Ilhan Omar slams Trump for ‘disgraceful’ pardons of Blackwater guards

President Trump’s pardon of four Blackwater guards convicted in the killing of 14 Iraqi civilians was “disgraceful,” Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., asserted Saturday.

“In 2007, four Blackwater contractors opened fire in a crowded intersection in Baghdad, murdering 14 Iraqi civilians,” the progressive “Squad” member, who came to the U.S. from Somalia as a refugee when she was a youth. “This week, Donald Trump granted them unconditional pardons. This is a disgrace to our country and to the rule of law.”

Her tweet included a link to an opinion piece claiming the pardons blur the line between murder and justified wartime killing. 

The four men were working as U.S. State Department contractors in 2007 when they opened fire in a crowded traffic circle — killing 14 Iraqis, including a child. Another 17 were hurt. The men’s defense lawyers argued that they returned fire after being ambushed by Iraqi insurgents.

UN HITS TRUMP OVER BLACKWATER PARDONS, SAYS MOVE ‘CONTRIBUTES TO IMPUNITY’

Nicholas Slatten was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors said he was the first to fire without provocation. 

Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were convicted of manslaughter in 2014 after a months-long trial in federal court in Washington. 

A White House statement announcing the president’s Dec. 22 pardons said the decision had widespread public support, adding the men have a “long history of service to the Nation.” 

The president was criticized by others including the United Nations Human Rights Office, which wrote in a statement: “Pardoning them contributes to impunity and has the effect of emboldening others to commit such crimes in the future.”

TRUMP ISSUES NEW WAVE OF 26 PARDONS, THREE COMMUTATIONS 

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., also rebuked the pardons as well as those granted to others, such as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 

“Lie to cover up for the president? You get a pardon. Corrupt politician who endorsed Trump? You get a pardon. Murder innocent civilians? You get a pardon. Elect a corrupt man as president? You get a corrupt result,” he tweeted. 

Supporters of the former guards argued that the punishment was excessive and the prosecution was tainted. The White House, in its statement announcing the pardons, said the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that additional evidence should have been presented at Slatten’s trial.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The pardons were among dozens the president has issued in the final days of his term.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Go To The Source

David Limbaugh: Mitt Romney’s unabashed hatred of Trump blinds him to reality of president’s popularity

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is grieving over, as CNN reporter Dana Bash put it, President Trump’s “very firm grip on the Republican Party.”

Bash recently asked Romney whether he fears the party won’t “be able to overcome Trumpism in the near future.”

Romney didn’t object to Bash’s negative characterization of Trumpism. He merely responded that he believes “Trump will continue to have a substantial influence on the party” and that those other than Trump who are rumored to be GOP presidential candidates in 2024 “are trying to appeal to kind of a populist approach.”

ROMNEY: TRUMP CONTINUING TO DISPUTE ELECTION RESULTS IS ‘REALLY SAD’ AND ‘EMBARRASSING’

Romney concluded: “I don’t think Trumpism is going away, but I hope that we can have disagreements over policy and a vision of our respective parties without continuing to promote a narrative which puts democracy itself in jeopardy. And when you tell people that voting doesn’t work and that democracy can’t work because we don’t have legitimate elections that is a very dangerous thing to be saying.”

Romney seems more comfortable breaking bread with leftist CNN journalists than grassroots Republicans. He clearly believes Trump is an ill-mannered rogue, but his remarks also confirm that he objects to the current direction of his party.

More from Opinion

Like other Trump critics, Romney calls Trumpism “populist.” He doubtlessly laments this trend. A populist is defined as “a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.”

I admit that I used to associate “populism” with demagogic politicians who cynically appeal to the so-called common man to gain power for their own political gain without really being interested in improving the plight of ordinary people.

But I don’t believe that pejorative connotation applies to Trump or his agenda. The dictionary definition, however, does describe Trump — and his establishment nemeses.

From the time he announced his candidacy in 2016, Trump has connected with ordinary Americans whose interests and wishes have been ignored by an elite Washington establishment, with its byzantine, unaccountable bureaucracy.

Trump sold himself as an outsider who would bring a new, unorthodox approach to politics as usual that would focus on getting things done despite the bureaucratic roadblocks installed by our entrenched ruling class.

