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US Senate Leader Mitch McConnell 85, Freezes at Press Briefing

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US Senate Leader Mitch McConnell 85, Freezes at Press Briefing

Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate Republicans, seemed to freeze while talking to reporters for the second time in just over a month. When asked if he would run for re-election in 2026, the 81-year-old stopped for more than 30 seconds at a press event in Covington, Kentucky.

Aides tried to wake up the senator, but it took Mr. McConnell a few more seconds to come to. After that, he answered two more questions, which staff had to repeat.

Before he left with helpers, he didn’t say anything about his health. A spokesperson said after the event, “Leader McConnell felt dizzy for a moment and had to stop during his press conference today.”

Later, a staff member told the US partner of the BBC, CBS News, that the congressman “feels fine” but “will talk to a doctor before his next event.”

The first time Mr. McConnell said something wrong was on July 26 at a press meeting at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. There, he stopped in the middle of a speech for about 20 seconds before his fellow Republican senators pulled him away.

He came back later and told reporters he felt “lightheaded” but was “fine.”

Mr. McConnell, who is in charge of the small minority of Republicans in the Senate, spent a week in the hospital in March after falling outside a hotel in the Washington area and getting a concussion and a broken hip.

He was sent to a rehab centre and didn’t come back to the Senate until the middle of April.

After the freezing event in July, US media said that Mr. McConnell had fallen at least three other times since February.

This new event will raise more questions about the Kentucky senator’s health as Congress tries to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of October. The fall legislative session will be busy.

A staff member for Senator John Thune, who is Mr. McConnell’s deputy in the Senate, told reporters that the two of them had talked about what happened. Ryan Wrasse said that Mr. McConnell “sounded like himself and was in a good mood.”

“Politically, we don’t agree, but he’s a good friend, so I’ll try to talk to him later this afternoon,” said Vice President Joe Biden later on Wednesday.

Concerns about Mr. McConnell’s health come after questions about the health of Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California who is 90 years old and hasn’t been in the chamber for months because of a serious case of shingles. The average age of a US Senate member is 65 years old.

Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell, whose full name is Addison Mitchell McConnell Jr., is an American politician who has been a prominent figure in the United States Senate for several decades. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, here’s an overview of his career and background:

Born on February 20, 1942, in Sheffield, Alabama, McConnell is a member of the Republican Party. He graduated from the University of Louisville College of Arts and Sciences and then earned his law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

McConnell’s political career began in the 1960s when he worked for various political figures, including Senator Marlow Cook and President Gerald Ford. He served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General under President Ford.

In 1984, he was elected to the United States Senate from Kentucky. Over the years, McConnell gained a reputation as a skilled strategist and negotiator. He served in various leadership positions within the Republican Party, including as the Senate Majority Whip from 2003 to 2007 and as the Senate Minority Leader from 2007 to 2015.

One of McConnell’s most notable roles came in 2015 when he became the Senate Majority Leader after the Republicans gained control of the Senate. In this position, he played a key role in shaping the legislative agenda and was known for his ability to control the flow of legislation and appointments.

McConnell’s tenure as Senate Majority Leader included significant events such as the confirmation of Supreme Court Justices, including Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. He was also a key figure in the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

McConnell has been both praised and criticized for his strategic approach to politics. His use of Senate rules and tactics has been a subject of controversy, with critics arguing that he has been obstructionist on certain issues.

Geoff Thomas is a seasoned staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. With his sharp writing skills and deep understanding of SEO, he consistently delivers high-quality, engaging content that resonates with readers. Thomas' articles are well-researched, informative, and written in a clear, concise style that keeps audiences hooked. His ability to craft compelling narratives while seamlessly incorporating relevant keywords has made him a valuable asset to the VORNews team.

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

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In a big victory for climate and environmental groups, the Biden administration completed a rule on Friday that prohibits fossil fuel drilling on nearly half of Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, among other substantial conservation measures.

The Interior Department will prohibit oil drilling on more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic, including approximately 40% of the NPR-A, a remote area home to protected wildlife species such as polar bears and caribou.

