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'Unfair to say everything is bad' about Cuban revolution…



'Unfair to say everything is bad' about Cuban revolution...

(First column, 2nd story, link)


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Bernie reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers…





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DEVELOPING: Three Weinstein accusers could send producer to prison for life…


(Bloomberg) — As the jurors in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial wrestle with a pair of charges that could send the fallen movie mogul to prison for life, the testimony of three women who don’t even appear in his indictment could help seal his fate.

They’re known as Molineux witnesses in New York, where Weinstein is being tried, and they testified to their own encounters with him as prosecutors sought to persuade the jury that the two women he is charged with attacking never gave their consent to sex. Such witnesses testified in the retrial of Bill Cosby in Pennsylvania, which ended in his conviction.

On Friday the jury sent a note to the judge referring to two counts of predatory sexual assault — counts one and three on the verdict sheet it’s working from — and suggesting it might be deadlocked.

“We the jury request to understand if we can be hung on one and/or three and unanimous on the other charges. Thank you,” the jurors told the judge. He told them to keep trying.

The other charges are a criminal sexual act and rape. Weinstein is accused of forcing oral sex on “Project Runway” assistant Miriam Haley in his SoHo loft in 2006 and raping aspiring actor Jessica Mann in a midtown Manhattan hotel in 2013.

In a category by herself is the actor Annabella Sciorra, who told the jury that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s. Her allegations are a linchpin for the two predatory sexual assault counts, the gravest charges facing the former Hollywood power broker.

Predatory sexual assault requires a serious attack on at least two people. To find Weinstein guilty on count one, the jury would need to be persuaded by the evidence for the alleged attacks on both Haley and Sciorra. To convict him on count three, it would need to find that he assaulted both Mann and Sciorra.

Read More: Weinstein Jury Stuck on Most Serious Charges, Told to Keep at It

The testimony of the Molineux witnesses may come into play as well. Weinstein’s lawyers argue that any encounters their client had were consensual. If the jury finds the allegations of assault from these three women credible, it may decide Haley and Mann never gave Weinstein their consent either, and convict him of rape and a criminal sexual act.

And if the jurors believe Sciorra, too, that will meet the requirements of predatory sexual assault — the two counts they seem to be stuck on — and Weinstein, 67, could spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Weinstein’s lawyers have told the jury that the women had consensual, and even transactional, sex with their client, and that they “re-labeled” the encounters as assaults years after the fact in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

The first of the three witnesses, Dawn Dunning, testified that in 2004, when she was an aspiring actor waiting tables, Weinstein lured her to a business meeting in a hotel room and digitally penetrated her. The second, Tarale Wulff, told the court that minutes after meeting the producer in 2005, when she was working as a cocktail waitress, he dragged her up a secluded stairwell and masturbated, and later raped her in his SoHo apartment. The third, Lauren Young, said she was a model trying to make it as a screenwriter in 2013 when Weinstein trapped her in his hotel suite’s bathroom, where he stripped off the top of her dress and groped her.

Such testimony about uncharged crimes is typically considered too prejudicial to allow, but it’s permitted under limited circumstances. While it can’t be used to suggest a defendant has a propensity to commit a crime, it can explore the defendant’s intent or a common theme. In New York it dates back to a landmark 1901 decision involving a chemist named Roland Molineux who was accused in a fatal cyanide poisoning.

Read More: Weinstein’s ‘Trial of the Century’ Gets Its Own Podcast

New York State Supreme Court Justice James Burke ruled in December, over the objections of the defense, that the three accusers could be called to rebut Weinstein’s argument that the encounters were consensual and to show his “intent to use forcible compulsion” on Haley and Mann. The decision was unsealed on Feb. 7, revealing that prosecutors sought to call a total of five such witnesses, the same number as at the Cosby trial.

In the end, Burke allowed three.

“The consistent theme is that the defendant used his business stature in the movie industry to lure women to believe that he would connect them to careers in the entertainment industry,” Burke wrote, adding that the testimony could help the jury of seven men and five women understand why Haley and Mann feared reprisals if they went to the police.

