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Under pressure, Church of California postpones conference of thousands

“The county is very concerned about the public health impacts that could result from an event like this if it were to take place, especially as we continue to see a high number of cases and a large number of people. in hospitals that are infected with Covid-19, ”Dr. Muntu Davis, the Los Angeles County health official, told reporters earlier on Friday.

“Sun Valley and surrounding areas continue to have some of the highest rates of Covid-19 cases in the county, and have been for some time,” said Dr Davis, “and a rally of this magnitude will create additional opportunities for Covid-19. transmission, both to those attending this gathering and to others in the community.

In its lawsuit last August against Mr. MacArthur and Grace Community Church, Los Angeles County argued that it openly defied the rules against indoor church services.

The county pointed to an interview Mr MacArthur did with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson in which Mr MacArthur said he held a Sunday service for 3,000 people who “hugged each other and they weren’t wearing masks. and they sang songs. “

Mr. MacArthur had argued that government officials had no power to prohibit such services, indicating that the Scriptures stated that “no earthly state has the right to restrict, delimit or prohibit the gathering of believers. ”

Mr MacArthur also downplayed the severity of the virus. In a sermon last August, he drew applause when he said, “There is no pandemic,” and argued that the number of Covid-related deaths had been inflated.

“There is another virus roaming free in the world,” Mr. MacArthur said, “and that is the virus of deception.”

Last week, the United States Supreme Court partially lifted restrictions on religious services in California, blocking a total ban but leaving in place a 25% capacity restriction and a ban on singing and singing. The decision was a partial victory for churches that had argued that restrictions imposed by Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, violated constitutional protection for the free exercise of religion.

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One-day pandemic losses: among thousands, a father, a child, a friend

Sherri Rasmussen, 51, of Lancaster, Ohio, was one. She is survived by a daughter who said she will always remember the day her mother gave her handbag to a woman who complimented her at a CVS store, saying, “I want to pay it. And then there was Pedro Ramirez, 47, who worshiped his Puerto Rican homeland, dancing salsa and restoring Volkswagen insects. Days earlier he had spoken to his wife, Shawna Ramirez, about the vaccine and how people like him with chronic medical conditions would soon receive it.

“I told him I loved him and how sorry I was that he had to be alone in the hospital,” said Ms Ramirez, 52, who works at a bridal salon in Macon, in Georgia.

The surge in deaths reflects how Americans have transmitted the virus much faster since late September, when the number of cases identified daily fell below 40,000. Since the start of the pandemic, deaths have closely followed cases, with about 1.5 percent of cases ending in death three to four weeks later.

A range of factors – including financial pressure to return to the workplace, politicization of mask wearing and a collective abandonment of the desire for social contact – has brought the number of new cases reported to more than 200,000 per day. At the same time, the pace of deaths has also accelerated: the first 100,000 American deaths were confirmed on May 27; it then took the nation four months to reach 200,000 deaths, and three more months to surpass the 300,000 deaths on December 14. In contrast, the latest tally of 100,000 dead took place over a period of just five weeks.

In 30 states, at least one in a thousand people has died from the virus, with nine of those states – Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Texas and Wisconsin – crossing the threshold. since January 1, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Last week, more than 4,000 deaths were reported on certain days, an average of almost three deaths per minute. Almost a quarter of total Covid-19 deaths in Los Angeles County have been recorded in the past two weeks.

Because the collective toll of the virus is drawn from many corners of the country, it can often appear fragmented – as if, according to Caitlin Rivers, senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, “what is happening to hundreds of thousands of people families is still somehow below the surface.

But the lives of those who one day die and those they have left behind reflect the individual gaps in families, friendships and communities that constitute an extraordinary national loss.

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Special delivery: thousands of pounds

Lily Rivera, 11, likes to invent other worlds. She lives in a setting that inspires her often: Adak Island in Alaska, home to the westernmost city in the United States and offering breathtaking views of the Bering Sea and the volcanic mountains. Another inspiration: books. “If I’m reading a book and I’m really into it, then I can see the characters doing whatever they do,” Lily said.

But for Lily and other children in remote parts of Alaska, getting new books is difficult and expensive. Everything must be airlifted in private or government-funded jets from Anchorage. This is true even in parts of the mainland, like the Yukon Delta, where there are no roads connecting local villages to the rest of Alaska. There, reading material is even rarer this year, due to closures caused by the pandemic.

