LA mayor warns citizens to cancel Fourth of July plans to ‘save lives,’ but supports Black Lives Matter protests

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is warning citizens to avoid Fourth of July celebrations during the Covid-19 pandemic, yet is fully in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests and was even pictured at one not wearing a mask.

“We’re going to have to celebrate differently this year. Everyone should cancel plans with others for the 4th of July. You shouldn’t gather with anyone who doesn’t live in your household,” Garcetti tweeted on Friday.

He followed up on the actual holiday with multiple tweets doubling down on his warning.

“Happy Fourth. Please stay home and avoid gatherings with others. And don’t forget your face covering,” he wrote. 

What makes the “save lives” sentiment behind the tweets sound hollow is the fact that Garcetti has supported people gathering in public for BLM protests. He’s even celebrated them doing so.

“If you’ve been to a protest, thank you for making your voice heard and supporting the cause of racial justice,” the mayor tweeted last month, telling demonstrators it’s perfectly acceptable to gather in public as long as they quarantine themselves afterward and get tested for Covid-19.

The seeming hypocrisy has understandably earned Garcetti plenty of critics, many openly defying his order.

“Your request is denied due to Americans’ liberty,” actor and Los Angeles resident Adam Baldwin tweeted at the mayor.

To make matters worse, responses to Garcetti’s tweets have included multiple pictures of himself at a Black Lives Matter protest, no face mask in sight.

Plenty of politicians have found themselves accused of not practicing what they preach during the Covid-19 pandemic, like New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio who fit in a trip to a public gym in March right before an order from the governor shutting such establishments down went through — meaning he would have known the “dangers” of doing so before going.

Like Garcetti, De Blasio and others have also shown support for BLM protests despite continually talking up the risk of public gatherings at the moment.

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© Reuters / Jonathan Ernst
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Israeli plan to annex parts of West Bank may prompt third intifada, Abbas adviser warns

If Tel Aviv goes ahead with its plan to annex parts of the West Bank, the region is set to see a new, all-out uprising of Palestinians backed by most of the Arab world, warned an aide to the Palestinian Authority president.

“When things flare up and it becomes a fully fledged intifada, we will see a combination of forces between Gaza and the West Bank,” Nabil Shaath, a senior adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, told France24 Arabic. And the new uprising is likely to receive broad financial support from the Arab world, the official said.

This week, the two rival Palestinian factions – Gaza Strip-governing Hamas, and Fatah, which is in charge of the West Bank – pledged a joint campaign against Israel’s annexation plan. Earlier, Abbas withdrew from security agreements with Israel over the impending land grab, removing the legal obstacles impeding those willing to take part in anti-Israeli violence.

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A general view of the 'Day of Rage' rally to protest Israeli annexation plans in the West Bank, in Brooklyn, New York, July 1, 2020.
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While the co-existence of the Israelis and the Palestinians has never been particularly peaceful, any major flare-up or sustained uprising is referred to as an ‘intifada.’ The first lasted from 1987 to 1993, and resulted in the deaths of 2,000 Palestinians and nearly 300 Israelis, both civilians and security personnel. The second, which occurred in the early 2000s, was even bloodier, leaving 3,000 Palestinians and more than 1,000 Israelis dead.

The annexation plan, championed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu, envisages the incorporation of all the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank into Israel. More than 460,000 Jews live in these settlements, built in violation of international laws, and the annexation will strip the Palestinians of a significant chunk of their territory.

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(L) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet © AFP / FABRICE COFFRINI, (R) Israel flag in the occupied West Bank © AFP / KFAR ADUMIM
UN human rights chief fears ‘disastrous’ consequences if Israel proceeds with West Bank annexation

The plan was expected to be put in motion on July 1, but the target date was missed, as Israel was unable to secure a formal sanction for its land grab from Washington.

Israel’s closest ally, the US, maintains it’s Israel’s ‘choice’ whether or not to annex the Palestinian Territories and didn’t openly endorse the plans. The vast majority of the international community, however, strongly rejected the annexation, with even US allies – namely the EU – threatening sanctions against Tel Aviv.

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Khabib Nurmagomedov consoled by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov following the death of his father Abdulmanap (VIDEO)

Footage has emerged of Khabib Nurmagomedov mourning the passing of his father and trainer Abdulmanap in the company of the head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The world of mixed martial arts has been in mourning since the death of Abdulmanap, 57, was announced on Friday after a protracted battle with COVID-19. 

Several figures from within the sport’s community, including rivals Justin Gaethje, Tony Ferguson, and Conor McGregor, issued statements of support for the Russian UFC lightweight champion following the passing of the pioneer of Dagestani martial arts. 

