biden administration since NATO agreed on the decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan.
    She said Britain hoped to coordinate with partners and allies on any acceptance of a new Afghan government “so that we’re all working on the same basis, so that we all understand the priority we want to give to countering terrorism, to human rights, to regional stability and to humanitarian issues.”
    Separately, Raab said late on Thursday that the UK and Turkey were working together in Afghanistan to ensure evacuations continue safely.    He thanked Turkey for its commitment to safeguarding the Kabul airport alongside British troops.
    Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Raab in a call that the world should guide and support Afghanistan as it moves to a new government instead of putting more pressure on it.
($1 = 0.7334 pounds)
(Reporting by William James and Kanishka Singh; Editing by Elizabeth Piper, Peter Cooney and Lincoln Feast.)

8/20/2021 Pa. Republican Senate President Blocks Election Audit by OAN Newsroom
    Pennsylvania voters have been vocal about demanding a forensic investigation of the 2020 election.    Just this week, an Audit the Vote Rally packed the building with energized Pennsylvanians demanding an investigation into their election.
    State Senator Doug Mastriano (R) has been championing that cause, but says his biggest obstacle is the Republican Senate president.    One America’s Christina Bobb caught up with Mastriano in Pennsylvania for the very latest.

8/20/2021 Democrats Call For Hearing To Look Into Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal by OAN Newsroom
President Joe Biden speaks from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday,
Aug 18, 2021, on the COVID-19 response and vaccination program. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
    Democrats are now putting their feet down on Joe Biden’s handling of the Taliban’s rapid takeover in Afghanistan.    This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a series of hearings with high level officials in the Biden administration.
    Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said its imperative Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testify before the committee to give transparency on the situation.    This comes as many Democrats begin to shift blame to the Biden administration on how they have failed to act fast in getting the remainder of Americans off the ground.    The hearings are expected to take place following the August recess.
    Meanwhile, a new poll shows overall support for military intervention in Afghanistan is dropping.    That’s according to an AP-NORC poll, which reflects nearly two-thirds of Americans said the battle in Afghanistan is not worth fighting.    Similar numbers were also reported for the idea of troops remaining in Iraq.
    Overall, a slim majority of people said they disapprove of how Biden is handling foreign policy with 46 percent of voters voicing their disapproval of how he’s handling national security.
(AP-NORC poll)
    Another poll found a rising number of Americans are not buying Biden’s attempts to blame 45th President Donald Trump for the disastrous Afghan pullout.
    According to a Daily Wire survey Thursday, 36 percent of Americans said Biden is fully responsible for the chaos and deaths during U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.    Only 21 percent blamed Trump while 29 percent of respondents said it’s neither Trump’s nor Biden’s fault.    The poll also found 84 percent of Americans are concerned about possible consequences of Biden’s mishandling of Afghan pullout.

8/20/2021 Outraged Afghan Protester Blames Biden For The Fall Of Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
President Joe Biden walks from the podium after speaking about Afghanistan from the
East Room of the White House, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    An outraged Afghan woman had some strong words for Joe Biden.    A video surfaced on Thursday shows an unidentified protestor sounding off on Biden’s decision to stay on vacation while Afghanistan was “bleeding.”
    This week, hundreds of concerned Afghans gathered outside the White House, where they expressed that the Democrat’s misguided policies handed their country to the Taliban.
    The angered female demonstrator went on to point out that the Taliban takeover will embolden terrorist groups.    She also warned fallout from the Taliban’s takeover could lead to devastating consequences worldwide.

8/20/2021 Exclusive-U.S. Set To Expand Evacuation Flights From Kabul To Europe- Officials by Idrees Ali and Humeyra Pamuk
FILE PHOTO: A U.S. Marine assigned to 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit checks in evacuees before their flight during an evacuation at
Hamid Karzai International Airport, Afghanistan, August 18, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department is expected to announce that its evacuation flights out of Kabul will now be able to land in Europe, U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday, because of an overflow of people in Qatar.
    The United States is desperately trying to evacuate thousands of people from Afghanistan by an Aug. 31 deadline, although President Joe Biden said this week that U.S. troops at Kabul airport providing security for the evacuation could stay longer if necessary.
    The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the announcement from the State Department could include more countries like Bahrain, but Europe had been chosen because it was logistically easier than some other parts of the world.
    The officials said Al Udeid air base had reached the capacity of 8,000 people fleeing from Kabul and the situation there was dire.
    The situation is so bad, they said, that flights had been temporarily paused from leaving Kabul because they did not have anywhere to go.
    State Department declined to comment on the news but said the agency is “grateful to all of our partners who are playing a role in this effort.”
    Foreign powers sought to increase evacuations from Afghanistan on Friday after reports of Taliban reprisals, including against people who had worked with U.S.-led forces or the previous Western-backed government.
    More than 18,000 people have been flown out since the militants took the capital Kabul, according to transatlantic alliance NATO, but Western governments are facing criticism for not anticipating such a speedy exodus or helping enough.
    Thousands still thronged the airport where gun-toting Taliban members urged people without travel documents to go home.    Some have fled gunfire in recent days.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Marguerita Choy)

8/20/2021 U.S. Issues Nord Stream 2 Related Sanctions On Russians - Blinken
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is seen on a pipe at the
Chelyabinsk pipe rolling plant in Chelyabinsk, Russia, February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States imposed sanctions on one Russian vessel and two Russian individuals involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Friday.
    The move comes as U.S. President Joe Biden separately issued an executive order on Friday allowing for sanctions to be imposed with respect to certain Russian energy export pipelines.
    The $11 billion pipeline project, which would double Nord Stream’s capacity to ship Russian Arctic natural gas to Germany, is almost complete with only 9 miles (15 km) left to construct, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday.
    Biden has opposed the pipeline, like the previous two U.S. presidents, because it would avoid Ukraine, likely depriving it of lucrative gas transit fees and potentially undermining its struggle against Russian aggression.
    But in May the U.S. State Department waived other sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG, the company behind the project, and its chief executive, Matthias Warning, a Putin ally.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Susan Heavey and Tim Ahmann; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Chris Reese)

8/20/2021 Scotland’s Power-Sharing Deal Gives Pro-Independence Majority
FILE PHOTO: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attends the First Ministers Questions at the
Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain June 24, 2021. Jeff J Mitchell/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
    LONDON (Reuters) – The ruling Scottish National Party agreed a power-sharing deal with the Scottish Green Party on Friday that cements a pro-independence majority in the devolved parliament ahead of a looming political battle over the future of the United Kingdom.
    The deal between the SNP and the Greens, who will be part of a government for the first time in British history, will increase the pressure on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to allow a second independence referendum.
    Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has vowed to hold another referendum vote by the end of 2023.    If Scotland voted to leave, it would mark the biggest shock to the United Kingdom since Irish independence a century ago.
    This deal “makes it harder and, indeed, impossible on any democratic basis for a UK government to resist the right of the Scottish people to choose their own future,” Sturgeon said.
    The SNP earlier this year won an unprecedented fourth term in government in elections to the Scottish parliament, but fell one seat short of securing a majority in the 129-seat devolved assembly.
    With the support of the Greens, who have seven seats, the SNP will have a clear majority to pass legislation to push ahead with plans for another referendum.    In return for their support in the parliament, the Greens will have two ministers in the government, according to a statement released on Friday.
    Opinion polls last year suggested that, for the first time, a small, sustained majority of Scottish voters favoured independence from the United Kingdom. But in the last few months there has been a slight drop in support for secession.
    A survey by Panelbase for the Sunday Times in June found 48% of Scottish voters supported leaving the United Kingdom, down four percentage points from April.
    A referendum bill would set up a clash between the Scottish government in Edinburgh and Johnson’s United Kingdom-wide administration in London, with Scotland’s 314-year union with England and Wales at stake.
    The British government argues Johnson must give approval for any referendum and he has repeatedly made clear he would refuse.    He has said it would be irresponsible to hold one now, pointing out that Scots had backed staying in the United Kingdom in a “once in a generation” poll in 2014 by 55% to 45%.
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

8/20/2021 German Conservatives Rule Out Replacing Faltering Chancellor Candidate
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and North-Rhine Westphalian State Premier Armin Laschet
visit the area affected by floods caused by heavy rainfalls, in Iversheim, a suburb of Bad Muenstereifel,
North-Rhine Westphalian state, Germany July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/Pool/File Photo
    BERLIN (Reuters) – A member of Angela Merkel’s conservatives dismissed suggestions on Friday that they should drop their candidate to succeed her as German leader, despite his souring popularity ratings that could cost them an election they had looked certain to win.
    Less than six weeks before the Sept. 26 vote, support for Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), has fallen to 23%, some 10 points lower from the last election and only 2 points ahead of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD).
    Some conservatives have blamed the drop in support on the bloc’s candidate for chancellor, CDU chairman Armin Laschet, whose ratings have tumbled since he was caught on camera laughing during a visit last month to a town hit by floods.
    Health Minister Jens Spahn, a close Laschet ally, ruled out suggestions that replacing Laschet with a more popular candidate, such as Bavarian premier Markus Soeder, was the only way to secure a comfortable victory.
    Spahn told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper there was no plan to replace Laschet with Soeder, adding “and you will get the same answer if you asked Soeder.”
    Merkel, in power since 2015, will step down after the election leaving a conservative bloc weakened by divisions over the direction of the party.
(Editing by Catherine Evans)

8/20/2021 WHO Seeks ‘Best Minds’ To Probe New Pathogens That Jump From Animals To Humans by Stephanie Nebehay
FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured outside a building of the World Health Organization (WHO) during an executive board meeting on
update on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Geneva, Switzerland, April 6, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it was looking for the greatest scientific minds to advise on investigations into new high-threat pathogens that jump from animals to humans and could spark the next pandemic.
    Launching a request for applications, it said that its Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens would also review progress on the next studies into the origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that emerged in China in late 2019.
    “We need to bring in the best minds here. And it needs to be multi-disciplinary,” Maria van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, told Reuters.
    The panel, announced by WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in July, will be composed of 25 experts expected to meet first virtually in late September, a statement said.
    “In the last 20 years we’ve had many of these pathogens emerge or re-emerge: SARS, MERS, different avian influenzas, Zika, yellow fever and of course SARS-CoV-2,” van Kerkhove said.
    Van Kerkhove, an American epidemiologist and WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, recalled that it took more than a year to establish that dromedary camels were the intermediary source of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) carried by bats.
    The new group would draw up a global framework for studies into animals, humans, food, the environment, biosafety and protocols for lab audits when new pathogens emerge, she said.
    “Given the geopolitics of all of this, we want to make sure that we have a very solid technical and scientific framework… for the next time, because there will be a next time,” she said.
    A WHO-led team of experts spent four weeks in and around the central city of Wuhan with Chinese scientists and said in a joint report in March that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had probably been transmitted from bats to humans through another animal but that further research was needed.
    The WHO has urged all countries to work together to investigate the virus origins, but China has publicly rejected plans for more checks on labs and markets in its territory.
    Tedros has said that the investigation was hampered by the lack of raw data on the first days of spread there.
    Van Kerkhove said that Chinese officials had recently made public statements about pursuing studies.
    Critical ones include serology studies testing for antibodies present there in 2019, she said, adding: “I would like to see more studies on the animals sold in the market, tracing back.”
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

8/20/2021 Texas House Reaches Quorum, Ending 38-Day Holdout by OAN Newsroom
Visitors take photos in the rotunda at the Texas Capitol, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
    The Texas House of Representatives has reached a quorum for the first time since July 12 when at least 57 state House Democrats fled to Washington, D.C. in order to stop a GOP backed election security bill.    Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan declared that the required two-thirds of the total legislators had been reached Thursday night, allowing lawmakers to begin voting again.
    Three Democrat representatives returned for the second special session including Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez and Armando Walle, while 49 other Democrats were absent.    Their return for Thursday’s special session comes after the Texas Supreme Court ordered the withdrawal of a district court’s order on Tuesday, which temporarily protected Democrat lawmakers from arrest.
    Yet, most Democrats like Rep. Ron Reynolds remained in Washington in defiance of arrest warrants issued by Speaker Phelan.    “I’m extremely disappointed they went back to make quorum,” said Reynolds.    “It was not what was informed or communicated with our House Democratic Caucus.”
    Coleman was absent at the end of the regular session in July after having his leg amputated due to an infection and didn’t travel with Democrat colleagues to Washington, yet voiced support for their protest.    Coleman has since expressed regret for his role in dividing the Texas House of Representatives.
    Meanwhile, Phelan praised Rep. Coleman for his dedication and courage to return to the House.    Thursday’s quorum was announced in the evening with Phelan saying it’s time to get back to the business of the people of Texas.
    In the meantime, Republicans have been working quickly to schedule a hearing on the elections integrity bill for Saturday.

8/20/2021 Biden On Afghan Withdrawal: No Promises On What Final Outcome Will Be by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden responds to questions about the ongoing U.S. military evacuations of U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans, in the
East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on August 20, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden revealed there’s no guarantee there won’t be losses when it comes to the Afghan withdrawal.    He addressed the country on Friday, claiming the U.S. is making significant progress in getting Americans out of Afghanistan.
    “We have secured the airport, enabling flights to resume.    Not just military flights, but civilian charters and other…from other countries and the NGOs taking out civilians and vulnerable Afghans,” stated Biden.
    As of Friday, an estimated 13,000 people have been evacuated amid the Taliban takeover of the country.    However, Biden has faced harsh criticism for his handling of the withdrawal as thousands of American citizens and U.S. allies are still stuck in, and attempting to flee, from Afghanistan.
    Biden appeared to shrug off those issues, expressing there would be time for second-guessing his decisions after the evacuation effort was complete.    This comes after the AP reported that back in July a group of diplomats working in Kabul expressed concerns evacuation efforts weren’t moving along quickly enough.
    Lawmakers have now called on Biden to make it clear his administration likely won’t meet the Aug. 31 deadline it set to finish operations in Afghanistan.    In the meantime, Afghans have continued to flood the Kabul airport in an effort to leave the country before the end of the month.

8/20/2021 Rep. Crenshaw: Biden Needs To Authorize More Afghan Extractions by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw questions witnesses during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about “Worldwide threats
to the Homeland” on Capitol Hill on September 17, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (CHIP SOMODEVILLA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
    Congressman Dan Crenshaw said Joe Biden needs to take decisive action in Afghanistan.    In a tweet on Friday, the Texas lawmaker and Afghanistan war veteran said he’s been hearing from people in Kabul that the Taliban aren’t allowing passage of Americans.
    Crenshaw suggested if Biden doesn’t authorize more extractions now, there would be more American casualties than during the Global War on Terror.
    An additional tweet from Crenshaw said the U.S. military must be allowed to operate outside the Kabul airport in order to retrieve American citizens.    Crenshaw added Bagram Airfield should also be retaken so the U.S. military is provided with more options for evacuations.

8/20/2021 Poll: Majority Think Kamala Harris Is Unfit For Presidency by OAN Newsroom
Kamala Harris in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the
White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
    A new Rasmussen poll has shown a majority of Americans did not believe Kamala Harris was fit for presidency if Joe Biden were to step down before the end of his term.    Data from a survey released on Thursday showed 55 percent of Americans viewed Harris as unqualified to serve as president.
    In addition, 47 percent of respondents reported Harris was not at all qualified.    These numbers were in stark contrast to the 43 percent of those surveyed who said they believed she could step up as commander in chief.
    The results come amid criticism that Harris took credit for having a hand in the drawdown in Afghanistan while saying very little about the catastrophic impact the hasty withdrawal has had.

8/20/2021 Sen. Scott: Investigation Needed Into Biden’s Disastrous Handling Of Afghanistan Withdrawal by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in Washington D.C. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)
    Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said Joe Biden’s foreign policy campaign promises have shown to be “all talk.”    In an opinion piece published on Friday, the Florida lawmaker argued Biden’s failed leadership on the world stage has damaged America’s reputation.
    Scott went on to say Biden’s weakness has been put on display in the form of the chaotic exit from Afghanistan, which has left thousands of Americans at the mercy of the Taliban.    He added since taking office, Biden has repeatedly put the U.S. in vulnerable positions.
    Scott has called for a bipartisan investigation into the Afghanistan withdrawal and has called on congressional leaders to launch inquiries.

8/20/2021 Sen. Graham: Biden Should Be Impeached If Americans Are Left In Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – JULY 30: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks on southern border security and illegal immigration,
during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 30, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Joe Biden deserves to be impeached if the U.S. leaves Americans and allies behind in Afghanistan.    The South Carolina senator made the comments during an interview on Friday where he claimed the move would constitute as a high crime and misdemeanor.
    Graham added the Biden administration is “duty-bound” to retrieve American citizens and “honor-bound” to protect Afghan allies who aided the U.S. Graham added to his statement, “if we leave one American behind. If we don’t get all those Afghans who stepped up to the plate to help us out then Joe Biden, in my view, has committed a high crime and misdemeanor under the Constitution and should be impeached.”
    His sentiment comes as the U.S. looks to evacuate thousands of U.S. citizens still in Afghanistan.

8/20/2021 Meghan McCain: Biden Unfit To Lead America by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 16: Joe Biden pauses while giving remarks on the worsening crisis
in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Political commentator Meghan McCain said it would take generations to undo the embarrassment Joe Biden has brought on America.    Taking to social media on Thursday, McCain said Biden is unfit to lead the U.S. because he’s unable to uphold values central to the nation’s identity since its founding.
    “Biden is unfit to lead and I am nothing short of disgusted he and his staff can’t seem to be bothered to leave their vacation during an international crisis of our own creation,” said McCain.    “There should be an emergency congressional hearing before more innocent lives are lost.    My heart is broken, this tragedy will absolutely haunt our country.”
    She said his failure to predict in Afghanistan what “every expert on the planet could have seen coming” is infuriating.    McCain said the Taliban takeover will haunt the U.S. for years to come and called on Biden to take action before more freedom is lost.

8/20/2021 Plastic Barriers Ineffective In Stopping Spread Of COVID-19 by OAN Newsroom
MIAMI, FLORIDA – JULY 09: Ashley Clinton, the hostess, waits for customers behind a plexiglass
partition at the KYU restaurant in Wynwood on July 09, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    New research has found plastic barriers set up during the pandemic to separate customers from store workers were not effective and actually could’ve led to more infections.    Johns Hopkins University released the study, which said plastic barriers likely disrupted air ventilation and increased the number of COVID-related outcomes.
    Experts said viral particles would become trapped within the barriers where they would then build up and eventually spread.    It was also reported the shields create dead zones within a building where ventilation is hindered and particles amass.
    “One way to think about plastic barriers is that they are good for blocking things like spitballs but ineffective for things like cigarette smoke,” Dr. Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and one of the world’s leading experts on viral transmission.
    “The smoke simply drifts around them, so they will give the person on the other side a little more time before being exposed to the smoke.    Meanwhile, people on the same side with the smoker will be exposed to more smoke, since the barriers trap it on that side until it has a chance to mix throughout the space.”

8/20/2021 Poll: Majority Of Americans Disapprove Biden’s Handling Of Foreign Policy by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden responds to questions about the ongoing U.S. military evacuations of U.S. citizens and vulnerable Afghans, in the
East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on August 20, 2021. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)
    A new poll showed overall support for military intervention in Afghanistan has dropped.    That’s according to an AP-NORC poll, which said nearly two-thirds of Americans said the battle in Afghanistan was not worth fighting.
    Similar numbers were also reported for the idea of troops remaining in Iraq.    Overall, a slim majority of people said they disapprove of how Joe Biden has handled foreign policy.    In addition, 46 percent of voters voiced their disapproval of how he’s handled national security.
    One Biden voter from Texas commented on the situation stating, “I don’t believe we should have been in there [Afghanistan] to begin with.    But now that we’re leaving, I do feel we probably should stay after seeing, I guess you’d say, the trouble we’ve caused,” said Sebastian Garcia.
    This comes as the Taliban has taken control of the region amid the U.S. troop withdrawal and the capture of Kabul.

8/21/2021 Oil down $1.59 to $61.99, DOW up 225 to 35,119.

8/21/2021 Judge issues a halt to Beshear’s school mask mandate - Temporary ruling only affects private schools by Olivia Krauth and Joe Sonka, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    A federal judge has enjoined Gov. Andy Beshear from enforcing Kentucky’s school mask mandate, saying Beshear’s recent executive order is akin to “tyranny.”
    However, the ruling only affects private schools, since the Kentucky Department of Education separately has required masks at all public schools.
    U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman granted a temporary restraining order Thursday, blocking Beshear’s mask mandate after a group of parents sued on behalf of their kids, who attend a private school in Northern Kentucky.
    Both parties have agreed the order should apply only to schools in the Diocese of Covington, according to Beshear’s spokeswoman Crystal Staley and the parents’ attorney, Brandon Voelker.
    On Friday, Bertelsman said he would consider narrowing the ruling at a hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 1 p.m.    The current order makes no distinction between where the mandate can and cannot be enforced.
    Following the ruling, the Diocese of Covington’s superintendent of schools Kendra McGuire told families they would be returning to a masks-optional policy.    A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Louisville said Friday their schools will continue to require masks.