Unlike former President Barack Obama and contrary to the left-wing media’s lies, Trump didn’t run roughshod over the Constitution to advance his agenda but brought a can-do businessman’s approach to the Oval Office and achieved an impressive list of accomplishments in his first term.

Trump did things previous politicians disingenuously promised to do, such as moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and took action that previous politicians wouldn’t have even considered, such as implementing Operation Warp Speed to produce multiple COVID-19 vaccines with previously unthinkable alacrity.

Despite the haters’ endless ridicule, Trump also pulled off a Middle East peace deal that is the secret envy of all establishment foreign policy “experts” who said it couldn’t be done.

None of these accomplishments or countless others are the work of a populist demagogue. But they do redound to the benefit of the common man and all Americans — just as Trump’s pro-growth economic policies benefited all income groups, especially minorities. This was the work of the dictionary-described populist, not the type of populist that soulmates Dana Bash and Mitt Romney have in mind.

We can expect no different from the liberal Bash, but Romney’s sanctimonious hypocrisy is getting older and older. Like his liberal friends, with whom he is more in step than the grassroots Republicans who nominated him in 2012, Romney believes that Trump’s election contests threaten democracy.
Nonsense.

Trump has challenged the election through his bully pulpit and in courtrooms across the land because, along with millions of other Americans, he believes the election was stolen.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR OPINION NEWSLETTER

Unsuccessful court challenges don’t prove cheating didn’t occur, nor do repeated claims that there “is no evidence.” If the election was, in fact, stolen, I dare say that would, by definition, represent a far greater threat to democracy.

Why doesn’t Romney demand federal election reform to prohibit the relaxation of voting procedures? Why doesn’t he crusade against social media oligarchs who censor conservative speech in a way that truly threatens democracy? Why doesn’t he condemn liberal media bias against Trump and their lack of scrutiny of the failing Joe Biden?

Why doesn’t Romney call for an investigation into Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for his having poured an obscene amount of money into this election? Why can’t he grasp that the public’s genuine distrust of the election’s legitimacy imperils the democratic process infinitely more than Trump’s rhetoric or legal challenges? We get nothing but crickets from Romney.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Romney’s unabashed hatred for Trump perhaps blinds him to the reality that Trump is a wildly popular president, notwithstanding that he is the object of hatred among those whose anti-American agenda he has thwarted.

Lament all you want, Sen. Romney, because you are correct that Trumpism is here to stay, as his supporters appreciate and endorse his unapologetic pride in this country; his resistance to the left’s destructive agenda, which itself is undemocratic in every sense; and Trump’s agenda to literally make America great again.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE FROM DAVID LIMBAUGH 

Go To The Source

Trump accuses McConnell, others in GOP of failing to fight for him

President Trump on Saturday accused Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans of failing to fight on his behalf regarding the outcome of the 2020 presidential election – which Trump continues to argue was “Rigged & Stolen.”

The president’s latest claims came just 25 days ahead the scheduled Jan. 20 inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden, following the Nov. 3 election and a Dec. 14 vote by the Electoral College that all but confirmed Biden’s victory. Only a Jan. 6 session on Capitol Hill – at which lawmakers are expected to accept the election results – stands between Trump and the conclusion of his time in the White House.

It didn’t have to be that way, Trump suggested Saturday, alleging that McConnell and Senate Republicans haven’t worked hard enough to assure him a second term.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN PERSISTS WITH ELECTON CHALLENGES LESS THAN 2 WEEKS FROM KEY JAN. 6 DATE

“If a Democrat Presidential Candidate had an Election Rigged & Stolen, with proof of such acts at a level never seen before, the Democrat Senators would consider it an act of war, and fight to the death,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Mitch & the Republicans do NOTHING, just want to let it pass. NO FIGHT!”

In another tweet, the president also accused the Justice Department and FBI of abandoning him. Attorney General William Barr, who led the DOJ, served his final day in the post Wednesday after announcing his resignation.

“The ‘Justice’ Department and the FBI have done nothing about the 2020 Presidential Election Voter Fraud, the biggest SCAM in our nation’s history, despite overwhelming evidence,” Trump asserted. “They should be ashamed. History will remember. Never give up. See everyone in D.C. on January 6th.”

