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How To Avoid Movie, TV Spoilers Online

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 02:07

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It's been a big year for twists and turns at the movies — as superheroes, horror thrillers and murder mystery whodunnits dominate the box office.

But for audiences excited to see the big reveals on the big screen, the internet can be a minefield for spoilers.

Don't worry; Newsy isn't spoiling any movies here, and "Glass Onion" actress Kathryn Hahn is making sure of it.

"What I do hope is that when people see it, they keep all the twists and turns to themselves so people can be walk in with as little info as they have," Hahn said.

The "Knives Out" sequel from director Rian Johnson debuted in theaters during Thanksgiving and made $9.4 million in its opening weekend — its only weekend on the big screen.

The film, distributed by Netflix, is leaving theaters after only five days and headed to the streaming platform at the end of December. For fans who don't get the chance to see it on the big screen, that means one whole month trying to avoid spoilers on the internet.

SEE MORE: 'Glass Onion' Review: A Middling Satire With Appealing Performances

"Any corner of the internet you look — InstagramTwitter, Reddit, YouTube, TikTok — they're everywhere," said Leo Rydel, a critic and content creator at Geekly Goods.

New releases like "Glass Onion" as well as fan-favorite franchise films like "Wakanda Forever" spark major discussion on platforms like TikTok, where videos tagged with #WakandaForever have already garnered 4.5 billion views.

"I think the speculations are really cool and keeps the conversation engaging and going, but when they say something that actually gives away something in the movie, that's when it's overstepping the boundaries," Rydel said. "So mute, mute, mute and keep away from some of those update accounts and some of those smaller accounts that are always sharing content like that."

Platforms like Twitter let users mute keywords from showing up on feeds, and some browser add-ons take it further by hiding entire pages and posts — even from official accounts.

Just days after the release of "Wakanda Forever," the official Instagram page for Marvel published a seemingly-simple new character poster — but one that revealed a pretty big plot point for the new movie.

"That's a whole plotline that's just completely spoiled that a lot of people were speculating about," Rydel said. "A lot of fans that maybe just didn't get the time, but they still want to experience that reveal — that's a bit early for them."

As the holiday movie lineup picks up — with highly-anticipated films like "Avatar: The Way of the Water" and the streaming debut of "Glass Onion" on the horizon — best of luck in avoiding those pesky spoilers!

GOP-Controlled Arizona County Refuses To Certify Election

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 01:57

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Republican officials in a rural Arizona county refused on Monday to certify the 2022 election, despite no evidence of anything wrong with the count, amid pressure from prominent Republicans to reject results showing Democrats winning top races.

State election officials had said they would sue Cochise County if the board of supervisors missed Monday's deadline to approve the official tally of votes, known as the canvass. The two Republican county supervisors delayed the canvass vote until hearing once more about concerns over the certification of ballot tabulators, though election officials have repeatedly said the equipment is properly approved.

State Elections Director Kori Lorick has said the machines are properly certified for use in elections. She wrote in a letter last week that the state would sue to force Cochise County supervisors to certify, and if they don't do so by the deadline for the statewide canvass on Dec. 5, the county's votes would be excluded.

That would threaten to flip the victor in at least two close races — a U.S. House seat and state schools chief — from a Republican to a Democrat.

A Cochise County voter and a group representing retirees filed a lawsuit late Monday asking a judge to order the board of supervisors to canvass the election. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs's office had previously said it would sue if the county missed the deadline.

"The Board of Supervisors had all of the information they needed to certify this election and failed to uphold their responsibility for Cochise voters," Sophia Solis, a spokeswoman for Hobbs, said in an email.

Arizona law requires county officials to approve the election canvass, and lawyers in several counties warned Republican supervisors they could face criminal charges for failing to carry out their obligations.

Election results have largely been certified without issue in jurisdictions across the country. That's not been the case in Arizona, which was a focal point for efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election and push false narratives of fraud.

Officials in a northeastern Pennsylvania county where paper shortages caused Election Day ballot problems deadlocked Monday on whether to report official vote tallies to the state, effectively preventing their certification of the results.

Arizona was long a GOP stronghold, but this month Democrats won most of the highest profile races over Republicans who aggressively promoted Trump's 2020 election lies. Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for governor who lost to Hobbs, and Mark Finchem, the candidate for secretary of state, have refused to acknowledge their losses.

SEE MORE: Election Skeptics Fall Far Short Of Goal To Observe 'Every Ballot Box'

They blame Republican election officials in Maricopa County, the state's largest, including metro Phoenix, for a problem with some ballot printers. Officials in Maricopa County said everyone had a chance to vote and all legal ballots were counted.

Navajo, a rural Republican-leaning county, and Coconino, which is staunchly Democratic, voted to certify on Monday. In conservative Mohave and Yavapai counties, supervisors voted to canvass the results despite their own misgivings and several dozen speakers urging them not to.

"Delaying this vote again will only prolong the agony without actually changing anything," said Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius, a Republican. The county last week delayed its certification vote to register a protest against voting issues in Maricopa County.

In Cochise County, GOP supervisors abandoned plans to hand count all ballots, which a court said would be illegal, but demanded last week that the secretary of state prove vote-counting machines were legally certified before they would approve the election results. On Monday, they said they wanted to hear again about those concerns.

There are two companies that are accredited by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to conduct testing and certification of voting equipment, such as the electronic tabulators used in Arizona to read and count ballots.

Conspiracy theories surrounding this process surfaced in early 2021, focused on what appeared to be an outdated accreditation certificate for one of the companies that was posted online. Federal officials investigated and reported that an administrative error had resulted in the agency failing to reissue an updated certificate as the company remained in good standing and underwent audits in 2018 and in early 2021.

Officials also noted federal law dictates the only way a testing company can lose certification is for the commission to revoke it, which did not occur.

Lake has pointed to problems on Election Day in Maricopa County, where printers at some vote centers produced ballots with markings that were too light to be read by on-site tabulators. Lines backed up amid the confusion, and Lake says an unknown number of her supporters may have been dissuaded from voting as a result.

She filed a public records lawsuit last week, demanding the county produce documents shedding light on the issue before voting to certify the election on Monday. Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich also demanded an explanation ahead of the vote.

SEE MORE: Congress' Full Docket After Thanksgiving

The county responded on Sunday, saying nobody was prevented from voting, and 85% of vote centers never had lines longer than 45 minutes. Most vote centers with long lines had others nearby with shorter waits, county officials said.

