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Tuesday, Feb 07th

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Epstein accuser says Maxwell and Epstein groomed her, Maxwell was often in room during abuse

Maxwell often in room when girls were abusedA 41-year-old woman told jurors Tuesday how Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly helped groom and recruit her into the life of financier Jeffrey Epstein decades ago, including watching at times as Epstein forced her into sexual acts.

The woman — testifying under the pseudonym Jane — was the first of four alleged victims who will testify at Maxwell’s sex-trafficking trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. She gave a mostly matter-of-fact account of being lured into Epstein’s world of daily erotic massages as a 14-year-old and globe-trotting on private jets.

Maxwell, 59, who was Epstein’s longtime associate and paramour, has pleaded not guilty.

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Biden administration asks judge to halt strict Texas abortion law

Biden administration asks judge to halt Texas abotion lawPresident Joe Biden's administration on Friday urged a judge to block a near-total ban on abortion imposed by Texas - the strictest such law in the nation - in a key moment in the ferocious legal fight over abortion access in the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Sept. 1 allowed the Republican-backed law to take effect even as litigation over its legality continues in lower courts. The U.S. Justice Department eight days later sued in federal court to try to invalidate it.

During a hearing in the Texas capital of Austin, Justice Department lawyers asked U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman to block the law temporarily, saying the state's Republican legislature and governor enacted it in an open defiance of the Constitution.

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Civil rights activist faces charges after reporting racist attack in Indiana

Vauhxx Booker

A Black civil rights activist who reported that a group of white men assaulted him and threatened to “get a noose” at a southern Indiana lake is facing criminal charges more than a year after the confrontation that earlier led to charges against two of the alleged attackers.

Vauhxx Booker, a member of the Monroe county human rights commission, was charged with misdemeanor trespass and felony battery for his involvement in last year’s Fourth of July incident at Lake Monroe, according to court documents filed last Friday by a special prosecutor in the case.

Booker condemned the decision, calling it an “outrageous act of punitive retaliation and prosecutorial vindictiveness”.

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8 states see a rise in infection rates, 29% of Republicans don't want vaccine – yet

Covid rises in 19 states

Although new COVID-19 cases are declining across most of the nation, eight states are seeing increases – and seven of those have below-average vaccination rates, new data reveals.

Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah and Wyoming have seen their seven-day rolling averages for infection rates rise from two weeks earlier, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. All of them except Hawaii have recorded vaccination rates that are lower than the U.S. average of 43% fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some states are seeing increased immunity after high rates of natural spread of the disease, which has so far killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

“We certainly are getting some population benefit from our previous cases, but we paid for it,” said Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs. “We paid for it with deaths.”

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Parents Erupt Over FDA Failure To Regulate Toxic Metals in Food

Toxic ingredients found in baby foodWhen Congress released a report this month finding that popular baby foods contain worrisome levels of toxic heavy metals, the reaction was swift.

Scary headlines blared from the New York Times to the Daily Mail, lawsuits were filed within days and throngs of parents, already beleaguered from the stresses of the pandemic, took to social media with the fire of a thousand suns. “You knowingly sell food that hurt babies for profit,” one mom wrote on a baby food company’s Instagram page. “You are MONSTERS.”

But the intense blowback against baby food makers obscured an even larger problem, watchdogs say: Heavy metal contamination is relatively common across the food supply, so infants aren’t the only children vulnerable to possible health effects, and the federal government is doing next to nothing to reduce their exposure.

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Defense Sec. Austin eyes rolling back Trump-era policy on special operations

Navy Seals operations

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is considering undoing his predecessor’s last-minute decision to elevate the top civilian Pentagon official overseeing special operations matters, signaling his intent to continue rolling back the policies of the Trump administration.

Austin is weighing the move as he reassigns the senior official who most recently held that special operations role in the Trump administration, and looks to replace another official who served under Trump's former Pentagon chief.

The initial policy change on special operations, made in December by former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, put civilian oversight of America’s commandos on par with the civilian leaders of the military branches. The job had been lower down in the Pentagon’s bureaucracy.

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US plane scatters engine debris over Denver homes

Plane scatters engine debris

The Boeing 777, with 231 passengers and 10 crew on board, was able to return safely and land at Denver airport. No injuries were reported.

Police in the town of Broomfield posted pictures of what appears to be the front of an engine casing in the front garden of a home.

The United Airlines plane was bound for Honolulu.

Flight 328 suffered a failure in its right-hand engine, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

Broomfield police urged residents not to touch or move the debris. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will be carrying out an investigation.

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