8/21/2021 Defense Secy.: Americans Beaten Up By Taliban by OAN Newsroom
Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along the roadside in Kabul. (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
    As turmoil has continued to consume Afghanistan, thousands of Americans have remained stranded without prospects of leaving.    According to the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Friday, the situation has deteriorated to the point where American citizens have been beaten up by Taliban fighters.
    This statement came just hours after Joe Biden assured citizens the Taliban was allowing safe passage for Americans to evacuate.
    “As we continue to work, the logistics of evacuation, we’re in constant contact with the Taliban, working to ensure civilians have safe passage to the airport,” he claimed.    “We’re particularly focused on our engagements on making sure every American who wants to leave can get to the airport.”
    All Americans have been demanded to be out of Afghanistan by August 31.    Despite constant questioning of how many are left to evacuate, the State Department has been unable to give a firm number of Americans still behind enemy lines.
    The chaos of the situation has led to warnings from prominent politicians that the worst of the crisis are yet to come.    Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) said recently this could go from Saigon in 1975 to Tehran in 1979, which implied the likelihood of a hostage situation.
    The Republican added the Biden administration was to blame for the potential for hostages.
    “If we don’t get those Americans out, it could be like Tehran in 1979. When a mere 52 hostages were held by the Ayatollah’s paralyzed America for more than a year,” he explained.    “Imagine if there were hundreds, or even thousands, of effective American hostages that are trapped in Afghanistan because of Joe Biden’s chaotic, disorganized, ill planned evacuation from that country.”
    Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) has placed blame for Americans being in harm’s way squarely at the administration’s feet.    The Texas Republican recently said the seeming lack of a withdrawal plan or even a solid deal with the Taliban to protect Americans would result in much more chaos before the official exit date.
    “I think the State Department and White House got it wrong that we could negotiate with the Taliban.    Now, we are stuck in a situation where we are begging the Taliban to please not violate our perimeter at this airport while we evacuate,” he stated.    “I don’t know how long the Taliban is going to stay, keep with that agreement.    I don’t even know if we have an agreement.”
    While the evacuation continues to prove disastrous as the final date of withdrawal nears, the Taliban is finalizing their takeover of the country.    The leader of the terrorist group has landed in Kabul to begin talks on the formation of his government.

8/21/2021 Gov. Cuomo Declares State Of Emergency Ahead Of Hurricane Henri, Pushes Back On Scandal While Briefing Preparation Efforts by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 16: Gov.Andrew Cuomo speaks on stage at the HELP USA 30th Anniversary Event
at The Plaza Hotel on March 16, 2017 in New York City. (Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
    Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) has declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Henri approaches New York.    Cuomo deployed 500 National Guard troops on Saturday, detailing plans ahead of the life-threatening storm’s arrival.
    The National Hurricane Center reported that more than 42 million people in the region have been placed under hurricane or tropical storm warnings as Henri could make landfall in Eastern Long Island sometime on Sunday.
    The governor is expected to leave office on Aug. 23 and has continued to dodge questions regarding his sexual harassment scandal while discussing preparation efforts.    “If you think justice is to accept a complaint from a person without investigation, and without credibility determinations and without looking at past actions of that person, then you don’t know what the justice system is,” claimed Cuomo.
    In the meantime, Cuomo has urged New Yorkers not to put themselves at risk and stressed the storm is as serious as a heart attack.

8/21/2021 Fla. To Withhold Funding If Local School Boards Maintain Unlawful Mask Orders by OAN Newsroom
SURFSIDE, FLORIDA – AUGUST 10: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis arrives for a ceremony to present bonus checks to first
responders held at the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside on August 10, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
    Florida’s Board of Education has given two school districts 48 hours to comply with the parent-opt-out of local mask mandates.    On Friday, the agency released a statement condemning the school boards of Alachua and Broward counties for “a blatant violation of the Parents’ Bill of Rights.”
    Both counties have instituted mask requirements for all students and staff, regardless of their vaccination status.    In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the Parents’ Bill of Rights, giving parents the ability to disregard local mask ordinances for their children in public schools.
    “It is important to remember that this issue is about ensuring local school board members, elected politicians, follow the law,” said Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran.    “These are the initial consequences to their intentional refusal to follow state law and state rule to purposefully and willingly violate the rights of parents.”
    After the 48 hours, the state is expected to withhold funds proportionally to the number of school board members who voted to impose the unlawful mask mandates on the children.

8/21/2021 Report: Treasury Secy. Yellen Supports Powell For Reappointment As Fed Chair by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – MARCH 03: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell announces a half
percentage point interest rate cut during a speech. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
    Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has reportedly expressed her support for the potential reappointment of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.    Reports on Saturday said the Biden administration official and former Fed chair has informed White House officials she backs a second term for Powell.
    Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has also voiced support for Powell, urging Biden to keep him at the Federal Reserve for another four years.    “It would send a strong signal to households, businesses and consumers that the head of the Federal Reserve continues to enjoy broad bipartisan support, and will act as necessary to achieve its dual mandate of price stability and maximum employment,” said Daines.
    Powell was first appointed to the position back in 2018 by 45th President Trump and is set to finish his four-year term in February.    Joe Biden has yet to make a decision on the chairmanship, but reports said a decision could be reached as soon as Labor Day.

8/21/2021 DOD: 22K People Evacuated From Afghanistan Since End Of July by OAN Newsroom
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA – AUGUST 17: U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby speaks as Army Major General William
Taylor listens during a news briefing at the Pentagon August 17, 2021 in Arlington, Virginia. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Pentagon officials announced that 17,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan in the past week.    During a press briefing on Saturday, Major General Hank Taylor said around 22,000 people have been evacuated since the end of July, including 2,500 Americans.
    However, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the U.S. is fighting against time when it comes to getting as many people out, as fast as they can, before the Aug. 31 deadline in order to end operations.    Kirby also noted the situation is a non-combatant evacuation, but acknowledged it could change.
    “It changes almost by the hour and it changes in locations around the airport.    It’s very dynamic, and so I don’t want to speak for the State Department, obviously.    But like our military commanders, they are going to make decisions in real time about what’s in the best interest of innocent civilians that need to get to the airport,” said Kirby.
    According to Gen. Taylor, around 5,800 troops remain on the ground, securing the Kabul airport for evacuation operations.

8/21/2021 Biden Announces Picks For China, Japan Ambassadorships by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 04: Nicholas Burns testifies during a hearing before Senate Armed Services
Committee August 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden has released a new batch of individuals he thinks should serve in key ambassadorships.    On Friday, Biden announced his intention to nominate career diplomat Nicholas Burns to be the U.S. ambassador to China. Burns served in high-level diplomatic positions under the Clinton and Bush administrations.
    Additionally, Biden tapped former Mayor of Chicago and Chief of Staff to former President Obama, Rahm Emmanuel, to represent the U.S. in Japan.
    “Given the ongoing failures witnessed in Afghanistan, it will be incumbent upon Mayor Emanuel to demonstrate strongly his ability to represent America’s vital interests in the region, and to protect the thousands of our citizens that are in Japan on any given day under the U.S. Ambassador’s Chief of Mission authority just as I did,” said former U.S. ambassador to Japan, Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.).
    “The Japanese people have incredible spirit and a deep love for the United States, and I have no doubt that they look forward to welcoming the next U.S. Ambassador.”
WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 10: Rahm Emanuel addresses the United Jewish Communities/Jewish Federation of North
America during their General Assembly November 10, 2009 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    Experts stressed the pair will have to lead diplomatic efforts in Asia as tensions with China are on the rise over trade and human rights.

8/21/2021 Chamber Of Commerce Runs Ads Promoting Moderate Democrats Seeking To Separate Infrastructure From Reconciliation by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) calls on a reporter at her weekly news conference
at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce made efforts to push moderate Democrats to pass the bipartisan infrastructure proposal immediately.    According to Friday reports, the chamber has been running digital ads in support of the infrastructure plan.
    The ad is shown praising a group of moderate Democrats who have been calling for the bill’s passage.    Lawmakers said they were ready to block the Democrat’s larger reconciliation package unless the bipartisan measure was passed.
    Some have pushed for the bills to be separated for passage, but Democrat leadership has remained steadfast in their desire to tie infrastructure to the partisan budget plan.
    Many moderates agree on wanting infrastructure immediately and say they are uncomfortable tying it to partisan priorities.

8/21/2021 Rep. Taylor Greene Files New Articles Of Impeachment Against Biden by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)
    Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) introduced new articles of impeachment against Joe Biden. In a statement on Friday, the Georgia lawmaker said in just seven months, Biden has caused America to lose the respect of the entire world.
    The articles accused Biden of “dereliction of duty” following the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, which allowed for a takeover by the Taliban.    The articles also targeted Biden’s handling of the border crisis and the extension of the ban on residential evictions.
    This comes after Greene filed a set of impeachment articles in January, which alleged “corrupt actions” related to Biden’s diplomacy with Ukraine while vice president.

8/21/2021 White House Says Biden Never Shies Away From Reporters’ As He Continues To Dodge Questions by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden walks away without taking questions after delivering remarks on the worsening crisis in Afghanistan
from the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    As many have raised concerns over Joe Biden’s continuation to dodge reporters questions, the White House denied he has been elusive.    After White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield told MSNBC on Friday that Joe Biden has never shied away from reporters questions, Republicans on Twitter had a field day.
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) called the comments delusional and dishonest. In addition, Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) said it was well known Biden has been dodging questions.    She went on to ask where Kamala Harris has been through all of this.
    Reporter: “The White House press corps and the American people have a lot of direct questions for him.    Will he take those today?
    Bedingfield: “The president never shies away from taking questions.    I’ll let him make a decision if he’s gonna take questions this afternoon, but you saw he just did a full sit-down interview on this just yesterday.    He is always willing to take questions.”
    Biden has been taking a public relations beat down for his lack of transparency regarding the Afghanistan troop withdrawal as tens of thousands of Afghans and American citizens have awaited transport planes in attempt to flee Taliban rule in Kabul.

8/21/2021 President Trump: We Had U.S. Running Like A Finely-Tuned Watch, But Now The Decisions Are Absolutely Horrendous by OAN Newsroom
Donald Trump at the DeltaPlex Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    President Trump has taken Joe Biden to task for not following his administration’s lead and sending American exceptionalism into disarray. On Friday, the 45th president spoke with Alabama-based radio show Rick and Bubba to discuss what he would do differently from the Oval Office.     Trump explained he would have a simple three-pronged approach to withdrawing American troops out of Afghanistan, which he said would have led to a smoother evacuation process.
    “We get the civilians out, we get others out that need to be gotten out.    That’s number one.    Number 2, is we get our billions of dollars of equipment out.    We don’t leave it for these people knowing they’re probably going to be taken over as soon as we stop fighting,” he explained.    “Then, we bomb the hell out of the bases and then last but not least, comes out our military and everything’s done.”
    He went on to say he was ostracized by Democrats in the mainstream media for establishing peace talks with the Taliban and setting up an effective withdrawal.
    “Well I had a relationship with their leader and I get criticized by some of the radical left… I had a very strong conversation with them,” he explained.    “…I said look, here’s the story, if you do anything to hurt Americans, anything that is out of line, we’re gonna hit your town and we’re gonna hit you harder than anybody’s ever been hit.”
    In addition, Trump took aim at the Biden administration’s handling of the economy by lambasting it for leading the U.S. to high inflation rates.    He claimed his administration left the U.S. economy in tip-top shape before Biden took office and gutted America’s energy independence.
    “If you look at inflation, it all starts with fuel prices.    What they’ve done to the energy.    We were energy independent six months ago,” he expressed.    “…They called OPEC to try and get more energy sent to our country and we had so much.    I even filled up the national oil reserves, which were practically empty during my time, at a very cheap price because the energy was so low.”
    Trump’s comments come ahead of his rally in Cullman, Alabama on Saturday night, where he, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) and more are expected to speak.

8/21/2021 Mike Pompeo Slams Biden Afghanistan Withdrawal by OAN Newsroom
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the State Department in Washington D.C. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
    Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Joe Biden for his messy withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.    On Friday, Pompeo spoke with the Hugh Hewitt Show and said Biden’s pullout from Afghanistan was an “abysmal failure.”
    Pompeo went on to say the U.S. has most likely lost two decades worth of work because of the way Biden handled the pullout.    He added, “it was anything but orderly and safe.”
    “Now we’ve gone backwards. We’ve probably lost two decades as a result of the way President Biden conducted this withdrawal,” he stated.    “The tactics and the operational level execution of this have been horrific and will have enormous consequences in the years ahead.”
    Pompeo said under the Trump administration, the Taliban didn’t act the way they have been in recent days.
    “We shut them largely down.    They didn’t go take provincial capitals in large measure.    They didn’t go violate some of the most fundamental things that put Americans at risk.    We didn’t have a single American killed either,” he explained.    “…Not because of a piece of paper, but because the understandings were there and we made clear we would enforce them.”
    He added the region was stable before Biden decided to change it and botched the withdrawal.
    “We had stability at the 2,500 person level.” he expressed.    “This administration came in, much like they at our southern border.    They said, ‘Trump did that, we’re going to go rip it up.'
    Pompeo warned Biden’s handling of the situation would result in “significant ramifications for America’s national security for a long time.”

8/21/2021 Mike Lindell Slams Fox News At ‘Save America Rally’ by OAN Newsroom
CEO of MyPillow Mike Lindell (L) talks in the press box during during a Trump campaign-style rally in
Wellington, Ohio, June 26, 2021. (STEPHEN ZENNER / AFP) (Photo by STEPHEN ZENNER/AFP via Getty Images)
    Mike Lindell took the stage to speak to the crowd at President Trump’s most recent rally in Cullman, Alabama.    Lindell began his brief speech with a shout-out to OAN, while blasting Fox News for attacking his claims of election fraud.
    He claimed if Fox News would hop on board, “we would have Donald Trump back in office this fall.”    The MyPillow CEO added how he’s noticed people in politics either have a political or personal agenda.
    Lindell urged voters who have seen fraud to share their stories with him, adding he would even hire their lawyers.    Trump also offered Lindell his own shout-out, commending him for his love for America.

8/21/2021 In Shift, Biden Taps Career Diplomat, Not Politician, For Ambassador To China by Michael Martina
FILE PHOTO: Nicholas Burns, U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs, gestures during a news conference at the end of the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) ministerial meeting in Madrid November 30, 2007. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden plans to nominate veteran U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns to serve as U.S. ambassador to China, the White House said on Friday, signaling the administration may be looking for the envoy to play a more central role in the increasingly fractious relations between the two global rivals.
    The choice of Burns, a retired career foreign service officer who served as under secretary of state between 2005 and 2008, marks a shift for the role of the ambassador to Beijing, the ranks of which over the past decade have been filled by former politicians, not seasoned diplomats.
    If confirmed by the Senate, Burns would head to China as the two countries’ ties are at their lowest point in decades, and fill a post left vacant since October, after former President Donald Trump’s envoy to China, Terry Branstad, stepped down.
    The United States and China, the world’s No. 1 and No. 2 economies, are at odds over issues across the board, including trade, technology, the coronavirus, Taiwan, and Chinese military activities in the disputed South China Sea, with each accusing the other of deliberately provocative behavior.
    A new headache Burns would have to deal with is fallout from the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan and the chaotic U.S. evacuation from Kabul, which has raised questions about the Biden administration’s ability to swiftly shift focus to the Indo-Pacific region and countering China.
    China has not officially recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan’s new rulers, but its foreign minister, Wang Yi, last month hosted Mullah Baradar, chief of the group’s political office, and has said the world should guide and support the country as it transitions to a new government instead of putting more pressure on it.
    The White House on Friday also announced Biden’s intent to nominate Rahm Emanuel, a former U.S. lawmaker who served as chief of staff to former President Barack Obama and as mayor of Chicago, to be ambassador to Japan, a U.S. ally increasingly at odds with Beijing.
    Burns said he looked forward to returning to public service, if confirmed by the Senate, and working on “the strategic competition between the U.S. and the PRC (People’s Republic of China), as well as other difficult and complex challenges we face at this critical juncture in our relationship.”
    While Burns is not considered a China policy specialist, neither were the previous four U.S. ambassadors to Beijing.
    He does have close ties to Biden, though, having served as an adviser to his election campaign, and has worked closely over the years with some of the president’s most trusted advisers, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
    Former Republican President George W. Bush appointed Burns as under secretary for political affairs, historically the State Department’s third-ranking official, with global responsibilities, where he served until 2008.
    Evan Medeiros, an Asia specialist in the Obama administration now at Georgetown University, said the choice of Burns indicated Biden sought a new model of communication with Beijing at a time when regular high-level dialogues have atrophied in the face of increasingly ideological competition.
    “What you’re saying is we need a work horse, not a show horse,” he said.    “We want our ambassador to be among the key players in the relationship, and we need somebody who understands great power politics.”
    Trump had named Branstad, hoping the former Iowa governor could leverage ties with Chinese officials – including Xi Jinping before he became China’s top leader – to help navigate trade tensions. But the two sides plunged headlong into an unprecedented trade war anyway.
    As tensions between Beijing and Washington have escalated in recent years, the China-based role of the U.S. ambassador has been increasingly constrained, particularly as Beijing has sought to curtail the ambassador’s engagement with ordinary people.
    With the Biden administration indicating a reluctance to return to the regular, structured, high-level dialogue Beijing has sought, some analysts say it is possible the ambassador will take on a more pivotal role as a result.
    “The U.S. ambassador in Beijing could return to serving as both a messenger to and a sounding board for Chinese officials,” said James Green, a former U.S. official who served multiple tours at the Beijing embassy.
    He said the Biden administration would benefit from Burns’ “intimate understanding of the foreign policy bureaucracy” as well as a “clarity of message” to Beijing given his time as State Department spokesman in the mid-1990s.
    Burns has also served as U.S. ambassador to NATO and to Greece.    After retiring from the Foreign Service, he worked with the Cohen Group, a Washington consulting firm, and became a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
(Reporting by Michael Martina and David Brunnstrom in Washington; additional reporting by Andrea ShalalEditing by Eric Beech, Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)

8/21/2021 President Trump Takes The Stage At ‘Save America Rally’ In Ala. by OAN Newsroom
President Donald Trump looks on before delivering a speech during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual
meeting on January 26, 2018 in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)
    The 45th president took the stage at his latest “Save America Rally” in Alabama on Saturday.    Speaking to thousands, Donald Trump was quick to criticize Joe Biden, saying he predicted the “disastrous” results of his presidency.
    He also discussed the crisis in Afghanistan, saying not only did his predictions come true with Biden’s botched exit, but the situation has become worse than anyone could have imagined.    “The equipment that they’ve got is the most sophisticated military equipment in the world.    He surrendered our airbase, weapons, embassy,” stated Trump.    “He spent a billion dollars building this ridiculous embassy and he abandoned our great American citizens.”
    He added it didn’t have to happen this way.    “We could’ve gotten out with honor and instead we got out with the exact opposite of honor.”
    Trump went on to discuss the crisis at the border, calling out Biden for abandoning Immigration and Customs Enforcement.    The 45th president addressed Biden’s response to the border crisis, stating the U.S. has become a sanctuary for criminals.
    Trump also admitted he took the COVID-19 vaccine and encouraged the audience to do the same.    However, he maintained everyone has the freedom to choose.    The president went on to say evidence of fraud in the 2020 election would soon come to light and that the fight has only just begun.

8/21/2021 Poll: 65% Of Democrats Support Government Censorship by OAN Newsroom
Logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. (JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images)
    According to a recent poll, a significant majority of Democrats support government censorship.    In Pew Research’s recent censorship poll, 65 percent of Democrats reported they want the government to censor allegedly misleading information online.    This shows a 40 percent increase from just three years ago.
    The majority of Democrats responded, “the government should take steps to restrict false information, even if it means limiting freedom of information.”
    Republicans on the other hand have dropped from 37 percent to 28 percent in support of government censorship.    The massive shift by Democrats against free speech indicates Americans are now about evenly split on the issue of state censorship, with just half of all citizens opposing government control of speech.

8/21/2021 Biden To Address Nation On Afghanistan Evacuation Efforts by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 20: Joe Biden gestures as delivers remarks on the U.S. military’s ongoing
evacuation efforts in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden is set to speak publicly on the ongoing evacuation operations in Afghanistan as thousands are still seeking to leave the country.    According to a schedule released by the White House, Biden will deliver updates on the nation on the situation on Sunday after he meets with national security officials.
    This comes as the U.S. has continued to conduct evacuation flights out of Kabul International Airport.
    Meanwhile, Pentagon officials said around 17,000 people have been taken out of the nation in the past week.
    Reports said about 5,800 U.S. troops are currently on the ground to assist with ongoing efforts ahead of Biden’s Aug. 31 deadline to end military operations in the country. Biden’s latest comments on the situation included, “I cannot promise what the final outcome will be, or that it will be without risk of loss, but as commander in chief I can assure you I will mobilize every resource necessary.”
    In the meantime, Biden has continued to face criticism from both Republicans and Democrats for his failed withdrawal from Afghanistan.

