Wacky Hollywood: Tim Robbins blasts ICE as ‘SS’ in charge of ‘ethnic cleansing’

‘Shawshank Redemption’ star Tim Robbins has compared US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to Nazis, and claimed the agency’s goal is to target people of color and give America an “ethnic cleansing.”

“ICE are massively funded, militarized police whose function is to deport people of color. Ethnic cleansing in America,” tweeted the actor in reaction to a story about President Donald Trump designating ICE a “security agency” in an effort to protect the identities of its employees.

“Now they are a massively funded, militarized SECRET police (SS) that don’t have to identify themselves or answer to anyone. What could go wrong?” according to Robbins.

The SS — or Schutzstaffel — was a powerful paramilitary group in the Nazi Germany, which was responsible for the genocide of the Jewish population, among other things. 

While Robbins has been vocal about his opinions, and politically involved for years – he campaigned for Bernie Sanders – his claims might shoot a bit over the top. 

ICE employees have been the target of doxxing in recent years, as the debate over immigration in the US has heated up. More than 1,600 workers had their names and photos tweeted out by a number of liberal activists in 2018. The new classification of ICE is expected to halt such attempts to publicly identify employees in the future.

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Leader of ultra-right militia The Three Percenters General BloodAgent predicts end of America by 2021 and warns of new civil war

However, the agency has been embroiled in a number of controversies that has led it to be a target of both immigration activists and Democrats.

Among other things, it has been accused of inhumane treatment of detained children of illegal immigrants. Congressional Democrats have called on the ICE to act with “compassion” and release all detained families in light of the coronavirus health crisis. 

Robbins has grown increasingly extreme in his political tweets during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a swiftly deleted April tweet criticizing the mooted possibility of ending various economic lockdowns, the actor blasted the US as a “death cult” and anti-lockdown activists as “racist self-interested citizens.”

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Russian cosmonaut takes picture of ‘BRIGHTEST COMET’ in 7 years as it passes close to Earth (PHOTOS)

The NEOWISE comet has just passed so close to the Earth, it has been seen with a naked eye. Yet, Russian cosmonaut Ivan Vagner saw right from space – and shared his photos of the rare event.

The celestial object, also known as C/2020 F3, raced past our planet at a distance of some 103 million kilometers. Vagner snapped a photo of it while on board the International Space Station (ISS) and shared the picture on Twitter.

The cosmonaut’s day in orbit appears to have been replete with memorable events – he also captured a photo of a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere not long before that.

NEOWISE was first discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Objects Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer space telescope – hence its name – on March 27. Those, who managed to see it in recent days should consider themselves really lucky, because it’s not expected to approach Earth again for another 6,800 years.

Vagner, a flight engineer with the ISS Expedition 62/63, arrived at the space station for the first time in his career this April. Since then, he’s regularly shared via Twitter an array of stunning photos of the Earth’s surface taken from orbit. One of the most notable was his snap of Peru’s famous Inca citadel Machu Picchu, high up in the Andes.

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‘Anybody need any ventilators?’ Trump says huge US Covid numbers are due to testing but FAKE NEWS media won’t tell the story

President Donald Trump has tweeted that the high number of Covid-19 cases in the US is actually a good thing as it is due to expanded testing, but the “fake news media” refuses to cover the shrinking mortality rate.

“Cases, Cases, Cases! If we didn’t test so much and so successfully, we would have very few cases. If you test 40,000,000 people, you are going to have many cases that, without the testing (like other countries), would not show up every night on the Fake Evening News,” the president tweeted on Saturday. 

He continued, “In a certain way, our tremendous Testing success gives the Fake News Media all they want, CASES. In the meantime, Deaths and the all important Mortality Rate goes down. You don’t hear about that from the Fake News, and you never will. Anybody need any Ventilators???”

Trump’s tweets follow Covid-19 cases within the US rising by over 55,000 on Thursday, a new daily global record. The US has recorded more than 2.8 million cases overall and around 130,000 deaths.

States like Florida have seen record rises in Covid-19 infections as well — over 11,000 new ones from the sunshine state reported on Friday — which has led governors to walk back on plans to end their lockdowns. 

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Eric Garcetti speaks during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Los Angeles, California
LA mayor warns citizens to cancel Fourth of July plans to ‘save lives,’ but supports Black Lives Matter protests

The mortality rate from coronavirus, however, has gone down. While statistics surrounding the virus change on a daily basis and some experts have predicted a soon-to-come spike in deaths, the virus has gone from claiming thousands of lives a day in April to about 600 a day now, based on numbers released in the last few weeks. 

The president has argued that the rise in cases is directly linked to expanded testing before. 

“Testing is a double edged sword — Makes us look bad, but good to have!!!” he tweeted

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WHO halts hydroxychloroquine Covid-19 trials for second time, citing its ineffectiveness

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stopped the clinical trials of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as well as the anti-HIV medication lopinavir/ritonavir in coronavirus patients, following preliminary results.

The United Nations health agency has said that the use of hydroxychloroquine – a drug once actively endorsed by the US President Donald Trump as a treatment against Covid-19 – should be discontinued, because it has little to no effect on halting the disease’s progression.

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The drug hydroxychloroquine IS displayed by a pharmacist at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy in Provo, Utah, May 27, 2020.
‘No evidence of benefit’: FDA says hydroxychloroquine no longer approved for Covid-19 emergency use

The decision was taken after the preliminary results of clinical trials conducted as part of the Solidarity Initiative – a WHO-backed international program aimed at tackling the Covid-19 pandemic – were received. The same study also showed that lopinavir/ritonavir – the two drugs normally used in anti-HIV therapy, and also touted as a potential cure against Covid-19 – are similarly ineffective.

“Interim trial results show that hydroxychloroquine and lopinavir/ritonavir produce little or no reduction in the mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients when compared to standard of care. Solidarity trial investigators will interrupt the trials with immediate effect,” the organization said in a statement.

It noted, however, that the aforementioned results have not yet been peer-reviewed, and its recommendations do not affect any potential use of the drugs in non-hospitalized patients or as a prophylaxis – Trump’s own use of hydroxychloroquine.

The WHO had already halted its trials of hydroxychloroquine, citing “safety concerns,” after a prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, published a study on the side-effects of the drug, which included a higher mortality rate among Covid-19 patients.

The move prompted many nations – among them, France, Italy, and Belgium – to ban the use of the drug in the treatment of coronavirus. Others, such as Spain or Russia, declined to do so.

Eventually, the WHO resumed the trials, this time citing doubts over the side-effects research itself. Its current position is that “the interim results do not provide solid evidence of increased mortality.”

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Top medical journal retracts Covid-19 study criticizing hydroxychloroquine after validity of research data questioned

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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
Dems gloat & hold up former GOP presidential Cain candidate hospitalized with Covid-19 as ‘proof’ US shouldn’t have reopened

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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.
‘If they annex the Jordan Valley, it’s World War III’: Hundreds march in New York to protest Israel’s West Bank annexation scheme

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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Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov
Rest in peace: Khabib’s father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov laid to rest in his home village in Dagestan

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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FILE PHOTOS.
‘Great news!’ Trump hails falling coronavirus daily death counts, brushes off concerns over spike in cases

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
In an era of fake news, can we trust the MSM polls that show Trump badly trailing Biden in the race for the US presidency?

“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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Hot work: Bellator starlet Valerie Loureda works up a sweat as she shadowboxes on her Miami balcony (VIDEO)

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
Iran says cause of mysterious incident that damaged nuclear facility ‘has been determined’

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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