He said it could help the jurors decide whether Weinstein “created an engineered situation where he could be alone” with Mann and Haley “and then sexually assault them.”

Weinstein’s lawyers have cited Burke’s Molineux ruling, as well as other decisions that went against them, in calling for a mistrial. Burke has denied the requests.

The case is People v. Weinstein, 450293/2018, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).

Read More

Jurors Focus on Predatory Assault, Most Serious ChargeSciorra Describes Gift of Popcorn, Then RapeWeinstein Was Jekyll and Hyde, Witness Testifies‘I Think I Was Raped’: Jury Hears Rosie Perez Back Up SciorraJessica Mann Is Grilled on Contact After Alleged Assault Accuser Called Weinstein a ‘Soul Mate,’ Friend TestifiesWeinstein’s Dream Jury Is Conservative, Traditional, SkepticalA #MeToo Moment Two Years in the Making

To contact the reporter on this story: Patricia Hurtado in Federal Court in Manhattan at pathurtado@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Glovin at dglovin@bloomberg.net, Peter Jeffrey

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Nicaragua's last newspaper dared to criticize the government. Then it lost its ink and paper…




a person standing next to a tree: Journalism student Martha Chamorro walks with her father, Emiliano Chamorro, a La Prensa journalist who was laid off this year in Nicaragua.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Journalism student Martha Chamorro walks with her father, Emiliano Chamorro, a La Prensa journalist who was laid off this year in Nicaragua.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — The board of directors of Nicaragua’s oldest newspaper sat down in January to discuss the future. It looked bleak.

Like many print publications in the digital age, La Prensa had been struggling for years amid declining advertising revenue. A recent economic recession had made things worse.

But the Managua-based newspaper faced another, more immediate challenge. For more than a year, President Daniel Ortega had barred La Prensa from accessing two of its most essential ingredients: newsprint and ink.



Rowena Abdul Razak et al. sitting at a table using a laptop computer: Journalist Cinthya Torrez in the La Prensa newsroom.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Journalist Cinthya Torrez in the La Prensa newsroom.

The government did not explain why it was holding up roughly half a million dollars of supplies in customs, but its actions were widely viewed as retaliation for La Prensa’s coverage of anti-government protests that erupted in 2018 and were brutally repressed by police.



a group of people sitting at a table: Editorial page editor Luis Sánchez Sancho at work. Behind him is a portrait of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, the longtime publisher of La Prensa who was killed in 1978.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Editorial page editor Luis Sánchez Sancho at work. Behind him is a portrait of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, the longtime publisher of La Prensa who was killed in 1978.

Since then, the government had waged war against the Nicaraguan press, harassing, arresting and sometimes torturing journalists.

The blockade on newsprint and ink had already forced the country’s only other daily newspaper, El Nuevo Diario, to close its doors. Now La Prensa faced the same fate.



a truck that is sitting on the side of a building: Nicaraguan police stand guard outside the news channel 100 Percent Noticias, which was shut down by the government in 2018.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Nicaraguan police stand guard outside the news channel 100 Percent Noticias, which was shut down by the government in 2018.

“They are slowly strangling us,” its editor in chief, Eduardo Enríquez, told his colleagues gathered around a long table that day.



Daniel Ortega standing in front of a building: A poster of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has waged war against his country s press.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
A poster of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, who has waged war against his country s press.

“It is a catastrophe,” agreed editorial page editor Luis Sánchez Sancho.

La Prensa had already eliminated several sections, reducing its page count from 36 to eight, and had stopped distributing newspapers in all but four of Nicaragua’s 17 districts. The newspaper and its companion publication, a tabloid called Hoy, were being printed on thick bond paper, which was available only in small quantities domestically and at a much higher cost than newsprint.

Funds were so tight that Enríquez had been forced to lay off 75 of his 100 employees. Those who remained peered glumly around the mostly empty newsroom, wondering if they would be next to go.

La Prensa had protested the blockade. A year earlier it had published a front page that was blank except for a provocative question: “Can you imagine living without information?”



a group of people posing for the camera: Reams of newsprint that were under a Nicaraguan government embargo for more than a year.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Reams of newsprint that were under a Nicaraguan government embargo for more than a year.

