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Entering uncharted territory, the United States counts 500,000 deaths linked to Covid.

The virus has reached all corners of America, devastating dense cities and rural counties with surges that have passed through one region and then another.

In New York City, more than 28,000 people have died from the virus – that’s about one in 295 people. In Los Angeles County, the toll is about one in 500 people. In Lamb County, Texas, where 13 live 000 people scattered over a vast area of ​​1,000 square miles, the loss is one in 163 people.

The virus has torn apart nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, easily spreading among vulnerable residents: they are responsible for more than 163,000 deaths, about a third of the country’s total.

Deaths from the virus have also disproportionately affected Americans along racial lines. Overall, the death rate for black Americans with Covid-19 has been almost twice that of white Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Hispanics’ death rate was 2.3 times that of white Americans. And for Native Americans, it was 2.4 times higher.

As of Monday, around 1,900 Covid deaths were reported, on average, almost every day, compared to more than 3,300 at peaks in January. The slowdown has been a relief, but scientists said the variants made it difficult to project the future of the pandemic, and historians have warned against hijacking the scale of the country’s losses.

“There will be a real willingness to say, ‘Look how we’re doing,'” said Nancy Bristow, director of the history department at Puget Sound University in Tacoma, Wash., And author of “American Pandemic: The Worlds lost from the 1918 flu epidemic. ”But she cautioned against inclinations now to“ rewrite this story in another story of American triumph. ”

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A fight to save a corporate campus intimately linked to nature

Protests often erupt over proposals to demolish or even modify historic buildings. Threats to landscaping generally receive much less attention.

But that changes in a Seattle suburb, where a developer plans to build on the corporate campus that George H. Weyerhaeuser set up for the family-owned forest and wood products business from the late 1960s.

The site, which the City of Federal Way annexed in 1994, has been praised over the years for its pioneering blend of building and landscape. Today he is caught up in a controversy over plans to build huge warehouses which opponents say would upset the balance with nature, but which the new owner of the property deems necessary to pay for the restoration of the building. headquarters and grounds maintenance.

In the decades following World War II, companies moved from crowded cities to erect jewelry box buildings on pristine strips of lawns all over the suburbs. But Mr. Weyerhaeuser, president and CEO of his company, wanted his headquarters to blend in with nature rather than stand out.

The campus, designed by architect Edward Charles Bassett and landscape architect Peter Walker, featured a low-rise building in a meadow among wooded hills. Ivy-covered terraces at the front of the building cascaded down to a lake, and walking trails meandered through the trees. Members of the public were allowed access to the campus, which has become a popular spot for kite flying, dog walking and bird watching.

It is a time of change at the headquarters of post-war suburbs like the Weyerhaeuser campus. Before the pandemic, many properties were already sold and in some cases reinvented for new uses, often because the original owners took shares and moved back to cities – places considered more attractive to young people. talented workers they hoped to attract. The cost of maintaining large campuses was another factor. Yet the vast majority of office space in the United States remains in the suburbs.

The pandemic has not hit the office market in the suburbs as hard as it has in urban areas, said Ian Anderson, senior director of research and analysis at CBRE, a real estate services company. But the success of remote working has challenged the need for large central offices where employees meet every day.

Amidst the upheaval, conservationists, historians and others are sounding the alarm bells about threats to historic corporate campuses. And the cases raise questions about how to sensitively manage change at these sites and who is responsible for their preservation.

Elsewhere, sites languished when the companies that created them went out of business or merged with others.

Bell Labs – a 1962 research facility also designed by Saarinen on an oval campus in Holmdel, New Jersey – has been closed and headed for demolition. But former employees and others came together to save the two million square foot building. Now it’s a mixed-use project that functions like the city center.

But the conversion of Bell Labs, overseen by Somerset Development, involved the sacrifice of more than 200 acres of the campus. Somerset sold the land to home builder Toll Brothers, who erected townhouses and villas.

“For preservation, we gravitate towards buildings,” said Liz Waytkus, executive director of Docomomo US, which focuses on modern design. “The landscapes are more difficult to defend, even if the public is more connected to them.”

It was clear when PepsiCo closed the sculpture garden on its campus in Purchase, New York The garden, which houses works by Alexander Calder and Alberto Giacometti, had drawn more than 100,000 visitors a year, but it was closed in 2012 for a renovation of the buildings in 1967. After the renovation, PepsiCo did not immediately reopen the garden, citing safety concerns, which sparked an uproar. The company eventually let the public come back, but on a limited basis.