The response blamed prominent Republicans, including party chair Kelli Ward, for sowing confusion by telling supporters on Twitter not to place their ballots in a secure box to be tabulated later by more robust machines at county elections headquarters.

The county said that just under 17,000 Election Day ballots were placed in those secure boxes and all were counted. Officials also said the problem was distributed across the county, dispelling claims by Lake that it was concentrated in Republican areas. Election Day ballots went overwhelmingly for Republicans, though only 16% of the 1.56 million votes cast in Maricopa County were made in-person on Election Day.

Maricopa County supervisors heard for hours from dozens of people angry about the election, some demanding the county hold a revote, though there is no provision in state law allowing that. Supervisors unanimously approved the canvass.

"This was not a perfect election," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, a Republican. "But it was safe and secure. The votes have been counted accurately."

Meanwhile, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner said he would decide in the next few days whether to allow an election challenge by Abraham Hamadeh, the Republican candidate for Arizona attorney general, to move ahead.

Warner, who was appointed to the court in 2007 by Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano, spoke after a Monday afternoon hearing. Hamadeh filed the lawsuit earlier this month against his opponent, Democrat Kris Mayes, who holds a 510-vote lead in the race, along with every county recorder in Arizona and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is now governor-elect.

The lawsuit alleges errors and inaccuracies at some voting centers and seeks to have Hamadeh installed as attorney general. A lawyer for Mayes says the suit is premature.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

5 Officers Charged After Black Man Paralyzed In Police Van

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 01:19

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Five Connecticut police officers were charged Monday with cruelly neglecting a Black man after he was partially paralyzed in the back of a police van, despite his repeated and desperate pleas for help.

Randy Cox, 36, was being driven to a New Haven police station June 19 for processing on a weapons charge when the driver braked hard at an intersection to avoid a collision, causing Cox to fly headfirst into a metal partition in the van.

“I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash.

As Cox pleaded for help, some of the officers at the detention center mocked him and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell prior to his eventual transfer to a hospital.

“I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention center.

“You didn't crack it, no, you drank too much ... Sit up,” said Sgt. Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged.

Cox was later found to have a fractured neck and was paralyzed.

The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both misdemeanors. The others charged were Officer Oscar Diaz, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier and Officer Luis Rivera. All have been on administrative leave since last summer.

Messages seeking comment were sent to attorneys for the officers.

Though each officer faces the same charges, some seemed to take Cox's pleas more seriously than others. Diaz, who drove the transport van, pulled over after Cox complained of his injury, spoke to him and requested that an ambulance meet them at the detention center. However, Diaz did not render medical attention to Cox as he lay face down on the floor.

SEE MORE: Crump To Represent Randy Cox, Black Man Hurt In Police Van

The officers turned themselves in at a state police barracks Monday. Each was processed, posted a $25,000 bond and are due back in court Dec. 8, according to a news release from state police.

New Haven's police chief, speaking to reporters Monday along with the city's mayor, said it was important for the department to be transparent and accountable.

“You can make mistakes, but you can’t treat people poorly, period. You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated,” said Police Chief Karl Jacobson.

The case has drawn outrage from civil rights advocates like the NAACP, along with comparisons to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Gray, who was also Black, died in 2015 after he suffered a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a city police van.

An attorney for Cox's family, Ben Crump, said Monday that the New Haven officers need to be held accountable

“It is important — when you see that video of how they treated Randy Cox and the actions and inactions that led to him being paralyzed from his chest down — that those police officers should be held to the full extent of the law,” Crump said

Cox was arrested June 19 after police said they found him in possession of a handgun at a block party. The charges against him were later dropped.

Cox’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and the five officers in September. The lawsuit alleges negligence, exceeding the speed limit and failure to have proper restraints in the police van

Four of the officers filed motions last week claiming qualified immunity from the lawsuit, arguing that their actions in the case did not violate any “clearly established” legal standard.

New Haven officials announced a series of police reforms this summer stemming from the case, including eliminating the use of police vans for most prisoner transports and using marked police vehicles instead. They also require officers to immediately call for an ambulance to respond to their location if the prisoner requests or appears to need medical aid.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

First Lady Jill Biden Unveils 'We The People' White House Christmas

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 01:07

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It's that time of year again, when the halls and rooms of the White House are decorated floor to ceiling with holiday cheer.

This year's theme is "We The People," chosen by First Lady Jill Biden. The theme is aimed at delivering an uplifting and hopeful message of unity.

"Throughout these halls, from the shining bells to the mirrored ornaments in the grand foyer behind me, you will see your own reflection and a reminder that a request to see yourself in this house, and we are grateful to be able to welcome Americans home," the first lady said.

The White House expects some 50,000 visitors this holiday season, and those lucky enough to get inside will see 77 different Christmas trees and rooms decorated with over 83,000 lights.

SEE MORE: Biden Brings Thanksgiving Pies To Nantucket First Responders

Once again, a major draw will be a White House made out of ginger bread — something that's been a tradition since the late 1960s.

The first lady, White House staff and volunteers began planning out the decorations earlier this year, and it took one week to put everything together. For the final unveiling, the first lady invited members of the National Guard and their families to take part in the event as a way of saying thanks.

"The service of our guardsmen and women and of their families often goes unseen, especially children of the national guard members," Jill Biden said.

Pres. Biden Boosts U.S. Effort To Stem Sexual Violence In War Zones

Tue, 11/29/2022 - 00:22

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President Joe Biden is strengthening U.S. policy aimed at stemming sexual violence in war conflict zones, elevating the problem — increasingly documented in Ukraine and elsewhere — to the level of a possible serious human rights abuse that triggers sanctions and other actions against foreign perpetrators.

Biden on Monday signed a presidential memorandum that seeks to combat the use of rape by both foreign governments and individuals as a weapon of war.

The memorandum directs for the first time that the State and Treasury departments and other agencies give equal consideration of acts of sexual violence to other serious human rights abuses in leveraging sanctions and other punishment against foreign actors.

Currently, U.S. policy allows for the imposition of sanctions for conflict-related sexual violence, but it is not commonly used.

SEE MORE: President Biden Renews Push For Assault Weapons Ban

Biden's action comes when the United Nations has warned that sexual violence in Ukraine, especially against women and girls, remains prevalent and underreported. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas Greenfield has previously cited "a mountain of credible reports of atrocities committed by Russia's forces against civilians," including "horrific accounts of sexual violence."