Now, the directors agreed, it was time for another dramatic plea for help.

So on Jan. 27 the newspaper ran an editorial with a headline that read: “Dictatorship strangles La Prensa!”

An online version of the article captured widespread attention globally with its stark warning: If La Prensa and Hoy were forced to stop publishing, Nicaragua would be left without a single printed newspaper.

“Don’t let La Prensa die,” it implored.

Ortega has long been hostile to the independent press, dating to his days as a Sandinista guerrilla fighting the right-wing dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza. Even back in the 1970s, Ortega distrusted the media and preferred speaking to propaganda outlets loyal to the revolution.

His relationship with La Prensa was especially fraught.

The newspaper, run for nine decades by the Chamorro family, has been a thorn in the side of governments across the ideological spectrum, and its history has been closely entwined with Nicaragua’s.

It was the 1978 assassination of La Prensa publisher Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, a vocal critic of the dictatorship, that touched off the civic uprising that eventually ousted Somoza and brought Ortega and his Sandinista party to power.



a man and a woman standing in a room: Workers in the pressroom at La Prensa newspaper in Nicaragua.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Workers in the pressroom at La Prensa newspaper in Nicaragua.

But when the newspaper began to criticize Ortega, he responded by censoring it. During the height of fighting between the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front and U.S.-backed Nicaraguan Contra rebels, Ortega’s government ordered the newspaper closed for more than a year, accusing it of “supporting U.S. aggression.”

Ortega eventually allowed it to reopen.

But a few years later, in 1988, he blocked the import of La Prensa’s newsprint, forcing the newspaper to stop publishing for several days.

Those aggressions helped spur Chamorro’s widow, Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, to run against Ortega in the presidential election in 1990. She won and served until 1997. The Sandinistas were booted from power for 16 years.



a person smiling for the camera: Jose Manuel Sosa applies ink on a roller in the pressroom at La Prensa newspaper in Managua, Nicaragua.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Jose Manuel Sosa applies ink on a roller in the pressroom at La Prensa newspaper in Managua, Nicaragua.

When Ortega was reelected president in 2006, he was more determined than ever to control the media. He announced a new communication strategy that called for limited engagement with journalists. “We will discuss the themes that we wish to discuss,” the document outlining the strategy explained. “We will define the boundaries of the discussion.”



a man standing in a room: Journalists churn out stories at Articulo 66, a news website founded in 2017.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Journalists churn out stories at Articulo 66, a news website founded in 2017.

Ortega was making life harder for journalists in other ways.

Longtime La Prensa reporter Emiliano Chamorro Mendieta, who is not related to Pedro Chamorro, said that once, after he wrote about a Catholic bishop who had criticized the Ortegas, he was trailed by intelligence officers and his children were harassed at school. Death threats followed.



a man standing in front of a building: For more than a year, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega held up in customs roughly half a million dollars of supplies for La Prensa newspaper.


© Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times/TNS
For more than a year, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega held up in customs roughly half a million dollars of supplies for La Prensa newspaper.

Things got worse when a wave of anti-Ortega protests broke out in the spring of 2018, and tens of thousands of people flooded the streets. Chamorro was there to cover them, and said police and pro-Ortega paramilitary groups went out of their way to target him and other media workers.

Chamorro said he was beaten by Ortega supporters. “I thought they were going to kill me,” he said in an interview.

Other journalists who had covered the protests were jailed and tortured. More than 100 fled the country. Several news outlets that were shut down by the government during that period have yet to resume normal activities, with armed police blocking the entrances to their newsrooms.

Despite putting his life on the line for La Prensa, Chamorro was let go last month in the newspaper’s latest round of layoffs.

It was a devastating end to a 28-year career at the paper, but Chamorro said he isn’t angry at his editors. “They had no choice,” he said.

Inside a small house in central Managua, a team of web journalists is carving out a rare bright spot in the country’s otherwise gloomy media landscape.

Unlike print publications such as La Prensa, all these journalists need to get their work to the public is a solid internet connection.

