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White man pleads not guilty in deadly NYC stabbing of black man

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A white man who police said traveled to New York City to harm black people pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a charge of murder “as a crime of terrorism” for the fatal stabbing of a black man on a Manhattan sidewalk last month.

James Jackson, 28, turned himself in to police on March 22 after authorities circulated security-camera footage of him, telling officers he was wanted in the murder two days earlier of 66-year-old Timothy Caughman.

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With his arms shackled to his waist, Jackson spoke only to confirm he could not afford his own attorney and to enter his plea during his appearance at Manhattan’s Criminal Court.

Jackson had told police, and would later tell reporters in an interview in jail, that he traveled to New York last month from his Baltimore home to kill multiple black men.

He hoped his planned killing spree in the heart of the country’s media capital would deter black men from dating white women, according to police and to the New York Daily News’s account of an interview with him.

Moments before being stabbed in the front and the back, Caughman had been gathering bottles and cans from garbage cans to exchange at a recycling center for small change. Bleeding, he managed to stagger into a nearby police station before dying.

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at Caughman’s funeral on Saturday, decrying what he called a racist murder.

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Prosecutors have brought six charges against Jackson: murder as a crime of terrorism, murder in the first degree, murder as a hate crime, and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

At a court appearance on Monday, Jackson’s lawyer said the suspect’s parents had decided to stop paying for their son’s defense. On Wednesday, the court appointed a public defender, who declined to comment to reporters after the hearing.

Jackson is due back in court on May 31.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Lisa Von Ahn)

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Marriott ceases Cuban operations after new Trump sanctions

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Marriott has been ordered by the US Treasury Department to close its Four Points Sheraton hotel in Havana by the end of August and abandon plans to open others in Cuba, a spokeswoman for the American hotel group told AFP on Friday.

"We entered the Cuban market in 2016, with permission from the US government," the spokeswoman said.

"Our operating license was reviewed and renewed in 2018. We have recently received notice that the government-issued license will not be renewed, forcing Marriott to cease operations in Cuba."

Marriott's entry into the Cuban market came during the administration of US president Barack Obama, a Democrat.

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California says film, TV production can resume June 12

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California will allow film, television and music production to resume from June 12 if conditions permit after months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governor's office said Friday.

Film and television productions in the Golden State have been shuttered since mid-March.

The reopening will be subject to approval by local health officers, the California Public Health Office said.

"To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, productions, cast, crew and other industry workers should abide by safety protocols agreed by labor and management, which may be further enhanced by county public health officers," it said.

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Susan Collins skipped Trump’s visit to Maine after president threatened colleague Lisa Murkowski

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Protesters were expected to meet President Donald Trump on his Friday afternoon visit to Maine, but Senator Susan Collins, caught in the middle of a hotly contested re-election race this fall, did not.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Instead, the embattled Republican senator will be in Washington, where she has "several federal and non-federal events on her schedule," a Collins spokeswoman told NBC News.

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