The Weyerhaeuser Campus, which opened in 1971, was one of the first large-scale suburban headquarters on the West Coast. Over time, the company added features to the site: a rhododendron garden and bonsai museum at the south end, a technical center at the north.

In 2016, the company moved to Seattle and sold the 425 acres for about $ 70 million to Industrial Realty Group, a Los Angeles-based company specializing in adaptive reuse projects.

Industrial Realty wants to make its investment. He sold land, renamed the Woodbridge Corporate Park campus, and marketed the five-story corporate headquarters building – an early example of an open-plan workplace and therefore equally innovative inside and out – to future office tenants. .

But Industrial Realty quickly sparked opposition with a plan to build a fish processing plant on a wooded plot near the headquarters. Local residents filled with meetings, and ultimately the case fell through.

Industrial Realty, however, obtained approval for a 226,000 square foot warehouse on the site. And now the company is proposing to build another warehouse next door and three more buildings near the technical center – plans that “would turn a historic and iconic property into an industrial area,” said Lori Sechrist, president of the non-profit group. lucrative Save Weyerhaeuser Campus.

The advocacy group has gone to court to try to stop the first development, citing concerns about environmental damage, traffic and damage to the historic site. Financial contributors to Save Weyerhaeuser include Mr. Weyerhaeuser, who is no longer involved in the business.

“Penny-ante proposals,” Mr. Weyerhaeuser, 94, said of the planned buildings.

But Dana A. Ostenson, an executive vice president at Industrial Realty, countered that development plans were responsible. “We are interested in preserving the campus and especially in creating a campus that will allow the support of the headquarters building,” he said. The new buildings, Mr Ostenson added, would have tree buffers.

Industrial Realty’s warehouses, which are said to bring jobs and tax revenue, also have supporters, including the local chamber of commerce.

State and national organizations have joined Save Weyerhaeuser in asking Industrial Realty to minimize its footprint. The Cultural Landscape Foundation, an education and advocacy group, launched a letter-writing campaign that drew passionate appeals. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation nominated the campus for the National Trust’s annual list of endangered places.

Some of the buildings are proposed for wetlands, which prompted review by the Army Corps of Engineers. And since the campus is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, preservation officials are participating in the review to help find ways to avoid or minimize “side effects.”

The Puyallup Tribe is also monitoring the process, on whose ancestral lands the campus is located and the reserve is nearby. The Puyallups are concerned about “environmental and cultural impacts on resources,” said Michael Thompson, a spokesperson for the tribe.

Industrial Realty is moving forward and plans to erect the buildings to specification, Ostenson said. The company is in discussions with biotech companies and other leasing companies, but it hasn’t ruled out buildings becoming distribution centers.

Regardless of the end uses, opponents believe the new development would simply take too big a bite out of the historic site.

Mr Walker, the landscape architect, designed other important commissions such as the 9/11 Memorial in New York. Now 88, he is among those who urged Industrial Realty to build as part of a first development master plan created for Weyerhaeuser, calling the campus an ‘endangered species’.

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Biden’s education department decides to cut ties with an accreditation body linked to a fraud scandal.

The Biden administration’s education department is set to sever ties with an organization that was thrown off a life raft under the Trump administration as it was at the center of a massive fraud scandal linked to for-profit colleges.

The ministry said Friday night it was recommending ending federal recognition of the Independent Colleges and Schools Accreditation Council, or Acics. The organization is infamous for overseeing the collapse of two for-profit university chains, Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, whose bankruptcies have left tens of thousands of students with worthless degrees and mountains of debt.

The decision to end the group’s federal recognition would be made by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, an independent committee that advises the Secretary of Education.

The Obama administration stripped Acics of its accreditation powers in December 2016, claiming it allowed chains to resort to predatory recruiting practices and encourage students to go into debt based on false promises – including the claim that jobs would be guaranteed for them after graduation.

Former President Donald J. Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos returned to Acics in 2018, citing a federal court opinion that the Obama administration had failed to allow her to defend herself properly. Ms DeVos did so over objections from her own staff, who released a 244-page report explaining how the accreditation body failed to meet dozens of federal standards.

The reinstatement allowed Acics to continue to function as a watchdog for the education department and a custodian of billions of dollars in federal financial aid. At the time, the group said it had significantly improved its operations.