The website, Articulo 66, was founded in 2017 by longtime journalist Alvaro Navarro, who named it after the article of Nicaragua’s Constitution that guarantees freedom of expression. It is known for its short videos chronicling protests and for audio news briefs that are available for free on the messaging platform WhatsApp. The site has 254,000 followers on Facebook and in three years has grown from two paid employees to 12.

The site’s journalists have also faced harassment by government forces, said reporter Maria Gomez, who works from a desk wedged in the kitchen.

Gomez said she has stopped wearing a shirt that identifies her as a journalist. “The more we identify ourselves, the more we will be repressed,” she said.

To compete with Articulo 66 and other burgeoning web platforms, and to get around the embargo, La Prensa has plunged headlong into the digital age. It has moved more resources to its website and recently became one of a few newspapers in Central America to put up a paywall. So far it has just under 6,000 subscribers in a country of 6 million. Its print circulation is 15,000, down from 42,000 a few years ago.

Emiliano Chamorro, the journalist who was let go from La Prensa, says he plans to start his own news website. The costs are lower, he said, and online publications are harder for the government to censor.

His 24-year-old daughter, Martha, is studying to be a journalist. “Why not study graphic design, or marketing?” he asked her at first. “It’s dangerous right now.”

But when she insisted, telling him that she felt it was her civic duty, he was filled with pride.

“It’s a heroic profession,” he said on a recent day after paying her tuition at Central American University. “We put our bodies on the line.”

On Feb. 7, La Prensa’s publisher got a phone call. It was from a Catholic leader who has led negotiations between Nicaragua’s opposition and the government. He said authorities at the customs office were releasing the newsprint and ink.

The government again offered no explanation, and did not respond to the Los Angeles Times’ requests for comment.

Some on the staff of La Prensa think their editorial worked because it was generating international outcry. Others say the government may have made the concession because it fears new U.S. sanctions.

When the giant rolls of newsprint arrived in several trucks at the newspaper the day after the phone call, the whole staff stood outside, cheering. The next day, La Prensa ran the headline: “The paper has been liberated!”

For a brief spell, the staff members felt relief. But they know difficult times lie ahead. The newspaper is still operating in a recession and with a vastly reduced staff, and over the last year and a half it lost crucial advertisers. There is ongoing repression.

“It’s only a moment of happiness, it doesn’t mean everything is going to be OK,” said Cinthya Tórrez, a reporter who covers the Ortega government for La Prensa. “The fact is we still can’t go in the street and we still can’t ask the authorities questions because they might beat us.”

She said it has been difficult to stay focused on her work amid such uncertainty about the paper’s future.

“It’s an amazing story,” she said. “In the middle of all this, we’re just trying to do our job.”

———

©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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STOCKS SET FOR SPIRAL…


Stock futures stateside pointed to sharp declines on Wall Street at the open on Monday as the number of coronavirus cases outside China surged.

As of 10:05 p.m. ET Sunday, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were 444 points lower, pointing to an implied opening plunge of 437.41 points for the index on Monday.  S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to declines at Monday’s open.

The moves came as investors continue to watch developments surrounding the coronavirus outbreak that was first reported in China, but has spread rapidly in other countries especially South Korea and Italy, which reported a spike in the number of confirmed cases in recent days. On Sunday, Seoul raised its coronavirus alert to the “highest level,” with the latest spike in numbers bringing the total infected to more than 750 — making South Korea the country with the most cases outside mainland China.

Meanwhile, outside of Asia, Italy has been the worst affected country so far, with more than 130 reported cases and three deaths.

Fears surrounding the economic impact of the spread of the coronavirus led stocks on Wall Street to sharp losses on Friday, with the Dow dropping more than than 200 points and seeing its first close below 29,000 since Feb. 4. The S&P 500 slipped 1.1% to 3,337.75 while the Nasdaq Composite declined by 1.8% to 9,576.59.

Friday’s losses sent the major averages lower on a weekly basis for the first time in three weeks.

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.