The Biden administration on Monday pointed to a proliferation of sexual violence cases in Ukraine, Ethiopia and elsewhere. It cited a U.N. report that found 3,293 verified sexual violence cases in 2021 across 18 countries, an increase of about 800 compared with the previous year. The U.N. has estimated that for each rape reported in connection with a conflict, about 10 to 20 cases go undocumented.

The administration had previously pledged $400,000 in addition to its annual contribution of $1.75 million to the Office of the U.N. Special Representative to the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The State Department plans an added investment of $5.5 million over the next two years to civil society projects and survivor groups seeking sexual violence accountability and will expand programs to help survivors and investigate and document acts of such violence.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Merriam-Webster's 2022 Word Of The Year Is 'Gaslighting'

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 22:31

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As 2022 steadily marches to its conclusion, the end-of-year lists have already started making appearances. In a move that, ironically, some might find a little suspicious, the staff of Merriam-Webster Dictionary declared "gaslighting" 2022's Word of the Year.

"In this age of misinformation — of 'fake news,' conspiracy theories, Twitter trolls, and deepfakes — gaslighting has emerged as a word for our time," Merriam-Webster explained in their announcement.

The dictionary's official definition of gaslighting is "the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one's own advantage." "Gaslighting" earned the Word of the Year title based on a number of factors, including search frequency — the dictionary's research team saw a 1,740% increase in searches for the word's definition this year. 

'Gaslighting' is our 2022 #WordOfTheYear.

— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) November 28, 2022

In a deep dive on the word's origins, Los Angeles Review of Books explains that the idea of "driving a person to question their own sanity through deliberate psychological manipulation" hit pop culture after the release of the 1944 film "Gaslight," starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In that film, a husband uses deliberately manipulated flickering gaslight from lamps to make his wife doubt her own sanity.

In a more modern context, though, gaslighting has been attached more to political commentary and conspiracy theories. Merriam-Webster said the term has "become the favored word for the perception of deception."

While "gaslighting" was the clear winner based on its significant spike in internet searches and media usage, Merriam-Webster said there were a few other words that were contenders for the 2022 Word of the Year. They include:

Codify: a verb referring to the process in which Congress makes law. In literal terms, its definition means, "to make a code."

Endemic: an adjective describing a characteristic (or in recent years, a virus) that is restricted to certain localities. Searches for "endemic" increased 874% in January.

Omicron: the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. Officials with the World Health Organization use Greek letters to distinguish virus variants. In this case, searches for "Omicron" spiked in popularity when this variant of COVID-19 spread quickly in 2022.

Queen consort: The wife of an ascended king, the title "queen consort" was a popular dictionary search shortly after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. When King Charles III became the monarch after his mother's death in September, his wife Camilla, officially became queen consort.

You can read more about Merriam-Webster's top searches of 2022 here

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Erupts, Officials Warn People To Prepare

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 21:55

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Waves of orange, glowing lava and smoky ash erupted Monday from the world’s largest active volcano and people living on Hawaii’s Big Island were warned to be ready should debris threaten communities.

The eruption of Mauna Loa wasn't immediately threatening towns, but officials told residents to be ready for worse.

Many weren’t living there when Mauna Loa last erupted 38 years ago. The U.S. Geological Survey warned the roughly 200,000 people on the Big Island that an eruption “can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.”

Lifelong Big Island resident Bobby Camara, who lives in Volcano Village, said everyone across the island should be alert and keep track of the eruption.

“I think everybody should be a little bit concerned,” he said. “We don’t know where the flow is going, we don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

He said he’s seen three Mauna Loa eruptions in his lifetime and knows that people need to be nimble.

The eruption began late Sunday night following a series of fairly large earthquakes, said Ken Hon, the scientist-in-charge at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

There’s been a surge of development on the Big Island in recent decades — its population has more than doubled, from 92,000 in 1980.

The biggest cities on the island are Kailua-Kona to the west of the volcano, which has about 23,000 people, and Hilo to the east, with about 45,000. Officials were most worried about several subdivisions about 30 miles to the south of the volcano, which are home to about 5,000 people.

A time-lapse video of the eruption from overnight showed lava lighting up one area, moving across it like waves on the ocean.

The U.S. Geological Survey said that the eruption had migrated to a rift zone on the volcano’s northeast flank. Rift zones are where the mountain rock is cracked and relatively weak — making it easier for magma to emerge.

An eruption from the northeast could send lava toward the county seat of Hilo or other towns in East Hawaii but it could take the lava weeks or months to reach populated areas. It’s possible the eruption may later shift to a rift zone on the southwest flank. Lava emerging from this area could reach nearby communities in hours or days.

“We don’t want to try and second-guess the volcano,” Hon said. “We have to let it actually show us what it’s going to do and then we inform people of what is happening ASAP.”

Hawaii County Civil Defense announced that it had opened shelters because it had reports of people evacuating from along the coast on their own initiative.

The average Mauna Loa eruption is not typically prolonged, lasting a couple of weeks, Hon said.

“Typically, Mauna Loa eruptions start off with the heaviest volume first,” Hon said. “After a few days, it starts to calm down a little bit.”

SEE MORE: Hawaiian Residents Warned Of Potential Volcanic Eruption

The USGS warned residents at risk from Mauna Loa lava flows to review their eruption preparations. Scientists had been on alert because of a recent spike in earthquakes at the summit of the volcano, which last erupted in 1984.

Portions of the Big Island were under an ashfall advisory issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu, which said up to a quarter-inch of ash could accumulate in some areas.

Mauna Loa is one of five volcanoes that together make up the Big Island of Hawaii, which is the southernmost island in the Hawaiian archipelago.

Mauna Loa, rising 13,679 feet above sea level, is the much larger neighbor of Kilauea, which erupted in a residential neighborhood and destroyed 700 homes in 2018. Some of its slopes are much steeper than Kilauea’s, so lava can flow much faster when it erupts.

During a 1950 eruption, the mountain’s lava traveled 15 miles to the ocean in fewer than three hours.

Tourism is Hawaii's economic engine but Roth predicted few problems for those on vacation during the eruption.

“It will be spectacular where it is, but the chances of it really interrupting the visitor industry — very, very slim,” he said.

For some, the eruption might cut down on some travel time, even if there is more volcanic smog caused by higher sulfur-dioxide emissions.

“But the good thing is you don’t have to drive from Kona over to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see an eruption anymore,” Roth said. “You can just look out your window at night and you’ll be able to see Mauna Loa erupting.”