Career staff in the department who have monitored the group’s compliance since then disagree.

The ministry’s announcement on Friday said Acics had “failed to demonstrate that it had competent and knowledgeable people” who had been trained in the agency’s “standards, policies and procedures.”

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Riot suspects linked to Oath Keepers militia charged with conspiracy

WASHINGTON – In the days leading up to the January 6 riot, Thomas Edward Caldwell, an apparent far-right leader Oath Keepers, sent a message to the militiamen he had organized to mobilize against Congress: “This kettle is ready to boil. “

According to unsealed court documents Tuesday, Mr. Caldwell, a 66-year-old man from rural Virginia, advised others on Dec. 31: “It really starts on Jan. 5 and 6 in Washington DC when we mobilize in the streets. Let them try to certify crudités on Capitol Hill with a million or more patriots on the streets.

Mr. Caldwell and two Ohio associates – Donovan Crowl, 50, and Jessica Watkins, 38 – have been charged with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. All three had admitted to invading the Capitol to reporters and were also identifiable in videos posted on social media.

The case revealed the first evidence of planning within a militia known before the day of chaotic mob violence. Investigators said they were increasingly focusing on far-right groups to determine whether aspects of the attack on Capitol Hill had been planned in advance, even as most rioters had it. spontaneously stormed.

Mr Caldwell had advised militia members to stay at a Comfort Inn especially in the suburbs of Washington, according to messages cited in court documents, indicating that it offered a good base for ‘night hunting’ – apparently meaning looking for the left antifa style protesters to fight. Ms Watkins apparently rented a room there under a false name, an FBI agent said.

Mr Caldwell practically appeared in federal court in Virginia on Tuesday, pledging to fight the charges against him. In pleading for bail, Mr Caldwell highlighted his age as well as the underlying medical issues and the threat of the coronavirus, noting that he relied on a machine at night to fight sleep apnea. A judge refused the request.

Federal investigators also recovered audio recordings of Ms Watkins’ voice during the riot from the Zello mobile phone app, which acts like a walkie-talkie, speaking to others considered Oaths. Keepers. “We have a good group,” she said at the start of the riot, according to the indictment document. “We have about 30 to 40 of them. We stay united and stick to the plan. A stranger replied, “We’ll see you soon, Jess.” Airborne.”

An unidentified man later said: “You are carrying out the arrest of a citizen. Stop this assembly; we have probable reasons for acts of treason, electoral fraud. Ms Watkins replied that she and others were under the main dome of the Capitol, and another unknown male voice encouraged her to continue, saying that was what they were “training” for.

The group they are accused of being a part of, the Oath Keepers, is a far-right militia-style organization founded by veterans of the military and law enforcement that claims to believe that a dark globalist cabal is plotting to take away the rights of Americans.

Prosecution documents against the trio noted that in the midst of the generally chaotic scene as crowds began to make their way into the Capitol, a group dressed in paramilitary gear and Oath Keepers paraphernalia stood out. through its coordination. In one video, about 10 Oath Keepers wearing helmets “move in an organized and practiced fashion and make their way past the crowd gathered around a door on the US Capitol.”

Credit…Montgomery County Jail, via Associated Press

The scenes of people with military training walking side by side have horrified Pentagon leaders, who fear that the weapons and tactics training once provided by the armed forces has been co-opted. At least 12 members of the National Guard have been removed from their inauguration-related duties, two of them for possible links to far-right movements, Defense Ministry officials said on Tuesday.

Others arrested in the riots have been linked to the Oath Keepers, although they have not been charged with being part of an organized plot.

At a hearing in Texas last week for Larry Brock, who was pictured in the Senate with flexible handcuffs, a prosecutor cited a Facebook post linking him to the Oath Keepers. Mr Brock, a retired Air Force officer, told the New Yorker he found the flexible cuffs on the ground and did not intend to use them.

And a criminal complaint filed on Saturday against Jon Ryan Schaffer, a guitarist for heavy metal band Iced Earth, accused of being among the rioters who sprayed Capitol Police with “bear spray,” said he had long ago of “far-right extremist views” and suggested that he is a member of the Oath Keepers.

The Oath Keepers – named after members’ stated intention to uphold their oaths to protect the Constitution – have no geographic center, with chapters scattered throughout Oregon, Montana, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Ohio, New York and elsewhere. Part of its ideology intersects with the so-called Three Percenters, another paramilitary-style right-wing movement that seeks to attract veterans.