8/21/2021 White House National Security Advisor: U.S. Won’t Rule Out Possibility Of Sending More Troops Into Afghanistan If Needed by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 22: In this handout photo provided by the White House, Joe Biden meets with his national security team for
an operational update on the situation in Afghanistan on August 22, 2021 at the White House. (The White House via Getty Images)
    During an interview on Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said it could be possible that more troops would be needed in Kabul as conflict ensues.    Many have been critical of the U.S. troop withdrawal, including Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who said the U.S. should maintain a “light footprint there” in order to combat threats.    Sasse also blamed Joe Biden for the peril he has put Americans in.
    Reports said around 6,000 troops have been sent to Kabul to help with evacuations as Afghanistan has plunged into chaos since the Taliban took over.    Additionally, other Biden administration officials have been closely monitoring the situation as new threats come into view.
    Top U.S. officials assured they’re doing everything they can to get as many Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan amid a panicked rush on the airport in Kabul. Recent reports said there’s as many as 20,000 people in and around the airport trying to get out of the city.    Nearly two dozen have reportedly been killed over the past week, with many being crushed during a stampede to the airport.
    In an interview on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he’s focused on doing everything possible to get people out of the country, but said one of the biggest challenges is the reality that an insurgent group is in control of Afghanistan’s capital.    Officials said there’s an agreement with the Taliban to guarantee the safe passage of Americans to the airport.
    Blinken said commercial aircrafts brought into the mix aren’t bringing people out of Kabul, but are flying them from different staging points around the world.    “Once they’re there, they’ll spend some time there where we can finish processing them, finish doing security and background checks, and then they move onto their ultimate destination,” said Blinken.    “We need more planes in the mix to do that piece of it…to move them from these initial points of landing onto the places that they’ll ultimately resettle.”
    Reports said 18 aircrafts, including planes from American, Delta and United Airlines will aid in the evacuation as part of the civil reserve air fleet. According to Blinken, The U.S. evacuated 8,000 people over the previous 24 hours, with a total of around 30,000 since the end of July.    However, the resurgence of the Taliban comes with the threat of the resurgence of the Islamic State.
    Sullivan said the U.S. is focused on the threat of an ISIS attack in Afghanistan, stating on Sunday the government is putting the highest priority on stopping or disrupting potential Islamic State attacks.    Sullivan admitted he couldn’t give a precise number of Americans remaining in Afghanistan, but said it’s believed to be several thousand.
    He added the goal is to move people as rapidly and safely as possible, suggesting the U.S. has the capacity to get large numbers of Americans safe passage to the airport.    Meanwhile, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he’s prepared to potentially extend the deadline of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    Speaking on Sunday, Austin said the Biden administration would be updating the withdrawal date if the facts on the ground necessitate a longer stay.    When asked about the rushed evacuations, Austin said that nobody expected the country to fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks.
    His comments come as reports in recent days detailed an internal State Department communication dated mid-July, warning Secretary Blinken of the potential collapse of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.    The memo warned the Taliban was well-positioned to take over the nation.

8/21/2021 Biden: Kabul Evacuations Have Long Way To Go by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 22: Joe Biden speaks in the Roosevelt Room on the continuing situation in
Afghanistan and the developments of Hurricane Henri at the White House. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden confirmed about 11,000 people have been evacuated out of Kabul in less than 36 hours.    Biden addressed the nation from the White House on Sunday where he discussed deadly flooding incidents in Tennessee, as well as Tropical Storm Henri and the Afghanistan withdrawal.
    He said the director of FEMA briefed him on the weather events, giving his condolences to all of those affected.    The Democrat said they’ve been closely monitoring the storm and are making all necessary preparation and response efforts.
    “I talked with the administrator and each of the governors in the key states most likely to be affected,” said Biden.    “I urged them to take advantage of the assistance FEMA can offer in advance and committed to do everything we can to support their communities through the storm and afterwards.”
    Turning to the crisis in Afghanistan, Biden said he met with his national security team over the weekend, adding evacuations of Americans, NATO allies and Afghan allies would be hard and painful.    He noted his administration is in the process of discussing whether to extend the Aug. 31 exit deadline, but hopes not to.
    Biden added the U.S. has gotten thousands of people out of the country and there’s still a long way to go, confirming as of Sunday morning more than 33,000 people had been evacuated since July.
    “We’re executing a plan to move groups of these Americans to safety and to safely and effectively move them through the airport compound,” claimed Biden.    “Any American who wants to get home, will get home.”
    He assured planes flying from Kabul were not landing directly in the U.S., but rather to U.S. bases and processing centers set up in other countries.    “We are conducting thorough scrutiny screening for everyone who is not a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident.    Once screened and cleared, we will welcome these Afghans who helped us in the war effort over the last several years, to their new home in America.”
    In the meantime, Biden defended his withdrawal, saying ending the war was the “logical, rational and right decision to make.”

8/21/2021 Fmr. U.S. Ambassador To The UN Haley: This Was A Complete, Total Surrender by OAN Newsroom
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 12: Nikki Haley on November 12, 2019 in New York City. (John Lamparski/Getty Images)
    Former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, condemned Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal as a “complete and total surrender and an embarrassing failure.”    During an interview on Sunday, Haley called out the Biden administration for not ensuring all Americans and Afghan allies were evacuated before pulling most troops out.
    She also noted the U.S. abandoned billions of dollars worth of military equipment, which has now fallen into the hands of the Taliban.    The Trump-era official urged Biden to extend the current deadline to end the U.S. military operations in the country.
    “We’ve got to get our Americans out. We’ve got to stay true to those Afghan allies that we made promises to, and we’ve got to make sure we do this in a very strong way going forward,” stressed Haley.
    Haley also asserted 45th President Trump would have never allowed the Taliban to takeover Afghanistan without conditions.

8/21/2021 Biden Dept. Of Education Preparing To Probe Schools Not Enforcing Masks by OAN Newsroom
WASHINGTON, D.C. – AUGUST 05: Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona answers questions
during the daily briefing at the White House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    The U.S. Secretary of Education is preparing to launch investigations on states that are banning mask mandates. During an interview on Sunday, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the Office for Civil Rights would be investigating claims to ensure students keep their rights.
    “The Department has the authority to investigate any state educational agency whose policies or actions may infringe on the rights of every student to access public education equally,” said Cardona. He added states banning mask mandates are “needlessly placing students, families and educators at risk.”
    Florida and Texas are just two of several states that have implemented bans on enforcing masks in schools.    Cardona added school districts who defy governor bans on masks would receive federal funding.
    This comes as Joe Biden asked Cardona to “access all available tools” that can be used against states going against public health measures.

8/21/2021 Group Of GOP State Attorneys General Fire Off Letter To ATF Opposing Push To Regulate Gun Parts by OAN Newsroom
LAKEWOOD, CA – MAY 21: Officers load some of about 125 weapons that were confiscated. (David McNew/Getty Images)
    Several GOP state attorneys general are opposing the Biden administration’s efforts to regulate gun parts.    In a recent letter to the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), 20 officials argued the agency doesn’t have the legal authority to regulate parts of incomplete guns, rather only complete firearms.
    They also contend individuals and businesses have the right to assemble firearms for their own use under federal law.
    Additionally, the group pointed out the agency has acknowledged the proposal would put many gun part makers out of business.
    “The Second Amendment is a core tenant of our Constitution, and this regulation would treat the activity of assembling firearm parts as a problem to be stamped out, rather than a right and tradition to be respected,” said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a statement.
    This comes as the Biden administration has yet to finalize the rule, which seeks to target homemade firearms that are also referred to as ghost guns.

8/21/2021 State Dept. Targeted In Cyber Attack by OAN Newsroom
The U.S. State Department is shown January 26, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
    The State Department was hit with a cyber-attack amid rising tensions in Kabul.    According to reports on Saturday, there were notices of a potentially serious breach at the agency recently issued by the Department of Defense Cyber Command.
    It’s unclear when the breach was exactly discovered and if it had any impact on State Department operations.    A spokesperson for the Department said the agency is taking steps to ensure information is protected, but added they are unable to release any more information at this time.
    “The Department takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard its information and continuously takes steps to ensure information is protected,” said a State Department spokesperson.

8/22/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/22/2021 Top U.S. Officials Weigh In On Afghanistan Evacuation, Threats In Wake Of Taliban Takeover by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden delivers remarks on the U.S. military’s ongoing evacuation efforts in Afghanistan as he is joined by (lef to right)
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, U.S., Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and White House National Security
Adviser Jake Sullivan from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
    Top U.S. officials said they were doing everything possible to get as many Americans and Afghan allies out of Afghanistan amid a panicked rush on the airport in Kabul.    As many as 20,000 people were reported to be in and around the airport in attempt to evacuate the city.
    Nearly two dozen have reportedly been killed over the past week, with many being crushed during a stampede to the airport.    In an interview on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was focused on doing everything possible to get people out of the country.
    However, he added one of the biggest challenges was the reality that an “insurgent group” was now in control of Afghanistan’s capital.    Officials said an agreement was made with the Taliban to guarantee the safe passage of Americans to the airport.
    Blinken went on to say commercial aircraft brought into the mix were not bringing people out of Kabul, but were flying them from different staging points around the world.
    “Once they’re there, they’ll spend some time there where we can finish processing them, finish doing security and background checks, and then they move onto their ultimate destination,” he stated.    “We need more planes in the mix to do that piece of it, to move them from these initial points of landing onto the places that they’ll ultimately resettle.”
    18 aircrafts, including planes from American, Delta and United Airlines have been set to aid in the evacuation as part of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet.    According to Blinken, the U.S. evacuated 8,000 people over the previous 24 hours with a total of around 30,000 since the end of July.
    However, the resurgence of the Taliban has come with the threat of the resurgence of the Islamic State.    National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. was focused on the threat of an ISIS attack in Afghanistan.
    On Sunday, Sullivan said the government has put the highest priority on stopping or disrupting potential Islamic State attacks.
    “Our commanders on the ground have a wide variety of capabilities that they are using to defend the airfield against a potential terrorist attack,” he explained.    “We are working hard with our intelligence community to try to isolate and determine where an attack might come from.”
    Sullivan admitted he couldn’t give a precise number of Americans who remained in Afghanistan, but said it was believed to be several thousand. He said the goal was to move people as rapidly and safely as possible while adding the U.S. had the capacity to get large numbers of Americans safe passage to the airport.
    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has prepared to potentially extend the deadline of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan.    Speaking on Sunday, Austin said the Biden administration would be updating the withdrawal date if the facts on the ground necessitated a longer stay.
    When asked about the rushed evacuations, Austin said that nobody expected the country to fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks.
    “It was very difficult to predict with accuracy.    This all occurred in the span of about 11 days,” he stated.    “Nobody predicted that the government would fall in 11 days.”
    His comments come as reports in recent days detailed an internal State Department communication dated mid-July, which warned Secretary Blinken of the potential collapse of Afghanistan following the withdrawal of U.S. troops.    The memo warned the Taliban was “well-positioned” to take over the nation.

8/22/2021 Defense Secy. Austin On Afghanistan: Nobody Predicted The Government Would Fall In 11 Days by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin participates in a news briefing at the
Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has prepared to potentially extend the deadline of the final withdrawal from Afghanistan. Speaking with ABC on Sunday, Austin said the Biden administration would update the withdrawal date if the facts on the ground necessitated a longer stay.
    He added the Taliban was letting Americans through safely in contradiction to his previous claims of the Taliban assaulting Americans.    When asked about the rushed evacuations, Austin said nobody expected the country would fall to the Taliban in less than two weeks.
    “There were assessments initially that ranged from one to two years to several months, but it was a wide range of assessments,” he stated.    “…It was very difficult to predict with accuracy this all occurred in the span of about 11 days.    Nobody predicted that the government would fall in 11 days.”
    The evacuation has continued amid unrest in Kabul, with an unknown number of Americans still in need to return home.

8/21/2021 Pentagon Requests Help Of Six Commercial Airlines In Afghanistan Evacuation Efforts by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, hold a press conference
about the situation in Afghanistan at The Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
    The Biden administration has enlisted the help of commercial airlines in the ongoing efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan.    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin enacted the first stage of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet on Sunday by formally requesting 18 planes from six airlines including American, Delta and United.
    The Pentagon said the aircraft would not fly into the airport in Kabul, but would be involved in transporting passengers from temporary safe havens in the Middle East and Europe to other destinations.
    “Involved are 18 aircrafts: 3 each from American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and Omni Air; 2 from Hawaiian Airlines and 4 from United Airlines,” Austin explained on Twitter.    “They will not fly into HKIA. They’ll be used to fly passengers out from temporary safe havens and interim staging bases.”
    This marks the third time in history the Civil Reserve Air Fleet has been activated.    It is not expected this will have a notable impact on normal commercial flights.

8/22/2021 Miss. Health Dept. Issues Isolation Order Requiring Anyone Infected With COVID-19 To Stay Home For A Minimum Of 10 Days by OAN Newsroom
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on the south steps of the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
    Mississippi issued an isolation order, which mandates anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home for several days.    The Mississippi State Department of Health announced the order on Friday, which requires all individuals infected with COVID-19 to isolate for a minimum of 10 days or face potential jail time.
    According to officials, those who failed to do so could see a $500 fine and a misdemeanor charge.    In addition, the fine could increase up to a $5,000 if a life-threatening disease was involved.
    A negative test would not be required to end self-isolation.    However, residents must be free of a fever for at least 24 hours along.    They must also show signs of improvement in symptoms.

8/22/2021 2010 Letter From Bin Laden Says Biden Would ‘Lead U.S. Into A Crisis’ by OAN Newsroom
A videotape released by Al-Jazeera TV featuring Osama Bin Laden broadcasted in Britain. (Photo by Getty Images)
    A 2010 letter written by Osama bin Laden commanded al Qaeda to specifically not target Joe Biden because his presidency would be a disaster for America.    The letter was discovered at Bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan after he was killed by U.S. forces in a 2011 raid.
    The letter has been available to the public through the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.    The contents revealed Bin Laden commanding his followers to spare the life of then U.S. Vice President Biden and instead concentrate on taking out Obama as it would lead to a Biden presidency.
    The other target was former CIA director David Petraeus.    Bin Laden referred to Petraeus as “the man of the house” throughout the war and said his assassination would impact the U.S. war mission in favor of al Qaeda.
    The 9/11 mastermind added no assassination attempt would be made on Biden because he was “totally unprepared” to take the post of presidency, which would “lead the U.S. into a crisis.”

8/23/2021 No Oil or DOW info.

8/23/2021 UK’s Johnson To Push Biden For Afghan Deadline Extension
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks outside Downing Street
in London, Britain, August 18, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Files
    LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will urge U.S. President Joe Biden this week to extend the evacuation deadline from Afghanistan, but even if one is agreed, the West will also need the approval of the Taliban, a defence minister said.
    Johnson will host a virtual meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven advanced economies on Tuesday to discuss the crisis in Afghanistan where thousands of people have descended on Kabul airport in a bid to flee the Taliban.
    James Heappey, minister for the armed forces, said Britain was pushing for the deadline to be pushed beyond Aug. 31 after it identified thousands of people, including Afghan citizens, that it wants to help evacuate.
    But the Taliban would need to give its approval, meaning British forces could not count on an extension, he said.
    “Even though they are the seven most powerful people on the planet they don’t get to take that decision in isolation.    The Taliban get a vote as well and that’s why we’re continuing to work towards the 31st,” Heappey told LBC radio.
    “Even if the political will in London, Washington, Paris, Berlin is for an extension, the Taliban may say no,” he said.
    James Cleverly, a minister in the foreign office, said the Taliban appeared to be cooperating for now, but the government could not assume that would last.
    “If we can buy more time that is great but I think that we shouldn’t be relying on the fact that we will get more time to do this,” Cleverly said.
    The British government is also seeking new sanctions against the Taliban.
    The Islamist group seized power as the United States and its allies withdrew their troops after a 20-year war launched in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
(Reporting by Kate HoltonEditing by William Schomberg and Nick Macfie)

8/23/2021 U.S. Recruits Commercial Airlines To Help Move Afghanistan Evacuees by Idrees Ali and Susan Heavey
FILE PHOTO: U.S. soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, arrive to provide security in support of Operation Allies
Refuge at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has enlisted the help of six commercial airlines to help transport people after their evacuation from Afghanistan as Washington seeks to step up the pace of departures of Americans and at-risk Afghans from Kabul.
    The Pentagon said on Sunday it called up 18 civilian aircraft from United Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air and others to carry people from temporary locations after they landed on flights from Afghanistan, leaning on the industry it last called on during the Iraq War in 2003.
    The move highlights the difficulty Washington is having carrying out the evacuations following the Taliban’s swift takeover
    Thousands of people remained outside the Kabul international airport on Sunday hoping to be evacuated as Taliban gunmen beat back crowds.
    “It’s a program that was designed in the wake of the Berlin airlift after World War Two to use commercial aircraft to augment our airlift capacity,” President Joe Biden said in an address from the White House on Sunday afternoon, adding that airlines voluntarily signed up for the program.
    Biden said the flights would bring people from “staging locations” like Qatar and Germany to the United States or a third country.    He called it the initial stage of the program.
    “None of them will be landing in Kabul,” he said.
    American Airlines, Atlas Air, Delta Air Lines and privately held Omni Air will provide three aircraft each. There are also two from Hawaiian Airlines, and four from United Airlines.
    American and Delta said they would start relief flights on Monday and, along with other carriers, welcomed the call to aid the U.S. military amid the humanitarian crisis.
    “American … is proud to fulfill its duty to help the U.S. military scale this humanitarian and diplomatic rescue mission.     The images from Afghanistan are heartbreaking,” it said in a statement.
    Biden said the operation should have only a minimal effect on commercial flights.
    Delta said its commercial operations were unaffected, while American said it “will work to minimize the impact to customers as the airline temporarily removes these aircraft from our operation.”    United said it was still assessing the impact but expected it “to be minimal.”
    Atlas Air said it would carry evacuees to the United States “and will be standing by should additional capacity be needed.”
    In the 12 hours up to 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Sunday, about 3,400 people were evacuated from Kabul on 39 coalition aircraft, including commercial airlines, and 1,700 others on eight U.S. military flights, according to the White House. Altogether, about 30,300 people have been evacuated since Aug. 14, it added.
    Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, operated a flight from Isa Air Base to Dulles International Airport outside Washington as part of the evacuation efforts, Bahrain’s government’s media office, NCC, said on Sunday.
    The United States last utilized the “Civil Reserve Air Fleet” in the period leading up to and including the invasion of Iraq and prior to that, the 1991 Gulf War.
    The limited number of aircraft is just one of the issues facing the evacuation from Afghanistan that has evacuees being sent to a dozen countries.
    Officials have said they are also frustrated with slow processing by the Department of Homeland Security and State Department, and there is increasing concern about security in Kabul.
    The United States and its allies have brought in several thousand troops to manage the evacuations of foreign citizens and vulnerable Afghans, but have stayed away from areas outside of the Kabul airport.
    White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN the United States had “secured the capacity to get large numbers of Americans safe passage through the airport and onto the airfield” in Afghanistan, but gave no details.
    Last week, the U.S. military used three military helicopters to bring 169 Americans to the Kabul airport from a building just 650 feet (200 m) away.    Officials say that type of operation is expected to continue.
    Biden said he directed the State Department to contact Americans stranded in Afghanistan by phone, email and other means and that the United States was “executing a plan” to move them to the Kabul airport.
    “I will say again today what I’ve said before: Any American who wants to get home will get home,” Biden said.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal, Sarah N. Lynch, David Shepardson, Ghaida Ghantous and Simon Lewis; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Grant McCool and Peter Cooney)

8/23/2021 U.S. Surgeon General Expects Businesses, Universities To Impose Vaccine Mandates As FDA Approves Pfizer by OAN Newsroom
File – U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is pictured. (Tom Brenner/Pool via AP)
    U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy predicts there will be more vaccine mandates in the near future.    On Sunday, he said he could see universities and businesses imposing vaccine requirements.
    This comes as the FDA announced it officially approved the Pfizer vaccine.    The Biden administration now forecasts a greater push to get Americans vaccinated.
    “Two potential things may happen (following FDA vaccine approval),” Murthy explained.    “One is you may see more people coming forward, those who were perhaps on the fence about getting vaccinated, and this may tip them toward doing so.    Second, I think you’ll see more universities and workplaces that were considering putting in requirements for vaccines to create safer places to learn and work, you’ll see more of them likely moving forward.”
    The U.S. Surgeon General went on to support school districts for requiring teachers and staff to get vaccinated while claiming the move is “reasonable.”
    Additionally, the Murthy said booster shots may be needed in order for Americans to be better protected from the coronavirus.    He explained that while vaccines currently look like a strong defense against the virus, their effectiveness may not stand strong as health officials get more data.
    In the meantime, the Biden administration is gearing up to rollout booster shots beginning September 20.

8/23/2021 Sen. Ernst: We Want To Welcome Afghan Evacuees Who Are Fully Vetted by OAN Newsroom
FILE – Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, speaks during a Judiciary Committee hearing
on Capitol Hill on Sept. 30. (Stefani Reynolds / Pool via AP)
    Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said Afghans being evacuated would be welcomed into the U.S. as long as they are “fully vetted.”    While appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, the Republican senator said its extremely important to make sure the refugees are vetted before touching down on American soil.
    Ernst added, that’s why it’s key the U.S. continues working with third country nations and provide support for whatever they need. She went on to blame Joe Biden for the crisis.
    Her remarks come as Biden said thousands have been evacuated, but cannot give a precise number on how many Americans remain in the war torn country.