Julia Neal, owner of Pahala Plantation Cottages, said the eruption brings some relief after many preparedness meetings, and much wondering about what the volcano will do.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s kind of a relief that it’s happening and we’re not waiting for it to happen.”

A few future guests from the U.S. mainland called Neal “asking me to make a prediction, which I can’t,” she said. “So I said, just stand by.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

World Cup Frenzy Puts Strain On Qatar's Camels

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 20:49

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Shaheen stretched out on the sand and closed his eyes, but there was little time to rest for the camel. World Cup fans coming in droves to the desert outside Doha were ready for their perfect Instagram moment: riding a camel on the rolling dunes.

As Qatar welcomes more than a million fans for the monthlong World Cup, even its camels are working overtime. Visitors in numbers the tiny emirate has never before seen are rushing to finish a bucket list of Gulf tourist experiences between games: ride on a camel's back, take pictures with falcons and wander through the alleyways of traditional markets.

On a recent Friday afternoon, hundreds of visitors in soccer uniforms or draped in flags waited for their turn to mount the humpbacked animals. Camels that did not rise were forced up by their handlers. When one camel let out a loud grunt, a woman from Australia shrieked, "it sounds like they're being violated!" Nearby, a group of men from Mexico dressed in white Qatari thobes and headdresses took selfies.

"It's really an amazing feeling because you feel so tall," 28-year-old Juan Gaul said after his ride. The Argentine fan was visiting Qatar for a week from Australia.

Cashing in on the opportunity are the animals' handlers who, thanks to the World Cup, are making several times more than they normally would.

"There's a lot of money coming in," said Ali Jaber al Ali, a 49 year-old Bedouin camel herder from Sudan. "Thank god, but it's a lot of pressure."

Al Ali came to Qatar 15 years ago but has worked with camels since he was a child. On an average weekday before the World Cup, Al Ali said his company would offer around 20 rides per day and 50 on weekends. Since the World Cup started, Al Ali and the men he works with are providing 500 rides in the morning and another 500 in the evening. The company went from having 15 camels to 60, he said.

"Tour guides want to move things fast," Al Ali said, "so they add pressure on us."

As crowds formed around them, many camels sat statue-like with cloth muzzles covering their mouths and bright saddles on their bodies. The smell of dung filled the air.

SEE MORE: Pandas Sent By China Arrive In Qatar Ahead Of World Cup

Like other Gulf cultures, camels once provided Qataris a vital form of transport and helped in the exploration and development of trade routes. Today, the ungulates figure into cultural pastimes: camel racing is a popular sport that takes place on old-school tracks outside the city.

Al Ali said he knows when an animal is tired — usually if it refuses to get up or sits back down after rising to its feet. He can identify each camel by its facial features.

"I am a Bedouin. I come from a family of Bedouins who care for camels. I grew up loving them," Al Ali said.

But the sudden rise in tourists means there's less time to rest between rides, he said. A short ride lasts just 10 minutes while longer ones run 20 to 30 minutes long.

Normally, Al Ali said a camel can rest after five rides. "Now, people are saying we can't wait ... because they have other plans they need to go to in the middle of the desert," he said.

Since the World Cup started, the animals are taken for 15 to 20 — sometimes even 40 rides — without a break.

Al Ali's day starts around 4:30 a.m., when he feeds the animals and gets them ready for customers. Some tourists have been arriving at dawn, he said, hoping to get the perfect sunrise shot, "so we have to work with them and take photos for them."

From midday until 2 p.m, both handlers and camels rest, he said. "Then we start getting ready for the afternoon battle."

But not every visitor has been taken by the experience.

Pablo Corigliano, a 47 year-old real estate agent from Buenos Aires, said he was hoping for something more authentic. The excursions start on a stretch of desert by the side of a highway, not far from the industrial city of Mesaieed and its vast oil refineries.

"I was expecting something more wild," said Corigliano. "I thought I would be crossing the desert, but when I arrived, I saw a typical tourist point."

Soon after, Corigliano and a group of friends looked for a dune buggy to race into the desert.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

After Club Q Shooting, Calls For Charity Groups To Disburse More Funds

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 20:16

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Emergency room doctor Katie Picard says her team trains for mass trauma disasters. But when a shooter opened fire inside Club Q in Colorado Springs, it all became real.

"One of the nurses came over to tell me that there was an active shooter in town," said Picard, an emergency medicine specialist at UC Health Memorial Hospital Central. "We didn't know where yet and that we might be getting anywhere from 10 to 20 gunshot victims."

Ambulances quickly started arriving at the hospital.

"My first patient was my sickest patient," Picard said. "And after we got her stabilized, I moved on to the next sickest patient that  needed a doctor in the room."

It was non-stop night of what Picard calls controlled chaos amid the carnage.

"Some weapons are designed to cause maximal damage. So one bullet can can injure a great deal."

Doctor Picard says her team was ready, and will be ready for the next shooting, too.

"This is something that's becoming a core part, an integral part, of emergency medicine education, and I think that's really sad. I wish this wasn't something that I had to be good at. And I think it's tragic that it is," Picard said. 


SEE MORE: Colorado Gay Club Shooting Suspect Held Without Bail

As victims recover from the Club Q shooting, victim advocates are now calling on non-profits to give out 100% of the money they collect, singling out a group called the Colorado Healing Fund, which keeps 10% of all donations. 

"It does not give 100% of what they receive to victims and survivors," said victim advocate Amy Cook.

Colorado Healing Fund executive director Jordan Finegan says the 10% fee keeps the charity running and able to quickly get money to groups who need it. 

"Working with those nonprofits who are the advocates on the ground, who are the ones who are speaking directly to victims allow us to then get money out to them as quickly as possible," Finegan said. "We have already disbursed $245,000 in less than a week."

The fund now says it is considering changing how much it keeps, to make sure victims are getting as much help as possible.

In the interest of transparency, Newsy should note that The E.W. Scripps’ Colorado Springs television station -- KOAA -- and the Scripps Howard Fund are raising money to support the Club Q victims. The initiative is in partnership with the Colorado Healing Fund. The Scripps Howard Fund is the philanthropic arm of The E.W. Scripps Company, which also owns Newsy.

Fake Threats Of Imminent School Violence Are Getting More Common

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 20:02

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It’s the call every parent fears: something bad is happening at their child’s school.