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

The reserve consists of more than 23 million acres of public land and an underground emergency oil supply for the United States Navy, which was established in the early 1920s. It has lately been the site of the Willow project, which is owned by ConocoPhillips and is a contentious Arctic oil drilling operation.

When the Biden administration approved Willow in March 2023, it generated a social media reaction from young people, as well as environmental and climate activists. Friday’s measure could boost President Joe Biden’s support among young voters.

“These natural wonders demand our protection,” Biden said in a statement. Biden said he was “proud” of his administration’s decision to protect more than 13 million acres in the Western Arctic, but added that “as the climate crisis threatens communities across the country, more must be done.”

Some Alaska Natives are critical of the drilling restriction covering such a large area of the NPR-A. It has sparked debate among Alaska’s bipartisan congressional delegation, as well as Alaska Native groups, who claim they rely on oil drilling tax money to pay schools and basic services.

The final rule “does not reflect our communities’ wishes,” said Voice of the Arctic Iñupiat President Nagruk Harcharek. The move “will hurt the very residents the federal government purports to help by rolling back years of progress, impoverishing our communities, and imperiling our Iñupiaq culture.”

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

The restriction will also expose the president to Republican criticism for failing to prioritize American energy independence and driving up fuel prices. However, during Biden’s presidency, the United States has produced more oil than any other country in history, according to CNN Business, and petrol prices have dropped $1.35 since their all-time high in June 2022.

In addition to conserving a large portion of the NPR-A on Friday, the Biden administration tried to stop the Trump administration-approved Ambler road in the Alaskan wilderness. If developed, the road would provide access to a proposed copper mine. The government indicated that it intended to take “no action” on the mine, essentially limiting the road’s access to federal territory.

Ambler Metals, the business seeking to mine copper in the region, said it was “deeply disappointed” by Interior’s decision. According to Ambler’s managing director, Kaleb Froehlich, the move would deprive local communities of jobs and tax income, as well as prevent the United States from building a domestic supply of minerals important to renewable energy technologies and national security.

The Alaska announcements cap off a busy week for Biden’s Interior Department. On Thursday, the agency unveiled a new regulation that elevates conservation to the same level as other public land uses such as grazing, mining, and energy production. The new conservation law applies to 245 million acres, the most of which are in the Western United States, or roughly one-tenth of the country’s territory.

According to CNN, Biden plans to enlarge two national monuments in California next week, adding to the ones he has already named during his presidency.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland stated that the administration’s Alaska conservation announcements “underscore our commitment to ensure that places too special to develop remain intact for the communities and species that rely on them.”

In a statement, Haaland stated that the move would be a significant step toward preserving “the way of life for the Indigenous people who have called this special place home since time immemorial.”

Environmentalists and several indigenous groups praised Biden’s statements on Alaska conservation as a “important step.”

“It’s no secret that the Reserve–a vast region of tundra and wetlands teeming with wildlife–has frequently landed in the crosshairs of the insatiable fossil fuel industry,” said Earthjustice attorney Jeremy Lieb in a statement. “We applaud this move and call for even bolder action to keep the fossil fuel industry out of the Arctic, for the sake of the climate and future generations.”

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Biden Administration Bans Drilling In Nearly Half Of Alaska Petroleum Reserve In Sweeping Win For Climate Advocates

In a statement, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, the former mayor of the North Slope village of Nuiqsut and a staunch opponent of Willow, called on the Biden administration to build on the protections, saying it would help Alaska Natives “continue to sustain and pass along the traditions and activities of our elders for years to come.”

In a recent interview with CNN, Ahtuangaruak stated that building of infrastructure, as well as ice and gravel roads for the Willow project, is well advanced. Ahtuangaruak is concerned that the project is already having an impact on the annual caribou migration, which is a major source of food for people.

“The animals have already begun their migration; we also have animals that get impeded and get stuck on the ice road areas,” Ahtuangaruak, a reporter for CNN, said “It’s really tough to work through all these issues.”

