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October 18, 2021

Report: 38 percent of US households face serious financial problems

A new poll found that nearly 40 percent of American households faced significant financial problems within the last few months.

The data shows that 30 percent of households earning under $50,000 a year said they lost all their savings since the start of the pandemic.

Of the respondents who reported severe financial problems, 57 percent of Latinos, 56 percent of Black people, and 50 percent of Indigenous Americans said they’d faced issues in the past few months.

The report indicates that government assistance didn’t alleviate many Americans’ financial burdens, as 67 percent said they’d received financial assistance within recent months.

Additionally, 69 percent of participants reported their children fell behind in school because of the pandemic.

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Serious financial problems afflict 40% of US households in recent months

October 18, 2021

Foreigner fueled Giuliani associate’s donations, prosecutors say

Prosecuting attorneys opened the trial against an associate of Rudy Giuliani this past week, arguing that a $1 million donation from a Russian financier was meant to influence US politicians illicitly.

The trial of Lev Parnas and Andrey Kukushkin opened with Assistant US Attorney Aline Flodr alleging that the defendants conspired to hide illegal foreign campaign contributions.

Only about $100,000 of that amount ever made it into the possession of politicians, the lawyers said.

Flodr called Andry Muraviev a “Russian tycoon.”

The first witness, Wesley Duncan, testified that he returned a $10,000 donation to Parnas because his campaign was dubious of its legality.

“As soon as we found that out, we sent it back,” said Duncan, a former Republican candidate for Nevada Attorney General.

Giuliani is not a defendant in the case, and prosecutors haven’t referenced him so far.

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Prosecutor: Foreigner fueled Giuliani associate’s donations

October 17, 2021

Jan. 6 committee issues subpoena for former DOJ official, Trump ally

The House Select committee investigating Jan. 6 subpoenaed ex-Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark who promised to pursue former President Trump’s election fraud claims.

“The Select Committee needs to understand all the details about efforts inside the previous administration to delay the certification of the 2020 election and amplify misinformation about the election results,” said Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-MS). “We need to understand Mr. Clark’s role in these efforts at the Justice Department and learn who was involved across the administration.”

Clark was a prominent figure in a recent Senate report detailing Trump’s attempts to pressure the DOJ to help him overturn the 2020 election results.

Clark has an Oct. 29 deadline to produce records and testify.

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Jan. 6 panel issues subpoena for Trump ally, ex-DOJ official Jeffrey Clark

October 17, 2021

Democrat challenge to Trump border wall dismissed by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court dismissed a House Democrat challenge to former President Trump’s diversion of military funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border.

The Biden administration requested the high court to dismiss a lower court ruling which found House Democrats had standing to sue over border wall funding. The executive branch argued that the move would “open the courthouse doors to a sweeping range,” of confrontations.

The Supreme Court dismissed the case as moot, avoiding a rare legal battle over the Appropriations Clause of the Constitution. House Democrats initially argued Trump usurped their authority by redirecting the funds.

House Democrats argued the validity of their suit, citing “remarkable circumstances.”

“The executive branch provides no reason to think that anything like the scenario here is likely to play out again,” the group argued.

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Supreme Court dismisses House Democrats’ challenge to Trump border wall moves

October 17, 2021

US reopens borders for the fully vaccinated

Next month, America’s borders will reopen to vaccinated nonessential travelers, bringing an end to a 19-month stoppage due to the pandemic.

The Biden administration said the policy would take effect in early November and only applies to legal entry.

Officials say travelers entering the US by vehicles, rail, and ferries will disclose their vaccination status as part of the standard admissions process. Officers may verify travelers’ proof of vaccination at their discretion.

According to the CDC, the US will accept any vaccine approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization — including the AstraZeneca vaccine, widely used in Canada.

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US to reopen land borders in November for fully vaccinated

October 17, 2021

Father calls on Facebook for action after video of his daughter’s murder resurfaces

TV news journalist Alison Parker was shot and killed while reporting in 2015, and video of her murder keeps resurfacing on Facebook and Instagram. Parker’s family asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against the social media monolith for failing to remove video of her death.