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Judge denies Roger Stone's effort to disqualify her…


The jury took about a day to unanimously find Stone guilty on all seven counts he faced related to impeding Congressional and Justice Department investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The recusal motion argued that Jackson evinced bias because during the sentencing hearing Thursday she said the jurors in the case “served with integrity.” But in a six-page order released Sunday evening, the Obama-appointed judge said her remark fell well short of the kind of evidence of bias that would require a judge to step aside.

“Judges cannot be ‘biased’ and need not be disqualified if the views they express are based on what they learned while doing the job they were appointed to do,” Jackson wrote, noting that recusal for bias typically stems from statements judges make outside of court or when they opine on issues in the case in unofficial settings.

“The defendant has not suggested that the Court said one word about him outside of the courtroom, or to anyone other than the parties, at any time. Its characterization of the jurors’ service was voiced on the record, and it was entirely and fairly based on the Court’s observations of the jurors in the courthouse; through the nine days of voir dire and trial, when they were uniformly punctual and attentive, and through their thoughtful communications with the Court during deliberation … and the delivery of the verdict,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she wasn’t addressing the jury-related motion when she made the brief remark Thursday, but even if she was, she had already heard from both sides in writing on the jury issue and was free to comment or even rule on it.

“If parties could move to disqualify every judge who furrows his brow at one side or the other before ruling, the entire court system would come to a standstill,” the judge warned.

The order contains more indications that Jackson has grown frustrated with and irritated by Stone’s defense team. During the sentencing Thursday, she excoriated the defense over its closing argument, riffing on the refrain of “So what?” that the defense used in its unsuccessful bid to get jurors to acquit Stone.

“So what? So what? Of all the circumstances in this case, that may be the most pernicious,” the judge declared during her nearly 45-minute statement pronouncing the sentence to a packed courtroom in Washington. “The truth still exists. The truth still matters. Roger Stone’s insistence that it doesn’t, his belligerence, his pride in his own lies are a threat to our most fundamental institutions, to the very foundation of our democracy.”

Stone’s motion for a new trial remains pending before Jackson with the defense’s next filing on the issue due Monday. She said last week she had not decided whether or not to hold a hearing on the motion.

The judge has ordered that Stone not be required to report to jail to serve his 40-month sentence for at least two weeks after she rules on the motion for a new trial. Stone’s allies are also lobbying Trump to pardon him, although the president has said he wants to allow the process to play out and has predicted Stone will be “exonerated.”



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City Flags Jewish Circumcision Ritual Following New Herpes Cases…


Four recent cases of neonatal herpes infection following a Jewish circumcision ritual have health officials once again urging parents in New York City’s ultra-Orthodox population to avoid the practice or at least limit its risks.

Health officials on Sunday said there have been three cases of herpes simplex virus 1 infections in infant boys reported to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since Dec. 1, 2019. The fourth case was reported in September 2019.



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Bernie reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers…


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. “It’s taxes on billionaires,” he said.

I get a little bit tired of hearing my opponents saying — ‘Gee, how you going to pay for a program that impacts and helps children or working-class families or middle-class families? How you going to pay for that?’ And yet, where are people saying, ‘How are you going to pay for over $750 billion on military spending?’ How you going to pay for a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the 1% in large corporations which was what [President] Trump did? When you help the billionaires and you help Wall Street, ‘Hey!’ Of course we can pay for it. That’s what America’s supposed to be about.” Well, I disagree.

What else he’s saying: Sanders also accepted when put to him by Cooper that he’s now the Democratic frontrunner after he was projected to win the Nevada Democratic caucuses, calling the situation “a bit shocking.”

  • Sanders also criticized 2020 Democratic rival Mike Bloomberg over his stop-and-frisk policy while New York mayor, calling the policy “horrifically racist.” But he said he would back the billionaire if he were the eventual nominee.
  • And he addressed his Senate achievement record, following criticism from other Democratic candidates.

Go deeper: Bernie’s juggernaut

Editor’s note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.



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REVOLUTION ON LEFT



Bernie Sanders has seized a commanding position in the Democratic presidential race, building a diverse coalition that is driving his liberal movement toward the cusp of a takeover of a major political party.