At a gathering late on Friday, Kadyrov met with Khabib to offer his own condolences. Text accompanying the video notes that Kadyrov emphasized the “universal respect” that Abdulmanap had both at home and abroad, as well as highlighting the indelible mark he placed on the sport of MMA. 

Khabib is understood to have thanked Kadyrov for his part in arranging for Abdulmanap to be transferred to a medical facility in Moscow for the latter part of his treatment.

The plan of the Most High cannot be changed, for all his will. Praise be to Allah,” Nurmagomedov was quoted as saying. 

The UFC lightweight champion had been expected to defend his world title against Justin Gaethje in September, but following the passing of his father, the fight is far from certain to go ahead.

Nurmagomedov has yet to make a statement since news of his father’s death broke on Friday. 

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Clinton says she could beat Trump in 2020, would have handled Covid-19 pandemic better

Despite losing to Donald Trump in 2016, Hillary Clinton maintains she could defeat him if she were standing in 2020, and would have done a better job handling the Covid-19 pandemic, setting off a ripple of mockery on social media.

Asked by the ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast about the possibility of a rematch against Trump in November and if she could theoretically win it, Clinton responded with a definitive “yes.”

“You know, when he ran before, people who knew him mostly knew him from reality TV. He’d been in their living rooms, and he was a businessman, and he looked like a billionaire, and he rode around in his big plane and all of that,” she said. 

“So they kinda thought, ‘Well, hey, you know, give the guy a chance. Let’s see what he can do.’ And now everybody, I think, knows what the consequences of that have been.”

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In 2016, Clinton lost the election by 70 electoral votes and failed to secure victories in typically reliable blue states, such as Wisconsin. Despite her loss to a man with no experience in big politics, many mainstream media polls had her pulling a clear victory.

Not only does the former secretary of state believe she would win the presidency now, but she also claims she and her team would have handled the Covid-19 pandemic far better than the current administration.

“We sure could have done a better job saving lives, modeling better, more responsible behavior. I don’t think we necessarily should have had as deep an economic assault on livelihoods and jobs as we have,” she said.

While discussing the fantasy of a rematch, Clinton also floated the conspiracy theory that Trump could refuse to leave the White House, even if he loses to a Democrat in November.

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FILE PHOTO: Voters fill in their ballots for the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place in Armstrong Elementary School on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020 in Herndon, Virginia
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“I think it depends upon how big the loss is, and that’s why they’re doing everything they can to prevent people from voting — you know, they want to stop mail-in voting, they want to shrink the number of places where people can actually vote in person — because they know if we have a big turnout, they lose,” she said.

As is typical for almost any Clinton claims today, she was met with mostly mockery on social media, with many reminding her of the great many scandals synonymous with her name, including the infamous email debacle before the 2016 election and her husband’s own impeachment while in office.

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Stars and stripes: MMA and pro wrestling starlets don patriotic colors to celebrate U.S. Independence Day (PHOTOS)

Female stars of the cage and the ring took to Instagram to show off some patriotic attire as they celebrated July 4th with their legions of fans on social media.

Leading the way is one of the most popular female MMA fighters on Instagram, Bellator starlet Valerie Loureda, who posed for a snap in a stars and stripes bikini to commemorate the occasion of her nation’s Independence Day.

The flag-based attire proved to be a popular choice, with WWE superstar Scarlett Bordeaux also opting for the stars and stripes swimwear in her Instagram post as the wrestler known as “The Smoke Show” lived up to her moniker in a beach shot holding a mini sparkler.

Also getting involved in the spirit was former WWE fan favorite and fitness model Natalia Eva Marie, who shared a pair of eye-catching shots – one studio shot from her archives and one up-to-date photo snapped by the pool in her now-familiar dyed hair.

And former UFC strawweight title challenger Claudia Gadelha showed her love for all things American, as the Brazilian fighter donned a special pair of stars and stripes shorts, bearing the cheeky slogan, “God bless this ass.”

MMA is taking a back seat this weekend on Independence Day, but the one-week gap will give way to a breathless run of events, starting on June 11 in Abu Dhabi as the UFC hosts four events in 14 days on “UFC Fight Island.”

The promotion will then return home to Las Vegas for a packed month of action in August, with four weekend events in the pipeline, plus a quartet of Tuesday night shows as Dana White’s Contender Series makes its return.

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Transformer explosion triggers fire at power plant in Iran (VIDEOS)

A large blaze has erupted at a power station in southwest Iran, causing brief electricity outages in the area. The incident is the latest in the string of mishaps at strategic facilities across the country.

The fire broke out on Saturday at the Zargan plant, located in the city of Ahvaz. Footage from the scene, which has been circulating online, shows a large column of black smoke coming from the facility.