Andy Parker, Alison’s father, said the company violates its terms of service in hosting videos on Facebook and Instagram that glorify violence.

In Aug. 2015, a former co-worker shot and killed Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward. The gunman recorded the shootings, and that’s the footage that keeps resurfacing on the platforms.

“The reality is that Facebook and Instagram put the onus on victims and their families to do the policing of graphic content — requiring them to relive their worst moments over and over to curb the proliferation of these videos,” the complaint reads.

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Slain reporters father takes on Facebook over video of shooting death

October 16, 2021

Real estate heir Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison without parole

New York real estate heir and documentary subject Robert Durst received a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his former best friend Susan Berman in 2000.

Durst was found guilty of first-degree murder in September. Prosecutors alleged that Durst killed Berman because she planned to go to the police about a phony alibi she provided for him when his wife Kathie Durst disappeared.

“It’s a rare occasion for a judge to hear such an extraordinary case, extraordinary presentation by counsel,” said Superior Court Judge Mark Windham. “You, each in your own way, impressed me with phenomenal, unbelievably wonderful work.”

The case against Durst, 78, was the subject of the 2015 HBO docuseries “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.”

During the series’ production, a live microphone caught Durst speaking to himself in the bathroom after being confronted with a damning piece of evidence.

“What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” Durst said in the footage.

Durst’s lawyers said they plan to appeal the sentence.

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Robert Durst sentenced to life in prison for murdering Susan Berman

October 16, 2021

Head of Chicago police union urges cops to defy vaccine mandate

In Chicago, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara called on police officers to defy the city’s vaccine mandate.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s mandate requires city workers to report their vaccination status by Friday. After that, workers who don’t agree to semiweekly COVID-19 testing will be placed on administrative leave.

Cantazara posted a video vowing to challenge the mandate in court if Lightfoot’s administration tries to enforce it.

“It’s safe to say that the city of Chicago will have a police force at 50 percent or less for this weekend coming up,” Catanzara said in the video.

Lightfoot dismissed most of Catanzara’s statements as “untrue or patently false.”

“The data is very clear. It is unfortunate that the FOP leadership has chosen to put out a counter-narrative,” Lightfoot said. “But the fact of the matter is, if you are not vaccinated, you are playing with your life, the life of your family, the life of your colleagues and members of the public.”

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Chicago police union head urges cops to defy vaccine mandate

October 16, 2021

Bill Cosby accuser files new lawsuit over 1990 assault

A Bill Cosby accuser filed a new lawsuit accusing the actor of sexual assault in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 1990, before the state’s two-year window to file old sexual assault claims expires.

Artist Lili Bernard said Cosby’s recent release from prison partially prompted her decision. In June, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned Cosby’s 2018 conviction on procedural grounds.

“When Bill Cosby was released, it retraumatized me, it terrified me. I was really horrified for any woman or girl that would come into contact with him,” Bernard said. “The Pennsylvania Supreme Court let a predator back on the streets.”

A spokesperson for Cosby said that the “look-back” windows, like the one passed in New Jersey, violate a person’s right to due process.

“This is just another attempt to abuse the legal process, by opening up the flood gates for people who never presented an ounce of evidence,” said spokesperson Andrew Wyatt.

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Woman in new lawsuit accuses Bill Cosby of rape in hotel room in 1990

October 16, 2021

Report: households will pay more to heat their homes this winter

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a report predicting that rises fuel prices and demand will cause home heating costs to increase significantly.

EIA officials say all residential consumers should expect to pay more for heat, but the type of fuel you use will determine by how much.

Roughly half of all households in the nation use natural gas, and they will pay upwards of 30 percent this winter. Homes heated with electricity will pay 6 percent more, according to the report.

The report says it will cost natural gas consumers an average of $746 to heat their homes this winter, while electric heat users will spend about $1,268.

Households that use heating oil or propane will experience an even higher spike in costs. Heating oil consumers will pay 43 percent more on average, and propane users will pay 54 percent more.

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U.S. households will pay more to heat their homes this winter, officials say

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