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70-year-old man becomes town’s first black Santa 50 years after cops detained him for wearing costume

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Civil rights activist Merlin Kennedy has become the first official black Santa Claus in Normal, Illinois nearly 50 years after police detained him for violating the town’s “One Santa Rule.”

In 1966, Kennedy had protested the town’s “One Santa Rule” by attending the annual Christmas parade as Santa Claus.

According to the McLean County Museum of History, Kennedy was riding on an NAACP float, but police stopped it before it could reach the parade route. So Kennedy and others climbed off the float walked the parade route instead, waving to the children.

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“They just seen the suit and they didn’t recognize a black person in the suit. One [white] woman almost jerked her little boy’s arm off because he called me Santa Claus,” Kennedy later recalled.

But before they could finish the route, a police officer told Kennedy that he was “under arrest for disturbing the peace.” Although the incident generated sensational headlines at the time, officers eventually declined to go through with the arrest.

WYZZ reported that Kennedy donned the Santa costume once again over the weekend after the NAACP partnered with the town of Normal to host the Santa Station.

“Because of the times that we’re living in today, with so much happening throughout these United States, that we get an opportunity to rewrite history and to continue the conversations about race and inequality and diversity,” Bloomington-Normal NAACP Vice President Takesha Stokes told WYZZ.

Kennedy will be back in the costume again at the Santa Station on Friday, Dec. 18 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

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WATCH: Ricky Gervais roasts Hollywood as hypocrites at Golden Globes

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British filmmaker Sam Mendes on Sunday secured a shock best director win for war epic "1917" at the Golden Globes, which kicked off with a no-holds-barred monologue by host Ricky Gervais that shocked Hollywood's A-listers.

Stars arriving under bright California skies in couture gowns and extravagant jewels were greeted by the British comic's signature cutting one-liners at the awards ceremony, the first of the year building up to next month's Oscars.

"Let's go out with a bang, let's have a laugh at your expense, shall we?" joked Gervais, hosting the awards for the fifth and final time, before tearing into the industry.

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FBI surveillance of Trump aide reflects flaws in secretive FISA system that mostly targets Muslims

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Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said Wednesday the FBI should have considered halting its surveillance of Trump’s campaign aide Carter Page months before it did, after it was revealed that accusations against him may not be credible. Horowitz made the comments while testifying to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, saying the FBI used false information to obtain approval to wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and raising wider concerns about the agency’s use of surveillance. He testified a day after the highly secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — known as the FISA Court — issued a public order accusing the FBI of misleading the court to gain approval to wiretap Page, and ordering the FBI to propose changes in how its investigators seek permission for domestic surveillance of U.S. citizens by January. Last week, Horowitz issued a first report finding a series of inaccuracies and omissions in the FBI’s surveillance application process. We speak with Ashley Gorski, staff attorney with the National Security Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

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‘America is running away like rats’: Watch angry Kurds blame US troops for dead babies as they withdraw

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The Associated Press obtained video of Kurds pelting American military vehicles with fruit as they withdrew from Syria.

The video was first captured by a Kurdish news agency, the AP said in a report on Monday.

“Like rats, America is running away,” one man shouted in Arabic. Another shouted obscenities and talked of babies in Kurdish-held Syria who had died in the Turkish offensive.

The scene encapsulated the Kurds’ feelings of betrayal and added a new indignity to a US withdrawal that has been rushed and involved several close brushes with Turkish-backed forces.

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