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Secret plans helped Brooklyn synagogue pull off massive, maskless wedding

A Hasidic synagogue in Brooklyn planned the wedding of a chief rabbi’s grandson with such secrecy it was able to host thousands of maskless celebrants without the city catching on. Despite a surge in COVID-19 cases, guests crammed shoulder-to-shoulder inside the Yetev Lev temple in Williamsburg for the Nov. 8 nuptials — stomping, dancing and...
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Ahead of coronavirus vaccine approval, top medical groups back 'rigorous scientific' process
Americans were urged to protect themselves and adhere to mitigation steps amid coronavirus on Tuesday in an open letter from groups of U.S. medical leaders.
Centrist lawmakers push $908B virus relief plan
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is putting pressure on congressional leaders to accept a split-the-difference solution to the months-long impasse on COVID-19 relief in a last-gasp effort to ship overdue help to a hurting nation. (Dec. 1)
Barack Obama regrets not giving Dolly Parton Presidential Medal of Freedom
Everyone makes mistakes, even former presidents.
Argentina rugby captain, two other players suspended for 'discriminatory and xenophobic' social media posts
Pablo Matera has been stripped of his role as Argentina's rugby captain and suspended alongside teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino for "discriminatory and xenophobic" social media posts dating from between 2011 and 2013, the Argentine Rugby Union (ARU) announced on Monday.
Argentina rugby captain Pablo Matera, two other players suspended for 'discriminatory and xenophobic' social media posts
Pablo Matera has been stripped of his role as Argentina's rugby captain and suspended alongside teammates Guido Petti and Santiago Socino for "discriminatory and xenophobic" social media posts dating from between 2011 and 2013, the Argentine Rugby Union (ARU) announced on Monday.
Understanding the NBA's unconventional 2020-21 season
SportsPulse: This isn't your grandparent's NBA. Following a short layoff from the previous season, the league has devised a unique plan for 2020-21, but will it go off without a hitch?
Iowa correctional officer dies after coronavirus diagnosis: report
A second correctional officer in Iowa has died after contracting the novel coronavirus, according to a local report.
COVID-19 may have been in the US weeks earlier than we thought: study
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Jerry Jones compares Broncos playing without QB to Cowboys' challenge starting Ben DiNucci
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Court hears Bill Cosby's plea to overturn sex assault conviction
A court heard Bill Cosby's plea to overturn his conviction.
Russian man confesses to being ‘Volga maniac’ serial killer
A 38-year-old Russian man has confessed to being the “Volga maniac” — a serial killer responsible for the strangling deaths of at least 26 elderly women in the country’s central region. Radik Tagirov, who was linked to the murders through DNA and other forensic evidence, is now accused of the string of killings that terrorized...
Whoopi Goldberg: Trump Is Not Running in 2024 -- He Will Be in Jail
Whoopi Goldberg said Tuesday on ABC's "The View" that President Donald Trump will not run again in 2024 because he will be in jail.
Federal workers score legal win over pay halt during 2018-19 shutdown
The longest shutdown in U.S. history stemmed from an impasse over Trump’s border wall demands.
Sarah Sanders slams media double standard toward Biden press team: 'Real war on women' is from left
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'Jeopardy!' is coming back this January
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Army and Navy pay tribute to rich traditions with uniforms for 121st matchup
Army and Navy both revealed on Tuesday the jerseys they will use in the 121st Army-Navy football game, scheduled for Dec. 12.
Join Nayeema Raza to discuss how Trump became her unlikely fitspo
Mother shot at funeral for teen son killed by Florida sheriff's deputy
A mother in Florida was shot and wounded at the burial service for her son, who was shot to death by a Brevard County Sheriff's Office deputy.
China Moves to Surpass US in Economics, Technology, Diplomacy and Military, Report Says
"This year, a lot of our focus was on China moving beyond catching up and moving to surpass [the United States] in the economic field, [as well as in] technology, diplomacy and military," U.S.-China Commission Vice Chairman Carolyn Bartholomew said.