Oath observers have a more formal structure, including bylaws and dues. Although the organization claimed to have around 35,000 members, the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks extremist groups, estimated several years ago that its membership was in the thousands.

The organization was founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, 55, a disqualified Montana lawyer who attended Yale Law School and previously worked as an assistant to former Representative Ron Paul, the Texas Libertarian. Its members tend to anticipate a new civil war to come.

“He was motivated by the perception that the federal government was tyrannical and that everyday Americans had to be prepared to stand up to this tyrannical government when it came to the door,” said Sam Jackson, who has published a book on organization last year and is a professor at the University of Albany specializing in homeland security issues.

The Oath Keepers have been involved in clashes with the federal government over land issues in the West, including the Bundy family’s confrontation with the federal government in Oregon in 2014.

And during the unrest that year after police murdered a black man in Ferguson, Missouri, heavily armed Oath Keepers patrolled the streets and claimed to protect businesses, but arrested after criticism from local law enforcement.

The group is also among those who have sent armed vigils to patrol the border with Mexico or who have encouraged such efforts by others.

In the weeks leading up to the assault on Capitol Hill, Oath Keepers issued impassioned calls to action. Shortly after the election, a long message attributed to Mr. Rhodes circulated on far-right websites urging volunteers to converge on Washington for a “Stop the Steal” rally. Oath Keepers, he said, would provide security, including “some of our most skilled Special Warfare veterans standing armed, just outside of DC”

While attendees were urged to remain disciplined, the message also included what he described as advice from an unidentified “patriot of Serbia” who said in a speech transcript that Americans must replicate the uprising. in his country 20 years ago who deposed Slobodan Milosevic:

“Millions of people gathered in our capital. There were no barricades strong enough to stop them, nor the police determined enough to stop them. The police and the army lined up with the people after a few hours of fighting. We have taken Parliament by storm. And burnt the fake state television! WE WON!”

By the time plans were announced for a large rally on January 6, the Oath Keepers’ pleas had taken on an urgent tone. A call for volunteers touted the event as a last chance to help “President Trump’s fight to defeat foreign and domestic enemies who attempt a coup.”

Followers were urged to “prepare for whatever may happen.” Prepare your mind, body and spirit for battle, and most of all, prepare to STAY!

Mr. Rhodes was in Washington on January 6 – a distinctive character with his eye patch because he lost one eye in a gun accident. We do not think he entered the Capitol himself.

According to the impeachment documents, Mr. Caldwell “played a leadership role” in the group. While Mr. Crowl addressed him as “commander” in a message cited in court documents, his precise role remains unclear.

Mr. Caldwell, however, seemed to think Mr. Rhodes was doing too little to organize himself for the day. “I don’t know if Stewie even got his call to arms, but it’s a bit late,” he wrote to Mr Crowl, according to court documents. “It’s the one we do on our own. We will connect with the North Carolina crew.

Other prosecution documents identified Ms Watkins, a bartender in Champaign County, Ohio, who was arrested Monday for being affiliated with the Oath Keepers. She said at the top of her account page on Speak, a social media network that drew a right-wing following, that she commanded “the regular Ohio State Militia,” whom the complaint identified as ” a local militia organization which is a subset of membership fee oath observers. “

The FBI identified Mr. Crowl, also from Champaign County, as a member of the same Ohio militia.

The FBI’s affidavit against the three described several sightings of them in a video of the Capitol riot and their own social media posts boasting of storming the building.

For example, according to the impeachment document, Mr. Caldwell sent a photo of the riot that evening to someone on Facebook Messenger, adding, “We’re storming the castle” and “I’m a such instigator! ” He also wrote: “We have to do this locally. Lets storm the capital of Ohio. Tell me when! “

A search of Ms Watkins’ home after the riot – she was not there, and investigators cited evidence that she and Mr Crowl had gone to live with Mr Caldwell – revealed paramilitary equipment like that used during of the riot and instructions for building a bomb using bleach as the main ingredient, according to the charge document.

Other well-known defendants in the attack on Capitol Hill were released on Tuesday pending trial in a series of five-hour hearings in Washington. Most have been charged with misdemeanors and federal prosecutors have not sought to keep them in detention.

Among those released were Adam Johnson, 36, of Florida, accused of stealing the lectern from President Nancy Pelosi, and Josiah Colt, 34, of Idaho, who was filmed in a viral image hanging from a balcony of the Senate chamber.

