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Officials cut Tehran Internet access ahead of major protest

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Foreign media banned from reporting in Tehran from Dec. 7-9

Most of the Iranian capital’s Internet links with the outside world were down on Saturday, two days ahead of planned demonstrations by opponents of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Sources close to Iran’s technical services told AFP the cut was the result of “a decision by the authorities” rather than a technical breakdown, but telecommunications ministry officials were unavailable for comment.

Officials furthermore revoked all foreign media permits, in an attempt to block any reports coming out of Tehran between Dec. 7 and Dec. 9.

“Police and elite Revolutionary Guards have warned that any ‘illegal’ rally will be fiercely confronted on Monday when the country marks Student Day, commemorating the killing of three students in 1953 under the former Shah,” reported Reuters.

Internet lines, texting and at times even mobile phone connections have often been cut or scrambled since Ahmadinejad’s contested re-election in June, but this was the first such occurrence a full two days before planned protests.

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Iranian opposition groups are preparing to hold fresh demonstrations on Monday, several websites reported, as the nation marks the annual Students Day.

The elite Revolutionary Guards and other authorities have warned they will crack down on any attempt by regime opponents to hijack the event to mount further protests against Ahmadinejad.

Tehran on December 7 marks the 1953 killing by the shah’s security forces of three students, just months after a US-backed coup toppled popular prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq.

With AFP.

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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