Stunning Video Shows Pod of Killer Whales Swimming by Kayakers in 'Once in a Lifetime' Encounter
Erik Martinez and Tyler Jackson got more than they bargained for when they went rock fishing over Thanksgiving weekend.
'Juno' Star Ellen Page Announces She Is Transgender: 'My Name Is Elliot'
Ellen Page, the star of "Juno," "Inception," and the "X-Men" movies, is officially no more. The Oscar-nominated actress has announced that she is transgender and is going by the name "Elliot."
Breastfeeding group attacked for including trans women
"It is a particular female experience and it is not up for grabs," said one critic.
Trump’s pardon shenanigans are ramping up
Rudy Giuliani speaks to the press about various lawsuits related to the 2020 election, inside the Republican National Committee headquarters on November 19, 2020, in Washington, DC. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images Flynn is likely just the start. Outgoing President Donald Trump kicked off what will likely be the first in a series of pardons of his associates last week, with his pardon for former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators back in 2017 — but that’s not all Trump pardoned him for. The typical way pardons work is that the recipient is pardoned for specific crimes. But Flynn’s stands out because it also has preemptive aspects — that is, it’s written broadly to try to pardon Flynn for possible crimes he hasn’t even been charged with. Preemptive pardons aren’t unprecedented, but they are unusual, and come far closer to a sort of presidential declaration that the president’s associates should be above the law. And Trump’s use of the tactic for Flynn hints at just how far he could go in his final weeks in office. Several of Trump’s former top campaign advisers — Steve Bannon, Paul Manafort, and Roger Stone — have been charged with or convicted of specific crimes, for which they could be pardoned. (Trump already commuted Roger Stone’s sentence but has not yet granted him a full pardon.) The universe of potential preemptive pardons, though, is far broader. For while many Trump associates have been charged with crimes, an even greater number have been investigated but have not faced any charges. For instance, there’s the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The New York Times’s Maggie Haberman and Michael Schmidt reported Tuesday morning that, “as recently as last week,” Giuliani discussed “the possibility of receiving a pre-emptive pardon” from Trump (though Giuliani denied this on Twitter). Federal prosecutors in New York have probed Giuliani’s business activities and indicted two of his associates. And some of Trump’s allies are urging him to take preemptive pardons even further. “I’d tell President Trump to pardon yourself and pardon your family,” Fox host Sean Hannity said Monday. It remains unclear whether Trump will try to go that far (particularly, a self-pardon may not be legal and the president can’t pardon state crimes), but it’s clear enough that his lame-duck pardon shenanigans are only getting started. The Flynn pardon is very broad, and much of it is preemptive In December 2017, Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements (lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador). Since then, his case has become a protracted legal saga — first Flynn tried to withdraw his plea, then a new Justice Department team sought to have the case against Flynn thrown out, and the judge in the case, Emmet Sullivan, has been weighing whether he should permit this latter move. Last week, Trump announced that he had pardoned Flynn, but no documentation for that pardon clarifying its parameters was released until Monday night. Here’s what it looks like: Court filing Flynn’s pardon The pardon begins by listing the crime to which Flynn pleaded guilty: making false statements to federal investigators. But it covers a whole lot more than that. Flynn is also pardoned for: “any and all possible offenses arising from the facts set forth in” the charging documents in his case (Flynn also admitted making false statements in Foreign Agents Registration Act filings about his work for the government of Turkey) any offenses “that might arise, or be charged, claimed, or asserted in connection with the proceedings” in his case (for instance, there has been some discussion about whether Flynn could be charged with perjury by admitting his guilt under oath in court and then changing course) “any and all possible offenses within the investigatory authority or jurisdiction” of special counsel Robert Mueller, and “any and all possible offenses arising out of facts and circumstances known to, identified by, or in any manner related to” Mueller’s investigation (that is, if Mueller found anything else that Flynn could be criminally charged for, the pardon is meant to cover that) So this is not a typical pardon, targeted at crimes someone has actually been charged with or convicted of. It’s a preemptive pardon, designed to shield Flynn from being charged in the future. In that respect, it’s similar to the unconditional preemptive pardon President Gerald Ford