8/23/2021 In Germany, Syrians Worry Afghan Crisis Could Fuel Anti-Migrant Vote by Joseph Nasr
FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a joint news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy
following their talks at the Mariyinsky Palace in Kyiv, Ukraine August 22, 2021. Sergey Dolzhenko/Pool via REUTERS
    BERLIN (Reuters) – With just five weeks to go before Germany holds an election that decides who succeeds Chancellor Angela Merkel, Syrians on asylum visas are concerned that an Afghan migrant crisis could fuel an anti-immigrant vote and block their path to citizenship.
    Some leaders of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party are warning about a possible influx of Afghan refugees, seeking to draw voters fearing a repeat of the 2015 migrant crisis when Merkel opened Germany’s borders to almost one million asylum seekers.
    The Taliban’s lightning takeover of Afghanistan has sparked a chaotic flight of thousands of Afghans and foreigners from Kabul airport this week, raising fears of a larger exodus across land borders as the Islamist militants impose sharia law.
    Germany’s scramble to evacuate thousands of local helpers from Afghanistan, along with its own citizens, has turned immigration into a big issue in the election: a poll last week showed that two thirds of Germans fear a repetition of 2015.
    Anas Modamani, among the close to 800,000 Syrians who fled the war back home and resettled in Germany, is still waiting to qualify for citizenship.    Now he is afraid the Afghan crisis could harden German voters against immigration and prompt the next coalition government to adopt tougher policies.
    Modamani describes Merkel, with whom he posed for a selfie at a Berlin migrants shelter in September 2015, as a “hero” thanks to her decision that year to open Germany’s border to almost one million asylum seekers, mainly Syrians.
    “I’m worried about what immigration policies will come our way once she’s no longer chancellor,” said Modamani, 24, as Merkel prepares to step down after Germany’s Sept. 26 election.
    His picture with Merkel became a symbol of her decision in 2015 to gamble her political capital on welcoming 1 million unscreened migrants, mainly from Syria.    But her conservative Christian Democrats now vow there can be no repeat of 2015.
    The far-right party has urged the government to institute a moratorium on asylum applications, hoping its tough line will draw voters fearing a spike in asylum applications.
    “I know that most Germans will not vote for the AfD,” said Modamani.    “But a small part of me is like: what if the AfD are just a bit stronger and the next government responds by making it harder for us to apply for German citizenship, for example?
    Karl Kopp, director of the Pro Asyl charity for asylum seekers, said concerns about a possible hardening of Germany’s immigration policy are widespread, not just among Syrians, but also the wider migrant community, especially Afghans desperate to bring in family members stuck in Afghanistan.
    “The tragic events in Afghanistan have resulted in a toxic discussion about immigration,” said Kopp.    “When refugees hear the negative narrative that 2015 should not repeat itself, they worry about tougher immigration rules after the election.    Their fears are justified.”
    More than 800,000 Syrians have been granted protection in Germany since war broke out in Syria a decade ago.    The vast majority do not yet have German citizenship but hope to get it in the next few years when they meet residency criteria.
    Opinion polls put support for the AfD at 10% or slightly more, just below its result at the last election in 2017.    The major parties have all ruled out sharing power with the AfD but migrants worry it could influence policy when Merkel goes.
    AfD co-leader Tino Chrupalla has rejected calls by the ecologist Greens to take in Afghan asylum seekers beyond those who helped the German army, saying such plans would constitute “a threat to the population.”
    Fawaz Tello, a Syrian dissident who is also waiting for citizenship, said: “If the AfD wins two or three points more, whoever succeeds Merkel could say ‘let’s suspend the right for refugees to bring immediate family members.’    Look at Denmark.”
    Many Syrians in Germany have been unsettled by neighbouring Denmark’s decision this year to deport Syrian asylum seekers to parts of Syria that the government of centre-left Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen considers safe.
    Five weeks before the election, Merkel’s conservatives have a razor-thin lead in polls.    Their candidate to succeed her as chancellor, Armin Laschet, has seen his ratings slump since he was seen laughing on a visit to a flood-stricken town.
    Modamani, who should be entitled to German citizenship next year, said if he could vote in September he would cast a ballot for Laschet because of a sense of awe for Merkel.    “I can’t imagine life in Germany without her,” he added.
(Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

8/23/2021 Proud Boys, Antifa Clash In Northeast Portland by OAN Newsroom
A street preacher attending a Proud Boys rally receives help after getting pepper sprayed by anti-fascist protesters
during clashes between the opposing groups on Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Alex Milan Tracy)
    Dueling demonstrators clashed as the Proud Boys and Antifa brawled in Portland, Oregon. Authorities said more than 100 people gathered in the northeast region of the city on Sunday.
    Several demonstrators were seen lighting fireworks, dispersing chemical spray and shooting paint balls.    Additionally, a man with a handgun opened fire near a separate group in downtown, in turn, sending demonstrators running.
    This came after Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city leaders held a virtual “Choose Love” conference ahead of the planned protests to denounce violence.
    “Anyone that comes into our community and is spreading their hate, their racism, their zelophobia, their white supremist predilections…all of that is very intimidating to people who are here, particularly people of color it causes people to be fearful,” stated the mayor.
    Wheeler and the Portland Police Bureau chief said officers will take a hands-off approach to the demonstrations.

8/23/2021 Students Across Multiple States Push For Mental Health Accommodations by OAN Newsroom
Students at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
    Following more than a year of online schooling and increased mental health issues among children and young adults, several states have taken action to protect mental health.    The state of Kentucky has been the latest to see students spearhead efforts to bring awareness to the high stress and mental health crisis circulating in schools today.
    One Kentucky high school student went on to explain, “I know a lot of kids, high schoolers and teenagers were having a little bit of mental health problems with COVID-19 and not being able to see their friends.”
    Many schools across the country have established specific guidelines, which laid out how many days of school a child was allowed to miss.    A bipartisan proposal put forward by Rep. Bobby McCool (R-Ky.) and Rep. Lisa Willner (D-Ky.) argued local school districts’ attendance policies should include a provision allowing excused absences due to mental or behavioral health issues.
    “Bipartisan is critical.    It’s not Democrat or Republican,” McCool asserted.    “It’s about mental health and the wellbeing of our people.”
    However, the bill didn’t specify how districts should address mental health in their policies.    That legislation was filed for the session beginning in January.
    In just the last two years, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Oregon and Virginia all passed such legislation.    Some states such as Utah have followed their lead.
    In March, Utah unanimously passed their version of this practice.    Utah Rep. Mike Winder (R) gave credit to today’s youth by saying although they were tough, sometimes they needed the flexibility to be able to be tough.
    “Mental illness is in the code, but there is a difference with mental health.    All of us have mental health just like we all have physical health,” he stated.    “Not all of us are diagnosed with mental illness, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need a day sometimes when we are at the breaking point.”
    Once again, the legislations genesis was sparked by someone outside of politics, Winder’s daughter. Many lawmakers argued while students could easily come up for a reason for an excused absence, such as a cold or cough, they believed children should be able to speak up and destigmatize mental health.
    However, there has been a debate over how these days should be used and unless expressly specified by state or school districts, could be broadly interpreted.

8/23/2021 At Least 41 Shot Over The Weekend In Lightfoot’s Chicago by OAN Newsroom
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a press conference at City Hall. (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
    The people of Chicago have been grieving as violence continued to soar in the Democrat-led city.    On Sunday, dozens of Chicago residents took to the street and called for peace after more than 40 people were shot over the weekend and seven were killed.
    This included a shooting outside a gas station on Saturday, in which a suspect in a black vehicle opened fire and killed at least one person and injured two others.    Several local groups teamed up to help those in need and show the community’s concerns have not fallen on deaf ears.
    “I think it’s important for people to know that there’s a lot of people who are really about peace and are willing to speak out,” explained Omari Moore, executive director of Neighborscapes.    “We don’t condone any sort of violence of any kind.”
    Police in Chicago said they would continue to patrol and were determined to make the city safer.

8/23/2021 House Freedom Caucus Holds Press Conference On Infrastructure, Budget Resolution by OAN Newsroom
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) speaks during a news conference on the infrastructure bill with fellow members of the
House Freedom Caucus, outside the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
    The House Freedom Caucus held a press briefing regarding Democrats’ wasteful spending plans.    Amid the House’s return to the Capitol on Monday, members of the House Freedom Caucus laid out their perspective on both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion budget.
    The group of Republicans slammed Democrats over their push for wasteful spending in both bills by saying further discussion needed to take place before they were passed.    Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) pointed out instead of the House reconvening to address the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, they came back to discuss Socialist Democrat spending bills that would rack up the national debt.
    “Thousands of Americans are still on the outside of gates looking to try to get into the airport in Afghanistan, in Kabul,” he stated.    “…Instead of having conversations about what we can do to push this administration to do its job, we’re here to spend $3.5 trillion we don’t have and we’re here to have the federal takeover of elections.”
    The House would also take up a so-called voting rights bill, which House Freedom Caucus members argued would strip rights away from states to run their own elections.
    “By the way, we’ll be voting on H.R. 4 in the name of the Voting Rights Act, a massive federal takeover of elections.    Now that’s purposeful,” Roy stated.    “The new word is to say that somehow putting in voter integrities, somehow voter suppression is then somehow undermining the rights of people to vote.”
    Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) took the opportunity to take shots at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for trying to pass what Greene called the Green New Deal disguised as infrastructure and budget reconciliation bills.
    She went on to say, “I find it pretty appalling and pretty shocking that Nancy Pelosi, who has always come across as a pretty tough woman to me, has actually given and been bullied by the Squad, the radical Squad into passing the Green New Deal this week.”
    Greene urged all Republicans to vote against the bills until they were trimmed of wasteful Democrat wish list items, such as human infrastructure and the expansion of Medicare.
    “Shame on all of them.    We have to vote no,” she asserted.    “The entire GOP conference must hold together, vote as a block, voting no to infrastructure, no to the budget and no to the federalization of our elections.”
    Democrats hold a slim majority in the House so there is a possibility the legislation could face an uphill battle amid moderate Democrat and Republican opposition.

8/23/2021 Fmr. DHS Secy. Says Afghanistan Could Become A Safe Haven For Terrorists by OAN Newsroom
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
    Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson warned Afghanistan could become a breeding ground for terrorists.    On Monday, he said Afghanistan was the perfect situation for terrorism to grow.
    Johnson added the world would have been better off if Joe Biden followed the Pentagon’s recommendation for a small group of soldiers to remain in Afghanistan.
    “It is a very type of place that terrorist groups seek to establish as a headquarters, as a base for training and gathering,” he explained.    “I’ve been for months now that I think it would’ve been appropriate to leave a small, special force dedicated to counterterrorism intelligence collection purposes.”
    Johnson went on to say the U.S. should have kept Bagram Airfield, which Biden elected to abandon weeks ago.    He said Bagram would have added a strategic advantage better than current U.S. operations in the Kabul airport.

8/23/2021 Sen. Cotton: Biden Is Fearful Of The Taliban by OAN Newsroom
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in Washington, D.C. (Photo By Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images)
    Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said Joe Biden has taken a “fearful” approach to the Taliban’s control in Kabul.    During an interview on Monday, Cotton suggested Biden should be taking a stand against the Taliban by asserting any attempt to attack American citizens would “be destroyed.”
    The Republican senator went on to say this kind of approach should be used every day until every American has been evacuated.
    Cotton also pointed to a recent move by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the House back to a vote for their infrastructure bill.    He argued Democrats wanted Afghanistan off the front pages so they could discuss their reckless spending plan.

8/23/2021 FDA Grants Full Approval For Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine by OAN Newsroom
An Israeli health worker displays a vial of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine at the
Maccabi Health Service in Jerusalem. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)
    The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine.    On Monday, the vaccine became the first to receive full approval beyond emergency use authorization.
    The FDA said it hoped the move would help encourage hesitant Americans 16 years of age and older to finally get the shot.    The U.S. surgeon general said he believed full approval would lead to an increase in vaccination rates.
    “This is a pivotal moment for our country in the fight against the pandemic,” FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock explained.    “…The public can be confident that this vaccine meets the FDA’s gold standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality that we require for an approved product.”
    However, many have been concerned full approval would open up new opportunities for vaccine mandates.    The fear have not been without reason as the military was going forward with vaccine mandates in full force.So now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the department is prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated, a timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days.”
    Critics fear the FDA’s decision could also lead more businesses to impose vaccine mandates as employees might be more inclined to get the jab now that it has gained FDA approval.

8/23/2021 President Trump Points Out Fatal Flaw In Biden Afghanistan Withdrawal by OAN Newsroom
President Trump addresses supporters during a “Save America” rally at York
Family Farms in Cullman, Alabama. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    President Trump commented on the Biden administration’s failures in Afghanistan yet again. In a statement released on Monday, the 45th president wrote Joe Biden’s biggest mistake has been not understanding the military was supposed to be the last out the door rather than the first.
    Trump went on to say civilians and equipment should have been evacuated first.    He added once that was accomplished, then the military could be withdrawn.
    Biden has faced heavy criticism for his decision to take U.S. troops out of Afghanistan before evacuating U.S. citizens and Afghan allies.    Florida Rep. Byron Donalds (R) has been one of about 11 Republicans who have called for Biden to either resign or be impeached over the withdrawal process in Afghanistan.
    Donalds issued a statement on Monday, where he said Biden has lost “i>complete and total confidence of the American people.”    The Republican congressman went on to say, the “botched withdrawal” threatened the lives of U.S. troops and added “Biden has failed on all fronts.”
    Trump finished his statement by saying “so simple, and yet it wasn’t done.”

8/23/2021 Sullivan: No Need To Extend Aug. 31 Deadline To Evacuate U.S. Citizens From Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan speaks during the daily press briefing
at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    The Biden administration insisted it would hit the quickly approaching deadline of August 31 to evacuate all Americans out of Afghanistan.    Speaking during a White House press briefing on Monday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said he saw no need to extend the deadline.
    However, Sullivan went on to admit the White House didn’t know how many Americans were still stranded in the country.
    “Many people have asked, reasonably, why we cannot provide a precise number of American citizens still in country,” he stated.    “Let me explain.    When Americans have come to Afghanistan over the years, we asked them to register with the embassy.    Many have left without deregistering.    Others never registered at all.”
    Sullivan added the Biden administration has been in daily communication with the Taliban and the terrorist group ensured safe passage to the Kabul airport amid evacuations.

8/23/2021 Pentagon Updates On Kabul, Vaccine Mandates by OAN Newsroom
U.S. Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby, right, and Army Major Gen. William Taylor, left,
participate in a news briefing at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
    Major Gen. Hank Taylor spoke to the press about the latest information regarding the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
    In a press conference on Monday, Gen. Taylor said a stunning 17,000 people have been moved out of Afghanistan in the last 24 hours alone.
    Since the withdrawal picked up steam on August 14, over 37,000 have left.    When asked how many Americans specifically have been evacuated from the country however, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby was unable to give a firm answer.
    “I’m just gonna leave it at several right now…because I think the number is very fluid and it literally changes nearly by the hour,” he mentioned.    “…I’m just going to leave it at several thousand right now.”
    Kirby also had no details on the reported shooting at the Kabul airport, which left one Afghan dead.    When asked about the withdrawal date, he said the mission was to be completed by August 31 and an extension date was not being discussed.
    In addition, neither Kirby nor Gen. Taylor could answer on reports that the British have been shut out of communications between the U.S. and the Taliban.    Kirby also had no answer about American weapons left behind for the Taliban to use themselves.
    “I don’t have an exact inventory of what equipment the Afghans had at their disposal that now might be at risk,” he stated.    “Obviously, we don’t want to see any weapons or systems to fall into hands of people that would use them in such a way to harm our interests or those of our partners and allies.”
    However, the Pentagon wasn’t only giving vague answers. Pentagon officials were very clear vaccine mandates for service members and other military employees would be implemented following the recent FDA approval of the Pfizer jab.
    “Now that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved, the Department is prepared to issue updated guidance requiring all service members to be vaccinated.    A timeline for vaccination completion will be provided in the coming days,” Kirby explained.    “The health of the force is as always, our military and civilian employees, families and communities a top priority.”
    Mandates only applied to the Pfizer vaccine, with no plans to extend to other jabs at this time. The Pentagon is planning to bring more updates as information becomes available.

8/24/2021 Oil up $3.63 to $65.46, DOW up 213 to 35,376.

8/24/2021 Gov. Beshear rescinds his mandate for school masks by Olivia Krauth, Louisville Courier Journal USA TODAY NETWORK
    Following a state Supreme Court ruling impacting his executive authority, Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday rescinded his executive order requiring masks in Kentucky’s schools.    Beshear’s move comes a day before a federal judge is scheduled to decide whether or not to continue a temporary restraining order preventing the mandate from being enforced.    Without an executive order to block, the legal challenge is likely moot.
    A separate mask mandate for public schools from the Kentucky Department of Education still stands, as does a similar measure for child care centers from the Department of Public Health.
    Without a mandate in place, private schools in Kentucky are now able to adopt mask-optional policies.    Schools associated with the Diocese of Covington said after a federal judge initially blocked Beshear’s mandate last week that they would make masks optional.

8/24/2021 Taliban Rule Presents Aid Agencies With Moral, Fiscal Dilemma by David Lawder
FILE PHOTO: International Monetary Fund logo is seen outside its headquarters during the
IMF/World Bank spring meetings in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As foreign governments, aid institutions and companies scramble to evacuate staff from Afghanistan, a crucial question is emerging: should they engage with the ruling Taliban or abandon years of investment in the country and 38 million Afghans?
    The Taliban in the past week has pledged peaceful relations with other countries, women’s rights and independent media but some former diplomats and academics said the Islamist militant group, while more media and internet savvy than the Taliban of the 1990s, is just as brutal.
    The Taliban barred women from work, girls from school and killed or disfigured dissenters in public.    It also harbored al Qaeda, which plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks on New York and Washington that prompted a U.S.-led invasion.
    For foreign aid agencies the situation presents “a paradox,” said Robert Crews, a Stanford University history professor and author of the 2015 book “Afghan Modern: The History of a Global Nation.”
    “If you are an aid worker at a state hospital, you are serving a regime whose legitimacy is in the balance,” he said.    “But if everybody goes home, will the state collapse?
    Afghanistan’s government budget is 70% to 80% funded by international donors, including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said Michael McKinley, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016.
    The country faces economic collapse without that aid.
    “The Taliban is going to require substantial outside funding, unless they retreat to what they did from 1996 to 2001, which was essentially run the government to minimalist levels,” said McKinley, now with the Cohen Group consultancy.    “Living off the narcotics trade did not provide them a path towards staying in power.”
    International failure to engage with the Taliban could set up an even larger crisis, some warn.    “There will be enormous temptation to just pull the plug and walk away, but we did that in 1989 and 9/11 happened 12 years later,” Daniel Runde, a development expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
    While foreign governments and aid groups evacuate thousands of people, they’re leaving billions of dollars in projects hanging in the balance, much of it through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.    (Graphic: U.S. Spending on Afghanistan Reconstruction, 2002-2021,
    The United States has allocated $145 billion towards Afghan reconstruction since 2002, a July 30 report from the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction shows.
(Graphic: Major donors to Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund;
    The World Bank is contributing more than $2 billion to fund 27 active projects in Afghanistan, from horticulture to automated payment systems, part of more than $5.3 billion the development lender has spent on development and reconstruction of the country.
    On Friday a flight from Kabul landed in Islamabad with 350 evacuees, including employees from the World Bank Group and other international institutions.    A World Bank internal memo viewed by Reuters confirmed that its Kabul-based staff, including Afghan employees, had been evacuated with their immediate families.
    “Our work in Afghanistan has been critical for development across the region.    I am hopeful we will be able to have a positive impact once the situation stabilizes,” president David Malpass wrote.
    The Asian Development Bank, also with extensive operations in Afghanistan, remains “committed to supporting Afghanistan’s economic and social development,” the group said in a statement.
    Myanmar, upended by a military coup last year, provides some parallels.    In February the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund suspended all disbursements and projects there, a freeze that continues despite a worsening spread of COVID-19 in the country.
    Both organizations said they are guided by their membership when dealing with such abrupt changes of government and the United States holds dominant shares in both.
    Citing a lack of clarity over its members’ recognition of the Afghan government, the IMF suspended Afghanistan’s access to Fund resources, including some $440 million in new monetary reserves that the IMF allocated on Monday.
    Companies, including the U.S.’s big social media firms and natural resources groups are split in how to deal with the Taliban, a microcosm of wider inconsistencies in how the international community classifies the group.
    “We ought to take at some level of face value the statements that are coming out of Taliban leadership,” Runde, of CSIS argues.    “They’re going to have to prove they’re serious about this.”
    Ryan Crocker, who served as ambassador to Afghanistan in 2011-2012, and who has sharply criticized the U.S. military exit from the country, said trusting the Taliban should not be an option.
    “The Taliban are back in control, and they will bring their al-Qaeda allies with them,” Crocker said in a blog post on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.    “This is not a hypothetical security threat.    These are the groups that brought about 9/11, and they have not become kinder and gentler in the interim.”
(Reporting by David Lawder and Elizabeth Culliford; Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Grant McCool) 8/24/2021 UK Says Evacuation Window At Kabul Airport Unlikely To Be Extended
Members of the UK Armed Forces continue to take part in the evacuation of entitled personnel from Kabul airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan August 19-22, 2021,
in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on August 23, 2021. LPhot Ben Shread/UK MOD Crown copyright 2021/Handout via REUTERS
    LONDON (Reuters) - Western governments are unlikely to extend the evacuation window to allow their citizens and Afghans more time to fly out of Kabul airport, Britain’s defence minister Ben Wallace said.
    U.S. President Joe Biden will face pressure to extend an Aug. 31 deadline to evacuate thousands seeking to flee the Taliban in Afghanistan when he meets Group of Seven leaders at a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
    The Taliban have said they will reject any demands by Western forces to extend the deadline to allow more time to complete the evacuation operation.
    Biden said on Sunday that he would not like to extend the deadline for evacuations, but that talks were ongoing.
    Wallace told Sky News he was doubtful there would be an extension “not only because of what the Taliban has said but also if you look at the public statements of President Biden, I think it is unlikely.”
    He added: “It is definitely worth us all trying, and we will.”
    Wallace said if Western forces do not leave by the deadline the Taliban could attack the airport or prevent people arriving.
    “If that airport gets attacked then effectively it closes down, mortar fire onto the runway etc, and then you are left with a very big humanitarian problem,” he said.
    Britain has evacuated around 8,600 people from Afghanistan in last two weeks, including 2,000 people in the last 24 hours, Wallace said.    But Wallace said given the limited time before the evacuation window closes, “we’re not going to get everybody out.”
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; editing by Costas Pitas)

8/24/2021 UN Rights Boss Says Has Credible Reports Of Taliban Executions
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet wears a face mask at a
special session of the Human Rights Council on the situation in Afghanistan, at the European headquarters of the
United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, August 24, 2021. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The top U.N. human rights official Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday that she had received credible reports of serious violations committed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, including summary executions of civilians and restrictions on women and on protests against their rule.
    Bachelet urged the U.N. Human Rights Council, holding an emergency session at the request of Pakistan and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to set up a mechanism to closely monitor Taliban actions.
    “A fundamental red line will be the Taliban’s treatment of women and girls,” she told the Geneva forum.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Emma Farge)

8/24/2021 Psaki Claims Americans Aren’t Stranded In Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing
at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been under fire for a comment surrounding Americans currently stuck in Afghanistan.    During a press briefing on Monday, Psaki said Americans were not stranded and added it was “irresponsible” to suggest so.     “First of all, I think it’s irresponsible to say Americans are stranded.    They are not,” she stated.    “We are committed to bringing Americans who want to come home, home.”
    Many criticized her statement by arguing the irresponsibility was really the U.S. troop withdrawal, which has left thousands stuck under the Taliban’s control.
    Psaki went on to say the White House has been working around the clock to bring the remaining Americans home.    According to officials, the U.S. has evacuated more than 37,000 people from Kabul.
[Psaki definition of Stranded: Left without the means to move from somewhere.    And your leaders did not left them with means to move somewhere, and your boss did the worse so why dont you say it to him instead trying to lie for him to the press who now are asking questions finally.]

