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    <p>’This is how I’m going to die’: Officers tell Jan. 6 stories</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AP) – “This is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance,” Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell recalled thinking, testifying Tuesday at the emotional opening hearing of the congressional panel investigating the violent Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.</p> <p>Gonell told House investigators he could feel himself losing oxygen as he was crushed by rioters – supporters of then-President Donald Trump – as he tried to hold them back and protect the Capitol and lawmakers.</p> <p>He and three other officers gave their accounts of the attack, sometimes wiping away tears, sometimes angrily rebuking Republicans who have resisted the probe and embraced Trump’s downplaying of the day’s violence.</p> <p>Six months after the insurrection, with no action yet taken to bolster Capitol security or provide a full accounting of what went wrong, the new panel launched its investigation by starting with the law enforcement officers who protected them.

    Along with graphic video of the hand-to-hand fighting, the officers described being beaten as they held off the mob that broke through windows and doors and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden´s presidential win.</p> <p>Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who rushed to the scene, told the committee – and millions watching news coverage – that he was “grabbed, beaten, tased, all while being called a traitor to my country.” That assault on him, which stopped only when he said he had children, caused him to have a heart attack.</p> <p>___</p> <p>Biles withdraws from gymnastics final to protect team, self</p> <p>TOKYO (AP) – Simone Biles arrived in Tokyo as the star of the U.S.

    Olympic movement and perhaps the Games themselves. She convinced herself she was prepared for the pressure. That she was ready to carry the burden of outsized expectations.</p> <p>Only, as the women’s gymnastics team final approached on Tuesday night, something felt off.
    And the athlete widely considered the Greatest of All Time in her sport knew it.</p> <p>So rather than push through the doubts that crept into her head as she’s done so many times in the past, Biles decided enough was enough. She was done. For now.</p> <p>The American star withdrew from the competition following one rotation, opening the door for the team of Russian athletes to win gold for the first time in nearly three decades.</p> <p>Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee and Grace McCallum guided the U.S.

    to silver while Biles cheered from the sideline in a white sweatsuit, at peace with a decision that revealed a shift not only in Biles but perhaps the sport she’s redefined.</p> <p>___</p> <p>CDC changes course on indoor masks in some parts of the US</p> <p>The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S.
    where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.</p> <p>Citing new information about the variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.</p> <p>In other developments, President Joe Biden said his administration was considering requiring all federal workers to get vaccinated.

    His comments came a day after the Department of Veterans Affairs became the first federal agency to require its health care workers receive the vaccine.</p> <p>Biden dismissed concerns that the new masking guidance from the CDC could invite confusion, saying Americans who remain unvaccinated are the ones who are “sowing enormous confusion.”</p> <p>”The more we learn about this virus and the delta variation, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And there´s only one thing we know for sure – if those other 100 million people got vaccinated, we´d be in a very different world,” he said.</p> <p>___</p> <p>Inside a KKK murder plot: Grab him up, take him to the river</p> <p>PALATKA, Fla.

    (AP) – Joseph Moore breathed heavily, his face slick with nervous sweat. He held a cellphone with a photo of a man splayed on the floor; the man appeared dead, his shirt torn apart and his pants wet.</p> <p>Puffy dark clouds blocked the sun as Moore greeted another man, who´d pulled up in a metallic blue sedan. They met behind an old fried chicken shack in rural north Florida.</p> <p>”KIGY, my brother,” Moore said.
    It was shorthand for “Klansman, I greet you.”</p> <p>Birds chirped in a tree overhead and traffic whooshed by on a nearby road, muddling the sound of their voices, which were being recorded secretly.</p> <p>Moore brought the phone to David “Sarge” Moran, who wore a camouflage-print baseball hat emblazoned with a Confederate flag patch and a metal cross.

    His arms and hands were covered in tattoos.</p> <p>___</p> <p>EXPLAINER: Employers have legal right to mandate COVID shots</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The state of California. New York City. Hospitals and nursing homes. Colleges and universities.

    Employers are putting COVID-19 vaccine mandates into place and it’s getting attention.</p> <p>On Tuesday, President Joe Biden said a requirement is under consideration for all federal employees. But what happens if workers refuse?</p> <p>Federal legal guidance out this week suggests the law is on the side of employers.

    Vaccination can be considered a “condition of employment,” akin to a job qualification.</p> <p>That said, employment lawyers believe many businesses will want to meet hesitant workers half-way.</p> <p>CAN EMPLOYERS REQUIRE A CORONAVIRUS VACCINE?</p> <p>___</p> <p>EXCLUSIVE: Biden mileage rule to exceed Obama climate goal</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AP) – In a major step against climate change, President Joe Biden is proposing a return to aggressive Obama-era vehicle mileage standards over five years, according to industry and government officials briefed on the plan. He’s then aiming for even tougher anti-pollution rules after that to forcefully reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nudge 40% of U.S.

    drivers into electric vehicles by decade´s end.</p> <p>The proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation reflect Biden’s pledge to attack climate change but also balance concerns of the auto industry, which is urging a slower transition to zero-emission electric vehicles.</p> <p>The regulatory action would tighten tailpipe emissions standards rolled back under President Donald Trump.
    The proposed rules are expected to be released as early as next week, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rules haven’t been finalized.</p> <p>Environmental groups said Tuesday that the proposal did not go far enough.</p> <p>”The world isn´t the same as it was in 2012 when President Obama signed the clean car standards,” said Katherine Garcia, acting director of Sierra Club´s Clean Transportation for All campaign. “Millions of Americans have had to swelter in heat waves, evacuate their homes in the face of onrushing wildfires, or bail out flooded homes.”</p> <p>___</p> <p>Man pleads guilty to 4 Asian spa killings, sentenced to life</p> <p>CANTON, Ga.

