Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 |
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Bidens’ older dog, Champ, has died; German shepherd was 13
WILMINGTON, Del. — President Joe Biden announced Saturday that Champ, the older of the family’s two dogs, had died “peacefully at home.” The German shepherd was 13.
“He was our constant, cherished companion during the last 13 years and was adored by the entire Biden family,” Biden and first lady Jill Biden said in a statement posted to the president’s official Twitter account. The Bidens are spending the weekend at their home in Wilmington, Delaware.
The Bidens got Champ from a breeder after Biden was elected vice president in 2008. Champ was a fixture at both the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory and now the White House. In their statement, the Bidens said that when Champ was young, “he was happiest chasing golf balls on the front lawn of the Naval Observatory,” and that more recently he enjoyed “joining us as a comforting presence in meetings or sunning himself in the White House garden.”
“In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion,” the Bidens said.
Champ’s passing leaves the Bidens with their younger German shepherd, Major, whom the family adopted from the Delaware Humane Society in 2018.
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president
RIO DE JANEIRO — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in more than a score of cities across Brazil on Saturday as the nation’s confirmed death toll from COVID-19 soared past half a million — a tragedy many critics blame on President Jair Bolsonaro’s attempt to minimize the disease.
Thousands gathered in downtown Rio de Janeiro waving flags with slogans such as “Get out Bolsonaro. Government of hunger and unemployment.”
“Brazil is experiencing a great setback. The country was an exemplary country for vaccination in the world. We have widely recognized institutions, but today we are in a sad situation,” said Isabela Gouljor, a 20-year-old student who joined the protest in Rio.
Other marchers hoisted posters reading: “500 thousand deaths. It’s his fault,” alluding to Bolsonaro.
Similar marches took place in at least 22 or Brazil’s 26 states, as well as in the Federal District, Brasilia. They were promoted by left-wing opposition parties who have been heartened by Bolsonaro’s declining poll ratings with next year’s presidential race looming.
‘Protected them to death’:
Elder-care COVID rules under fire
Barbara and Christine Colucci long to remove their masks and kiss their 102-year-old mother, who has dementia and is in a nursing home in Rochester, New York. They would love to have more than two people in her room at a time so that relatives can be there too.
“We don’t know how much longer she’s going to be alive,” Christine Colucci said, “so it’s like, please, give us this last chance with her in her final months on this earth to have that interaction.”
Pandemic restrictions are falling away almost everywhere — except inside many of America’s nursing homes. Rules designed to protect the nation’s most vulnerable from COVID-19 are still being enforced even though 75% of nursing home residents are now vaccinated and infections and deaths have plummeted.
Frustration has set in as families around the country visit their moms and, this Father’s Day weekend, their dads. Hugs and kisses are still discouraged or banned in some nursing homes. Residents are dining in relative isolation and playing bingo and doing crafts at a distance. Visits are limited and must be kept short, and are cut off entirely if someone tests positive for the coronavirus.
Family members and advocates question the need for such restrictions at this stage of the pandemic, when the risk is comparatively low. They say the measures are now just prolonging older people’s isolation and accelerating their mental and physical decline.
From wire sources
Hard-line judiciary head wins Iran presidency as turnout low
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief won a landslide victory Saturday in the country’s presidential election, a vote that both propelled the supreme leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.
The election of Ebrahim Raisi, already sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competition found themselves disqualified from running.
That sparked calls for a boycott and many apparently did stay home — out of over 59 million eligible voters, only 28.9 million voted. Of those voting, some 3.7 million people either accidentally or intentionally voided their ballots, far beyond the amount seen in previous elections and suggesting some wanted none of the four candidates.
Iranian state television immediately blamed challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. sanctions for the low participation. But the low turnout and voided ballots suggested a wider unhappiness with the tightly controlled election, as activists criticized Raisi’s ascension.
“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said.
Driver rams cyclists in Arizona race, critically injuring 6
SHOW LOW, Ariz. — A driver in a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists during a community road race in Arizona on Saturday, critically injuring several riders before police chased the driver and shot him outside a nearby hardware store, authorities said.
Six people were taken to a hospital in critical condition after the crash in the mountain town of Show Low, about a three-hour drive northeast of Phoenix, police said. Helmets, shoes and crumpled and broken bicycles were strewn across the street after the crash, and a tire was wedged into the grill of the truck, which had damage to its top and sides and a bullet hole in a window.
Two other people went to a hospital themselves, city spokeswoman Grace Payne said, and one of the severely injured was later flown by medical helicopter to a Phoenix-area hospital.
The suspect, a 35-year-old man, also was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.
“We don’t know the motivation,” Payne told The Associated Press. “We know he fled the scene.”
Amid reform movement, some GOP states give police more power
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a year of protests over police brutality, some Republican-controlled states have ignored or blocked police-reform proposals, moving instead in the other direction by granting greater powers to officers, making it harder to discipline them and expanding their authority to crack down on demonstrations.
The sponsors of the GOP measures acted in the wake of the nationwide protests that followed George Floyd’s death, and they cited the disturbances and destruction that spread last summer through major U.S. cities, including Portland, New York and Minneapolis, where Floyd died at the hands of officers.
“We have to strengthen our laws when it comes to mob violence, to make sure individuals are unequivocally dissuaded from committing violence when they’re in large groups,” Florida state Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, a Republican, said during a hearing for an anti-riot bill that was enacted in April.
Florida is one of the few states this year to both expand police authority and pass reforms: A separate bill awaiting action by the governor would require additional use-of-force training and ensure officers intervene if another uses excessive force.
States where lawmakers pushed back against the police-reform movement included Arizona, Iowa, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wyoming, according to an Associated Press review of legislation.
Memphis erases Confederate general from its public spaces
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s polarizing presence has hung over Memphis since he moved here in 1852 — his legacy cemented by a giant statue that loomed over all who passed his gravesite in a popular park.
Defenders considered him a hero for his Civil War exploits. Detractors called him a violent racist and noted his early leadership role in the Ku Klux Klan.
Now the former slave trader’s remains are set to be moved to a new Confederate museum in Columbia, Tennessee — another milestone in the effort to remove statues, monuments, and now the remains, of Confederate leaders from public spaces.
As workers prepared to dig up his grave earlier this month, a white man waved a rebel flag, sang “Dixie” and launched an expletive-laced tirade at Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer. Sawyer, who is Black, plucked Confederate flags off a chain-link fence surrounding the site as George Johnson paced behind her on a concrete platform.
When he cursed at her again, Sawyer replied: “It’s not your property,” and turned toward reporters gathered for the June 1 news conference.
Queen beams as she returns to Ascot after COVID-19 hiatus
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II was smiling broadly as she attended the final day of the Ascot races on Saturday, where environmental protesters urged the monarch to press politicians to act faster against climate change.
The 95-year-old queen, a keen racing fan and racehorse owner, has attended Ascot almost every year of her seven-decade reign. She was absent last year, when the event was held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic. Her return came two months after the death of her husband, Prince Philip, at 99.
Dressed in a mint-green outfit and matching hat, the queen was applauded by the crowd as she arrived to cheer on four horses she owns that were racing on Saturday. She smiled broadly as she inspected one of her horses, Reach for the Moon, after it finished a close second.
The annual racing meeting west of London is a heady mix of horses, extravagant headwear, fancy dress, champagne and strawberries with cream.
Protesters from environmental group Extinction Rebellion unfurled a banner reading “Racing to Extinction” at the racecourse on Saturday. The group said four women glued themselves to their banner and chained themselves to the fence in a protest intended to be seen by the queen. She was not nearby at the time.
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