SOURCE – CNN

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

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Paris police find no weapons on a man detained at Iran’s consulate.

Police said Friday that they discovered no weapons on a man held at the Iranian consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious man carrying a grenade and an explosives vest.

A Paris police spokesperson told The Associated Press that authorities were verifying the man’s identity but discovered no such weapons on him or in his car.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to be publicly identified under police procedure.

Some of the police, special agents, and firefighters who rushed to the situation at the consulate were later spotted leaving the area after being arrested. A police cordon remained in place, although traffic had resumed in the area.

According to the official, the individual was observed late Friday morning, and police initiated a special operation as soon as they were notified.

The event occurred at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, as Paris prepares to host the summer Olympics.

The director of the United Nations’ nuclear inspector says there was no damage to the Isfahan nuclear facility following a purported Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the Iranian city.

When asked about the nuclear facility on Sky News, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated, “There hasn’t been any damage at the site or anything that would indicate that (there) were hits nearby or something that could lead you to believe that there was an intention to reach these places.”

The Isfahan facility has three small research reactors supplied by China, as well as fuel production and other activities for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Isfahan also contains locations related with Iran’s nuclear program, such as the subterranean Natanz enrichment facility, which has been frequently attacked by suspected Israeli sabotage strikes.

Iranian authorities claim that air defenses fired on a key air base in Isfahan, which has long housed Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats, purchased prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Missile remnants were discovered Friday near Latifiya, southwest of Baghdad.

An official with an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists, said the missile was shot down due to jamming efforts. The Iraqi army lacks jamming systems similar to those used to destroy the rocket, but Iran has handed such gear to its allied militias.

It was unclear whether the rocket was part of an Israeli attack on Iran or last weekend’s Iranian attack on Israel. Local media images of the site showed what seemed to be an air-to-surface missile. There were no reports of Iran firing air-to-surface missiles during Saturday’s onslaught, which comprised over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Tehran launched the attack in response to a purported Israeli strike in Syria on April 1, which killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consulate building.

SOURCE (AP)

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

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NEW YORK — The historic hush-money trial of Donald Trump began Monday, with scores of prospective jurors crammed into a courtroom where the former president will face allegations that he fabricated business records to suppress revelations about his sex life.

The first criminal prosecution of any former US president will take place as Trump seeks to recover the White House, producing a fascinating split-screen spectacle in which the probable Republican nominee spends his days as a criminal defendant while also campaigning for government. Over the last year, he has combined both roles by portraying himself to supporters on the campaign road and social media as the object of politically motivated prosecutions intended to destroy his candidacy.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

After a norm-breaking presidency shadowed by years of investigations, Trump’s trial is a legal reckoning. Four indictments accuse him of crimes ranging from hoarding confidential data to attempting to overthrow an election. However, the political stakes are less obvious because a conviction would not prevent him from becoming president, and the charges, in this case, reach back years and are viewed as less serious than the conduct behind the other three indictments.

The day began with hours of pretrial arguments, including potential penalties for Trump before jury selection began Monday afternoon. The first members of the jury pool, 96 in total, were summoned to the courtroom, where the parties would select who among them would be chosen to decide the legal fate of the former, and possibly future, American president.

Trump craned his neck to glance back at the pool, talking to his lawyer as they entered the jury box.

“You are about to stand trial by jury. Judge Juan Merchan told the jurors that the jury trial system is one of the pillars of our legal system. “The name of this case is the People of the State of New York vs. Donald Trump.”

Trump’s notoriety would make selecting 12 jurors and six alternates a near-herculean task in any year, but it’s likely to be especially difficult now, as the election takes place in the heavily Democratic city where Trump grew up and rose to celebrity status decades before winning the presidency.

Merchan has said that the question is “whether the prospective juror can assure us that they will set aside any personal feelings or biases and render a decision that is based on the evidence and the law.”