    (AP) – A man accused of killing eight people, 언브로큰 mostly women of Asian descent, at Atlanta-area massage businesses pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in four of the killings and was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison.</p> <p>Robert Aaron Long, 22, still faces the death penalty in the other deaths, which are being prosecuted in another county.
    The string of shootings at three businesses in March ignited outrage and fueled fear among Asian Americans, who already faced increased hostility linked to the coronavirus pandemic. Many were particularly upset when authorities suggested Long´s crimes weren’t racially motivated but born of a sex addiction, which isn’t recognized as an official disorder.</p> <p>A prosecutor reiterated Tuesday that Cherokee County investigators saw no evidence of racial bias.</p> <p>”This was not any kind of hate crime,” District Attorney Shannon Wallace said during a hearing.</p> <p>On March 16, Long shot and killed four people, three of them women and two of Asian descent, at Youngs Asian Massage in Cherokee County.

    A fifth person was wounded. Long then drove to Atlanta, where he shot and killed three women at Gold Spa before crossing the street to Aromatherapy Spa and 언브로큰 killing another woman, police said. All of the Atlanta victims were of Asian descent.</p> <p>___</p> <p>$15 wage becoming a norm as employers struggle to fill jobs</p> <p>WASHINGTON (AP) – The signs and banners are dotted along suburban commercial strips and hanging in shop windows and restaurants, evidence of a new desperation among America’s service-industry employers: “Now Hiring, $15 an hour.”</p> <p>It is hardly the official federal minimum wage – at $7.25, that level hasn’t been raised since 2009 – but for many lower-skilled workers, $15 an hour has increasingly become a reality.</p> <p>Businesses, particularly in the restaurant, 언브로큰 retail and travel industries, have been offering a $15 wage to try to fill enough jobs to meet surging demand from consumers, millions of whom are now spending freely after a year in lockdown. And many of the unemployed, buoyed by stimulus checks and expanded jobless aid, feel able to hold out for higher pay.</p> <p>The change since the pandemic has been swift.

    For years, and notably in the 2020 presidential race, labor advocates had trumpeted $15 an hour as a wage that would finally allow low-paid workers to afford basic necessities and narrow inequality. It struck many as a long-term goal.</p> <p>Now, many staffing companies say $15 an hour is the level that many businesses must pay to fill their jobs.</p> <p>___</p> <p>Wu-Tang Clan album sale pays off Martin Shkreli’s court debt</p> <p>NEW YORK (AP) – An unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album forfeited by Martin Shkreli after his securities fraud conviction was sold Tuesday for an undisclosed sum, though prosecutors say it was enough to fully satisfy the rest of what he owed on a $7.4 million forfeiture order he faced after his 2018 sentencing.</p> <p>The entrepreneur known as “Pharma Bro” once boasted that he paid $2 million in 2015 at auction for “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” the 31-track double album the Wu-Tang Clan spent six years creating.</p> <p>”With today´s sale of this one-of-a-kind album, his payment of the forfeiture is now complete,” Acting U.S.

    Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis in Brooklyn said in a release.</p> <p>Authorities said the sales contract for the album contained a confidentiality provision that protects information relating to the buyer and price.</p> <p>In a civil case in Manhattan federal court, lawyers wrote in an April document that Shkreli had already reduced his forfeiture debt by about $5 million.</p> <p>___</p> <p>’About time’: LGBTQ Olympic athletes unleash a rainbow wave</p> <p>TOKYO (AP) – When Olympic diver Tom Daley announced in 2013 that he was dating a man and “couldn’t be happier,” his coming out was an act of courage that, with its rarity, also exposed how the top echelons of sport weren’t seen as a safe space by the vast majority of LGBTQ athletes.</p> <p>Back then, the number of gay Olympians who felt able and willing to speak openly about their private lives could be counted on a few hands.

    There’d been just two dozen openly gay Olympians among the more than 10,000 who competed at the 2012 London Games, a reflection of how unrepresentative and anachronistic top-tier sports were just a decade ago and, to a large extent, still are.</p> <p>Still, at the Tokyo Games, the picture is changing.</p> <p>A wave of rainbow-colored pride, openness and acceptance is sweeping through Olympic pools, skateparks, halls and fields, with a record number of openly gay competitors in Tokyo.

    Whereas LGBTQ invisibility used to make Olympic sports seem out of step with the times, Tokyo is shaping up as a watershed for the community and for the Games – now, finally, starting to better reflect human diversity.</p> <p>”It’s about time that everyone was able to be who they are and celebrated for it,” said U.S.
    skateboarder Alexis Sablone, one of at least five openly LGBTQ athletes in that sport making its Olympic debut in Tokyo.</p></div>
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