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Oregon militants may have contaminated Native site with ‘trench of feces’: feds

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A Gadsden flag flies at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, on Jan. 10, 2016. (Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

The FBI said it has found a trench of human feces and a road excavated on or next to a sensitive cultural site with artifacts at the Oregon wildlife refuge where armed men staged a standoff with authorities, according to court records filed on Tuesday.

The filing came after the FBI on Friday said it was working with the Burns Paiute Tribe to identify damage to the tribe’s artifacts and sacred burial grounds at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during the six-week occupation.

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Evidence teams began processing the crime scenes at the refuge on Saturday, two days after the final occupiers surrendered, and the process will last about three weeks, according to the document submitted in Oregon federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Billy Williams of Oregon wrote in the filing that investigators found “significant amounts of human feces” in a trench at an outdoor camping area that was either on or next to a “sensitive cultural site.”

“Occupiers appear to have excavated two large trenches and an improvised road on or adjacent to grounds containing sensitive artifacts,” he wrote.

Williams also said in the filing – which was a response to occupiers’ requests to have their attorneys allowed onto the site – that firearms and explosives were found, and it was feared vehicles and buildings could be booby trapped.

He said he would be willing to allow Bundy’s legal team onto the site once authorities are finished processing it and before it is reopened to the public.

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The takeover, which began on Jan. 2, was sparked by the return to prison of two Oregon ranchers convicted of setting fires that spread to federal property near the refuge.

It was led by brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, who were arrested in January along with other protesters on their way to speak at a community meeting in John Day, Oregon.

A spokesman for the group, Robert “LaVoy” Finicum, was shot dead during the stop.

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The final four occupiers surrendered on Thursday with David Fry, 27, repeatedly threatening suicide in a dramatic final phone call with mediators before he gave up. All 12 people arrested in connection with the standoff will face charges of conspiracy to impede federal officers, according to the FBI.

The cost of the standoff will likely run into the millions of dollars, with local and state agencies looking to the federal government – and the arrested occupiers – to shoulder the bulk of the bills.

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(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco; Editing by Andrew Hay)


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2020 Election

Judge imposes sweeping order to ensure ballots are delivered on time despite Trump’s USPS slowdown: report

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The politics surround the United States Postal Service during the COVID-19 pandemic continued on Tuesday.

"United States Postal Service leadership received a sweeping set of orders from a federal judge on Tuesday, laying out ways the Postal Service must make sure ballots are delivered quickly because of the ongoing election and absentee voting deadlines," CNN reported Tuesday. "One week ahead of Election Day, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District Court told the Postal Service to inform its employees that late delivery trips are allowed and the delivery of ballots by state elections deadlines is important."

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Pro-Trump internet trolls tried to hijack Nickelodeon’s kid’s survey on who should be president — and failed

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On Tuesday, Nickelodeon hosted its "Kids Pick The President" straw poll, in which young viewers of the network give their own opinion on who should win the presidential election. The poll has no electoral significance, given that kids cannot vote and given that the survey methodology is not scientific and lets anyone opt in regardless of how it balances the sample.

Despite this, pro-Trump internet trolls reportedly sought to hijack the results, spreading the message to get people to flood the poll with votes for President Donald Trump.

In the end, however, they couldn't even do it. Joe Biden won the poll, 53 percent to 47 percent.

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2020 Election

Wisconsin sees ‘nightmare scenario’ of COVID cases — as Trump ignores medical advice for campaign rally

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Wisconsin residents saw a “nightmare scenario” situation unfold Tuesday as 5,262 COVID-19 cases rocked the state, resulting in 64 deaths as President Donald Trump held a large campaign rally with few masks and zero social distancing.

"This is no longer a slow-motion disaster," said Gregory Poland, director of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "This is a disaster in warp speed. And it's maddening to me as a physician because a whole lot of people have died and are dying."

https://twitter.com/MJSphotog/status/1321224234270625794

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state Department of Health Services reported 5,262 new cases and 64 deaths Tuesday, both records far above any previous daily counts. The death toll now stands at 1,852.

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