8/24/2021 Fmr. Gov. Cuomo Grants Clemency To Weather Underground Member by OAN Newsroom
Andrew Cuomo in New York City. (Photo by Mary Altaffer-Pool/Getty Images)
    As one of his last acts as New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to six people, with five of them being convicted murderers. Hours before stepping down on Monday night, Cuomo commuted four sentences, referred one case to the parole board and fully pardoned one person.
    In a statement, Cuomo wrote “the march towards a more fair, more just, more equitable and more empathetic New York state is a long one, but every step forward we can take it worthwhile and important.”    Among those who sentences were commuted was David Gilbert.
    Gilbert was a member of the domestic terrorist organization known as the Weather Underground and was convicted of three counts of second degree murder as well as four counts of first degree robbery in connection with the armed attack on a Brinks truck in 1981.    He has served 40 years of his 75 to life sentence.
    Gilbert’s son, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, has been a vocal advocate for his father’s release.    However, as the botched armored truck heist led to the deaths of two police officers and a security guard, many have not been as ready to forgive.
    Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) went on to say, “while I appreciate him wanting his father to be released, he should think long and hard about the families and the pain that they have had to endure for 40 years.”
    Gilbert has been set to appear before the parole board, where he would have the chance to request an early end to his 75 years to life sentence.
    Greg Mingo was also given a second chance by the former governor.    Many have claimed Mingo was falsely accused in a robbery and double homicide, which took place in Queens, New York.    Upon release, he has expressed plans to live with his family and counsel individuals who have struggled with anger, addiction or domestic abuse.
    “My name is Gregory Mingo.    I’m 67, almost 68 years old,” he stated.    “I’ve been incarcerated for 39 and a half years of a 50 to life sentence for a crime I didn’t commit.”
    Robert Ehrenberg, Ulysses Boyd and Paul Clark were the final three men convicted of second degree murder in separate situations and were all set to be released.    Lawrence Penn pleaded guilty to falsifying business records in 2015 and Cuomo has claimed his pardon would allow Penn to fully reintegrate into society.
    Opponents to the move argued the victims of these crimes deserved better and the focus should be on them.

8/24/2021 Kathy Hochul Sworn In As N.Y.’S First Female Governor by OAN Newsroom
New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore swears in Kathy Hochul as the first woman to be New York’s governor while her husband Bill Hochul holds
a bible during a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, Pool)
    Kathy Hochul has been sworn in as New York’s first female governor.    Just after midnight Tuesday morning, the Democrat was sworn in during a private ceremony at the state’s capitol.
    The Empire State’s 57th governor later held a public ceremony, where she said she wants people to believe in the state government again.    This comes after former the former governor, Andrew Cuomo, left office in disgrace following the state attorney general’s report detailing his abuses of power.
    Hochul vowed to deal with state lawmakers in a different way than her predecessor as the state continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “We also talk about how we’ll be combating COVID, getting direct aid to New Yorkers more quickly and changing the culture of Albany,” she stated.    “And that’s why I’m looking forward to a fresh, collaborative approach.    That’s how I’ve always conducted myself and nothing new for me, but is something I’m planning on introducing to the state capital.”
    The governor also declined to say if a special prosecutor should be appointed to look into Cuomo.    Instead, Hochul said she would leave the matter to the state legislature.

8/24/2021 Obama-Era Officials Take Aim At Biden’s Handling Of Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. citizens and their families process through the
passenger terminal at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to board a departure flight on their way to the United States
as part of Operation Allies Refuge, Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (Airman Edgar Grimaldo/U.S. Air Force via AP)
    Several top diplomats and military leaders under former President Barack Obama gave a grim update of the Biden administration’s retreat from Afghanistan.
    On Monday, former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker warned the White House is not adequately answering how it will get Americans and allies out of the country.    He stressed that Biden gave up America’s ground-game when U.S. troops were pulled out of the country before non-military personnel.    Crocker warned sending in helicopters and other aircraft to secure zones will be a challenge as the Taliban are well armed and are securing their control of Afghanistan.
    He also took aim at the Biden administration’s reluctance to recognize Al-Qaeda as a credible threat.    The former diplomat said the terrorist organization is not gone and is likely waiting for the opportune time to strike.    Crocker then claimed that’s what the Taliban did over the past 20-years.
    Additionally, Obama’s former Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson sounded off a similar tune while warning the mountains of Afghanistan are the perfect breeding ground for terrorist organizations.
    “You could probably hide an entire large American city in the mountains of Afghanistan undetected,” he explained.    “It is the very type of place that terrorist groups seek to establish as a headquarters, as a base for training and gathering.”
    Johnson went on to say it would have been better to leave a small force on the ground in the country to perform counter-terrorism operations.    He claimed keeping key bases, including Bagram Airbase, would have made it easier and safer to get non-military personnel out of Afghanistan.”
    “And I understand the desire to get out after 20-years, but getting out doesn’t necessarily mean moving every single member of the United States military from that place,” Johnson stated.    “We have our military in small forces stationed in a number of places around the world.”
In this satellite photo released by Maxar Technologies, the crowded entrance of Kabul’s international airport
is seen amid evacuations on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021. (Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies via AP)
    Johnson concluded with a dire warning about the efforts to evacuate people from Afghanistan.    Despite the Biden administration’s insistence, they are on top of the problems threatening evacuation attempts, Johnson believes the situation hasn’t yet peaked.
    “I believe that the situation at the airport is going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” he stated.
    “This is a country of 38 million people. We’ve gotta deal with the American citizens, those who qualify for special immigrant visas and those who will also qualify for refugee status under our laws.    And that population can snowball.”

8/24/2021 U.S. On Pace To Complete Afghan Pullout By Aug 31, Biden Told G7 by Steve Holland and Idrees Ali
Groups of people wait on tarmac at Kabul's airport, Afghanistan August 23, 2021.
(Correcting quote in paragraph 6)
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden told G7 leaders on Tuesday that the United States is on pace to complete the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan by Aug. 31 depending on cooperation from the Taliban, the White House said.
    Biden sent thousands of U.S. troops to the Kabul airport after the Taliban militant group took over the city and much of the country less than two weeks ago.
    The nearly 6,000 U.S. troops are helping to evacuate American citizens and at-risk Afghans and to protect the airport so other countries can evacuate their citizens as well.
    The Pentagon made the recommendation that Biden stick to his Aug. 31 target date on Monday, U.S. officials said.
    “During a meeting this morning with the G7 leaders, the President conveyed that our mission in Kabul will end based on the achievement of our objectives.    He confirmed we are currently on pace to finish by August 31st,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
    Biden told the other G7 leaders that completion of the mission by Aug. 31 “depends on continued coordination with the Taliban, including continued access for evacuees to the airport,” she said.
    “In addition, the President has asked the Pentagon and the State Department for contingency plans to adjust the timeline should that become necessary,” Psaki said.
    U.S. officials told Reuters earlier that the United States has been in regular contact with the Taliban and officials are telling the group that the timeline is contingent on Taliban cooperation.
    Biden sent CIA Director William Burns to meet Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday in the highest level official encounter since the militant group took over the Afghan capital, a U.S. official and a source familiar with government activity told Reuters on Tuesday.
    A congressional source said Burns and Baradar had discussed the Aug. 31 date.
    The Pentagon recommendation reflects increasing security concerns at the Kabul airport, where American citizens and at-risk Afghans are being evacuated.
    Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was increasing concern about suicide bombings by Islamic State militants at the airport.
    One official said it was no longer a question of if, but when, militants would attack and the priority was to get out before it happened.
    Biden was set to speak later on Tuesday.
    The Pentagon earlier said that it was confident the military can evacuate all Americans who want to leave.    Whether thousands of at-risk Afghans would all be evacuated was unclear.
    “We’re absolutely still aiming towards the end of the month,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said, while adding that the Pentagon may need additional bases to house evacuees from Afghanistan.
    Kirby said “several thousand” Americans have been evacuated from Afghanistan but declined to give a more specific figure.    He also said he was unable to provide the percentage of Americans in Afghanistan who have now been evacuated.
    Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers said on Tuesday they wanted all foreign evacuations from the country completed by Aug. 31 and they would not agree to an extension as Group of Seven leaders met to discuss the crisis.
    Western troops have been working frantically to get foreigners and Afghans onto planes and out of the country and Biden has faced growing pressure from allies to negotiate more time for the airlift.
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Idrees Ali, David Brunnstrom; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Howard Goller)

8/24/2021 Exclusive: Limited Chinese Cooperation Hindering U.S. Fentanyl Fight - Congress Report by Drazen Jorgic
FILE PHOTO: A man living on the streets of San Francisco, California, displays what he says
is the synthetic drug fentanyl. February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
    (Reuters) – Weak cooperation between U.S. and Chinese authorities is hindering efforts to curb increasingly sophisticated forms of fentanyl trafficking, according to a U.S. congressional advisory report reviewed by Reuters.
    The report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, due to be published on Tuesday, said U.S. authorities have found that cooperation with Chinese counterparts “remains limited on the ground.”
    An explosion in the use of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin, and its analogues has driven the most devastating chapter of America’s long-running opioid and drug abuse crises.
    Combating fentanyl smuggling has become a key priority for U.S. agencies as overdose deaths spiked to more than 93,000 in 2020, mostly linked to fentanyl, according to provisional data by the National Center for Health Statistics.
    Deaths surged by more than 21,000 to eclipse a record set a year earlier.
    Despite China banning fentanyl and similar variants in 2019, the Asian nation remains the primary source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States, the report said.
    The accusations are unreasonable and unacceptable, said the Chinese foreign ministry when asked by Reuters to comment on the report.
    China has strictly controlled all narcotics, psychotropic drugs and chemical precursors, and its efforts are recognised internationally, the ministry said.
    There have been some improvements in collaboration as U.S. officials have established working groups, conducted high-level meetings and shared information with Chinese partners that led to arrests.
    However, the advisory body warned there “remain significant gaps in U.S.-China antidrug cooperation.”
    Chinese regulatory authorities delay requests for access to inspect and investigate potential sites where companies illegally manufacture precursor chemicals that Mexican and other foreign drug cartels use to produce fentanyl, it said.
    “Requests are often delayed for days, allowing any illegal operation to vacate or clean up the premises,” the report said.
    Chinese cooperation also “lags in money laundering investigations, criminal prosecution, and legal assistance in ongoing cases,” the advisory body added.
    “The U.S. cannot harm China’s interests while expecting China to cooperate unconditionally,” the Chinese foreign ministry said.
    The amount of finished fentanyl shipped from China to the United States has declined since 2019 when Beijing banned the synthetic drug.    Yet illicit fentanyl from China remains widely available in the United States, the report said.
    The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) believes Chinese traffickers have shifted from mainly manufacturing finished fentanyl to mostly exporting precursors to Mexican cartels, which make illicit fentanyl and deliver the final product.
    The authors of the congressional report, titled “Illicit Fentanyl from China: An Evolving Global Operation,” warned that the sophistication of traffickers was growing and both Chinese and U.S. authorities were struggling to adapt.
    On top of relocating some manufacturing to India, Chinese traffickers were re-routing shipments via third countries and using new marketing methods to circumvent local regulations drafted by Beijing.
    “China’s weak supervision and regulation of its chemical and pharmaceutical industry also enable evasion and circumvention,” the report said.
    Chinese traffickers are increasing their cooperation with Mexican cartels, and especially the two biggest crime syndicates, the Sinaloa cartel and Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
    Both groups operate “pill mills” in Mexican cities, where they manufacture illegal fentanyl to ship to the United States, a growing trend in recent years.
    “The growing involvement of Mexican cartels and advanced money laundering schemes have exacerbated the problem,” the report said.
    Chinese criminals are increasingly using the Chinese banking system to launder Mexican drug money, the report said, citing an investigation by Reuters into how Chinese brokers were muscling out Colombian and Mexican money launderers.
    These Chinese brokers use financial technology, mobile banking apps and social media to evade authorities, the report said.
(Writing by Drazen Jorgic; Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Richard Pullin)

8/24/2021 Peru’s Castillo Mulls Cabinet Reshuffle Under Pressure From Opposition by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun
FILE PHOTO: Peru's President Pedro Castillo walks out the Congress after
his swearing-in ceremony, in Lima, Peru July 28, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce/File Photo
    LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s leftist President Pedro Castillo is mulling a cabinet reshuffle, a source told Reuters on Tuesday, less than a month after taking office and as he faces a critical confirmation vote later in the week by the opposition-led Congress.
    The source, who is close to Castillo, requested anonymity to discuss decisions that have not been made public yet.
    The source said that the ministers on the line belong to the Marxist-Leninist Peru Libre party that propelled Castillo to the presidency and include the heads of the Labor, Transportation and Defense ministries.
    The source had said on Monday that Prime Minister Guido Bellido, who also belongs to Peru Libre, had been asked to resign.    But he later said Bellido and Castillo had reached an agreement.
    Bellido told Reuters on Monday night that he was not resigning.
    Castillo came to office after a deeply divisive battle against right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori.    He was declared the winner of the June 6 election by a margin of just 44,000 votes, or a difference of 0.25 percentage point.
    This week, Castillo faces a key test for his fledging presidency, which is seen favorably by just 38% of Peruvians, according to a recent IEP poll.
    The opposition-led Congress will vote on Thursday whether to green light the Bellido-led cabinet or reject it altogether, which would force Castillo to go back to the drawing board.
    Castillo has already replaced one cabinet member under pressure, his foreign minister, swapping a hard-left pick with a more moderate one.
    But pressure is mounting for changes and it is not clear that he currently has enough votes in Congress to confirm his cabinet.
    Fujimori, whose party is the second most powerful in Congress with 24 of 130 votes, said on Twitter on Thursday that legislators should not confirm the cabinet.
    Fujimori cited allegations against Labor Minister Iber Maravi that he participated in violent acts as part of the Shining Path rebel group.    Maravi denies the allegations.
    “We will talk with the Labor minister and after that, together with the president, we will make the best decision for the country,” Bellido told reporters on Tuesday.
    The Shining Path killed tens of thousands of Peruvians in the 1980s and 1990s in an attempt to overthrow the government and install a Maoist Communist regime.
    Prime Minister Bellido has also been troubled by allegations that he sympathizes with the Shining Path.    In a Facebook post made years before he joined the cabinet, Bellido appeared to defend a former rebel.
    In response, prosecutors have opened an investigation into whether Bellido is a “terrorism apologist,” although no charges have been filed.    He denies the allegations.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

8/24/2021 White House Expects Qualified Afghans To Leave Country Despite Taliban Request
FILE PHOTO: Members of Taliban forces sit at a security tower of the interior
ministry in Kabul, Afghanistan August 17, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The Biden administration expects that some Afghans who qualify for special visas will not be barred from going to Kabul airport to evacuate in coming days, even as the Taliban asks the United States to stop helping them leave, press secretary Jen Psaki said on Tuesday.
    A Taliban spokesman said on Tuesday that the group wants the United States to stop encouraging Afghans to leave and foreign countries to stop taking Afghan experts out of Afghanistan.
    “We are asking Americans to change your policy and please don’t encourage Afghans to leave. … Do not take them out to foreign countries,” the spokesman said, according to a BBC translation.
    The White House said the Biden administration expects Afghans who qualify for U.S. visas will still be allowed to leave the country.
    “The individuals we have prioritized … who are eligible for special immigrant visas … our expectation is that they will be able to reach he airport,” Psaki said.
    The United States is evacuating thousands of people from Afghanistan, including Afghan citizens who helped the U.S. government there.
(Reporting by Heather Timmons; editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis)

8/24/2021 Italy Calls For Common Afghan Immigration Policy, Wants G20 Involved
FILE PHOTO: Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi gestures as he speaks at a news conference where he is expected to map out the
country's next moves in loosening coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Rome, Italy, April 16, 2021. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
    ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Tuesday it was vital for the Group of Seven wealthy nations and Europe to adopt a common policy on immigration from Afghanistan as they rush to pull people out of the country by an Aug. 31 deadline.
    Speaking after a virtual summit of G7 leaders, Draghi said in a statement that the exclusive club of major industrialised economies also needed to involve the broader Group of 20 nations in its discussions on Afghanistan.
    “The G20 can help the G7 in involving other countries that are very important because they have the possibility of controlling what happens in Afghanistan: Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and India,” he said.
    Italy holds the annual, rotating presidency of the G20 and is looking to host a special summit on Afghanistan next month, but has yet to get the backing of Washington for the plan.
    Draghi said it was essential for international organisations to have access to Afghanistan after the end of August and said Italy would henceforth direct resources intended for the Afghan military forces to humanitarian aid.
    On the immigration front, Draghi said there was still no coordinated or common approach at a European or international level.    “We have to make huge efforts on this,” he said, adding that such cooperation was likewise vital to fight terrorism.
(Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Giulia Segreti)

8/24/2021 G7 Leaders Ask For Withdrawal Extension by OAN Newsroom
In this handout photo provided by the German Government Press Office (BPA), German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends a virtual
G7 meeting, hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Guido Bergmann/Bundesregierung via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden spoke with international leaders about the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan at an emergency meeting of the G7.
    During virtual talks on Tuesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined Germany’s Angela Merkel and France’s Emmanuel Macron to demand an extension of the withdrawal deadline of August 31.
    The Biden administration appeared to have no intention of extending the deadline however, which was a move top officials from the U.K. predicted.
    “I think it is unlikely, not only because what the Taliban have said, but also if you look at the public statements of President Biden, I think it is an unlikely,” explained British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace.    “It is definitely worth us all trying and we will.”
    Biden has been adamant of not extending the date, despite the Taliban doubling down on its demand for U.S. forces to leave by the end of the month.    Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said an extension was not apart of the plan because the goal to leave at month’s end had not changed.
    “The president’s direction has been to complete this withdrawal, this evacuation and withdrawal by the 31st of August,” he stated.    “That is the direction we are operating under and therefore that is driving a lot of our plans.
    The comments came after the Taliban, which the White House claimed to be working closely with, said any extension would be intolerable
    “No, I must remind you that the withdrawal of the Americans by 31st is also a one sided act and contrary to our agreement,” asserted Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.    “We are sending a message to the Americans again to evacuate their citizens by this because they have the means to do so, they have planes and the airport is with them and they have to transfer all the forces and contractors who have relation with foreigners.”
    Top military officials said to meet the August 31 deadline, troops would have to start pulling out this Friday.    It has remained unclear how many people still needed to be evacuated from Afghanistan, as administration officials said tens of thousands have been rescued while refusing to say how many Americans were included in that number.

8/24/2021 Biden Refuses To Push Back Aug. 31 Deadline Despite G7 Pressure by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden speaks about the ongoing evacuation of Afghanistan from the Roosevelt Room
of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
    Joe Biden said the U.S. was on pace to finish operations in Afghanistan by August 31, but added it depended on the Taliban’s cooperation.    During a speech from the White House on Tuesday, Biden said more than 70,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul and failed to say how many Americans have been rescued or how many were still stranded.
    Biden said he has also asked both the Pentagon and State Department to come up with back up plans if the deadline was not met.    His comments came hours after he met with G7 leaders, who pushed for a deadline extension.
    Biden refused to address their concerns and instead said world leaders agreed on a plan.    He added the U.S. would stand with allies against the terrorist organization.
    “The G7 leaders and the leaders of the EU, NATO and the UN all agreed that we will stand united on our approach to the Taliban,” he stated.    “We agreed the legitimacy of any future government depends on the approach it now takes to uphold international obligations, including to prevent Afghanistan from being used a base for terrorism.”
    Meanwhile, there have been conflicting reports over Tuesday’s G7 meeting, with some saying there was no agreement on a road map for the future of Afghanistan.