That’s why two nonprofits, the Alaska Fishing Industry Relief Mission and First Book, worked with local leaders this fall to purchase 3,000 books and ship them to about 2,800 young readers across the state. Each book has been chosen especially for its readers by community leaders and educators. For example, John Lamont, a former teacher and superintendent, included books that would teach Indigenous students about their cultures, such as the one on Inuit Inventions (who are indigenous to Alaska, Canada, and the Arctic). “It boosts self-esteem to know that our people made a book out of it,” says Lamont, who is half Yup’ik Eskimo.

In Adak, the books arrived in October. Lily’s Favorite: “The Okay Witch” by Emma Steinkellner about a 13-year-old with special powers. Her 8-year-old sister Anna loved Katherine Applegate’s “The One and Only Bob”: “I don’t get a lot of new books,” Anna says – so when she does, “it’s really exciting. “

The payoff for completing their books was almost as exciting: a sleepover at school with Krispy Kreme donuts flown in from Anchorage. “It’s very difficult to have donuts here,” Lily said.

This article originally appeared in the New York Times for Kids. Find the section in the newspaper Sunday, December 26 and the last Sunday of each month.

Donations to the Neediest Cases Fund can be made online or by check.

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She saved thousands of best friends. Then Covid-19 killed her.

Valerie Louie saved our dear Uncle Death from a life of abuse. Then she became a pandemic victim. Her death is mourned by households with four-legged members across San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Ms. Louie has spent two decades rescuing dogs like Uncle Mort from shelters and finding homes like ours, anxious to have a new best friend. His specialty was to save the truly abandoned and broken puppy, the abused, the blind, the deaf and the long-toothed.

The day she dropped off the sad-eyed dog that I had identified at one of her shelter events, the little guy quickly dropped some shit on the carpet in our dining room.

“It’s just a little one,” Ms. Louie said. She had a generous smile and the patience of a member of the clergy.

Ms Louie, who died of Covid-19 on November 25 after two weeks in an intensive care unit, has not only rescued rescue dogs. She also saved people. She was a nurse and worked for 32 years at Highland Hospital in Oakland, starting with the emergency department. Her last position was that of Advanced Life Support Coordinator.

She was a single mother. She leaves behind her son, Andrew Louie, 21, who lived with her and was also infected with the coronavirus in late October. He has since recovered.

Ms. Louie died on the Mission-Bernal campus of the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, the city where she was born and raised. She was 60 years old. His legacy is alive.

“I can’t imagine how many dogs she saved, probably thousands,” her son said, echoing a figure estimated by other volunteers. She raised the dogs to families after retrieving them from shelters, including so-called “kill” shelters in central California where many dogs are bred, adopted and abandoned.

Friends have said that she has a special talent as a matchmaker between dog and family. She kept a mental record of who was looking for rescue dogs, and when the right person showed up, she would call with the good news.

Some dogs she kept – like Ida, a French bulldog found in the mountains of China in 2012. The person who found the dog, abandoned and blind after being used for breeding, discovered Ms. Louie on the internet through the through an organization called Rocket. Dog Rescue who she was working with at the time. Ms Louie arranged for the dog to be airlifted to San Francisco, her son said.

“She was a powerhouse,” said Meg McAdam, a close friend who also rescues dogs and works at Oakland Animal Services, “and a San Francisco institution.

During the pandemic, Ms Louie rescued some 80 dogs, finding them in shelters and raising them in homes, according to Ms McAdam.

Tributes poured into a GoFundMe site Ms McAdam set up to help Ms Louie’s son.

“Valerie gave us our sweet Boomer,” wrote one grateful mourner. “I have prayed for her every day since we heard the news.

“Valerie gave us our Reggie.

“She has helped us enormously with our Zito.”

I can also testify. I first saw Uncle Mort, a tortured little soul, in the back of Ms. Louie’s Toyota RAV4 in early 2018. It was just another Saturday for Valerie, taking dogs to an adoption event. in a mall south of San Francisco.

I had hidden at the event the two previous weekends, this inescapable dog feeling was rising in me. My wife, Meredith, long reluctant because of the feeling that her husband will not take care of his dog, seemed to soften the idea.

The curled up creature was part a long-haired chihuahua, part depressed. He was 3 years old and much of his life had been spent locked out because the man of the house didn’t like his vibe, Ms. Louie told me.

