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Fire forces evacuation of Statue of Liberty island in NY

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Thousands of visitors to the Statue of Liberty were evacuated from the national monument’s New York Harbor island on Monday after a small fire broke out at a construction site, authorities said.

Officials ordered the evacuation “out of an abundance of caution” after the fire erupted among three propane gas cylinders shortly before noon local time (1600 GMT) on Liberty Island, New York Fire Department spokesman Jim Long said by phone.

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By early afternoon, the small but dangerous fire had been brought under control, Assistant Fire Chief Roger Sakowich said.

“With that much propane, had one of the tanks exploded – it was would have been catastrophic,” Sakowich said on Twitter.

About 3,000 visitors were ferried off the island, with some going to nearby Ellis Island which has a museum of immigration, hoping to be able to return after the fire was put out, National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis said in a phone call.

Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Richard Chang


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Judge blocking release of Jeffrey Epstein records has ties to officials linked to Epstein: report

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On Saturday, the Miami Herald reported that a judge who blocked the release of grand jury material in the Jeffrey Epstein child sex abuse case has ties to three officials with a vested interest in the outcome of the lawsuits surrounding the scandal.

"Krista Marx, the Palm Beach chief judge who also heads a panel that polices judicial conduct, has potential conflicts of interest involving three prominent players embroiled in the Epstein sex-trafficking saga: State Attorney Dave Aronberg, who has been sued by the Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records; Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, whose department’s favored treatment of Epstein while he was in the Palm Beach County jail is part of an ongoing state criminal investigation; and ex-State Attorney Barry Krischer, part of the same investigation in connection with his decision not to prosecute Epstein on child-sex charges," wrote Julie Brown, a reporter who has extensively covered the Epstein case.

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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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Lindsey Graham leveled by Jim Clyburn for ‘out of touch’ comments on police brutalizing African-Americans

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In response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had this to say: "I've come to believe that young black men rightly or wrongly perceive the police to be a threat when many times they're not, and we've got to deal with that problem."

On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," Graham's fellow South Carolina lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, laid into Graham for his comments. "He is from Seneca, South Carolina," said Clyburn. "I know the history of Seneca, South Carolina. Where has he been?"

"You know, I've been really interested, we had some foolishness the other day," said Clyburn. "Drew Brees has gotten himself in some difficulty with his teammates, how his grandfather and father thought about anybody kneeling would be disrespecting the flag as if these, his teammates, did not have parents and grandparents who fought for this country and came back to this country with all kinds of indignities. One of which has just been written about in a great book from South Carolina. Isaac Woodard was in his uniform, coming home from the war, when he was stopped by a sheriff, a law enforcement officer who beat him, punched his eyes out with a night stick. That's the thing that led Harry Truman to sign the executive order to integrate the armed services, because of the in indignities charged to a black man by a law enforcement officer, and that black man was in his uniform coming home from a war we had just won."

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