8/24/2021 House GOP Leaders Hold Press Conference On Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) speaks during a news conference with members of the
Republican caucus, some of them military veterans, to criticize the Biden Administration’s handling of the withdrawal
from Afghanistan outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    House Republicans, many of whom served in Afghanistan themselves, took to the steps of the Capitol building for their impassioned pleas to the Biden administration to get Americans safely out of Afghanistan. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) opened up Tuesday’s press conference to reassure those Americans still trapped in Afghanistan that despite the White House’s neglect, Republicans remained dedicated to their safe return home.
    “To those Americans who are still abandoned behind enemy lines, we want to let you know you are our top priority,” he asserted.    “Our number one priority here as House Republicans is to make sure every single American who has been stranded behind enemy lines is safely returned home to the United States.”
    Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) served on the front lines in Afghanistan to train and advice the Afghan army as well as the police force.    As a military sales officer, his job was also to acquire and turn over American military equipment to the Afghans he trained.
    He went on to say, “you can imagine how shameful I find it that all of that today all of that equipment has fallen in to the hands of the Taliban.”
    Banks added in Biden’s hasty withdrawal, the administration left the enemy with $85 billion worth of equipment.    This included 75,000 vehicles, 200 airplanes and helicopters, more than 600,000 small arms and light weapons, night vision goggles and body armor.
    He expressed, “if any of these weapons or this military equipment is used to harm, injure or kill any American now or anytime in the future, the blood is on Joe Biden’s hands.”
    The Taliban has reportedly acquired more Black Hawk helicopters than 85 percent of the countries in the world as well as biometric devices with identifying information, which has put our Afghan allies and their families in imminent danger.
    “The Taliban now has biometric devices, which have the fingerprints, eye scans and biographical information of all the Afghans who helped us and were on our side over the last twenty years,” he explained.    “There is no plan to get those weapons back.”
    Rep. Mike Waltz (R-Fla.) said the Intelligence community has been clear in its repeated briefings the Taliban take over meant America was going to face “al Qaeda 3.0.”     “How many are going to die now because they are going to have to fight their way through our own equipment, our own damn equipment, to deal with al Qaeda 3.0?” he questioned “Are we going to have another Pulse Night Club, another San Bernardino, another 9/11 because of that incompetence?"
    Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.), having achieved the rank of Lieutenant General in the U.S. Marine Corps, has understood the mission was far from over.
    “When you win, you also leave no one behind.    Leadership shows, but leadership only shows when it’s put to the test.    Well folks, we’re being put to the test right now,” he expressed.    “The world is watching.    Our Afghan partners and families are praying. We are praying.    Mr. President, step up or step out.”
    Biden has remained stern on the August 31 withdrawal deadline, with his administration continuing to say all Americans would be evacuated by that date.

8/24/2021 Mo. Attorney General Sues School Districts For Imposing Mask Mandates On Children by OAN Newsroom
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt speaks during a news conference in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
    Missouri’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against continued mask mandates in public schools.    The class action lawsuit was filed by Attorney General Eric Schmitt on Tuesday.
    Schmitt claimed mask mandates put in place by certain Missouri school districts were more harmful to students than they were helpful.    He pointed out students lost facial expressions and visual cues from their peers and teachers when forced to mask up, which could set them behind other children.
    “There have been no deaths under the age of 10.    There has been five under the age of 18. Of the hospitalizations, one in 200,000 is a kid related to COVID-19,” he explained.    “You balance that with what we know as a growing body of evidence of potential psychological and emotional issues that kids suffer from having to wear a mask all day long and some of the learning difficulties.”
    Schmitt added the lawsuit ultimately aimed to bring power back to parents to choose what was best for their children.

8/24/2021 Kathy Hochul Delivers First Address As N.Y. Gov. by OAN Newsroom
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks after taking her ceremonial oath of office at the
New York State Capitol on August 24, 2021 in Albany, New York.
    Newly sworn in Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) laid out her short term agenda as she has taken the helm of the Empire State.    In her very first virtual address on Tuesday, Hochul promised a new era of transparency after the bombshell results of the attorney general’s independent investigation this month of then Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexual harassments on multiple women.
    “Get this state working again, focused without distractions,” she announced.    “That begins with a dramatic change in culture, accountability and no tolerance for individuals who cross the line.”
    The newly-instated New York governor also touched on COVID-19 safety as the Delta and Lambda variants have made headway throughout the U.S. Wasting no time, Hochul said she planned to place a new statewide mask mandate in public schools as well as a vaccine mandate for all staff and teachers.
    Guidance from the state would be released on her COVID-19 response at the end of the week.    Meanwhile, Hochul called on all levels of government to execute these actions.
    “To accomplish this in New York, we need partnerships with all levels of government and I’m working now on getting this done,” she explained.    “New York is launching a back to school COVID-19 testing program to make testing for students and staff widely available and convenient.    I’m also directing the Department of Health to institute universal masking for anyone entering our schools.”
    Hochul went on to call these policies concise and consistent while claiming they would directly give school boards what they have asking for all along.    Meanwhile, New York is still reeling from a limp economy with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting an unemployment rate at 7.6 percent.

8/24/2021 House Democrats Vote To Adopt $3.5T Budget Resolution, Move Forward With Big Spending Agenda by OAN Newsroom
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to a reporter as she walks to her office
at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
    House Democrats voted to advance their $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which came down in a 220 to 212 vote strictly along party lines on Tuesday.    The vote has allowed Democrats to write and pass their own spending package without Republican support.
    However, it also included a nonbinding commitment to take up the Senate-passed infrastructure deal by September 27.
    Centrists Democrats previously refused to move forward with any of the Democrat House leadership’s agenda before there were assurances to pass the bipartisan infrastructure deal first.
    In addition, the far-reaching vote advanced Democrats’ so-called voting rights bill, which the House passed later Tuesday night.
    Speaking on the floor, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said this was a sad day for the country as he pointed out the trillions of dollars in spending the bills would rack up if fully passed.
    “No, it is not a good day.    Maybe in your caucus you think it’s a great day for you and the Democrats,” he expressed.
It is an embarrassing day to America, it’s an embarrassing day for this floor and it’s embarrassing that you would even move forward with it.    I yield back.”
    The California Republican also condemned Democrats for all but ignoring the disastrous Afghan withdrawal by arguing Congress should be drafting legislation to help get Americans stranded in the war torn country back home and to ensure the Taliban takeover did not pose a threat to U.S. national security.
    “Democrats called us back for an emergency session this first session since Kabul fell to the Taliban,” he stated.    “Faced with a national security and credibility crisis in Afghanistan, they have done nothing to plan to address it.”
    Joe Biden, on the other hand, praised House leadership for moving these packages forward with no bipartisan agreement during his Tuesday press briefing on the Afghan withdrawal.
    “I wanna thank Speaker Pelosi, who was masterful in her leadership on this,” he expressed.    “…The entire House leadership team for the hard work, dedication and determination to bring people together so we can make a difference in people’s lives.”
    Meanwhile, Democrats’ hope to fit in a number of their major agenda items in the budget package including investments in far-left climate policy, an expansion to Medicare and universal pre-k education.

8/24/2021 Ore. To Require Face Masks Outdoors Regardless Of Vaccination Status by OAN Newsroom
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) in Roseburg, Oregon. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
    The governor of Oregon has mandated all residents to wear a face mask regardless of their vaccination status.    In a video post to Twitter on Tuesday, Gov. Kate Brown (D-Ore.) said starting August 27, masks would be required in all outdoor areas.
    Brown also advised people to wear a mask indoors at home if they were unable to maintain social distancing.    However, the governor clarified her suggestion didn’t mean people needed to wear a mask when they do certain activities, such as walk their dog in the morning.
    Rather, she asked residents to “use common sense.”    The Democrat went on to say, “masks will be required in all public outdoor settings where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status.”
    Brown’s decision came as she announced Tuesday marked 1,000 COVID-19 patients in state hospitals.

8/24/2021 Jen Psaki: Threat From ISIS-K Is Quite Real by OAN Newsroom
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing
at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    The White House Press Secretary addressed American’s concerns amid escalating threats from ISIS-K and the Taliban.    In a briefing on Tuesday, a reporter asked Jen Psaki about evacuations thus far.
    The reporter’s question shed light on a recent comment made by a Taliban spokesperson, who said the terrorist group would block Afghans from accessing the Kabul airport.    Psaki refuted the comment by saying the administration has been working with both Special     Immigrant Visa applicants and Americans about how and when to get to the airport.
    However, she noted concerns of security risks involved with the influx of people.
    “There are a number of Afghans, who, they may not qualify for these programs and we’ve seen over the past several days a rush of people attempt to come to the airport,” she stated.    “We certainly understand that, but that also creates security risks and one that we have great concern about.”
    Psaki went on to recap Joe Biden’s recent meeting with G7 leaders and noted Biden expressed fears over prolonged exposure to ISIS-K.
    “He also made clear that with each day of operations on the ground, we have added risks to our troops with increasing threats from ISIS-K,” she explained.    “Completion of the mission by August 31 depends on continued coordination with the Taliban including continued access for evacuees to the airport.”
    Psaki added Biden has asked the Pentagon for contingency plans so he would be able to adjust the August 31 pullout date if necessary.

8/24/2021 McCarthy Calls On Democrats To Stand Up To Taliban by OAN Newsroom
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) talks to reporters following a classified intelligence briefing by the Secretary of Defense
and other Biden officials about the situation in Afghanistan at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
    House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called for Republicans, Democrats and Independents to solely focus on getting people out of Afghanistan.    During a press conference on Tuesday, McCarthy’s concern centered around keeping troops in Afghanistan until all Americans were evacuated.
    The Republican lawmaker criticized Democrats for not being more involved in helping solve the crisis.
    “As I watch other countries and our allies across this world bring their bodies back together of government to work on how to bring their citizens home, the Democrats bring us back to spend trillions of dollars,” he explained.    “…They spend their time on phones trying to twist arms to get people to vote, whereas they should drop that.    Our entire focus, Republican, Democrat, independent alike, should be nothing else than bringing our Americans home.”
    This comes as Joe Biden has reportedly said he’s planning on keeping the August 31 deadline due to potential threats from the Taliban.

8/25/2021 Oil up $2.11 to $67.64, DOW up 31 to 35,366.

8/25/2021 Afghan All-Girl Robotics Team Members Land In Mexico by Katanga Johnson and Anthony Esposito
FILE PHOTO: Members of an Afghan all-female robotics team work on an open-source and low-cost ventilator, during the
coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Herat Province, Afghanistan April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jalil Ahmad/File Photo
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Five members of an all-girl Afghan robotics team arrived in Mexico on Tuesday evening, fleeing an uncertain future at home after the recent collapse of the U.S.-backed government and takeover by the Taliban militant group.
    “We give you the warmest welcome to Mexico,” said Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado as she greeted them during a news conference at Mexico City’s international airport.
    The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last week as the United States and its allies withdrew troops from the country.    The White House and U.S. allies are racing to complete the evacuation of all foreigners and vulnerable Afghans before the expiry of an Aug. 31 deadline agreed with the Taliban, U.S. President Joe Biden said this week.
    The team, made up of girls and women as young as 14, has been heralded for winning international awards for its robots and started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation.
    The Taliban, which previously barred girls from schools and women from working when they ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, has promised to prioritize women’s rights and girls’ education.
    Mexico has pledged to aid Afghan women and girls. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter on Aug. 18 that the country had begun “processing of the first refugee applications of Afghan citizens, especially women and girls who have requested it,” with the aid of Guillermo Puente Ordorica, Ambassador of Mexico in Iran.
    Tuesday’s safe arrival in Mexico was made possible by an “extensive international effort and coordination from a group of volunteers” who helped the girls, according to a volunteer who requested anonymity for fear of the safety of the families that remain under Taliban control.
    The foreign ministry invited press to the arrival gates at Mexico City’s airport at 3 a.m. local time on Wednesday, saying a “large group of people from Afghanistan is expected to arrive” and Ebrard will offer a message.
    Other members of the robotics team landed in Qatar in recent days.
(Reporting by Katanga Johnson in Washington and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; Additional reporting by Diego Ore in Mexico City; Editing by Heather Timmons, Sandra Maler and Michael Perry)

8/25/2021 Explainer-What Happens After Biden’s Evacuation Force Leaves Afghanistan? by Idrees Ali and David Brunnstrom
FILE PHOTO: U.S. soldiers, assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, arrive to provide security in support of Operation Allies Refuge at Hamid
Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2021. Senior Airman Taylor Crul/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Tuesday stuck by his plan to remove the nearly 6,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of August, contingent on whether the Taliban cooperates to allow the evacuation of more Americans and their Afghan allies.
    Biden announced a plan in April to withdraw 2,500 U.S. troops who were still in Afghanistan after a 20-year war, but was forced to send thousands more back to evacuate those at risk as the U.S.-backed government and military quickly collapsed.
    The chaotic and perilous evacuation from Kabul airport that ensued has unleashed a wave of criticism and presented Biden with his biggest crisis since taking office in January.
    U.S. officials say the troop withdrawal must begin no later than Friday to be completed by Aug. 31 and it will take several days.    The troops at Kabul airport include Marines and paratroopers.
    As they pack up their equipment and withdraw, the pace of evacuations by U.S. and allied forces – which reached 20,000 a day this week – will inevitably slow.
    Since Aug. 14, more than 70,000 people, including American citizens, NATO personnel and Afghans at risk, have been evacuated from Kabul, Biden said on Tuesday.    Biden has said the United States will evacuate any U.S. citizen who wants to leave and officials have said they will evacuate as many at-risk Afghans as possible.
    Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the Pentagon believes it has the ability to get all Americans who want to leave out by Aug. 31 and U.S. officials say 4,000 Americans have been evacuated so far, but they do not know how many are still in the country, as not all registered with the U.S. embassy.
    The Pentagon has also committed to evacuate the roughly 500 Afghan soldiers who have been helping to protect Kabul airport.
    Despite the current pace of evacuation, which has involved dozens of military transport planes from the United States and around the world, many thousands of Afghans who officials and advocacy groups say face potential retribution at the hands of the Taliban, will not be able to leave by Biden’s deadline.
    The Association of Wartime Allies, a refugee resettlement group, estimates 250,000 Afghans, including interpreters and drivers and other workers who helped the U.S. effort, need to be evacuated, but only 62,000 have left since July.
    The State Department says the aim is to help at-risk Afghans leave even after the troop withdrawal and that Washington will put pressure on the Taliban to ensure they are able to do so.
    “What does not end when the military mission ends is our commitment to at-risk Afghans,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Monday.    “We will hold the Taliban to this; the rest of the world will as well – that individuals who seek to leave after the U.S. military is gone will have an opportunity to do so.”
    One of the biggest questions the Biden administration and like-minded governments face is whether to recognize the government the Taliban establishes.
    This would have important consequences, including as to whether the Taliban will have access to the foreign aid relied upon by previous Afghan governments.
    A 2020 agreement signed by the former Trump administration explicitly states that the Taliban “is not recognized by the United States as a state,” but there are already signs Washington will have to talk to the Islamist militant group on some issues, such as counter-terrorism.    CIA Director William Burns met Taliban leader Abdul Ghani Baradar in Kabul on Monday in the highest level official encounter since the group took over Kabul on Aug. 15.
    U.S. officials say the Taliban opposes groups like Islamic State and U.S. diplomats and commanders have been in contact with Taliban officials throughout the evacuation.
    The United States, its allies and the United Nations will have to decide how to deal with a looming humanitarian disaster.
    The U.N. says more than 18 million people – over half Afghanistan’s population – require aid and half of all Afghan children under the age of five already suffer from acute malnutrition amid the second drought in four years.
    The World Health Organization says it has only enough supplies in Afghanistan to last a week after deliveries were blocked by restrictions at Kabul airport and it is concerned the upheaval will push up coronavirus infections.
    The Taliban have assured the U.N. it can pursue humanitarian work, but the world body will insist on women’s rights and access to all civilians.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Mary Milliken and Grant McCool)

8/25/2021 Nicaragua Accuses Prominent Journalist Of Money Laundering As Crackdown Deepens
FILE PHOTO: Journalist Carlos Fernando Chamorro, critic of the government of President Daniel Ortega, listens to
question of a journalist during a news conference in Managua, Nicaragua December 13, 2019. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
    (Reuters) – The Nicaraguan attorney general’s office on Tuesday accused prominent journalist Carlos Chamorro, a fierce critic of the government of President Daniel Ortega, of money laundering.
    Reuters was unable to immediately contact Chamorro. He fled to neighboring Costa Rica in June due to political persecution at home after his siblings, opposition leader and journalist Cristiana Chamorro and politician Pedro Joaquin Chamorro were detained by police.
    Ortega, a former Marxist guerrilla and erstwhile Cold War antagonist of the United States, faces an election due in November, when he will seek to secure a fourth consecutive term in power.
    Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, have drawn widespread criticism from foreign governments after the recent arrests of several opponents, including some presidential candidates.
    Carlos Chamorro “was charged with the crimes of money, property and asset laundering, misappropriation and retention, and abusive management,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
    New accusations of money laundering were also made against Cristiana Chamorro and seven workers of the defunct Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation, which works on issues of access to public information and transparency.    It also accused Pedro Joaquin Chamorro of abusive management, misappropriation and retention of funds.
    Nicaraguan police arrested the general manager of newspaper La Prensa, Juan Holmann Chamorro, on Aug. 14 a day after raiding its offices and accusing the publication, which is a trenchant critic of Ortega, of customs fraud and money laundering.
    La Prensa is controlled by the Chamorro family, four of whom are now in custody.
(Reporting by Ismael Lopez; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

8/25/2021 Exclusive: Internal U.N. Document Says Taliban Threatened, Beat Staff by Ned Parker, Parniyan Zemaryalai and Michelle Nichols
FILE PHOTO: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) arrives for the United Nations Security Council meets regarding
the situation in Afghanistan at the United Nations in New York City, New York, U.S., August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
    NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – The Taliban stopped an Afghan United Nations staff member as he tried to reach Kabul airport on Sunday. They searched his vehicle and found his U.N. identification.    Then they beat him.
    On Monday, three unknown men visited the home of another U.N. staff member who was at work at the time.    They asked his son where his father was, and accused him of lying: “We know his location and what he does.”
    The incidents are among dozens contained in an internal U.N. security document seen by Reuters that describes veiled threats, the looting of U.N. offices and physical abuse of staff since Aug. 10, shortly before the Taliban swept to power.
    While the Islamist militant movement has sought to reassure Afghans and Western powers that they will respect people’s rights, reports of reprisals have undermined confidence, not least among those associated with foreign organisations.
    The Taliban did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the U.N. incident list.
    The group has said it would investigate reported abuses, and has also encouraged aid organisations to continue their work.    It said this week that aid was welcome, as long as it was not used as a means of political influence over Afghanistan.
    The United Nations said it did not comment on leaked security documents.
    U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric added: “The authorities that are in charge in Kabul are responsible for the safety and security of U.N. staff and premises.    We remain in touch with them in that regard.”
    The United Nations has relocated about a third of the 300 foreign staff it had in Afghanistan to Kazakhstan.    It has also stressed that it wanted to maintain a presence to help the Afghan people.
    There are around 3,000 Afghan U.N. staff still in the country.    A U.N. spokesman has said the world body was in contact with other countries to urge them to provide visas or support temporary relocation of some of them.
    Thousands of people have fled Afghanistan since the Taliban entered Kabul on Aug. 15, boarding military and commercial flights from the capital where the airport has been the scene of deadly chaos.
    Some fear a return to the Taliban’s brutal enforcement of strict Islamic law last time they ruled, when they banned women from work and girls from school.
    Others, including those who work in advocacy and human rights, believe they could be the target of reprisals after scores of people were killed in suspected targeted Taliban attacks in the last year.
    An Afghan woman, who has worked for the United Nations for several years, told Reuters she felt abandoned.
    “Every woman I know has the same fear as I do. What will now happen to our children if we are punished for our work? What will happen to our families?    What will they do to us as women?” she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
    In a video message to staff in Afghanistan on Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was distressed by reports that some had experienced harassment and intimidation.
    “We are doing everything in our power, namely through the permanent engagement with all relevant actors, and will continue to do so to ensure your safety and well-being, and to find external solutions where they are needed,” Guterres said.
    An Aug. 21 U.N. risk assessment, reported by Reuters on Tuesday, said there was “no coherent command and control” within the Taliban.
    The speed of their military victory, which coincided with U.S.-led foreign troops withdrawing after 20 years of war, has left a power vacuum, and the group is scrambling to form a government in Kabul and the provinces to run the country.
    An Afghan U.N. worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters he knew of at least 50 Afghan staff warned or threatened by the Taliban, adding: “U.N. national staff who are under serious direct threat of the Taliban must be evacuated.”
    He said the threats were not all necessarily linked to people’s status at the United Nations, but were a function of the Taliban’s push to impose control over>     A second Afghan woman who works at the United Nations has been moving houses with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in the past 10 days.    Some of her neighbors knew she worked at the United Nations, and she worried they might inform on her.
    She has a visa for a neighboring country, but is frustrated that the United Nations has not helped her evacuate.
    “We were expecting the entire U.N. system to help us.    We were honestly expecting that,” the woman said.    “We are in danger.    And if we cannot work, who is going to reach the people?
(Additional reporting by Rupam Jain; Writing by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