I told him that I would like to try the dog, but that I had to convince at home. She got it immediately. She had done it hundreds of times – the real try for the family on the fence to bring in a new member with fur and a troubled past.

I signed the papers and a few days later Ms. Louie dropped it off and assessed the fit. She looked around approvingly as the dog laid his first gambit on our mat. His first name was Franco. It didn’t match.

Franco looked like a Spanish dictator. The altered soul in our house, when she was only 3 years old, looked more like a former UK Member of Parliament. We named him Uncle Mort. It was the name of a character in a comic book I had written for a decade; the dog and the cartoon character looked remarkably alike.

The new name was all the more fitting when we witnessed his precocious behavior, which involved looking nervous when awake, but mostly sleeping with an inordinate snore that sounded like your great-uncle after the Thanksgiving dinner, passed out on the couch.

We called a dog trainer to come see if Mort could learn to love and be loved. The trainer was dubious. “He’ll be a good dog, but don’t expect him to be the family dog ​​you envisioned. He had a bad patch.

We have our hopes. We have been rewarded.

Uncle Mort has become the most loving and beloved creature in our household, sometimes surpassing children in both of these ways. My wife is his “person”, and when she returns home after an absence, however short it may be, he takes to the banana as if he had just discovered the ocean.

Now Meredith calls Uncle Mort her “forever puppy”. Such is Mort’s relaxed state these days that he regularly finds himself in various positions of seemingly impossible geometry and vulnerability with all four limbs in the air so that he can be stroked around the chest, neck and ears the way it became. used to.

Uncle Mort – or just “good boy” – became the real dog-in-the-window we always dreamed of bringing home, and it really hit our home when we learned that Mrs. Louie was in. the ICU

Hers is a typical Covid-19 tragedy. It is not known how she contracted the disease, and it took her on a fatal roller coaster ride.

On October 29, she texted Ms. McAdam, her close friend: “I haven’t been so sick in forever. I can’t break the fever.

On November 2, she texted: “I sleep several days. I’m wasting pockets of time.

On November 11, a friend went to her home to watch Ms. Louie and found her in dire straits. She was rushed to hospital and intubated quickly.

Ms Louie’s son is in college, studying to be a nurse and recently took over his mother’s role and helped find homes for the last three dogs she pledged to place.

One was Blitz, a gray terrier mix that is deaf. Then there’s Bronco, a long-haired dachshund, and Tavish, a one-eyed pug.

“It was a real Valerie dog,” Ms. McAdam said. “These are the dogs she saved.”

At Highland Hospital, where she worked, her loss was also deeply felt. Michelle Hepburn, director of emergency and trauma services at Alameda Health Systems, which operates Highland, adopted Bella, a pit bull puppy, with the help of Ms. Louie.

“Her passion for caring for people and fur babies was evident every waking moment,” said Ms. Hepburn.

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Army agrees to review thousands of unfavorable dismissals for veterans

In a statement Thursday, Alexander Conyers, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, said: “The Agency for Military Review Boards, which acts on behalf of the Secretary of the Army, reviews and assesses cases of impartially in a fair and equitable manner. soldiers, former soldiers and the army.

“As the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut has yet to approve a settlement and Kennedy v. McCarthy remains in litigation,” he added, “any comment regarding a proposed settlement would be premature.”

Messages left with lawyers representing the military in the settlement agreement on Thursday were not immediately returned.

After a tour of 14 months as an infantryman in Iraq, Mr. Kennedy said he had committed a minor offense in 2009 and had been sent to a mental health clinic at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the doctors discovered he was suffering from depression and recommended him for separation. , saying they couldn’t provide adequate care. As a result, he received a general and not honorable discharge.

According to the legal clinic at Yale, the Army sent about 150,000 soldiers from 11 September 2001 attacks with so-called bad as Mr. Kennedy papers, many of which showed symptoms of mental disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress, or suffered traumatic brain injury as a result of their combat service.

When a soldier, sailor, aviator, navy, or coast guard is dismissed, service is qualified as honor, general under honorable conditions, other than honorable, bad conduct, or dishonorable. Only the first, honorable, guarantees the new veteran access to the full range of benefits of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The type of leave a service member receives after being separated for minor misconduct is subjective and may vary.