In a previous tweet Dec. 19, Trump had invited his supporters to attend a “Big protest in D.C.” on the day that Congress is scheduled to accept the election results.

“Be there, will be wild!” Trump wrote at the time.

In subsequent tweets Saturday, Trump railed about a lack of results from Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe, and derided the U.S. Supreme Court as being “totally incompetent and weak” regarding his allegations of election fraud. (Legal efforts by the Trump 2020 Campaign and Republicans in some state-level legal disputes have largely failed to produce victories on voter-fraud claims.)

President Trump called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by name Saturday as he accused Republicans of not fighting hard enough on his behalf. 

President Trump called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by name Saturday as he accused Republicans of not fighting hard enough on his behalf. 

Later Saturday, Trump listed again urged Senate Republicans to “step up and fight for the Presidency,” claiming his bid for a second term was thwarted by “Massive late night mail-in ballot drops in swing states, stuffing the ballot boxes (on video), double voters, dead voters.”

Many of Trump’s tweets on Saturday carried a disclaimer affixed by Twitter, saying “This claim about election fraud has been disputed.”

Also on Saturday, Trump defended his legal team after reports that potential sanctions against them were being pursued by Dana Nessel, the Michigan attorney general, after the Trump campaign had disputed that swing state’s election results, which were in favor if Biden.

“These lawyers are true patriots who are fighting for the truth and, obviously, getting very close,” Trump wrote. “AG should be sanctioned. Fight on!”

It remained unclear whether Trump’s call for action would be heeded by McConnell and other top Republicans.

After the Electoral College vote Dec. 14, the majority leader referred to Biden as “president-elect” for the first time, suggesting he was ready to accept the Democrat becoming the nation’s chief executive in less than a month.

“The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on the Senate floor Dec. 15, one day after electors voted. “The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.”

Some other Republicans followed suit.

“At some point, you have to face the music,” Sen. John Thune of South Dakota told the Associated Press Monday. “Once the Electoral College settles the issue today, it’s time for everybody to move on.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, chairman of the inaugural committee, said the panel will now “deal with Vice President Biden as the president-elect.”

As for Democrats, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reportedly told members of her party she was determined to make sure Trump leaves office Jan. 20.

“I plan to pull him out of there by his hair, his little hands and his feet,” Pelosi said, according to Politico.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Audrey Conklin and Brittany De Lea contributed to this story.

Go To The Source

The biggest, wildest moments for weather in 2020

The coronavirus pandemic easily dominated the headlines in 2020, but it was also a year for record-breaking weather systems and storms.

The Southeast was slammed witha a record-breaking breaking number of hurricanes and tropical storms. Some areas were barely able to recover before the next storm hit.

Meanwhile, wildfires, some of which were sparked by lightning storms and a now-infamous gender reveal party, ravaged the West Coast.

Here are some of the most memorable weather moments from 2020:

Months of wildfires scorch Australia until flash floods contain the blazes

As the coronavirus started to spread in China, wildfires were burning hot across Australia.

A blaze on Canberra's southern fringe that has razed more than 53,000 acres since it was sparked by heat from a military helicopter landing light on Monday, officials say.

A blaze on Canberra’s southern fringe that has razed more than 53,000 acres since it was sparked by heat from a military helicopter landing light on Monday, officials say. (AP)

Headlines focused on the out-of-control blazes that had started in July 2019 but had grown to an unfathomable situation that was threatening to grow more severe by the time 2020 began.

Early January reports discussed fears that the fires could have combined into a “mega blaze” that would have been nearly impossible to contain.

It seemed like relief came in February as heavy rains helped quench the blazes. But instead of respite, the fires gave way to flash flooding along the east coast. By March, New South Wales reported no more wildfires for the first time in more than 240 days.

Firefighters battle the Morton Fire as it consumes a home near Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters battle the Morton Fire as it consumes a home near Bundanoon, New South Wales, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (AP Photo (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

In all, Australia’s wildfires killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes. Nearly 3 billion animals were displaced. 

Hottest January on Record

January hit its highest average level in the 141 years on record in 2020.

