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French cartoonist rails at ‘stupid’ NYT ban

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Acclaimed French cartoonist Jean Plantu called on the New York Times Tuesday not to ban political cartoons from its pages after a furore involving a caricature of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The artist who founded the Cartooning for Peace charity, told AFP the newspaper was wrong to bow to pressure and remove a drawing by Portuguese illustrator Antonio Moreira Antunes from its site.

“Humour and unsettling images are part of our democracy,” Plantu said.

Not having biting cartoons was “as stupid as asking children not to do drawings for Mothers’ Day,” he added.

The cartoon of Netanyahu published in April in the Times’ international edition was deemed anti-Semitic by some.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN likened it to the content of Nazi propaganda tabloid Der Sturmer.

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It depicted Netanyahu as a guide dog wearing a Star of David collar and leading a blind Donald Trump wearing a kippah Jewish skullcap.

Opinion page editor James Bennet said the paper had planned for a year to stop running political cartoons — which already no longer appear in the US edition.

From next month it will no longer run political cartoons, Bennet said Monday.

– Threat to freedom of opinion –

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Plantu, chief cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily, said he was “worried about the future of our democracies and freedom of opinion” adding “one cannot imagine a newspaper without political caricatures.”

The artist, who set up Cartooning for Peace with the late UN chief Kofi Annan, is campaigning to have the UN’s cultural organisation Unesco declare political cartooning a fundamental human right.

Reporters Without Borders have thrown their weight behind the drive.

Patrick Chappatte, one of the Times’ leading cartoonists, said the newspaper’s decision was directly related to the Netanyahu cartoon.

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He condemned the publication of that caricature but said he was concerned that media outlets were increasingly buckling under political pressure and criticism from “moralistic mobs” on social media.

“Over the last years, some of the very best cartoonists… lost their positions because their publishers found their work too critical of Trump. Maybe we should start worrying,” Chappatte wrote on his website.

Plantu said that he supported both “Antonio who has been censored by the New York Times… and Chappatte, who is an immense talent.”

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‘No locks’: GOPer says kids at migrant camps are ‘free to leave anytime’ but they don’t because they like it

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Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) argued on Monday that children at border detention facilities are "free to leave" if they do not like the conditions.

In an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, Burgess said that he has not personally seen the appalling conditions that media often describe for the children at the centers.

"So you think this is fictional?" Hayes asked.

"I don't know if it's hyperbole," Burgess replied. "Hatred for this president is so intense that people are liable to say anything."

"I've been to the [detention center] at Casa Padre," the congressman added. "Yes, it's a restored K-Mart. But you know what? There's not a lock on the door. Any child is free to leave at anytime but they don't. You know why? Because they are well taken care of."

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Kushner’s ‘Time Square Dream’ real estate project is failing: report

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In 2018, Jared Kushner's real estate empire was in serious trouble — 666 Fifth Avenue, which Kushner had purchased at the top of the market just before the financial crisis, was hemorrhaging money and unable to rent out all its space. The company averted disaster with a bailout from Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian company with ties to the state investment fund of Qatar.

Now, according to Bloomberg News, Kushner's company is in trouble again as yet another New York property is bleeding red ink.

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Moderate Dem lawmaker tells CNN why Trump’s ‘appalling behavior’ changed his mind on impeachment

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Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a moderate Democrat and a member of the centrist New Democrat Coalition, went on CNN on Tuesday to explain why he has changed his mind and now supports starting an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

In an interview with CNN's John Berman, Himes said that Trump has regularly shown that he doesn't care about obeying the law, as evidenced by his decision to completely shrug off his own Office of Special Counsel's finding that adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly violated the Hatch Act.

"Kellyanne Conway had clearly broken the law and she should be removed from office," Himes said. "And the president said, 'Ah heck, that doesn't matter.'"

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