Regardless of the verdict, Trump is determined to gain from the proceedings, portraying the case and his other indictments as a broad “weaponization of law enforcement” by Democratic prosecutors and authorities. He claims they are staging bogus allegations to derail his presidential campaign. He’s been criticizing judges and prosecutors for years, a pattern of attacks that persisted until Monday, when he entered court and declared, “This is political persecution.” “This is a new kind of persecution.”

Earlier Monday, the judge dismissed a defense request to disqualify himself from the case after Trump’s lawyers alleged a conflict of interest. He also stated that the prosecution could not show the jury the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording in which Trump was caught describing sexually assaulting women without their permission. However, prosecutors will be able to interrogate witnesses about the recording made public in the last weeks of the 2016 campaign.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan district attorney’s office also urged Merchan on Monday to pay Trump $3,000 for social media statements that they said breached the judge’s gag order prohibiting him from assaulting witnesses. Last week, he used his Truth Social platform to label his former lawyer, Michael Cohen and adult film actress Stormy Daniels, “two sleaze bags who have, with their lies and misrepresentations, cost our country dearly!”

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, contended that Trump was only responding to the witnesses’ comments.

“It’s not like President Trump is going out and targeting people. “He is responding to these witnesses’ salacious, repeated, vehement attacks,” Blanche stated.

Merchan did not rule out the request immediately but scheduled a hearing for next week.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges of falsifying company documents. Prosecutors believe the alleged fraud was part of an effort to prevent scandalous — and, Trump claims, false — tales about his personal life from surfacing during his 2016 campaign.

The allegations are based on $130,000 in payments made by Trump’s firm to Cohen. He paid that cash on Trump’s behalf a month before the election to prevent Daniels from going public with her claims of a sexual encounter with the married mogul a decade ago.

Prosecutors claim the payments to Cohen were falsely recorded as legal expenses to conceal their true purpose. Trump’s lawyers claim the disbursements were legal expenditures, not a cover-up.

After decades of fielding and bringing lawsuits, the businessman-turned-politician now faces a trial that may result in up to four years in prison if convicted, while a non-jail sentence is also an option. Trump is also expected to appeal any conviction.

Trump’s lawyers lost their quest to dismiss the hush-money case and have subsequently attempted to postpone it, resulting in a frenzy of last-minute appeals court proceedings last week.

Among other things, Trump’s attorneys argue that the jury pool in largely Democratic Manhattan has been corrupted by bad news about Trump and that the case should be transferred elsewhere.

An appeals judge denied an emergency motion to delay the trial, and a group of appellate judges will consider the change-of-venue request in the coming weeks.

Manhattan prosecutors have replied that most of the publicity derives from Trump’s words and that questioning will reveal whether prospective jurors can overcome their preconceived notions. They claim there is no reason to believe that 12 fair and impartial people cannot be identified among Manhattan’s roughly 1.4 million adult citizens.

The prospective jurors will only be identified by number since the judge has ordered that their names be kept secret from everyone save prosecutors, Trump, and their legal teams. The 42 preapproved, sometimes multi-pronged queries cover the basics while reflecting the case’s individuality.

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Potential Jurors Called Into Courtroom For Start Of Trump’s Historic Hush-Money Trial

“Do you have any strong opinions or firmly held beliefs about former President Donald Trump, or the fact that he is a current candidate for president, that would interfere with your ability to be a fair and impartial juror?” asks a single inquiry.

Others inquire about attendance at Trump or anti-Trump rallies, opinions on how he is being treated in the case, news sources, and other factors — including any “political, moral, intellectual, or religious beliefs or opinions” that may “slant” a prospective juror’s attitude to the case.

Based on the responses, the attorneys can request that a court remove persons “for cause” if they fulfill certain criteria for being unfit to serve or impartial. The lawyers can also use “peremptory challenges” to dismiss 10 potential jurors and two prospective alternates without explaining.

“If you strike everybody who’s either a Republican or a Democrat,” the judge noted at a February hearing, “you’re going to run out of peremptory challenges very quickly.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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