The senator’s ascendancy, though years in the making, is forcing a sudden reckoning in the Democratic Party’s hierarchy as centrist politicians and their wealthy benefactors grapple with the upheaval brought by an electorate not only hungry to defeat President Donald Trump but also clamoring for radical change.

After Sanders’ resounding victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, and with polls showing him on the rise, Democrats are entering a season of open warfare over whether Sanders, I-Vt., is equipped to beat Trump in what could be a brutal general election. The senator and his allies insist he could, but his detractors say he is too polarizing to win in November – and could severely cost Democrats in congressional or state races if Republicans use Sanders’ self-description as a Democratic socialist to paint all Democrats as extreme.


The Sanders insurgency is the culmination of angry grievances that have simmered for the past decade among liberals who say Washington has all but ignored the problems of income inequality, health-care access and climate change.

“The party has shifted to the left, and I don’t think many of the more traditional, legacy leaders of the party got it,” said Andrew Stern, a longtime former president of the Service Employees International Union. “The good news for Bernie Sanders is he’s like a broken clock. He’s been in the same place for 35 or 40 years in terms of his positions, and the times have found him.”

A headstrong, 78-year-old senator, Sanders has galvanized his supporters with an unwavering commitment to their shared cause and rageful critiques of the “billionaire class.” They in turn see him, despite his unorthodox persona, as a weapon against a governing class that has failed them.

On the campaign trail, there is an unusual intensity to Sanders’ performances, reminiscent of the energy that built around Trump on the right during his 2016 rise. Sanders has emerged as a movement candidate, with his rallies coast to coast drawing thousands of people who wait for hours to see him.

Sanders’ stump speech is a progressive wish list – passing a Green New Deal to fight climate change; wiping out student debt and paying for it by taxing Wall Street; raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour; changing immigration laws to protect the undocumented; nominating liberals to the Supreme Court and protecting abortion rights; and, of course, his signature health-care idea, Medicare-for-all, which has become a rallying cry on the left.


“People who have been locked out of power are speaking up about corporate influence over the issues that matter in their lives,” said Abdul El-Sayed, a Sanders ally and liberal organizer who ran unsuccessfully for Michigan governor in 2018. “What you’re seeing is a necessary and natural readjustment in the Democratic Party.”

Sanders’ emphatic win in Nevada illustrated his potential to expand his coalition far beyond the ceiling of 25% or 30% that many party-establishment figures and commentators assumed he had. In Nevada, Sanders won with 29% of whites, 51% of Hispanics and 27% of blacks, according to entrance polls of Democratic caucus-goers. He won a staggering 65% of caucus-goers under 30 years old, and he carried every other age group except for caucus-goers over 65 years old, which former vice president Joe Biden won.

“In Nevada, we have just put together a multigenerational, multiracial coalition which is going to not only win in Nevada, it’s going to sweep this country,” Sanders said at his rally in San Antonio on Saturday.

“We are bringing our people together – black and white and Latino, Native American, Asian American, gay and straight,” Sanders added. “We are bringing our people together around an agenda that works for the working people of this country.”

Sanders’ dominance among young people, his supporters say, signals his ability to energize this potentially important demographic in November.

“Disregard electability,” said Isabel Lozoya, 19, a Texas State University student who drove for an hour on Saturday to see Sanders campaign in San Antonio. “It should be about picking somebody you really believe in as opposed to somebody you think other people will believe in.”

The race for the nomination is just getting started and remains fluid, with a half-dozen contenders still running, though Sanders has clear momentum after winning Nevada and the New Hampshire primary, while finishing second in the Iowa caucuses by a razor-thin margin.

The next primary is Saturday in South Carolina, where the latest polls show Biden leading and Sanders running relatively close behind. The Super Tuesday contests on March 3 may be decisive, with voters in California, Texas and 12 other states determining about one-third of the nearly 4,000 pledged delegates to be awarded by primaries and caucuses.

Some other candidates have stepped up their attacks on Sanders in urgent hopes of blunting his rise. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has been one of the most aggressive, warning in a speech Saturday night that Sanders as the party standard-bearer could be disastrous for other Democrats on the November ballot.

“Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders in our one shot to take on this president, let us take a sober look at what is at stake for our party, for our values and for those with the most to lose,” said Buttigieg, who ran third in Nevada after a win in Iowa and a second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Sanders is bracing for a harsher assault to come from his Democratic rivals, including at Tuesday night’s CBS News debate in South Carolina.

“To finally be seeing it all start to catch on is powerful, but he knows they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at him,” said Sanders friend Ben Cohen, the co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and a Vermont-based liberal activist. “He’s a realist.”

Some Democratic leaders are sounding the alarm about the party’s viability in the November election with Sanders atop the ticket. House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., an ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that Sanders could jeopardize the party’s House majority.

“I think it would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in,” Clyburn said on ABC News’ “This Week.” “If you look at how well we did the last time [in the 2018 midterm elections] and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts. These were basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in.”

Still, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 with a message about “economic violence,” said it is clear to him that the party’s liberal wing is asserting control.

“They represent the direction of the party,” said Jackson, who said he has spoken recently with Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “They’re speaking to the pain that people feel. And Democrats are beginning to understand that democratic socialism doesn’t mean Eastern European socialism.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, compared the disruptive mood of Democratic voters this year to the right-wing tea-party movement in 2010.

“They want to shake things up. There is a sense that things are broken and prioritizing working families has to be at the center of the economic system,” said Weingarten, whose union has not endorsed a candidate but last week approved its members to support Sanders, Warren or Biden.

Former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle said Sanders “definitely has tapped into the kind of youthful enthusiasm and idealism that’s been at the heart of the Democratic Party for a long, long time.”

“Democrats are always best when the race is one in which it’s change versus status quo, and the Democrats are change,” Doyle added. “You go back historically to Roosevelt, to Kennedy, to Carter, to Clinton, to Obama. That’s how Democrats win.”

Sanders is trying to counter the assumption of many in the so-called Democratic establishment that he is too liberal to win a general election.

“Some of the folks in the corporate media are getting a little bit nervous,” Sanders said at a rally Sunday afternoon in Houston before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 6,200 people at the University of Houston. “And they say Bernie can’t beat Trump.”

Sanders then listed the results of a few recent polls that he says show him defeating the president head-to-head nationally as well as in such states as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Steve Rosenthal, a veteran Democratic labor strategist who has been focused on mobilizing working-class white voters in a trio of battleground states – Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – said it would be foolish to discount Sanders’ appeal there.

“The establishment, which I guess I’m a part of after all these years, seems to know as much about electability as a donkey knows about calculus,” Rosenthal said. “We always get it wrong. . . . The voters are going to tell us who’s electable.”

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign, said the campaign is expanding its outreach to a broader cross-section of voters.

“He wants to build a coalition like Bobby Kennedy or FDR did – one that is racially diverse and reaches out to everyone,” Khanna said. “We’re going to make a very concerted effort over the next few months to bring all the wings of the Democratic Party onboard.”

Working to Sanders’ advantage is the continuation of several more moderate candidates – Biden, Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg – who appear to be competing for many of the same voters and jockeying to survive as the lone alternative to Sanders.

For the proudly liberal and activist wing of the Democratic Party, Sanders’ ascent has been welcomed as a potentially historical development.

Robert Reich, a liberal former labor secretary and a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley, said this moment can be traced directly back to the 2008 financial crisis, which he called a galvanizing event that led to a surge in anti-establishment fervor.

“This isn’t like 1972,” when liberal Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota won the Democratic nomination and collapsed in the general election against Richard Nixon, Reich said. “In 1972, America’s middle class was still growing. What you see here is a middle class responding to not having a raise in 40 years.”

Even if he fails to secure the nomination outright at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee this summer, Sanders is unlikely to go away quietly, aides and friends said. They suggested that Sanders’ long run and defiant exit from the 2016 race – doggedly carrying on with his calls for a political revolution until the final primary, weeks after Hillary Clinton had effectively sewn up the nomination – was a revealing glimpse into his character and his desire to move the party to the left.