In one case earlier this month in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there was no threat to students — it was a hoax by someone calling in a fake report of an active shooter in a high school. The hoaxes, sometimes called ‘swatting,’ are something education experts say is happening more and more across the country. 

The Associated Press says since June there have been threatening calls to about 250 colleges, 200 high schools and several junior high schools that falsely report imminent danger to students, whether from explosive devices or from a gunman.  

FBI sources tell the AP that investigators believe some of the calls are coming from outside the United States.

But oftentimes it’s a student. And kids getting accused can get themselves in grown up trouble. 

SEE MORE: Charges For Michigan Students Who Made Copycat Threats

Judge John Zakowski of the Brown County Wisconsin Circuit Court has had a number of juveniles from the Green Bay area before him on threat charges. 

"It's a serious situation that we're facing and so many schools being disrupted," Zakowski said. "But you have to be careful. You have to be vigilant." 

Macomb County Wisconsin prosecutor Peter Lucido sent out a letter reminding students they will be punished if they are caught making threats and that a charge of terrorism can carry a 20 year sentence. Lucido also warned parents  that they could be billed for the cost of county and local government resources. 

And there’s an emotional cost to the school threats as well: the stress and fear that comes with even a fake risk of violence.

Water Boil Order Issued For More Than 2 Million In Houston

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 19:57

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More than 2 million people in the Houston area were under a boil order notice Monday after a power outage at a purification plant caused water pressure to drop, and the mayor of the nation's fourth-largest city ordered a full review of the system.

The notice tells customers to boil water before it's used for cooking, bathing or drinking. Multiple Houston area public and private schools, as well as some local colleges, were closed Monday as a result of the notice, while others made adjustments to provide affected campuses with bottled water and sanitizer.

The notice was issued Sunday, hours after two transformers failed, causing power outages at the water plant, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said at a press conference Monday. There was no indication the water system had been contaminated.

SEE MORE: New Report Says Texas Waterway Pollution Worst In The Nation

Water quality testing was underway, Turner said. He said he expects the notice to be lifted by early Tuesday at the latest, once the state's environmental agency gives an all-clear after analyzing test results.

According to Turner, the city issued a notice, which affects all of Houston and multiple adjacent areas, in an "abundance of caution" after the two transformers— a main one and its backup— "uniquely and coincidentally" failed. The problem affected the plant's ability to treat water and pump water into the transmission system, resulting in low water pressure.

The power system at the water plant undergoes regular maintenance, Turner said, but he did not give a timeline for how often. The mayor said he has ordered a diagnostic review of the system to understand how this was possible and how it can be prevented. He said because the issue was within the plant's system, backup power generators would not have made a difference.

SEE MORE: EPA Civil Rights Case Targets Mississippi Over Jackson Water

Sixteen sensors marked dips under the minimum pressure levels required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality — 14 of them for only 2 minutes and two of them for nearly 30 minutes, Turner said.

Untreated groundwater can enter a water system through cracked pipes when water pressure drops. Customers are told to boil water to kill bacteria that could be harmful.

"We are optimistic the results will come back clean," Turner said.

Turner defended the decision to warn residents about the water quality several hours after the issue first occurred and apologized for the disruptions to businesses, schools and elective surgeries. He said the dip in pressure did not automatically trigger a water boil notice, but a decision was made to issue one based on the data once the city consulted with and was instructed to do so by TCEQ.

Water infrastructure and quality has been a prominent issue in cities large and small throughout the U.S., including Baltimore; Honolulu; Jackson, Mississippi; and Flint, Michigan.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

New World Cup Tensions Highlight Iran's Human Rights Crisis

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 18:16

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The World Cup has arguably seen just as much action off the field this year as on it. A lot of it has been focused on Iran. 

Iran state media is calling on soccer’s governing body, FIFA, to kick the United States out of the World Cup after the U.S. Soccer Federation temporarily displayed Iran’s flag without the emblem of the Islamic Republic. The image was seen on the Federation’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts and meant to support protesters in Iran. 

American coach Gregg Berhalter apologized for the decision. 

"We had no idea about what U.S. Soccer put out," Berhalter said. "All we can do on our behalf is apologize on behalf of the players and staff."

The countries play each other Tuesday evening — and either a draw or loss would eliminate the U.S.

SEE MORE: Iran Government Supporters Confront Protesters At World Cup

Reports Sunday from the Black Reward hacktivist group also showed that Qatar provided a list of Iranians who bought tickets to the games, including 500 anti regime activists. According to audio published by Iran International, Qatari officials promised to control spectators including which kinds of Iranian flags spectators could bring in.

All of this comes as tensions are still at fever pitch in Iran over the killing of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being arrested for not wearing hijab in accordance with Iran’s strict laws. 

The UN Human Rights Council voted Thursday to condemn the attacks on protesters and is launching an investigation into the crackdown, particularly the violence against women and children. 

25 countries backed the measure, while six — including China, Pakistan and Venezuela — opposed it. 

Police Smash European Cocaine 'Super Cartel,' Arrest 49

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 17:50

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Law enforcement authorities in six different countries have joined forces to take down a "super cartel" of drug traffickers controlling about one-third of the cocaine trade in Europe, the European Union crime agency said on Monday.

Europol said 49 suspects have been arrested during the investigation, with the latest series of raids across Europe and the United Arab Emirates taking place between Nov. 8-19.

The agency said police forces involved in "Operation Desert Light" targeted both the "command-and-control center and the logistical drugs trafficking infrastructure in Europe."

SEE MORE: Cryptocurrency Increasingly Used In Drug, Human Trafficking

Over 33 tons of drugs were seized during the investigations run in Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UAE with the support of Europol. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration also played a role in bringing down the organization, which was also involved in money laundering, Europol said.

"The scale of cocaine importation into Europe under the suspects' control and command was massive," Europol said, adding that the suspects used encrypted communications to organize drugs shipments.

The Netherlands was the country where most of the arrests were made, with 14 suspects arrested in 2021. Europol said six "high-value targets" were arrested in Dubai.

Dutch authorities said one of the suspects arrested in Dubai allegedly imported thousands of kilos of cocaine into the Netherlands in 2020 and 2021. The 37-year-old man with both Dutch and Moroccan nationality is also being prosecuted for laundering large amounts of money and possession of firearms. Police started investigating him after investigators cracked the encrypted messaging service Sky ECC, which is popular with criminals.