NOAA said the first month of the year was 2.05 degrees Fahrenheit (1.14 degrees Celsius) above the average January temperatures for the 20th century.

Unsurprisingly, the regional ground heat during the month meant that no land or ocean areas experienced record-cold temperatures, and experts linked the temperatures to a lack of snow, globally.

Snow coverage in the Northern Hemisphere was below the 1981-2020 average.

A record number of named storms in historic hurricane season

When it came to the weather, one headline dominated more than any other: There was a record-breaking number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic during 2020.

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence, upper left, in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. At center is Tropical Storm Isaac and at right is Hurricane Helene.

This enhanced satellite image made available by NOAA shows Tropical Storm Florence, upper left, in the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018 at 3:30 p.m. EDT. At center is Tropical Storm Isaac and at right is Hurricane Helene. (NOAA via AP)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecasted up to 25 named storms in the season, but there were 30 named storms. It was the most since 2005’s haul of 28 storms.

The National Weather Center had to start naming storms after the Greek alphabet, getting as far as Hurricane Iota. NOAA dips into the Greek Alphabet after 21 named storms occur.

Of those 30 storms, half-developed into hurricanes. Only 12 made landfall, but they left their mark on the continental United States.

A man from NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information showing the scope of warmer-than-average temperatures across the globe in January 2020.

A man from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information showing the scope of warmer-than-average temperatures across the globe in January 2020. (NOAA)

Louisiana hit with two Category 2 hurricanes in October

No state felt the weight of the hurricane season like Louisiana, which saw as many as five systems make landfall in the state in 2020.

That count included Category 2 Hurricanes Delta and Zeta, both of which made landfall in October to cap off the devastating season.

Both hurricanes left hundreds of thousands without power after passing through the state, but each had relatively small death tolls.

Hurricane Laura, which made landfall at the end of August, took dozens of lives and left the state in a lurch ahead of the catastrophic October.  

The sky turns orange over California, Oregon

If it wasn’t hurricanes, then headlines were littered with news of the many wildfires that burned along the West Coast during the summer.

In this photo provided by Frederic Larson, the Golden Gate Bridge is seen at 11 a.m. PT, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in San Francisco, amid a smoky, orange hue caused by the ongoing wildfires. (Frederic Larson via AP)

In this photo provided by Frederic Larson, the Golden Gate Bridge is seen at 11 a.m. PT, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in San Francisco, amid a smoky, orange hue caused by the ongoing wildfires. (Frederic Larson via AP)

At one point, the National Weather Service tweeted that it recorded an “unprecedented amount of smoke in the atmosphere as a record number of acres burn across California & the West.”

Twice over the summer, residents in the Bay Area could look up and see orange skies as a result of the fires and the smoke.

This photo taken from the home of Russ Casler in Salem, Ore., shows the smoke-darkened sky well before sunset at around 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Strong winds and high temperatures continued to fuel catastrophic fires in many parts of Oregon on Wednesday, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes and making for poor air quality throughout the West. Huge wildfires also continued to grow in neighboring Washington state. (Russ Casler via AP)

This photo taken from the home of Russ Casler in Salem, Ore., shows the smoke-darkened sky well before sunset at around 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. Strong winds and high temperatures continued to fuel catastrophic fires in many parts of Oregon on Wednesday, forcing thousands of people to flee from their homes and making for poor air quality throughout the West. Huge wildfires also continued to grow in neighboring Washington state. (Russ Casler via AP)

The earlier July instance was bizarre enough, but it could not match the incandescent glow of the sky on Sept. 9, which was almost like something you’d expect to see on Mars.

The phenomenon stretched along much of the West Coast, with residents in California and Oregon. 

Four other named storms have made landfall in Louisiana so far in 2020.

Four other named storms have made landfall in Louisiana so far in 2020. (Fox News)

Twin storms hit the Gulf Coast simultaneously

In August, two storm systems formed in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in almost 100 years at the peak of the hurricane season. 

Tropical Storms Laura and Marco both gathered strength as they moved into the Gulf, making it difficult to predict their potential impact. Forecasters said the two storms had the potential to merge — a scenario that, thankfully, did not happen.

“This is the latest in the calendar year that the Atlantic hurricane season has had two named storms simultaneously since November 10, 1932,” Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach tweeted.