Two Virginia police officers accused of breaking and entering the Capitol, Jacob Fracker and Thomas Robertson, have been released pending trial.

Reporting was provided by Alan Feuer, Mike McIntire, Rebecca Ruiz, Ben Protess and William K. Rashbaum.

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Video: Prosecutors expect to arrest ‘hundreds’ linked to Capitol riot

new video loaded: Prosecutors expect to arrest ‘hundreds’ linked to riot on Capitol Hill



Prosecutors expect to arrest ‘hundreds’ linked to Capitol riot

Michael Sherwin, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Steven D’Antuono, head of the FBI’s Washington field office, told a press conference on Tuesday that more than 70 people linked to the Capitol riot had been charged with crimes.

“The importance of this investigation is not lost on us. This is a full 24/7 operation on what happened that day. Since our call for advice, videos and images, we have received over 100,000 digital media, which is absolutely fantastic. Even if you have left DC, officers from our local offices will knock on your door if we find out that you are part of the criminal activity on Capitol Hill. “We have already opened 170, more than 170 thematic files, which means that these people have been identified as potential persons having committed crimes on the Capitol grounds, inside and outside. So out of the 170 cases that have already been opened, and I predict they will increase to hundreds over the next few weeks, we have already accused over 70 cases. Just yesterday our office organized a strike force made up of top national security prosecutors and corruption prosecutors. Their only marching orders from me are to bring seditious and conspiratorial charges related to the most heinous acts that have taken place in the Capitol, and these are important charges that have felonies with prison terms of up to 20 years.

Recent episodes of United States and politics


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US imposes sanctions on Ukrainians linked to Giuliani for election misinformation

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration imposed sanctions Monday on seven Ukrainians – including two who assisted President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani – for being part of what it called “a foreign influence network linked to Russia ”which aired“ fraudulent and unfounded allegations ”about President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the 2020 campaign.

Mr Giuliani leaned on two of the Ukrainians who were penalized – Andrii Telizhenko and Kostiantyn H. Kulyk – as he sought to gather damaging information and force government investigations into Mr Biden and his son, Hunter Biden , related to Ukraine. This effort, which had the president’s backing, led to Mr. Trump’s 2019 impeachment by the House of Representatives.

The sanctions announced on Monday stem from Ukrainians’ work with Andriy Derkach, Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, who was the target of sanctions by the Treasury Department last year and was accused of being a Russian agent and spreading disinformation on Mr. Biden. Mr. Derkach had met Mr. Giuliani in 2019.

The Ukrainians sanctioned on Monday were accused in a statement issued by the Treasury Department of helping Derkach “spread misleading and unsubstantiated allegations that current and former US officials were engaged in corruption, money laundering”. money and illegal political influence in Ukraine ”.

The targets of the sanctions also included four media companies which the Treasury Department said were affiliated with Mr Derkach and involved in his efforts to spread disinformation.

The sanctions are the latest in a series of steps the Treasury Department has taken over the past few years to punish individuals and groups accused of being involved in Russian-related election interference, even as Mr. Trump, an intended recipient of the interference, continued to downplay Russia’s role.

“Russian disinformation campaigns targeting American citizens are a threat to our democracy,” Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in the statement. “The United States will continue to aggressively defend the integrity of our electoral systems and processes.”

Mr Kulyk had worked in the Ukrainian National Prosecutor’s Office, where he had helped investigate a Ukrainian oligarch who owned a gas company who paid Hunter Biden as a member of the board when his father was deputy. president and oversees US relations with Ukraine. Mr Kulyk discussed the matter with Mr Giuliani, who was pushing the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into the Bidens to undermine the former vice president’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Kulyk, who has since been sacked from the prosecutor’s office, was accused Monday by the Treasury Department of forming “an alliance with Derkach to spread false accusations of international corruption”.

Mr Telizhenko, political consultant and former official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, provided information to Senate Republicans for a report on Biden work in Ukraine, which was released weeks before election day in an apparent effort to harm the Biden campaign. The report found no evidence of influence or wrongdoing on the part of the former vice president.

Mr Telizhenko assisted Mr Giuliani during the 2020 campaign, by setting up meetings with Ukrainians claiming to have damaging information about the Bidens. Mr Telizhenko helped plan a trip for Mr Giuliani to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, in December 2019, in which Mr Giuliani met Mr Derkach and recorded interviews with him and others that were broadcast. on Mr. Giuliani’s podcast and a special on pro-Trump cable channel One America News Network.