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Why the accusations against the protesters are rejected by the thousands

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Matt Kaufmann loved bringing real world issues into his classroom, but he didn’t expect it to become a lesson himself. Headlines, however, made it difficult to avoid: “Arrested Kentucky High School Teacher of the Year,” local news rang after his May 31 detention.

An English teacher at the Marion C. Moore School at the time, Mr. Kaufmann was among more than 800 people swept away by police in Louisville during the many months of protests sparked by the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis. and Breonna Taylor in Louisville. .

Mr. Kaufmann and his fiancee, new to the protest, joined a large downtown crowd at the end of May, he said, when police began to halt the protest by firing tear gas and charging from all sides. With a helicopter flying over his head, he suddenly found himself lined up on the ground with dozens of other protesters, then transported to a crowded prison cell.

“I had never experienced anything like this before,” said Kaufmann, 41. “It was scary.”

Now, more than five months later, as Mr. Kaufmann’s case and that of thousands more finally find its way to court across the United States, a vast majority of cases against protesters are dismissed. Only cases involving larger charges such as destruction of property or other violence remain.

Prosecutors called the scale of the mass arrests and mass dismissals in a matter of months unparalleled, at least since the civil rights protests of the early 1960s. Police detaining hundreds in major cities, the arrests of this year have come up against the limits of the judicial system.

In the process, prosecutors refused to prosecute many cases because they concluded that the protesters were exercising their basic civil rights. Cases involving freedom of speech or freedom of assembly rarely end up in court, according to prosecutors across the country, and the coronavirus pandemic has also played a role in the decision. A wave of thousands of minor cases has threatened to capsize courts already plagued with heavy foreclosure arrears.

It has also been recognized that law enforcement officers often use mass arrests as a technique to help clean the streets, and not to deal with illegal behavior.

For those dealing with the cases, the task felt Sisyphus. “Every day I thought I was done and the next morning there would be 50 or 100 cases to count,” said Mary Ellen Heng, an assistant district attorney for the city of Minneapolis. So far, the city is prosecuting around 75 of the 666 cases.

“What has happened over the past few months here is nothing like what I have seen in my 23 years in terms of the volume of cases,” she said.

Most of the charges in the nearly 300 federal protest cases involve arson or assaulting police officers, just like state and municipal affairs.

“It’s a hangover after months of protests,” said Ted Shouse, a criminal defense attorney in Louisville who has helped organize more than 100 volunteer defense lawyers.

Protest leaders and defense lawyers across the country accuse police of laying charges in an attempt to stop the protests. “It was to quell dissent,” said Attica Scott, the only black woman in the Kentucky state legislature and one of the protest organizers detained by police.

Ms Scott’s arrest in September has become one of the most contentious cases in Louisville as she and several other protest leaders were initially charged with attempting to ignite a library, a felony, and raping a 9 p.m. curfew.

Jefferson County attorney Mike O’Connell himself appeared in court to ask that the felony charges be dropped after reviewing the evidence, including a live Instagram broadcast by Ms Scott with a time stamp indicating that the arrests took place before the curfew.

Defense attorneys working on cases in many cities have said more people of color than white are being charged, but it was not a universal pattern. “Even taking into account the racial makeup of the protests, black people have been disproportionately charged,” Mr. Shouse said in Louisville.

A recent study from the Louisville Courier-Journal found that blacks made up 53% of those arrested there in the four months starting May 29, but faced 69% of felony charges. In predominantly white Portland, Oregon, white defendants made up 65% of the more than 140 upcoming cases, while 32% were from other racial groups.

Sgt. John Bradley, a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Police Department, said officers made arrests based on Kentucky law, and it was up to the county attorney to prosecute or not.

The precise numbers on arrests and dismissals across the country are elusive amid the complicated patchwork of law enforcement agencies and state, county or city prosecutors involved.

In Los Angeles County, for example, the district attorney has refused to press charges against 334 people but is pursuing 257 cases of people arrested between late May and early August, said Greg Risling, a spokesperson.

But not all Los Angeles County jurisdictions close cases. Beverly Hills is pursuing misdemeanor charges against a group of 25 people resulting from a protest in June and plans to prosecute others after another protest in July, said Rachel Steinback, coordinator of the Mass Defense Committee of the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles.

In Portland, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office summed up their numbers in a neat table: District Attorney Mike Schmidt dismissed 721 cases, pursuing 144 and 165 under review.