Laura ended up strengthening into a Category 4 hurricane while Marco peaked at a Category 1 by the time each made landfall. 

Hurricane-force winds flip 45 semi-trucks

People don’t usually read about Utah and hurricanes in the same sentence, but in September, 100 mph winds tore through Salt Lake City.

The powerful winds brought a snowstorm over the Rockies, but, perhaps more impressively, they flipped at least 45 semi-trucks, according to the Utah Highway Patrol.

The winds also wreaked havoc around the city by bringing down powerlines and leaving more than 100,000 residents without power at the time.

Antarctica hits 69 degrees for the first time

The coldest place on Earth had its hottest day on record in February when Antarctic temperatures reached 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit.

Antarctica experienced its single hottest day ever recorded this month, hitting a high of 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 9, according to Argentine researchers.

Antarctica experienced its single hottest day ever recorded this month, hitting a high of 69.35 degrees Fahrenheit on Feb. 9, according to Argentine researchers. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Jana)

The new record beat the previous record by one degree, but it wasn’t the first record that month: the Antarctic Peninsula (the continent’s northwest tip, which is closest to South America) reported a high of 64.9 F, which beat the previous record for the area by 1.4 degrees.

The new high temperature was recorded at Argentina’s Marambio research base, located on Seymour Island, part of an island chain off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Six waterspouts appear in the Gulf of Mexico

One of the more stunning sights this year in weather was the video of a rare sight in the Gulf of Mexico.

The incredible part wasn’t the number of spouts but the fact that they were so close they appeared in the same video.

The waterspouts formed ahead of tropical depression 13 and 14 as they moved into the gulf.

Sheriffs issue ticket to Mother Nature for “illegal dumping” after June snow in the Rockies

In such a crazy year, it’s no surprise that the weather was crazy as well. Some states had snow throughout the year – even in the summer.

The height of the spontaneous snow hit in Idaho and Montana in June. A foot of snow was dumped in the Rockies just days before the summer solstice.

The unexpected snow baffled residents so much that sheriffs in Idaho’s Blaine County jokingly issued a ticket to Mother Nature for “illegal dumping.”

“If you see her please show her a calendar. She thinks it’s January,” the sheriff’s office said.

Extreme dry conditions allowed for intense West Coast wildfires

One of the most circulated stories of the past year involved an unusual origin for one of the incredible wildfires that burned along the West Coast over the summer.

The conditions over the summer were extremely dry with low humidity. Frequent lightning storms and Santa Ana Winds brought down electrical equipment, all to spark off wildfires that could burn hundreds of acres and uproot thousands of people.

The most notorious fire origin belonged to the El Dorado Fire that burned near Glen oaks in San Bernardino County. The flames were ignited by “a smoke generating pyrotechnic device, used during a gender reveal party,” Cal Fire revealed in a statement at the time.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

The ensuing fire required more than 500 personnel to help contain it.

Go To The Source

Christmas trees: When and how should you throw them out?

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree — how dry are thy branches after awhile.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a fresh fir, but the day will eventually come when it’s time to kick it to the curb. After gifts are opened and the holidays are celebrated, merrymakers should remove real Christmas trees from inside the home when the evergreen becomes overly dry to the touch, for safety’s sake.

Doug Hundley, a spokesperson for the National Christmas Tree Association, told Fox News that this is generally the best time to dispose of a tree, but he urged homeowners to not just haul it to the trash.  

Merrymakers should remove real Christmas trees from inside the home when the evergreen becomes overly dry to the touch, for safety’s sake.

Merrymakers should remove real Christmas trees from inside the home when the evergreen becomes overly dry to the touch, for safety’s sake. (iStock)

POLITICALLY CORRECT SANTA TELLS CRYING KID HE WON’T BRING HIM NERF GUN

“Most, if not all, county and city governments offer real Christmas tree pick-up or drop-off locations,” Hundley said. “They will all be either recycled by chipping into mulch or reused for wildlife habitats. If you live in a rural area you can burn it or let it biodegrade outdoors in a brush pile.”

"Most, if not all, county and city governments offer real Christmas tree pick up or drop off locations," the expert said.