SEE MORE: The 'Grand Plan' Drug Cartels Are Using To Recruit

A 40-year-old Dutch-Bosnian citizen was also arrested in Dubai following an investigation based on intercepted Sky messages, according to Dutch police. He is suspected of importing into Europe cocaine and raw materials for the production of amphetamines.

Record amounts of cocaine are being seized in Europe. Its availability on the continent has never been higher, with extremely high purity and low prices.

More than 214 tons of cocaine were seized in the region in 2020, a 6% increase from the previous year, and experts from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction believe that amount could reach 330 tons in 2022.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

How Long You Should Expect A Used Car To Last

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 17:10

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Although they're often considered assets as they have financial value, most experts don't view cars as investments because they depreciate over time. Instead, many money gurus say purchasing a used car is better than buying a brand-new one.

The moment you drive a new car off the dealer's lot, it starts losing value. By the end of the first year, the value typically decreases 20% to 30% and can depreciate by up to 60% over five years.

On the other hand, a used vehicle will have depreciated to some extent — but it will have a lower price so that you can get more for your money. (Used car prices did peak at the start of 2022, but prices have been falling and are expected to continue to drop.) In addition, some warranties may still be available, and a used car can be less expensive to insure.

But if you buy a used car, will it last long enough for you to get what you paid for?

Of course, every vehicle, car buyer and experience is unique, but if you shop wisely and maintain your car correctly, a used vehicle could get you where you need to go safely for many years to come.

Life Expectancy for Modern Cars

The good news is that cars have a longer life expectancy than they used to. According to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and IHS Markit, passenger vehicles built in 2016 or later last about 12 years on average. This is a significant improvement over cars on the road in the early 2000s, which had an average lifespan of 9.6 years.

You can also anticipate getting more miles out of your vehicle than previous generations of drivers could. While drivers were once happy to have a car that ran with more than 100,000 miles on it, the standard for most cars now is 200,000 miles. However, it's possible for an odometer to reach the 300,000-mile mark and beyond.

These improvements are thanks to rapidly changing technology, leading to improved performance, better fuel mileage, added safety features and more.

SEE MORE: Car Buyers Left With Few Options As Difficult Auto Market Persists

How To Shop For A Used Car That Will Last

Several factors can contribute to a vehicle's life expectancy. For instance, the type of car you choose affects your expected longevity.

Every year, Consumer Reports collects data on its members' vehicles. For its most recent brand rankings, CR looked at more than 300,000 vehicles from the 2000 to 2022 model years. With this information, they determined that Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Mazda and Honda are the top five most reliable brands."It helps to get a good car to begin with," Fred Hellrich, who has had several cars pass the 200,000-mile mark, told Consumer Reports. "That way you know it'll probably go pretty far if you take care of it."

Certain features that a vehicle has can help, as well. For instance, advanced technology such as driver assistance and vehicle management systems can help avoid accidents and alert you to maintenance requirements or issues.

It's also helpful to learn what a used car has been through before making a purchase. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends getting a vehicle history report before you buy.

You can go to and order a vehicle history report, which provides title, insurance loss and salvage information. However, not all vehicle history reports are available.

The FTC also suggests considering a report from a third-party provider, such as AutoCheckCarfax or VinAudit. Using the vehicle identification number (VIN), these reports can offer additional information on a vehicle's history, such as accidents and repairs.

The climate where you live, drive and keep the car can impact its longevity. For instance, the exact vehicle might last longer in a moderate environment where it is usually in a garage compared with one parked on the street in a region with harsh winters or salty sea air.

Regular Maintenance is Key to Longevity

How long any car will last largely depends on how well it is maintained."It's not rocket science," said John Ibbotson, Consumer Reports' chief mechanic. "If you take care of your car, it will take care of you."

That means keeping up on maintenance such as oil changes, tire rotation and filter replacements. Refer to the vehicle's owner's manual for guidelines on when to perform maintenance. Most automakers provide manuals free online if you didn't receive one with your car.

The good news is that cars don't need maintenance as frequently as they used to.

"Ten years ago, you'd need to change your spark plugs probably every 30,000 miles — now it's every 100,000 miles," Jill Trotta, a longtime mechanic and vice president of industry advocacy and sales for RepairPal Inc., which certifies repair shops, told AARP.

However, it's essential to handle any problems right away. Ignoring warnings won't make them go away.

"It's critically important to address problems as soon as they appear," Matt Smith, senior editor of, told AARP. "Don't ignore those lights on your dashboard."

Other actions like keeping an eye on your tires, driving carefully and even washing it regularly can also help extend your used vehicle's life.

By making an informed purchase and taking good care of your investment, you can enjoy a long and happy relationship with your used vehicle.

How To Keep Your Information Safe When Shopping Online

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 16:02

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As millions of consumers browse the internet for the best deals this holiday shopping season, cybersecurity experts warn that saving big on retail purchases could cost you in the long run. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 166 million people planned to shop between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That's nearly 8 million more than last year. 

SEE MORE: How To Avoid Online Scams This Holiday Season

And although scoring the best deal may bring some relief to your wallet ahead of Christmas, you want to make sure that your personal and financial information remain safe and secure. Cyber Tech Connection President David Jooste spoke with Newsy's "Morning Rush" to help us understand exactly how to do that.

U.S. Soccer Briefly Scrubs Emblem From Iran Flag At World Cup

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 15:34

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The U.S. Soccer Federation briefly displayed Iran's national flag on social media without the emblem of the Islamic Republic, saying the move supported protesters in Iran ahead of the two nations' World Cup match Tuesday.

Iran's government reacted by accusing America of removing the name of God from its national flag.

The USSF decision added yet another political firestorm to the Middle East's first World Cup, one organizers had hoped would be spared of off-the-field controversies.

It occurred as the U.S. prepared to face Iran in a decisive World Cup match already freighted by the decades of enmity between the countries and the nationwide protests challenging Tehran's theocratic government.

The USSF said in a statement Sunday morning it decided to forgo the official flag on social media accounts to show "support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights."

The Twitter account of the U.S. men's team displayed a banner with the squad's matches in the group stage, with the Iranian flag only bearing its green, white and red colors. The same was seen in a post on its Facebook and Instagram accounts laying out the point totals so far in its group.

By Sunday afternoon, the normal flag with the emblem had been restored in the Twitter banner and the Facebook and Instagram posts with the altered flag had been removed.

"We wanted to show our support for the women in Iran with our graphic for 24 hours," the federation said.

Federation spokesman Neil Buethe would not say whether the original decision had been cleared by USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone, a former national team player. Buethe said Parlow Cone was not available to discuss the matter.