Based on the example of the Occupy Wall Street protesters ten years ago, Schmidt knew judges would either dismiss most cases or impose small sentences. “Seventy to 80 percent would not survive constitutional challenges,” said Schmidt, who added that the costs far outweighed any benefit to public safety.

Adding 1,000 cases to the annual average of less than 20,000 would be discouraging, he said. The same goes for the Minneapolis City Attorney, whose office deals with about 15,000 misdemeanors a year. “Even if Covid were not an issue, it would be a monstrous task for us to pursue 500 more cases,” Ms. Heng said.

Walk into virtually any major courthouse in America and the tension of the backlog is palpable.

In Louisville, these cases are called “parking”. There are approximately 22,000 such cases in total, with only four of the 10 trial courts operating in the Jefferson County Courthouse. In two days at the end of October, 300 indictments for protest cases were stuck in the schedule, about 10 times the normal rate.

Judge Lisa Langford briefly lost track of the cases that were in the courtroom and those that were on Zoom. “He waved to me, I thought he was just happy to see me,” she joked after locating a lawyer on Zoom.

Prosecutors have decided to dismiss 219 protest cases, said Josh Abner, the spokesman for the Jefferson County district attorney.

“We don’t have a magic wand we can wave in relation to all of these cases,” said O’Connell, noting that a team of four prosecutors combed through them.

After massive arrests at the 2000 Republican National Convention, Philadelphia legislated a lesser charge to get people off the streets. The police started issuing summonses outside the regular courts. The offenses and the crimes go to the public prosecutor, contrary to the summons.

Larry Krasner, the city’s district attorney, said his office is reviewing 586 cases and the city is dropping up to 2,000 summons. The cases examined concern incidents such as break-ins into shops or the burning of police vehicles.

Prosecutions there and elsewhere have also been curtailed by the chaotic nature of the protests, particularly during the first few weeks when most arrests took place. With the police double-shifting, there was a delay in the paperwork, so it was impossible to find reports or witnesses for some cases.

In Louisville, as the months drag on with the charges hanging over their heads, many protesters feel stuck in limbo.

Kelly Parry, 33, both a voluntary and defendant defense lawyer, was among 76 protesters arrested as they blocked an avenue in July. “It’s mentally exhausting not knowing what could happen to you,” she says. “You keep asking yourself, ‘Is this a small situation or will it become something bigger? “

Mr. Kaufmann, the teacher, was charged with a curfew violation, a misdemeanor, but tried to ignore it. “I don’t want to give in to fear,” he said, focusing instead on his new job with the Jefferson County school system, which is helping develop a social justice program.

He and Stephanie Kornexl-Kaufmann, then his fiancée and now his wife, decided to join the protesters after hearing the recording of the 911 call that Kenneth Walker, Ms Taylor’s boyfriend, made as the police broke into his apartment in a botched drug raid. .

“We were stunned, we were shocked,” Kaufmann said. “The country is not living up to the values ​​we teach in the classroom.”

Mr Kaufmann was named the state high school teacher of the year in part for hosting classroom discussions around real-world issues like the #MeToo movement. But none had knocked so close to home.

News of his arrest spread with lightning speed.

Kaelyn Goatley, 17, a senior at Marion C. Moore School, had to explain to her grandmother, who was at first appalled, why Mr Kaufmann’s arrest was a good thing.

“I was proud to have a teacher who was on the streets fighting for justice,” she said. “He has this great title of high school teacher of the year and the fact that he was there to protest and to be arrested meant he was risking that. It shows how determined he is to make changes. “

At the end of October, Mr Kaufmann learned that the charges against him, his wife and a former student who was with them would be dropped. He was delighted but noted that hundreds of cases were still pending.

“My young black friends, male and female, whom I met during the protests were in more danger than I and some of them still face these charges,” he said. “It’s not fair, it’s not consistent and we have to do better.”

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Thousands of people gather in Washington as clashes erupt.

Thousands of President Trump supporters protesting the election result gathered in Washington on Saturday, earning a brief drive-through tour from the president himself, during a day of orderly protests that turned into violence as the night wore on.

Police made 20 arrests, including four on gun charges, as counter-protesters and Trump supporters clashed in the streets throughout the evening. One person was stabbed, but his condition was unknown on Saturday evening.

For most of the day, however, the crowds were under control, so loud, and many greeted the president with applause and cheers as he passed in his procession, waving through the window as he walked through. to his private golf club in Sterling, Virginia.