The Treasury Department appeared to allude to the trip when explaining its sanctions against Mr Telizhenko, noting in its statement that he “had orchestrated meetings between Derkach and Americans to help propagate false allegations about corruption in Ukraine” . The statement did not explicitly name Mr. Giuliani or the Bidens, but it did claim that the sanctioned Ukrainians “had taken advantage of American media, United States-based social media platforms and influential American figures” in their efforts to spread damaging claims.

Mr Giuliani did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

After the sanctions against Mr Derkach were announced in September, Mr Giuliani said in an interview that he “had not done much investigation” of Mr Derkach but had “no reason to believe he was a Russian agent ”.

During the interview, Mr. Giuliani said that he knew Mr. Telizhenko “much better than I know Derkach”, adding that he had “examined” Mr. Telizhenko “very carefully. I mean, look, I’m no genius, but I would be shocked if he looks like a Russian agent. He added: “I would vouch for very few Ukrainians. I almost vouched for him. I’m not sure I would fully vouch for him, but close enough.

The sanctions against Mr Derkach stemmed from his publication of audio recordings of Mr Biden speaking to Petro O. Poroshenko, the former president of Ukraine. Mr. Trump promoted some of the documents released by Mr. Derkach, who claimed the tapes revealed corruption, although the conversations were mostly mundane.

Other Ukrainians targeted on Monday were accused of contributing to the recordings efforts.

Oleksandr Onyshchenko, a former Ukrainian lawmaker and ally of Mr Poroshenko, has been accused by the Treasury Department of providing the tapes to Mr Derkach. Mr Onyshchenko fled Ukraine in 2016 after being charged with fraud and money laundering.

Oleksandr Dubinsky, a current member of the Ukrainian parliament, has been nominated by the Treasury Department to join Mr Derkach in press conferences highlighting the recordings. The Treasury Department said the press conferences were “designed to perpetuate” false narratives against “the presidential candidates and their families.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Monday that Ukrainian officials facing sanctions “have made repeated public statements of malicious speech that US government officials have engaged in corrupt transactions in Ukraine. “. He added, “These efforts and narratives are consistent with or support Derkach’s goals of influencing the 2020 US presidential election.”

Two of the media companies that were punished – including NabuLeaks, which published the tapes of Mr Biden and Mr Poroshenko – are owned or controlled by Mr Derkach. The other two, Only News and Skeptik TOV, are owned by Mr Derkach’s media director Petro Zhuravel, who was also sanctioned by the Treasury Department on Monday.

A number of Mr. Derkach’s allies have also been targeted. Among them are Dmytro Kovalchuk, a member of his media team, and Anton Simonenko, a close associate who helped Derkach hide financial assets, according to the Treasury Department.

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United helps contact passengers after possible death linked to Covid 19 in flight

United Airlines said on Friday it was working with health officials to contact passengers who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by a male passenger who died after a medical emergency on a recent flight.

The four flight attendants who responded to the emergency aboard the flight, United 591, were also quarantined for 14 days after the plane landed at its destination in Los Angeles, the union of flight attendants said. edge.

The flight, which took off from Orlando, Florida and was diverted to New Orleans, raised widespread social media alarms after reports said the man’s wife told emergency medical services he tested positive for the virus.

United Airlines said on Friday the man’s wife was overheard telling an emergency medical worker that her husband was showing symptoms of Covid-19, including loss of taste and smell.

But United officials said medical professionals did not confirm at the time that the man had tested positive for the virus and still did not know if he was infected. When the flight was diverted to New Orleans, the airline said, it was told the passenger had suffered cardiac arrest.

Nonetheless, United Airlines said it was contacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We are sharing the requested information with the agency so that it can work with local health officials to carry out awareness actions with any client that the CDC considers to be at risk of exposure or infection,” said said the airline.

The CDC said on Friday it was “collecting information and proceeding according to our standard operating procedures to determine whether other public health measures were appropriate.”

“To protect the privacy of the individual, we do not provide this information to the public,” the agency said.

Taylor Garland, spokesperson for the union that represents flight attendants at 17 airlines, including United, said that after the plane landed in Los Angeles, the crew of four flight attendants were “put quarantined for 14 days in accordance with written directions ”.

“Our union continues to provide support to the crew,” said Garland. “We urge passengers to adhere to Covid airline policies and stay home if you are sick.”