“He doesn’t quit,” said Sanders confidant and political adviser Jeff Weaver. “He’s campaigning to win.”

– – –

The Washington Post’s Jenna Johnson and Sean Sullivan in Houston contributed to this report.



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Man drives Jeep off 6-story roof of Los Angeles-area garage…


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) — A man drove his Jeep off the the sixth floor of a Los Angeles-area parking garage early Sunday and was taken to a hospital in critical condition, authorities said.

When officers arrived shortly after midnight, they found the destroyed vehicle up against a McDonald’s restaurant across the street from the garage in Santa Monica, police said.

They said the 20-year-old driver, who was not immediately identified, was conscious and speaking with officers when they arrived.

Firefighters extricated him from the wreckage and took him to a local trauma center, where he was listed in critical condition, the Santa Monica Fire Department said.

Two passengers inside the Jeep were able to jump out before it went off the roof, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Police in the coastal city were investigating the cause. Because the man was receiving medical treatment, investigators weren’t yet able to determine whether drugs or alcohol were a factor, the newspaper said.



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Lab monkeys infected with coronavirus in desperate bid to find vaccine…


Monkeys have been infected with a deadly form of coronavirus in a bid to find a successful vaccine for the current COVID-19 epidemic.

An experimental antiviral vaccine called remdesivir was found to cure rhesus macaques infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

More than 2,400 have been infected with the strain of the virus, which the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control estimate has killed 910 humans.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) typical case of MERS includes fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath.

Pneumonia is common and some people have been known to suffer organ failure or septic shock. Around 35% of those who contract it die.

US National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists say the wonder drug was found to be successful when given to macaques before they were infected and are now hopeful they can trial it with the COVID-19 (Wuhan) epidemic, which is part of the same family of viruses.

Korean workers wearing protective gear transfer a suspected coronavirus patient

Several other clinical trials of remdesivir for COVID-19 believed to be under way in China.

Meanwhile, some sickly human patients with COVID-19 have already taken the experimental drug in a bid to recover.

The findings of the study, published this month, revealed three groups of monkeys were treated with remdesivir.

Detailing the findings, Drug Target Review report one group of primates, housed at a lab in Hamilton, Montana, received the drug 24 hours before infection with MERS-CoV.

Another group were given the vaccine some 12 hours after infection and another control group did not receive any treatment.

They were then observed for six days, and those treated a day in advance showed no symptoms.

Those treated after infection had less damage to their lungs than the control animals – the fate of which are not known.

The NIH scientists say the results support further clinical trials of remdesivir for COVID-19, which has so far claimed over 2,400 lives worldwide.

It is estimated around 2,462 people have died of the Wuhan coronavirus as of February 23

In a statement NIH said: “MERS-CoV is closely related to the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has grown to be a global public health emergency since cases were first detected in Wuhan, China, in December.

“Remdesivir has previously protected animals against a variety of viruses in lab experiments. The drug has been shown experimentally to effectively treat monkeys infected with Ebola and Nipah viruses.

“The scientists indicate that the promising study results support additional clinical trials of remdesivir for MERS-CoV and 2019-nCoV. At least two clinical trials of remdesivir for 2019-nCoV are under way in China, and other patients with 2019-nCoV infection have received the drug under a compassionate use protocol.”

Believed to have originated in camels the MERS-CoV is transmitted primarily from animals to people, but transmission from people to people is also possible.

Cases identified outside the Middle East, including the US and the UK are people who were infected in the Middle East and travelled. Approximately 80% of human cases reported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

More than 2,400 people have been infected with the strain of the virus

The UK’s RSPCA estimates thousands of monkeys, mainly macaques and marmosets, are used in research and testing.

RSPCA say: “In the UK, around 3,000 monkeys are used annually. Much of this use is to develop and test the safety and effectiveness of potential human medicines and vaccines. Primates are also used for studying how the brain functions and in research relating to human reproduction.”

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The demand is said to be growing.

In the US a record 71,317 monkeys were used in labs in 2010 and a similar number were tested on in 2018, when 70,797 monkeys were used.



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