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Indian Houdini drowns after ‘magic’ act goes wrong

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Indian police on Monday recovered the body of a magician who drowned while trying to replicate an underwater Houdini-inspired stunt — tying himself up with chains and ropes and being lowered into a river.

Rescue workers found the body of Chanchal Lahiri late Monday in the Hooghly river, the deputy commissioner of the port division of Kolkata police, Syed Waquar Raza, told AFP

The 40-year-old Lahiri, who was known by his stage name “Jadugar Mandrake” (Wizard Mandrake), was lowered by winch into the river in Kolkata on Sunday in a yellow and red costume.

But the 40-year-old — his legs and his arms tightly bound — failed to emerge from the water, to the horror of onlookers including his family and team members.

Authorities had initially believed that the vanishing act could be part of the stunt but immediately mobilised help to rescue him.

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Lahiri told AFP before the attempted escape act that he had successfully pulled off a similar stunt 21 years ago at the same venue in the eastern city.

“I was inside a bulletproof glass box tied with chain and locks and dropped down from Howrah bridge. Then I came out within 29 seconds,” he said.

He admitted it would be tough to free himself this time.

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“If I can open it up then it will be magic, but if I can’t it will be tragic,” he said.

He also said he was undertaking the death-defying stunt to “revive interest in magic”.

When Lahiri tried another stunt at the river in 2013, he was assaulted by onlookers who saw him escape from a locked cage via a door that was clearly visible.

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He was beaten and punched and his long flowing golden-brown wig was pulled off by the crowd.

Almost a decade earlier, he declared he would walk on the river waters but had to beat a hasty retreat when the act went wrong.

Harry Houdini was a Hungarian-born American stuntman who became a sensation in the early 20th century with daredevil feats including escaping from a crate lowered into the East River in New York in 1912.


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Republicans in Congress are angry about Trump’s latest racist comments — but not because they’re racist

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There can be no denying that amid the firestorm from President Donald Trump tweeting that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) should "go back where they came from," Republicans in Congress are upset.

However, as many of them make clear in conversation with reporters, the fact that these comments were racist is not the main reason they are angry at the president. Rather, they are frustrated that his comments are hogging the news cycle, which leaves them incapable of discussing their agenda — and of criticizing the agenda of the Democratic representatives he targeted.

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Lara Trump says the president is the real victim: He ‘gave up his entire life’ to be president

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Campaign advisor Lara Trump defended her father-in-law saying that he's the real victim in this exchange between four Congresswomen of color. Then she repeated that these women can "leave" the country.

Trump began the fight Sunday when he told four Congresswomen that if they didn't like what was happening in the United States Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." The women are all citizens and all but one was born in the United States.

"The reality is everything he says, of course, was taken and misconstrued," she said, alleging Trump's statements were taken out of context. You can read them below:

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George Conway declares ‘Trump is a racist president’ in brutal Washington Post column

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Prominent Republican attorney George Conway blasted President Donald Trump in an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Monday evening.

Conway explained how he avoided thinking of Trump as a racist, despite the president's actions.

"No, I thought, President Trump was boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic and insensitive. He’s a pathetic bully but an equal-opportunity bully — in his uniquely crass and crude manner, he’ll attack anyone he thinks is critical of him. No matter how much I found him ultimately unfit, I gave still him the benefit of the doubt about being a racist. No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot," he explained.

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