“Most, if not all, county and city governments offer real Christmas tree pick up or drop off locations,” the expert said. (iStock)

If burning a tree, however, Hundley urged caution.

“Avoid burning a used Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace,” he said. “They can burn too hot and possibly cause chimney fires.”

Speaking on behalf of the national trade association for the Christmas tree industry, Hundley explained why real trees are the most environmentally-friendly festive firs.

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK FOR MORE FOX LIFESTYLE NEWS

“They absorb and store carbon dioxide as they grow, and are totally bio-degradable when disposed,” he said. “After reusing, chipping or burning, they return to soil in a very short time. They have three to ten times less of a carbon footprint compared to a typical plastic artificial tree.”

And as Christmas connoisseurs know well, real evergreen trees, garlands, and wreaths “fit naturally into the history of Christmas and winter solstice celebrations over thousands of years of history.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Can’t bear the idea of saying goodbye to your festive fir so soon? Offering a pro tip for extending the life of your tree, Hundley recommended cutting off ½ inch of the trunk before bringing it inside your home to open the cambium layer of the bark.

Christmas trees can be recycled as mulch or wildlife habitat, in some areas they can be burned

Go To The Source

Coronavirus pandemic has police solving fewer murders: WSJ

Police are struggling to solve murders as homicides rise and the Covid-19 pandemic creates new challenges to cracking cases.

Homicides were up nearly 40% for the country’s 10 largest police departments in the first 11 months of 2020 compared to the same period last year. The clearance rate at nine departments that provided data was down by an average of 7 percentage points to about 59%.

The sudden rise of homicides across the country, a reversal after a general decline in the nationwide murder rate since the early 1990s, has overwhelmed detectives, some police officials say. Among other factors, Covid-19 has complicated face-to-face interviews and made it easier for masked suspects to elude capture.

NASHVILLE OFFICERS DISPLAYED ‘TRUE HEROSIM’ DURING CHRISTMAS DAY EXPLOSION: FOP PRESIDENT

Moreover, in some communities, trust in police has fallen amid nationwide protests over policing, making witnesses more reluctant to cooperate, some police officials say.

“When you put the civil unrest plus the Covid, I just felt unfortunately 2020 was a perfect storm,” said Brendan Deenihan, chief of detectives at the Chicago Police Department.

“When you put the civil unrest plus the Covid … 2020 was a perfect storm.”

— Brendan Deenihan, chief of detectives, Chicago Police Department

Homicides in Chicago are running 55% higher than last year, while the clearance rate has slipped 6 percentage points to 46%. Gang violence, a perennial problem in Chicago, is driving the increase, and those cases are difficult to crack due to a lack of cooperative witnesses, he said.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In Philadelphia, the ability to wear masks without arousing suspicion appears to have emboldened some criminals and helped them elude police, even when surveillance cameras capture video of their crimes, said Benjamin Naish, the city’s deputy police commissioner for investigations, who oversees the homicide unit.

“If the person has their mask on and their hood up, it’s just that much harder to identify who that person is,” he said.

Continue reading this story in The Wall Street Journal.

Go To The Source

Queen’s Christmas video gets ‘deepfake’ parody treatment, drawing mixed reactions

Britain’s Channel 4 last week produced a stunningly real-looking parody video of Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas Day message that the network claims highlights the dangers of “deepfake” technology.

Channel 4 has been releasing its own “alternative” Christmas message for nearly 30 years and decided to make a deepfake video this year as a warning about the technology’s potential dangers.

The technique of manipulating someone’s face and voice in a “deepfake” video is “more easy than most people would think,” the channel said in a separate video showing how it synthetically recreated the queen with the help of actress Debra Stephenson.

“There’s two parts to this Christmas message,” a representative for Channel 4 said in the video. “There is a serious part, which is really a message that people do need to think about where they get information from and whether they can trust the people who give it to them. … Obviously on the other hand, we’re making a little thing on Christmas Day, we want it to be fun. We want it to be entertaining.”

AI-GENERATED FAKE VIDEOS MAY BE A SECURITY THREAT, LAWMAKERS WARN

In this undated photo issued on Friday Dec. 25, 2020, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. (Associated Press)

In this undated photo issued on Friday Dec. 25, 2020, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England. (Associated Press)

“So much of our world today comes to us through these screens,” Stephenson (voicing the queen) says after doing a dance for TikTok in the video. “Which brings me back to that question of trust of whether what we see and hear is always as it seems.” 

