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White nationalist charged with first-degree murder in Virginia car killing: media

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A white nationalist accused of killing a 32-year old woman when he plowed his car into a crowd of counter protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, was charged with first-degree murder on Thursday, local media reported.

James Fields Jr., 20, appeared at Charlottesville District Court for a preliminary hearing, during which a previous charge of second degree murder was changed to first degree murder, local TV station WSET and others reported from the court.

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Fields would face up to life in prison if convicted of first degree murder, while second degree murder carries a penalty of five to 40 years in prison, according to the Virginia penal code.

Court officials and the local district attorney were not immediately available for comment.

Ohio-native Fields is suspected of killing Heather Heyer and injuring 19 people.

The incident took place amid clashes between hundreds of white supremacists and counter-protesters. After hours of clashes, a sedan driving at high speed plowed into the crowd before reversing along the same street.

Charlottesville is home to the University of Virginia’s flagship campus.

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Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe blamed neo-Nazis for sparking the unrest in the town, where rival groups fought pitched battles using rocks and pepper spray after far-right protesters converged to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue of a Confederate war hero.

After the rally, Republican President Donald Trump inflamed tensions by saying there were “very fine people” on both sides, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white supremacists.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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Trump alerts ‘active-duty U.S. military police’ for possible deployment to Minnesota: report

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President Donald Trump's administration is contemplating using active-duty U.S. troops in an attempt to quell the protests in Minneapolis, the Associated Press reported early Saturday morning.

As unrest spread across dozens of American cities on Friday, the Pentagon took the rare step of ordering the Army to put several active-duty U.S. military police units on the ready to deploy to Minneapolis, where the police killing of George Floyd sparked the widespread protests," the AP reported.

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John Roberts joins liberals as Supreme Court rejects challenge to Newsom’s COVID-19 limits on California church attendance

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In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California. The San Diego area church tried to challenge the state's limits on attendance at worship services:

The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.

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