8/25/2021 Democrats Urge Biden To Fight Restart Of Trump Immigration Policy by Ted Hesson and Dave Graham
FILE PHOTO: Asylum-seeking migrant families from Central America are processed by the U.S. Border Patrol agents after crossing
the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
    WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates pressed President Joe Biden on Wednesday to take new steps to end an immigration policy begun by his predecessor Donald Trump after the top U.S. court ordered that the “remain in Mexico” program be reinstated.
    The policy put in place by Trump, a Republican, forced thousands of asylum seekers to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings.    In one of his first acts as president in January, Biden, a Democrat, ended the policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
    The conservative-majority Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Biden must comply with a Texas-based federal judge’s ruling to revive the program, although federal officials retain some discretion on how to do that. Republican-led Texas and Missouri had challenged Biden’s ending of the program, saying his administration failed to follow the correct legal process.
    The MPP was a cornerstone of Trump’s hardline immigration policies. Biden promised what he called a more humane approach to immigration.
    U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, called on Biden’s administration “to curtail and put a lawful end to the implementation of this disgraceful policy.”
    Democratic U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard also urged the administration to roll back what she called “an inhumane policy that forced asylum seekers, including women and children, to wait in dangerous border cities, placing them in greater risk of exploitation by cartels and criminal organizations.”
    Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center, said the administration should determine how to comply with the court’s order while still trying to end the program.
    “We continue to believe that it was unlawful,” Hincapié said.    “It caused severe damage and chaos and disorder.”
    The administration could potentially take a number of steps to slow-walk implementation of the MPP program, a Democratic congressional aide told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.    One option could be to draw out negotiations with Mexico, the aide said.
    The U.S. government has already been in touch with Mexico over the Supreme Court decision, Roberto Velasco, a senior official in the Mexican foreign ministry, said on Twitter.
    “Mexico isn’t part of the judicial process, which is a unilateral measure by the United States,” Velasco said.
    Mexican officials have privately expressed concern that reinstating the policy could strain Mexico’s ability to absorb more migrants.
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Tuesday it would challenge the judge’s ruling requiring the government to revive the policy, but comply with it “in good faith” while it remains in effect.
    Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, lauded the Supreme Court’s action.
    “President Biden’s partisan reversal of this policy has helped fuel the record surge in illegal migrants and contributed to an environment on the border that is neither safe, orderly nor humane,” Abbott said.
    Arrests of migrants caught crossing the U.S. southern border have reached 20-year highs in recent months.
(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Ross Colvin and Will Dunham)

5/25/2021 Mexico Takes In Fleeing Afghan Journalists, Including From N.Y. Times
Ayda Haydarpoura, a member of an Afghan all-girls robotics team who were evacuated last week from
Afghanistan, talks during an interview with Reuters in Doha, Qatar August 25, 2021. REUTERS/Eman Kamel
    MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico received 124 media workers and their family members from Afghanistan, including New York Times journalists, the government said on Wednesday, as people flee after the Taliban militant group’s takeover.
    They arrived at Mexico City’s international airport early on Wednesday morning, where Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard waited to greet them.
    “Mexico has decided to support human rights applications for refuge, asylum and humanitarian visas for people in Afghanistan who have asked to have this humanitarian condition,” Ebrard said.
    Ebrard helped to arrange the journalists’ departure from Kabul, which included a stopover in Qatar, before their eventual arrival in Mexico, according to the New York Times.
    Mexico was able to “cut through the red tape” to take in the media workers, unlike the United States, the Times said.
    A former Kabul and Mexico bureau chief for the Times who maintained a cordial relationship with Ebrard made the request that Mexico receive the refugees, the Times said.    Other journalists from the Wall Street Journal in Afghanistan could arrive later in Mexico, the Times added.
    The Mexican government touted the operation as an example of its commitment to freedom of expression, despite its past ridicule of coverage by local and international media including the New York Times.
    The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last week as the United States and its allies withdrew troops after two decades and the Western-backed Afghan government and military collapsed.
    The Taliban follow an ultra-hardline version of Sunni Islam. When in power from 1996-2001, guided by its interpretation of Islamic law, the Taliban banned television and it censored news.    It has become more media-savvy since, using social media and promising to allow a free press.
    Taliban fighters, however, have raided homes of journalists’ relatives and killed one family member of a reporter working for Deutsche Welle, the German public broadcaster said.    In July, Reuters journalist Danish Siddiqui was killed in Afghanistan after getting stuck in a Taliban-controlled area.
    Reuters evacuated a group of 73 people made up of its workers and their families to Pakistan from Afghanistan on Monday.
    Afghanistan and Mexico are considered among the most dangerous countries for journalists.    At least 141 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, according to non-profit data.    Journalists are often targeted for reporting on criminal gangs or corrupt officials.
    On Tuesday, five members of Afghanistan’s all-girls robotics team arrived in Mexico.
(Reporting by Frank Jack Daniel and Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Will Dunham)

8/26/2021 Oil up $0.64 to $68.30, DOW up 39 to 35,406.

8/26/2021 France Set To Stop Afghanistan Evacuations From Friday Evening Onwards – PM Castex
FILE PHOTO: French Prime Minister Jean Castex, wearing a protective face mask, gestures as he speaks during the questions
to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris, France, June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
    PARIS (Reuters) – France will no longer be able to evacuate people from Afghanistan from Friday evening onwards, French Prime Minister Jean Castex told RTL radio.
    “We are going to continue until tomorrow evening,” said Castex on Thursday.
    The United States and allies urged people to move away from Kabul airport on Thursday due to the threat of a terror attack by Islamic State militants as Western troops hurry to evacuate as many people as possible before an Aug. 31 deadline.
    Pressure to complete the evacuations of thousands of foreigners and Afghans who helped Western countries during the 20-year war against the Taliban has intensified, with all U.S. and allied troops due to leave the airport next week.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

8/26/2021 UK Sees Very Credible Threat Of Imminent IS Kabul Airport Attack by Michael Holden
FILE PHOTO: Airman assist Afghan evacuees onto a shuttle, August 23, 2021, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar.
Picture taken August 23, 2021. U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Noah D. Coger/Handout via REUTERS/Files
    LONDON (Reuters) - There is “very, very credible” intelligence that Islamic State militants are planning an imminent attack on those gathering at Kabul airport in an attempt to flee Afghanistan, British armed forces minister James Heappey said on Thursday.
    Late on Wednesday, Britain’s foreign ministry advised people not to travel to the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport where thousands are waiting for flights out of the country ahead of an Aug. 31 deadline when the United States and its allies will pull out their remaining troops.
    Heappey confirmed that intelligence of a possible suicide bomb attack by IS militants had become “much firmer.”
    “There is now very, very credible reporting of an imminent attack, and hence why the Foreign Office advice was changed last night, that people should not come to Kabul Airport, they should move to a safe place and await further instructions,” Heappey told BBC radio.
    In later remarks he said: “I can’t stress the desperation of the situation enough. The threat is credible, it is imminent, it is lethal.    We wouldn’t be saying this if we weren’t genuinely concerned about offering Islamic State a target that is just unimaginable.”
    Heappey said there were still very large crowds of desperate people outside the airport which was “a real concern for everybody
    “I think there is an appetite amongst many in the queue to take their chances, but the reporting of this threat is very credible indeed.    There is a real imminence to it.”
    He said that Western nations were relying on the Taliban for security outside the airport, and that despite the warnings there were a large number of people still waiting there.
    “There is every chance that as further reporting comes in, we may be able to change the advice and process people anew, but there is no guarantee of that,” he said.
    Britain has already evacuated more than 12,000 people from Afghanistan since its rapid fall to the Taliban and was planning 11 more flights on Thursday.
    “We think there’s around 400 eligible people, mostly British citizens/dual nationals, in country. Clearly, we are working hard to find routes to safety for them,” Heappey said.
    “I just have to be really honest with people and say that there is every possibility, as we’ve been saying all the way through, that we won’t get everybody out, and the security situation worsening as it has, makes that more likely.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden and David Milliken; Editing by Kate Holton)

8/26/2021 Democrats Urge Biden To Fight Restart Of Trump Immigration Policy by Ted Hesson and Dave Graham
FILE PHOTO: Asylum-seeking migrant families from Central America are processed by the U.S. Border Patrol agents after
crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico in Roma, Texas, U.S., July 30, 2021. REUTERS/Go Nakamura
    WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers and immigration advocates pressed President Joe Biden on Wednesday to take new steps to end an immigration policy begun by his predecessor Donald Trump after the top U.S. court ordered that the “remain in Mexico” program be reinstated.
    The policy put in place by Trump, a Republican, forced thousands of asylum seekers to stay in Mexico to await U.S. hearings.    In one of his first acts as president in January, Biden, a Democrat, ended the policy, formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
    The conservative-majority Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Biden must comply with a Texas-based federal judge’s ruling to revive the program, although federal officials retain some discretion on how to do that. Republican-led Texas and Missouri had challenged Biden’s ending of the program, saying his administration failed to follow the correct legal process.
    The MPP was a cornerstone of Trump’s hardline immigration policies.    Biden promised what he called a more humane approach to immigration.
    U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, called on Biden’s administration “to curtail and put a lawful end to the implementation of this disgraceful policy.”
    Democratic U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard also urged the administration to roll back what she called “an inhumane policy that forced asylum seekers, including women and children, to wait in dangerous border cities, placing them in greater risk of exploitation by cartels and criminal organizations.”
    Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the Los Angeles-based National Immigration Law Center, said the administration should determine how to comply with the court’s order while still trying to end the program.
    “We continue to believe that it was unlawful,” Hincapié said.    “It caused severe damage and chaos and disorder.”
    The administration could potentially take a number of steps to slow-walk implementation of the MPP program, a Democratic congressional aide told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.    One option could be to draw out negotiations with Mexico, the aide said.
    The U.S. government has already been in touch with Mexico over the Supreme Court decision, senior Mexican foreign ministry official Roberto Velasco said on Twitter, calling the judicial process a “unilateral measure” by the United States.
    Mexico is not bound by the court’s decision and will exercise sovereignty in designing and executing its migration policies, the Mexican foreign ministry said in a statement.
    Mexican officials have privately expressed concern that reinstating the policy could strain Mexico’s ability to absorb more migrants.
    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Tuesday it would challenge the judge’s ruling requiring the government to revive the policy, but comply with it “in good faith” while it remains in effect.
    Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, lauded the Supreme Court’s action.
    “President Biden’s partisan reversal of this policy has helped fuel the record surge in illegal migrants and contributed to an environment on the border that is neither safe, orderly nor humane,” Abbott said.
    Arrests of migrants caught crossing the U.S. southern border have reached 20-year highs in recent months.
(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Dave Graham in Mexico City; Editing by Ross Colvin, Will Dunham, Grant McCool)

8/26/2021 U.S. Embassy Alert Advises U.S. Citizens Not To Go To Kabul Airport
FILE PHOTO: Evacuees wait to board a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport
in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 23, 2021. Picture taken August 23, 2021. U.S. Marine Corps/Sgt. Isaiah Campbell/Handout via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. embassy in Kabul advised U.S. citizens not to travel to the Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time, according to an embassy security alert issued on Wednesday.
    Citizens already at the airport’s Abbey Gate, East Gate, and North Gate were advised to leave immediately, said the security alert.
    The alert, posted on the embassy website, gave no reason for why it was issued.
    It followed warnings by U.S. President Joe Biden and other administration officials of a threat by Islamic State to evacuation operations as crowds thronged airport gates, desperate to leave following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
    The alert advised Americans to “be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in large crowds.”
(Reporting by Jonathan Landay and Idrees Ali; Editing by Chris Reese)

8/26/2021 Biden Meets With Tech Company Execs About Cybersecurity by OAN Newsroom
President Joe Biden attends a meeting about cybersecurity, in the East Room of the
White House, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
    Joe Biden met with the heads of Amazon, Apple, JP Morgan, Google and several other companies Wednesday to discuss supply chain security, insurance and other issues.    He claimed cybersecurity is one of his top priorities and urged companies to work alongside his administration to prevent any future attacks.
    “I’ve made this a priority for my administration from the outset,” Biden stated.    “And in May, I issued an executive order to modernize our defenses and improve our federal government’s cybersecurity.”
    The session comes as hackers have targeted a number of U.S. companies in recent months, including a T-Mobile breach which exposed the personal information of more than 53 million customers.    Biden announced his administration had launched a new initiative to focus on strengthening the electric sector.
    “That initiative has already resulted in more than 150 utilities that serve 90 million Americans being deployed or committing to deploy cybersecurity technology that are extending that initiative to gas pipelines as well next,” he stated.
    Biden then warned that he had met with G7 leaders to create an international effort focused on holding cyber criminals accountable, wherever they are.
    “And because cybersecurity is a global issue, we’ve also rallied G7 countries to hold nations who harbor ransomware criminals accountable,” he explained.
    However, Biden’s handling of U.S. cybersecurity has resulted in widespread concern, especially after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin when Biden gave Putin a list of high-profile targets in the U.S. that should not be attacked.
    “I talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructures should be off limits to attack, period, by cyber or any other means,” Biden stated.    “I gave them a list, if I’m not mistaken…16 specific entities, 16 defined as critical infrastructure under U.S. policy.    From the energy sector to our water systems.”
    During the meeting Wednesday, Biden touched on that meeting while doubling down on his claims that his discussion with Putin was not a security threat.
    “And I might add, I had a a summit with Vladimir Putin and made it clear to him that we expected him to hold them accountable as well because they know where they are and who they are,” he noted.
    The private sector, it seems, is moving ahead independently with their own investments into cybersecurity.    Microsoft has pledged to invest $20 billion and Google pledged $10 billion within the next five years.    IBM will be training 150,000 people in cybersecurity skills and Amazon will make security awareness training available for free for all employees.

8/26/2021 Texas Sheriffs Testify In Support Of Border Security Funds by OAN Newsroom
FILE – A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent passing along a
section of border wall in Hidalgo, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay,
    The battle to secure the nation’s southern border intensifies as concerned Texans make their voices heard. While taking to Twitter on Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) threw his support behind border sheriffs who testified about challenges they are facing as illegal border crossings hit record numbers.
    During the hearing on Tuesday, Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez said lacking resources to crack down on illegal immigration poses a safety threat to both landowners and aliens.
    “If you have a individual on a ranch by herself and she’s in fear of her life, and you have an unknown male coming through and she don’t want them on the property, I think they should be arrested versus them getting shot because that’s what some of my citizens are asking,” he stated.    “When can we can shoot?
    Last month, more than 212,000 people attempted to illegally cross Texas’ southern border, which is the largest number since 2000.    However, Sheriff Martinez warned Lone Star State residents are not the only ones feeling the effects.
    “We are faced with unprecedented challenges for our county, along with any other counties along the border, but this crisis is not gonna stay on the border,” he explained.
    Sheriff Martinez went on to suggest it’s not too late to fix the border crisis, but said authorities in Texas will need more resources.
    “So, I support these funds to secure our border because whatever gets through us will go to your constituents, those are the people that will be effected,” he continued.
    Meanwhile, Gov. Abbott urged legislators to act swiftly on requests for more funding and pledged to keep border security as a priority.

8/26/2021 Atlanta Police Data Shows Rise In Crime by OAN Newsroom
A makeshift memorial to Katherine Janness is seen at the entrance to Piedmont Park on Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Atlanta.
Janness, 40, was found stabbed to death in the park in the early hours of July 28. Police say her dog was also killed at the
scene. No arrests have been made and the FBI is assisting local authorities in the case. (AP Photo/Ron Harris)
    Police in Atlanta, Georgia said they are dealing with an uptick in crime that’s spilling into all parts of the city.
    Violent crime appears to be reaching a boiling point in the city with residents demanding change and police officers requesting help.
    According to crime statistics released by the Atlanta Police Department, the city has seen more than 100 homicides so far this year and is begging the community to help aid in reducing crime.    Reports show officers responded to six separate shootings this past weekend alone.
    There has been a surge in drive-by shootings, which has devastated communities and families. However, police noted the killings mostly involve people who know each other.    They are urging people to consider their actions before acting on them.
    By June, reports show there was a 60 percent increase in homicide cases with additional increases in rapes, aggravated assaults and auto thefts in areas that typically do not have a widespread crime problem.
    “You see, it spilling over into communities that have never really seen it at that magnitude before,” stated Antonio Brown of the Atlantic City Council.    “Like, think about Buckhead; when’s the last time, even Midtown, where crime has been at this scale?
    The department has seen an increase in applications for new officers and is encouraging the community to thank officers for their service.

8/26/2021 Afghan-Americans Blame Biden For U.S. Withdrawal Failure by OAN Newsroom
Hundreds of people gather, some holding documents, near an evacuation control checkpoint on the perimeter of the
Hamid Karzai International Airport, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. Western nations warned Thursday
of a possible attack on Kabul’s airport, where thousands have flocked as they try to flee Taliban-controlled Afghanistan
in the waning days of a massive airlift. Britain said an attack could come within hours. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)
    Joe Biden has continued to take heat for the crisis in Afghanistan with many Afghan-American’s blaming the Democrat for removing U.S. personnel too quickly from the country.
    According to multiple Afghan-American activists on Wednesday, the situation in Kabul is growing worse with the Taliban making it impossible for residents to escape.    Activist Mizgon Zahir Darby said she fears for her loved ones who are currently trapped in the country.
    “I have an aunt and a cousin who are in Afghanistan and their families, and what we’re hearing is that the situation is getting worse daily,” she stated.    “So, the (August) 31st date was arbitrarily set without any forethought, but the Taliban have made it even harder to succeed.”
    One Afghan-American restaurant, Farhad Farzon, owner said the White House’s recent decisions have caused a humanitarian crisis.
    “The West, especially Mr. Biden, did a big mistake to withdraw from Afghanistan," he stated.    “That is why we are suffering and paying for this humanitarian crisis.    In my opinion, if they stay, they should have some kind of agreement.    Otherwise it’s going to be a very nasty and tough war again on that region.”
In this image provided by the U.S. Army, a medical officer assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division speaks with an Afghan woman and helps her
with her child during ongoing non-combatant evacuation of U.S. civilian personnel, Special Immigrant Visa applicants, and other at-risk individuals,
at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021. (Sgt. Jillian G. Hix/U.S. Army via AP)
    On Wednesday, the Biden administration said roughly 1,500 U.S. citizens remain in the country with officials beginning to switch gears and remove any military equipment within the area.    Despite the progress made in recent days, critics say the White House’s efforts will not be enough to help those stranded beyond the August 31 deadline.
    “People left behind…we are very sad as an Afghan, as an as an American, as a human being,” stated Afghan-American activist Mohammad Mehdavi.    “I’m very sad for this kind of situation and the world has not seen this kind of situation before.    You know, this was worse than Vietnam.”
    As people try to make their way to the airport in Kabul to escape the country, the intelligence agencies of many allied nations are warning that the route is not safe.

8/26/2021 FBI Raids Detroit City Hall, Council Members’ Homes In Light Of Corruption Probe by OAN Newsroom
An FBI employee guards the entrance doors to the Detroit City Council on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, Thursday,
Aug. 25, 2021, in Detroit. Federal agents searched the homes of two Detroit City Council members, Janeé Ayers and Scott Benson,
and city offices Wednesday, just a few weeks after another official was charged in an alleged bribery scheme. (Jose Juarez/Detroit News via AP)
    FBI agents raided the Detroit City Hall and the homes of city council members amid allegations of public corruption.    On Wednesday, the hours-long raid specifically targeted council members Janee Ayers and Scott Benson as agents executed search warrants on several properties.
    This comes just weeks after one councilman was accused of accepting tens-of-thousands of dollars in bribes over the course of four years.    Though the full extent of the raid is unclear, FBI spokesman Tim Waters said it’s the people’s right to know what’s going on.
    “Why are we doing these search warrants? Because the citizens of Detroit have a right to a city government that is free of corruption…I want to make it clear that no one is being charged today,” he stated.    “Simply, what we’re doing today is collecting evidence, which will be presented to the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Eastern District of Michigan who will make all decisions on charging in this ongoing investigation.”
    No criminal charges have been filed, but prosecutors will soon decide what, if any, charges are issued.

8/26/2021 Atlanta Police Data Shows Rise In Crime by OAN Newsroom
ATLANTA, GA – MARCH 17: Chief Rodney Bryant, of the Atlanta Police Department,
speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Megan Varner/Getty Images)
    Atlanta police said they’ve been dealing with an uptick in crime that’s spilling into all parts of the city.    According to crime statistics released by the police department, the city has seen more than 100 homicides so far this year.    This, compared to 157 in 2020 and 99 in 2019.
    Reports on Tuesday said officers responded to six separate shootings this past weekend alone.    Additionally, reports said most homicides have been taking place between people who’ve had a previous interaction.
    Police said violent crimes like homicides, rapes and aggravated assault are driving the crime rate, along with auto thefts.    Meanwhile, a plan has been announced to fight the increasing crime rate.    The plan includes hiring 250 more police officers, expanding the city’s camera network and the addition of 10,000 more street lights by the end of next year.