A fire department official told local media that the blaze was caused by a transformer, which exploded after overheating. The fire was promptly contained by firefighters, limiting damage to the facility.

The plant fire follows a string of mysterious incidents at key facilities over the past week. On Tuesday, an explosion rocked a medical facility in northern Tehran.The blast and subsequent fire killed 13 people and left six injured. The incident was blamed on a gas leak.

On Thursday, an unspecified incident occurred at the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, triggering a fire and causing damage to the plant. Iranian authorities say they have already determined the cause of the mishap, but will not provide further details until a “convenient time.” The incident did not cause any radioactive leaks, as nuclear materials were not present in the damaged building, officials stressed.

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A view of a damaged building after a fire broke out at Iran's Natanz Nuclear Facility, July 2, 2020 © Reuters / Atomic Energy Organization of Iran
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Another explosion occurred to the east of Tehran, near the Parchin military and weapons development facility, last Friday. The incident, which affected a storage facility outside the base, was blamed on a gas leak.

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Area C, the chunk of the West Bank the Israeli right has long coveted

Encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been in a position to start his controversial West Bank annexation plan since July 1. The prime, fertile Jordan Valley, located in the West Bank’s Area C are in the Israeli leader’s sights and have long been coveted by his hard-right supporters.

‘Only took him two years!’ Cristiano Ronaldo FINALLY breaks free-kick duck as he fires in sublime Juventus set piece (VIDEO)

It may have taken him more than 40 attempts, but Cristiano Ronaldo has finally scored his first free-kick goal for Juventus – more than TWO YEARS after leaving Real Madrid for the Italian giants.

The Portuguese great curled a majestic strike into the top corner just past the hour mark in his side’s derby with local rivals Torino as he scored his side’s third goal in a 4-1 victory for “The Old Lady.” 

Incredibly, the goal came broke a set piece drought which had extended all the way to his spell with Real Madrid. By RT Sport’s reckoning, the last free kick goal Ronaldo scored was his late equalizer for Portugal against against Spain in their 2018 World Cup meeting in Sochi. 

At club level, his last successful dead ball strike came in the 2017 Club World Cup.

This time around, Ronaldo ditched his usual method of striking the ball with his laces in favor of applying a more delicate bend to the ball – and he will be happy with the results, as the strike was pivotal in securing the points for a Juve side looking to extend their lead over second-placed Lazio.

Ronaldo’s barren spell from the dead ball spot is even more remarkable when you consider that, despite scoring just three in the past three years (by our count at least), he remains the top scorer of free kicks among active players with 55. 

Coming up just behind him? Yep, you’ve guessed it – Lionel Messi has 52. 

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Cristiano Ronaldo misses a penalty for Juventus against AC Milan © Reuters
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‘The only drug I use is Viagra’: Billy Joe Saunders unleashes foul-mouthed social media rant at rival Chris Eubank Jr.

British boxer Billy Joe Saunders took aim at the family of Chris Eubank Jr. with a furious rant on social media after his rival poked fun at the world champion fighter for missing out on a lucrative showdown with Canelo Alvarez.

The 29-0 Saunders had been linked with a high-profile fight with Canelo in September but announced on social media that he was withdrawing himself from consideration for the fight due to the problems associated with arranging a training camp in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

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Eubank Jr., who was beaten by Saunders by split decision in late 2014, suggested that there were ulterior motives behind Saunders’ decision to withdraw.

Billy Bottle Job Saunders won’t fight Canelo in two months??… I’m ready to go in 2 days!!! So a fight in September!? NO PROBLEM,” Eubank Jr. wrote on social media.

Two months isn’t enough time for the drugs Billy Joe Saunders uses to get in shape, to leave his system, so he pulled out of the Canelo fight. Guess he’s just gotta go back to beating up women again,” a further tweet read.

Saunders took the bait, and launched back with a salvo of his own. 

The only drugs I use is Viagra for when I dismantle your mum‘s *****,” Saunders retorted with, followed by a sunglasses emoji.

Eubank Jr’s tweet is likely in reference to a drug test Saunders failed in 2018 ahead of a fight with Demetrius Andrade, which the Brit maintains was the result of taking an over-the-counter nasal spray which he didn’t know contained the banned stimulant oxilofrine.

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He also took aim at Saunders in an interview with UK media, saying that his rival is an “extremely bad representative” of boxing.

That’s what he deserves, the guy’s a lowlife. He’s an extremely bad representative for the sport that we all love,” he said

Why should he fight somebody like a Canelo when he’s going to go in there and try and survive for the money? That’s the type of guy Billy Joe Saunders is, so it’s a good thing he’s not.”