granted his former boss and predecessor Richard Nixon — a sweeping pardon for any criminal offenses Nixon may have committed during the course of his presidency. The Flynn pardon is not quite as broad as that, but it’s clearly tailored to try to wipe out the possibility that Flynn will face any further charges connected to the current case against him, or in any way related to the Mueller investigation. Will Trump issue more preemptive pardons? The New York Times has already confirmed that one preemptive pardon is under discussion — for Giuliani. Late last year, news broke that federal prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) were scrutinizing Giuliani’s business and finances, exploring his contacts with former top Ukrainian officials, and investigating a host of potential crimes (including obstruction of justice, money laundering, serving as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, mail fraud, and wire fraud). Two of Giuliani’s associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were indicted on charges of campaign finance violations that October. The pair allegedly had been helping Giuliani make connections with Ukrainian officials who claimed to know of scandalous information about the Biden family, that could be helpful to Trump. (The revelation of Trump and Giuliani’s efforts to get dirt on Biden from Ukrainian officials eventually resulted in Trump’s impeachment.) This year, there have been few new developments in the matter. CNN reported that the investigation into Giuliani “was upended by the coronavirus pandemic, limiting prosecutors’ ability to interview witnesses, collect further evidence, and meet with the grand jury.” Giuliani has not been charged, but if this investigation is serious and still underway, he’d obviously be hoping for a pardon while his client is still in charge of the executive branch. There has also been some discussion — at least from Sean Hannity — about preemptive pardons for members of the Trump family. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. faced scrutiny in the Mueller investigation but ultimately wasn’t charged. Trump himself also was probed for obstructing justice, but Mueller opted not to charge him, in part because Trump was the sitting president. President Trump could attempt to pardon himself, but it’s unclear if that would be legal (a popular theory among the #Resistance is that Trump will resign early and let newly installed President Mike Pence pardon him). One issue here, though, is that the president has no power to pardon state crimes — and he is currently under investigation for potential bank and insurance fraud in New York state. Now, if Trump truly does plan to run for president again in 2024, he might have political reasons to hold back on the broadest assertions of his pardon powers. Then again, he might feel he’s appropriately laid the groundwork to defend those moves, having disparaged any investigations of himself or anyone close to him as “witch hunts.” All that’s clear now is that his pardons are only getting started. Some who want pardons are backing Trump’s “stolen election” lies Finally, there’s been a notable pattern among some who are likely seeking pardons: They’ve tended to champion Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Giuliani, of course, has been in charge of Trump’s post-election legal fight, spreading false claims of widespread voter fraud while reportedly seeking a preemptive pardon. Attorney Sidney Powell — Flynn’s lawyer — stood up with Giuliani at a press conference two weeks ago making particularly bizarre claims of fraud. (She asserted that the voting systems company Dominion rigged the vote against Trump, in part because there was “communist money” involved and that the company had ties to the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez.) Powell has filed lawsuits as well filled with similarly false claims. (Flynn himself has said “there is no doubt in my mind” that Trump won in a “landslide.”) Bannon, too, has been spreading false information advancing Trump’s stolen election narrative, and has been advising Giuliani behind the scenes, according to the Washington Post. Whether or not there was any explicit quid pro quo involved here, it’s clear that all these people were interested in pardons (in Powell’s case, for her client), and that all these people knew the importance of pleasing the man who could issue those pardons. Indeed, the main champions of Trump’s post-election fraud lies have been people who wanted Trump to pardon somebody — which is revealing of how much bad faith is at play here.
I Suspect the “Poly” Married Guy I’m Sleeping With Is Just a Cheater
He also wants me to call him “Daddy” and do whatever he says.
Md. officials urge testing for travelers amid elevated coronavirus numbers
Gov. Larry Hogan has scheduled a news conference for Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the state’s battle against the virus.
‘The Umbrella Academy’ Star Elliot Page Announces He Is Transgender: “I Feel Lucky…To Be Here”
Page, who is transgender and non-binary, uses the pronouns he/him and they/them.