8/26/2021 UK To Continue Kabul Evacuations Despite Deadly Airport Attack, Says PM by Andrew MacAskill
    LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his government will continue its evacuation operation in Afghanistan after suspected suicide bombers struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens on Thursday.
    After Johnson chaired an emergency response meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, he said Britain’s airlift would continue “going up until the last moment.”
    “We are able to continue with the programme in the way we have been running it, according to the timetable that we have got and that is what we are going to do,” Johnson said.
    At least two explosions struck the crowded gates of Kabul airport, causing a bloodbath among desperate civilians hoping to flee and casting the final days of the Western airlift of its citizens and allies into chaos.[nL4N2PX0E5]
    Johnson said that the military had been preparing for the evacuation for months and were aware of the security threats.
    “There were always going to be vulnerabilities to terrorism and opportunistic terrorist attacks.    We condemn them, I think they are despicable, but I am afraid they are something we had to prepare for,” he said.
    Johnson paid tribute to the Afghans and members of the U.S. military who were killed.    At least four U.S. military personnel were killed in the blasts at the airport, sources told Reuters.
    “We extend our condolences both to the United States of America and the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
    Johnson would not comment on who the government suspected was behind the attack.
    He said that while some Afghans eligible to reach Britain would not be evacuated before the airlift finishes, the government would pressure the Taliban to let them leave later.
    A Taliban spokesman earlier this week said that the group wants foreign countries to stop taking Afghan experts out of Afghanistan.
    “We also fully expect that those who want to leave Afghanistan after this phase one are allowed to do that by the Taliban,” Johnson said.
    “We will use all the influence that we can bring to bear – political or economic or diplomatic as we said at the G7 – to encourage the new authorities in Afghanistan to do that.”
(Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by Mark Porter and Nick Macfie)

8/26/2021 Peru’s PM Asks Opposition-Led Congress For First Vote Of Confidence by Marco Aquino
Peru's Prime Minister Guido Bellido speaks during an interview with Reuters in Lima, Peru, August 7, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce
    LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian Prime Minister Guido Bellido appeared before the country´s opposition-led Congress on Thursday to ask for a first vote of confidence for the new Cabinet of leftist president Pedro Castillo which many believe lawmakers will refuse to grant.
    In a speech before the vote, Bellido outlined the government’s plans to lift Peru out of “one of the most grave political, social, environmental and health crises of recent decades” and appealed to rival parties to set aside their differences to work together for the nation’s well-being.
    Castillo took office last month after a deeply divisive battle against right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori.    He was declared the winner of the June 6 election by a margin of just 44,000 votes, or a difference of 0.25 percentage point.    This week’s vote of confidence is a key test for his presidency
    “I wish to ratify the commitment of President Castillo to develop public policies and actions that herald a new stage in the life of the country where peace, democracy and equal opportunities for all prevail,” said Bellido, promising “important changes in economic and state structures.”
    He said Peru will step up efforts to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and asked for legislative powers for the executive on tax matters.
    He said the government intends to tap the excess profits of mining companies at times of high international prices of raw materials. Peru is the world’s second-largest copper producer and mining is the engine of the Andean country’s economy.
    Among projects the government would push, he added, was a railway running from the Andes to the Pacific to carry passengers and mining goods, to be funded through a public-private alliance with international partners.
    Bellido, who is also Cabinet chief, addressed Congress amid calls for his resignation and those of other members of the government who are seen as closest to the most radical wing of the ruling Marxist party Peru Libre, which brought Castillo to power in July.
    He faces an investigation of an alleged “apology for terrorism” over old Facebook posts in which he appeared to defend a former rebel from the Shining Path Maoist group.    Bellido denies the accusation and no charges have been filed.
    Government sources had suggested that Castillo would seek to reshuffle his Cabinet in a bid to stave off its rejection by Congress.    The congressional vote on the Cabinet is expected to occur late on Thursday afternoon, according to lawmakers.
    In the not unlikely event that the Cabinet is rejected by the centre-right coalition that runs Peru’s Congress, the mining country could face a fresh political crisis.    Should its lawmakers then reject a second Cabinet drawn up by Castillo, he would then have the option to close Congress.    In September 2019, former president Martín Vizcarra closed Congress, setting in motion Peru’s worst political crisis in two decades which culminated last November in the swearing in of three presidents in a week and violent clashes between police and protests that left two dead.    As Bellido spoke, dozens of people demonstrated outside both in favour of and against Castillo’s Cabinet, in a sign of the country’s persistent political divide.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino in Lima; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

8/26/2021 At Least 12 U.S. Troops Killed In Kabul Airport Attack, Officials Say by Idrees Ali and Jonathan Landay
Injured people arrive at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan August 26, 2021. ASVAKA NEWS/via REUTERS
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) -At least a dozen U.S. troops were killed and several others wounded in Thursday’s suicide bombings at Kabul airport, U.S. sources told Reuters, in what the Pentagon said was a “complex attack” during its evacuation mission from Afghanistan.
    In a statement, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby confirmed multiple U.S. fatalities but did not give details.    The U.S. servicemembers were among those killed when at least two blasts tore through crowds thronging the airport gates.
    Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that at least a dozen U.S. personnel were killed.    Officials said that number could change and was expected to increase. Several other U.S. troops were wounded, the officials said.
    A Taliban official said at least 13 people including children had been killed in the attack and 52 were wounded, though it was clear from video footage that those figures were far from complete.
    Kirby is expected to hold a briefing at 3 p.m. EST (1900 GMT).
    U.S. officials have said there are about 5,200 American troops providing security at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.    The suicide bombing attacks came after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area around the airport because of a threat by Islamic State militants.
    The U.S. military death toll in the Afghanistan war since 2001 stood at roughly 2,500.
    In an alert issued on Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul had advised citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and said those already at the gates should leave immediately, citing unspecified “security threats.”
    A source familiar with U.S. congressional briefings said U.S. officials strongly believe that the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), after a historic name for the region, was responsible. ISIS-K is opposed by the United States and the Taliban.
    Kirby said one blast occurred near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other close to the nearby Baron Hotel.
    “The explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” Kirby said on Twitter.
    A massive airlift of foreign nationals and their families as well as some Afghans has been under way since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on Aug. 15, capping a swift advance across the country as U.S. and allied troops withdrew.
    The United States has been racing to carry out the airlift before its military is set to fully withdraw from the country by Aug. 31.    There was no indication from the White House that Biden plans to change the Aug. 31 withdrawal target as a result of the attacks, a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.
    Biden was in a meeting with security officials about the situation in Afghanistan, where the United States is in the final steps of ending its 20-year war, when the explosions were reported, according to a person familiar with the matter.
    Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley and Vice President Kamala Harris monitored events via video links.
    A Western diplomat in Kabul said that areas outside the airport gates had been “incredibly crowded” again despite the latest warnings.
    The United States and its allies have mounted one of the biggest air evacuations in history, bringing out about 95,700 people, including 13,400 on Wednesday, the White House said on Thursday.
    Blinken said on Wednesday that there were still about 1,500 U.S. citizens in Afghanistan, and that at least 4,500 U.S. citizens had already been evacuated from the country.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert, Idrees Ali, Mark Hosenball, Jonathan Landay, David Brunnstrom, Humeyra Pamuk and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Will Dunham, John Stonestreet and Daniel Wallis)

8/26/2021 Factbox: Recent Major Attacks Linked To Islamic State In Afghanistan
Crowds of people show their documents to U.S. troops outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan August 26, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
    (Reuters) – At least two explosions went off outside Kabul’s airport on Thursday, hours after the United States and its allies warned of possible attacks by Islamic State on crowds gathered there trying to flee Afghanistan after the takeover by the Taliban.
    At least 13 people were killed and scores wounded.
    The Taliban, whose members are guarding the perimeter outside the airport, are enemies of the Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) after an old name for the region.
    Here are some other attacks linked to the Afghan offshoot of Islamic State in the past 12 months:
May 15 – An explosion inside a mosque on the outskirts of Kabul killed at least 12 people during Friday prayers and was claimed by Islamic State.
May 8 – Explosions caused by a car bomb and mortars outside a school in Kabul killed at least 80 people, mostly female students.    Afghan officials suspected Islamic State.
March 2 – Three female media workers were shot dead in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Islamic State claimed responsibility.
Dec 10, 2020 – Islamic State claimed responsibility for the killing of a female TV presenter and women’s rights activist in Afghanistan.
Nov 2 – Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on Kabul University that killed at least 35 people, mostly students, according to government sources.
Oct 24 – Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing at an education centre in Kabul that killed 24 people, including teenage students, and wounded dozens more.
Aug 2 – Islamic State gunmen attacked a prison in the eastern city of Jalalabad, killing at least 29 people and freeing more than 300 prisoners.
(Compiled by Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

8/26/2021 UK Says It Has Evacuated Over 13,000 People From Afghanistan
FILE PHOTO: British nationals and Afghan evacuees depart a flight from Afghanistan
at RAF Brize Norton, Britain August 26, 2021. Jacob King/Pool via REUTERS
    (Reuters) – The United Kingdom said on Thursday it had evacuated more than 13,000 people from Afghanistan, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying his government would continue with its evacuation operation in Kabul after an attack near the airport.
    “The military evacuation of Afghan and British nationals, under Operation PITTING, has so far extracted 13,146 people out of Kabul since the mission began on Friday 13 August,” Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement late on Thursday.
    The total included embassy staff, British nationals, those eligible under the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy programme and a number of nationals from partner nations, the statement added.
    A suicide bomb attack on Thursday claimed by Islamic State on the crowded gates of Kabul airport killed scores of civilians and 12 U.S. troops, throwing into mayhem the airlift of tens of thousands of Afghans desperate to flee.
    After Johnson chaired an emergency response meeting on the situation in Afghanistan, he said Britain’s airlift would continue “going up until the last moment.”
    Britain’s Foreign Office issued a new advisory late on Thursday saying there was a “high threat of terrorist attack” around the Kabul airport.
    The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan earlier this month from a U.S.-backed government, sending thousands fleeing and potentially heralding a return to the militants’ austere and autocratic rule of two decades ago.
(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)

8/26/2021 Joe Biden Speaks On Deadly Afghan Attack by OAN Newsroom
Joe Biden bows his head in a moment of silence as he speaks about the situation in Kabul, Afghanistan from the
East Room of the White House on August 26, 2021 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
    Joe Biden ordered strikes on ISIS after 13 U.S. service members were killed and another 18 injured following multiple explosions near the Kabul airport.    Speaking from the White House on Thursday, Biden said the fallen soldiers were heroes and the “backbone of America.”
    He went on to say, “each one of these women and men of our armed forces are the heirs of that tradition of sacrifice of volunteering to go in harms way to risk everything, not for glory, not for profit, but to defend what we love and the people we love.”
    Officials have confirmed at least three explosions occurred near the Hamid Karzi Airport and reports on the ground claimed there was a third one just hours later.    General Kenneth McKenzie also confirmed there were two suicide bombers: one at Abbey Gate and the second one in the vicinity of the Barron Hotel.
    Biden warned to those who carried out the attacks or wished America harm, the U.S. would not forgive nor forget.    He added, “we will hunt you down and make you pay” as he asserted these terrorists would not win.
    General McKenzie revealed there continues to be extremely active threats against the airport.    He also said there are no plans to send more American troops to Kabul amid the attack, stating “we have the forces we need to protect ourselves there.”
    Meanwhile, the CIA is conducting covert operations outside of the Kabul airport to extract U.S. citizens from Afghanistan.    General McKenzie reported the U.S. has been working with the Taliban to secure the area and expand the security perimeter.
    “We’ve identified some roads that we would like for them to close.    They’ve identified that they will be willing to close those roads because we assessed the threat of a suicide-born vehicle threat is high right now,” he explained.    “We want to reduce the possibility of one of those vehicles getting close so we’re actually moving very aggressively to do that.”
    Biden addressed questions that have been raised on his administration’s reliance on Taliban cooperation to get people out of Afghanistan by saying they had an incentive for their own self-interest to do so. Speaking on the withdrawal efforts, Biden said the U.S. would continue to go by the August 31 deadline.
    However, he said he believed there would be other opportunities to get people out of the country.
    “We’re going to be in a circumstance where there are, there will be, I believe, numerous opportunities to continue to provide access for additional persons to get out of Afghanistan,” he explained.    “Either through means that we provide or are provided through the cooperation with the Taliban.”
Satellite image shows Kabul International Airport and the location of an explosion near the Abbey Gate.
    Biden went on to say he carried full responsibility, but then passed blame onto President Trump for making a deal with the Taliban in the first place.
    “You know as well as I do, that the former president made a deal with the Taliban.    He would get all American forces out of Afghanistan by May 1,” he stated.    “In return, the commitment was made, and that was a year before, in return he was given the commitment the Taliban would continue to attack others but would not attack any American forces.”
    A recent report from the White house gave an update on the number of evacuees rescued from Afghanistan in the last 24-hours.    As of Thursday morning, an official confirmed approximately 14,000 people were cleared out of the region in that time frame.    Seventeen U.S. military flights carried roughly 5,000 evacuees out of Kabul while 74 coalition flights carried around 8,300 people.
    The U.S. now says 104,000 people have been evacuated since August 14.    Meanwhile, a group of House members have called on Biden to extend the timeline of U.S. troops stationed in Afghanistan.
    In the meantime, Americans are being asked to be aware of their surroundings at all times.    Several nations are echoing warnings regarding the security situation around the airport.    Both Australia and the U.K. have urged people in the area to move away from the airport due to terror threats.
    Biden concluded by insisting he believed it was time to end the 20 year war.
Smoke rises from explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. The explosion went off outside Kabul’s
airport, where thousands of people have flocked as they try to flee the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan. Officials offered no
casualty count, but a witness said several people appeared to have been killed or wounded Thursday. (AP Photo/Wali Sabawoon)

8/26/2021 U.S. Flags Lowered To Half-Staff To Honor Service Member And Other Victim Deaths In Afghanistan by OAN Newsroom
The U.S. flag flies at half mast over the White House after Joe Biden delivered remarks on the terror attack at Hamid Karzai International
Airport, and the US service members and Afghan victims killed and wounded, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)
    U.S. flags were lowered to half-staff in honor of the service members killed after suicide bombers hit Kabul.    White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said U.S. flags across the country would be lowered to half-staff as a mark of respect on Thursday, where they would remain until Monday night.
    Psaki went on to announce, “The United States flag will be flown at half-staff at the White House, upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, all naval vessels of the federal government in the District of Columbia, and throughout the United States and its territories.”
    Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also ordered for flags to be flown at half-staff at the U.S. Capitol.

8/26/2021 2 Of 6 Calif. Families Trapped In Kabul Return Home by OAN Newsroom
In this handout image provided by the Bundeswehr, evacuees from Kabul sit inside a military aircraft as
they arrive at Tashkent Airport in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.(Photo by Handout/Bundeswehr via Getty Images)
    Two of six families from southern California have returned home after being trapped in the chaos in Afghanistan.
    According to Thursday reports, there were still four families from the Cajon Valley School District trying to get back to the U.S.
    It was reported on Wednesday, six families were stranded in Kabul in attempt to board military airplanes before the August 31 deadline. The families have a combined 23 students.
    Officials for the district just outside of San Diego said the families were visiting relatives in Afghanistan and added the trip was not school sanctioned. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has been working hard to get the families home and has notified the White     House, State Department and Pentagon.
    “Joe Biden has let terrorists overrun our embassy, back us into a corner, and prevent our planes from flying our citizens home,” he stated on Twitter.    “Unbelievable.”
    Biden has maintained his August 31 withdrawal date.

8/26/2021 Several Laws In Texas To Take Effect Sept. 1 by OAN Newsroom
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in Lubbock. (JUSTIN REX/ AP photo)
    Multiple controversial laws have been slated to take effect in Texas in September.    Starting September 1, anyone over the age of 21 not prohibited from possessing a gun will be able to carry a handgun openly or concealed without a license or training.
    Those purchasing a firearm have usually had to obtain a license to carry, which includes a background check, classroom training and range qualification. Under the bill known as Constitutional Carry however, that license would be made optional.
    Although, background checks would still be required when purchasing from a licensed dealer.
    “We’ve had about a 60 to 70 percent reduction since Constitutional Carry passed,” stated Josh Felker, owner of Lonestar Handgun.    “Just make sure you’re getting quality information versus misinformation because the misinformation could still find you in court, could still find you with a ticketable offense.”
    Another popular measure soon taking effect includes the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act, where professional sports teams would have contracts with the state requiring them to play the national anthem before the start of each game.
    In addition, no business or government entity would be allowed to require someone to provide a vaccine passport or any other vaccine information under SB 968.
    Abbott went on to explain, “we want to make sure you have the freedom to go where you want without limits.”
    These are only a few of several laws taking effect in the Lone Star State on September 1.

8/26/2021 10 Govt Agencies Want To Expand Use Of Facial Recognition Technology by OAN Newsroom
A live demonstration uses artificial intelligence and facial recognition in dense crowd spatial-temporal technology at the
Horizon Robotics exhibit at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. (Photo by DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images)
    Federal agencies have planned to expand the use of facial recognition technology in the next few years.    According to a Government Accountability Office report on Tuesday, 10 federal agencies would begin implementing artificial intelligence technology in more aspects of their work.
    The report indicated many of the agencies already use facial recognition to give employees access to their the buildings or computers.    However, the agencies have wanted to expand such technology to track crime and investigate people of interest.
    Meanwhile, critics argue the agencies will be violating citizen’s rights to privacy with more accurate facial recognition technology.

8/27/2021 Oil down $0.13 to $67.84, DOW down 192 to 35,213.

8/27/2021 Peru’s Congress Pushes Cabinet Confirmation Vote To Friday, Extending Uncertainty by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun
Prime Minister Guido Bellido arrives to face a critical vote of no confidence by the
opposition-led Congress, in Lima, Peru August 26, 2021. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda
    LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s Congress on Thursday pushed back to Friday a key vote to confirm or reject a new leftist Cabinet nominated by President Pedro Castillo, extending the uncertainty in a country where conflicts between the executive and legislature loom large.
    Castillo, who took office just last month, is Peru’s fifth president in five years due to those tensions, which included several impeachment proceedings against previous leaders. The vote of confidence is a key test for his fledging presidency
    Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Guido Bellido asked Congress for a “yes” vote and outlined plans to lift Peru out of “one of the most grave political, social, environmental and health crises of recent decades.”
    Bellido began his speech in quechua, the most common indigenous language in Peru, which prompted the head of the legislature to ask him to speak in Spanish because she could not understand him.
    Castillo won a deeply divisive election this year, beating his rival by a margin of 0.25 percentage point.    But he won overwhelming support in quechua-speaking parts of the country.
    Lawmakers publicly debated throughout the afternoon, although it was not possible in many cases to know which way they would vote.    It is still unclear whether the Cabinet will be confirmed or not.
    Castillo belongs to the Marxist-Leninist Free Peru party, which is allied to a more moderate leftist group in Congress.    But put together they hold only a third of all votes.    They need a simple majority for confirmation.
    In the not unlikely event that the Cabinet is rejected by the center-right coalition that runs Peru’s Congress, Castillo will have to present a new Cabinet led by a new prime minister.    But if Congress rejects this second Cabinet as well, Castillo would have the option to close Congress instead, while keeping his Cabinet in place.
    “I wish to ratify the commitment of President Castillo to develop public policies and actions that herald a new stage in the life of the country where peace, democracy and equal opportunities for all prevail,” said Bellido, promising “important changes in economic and state structures.”
    As Bellido spoke, dozens of people demonstrated outside both in favor of and against Castillo’s Cabinet, in a sign of the country’s persistent political divide.
    Bellido offered several policy announcements in his speech, including that Peru will step up efforts to purchase COVID-19 vaccines and asked for legislative powers for the executive on tax matters.
    He said the government intends to tap the excess profits of mining companies at times of high international prices of raw materials.    Peru is the world’s second-largest copper producer and mining is the engine of the Andean country’s economy.
    Among projects the government would push, he added, was a railway running from the Andes to the Pacific to carry passengers and mining goods, to be funded through a public-private alliance with international partners.
    Bellido, who is also Cabinet chief, addressed Congress amid calls for his resignation and those of other members of the government who belong to the Peru Libre party, which brought Castillo to power.
    He faces an investigation into an alleged “apology for terrorism” over old Facebook posts in which he appeared to defend a former rebel from the Shining Path Maoist group.    Bellido denies the accusation and no charges have been filed.
    Government sources had suggested that Castillo would seek to reshuffle his Cabinet in a bid to stave off its rejection by Congress, but in the end no changes were made.
(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Marcelo Rochabrun in Lima; Writing by Aislinn Laing and Marcelo Rochabrun; Editing by Matthew Lewis and Michael Perry)

8/27/2021 Argentina’s President Charged With Allegedly Breaking Quarantine To Host Party - Media
FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez speaks during a brief joint news conference with Spain's Prime Minister
Pedro Sanchez (not pictured) at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, May 11, 2021. Gabriel Bouys/Pool via REUTERS
    BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine prosecutors have charged President Alberto Fernandez with allegedly breaking a mandatory quarantine, local media reported on Thursday, when he and his partner hosted a birthday party last year with friends.
    Dailies Clarin and La Nacion reported the news, citing prosecutors, who did not immediately respond to a comment request from Reuters.
    The case against Fernandez has grabbed headlines in past weeks as Argentina imposed stricter lockdowns than most countries to deal with the pandemic.    In July of last year, Fernandez himself had banned all social gatherings before hosting one for the birthday of Fabiola Yanez, his partner.