By early afternoon, protesters had spread out for several blocks around Freedom Plaza.

On Twitter, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered an exaggerated assessment of the event, called the Million MAGA March, claiming that a million supporters had surrendered.

Field reports suggested his estimate was extremely inflated.

“It’s not like July 4th or anything,” said a policeman who was stationed near Freedom Plaza on 13th and G streets. He declined to give his name because he was not allowed to speak to the media. “But yes,” he added, “there’s a crowd there.”

Even short of numbers, the crowd did not lack enthusiasm for the president or outrage at the grievances he has raised over the past four years.

Zenaida Ochoa, 46, a Virginia resident from Arizona, said she “has been following Trump since I was a child.”

“He’s not perfect,” said Ochoa, who added that she supported Mr. Trump in part because of his immigration policies.

Mr Trump’s brief visit on Saturday came a day after the last two election states were called. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. won Georgia to finish with a total of 306 electoral votes – the same number Mr. Trump won in 2016 and called for a landslide – and Mr. Trump won the North Carolina, for a total of 232 electoral elections. votes.

Mr Trump refused to concede the race to Mr Biden, and he continues to falsely insist that he would have won without what he claimed were widespread election irregularities. (In fact, the country’s top election officials said there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the result.)

In addition to the Million MAGA March, protests by Trump’s worshipers in Washington on Saturday included a Stop the Steal rally and a Women for Trump event.

The president’s supporters traveled from across the country to participate.

“I’m blown away,” said Rachel Williams, an employee from Jasper County, Alabama, who got into a car with three friends at 5:30 p.m. Friday morning to watch the march in Washington. “I’m encouraged that America isn’t just going to bed.”

Ms Williams said there had been no fraud in her county – she registers voters as part of her job – but expressed suspicion about the election results and suggested there may have been fraud elsewhere. A group of federal, state and local election officials categorically said this week that the election “was the safest in American history” and that there was “no evidence” that the voting systems had been compromised. .

At around noon, protesters began marching toward the Capitol, hurtling down Pennsylvania Avenue for over an hour, and rallying again around the Capitol building and outside the Supreme Court.

“We want Trump to know that we love everything he’s done, especially for Hispanics,” said Anthony Cabassa, 33, who held a flag that read “Defiant.”

“He woke us up,” said Cabassa, who had flown from Los Angeles. “Whether you’re on the left or on the right, he’s woken up a lot of people.”

Later that day, as many Trump supporters began to walk towards Union Station, more than 40 men who identified themselves as members of the Proud Boys, an extremist organization, began marching towards Freedom Plaza.

The men, dressed in yellow and black, raised their fists in the air and chanted “Trump 2020”. Some were wearing ballistic vests.

A few skirmishes broke out in the afternoon among Trump supporters and counter-protesters critical of the administration.

On 12th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, tensions erupted between a crowd of Trump supporters criticizing the antifa and a small group of counter-protesters, including a mother and child.

As the night wore on, videos on social media showed erupting brawls, with police trying to break up the groups by forming barricades with their bikesand demonstrators mass near Freedom Plaza, where people lit small fires.

In the evening, at PJ Clarke’s restaurant near the White House, counter-protesters threw bottles and fireworks at a group of Trump supporters, a USA Today reporter said.

Shortly before 9 p.m., a group of Trump supporters outside a hotel less than a mile from the White House said an altercation had broken out between Trump supporters and others they called antifa. Reports said a man was stabbed and police at the scene shortly after the incident said they could not confirm the severity of the injuries.

Some Trump supporters, standing outside the Embassy Suites hotel, said the two groups converged on the corner of 10th Street and New York Avenue in northwest Washington.

They said the melee quickly broke down after police intervened.

“You could feel the intensity,” said Damien Courtney, 24, a Trump supporter from Tennessee. “It was scary.”

Allyson Waller and Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York and Zach Montague from Washington.

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Ice storms in Oklahoma leave thousands without power on the eve of early voting

Hundreds of thousands of people in Oklahoma are still without power on Wednesday after powerful ice storms destroyed power lines statewide on Monday, creating dangerous conditions on the eve of in-person advance voting scheduled to begin in the ‘State.

According to the Oklahoma Emergency Management Department, some 373,000 households and businesses across the state were still without power as of Wednesday, affecting about 300,000 people in Oklahoma City alone.