Pence returns to Georgia on Friday; Obama stars in new Ossoff TV ad
Vice President Mike Pence will return to Georgia on Friday to hit the campaign trail in the state’s twin Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections, where the Republicans' Senate majority is at stake.
How the Supreme Court Could Paralyze Biden’s Administration With One Decision
It could cripple even the most basic government functions.
Progressives enraged over Joe Biden picking Neera Tanden for OMB
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Police Break up Lockdown "Orgy" In Brussels Bar, Arrest 25 Men—Including Hungarian Politician
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Iran: Saudi Arabia Only Gulf State Not to Condemn Nuclear Scientist Killing
Iran's Foreign Ministry pointedly noted on Tuesday that only one of its Gulf neighbors, Saudi Arabia, had not publicly condemned the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the head of Iran's nuclear weapons program.
Nasdaq Wants to Require Racial and Sex Identity Diversity Quotas for Corporate Boards
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Elliot Page, 'Juno' star, shares transgender identity
Meet Elliot Page.
'Major' news for White House as Biden to bring dogs, new cat: Why pets play 'important role' for presidents
Major Biden is getting an early start in the spotlight as a presidential pet after a play date ended with his owner, President-elect Joe Biden, suffering a broken foot.
Women’s movement sweeps Latin America to loosen abortion restrictions
MEXICO CITY/BUENOS AIRES – Several weeks pregnant and about to start a job away from home, Lupita Ruiz had no doubts about wanting to end her pregnancy, despite knowing she could face jail time for having an abortion under a law in her state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. She asked friends for help until...
‘World’s loneliest elephant’ Kaavan finally makes a friend
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Ryan Clark has the ultimate take on the miserable NFC East
ESPN analyst Ryan Clark had “SportsCenter” hosts Hannah Storm and Jay Harris cracking up Monday while breaking down the snails-pace race in the NFC East. The former Giants safety doesn’t know who will win the division – currently led by the Giants at 4-7 – but Clark clearly doesn’t believe any of the four teams...
First Alzheimer's blood test now for sale without FDA approval
More than 5 million people in the United States and millions more around the world have Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia.
On World AIDS Day, Matt Bomer remembers Larry Kramer: 'Thank you for your rage'
Matt Bomer, Magic Johnson, Elton John, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Angelica Ross and Jonathan Van Ness are among the celebrities speaking up on World AIDS Day.
'The Voice' contestant Ryan Gallagher mysteriously exits competition: Here's what we know
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UFC on ESPN 18 medical suspensions: Seven face potential 180-day terms due to bone breaks
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Republican Mark Walker jump-starts 2022 Senate battle in announcing North Carolina bid
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After Broncos' fiasco vs. Saints, will more NFL teams decide to quarantine a quarterback?
