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‘I don’t want to be associated with him’: 100 eighth graders refuse to pose with Paul Ryan during DC trip

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About 100 eighth grade students refused to pose with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Friday, snubbing the top Republican to protest his policies.

Though Ryan’s official Instagram features a photo of him waving to a group students from South Orange Middle School in South Orange, New Jersey, it does not show their peers sitting in a park lot across the street, in an apparent rebuff of the GOP leader.

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Got that #FridayFeeling 👊

A post shared by Speaker Paul Ryan (@speakerryan) on

“It’s not just a picture,” student Matthew Malespina told ABC News. “It’s being associated with a person who puts his party before his country.”

When he learned of his school’s impending photo op with Ryan, Malespina texted his mother he’s “just not going to do it.”

“The point was, ‘I don’t want to be associated with him, and his policies and what he stands for,’” Matthew’s mother Elissa Malespina said.

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An equal number of students opted to participate in the photo.

“I thought it would be very cool just seeing the man who is the third most powerful man in our country. It would be cool, even if you disagree with him,” student Miles Handelman said.

Parents were just as split about the message the students sent with their dissidence. One parents took to Facebook to complain these kids should “respect the office of the Speaker of the House, even if they disagree.”

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Others commended the teens for standing up for their beliefs.

Watch the coverage below, via ABC:

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In a secluded region in Russia’s Arctic they are rejecting Putin in rare protest

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Lyudmila Laptander, an activist advocating autonomy for her mineral-rich Nenets region in the Russian Arctic, worries authorities are planning to sacrifice its traditions for the promise of economic enrichment.

"If Nenets is merged with another region, I worry that no one will look after our language or our traditions, and that our small villages in the tundra will be forgotten," said Laptander, 61, a member of the Yasavey cultural group.

The autonomous region on the edge of the Arctic Ocean was gripped by protests in May against the government's plans to integrate it with neighbouring Arkhangelsk.

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People are paying to hire this donkey to crash their Zoom meetings

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The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to embrace meetings via Zoom, but admittedly, those can be as tedious as in-person conferences.

So one animal sanctuary in Canada, in dire need of cash after being forced to close to visitors, found a way to solve both problems.

Meet Buckwheat, a donkey at the Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, who is ready to inject some fun into your humdrum work-from-home office day -- for a price.

"Hello. We are crashing your meeting, we are crashing your meeting -- this is Buckwheat," says sanctuary volunteer Tim Fors, introducing the gray and white animal on a Zoom call.

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Republican senators are suddenly trying to social distance — from Trump

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There’s something interesting in today’s news:

A number of Republican Senators have said they are skipping the Republican National Convention this year. The convention was originally scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, but at Trump’s insistence was relocated to Jacksonville, Florida, last month. The stated reason was that Democratic North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper would not commit to permitting a full convention out of concerns about the spread of coronavirus, but the abrupt switch to Florida, less than 80 days before the convention, still seems odd to me. Regardless, the switch has created a new problem: Florida is in the midst of a dramatic spike in coronavirus cases, setting a record for new cases in a single day during the weekend —11,458—and running low of ICU beds.

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