David Holt, mayor of Oklahoma City, said he hopes the warmer weather expected on Friday will help melt the ice that had knocked down power lines and downed trees on the city’s roads.

“When you don’t have power, that’s one thing, but when it’s cold, it’s dangerous,” he said on Wednesday. “There’s a chance some won’t have power on the weekend, but at least they’ll be warm.”

Noting that perhaps half of Oklahoma City’s 650,000 residents were still without power on Wednesday, Mr Holt said he had opened a warming facility in the city’s convention center for daytime use and was assessing the options to keep it open at night if necessary.

The city has a location for the early poll – the Oklahoma County Electoral Board near the state capitol – and as of Wednesday morning it had power and is expected to be open to voters on Thursday, Mr. Holt said .

While ice storms of this type are not uncommon during Oklahoma winters, it is unusual to have such a severe one in early fall.

“This storm had a significant impact because our trees had not yet shed their fall foliage, so the ice had a lot more surface to fall on,” said Brian Alford, an Oklahoma Gas spokesperson. & Electric Company, which supplies electricity to Oklahoma City. . “We’re worried about seeing gusts of wind tomorrow that could cause more damage, but it’s at least now above freezing.”

Mr Alford said that although the utility had restored power to 100,000 households and businesses so far, 260,000 were still without power. More than 2,000 employees and contractors were working to restore services, he added.

The Oklahoma State Election Committee said a lack of electricity would not prevent Oklahomans from voting.

“Oklahoma has a paper voting system, which ensures that voting in Oklahoma will continue regardless of whether we have power or not,” said Misha Mohr, spokesperson for the council.

Warming temperatures can cause their own problems. When the weight of the ice is removed from already stressed tree branches, others are expected to break and pull down power lines.

Emergency Management Department spokesperson Keli Cain said further losses were likely as the weather warmed.

“Our electricity suppliers are working hard to recover electricity,” Cain said. “But Mother Nature is only working against them.”

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Video: Firefighters injured, thousands forced to evacuate fires in California

new video loaded: Firefighters injured, thousands forced to evacuate California fires

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Firefighters injured, thousands forced to evacuate California fires

Tens of thousands of Californians were forced to flee their homes as two wildfires continued to spread in Orange County on Tuesday.

Well with most of these fires the wind is the biggest problem – Mother Nature is controlling that. So we are just trying to do what we can.

Recent episodes of Extreme weather conditions

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California wildfires escalate, forcing thousands to flee

Two wildfires raged across southern California on Tuesday, nearly doubling in volume overnight and forcing hundreds more people to flee during what was the state’s worst fire season on record.

The fires in Orange County have put more than 90,000 people on emergency evacuation orders, many in the town of Irvine. Their homes are threatened by the Silverado fire, which has now burned down on 11,200 acres, and the Blue Ridge fire, which is approximately 8,000 acres in size.

About 700 firefighters have battled the fires, which so far have damaged only one house, but the area of ​​concern has widened as winds blew the fires to new areas, including towards Chino Hills, a city of about 84,000 people located on the corner of Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties.

The Orange County Fire Authority, which is the lead agency for fighting the two fires, said it hopes the softening winds will slow the pace of the fires and allow firefighters to use planes to contain the blazes . Silverado Fire is only 5% contained and Blue Ridge Fire is completely unconfined.

On Monday, powerful gusts swept through the area at a speed of 130 km / h, making it more difficult for firefighters to contain the spread of the fires and for residents to evacuate. They also spread smoke in the area.

Two firefighters were seriously injured in the Silverado blaze and they were intubated Monday after receiving second and third degree burns to most of their bodies, said Brian Fennessy, the fire chief. The firefighters are 26 and 31 years old.

Investigators have not determined what started the fires, but on Monday, Southern California Edison filed its second wildland fire report this year, saying his equipment could have caused the Silverado fire. Last month, the utility filed a report saying its equipment was part of an investigation into the cause of the Bobcat fire, which burned more than 115,000 acres near Pasadena.

The 2020 fire season saw massive wildfires raging across California and other western states. Experts have linked the worsening fire season to climate change, as emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from the burning of fossil fuels have led to warmer and drier conditions.

Over five million acres burned across California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington state. In California alone, the fires have burned more than 4.1 million acres, destroyed 10,488 homes and other structures, and killed at least 31 people.