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Trump heading to Georgia Saturday ahead of Senate runoffs
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Three bootlegging, bookmaking brothers are remembered in a new book
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Birthday girl Bette Midler, 75: then and now
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Galaxy Brain Is Real
In December of 1995, astronomers around the world were vying for a chance to use the hottest new tool in astronomy: the Hubble space telescope. Bob Williams didn’t have to worry about all that. As the director of the institution that managed Hubble, Williams could use the telescope to observe whatever he wanted. And he decided to point it at nothing in particular.Williams’s colleagues told him, as politely as they could, that this was an awful idea. But Williams had a hunch that Hubble would see something worthwhile. The telescope had already captured the glow of faraway galaxies, and the longer Hubble gazed out in one direction, the more light it would detect.So the Hubble telescope stared at the same bit of space, nonstop, for 10 days—precious time on a very expensive machine—snapping exposure after exposure as it circled Earth. The resulting image was astounding: Some 3,000 galaxies sparkled like gemstones in the darkness. The view stretched billions of years back in time, revealing other cosmic locales as they were when their light left them and began coasting across the universe.“I still love looking at that image,” Williams told me earlier this year, as Hubble celebrated its 30th anniversary in space.Hubble, the most powerful telescope in orbit, is still producing dazzling observations of targets near and far, from the familiar planets of our solar system to the mysterious suns of other worlds. The mission might be one of the easiest scientific endeavors to maintain in the middle of a plague. When I visited Hubble’s mission-operations center in Maryland last December, only one person sat inside the control room, all the staff that was needed to manage the mostly automated telescope—and, it would turn out three months later, when the state reported its first COVID-19 case, the right number to avoid tangling with a virus that thrived in close quarters.A region of cosmic gas and dust (Herbig-Haro Jet HH 24) (NASA / ESA)Hubble has quite a clear view of the universe from its perch in orbit, away from the atmosphere that warps and blocks cosmic light from beyond. Its images are, to use a very nonscientific word, pretty. You don’t have to be an astronomer, or to know that the galaxy you’re gazing at is called NGC 2525, in order to appreciate them. These images can serve as momentary distractions, small bursts of wonder, and they might even be good for the mind. At a time when the coronavirus has shrunk down so many people’s worlds, Hubble can still provide a long view—a glimpse of places that exist beyond ourselves.Imagine yourself at a scenic vista somewhere on Earth, such as the rim of the Grand Canyon or the shore of an ocean stretching out past the horizon line. As your brain processes the view and its sheer vastness, feelings of awe kick in. Looking at a photo is not the same, but we might get a dose of that when we look at a particularly sparkly Hubble picture of a star cluster. The experience of awe, whether we’re standing at the summit of a mountain or sitting in front of a computer screen, can lead to “a diminished sense of self,” a phrase psychologists use to describe feelings of smallness or insignificance in the face of something larger than oneself. Alarming as that may sound, research has shown that the sensation can be a good thing: A shot of awe can boost feelings of connectedness with other people.Jupiter and Saturn (NASA / ESA)“Some people do have the sense when they’re looking across millions of light-years, that our ups and downs are ultimately meaningless on that scale,” says David Yaden, a research scientist in psychology at Johns Hopkins Medicine who has studied self-transcendent experiences, including in astronauts. “But I think [space images] can also draw our attention to the preciousness of local meaning—our loved ones, people close to us, this Earth. It’s not a leap that I think always occurs, but I think the benefits flow to people who do make that leap."The experience is like a miniature version of the “overview effect,” the mental shift that many astronauts have experienced after seeing Earth as it truly is, a gleaming planet suspended in dark nothingness, precious and precarious. Astronauts have put this feeling into some lovely words over the years, but few have described it as succinctly as the Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who saw Earth from the moon in 1971: “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it.”A sparkling nebula (NGC 2070) (NASA / ESA)Most of us aren’t astronauts, and we’ll never see “the big picture” quite like that. On Earth, photos from a giant orbiting telescope, capturing the grandeur of the cosmos, are as close as we can get. The appeal of these images is durable enough that a website called Astronomy Picture of the Day has been running since 1995, the year Hubble reached into a dark void and plucked out glittering treasures. The site looks just as it did 25 years ago, with the no-frills Times New Roman look of the early internet. Robert Nemiroff, an astronomer at Michigan Tech and a co-founder of the website, told me that pageviews are up by about 75 percent compared with last year’s, starting with a spike in April. These visitors didn’t leave behind any clues about their intentions—perhaps people were simply spending more time online, cooped up inside; perhaps they were looking for a jolt of feeling that would shake their perspective out from within the walls of their own home.That’s the hope of Judy Schmidt, who spends hours each week with Hubble observations. Schmidt, an amateur astronomer, sifts through years-old telescope data and cleans them up, producing radiant images. Her forte is brightening shadows that ’90s computer software missed, uncovering previously unseen features. In a way, Schmidt curates the cosmos and hangs them in the ether of the internet, where people can pass through, like museum visitors, and tilt their heads at a particularly impressive bit of space that, for a moment, might make them feel small, but in a reassuring way. “I just hope that their life has improved for even just the few seconds that they took to look at it and they thought, Wow, that’s out there,” Schmidt told me.