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Hundreds rally against Donald Trump outside his NYC hotel: ‘We are asking for basic respect and dignity’

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Hundreds of activists rallied on Thursday in front of Donald Trump’s hotel in midtown New York City to condemn the Republican 2016 presidential candidate’s call to bar Muslims temporarily from entering the United States.

Chanting “Dump Trump” and “refugees welcome,” the protesters castigated Trump’s comments.

“We are not asking for any favors,” Linda Sarsour of the Arab American Association of New York told the crowd. “We are asking for the basic respect and dignity that we all deserve here in the United States of America.”

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Trump’s statement, which has drawn widespread criticism both at home and abroad, came in response to the deadly shootings in San Bernardino, California, last week, in which a married Muslim couple described as “radicalized” by authorities killed 14 people. On Thursday, Trump canceled a planned trip to Israel amid the uproar.

Some protesters said Trump’s comments, while more explicit, were not that far removed from statements by other politicians calling for restrictions on Syrian refugees who want to settle in the United States.

Others warned that Trump’s divisive remarks were only intensifying a wave of Islamophobia.

“The damage he’s done is already very significant,” said Skanda Kadirgamar, 27, citing reports of increased threats against Muslims. “Donald Trump is here to pour gasoline onto those fires.”

Some Muslims at the rally said they feared attacks and discrimination would increase in the wake of the shootings, much as they did following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by al Qaeda.

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Amira Kariem, 16, said her father forced her mother to stop wearing her head scarf for two weeks following those attacks, while her friend, Iman Sahel, 17, said her aunt was pushed to the ground.

“There are people who are just like him,” Sahel said of Trump.

A lone Trump supporter stood off to the side of the protest, holding up signs that said “We Want Trump” and “No More Syrians.”

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The rally’s speakers included Hussam Al Roustom, a Syrian refugee who arrived in New Jersey four months ago after fleeing the war-torn city of Homs.

“Islam is the religion of peace,” he said. “Islam is not terrorism.”

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(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)


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Harvard researchers want less accurate tests for COVID-19

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The aphorism "perfect is the enemy of good enough" has been played out to tragic effect in the US's inadequate testing for the coronavirus, according to researchers calling for quick tests that cost only about a dollar each, and which may not be as accurate but can be carried out several times a week by the whole population.

Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at Harvard University, has for weeks been pushing for what he calls "crappy" tests.

His idea is to move away from the current high-precision molecular tests, known as PCR tests, which are still scarce in large swathes of the country and which people often have to wait hours to get done, and then have to wait days -- or up to a week -- for the results.

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WATCH: Seth Meyers goes after ‘sociopath’ Jared Kushner for America’s coronavirus failures

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The host of "Late Night with Seth Meyers" on NBC harshly criticized senior White House advisor Jared Kushner for America's COVID-19 testing failures.

"More than 155,000 Americans have now died from the coronavirus pandemic," Meyers noted. "Cases are rising in more than 20 states. The U.S. now accounts for one-quarter of all coronavirus deaths in the world."

"And in some parts of the country, people are waiting as long as two-weeks to get their test results -- which is insane. The whole point of testing is to find cases, isolate them and trace their contacts. If it takes two weeks, it's pointless."

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Virologist rips Deborah Birx: ‘She’s ignored the evidence’ with her ‘willful disregard for the science’

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The White House coronavirus coordinator continues to lose support among the medical community, according to a new report in The Washington Post.

The report noted Dr. Deborah Birx has also been undermined by Trump, who attacked her on Twitter.

So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!

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