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Florida gay nightclub to become memorial to shooting victims

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A memorial will be created at the gay nightclub in Florida, dedicated to the 49 people who were killed in June 2016 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, its owner said on Thursday.

Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma said details would be determined with input from the affected community in Orlando, Florida. She outlined plans for a permanent memorial and eventually a museum, plus scholarships honoring the victims.

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“What began as a place for fun and joy is now sacred ground,” Poma said at a news conference, noting that developing the memorial would be a lengthy process.

“We must never forget the true focus of the project,” she said. “We will not let hate win.”

Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old claiming allegiance to the Islamic State militant group, opened fire inside Pulse on June 12, 2016 before being killed by police after a three-hour standoff. At least 58 people were also injured.

Since the massacre, the site has been closed to the public with a fence surrounding the club perimeter. It is wrapped in brightly colored banners where scores of people have written notes of condolences. In the parking lot, many also have left flowers, photos and other mementos to memorialize the victims.

Various plans for the site have been discussed.

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The onePULSE Foundation will oversee the effort. Its board of trustees includes retired National Basketball Association player Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in the four major North American team sports, and representatives from high-profile business and entertainment companies, such as the Virgin Group and Walt Disney World.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein)


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Israel parliament rejects law targeting Netanyahu over indictment

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Israeli lawmakers on Wednesday rejected a bill targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that sought to block candidates under indictment from forming a future government.

In a vote that highlighted the fragility of the premier's coalition, Wednesday's bill, proposed by opposition leader Yair Lapid, was defeated 53-37. Members of the Blue and White party, who are part of the coalition, abstained.

Talk of a snap election is already widespread, just three months after the current government was formed.

Netanyahu is on trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust. He denies wrongdoing.

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Trump campaign lashes out at GOP congressman for calling QAnon conspiracy theory a ‘fabrication’

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This Wednesday, Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger posted a message to Twitter denouncing the QAnon conspiracy theory cult, saying the people who adhere to the cult's claims have no place in Congress.

"Qanon is a fabrication. This 'insider' has predicted so much incorrectly (but people don’t remember PAST predictions) so now has switched to vague generalities," he wrote. "Could be Russian propaganda or a basement dweller. Regardless, no place in Congress for these conspiracies."

Kinzinger's tweet caught the eye of President Trump's Deputy Director of Communications Matt Wolking, who apparently took issue with the Representative's suggestion that QAnon could be part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

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2020 Election

Kamala Harris reading guide: The best reporting on the vice presidential candidate

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Harris has spent decades in elected office, moving from prosecutor to the presidential trail. If you are just catching up, here are some of the highlights of her journey.

On Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., as his vice presidential running mate. We’ve collected some of the best stories on Harris to get you up to speed on the candidate.

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