SEE MORE: Iran Government Supporters Confront Protesters At World Cup

"This was a decision within the federation," he said. "I'm not going to get into who knew and who didn't."

Asked whether there had been discussions with diplomatic entities, Buethe said: "There have been at certain times. I'm not going to talk about those, but, again, this is our decision, not anyone else's or pressure from anyone else."

The USSF displayed the official Iranian flag in a graphic showing Group B standings on its website.

Defender Walker Zimmerman said the U.S. players were unaware of the posts.

"We didn't know anything about the posts but we are supporters of women's rights," he said. "We're focused a lot on Tuesday, on the sporting side, as well. ... I think it's such a focused group on the task but at the same time we empathize and we are firm believers in women's rights and support them."

The brief absence of the emblem came as monthslong demonstrations challenged Iran's government following the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country's morality police.

The protests have seen at least 450 people killed since they started, as well as over 18,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, an advocacy group following the demonstrations.

Iran has not released casualty or arrest figures for months and alleges without providing evidence that the protests have been fomented by its enemies abroad, including the U.S.

SEE MORE: At The World Cup, Iran Protests Are In The Spotlight

Tehran also restricts media access and has detained over 63 reporters and photographers since the demonstrations began, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, making covering the unrest that much more difficult.

Iran's mission to the United Nations and its soccer federation did not respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press. As comments raged online, Iranian state television described the U.S. federation as "removing the symbol of Allah" from the Iranian flag.

Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted Safiollah Fagahanpour, an adviser to the Iranian Football Federation, saying that the "measures taken regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran flag are against the law" of FIFA competitions.

"They must be held responsible," Fagahanpour said. "Obviously they want to affect Iran's performance against the U.S by doing this."

The Islamic Republic emblem, designed in 1980, is four curves with a sword between them. It represents the Islamic saying: "There is no god but God." It also resembles a tulip or lotus.

At the top and the bottom of the flag, there are 22 inscriptions of "God is Great" as well, which honors the date on the Persian calendar when the Islamic Revolution took hold.

The flag has become a point of contention at the World Cup. Apparent pro-government supporters have waved it, shouting at those demonstrating over Amini's death. Others at matches have waved Iran's lion and sun flag, an emblem of its former ruler, the late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

More security forces could be seen at Iran's last match against Wales. In the capital Tehran, anti-riot police — the same ones cracking down on protests — waved the Iranian flag after the Wales win, angering demonstrators.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

China Eases Some COVID Rules After Wide Protests Of Lockdowns

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 14:50

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Chinese authorities eased some anti-virus rules but affirmed their severe "zero COVID" strategy Monday after protesters demanded President Xi Jinping resign in the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades.

The government made no comment on the protests or the criticism of Xi, but the decision to ease at least some of the restrictions appeared to be aimed at quelling anger. Still, analysts don't expect the government to back down on its COVID strategy and note authorities are adept at stifling dissent.

It wasn't clear how many people were detained since protests began Friday and spread to cities including Shanghai, the country's financial center, and the capital, Beijing.

SEE MORE: Crowd Angered By Lockdowns Calls For China's Xi To Step Down

The city government of Beijing announced Monday it would no longer set up gates to block access to apartment compounds where infections are found. It made no mention of a deadly fire last week that set off the protests following questions about whether firefighters or victims trying to escape were blocked by locked doors or other anti-virus controls.

"Passages must remain clear for medical transportation, emergency escapes and rescues," said a city official in charge of epidemic control, Wang Daguang, according to the official China News Service.

In addition, the southern manufacturing and trade metropolis of Guangzhou, the biggest hotspot in China's latest wave of infections, announced some residents will no longer be required to undergo mass testing. It cited a need to conserve resources.

Urumqi, where the deadly fire occurred, and another city in the Xinjiang region in the northwest announced markets and other businesses in areas deemed at low risk of infection would reopen this week and public bus service would resume.

"Zero COVID," which aims to isolate every infected person, has helped to keep China's case numbers lower than those of the United States and other major countries. But it has confined millions of people to their homes for up to four months, and some have complained about a lack of reliable food and medical supplies.

The ruling party promised last month to reduce disruption by changing quarantine and other rules. But public acceptance is wearing thin after a spike in infections prompted cities to tighten controls.

On Monday, the number of new daily cases rose to 40,347, including 36,525 with no symptoms.

The ruling party newspaper People's Daily called for its anti-virus strategy to be carried out effectively, indicating Xi's government has no plans to change course.

"Facts have fully proved that each version of the prevention and control plan has withstood the test of practice," a People's Daily commentator wrote.

Protests spread to at least eight major cities. Most protesters complained about excessive restrictions, but some turned their anger at Xi, China's most powerful leader since at least the 1980s. In a video that was verified by The Associated Press, a crowd in Shanghai on Saturday chanted, "Xi Jinping! Step down! CCP! Step down!"

Hours after police broke up the demonstration, people returned to the same spot on Sunday for another protest. Dozens of people were detained in police sweeps and driven away in police vans and buses, though the exact number was not clear.

In one sweep witnessed by an AP journalist, officers charged and tackled bystanders at an intersection near where earlier protests had taken place, even though the bystanders were not chanting or expressing dissent in any visible way.

The British Broadcasting Corp. said one of its reporters was beaten, kicked, handcuffed and detained for several hours by Shanghai police but later released.

The BBC criticized what it said was Chinese authorities' explanation that its reporter was detained to prevent him from contracting the coronavirus from the crowd. "We do not consider this a credible explanation," the broadcaster said in a statement.

A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said the BBC reporter failed to identify himself and "didn't voluntarily present" his press credential.

"Foreign journalists need to consciously follow Chinese laws and regulations," Zhao said.

Swiss broadcaster RTS said its correspondent and a cameraman were detained while doing a live broadcast but released a few minutes later. A journalist for The Associated Press was detained but later released.

Eyewitnesses told the AP about protests that took place in Guangzhou and in Chengdu in the southwest. Videos that said they were filmed in Nanjing in the east, Chongqing in the southwest and other cities showed protesters tussling with police in white protective suits or dismantling barricades used to seal off neighborhoods. AP could not verify that all those protests took place or where.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

'We The People' Is The White House's Theme For The Holidays

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 14:07

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Drawing decorating inspiration from America's founding documents, Jill Biden chose a "We the People" theme to deck the White House halls and to remind Americans of what unites them throughout the year, especially during the holidays.

