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Man commits suicide by jumping into 30-foot bonfire at Utah’s Element 11 festival

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By Jennifer Dobner

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) – Police in Utah are investigating after a man killed himself by jumping into a 30-foot (9-meter) bonfire during an arts and culture festival on the weekend in the desert west of Salt Lake City, local media reported.

More than 1,000 people were watching as the man ran past safety barriers and leapt into the blaze on Saturday night at the Element 11 event, which has ties to the Burning Man festival held each year in northern Nevada.

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The festivities include the construction of giant wooden models, which are then torched. Video taken by a spectator showed the man running into the flames, followed by screams and shrieks as onlookers took in what had happened.

Grantsville Police Lieutenant Steve Barrett told The Salt Lake Tribune newspaper that friends of the 30-year-old said he told him he planned to kill himself by running into the burning effigy, which was shaped like a character from the children’s book, “Where the Wild Things Are.”

He said security officers at the event, Grantsville firefighters, and individuals in the crowd had been unable to stop the man jumping in, nor rescue him after had.

Police did not respond to messages seeking comment. Neither did event organizers, but one told local broadcaster Fox13 that the festival would re-evaluate its security procedures following the incident.

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(Reporting by Jennifer Dobner; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)

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Trump’s ‘adolescent’ letter to Turkey stuns ex-White House adviser: ‘It is unprecedented’

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," David Gergen, a former White House adviser to four presidents, was astonished by President Donald Trump's letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an warning him "don't be a fool."

"I don't want to laugh about it because it's — this is a letter that was actually sent, at least, he says it was," said host Erin Burnett. "Have you ever seen anything like this?"

"Well, Erin, many presidents write tough letters, nasty letters, angry letters, frustrated letters. The normal presidents then put them in a jar in a file called 'burn before sending,'" said Gergen. "This had such an adolescent quality to it when I read it, I immediately called my researcher, and I said, see if this is fake."

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Democratic senator burns Trump’s ‘belligerent’ behavior: ‘Something I have never seen in my 27 years in Congress’

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On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) laid into President Donald Trump's behavior during his Syria meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

"You were there, you were inside the White House for that meeting," said anchor Wolf Blitzer. "What unfolded exactly?"

"Well, the president came in and he was in a belligerent state from the beginning," said Menendez. "He smacked down a whole bunch of papers on the table and said, you all asked for this meeting, I reluctantly agreed to it. No one had asked for the meeting. Speaker Pelosi said, Mr. President, we didn't ask for a meeting, we asked for a briefing to understand the consequences of your actions. He said, Well, then let's end the meeting. She said, while I'm here, it's my duty as the speaker to tell you that the House has just passed, I think 362, I forget exactly the number, a resolution opposing your decision and calling upon a strategy for ISIS. He just went on and said that's a political hit job and it went downwards from there."

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Republicans lack the ‘moxie’ to defend America’s Kurdish allies in Syria: Ex-RNC Chair

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Republicans will criticize President Donald Trump on foreign policy, but lack the nerve to do anything meaningful to protect America's Kurdish allies in northern Syria, the former chair of the Republican Party explained on MSNBC on Wednesday.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Steele about what it would take for Republicans to serve as a check on the president.

"I think the only way to make him change his mind is -- he’s got to think they might walk," Todd said.

"Well, that would require a level of moxie that we haven’t seen from the leadership," Steele replied.

"On the foreign policy space, I think that’s the one area where we’ve seen people actually start to push back rhetorically," he noted. "But I don’t know if internally they’ve really sat down with the president and go, 'This is how damaging this is, this is how troublesome it is, and this is the problem you’re having inside the caucus.' I just don’t — at least from the folks I’ve talked to, I haven’t gotten the sense they’ve gone there yet."

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