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Cyclist who flipped off Trump beats Republican incumbent in local Virginia election

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A cyclist who was fired after flipping the bird — making a rude single-fingered gesture — to US President Donald Trump’s motorcade has been elected to local office in Virginia.

Juli Briskman, whose one-handed salute was captured in an AFP photograph that went viral, beat the Republican incumbent to a seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in state elections that saw Trump’s Republican party suffer a series of stinging defeats.

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The single mother of two teens lost her job as a marketing analyst for a United States government and military subcontractor after the snapshot of her gesture spread across media and the internet in 2017, bringing her insults and threats.

But getting fired also opened “a lot of doors”, the 52-year-old told AFP during her campaign, including accepting an invitation to run for local office on the Democratic ticket.

That decision paid off on Tuesday night, as Briskman celebrated her victory in a tweet that linked to a copy of the image.

“Looking forward to representing my friends & neighbors in #Algonkian District who backed me up today! So proud that we were able to #FlipLoudpun,” she wrote.

With 52 percent of the vote after 99 percent of precincts had reported, the result saw Republican Suzanne Volpe beaten into second place.

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When fighting her campaign in Loudoun County — the wealthiest in the US — Briskman didn’t bring up the image that sparked her 15 minutes of fame unless homeowners started “talking about the administration” or commented on her bicycle pin.

Instead, the ultramarathon runner told AFP she wanted to show that there was “substance” behind her candidacy — education, women’s rights, transportation and environmental issues — and that she wasn’t “just the person that rode my bike one day and flipped off the president.”

Her success comes as Trump’s party also lost control of both chambers of the legislature in increasingly blue Virginia, US media including The New York Times projected.

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Democrats will now hold all major statewide offices and rule the state assembly, a comprehensive consolidation of power not seen in the state since the 1990s.


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Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks — and then banned the safety gear

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A Florida sheriff ordered his officers to not wear face masks -- and banned the safety gear from his office -- even as the southern US state has hit record daily coronavirus death tolls.

Sheriff Billy Woods, of central Florida's Marion County, emailed deputies Tuesday to tell them of the new mask prohibition, according to local paper the Ocala Star Banner, citing the message.

"My order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn," the email read.

The sheriff allowed for certain exceptions, including for officers who work in prisons, schools, hospitals or with people suspected of being infected with the virus.

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Fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles has prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes

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A fast-moving brush fire north of Los Angeles prompted mandatory evacuation orders for some 500 homes on Wednesday as firefighters battled the flames that had burned 10,000 acres by early evening, authorities said.

The Lake Fire erupted at around 3:30 pm (2230 GMT) near Lake Hughes, about a 90-minute drive from Los Angeles.

Rapidly-spreading flames had scorched some 10,000 acres (4,050 hectares) within a little more than three hours, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"Multiple agencies are battling a brush fire near the Lake Hughes area in the Angeles National Forest," the department said in a tweet.

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‘Trump should know how to be in public with a woman who publicly humiliated him’: Trevor Noah jokes

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"The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah couldn't help but notice President Donald Trump's confusion during the Q&A of his daily coronavirus press briefing. Trump was asked about Vice President Joe Biden's pick as Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate. In his attacks on Harris, Trump seemed to be spending more time defending Biden than he did attacking him.

Trump claimed the reason he was surprised Biden picked Harris is that she was "very very nasty to Joe Biden," he said she was "probably nastier even than Pocahontas," his nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). "She was very disrespectful to Joe Biden."

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