Journalists were given a sneak peek early Monday before the first lady was to unveil the transformational work of a small army of volunteer decorators during an event later in the day.

As part of Joining Forces, her White House initiative to support military families, Jill Biden will be joined by National Guard leaders from across the country, as well as National Guard families. Her late son, Beau Biden, was a major in the Delaware Army National Guard.

"The soul of our nation is, and always has been, 'We the People,'" she says in prepared remarks released by the White House. "And that is what inspired this year's White House holiday decoration."

The decorations include more than 83,000 twinkling lights on trees, garlands, wreaths and other displays, 77 Christmas trees and 25 wreaths on the exterior of the executive mansion.

A copy of the Declaration of Independence is on display in the library, while the always-show-stopping gingerbread White House includes a sugar cookie replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, where the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were signed. The Constitution opens with the phrase, "We the People."

"The values that unite us can be found all around you, a belief in possibility, optimism and unity," Biden says in her prepared remarks. "Room by room, we represent what brings us together during the holidays and throughout the year."

A new addition this year is a menorah, used in Jewish worship, that was built by White House carpenters from wood that was removed during a Truman-era renovation. The menorah is located on the State Floor.

Some 50,000 visitors are expected to pass through the White House during the holidays, including tourists and guests invited to various receptions. Among them will be French President Emmanuel Macron, who is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden on Thursday and be honored that evening at a White House state dinner, the first of the Biden administration.

SEE MORE: Biden Brings Thanksgiving Pies To Nantucket First Responders

More than 150 volunteers began decorating the interior and the exterior of the White House last week and continued through the Thanksgiving holiday. Planning began in the spring.

Illustrations of the family pets — dog Commander and cat Willow — can be found in the Vermeil Room, where the décor represents different ways of showing kindness and gratitude.

Groupings of snowy trees fill corners of the East Room, which reflects nature and recreation. Four well-known national parks are depicted on the fireplace mantels: Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah.

In the Blue Room, the official White House Christmas tree — an 18 1/2-foot Concolor fir from Auburn, Pennsylvania — is decorated to represent unity and hope with handmade renderings of the official birds from all 57 territories, states and the District of Columbia.

The State Dining Room is dedicated to the next generation — children — and trees there are decorated with ornaments that are self-portraits of the students of the 2021 Teachers of the Year, "ensuring that children see themselves" in the décor, the White House said.

Hanging from the fireplace in the State Dining Room are the Biden family Christmas stockings.

The gingerbread White House was made using 20 sheets of sugar cookie dough, 30 sheets of gingerbread dough, 100 pounds of pastillage, 30 pounds of chocolate and 40 pounds of royal icing.

"We the People" are celebrated in the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall on the State Floor, where metal ribbons also are inscribed with the names of all the states, territories and the District of Columbia.

"Mirrored ornaments and reflective surfaces ensure that visitors can see themselves in the décor, noting that the strength of our country — the Soul of our Nation — comes from 'We the People,'" the White House said.

The White House noted that the holiday guide book visitors will receive was designed this year by Las Vegas-based Daria Peoples, who is Black. Peoples is a former elementary school teacher who has written and illustrated a series of picture books to support children of color, including those who have experienced race-based trauma.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

2 People Rescued From Plane Caught In Power Lines In Maryland

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 13:59

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Two people were rescued early Monday, more than six hours after their small plane crashed into live power lines, causing widespread outages in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein said the plane got stuck in the lines about 100 feet above the ground at around 5:40 p.m. Sunday. Responders secured it to the tower at 12:16 a.m. Monday, and the first occupant was removed from the plane at 12:25 a.m. The second occupant was out at 12:36 a.m.

Maryland State Police identified them as pilot Patrick Merkle, 65, of Washington, D.C., and passenger Janet Williams, 66, of Marrero, Louisiana. Both suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries and hypothermia had set in while they waited to be pulled from the plane, Goldstein said.

The single-engine Mooney M20J hMad departed White Plains, New York, and crashed into a power line tower near Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The FAA, National Transportation Safety Board and Maryland State Police are investigating.

Utility contractors had to disconnect the high-tension wires to make it safe for rescuers to stabilize the plane.

The utility Pepco had reported that about 120,000 customers were without power in Montgomery County, but most of them, outside of the crash site, had their electricity restored before the people were pulled from the plane.

The Montgomery County Public School system tweeted late Sunday night that its schools and offices would be closed Monday due to the outage's impact on safety and school operations.

Goldstein said it could take days to remove the plane and reconnect the power lines.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Buffalo Gunman Pleads Guilty In Racist Supermarket Massacre

Mon, 11/28/2022 - 12:52

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The White gunman who massacred 10 Black shoppers and workers at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket pleaded guilty Monday to murder and hate-motivated terrorism charges, guaranteeing that he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Payton Gendron, 19, entered the plea Monday in a courthouse roughly two miles from the grocery store where he used a semiautomatic rifle and body armor to carry out a racist assault he hoped would help preserve White power in the U.S.

He pleaded guilty to all the charges in the grand jury indictment, including murder, murder as a hate crime and hate-motivated domestic terrorism, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. The shooter also pleaded guilty to wounding three people who survived the May attack.

SEE MORE: Police: Buffalo Gunman Aimed To Keep Killing If He Got Away

The plea comes at a time when many Americans have become nearly desensitized to mass shootings. In recent weeks, there have been deadly attacks at a Walmart in Virginia, at a gay club in Colorado and at the University of Virginia.

Just days after the gunman's rampage in Buffalo, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a school in Uvalde, Texas.

The shooter in the Buffalo case previously pleaded not guilty to separate federal hate crime charges that could result in a death sentence if he is convicted. The U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it will seek capital punishment.

The gunman used a legally purchased AR-15-style rifle in his attack on the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo. Wearing body armor, he livestreamed from a helmet camera as he shot store employees and shoppers.

Those killed ranged in age from 32 to 86 and included an armed security guard died trying to protect customers, a church deacon and the mother of a former Buffalo fire commissioner.

White supremacy was the shooter's motive. He said in documents posted online just before the attack that he'd picked the store, about a three-hour drive from his home in Conklin, New York, because it was in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

He said he was motivated by a belief in a massive conspiracy to dilute the power of White people by "replacing" them in the U.S. with people of color.

The gunman surrendered after police confronted him as he emerged from the store.

Relatives of the victims have since called on Congress to address White supremacy and gun violence through legislation.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.