CREEPY DEEPFAKE BOT CREATED FAKE NUDES BY ‘UNDRESSING’ IMAGES OF MORE THAN 100,000 WOMEN: REPORT

The short video, which also included a toilet-paper shortage joke — about commoners learning what it’s like to have a “predicament on the throne” — and references to Harry and Meghan’s departure and allegations against Prince Andrew, has received mixed reactions.

The Sun’s Simon Boyle said although he isn’t a Royalist, the queen always gets it right and the spoof video is “a million miles away from the public mood — and not nearly as clever or funny as they think it is.”

British journalist Benjamin Butterworth called the video “appalling.”

“For a channel that highlights the dangers of fake news and doctored content online in its news output, it’s very disappointing to see it indulging in the same methods for ‘comedy’ and normalising the blurred lines.”

Brexit proponent Nigel Farage simply wrote, “How dare they.”

Still, some others liked it.

“I think that it was not only funny but gets across the point well about fakery and how much of it there is out there on the multiple screens we are glued to these days,” one Twitter user wrote.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Another said, “Great work and just highlights how easy it is to spread fake news.”

Channel 4 called the video “a stark warning about the advanced technology that is enabling the proliferation of misinformation and fake news in a digital age.”

Go To The Source

Chicago armed robbery thwarted as gun owner with concealed-carry permit kills suspect: report

A gun owner with a concealed-carry permit shot and killed an armed robbery suspect at a Chicago cell phone store on Saturday night, according to police.

It was not immediately clear whether the 29-year-old gun owner was the business owner, an employee or a customer, FOX 32 of Chicago reported.

The gun owner shot the armed suspect at least two times in the 7 p.m. incident, police told the station. The suspect was transported to a local hospital in critical condition and was later pronounced dead, FOX 32 reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Police confiscated weapons from both the suspect and the gun owner as part of their investigation, the news outlet reported.

The incident happened in the city’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, the report said. It was unclear how many people were inside the store at the time.

Go To The Source

LIVE UPDATES: Possible ‘fraudulent’ vaccine distribution prompts New York probe

New York police and the state’s Department of Health are investigating Parcare Community Health Network saying it may have “fraudulently” used Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

Fast Facts

    • Parcare Community Health Network “may have fraudulently obtained COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and diverted it to members of the public,” according to the New York Health Commissioner
    •  

Parcare “may have fraudulently obtained COVID-19 vaccine, transferred it to facilities in other parts of the state in violation of state guidelines and diverted it to members of the public – contrary to the state’s plan to administer it first to frontline health care workers, as well as nursing home residents and staffers,” New York Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said Saturday.

On Monday, Gary Schlesinger, CEO and president of ParCare, told BoroPark24 that its clinics are vetting people who sign up for the vaccine to make sure they are “either a health care worker, are over 60, or have underlying conditions.”

There is a criminal investigation into the matter. 

At least 89,000 New Yorkers received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose this week.

Follow below for updates on the coronavirus pandemic. Mobile users click here. 

Go To The Source

LIVE UPDATES: Georgia runoffs could be drawn out by close results, vote-counting

Officials in Georgia are preparing the possibility that close vote tallies and legal challenges could keep the winners from being declared for days or weeks in the state’s two U.S. Senate runoffs, set for Jan. 5, according to a report

Fast Facts

    • Both Senate races went to runoffs in November when no candidate received the required 50% of votes.
    • Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will face Democrats Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff on Jan. 5

Both Senate races went to runoffs in November when no candidate received the required 50% of votes. Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue will face Democrats the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively.

The runoffs will decide which party controls the Senate in the incoming Congress. 

President Trump has yet to concede the Georgia presidential election, which state election officials say he lost by a narrow 12,000 votes.

Several other states took days to declare a winner in the November election because of the amount of mail-in ballots and legal challenges brought by Republicans. 

Follow below for updates on the Georgia Senate runoffs. Mobile users click here. 

Go To The Source

Close Bitnami banner
Bitnami