United said that when the passenger checked in for the flight, they certified, as part of a ‘Ready to Fly’ checklist, that they had not tested positive for the coronavirus and had no no symptoms of Covid-19. But the passenger may not have been honest, the airline said.

The man’s family later confirmed he had “felt ill before the day of the trip,” United said. The man also had pre-existing conditions, including high blood pressure and upper respiratory problems, the airline said.

United Airlines officials said it was only after the plane continued on its way to Los Angeles that they learned that the man’s wife expressed concern that he was exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19.

“The decision to continue to Los Angeles was taken after medical professionals initially deemed the emergency to be heart distress,” United said in a statement. “A change of plane was not justified. Instead, passengers were given the option of disembarking and catching a later flight or continuing to Los Angeles. All the passengers chose to continue. “

United has said the health and safety of its employees and customers is its top priority, which is why it is imposing masks and requiring passengers to complete the checklist confirming they have not tested positive for the virus in the past 14 days and have no associated symptoms. with the virus.

“We implore passengers not to travel if they have been diagnosed with Covid-19 or have symptoms related to Covid,” United Airlines said. “When in doubt, the best option is to get tested.”

Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.

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FBI arrest Michigan men linked to white supremacist group

Federal and state officials on Thursday arrested two men in Michigan who they said belonged to a white supremacist group. The arrests come three weeks after more than a dozen men linked to a separate anti-government group were accused of plotting to kidnap the state governor.

Sherry Workman, a Michigan State Police detective sergeant, said the charges against two members of the Base, a white supremacist neo-Nazi group, stemmed from their efforts to intimidate a podcast host.

Sergeant Workman wrote in an affidavit that the men – Justen Watkins, 25, the self-proclaimed leader of the group, and Alfred Gorman, 35 – posted a photo of Mr. Watkins wearing a skull mask and standing on the porch of what they thought was the podcast host’s home but was actually the home of a husband, wife, and baby. The family notified the police.

The men had hoped to intimidate a “I don’t speak German” crowd, authorities said, which describes itself as a podcast “facing white nationalism.”

Dana Nessel, the state attorney general, accused Mr Watkins and Mr Gorman of illegally posting a message intended to threaten the victims, a crime. She also charged them with two other crimes which stem from the first one and may lead to more severe punishments: committing a felony while in a gang and using a computer to commit a felony. The men did not immediately list lawyers in online court records.

According to Ms Nessel and experts who have studied the Base, which was founded in 2018, the group is urging violence against the government and training its members in a future “race war.” The FBI investigated the neo-Nazi group and arrested several suspected members this year in Georgia and Maryland.

The Michigan arrests come a day after it was revealed that one of the men accused of conspiring to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer and storm the State Capitol also wrote on Facebook that he wanted to hang President Trump, Hillary Clinton and other politicians from both main parties, according to the FBI. The threats were reported by an FBI agent in a new filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.

The agent wrote that Barry Croft, a Delaware truck driver who was one of more than a dozen men accused this month of conspiring to kidnap Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, had indicated that he wanted to suspend or hold a “popular trial” against a wide range of politicians.

“I’m saying we’re suspending everything that’s governing us right now, they’re all guilty,” Croft wrote in May, according to the FBI.

That month, Mr. Croft also posted a photo of Mr. Trump with the message “True colors shine,” according to the agent.

The revelations were shared in an affidavit from Kristopher M. Long, an FBI agent who last week persuaded a judge to give the agency access to a Facebook account they believed Mr. Croft was running. In the affidavit, Mr. Long said Facebook deleted Mr. Croft’s previous accounts at least twice, but created new ones and continued to send messages to others about the achievement of ‘attacks and publicly publish his desire to see politicians die.

No attorneys are listed for Mr. Croft in court documents, and a lawyer who previously represented him declined to comment.

Mr. Croft also threatened other governors, wrote Mr. Long, including Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina, a Republican.

Mr Long noted in the affidavit that a protest against the coronavirus restrictions was planned at this time in South Carolina. Ms Whitmer had also faced large protests against her coronavirus measures.

Another FBI agent told court this month that the men who planned to attack Ms Whitmer also discussed targeting Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia, a Democrat, over his pandemic restrictions.

Michigan, with a strong gun culture and a large rural-urban divide, is seen by some experts as fertile ground for anti-government groups, many of whom see themselves as militias.

Adam Goldman and Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting.