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Iranian protesters defiant in the face of ‘worst’ crackdown in a decade

(CNN)When Sina Ghanbari took to Tehran’s streets during nationwide demonstrations at the beginning of 2018, he was speaking out against corruption, a sluggish economy and soaring fuel and food prices. Ghanbari was detained during the protests. After being held in the so-called quarantine ward of Tehran’s Evin prison for five days, he died on his…

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Iranian protesters defiant in the face of ‘worst’ crackdown in a decade

(CNN)When Sina Ghanbari took to Tehran’s streets during nationwide demonstrations at the beginning of 2018, he was speaking out against corruption, a sluggish economy and soaring fuel and food prices.

Ghanbari was detained during the protests. After being held in the so-called quarantine ward of Tehran’s Evin prison for five days, he died on his 22nd birthday.
Prison authorities told his mother, Fatemeh Malayan Nejad, that her son had taken his own life. “My son called me from prison. He told me they had beaten him up,” Nejad tells CNN. “It’s a big lie that he committed suicide, and I won’t rest until the truth comes out.” Ghanbari’s mother says she believes he was murdered.

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Analysis: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death reshapes the 2020 campaign

CNN Films’ “RBG” chronicles the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watch tonight at 10 p.m. ET. (CNN)As America mourned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a brilliant trailblazer for women and an equal rights icon — a fierce new political debate began unfolding Friday evening.With just 45 days…

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Analysis: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death reshapes the 2020 campaign

CNN Films’ “RBG” chronicles the life and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Watch tonight at 10 p.m. ET. (CNN)As America mourned the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — a brilliant trailblazer for women and an equal rights icon — a fierce new political debate began unfolding Friday evening.With just 45 days until the election, the battle over who will replace her and when that Senate vote will occur is already reshaping the stakes in more than a half-dozen closely fought Senate races, while galvanizing impassioned voters on both sides of the presidential campaign.The death of a Supreme Court justice so close to the November election was all but certain to thrust America’s culture wars back to the center of the political debate in a year dominated by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.That battle has the ability to breathe new energy into the electorate — activating conservative Republicans who have grown weary of President Donald Trump but view the election as a chance to shape the court, while also mobilizing millions of female voters who are already infuriated by Trump’s degradation of women and would view his ability to nominate three Supreme Court justices in a single term as an assault on their values.New battle lines Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell immediately drew those partisan battle lines Friday night just over an hour after the announcement of Ginsburg’s death, when he vowed that there will be a vote on Trump’s yet-to-be-named nominee by the end of this year. The Kentucky Republican, who is up for reelection against a fundraising powerhouse, faces the possibility that the GOP could lose control of the Senate and that Trump could lose the White House. The balance of power in the Senate is so narrow that McConnell can only afford to lose three Republican votes in his quest to get a Trump Supreme Court nominee confirmed. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell said in a statement. GOP aides separately told CNN that they are skeptical that there is enough time before Election Day on November 3 to vet, conduct background checks and set up the elaborate nomination and confirmation process that normally takes two to three months.In a message to his GOP colleagues Friday evening, McConnell urged them to “keep your powder dry,” according to a person who saw the note. Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who addressed Ginsburg’s death after he stepped off a plane Friday night, said that the decision on her replacement should wait until after the election.He alluded to the precedent set by McConnell in 2016 when he refused to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, even though then-President Barack Obama had nominated Merrick Garland for the seat in March of that year — months before the presidential election.”Let me be clear that the voters should pick the President and the President should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden said, calling Ginsburg a “fierce and unflinching” advocate for the civil, legal rights of all Americans.”This was the position of the Republican Senate took in 2016 when there were almost 10 months to go before the election. That’s the position the United States Senate must take today, and the election’s only 46 days off,” the former vice president said. Other Democrats were quick to criticize McConnell’s statement as the height of hypocrisy given that the Senate majority leader sat on Obama’s nomination of Garland during all of 2016, leading many Democratic voters to say their party was robbed of a seat on the Supreme Court as McConnell argued that the “American people should have a say in the court’s direction.” Beyond Democratic outrage, McConnell is facing many logistical hurdles as he seeks to get a successor named to the court by the end of the year.Ginsburg — who was praised as a “brilliant and successful litigator” who left a “towering legacy” even by the likes of a hard partisan like Republican Attorney General William Barr — made her own wishes known by dictating a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera.”My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she told her granddaughter days before her death, according to National Public Radio. GOP senators in a tight spot Several Republican senators facing tough reelection campaigns are stuck in a politically daunting place. Defying Ginsburg’s wishes could erode whatever lasting support they have among moderates and independents, while defying McConnell and Trump could depress base turnout that they need to win.Among them are Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who is in an unexpectedly close reelection battle and is also chairman of the Judiciary Committee.McSally tweeted on Friday night that “this US Senate should vote on President Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court.” But Collins told The New York Times’ Jonathan Martin in an interview earlier this month that she would not seat a Supreme Court justice in October.”I think that’s too close, I really do,” Collins told Martin, adding that she would also not be comfortable seating a justice during the lame duck session of Congress if Democrats win the White House.In an interview before Ginsburg’s death on Friday with Alaska Public Media, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who broke with Trump and her party by voting against moving ahead with Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, also said she would not agree to confirm a nominee before Election Day.”I would not vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee. We are 50 some days away from an election,” the Alaska Republican, who does not face voters this year, told reporter Casey Grove of Alaska Public Media.In October of 2018, before he was being outraised by a Democratic opponent who’s now even with him in some public polling, Graham told reporters that if a Supreme Court opening occurred in the last year of Trump’s term and the primary process had started, “We’ll wait to the next election. And I’ve got a pretty good chance of being the Judiciary (Chairman). Hold the tape.” But he has since backtracked. “I’d like to fill a vacancy. But we’d have to see. I don’t know how practical that would be,” Graham told CNN in July. “Let’s see what the market would bear.”In all of those competitive Senate races, Ginsburg’s death is likely to re-inflame debates over candidates’ positions on key issues facing the Supreme Court including abortion, health care, gay rights, voting rights and immigration.Political groups on both sides are already gearing up. The progressive group “Demand Justice” sent out a fundraising solicitation Friday night calling on supporters to “protect Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s legacy” while stating that “this is a fight that will set the future of the Supreme Court for decades to come.” The group plans to spend $10 million on an ad campaign arguing Ginsburg’s vacancy shouldn’t be filled until after inauguration.An unexpected political boon for TrumpGinsburg led the court’s liberal wing, which had a 5-4 conservative majority before her death. She was a progressive champion who continued to fight for her liberal beliefs on the court even during five rounds of cancer. During an appearance at the Yale Club in New York in 2019, she said she preferred to keep working even as she fought cancer: “I found each time that when I’m active, I’m much better than if I’m just lying about and feeling sorry for myself.”But by taking some of the focus off of Trump’s missteps, her death could reframe an election year debate that has focused primarily on the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crash that cast millions of Americans from their jobs.The ability to nominate someone who would steer the Supreme Court in a more conservative direction is an unexpected political boon for Trump at a time when he is trailing Biden in national and many swing state polls. In the view of many on the right, his record getting conservative judges confirmed is the highlight of his chaotic presidency. A renewed fight over the balance of the court could redeem Trump in the eyes of voters who were starting to peel away in the midst of a mismanaged pandemic.Keenly aware of the importance of his record on judicial nominees, Trump released his list of 20 possible conservative nominees to the Supreme Court earlier this month in an effort to generate more enthusiasm within his base. At that time, Trump had appointed 205 federal judges, including two Supreme Court nominees, according to a spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee.Trump included the names of three Republican senators on that list — Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.”Apart from matters of war and peace, the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is the most important decision an American president can make,” he said during the event. Trump was on stage at a Minnesota rally, stoking racist fears about refugees, when Ginsburg’s death was announced. He spoke for 114 minutes without mentioning her and only learned about her passing from reporters as headed back to Air Force One.In a statement, Trump said that she showed “that one can disagree without being disagreeable toward one’s colleagues of different points of view” — a trait completely at odds with his own political tactics. Trump spoke positively about Ginsburg late Friday night, but a source close to the President told CNN’s Jim Acosta that Trump has been eager to nominate a replacement for the liberal justice, who was the second woman named to the Supreme Court. During her life, Ginsburg did not hide her distain for the President, telling CNN’s Joan Biskupic that he was “a faker” who had “gotten away with not turning over his tax returns.”Trump said Ginsburg had “embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me” and called on her to resign.Ginsburg was at the forefront of many fiery political debates, and the debate over how her legacy should be honored by the current administration and the party in power in the Senate may end up being among the most combative.
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Syria war: US deploys extra troops to Syria after Russia clashes

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Syria war: US deploys extra troops to Syria after Russia clashes

Publishedduration2 hours agoimage copyrightGetty Imagesimage captionA few hundred US troops remain in Syria’s north-eastThe US has ramped up its military presence in Syria after a number of skirmishes with Russian forces intensified tensions in the country.US officials said six Bradley Fighting Vehicles and about 100 troops were part of the deployment to north-east Syria.Incidents between US and Russian forces that patrol that part of the country have escalated this year.US Navy Captain Bill Urban said the move would “ensure the safety and security of Coalition forces”.He added that, alongside the fighting vehicles, which had been based in Kuwait, the US would also deploy a “Sentinel radar” and increase “the frequency of US fighter patrols over US forces”.”The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend Coalition forces if necessary,” Mr Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, said in a statement on Friday.Mr Urban did not mention Russia by name, but a separate statement from a US official, first reported by NBC News, was more pointed.”These actions and reinforcements are a clear signal to Russia to adhere to mutual de-confliction processes and for Russia and other parties to avoid unprofessional, unsafe and provocative actions in north-east Syria,” the unnamed US official said.NBC News cited officials as saying the troops and vehicles were sent to deter Russian forces from entering a security area, where US coalition and Kurdish forces were operating.Over the years, there have been frequent interactions between US and Russian forces in Syria. But in recent weeks, incidents in north-east Syria have become increasingly belligerent.At the end of August, seven American soldiers were injured in a collision with a Russian vehicle. The Russian and US governments blamed each other for the collision, which was filmed and posted to Twitter.image copyrightRusvesna.su/youtubeimage captionA clip of the incident was broadcast by Russian website Rusvesna.suThe US said Russian forces had entered a “security zone” that they had agreed to stay out of. Russia, meanwhile, said it had given the US military prior warning that it would be patrolling there.The US has about 500 troops in the area – far fewer than previously – to help secure it against any further threat from Islamic State (IS) jihadists. The The Russians back Syrian government forces while the Americans support local Kurdish fighters, part of a civil war that has convulsed the country since 2011.Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, has long opposed the presence of the US military in the country.In October 2019, US President Donald Trump decided to withdraw 1,000 US troops that were operating in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.Months later, Mr Trump said he had decided to keep a few hundred troops in the country to protect oil wells.
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at 87

(CNN)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87.Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues…

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dead at 87

(CNN)Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Friday due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer, the court announced. She was 87.Ginsburg was appointed in 1993 by President Bill Clinton and in recent years served as the most senior member of the court’s liberal wing, consistently delivering progressive votes on the most divisive social issues of the day, including abortion rights, same-sex marriage, voting rights, immigration, health care and affirmative action. Her death — less than seven weeks before Election Day — opens up a political fight over the future of the court. Addressing the liberal justice’s death, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday evening, “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”But Ginsburg told her granddaughter she wanted her replacement to be appointed by the next president, NPR reported. “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she dictated to granddaughter Clara Spera days before her death. “She led an amazing life. What else can you say?” President Donald Trump said Friday evening upon hearing about her death. “She was an amazing woman whether you agree or not she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life.” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden praised Ginsburg as a “giant in the legal profession” and a “beloved figure,” saying in brief on-camera remarks Friday evening that people “should focus on the loss of the justice and her enduring legacy.””But there is no doubt, let me be clear that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” he added, saying that was the position of Republicans who refused to vote on then-President Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016.Obama, in a statement mourning Ginsburg, also called for Senate Republicans to uphold the standard they set in 2016 when they blocked his nominee.”Over a long career on both sides of the bench — as a relentless litigator and an incisive jurist — Justice Ginsburg helped us see that discrimination on the basis of sex isn’t about an abstract ideal of equality; that it doesn’t only harm women; that it has real consequences for all of us. It’s about who we are — and who we can be,” Obama said in a statement.He added, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg fought to the end, through her cancer, with unwavering faith in our democracy and its ideals. That’s how we remember her. But she also left instructions for how she wanted her legacy to be honored. Four and a half years ago, when Republicans refused to hold a hearing or an up-or-down vote on Merrick Garland, they invented the principle that the Senate shouldn’t fill an open seat on the Supreme Court before a new president was sworn in.A basic principle of the law — and of everyday fairness — is that we apply rules with consistency, and not based on what’s convenient or advantageous in the moment.”Ginsburg developed a rock star status and was dubbed the “Notorious R.B.G.” In speaking events across the country before liberal audiences, she was greeted with standing ovations as she spoke about her view of the law, her famed exercise routine and her often fiery dissents.”Our Nation has lost a jurist of historic stature,” said Chief Justice John Roberts. “We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn, but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her — a tireless and resolute champion of justice.”Ginsburg, who died on the eve of the Jewish new year, was surrounded by her family at her home in Washington, DC, the court said. A private interment service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery.Ginsburg had suffered from five bouts of cancer, most recently a recurrence in early 2020 when a biopsy revealed lesions on her liver. She had said that chemotherapy was yielding “positive results” and that she was able to maintain an active daily routine.”I have often said I would remain a member of the Court as long as I can do the job full steam,” she said in a statement in July 2020. “I remain fully able to do that.”She told an audience in 2019 that she liked to keep busy even when she was fighting cancer. “I found each time that when I’m active, I’m much better than if I’m just lying about and feeling sorry for myself,” she said in New York at the Yale Club at an event hosted by Moment Magazine. Ginsburg told another audience that she thought she would serve until she was 90 years old. Tiny in stature, she could write opinions that roared disapproval when she thought the majority had gone astray. Before the election of President Donald Trump, Ginsburg told CNN that he “is a faker” and noted that he had “gotten away with not turning over his tax returns.” She later said she regretted making the comments and Trump suggested she should recuse herself in cases concerning him. She never did. In 2011, by contrast, President Barack Obama singled out Ginsburg at a White House ceremony. “She’s one of my favorites,” he said, “I’ve got a soft spot for Justice Ginsburg.”The vacancy gives Trump the opportunity to further solidify the conservative majority on the court and fill the seat of a woman who broke through the glass ceiling at a time when few women attended law school with a different justice who could steer the court to the right on social issues.Ginsburg was well-known for the work she did before taking the bench, when she served as an advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union and became the architect of a legal strategy to bring cases to the courts that would ensure that the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection applied to gender. “I had the good fortune to be alive and a lawyer in the late 1960s when, for the first time in the history of the United States, it became possible to urge before courts, successfully, that society would benefit enormously if women were regarded as persons equal in stature to men,'” she said in a commencement speech in 2002.Once she took the bench, Ginsburg had the reputation of a “judge’s judge” for the clarity of her opinions that gave straightforward guidance to the lower courts. At the Supreme Court, she was perhaps best known for the opinion she wrote in United States v. Virginia, a decision that held that the all-male admissions policy at the state funded Virginia Military Institute was unconstitutional for its ban on women applicants. “The constitutional violation in this case is the categorical exclusion of women from an extraordinary educational opportunity afforded men,” she wrote in 1996.Ginsburg faced discrimination herself when she graduated from law school in 1959 and could not find a clerkship. No one was more surprised than Ginsburg of the status she gained with young women in her late 70s and early 80s. She was amused by the swag that appeared praising her work, including a “You Can’t have the Truth, Without Ruth” T-shirt as well as coffee mugs and bobbleheads. Some young women went as far as getting tattoos bearing her likeness. A Tumblr dubbed her the “Notorious R.B.G.” in reference to a rap star known as “Notorious B.I.G.” The name stuck. One artist set Ginsburg’s dissent in a religious liberty case to music. “It makes absolute sense that Justice Ginsburg has become an idol for younger generations,” Justice Elena Kagan said at an event at the New York Bar Association in 2014. “Her impact on America and American law has been extraordinary.””As a litigator and then as a judge, she changed the face of American anti-discrimination law,” Kagan said. “She can take credit for making the law of this country work for women and in doing so she made possible my own career.” Ginsburg, even after her fifth diagnosis of cancer, was working on a book with one of her former clerks, Amanda Tyler. It was based on her life on gender equality.Dissents and strategyPart of Ginsburg’s renown came from her fierce dissents in key cases, often involving civil rights or equal protection.In 2007, the court heard a case concerning Lilly Ledbetter, who had worked as a supervisor at a Goodyear Tire plant in Alabama. Near the end of her career, Ledbetter discovered a pay disparity between her salary and the salaries of male co-workers. She filed a claim arguing she had received a discriminatorily low salary because of her sex, in violation of federal law. A majority of the court found against Ledbetter, ruling she had filed her complaints too late. Ginsburg wasn’t impressed with that reasoning. “The court’s insistence on immediate contest overlooks common characteristics of pay discrimination,” Ginsburg wrote, urging Congress to take up the issue, which it did in 2009.In 2015, it was Ginsburg who led the liberal block of the court as it voted in favor of same-sex marriage with the critical fifth vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy wrote the opinion and it was joined by the liberals, who chose not to write separately. Ginsburg was likely behind that strategy and she said later that had she written the majority she might have put more emphasis on equal protection.After the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens, Ginsburg was the most senior of her liberal colleagues and she had the power to assign opinions when the chief justice was on the other side. She assigned herself an angry dissent when the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013.”The sad irony of today’s decision lies in its utter failure to grasp why the VRA has proven effective,” she wrote. She compared racial discrimination to a “vile infection” and said early attempts to protect against it were like “battling the Hydra.” She also penned a partial dissent in a 2012 case concerning Obama’s health care law, disagreeing with the conservative justices that the individual mandate was not a valid exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause. She called the reasoning “crabbed” but was satisfied that Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the fifth vote to uphold the law under the taxing power. Ginsburg puzzled some liberals with her criticisms of the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion — a case that was decided well before she took the bench. Although she said she felt like the result was right, she thought the Supreme Court should have limited itself to the Texas statute at hand instead of issuing a sweeping decision that created a target for opponents to abortion rights.She was in dissent in 2007 when the majority upheld a federal ban on a procedure called “partial birth abortion.” She called the decision “alarming” and said that it “tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”She voted with the majority, however, in 2016 when the court struck down a Texas abortion law that critics called one of the strictest nationwide.In July, Ginsburg filed another fierce dissent when the conservative majority allowed the Trump administration to expand exemptions for employers who have religious or moral objections to complying with the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate.”Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree,” Ginsburg wrote, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She observed that the administration had said the new rules would cause thousands of women — “between 70,500 and 126,400 women of childbearing age,” she wrote — to lose coverage.Friendship with ScaliaDespite their ideological differences, her best friend on the bench was the late Justice Antonin Scalia. After the conservative’s sudden death in February 2016, Ginsburg said he left her a “treasure trove” of memories. She was a life-long opera fan who appeared onstage in 2016 at the Kennedy Center for a non-speaking role in the Washington National Opera’s “The Daughter of the Regiment.”At speaking events she often lamented that while she dreamed of being a great opera diva, she had been born with the limited range of a sparrow.Her relationship with Scalia inspired Derrick Wang to compose a comic opera he titled “Scalia/Ginsburg” that was based on opinions penned by the two justices.The actress Kate McKinnon also portrayed Ginsburg — wearing black robes and a trademark jabot — in a recurring “Saturday Night Live” skit responding to the news of the day.Ginsburg suffered two bouts of cancer in 1999 and 2009 and received a stent implant in her heart but never missed a day of oral arguments. She was married to Martin Ginsburg, a noted tax attorney, for more than 50 years until his death in 2010 and they had two children. “I would just like people to think of me as a judge who did the best she could with whatever limited talent I had,” Ginsburg said at an event at the University of California Hastings College of Law in 2011, “to keep our country true to what makes it a great nation and to make things a little better than they might have been if I hadn’t been there.”This story has been updated. Sarah Mucha and Arlette Saenz contributed to this report.
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