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North Carolina towns forced to cancel Christmas celebrations over fear of violence from right wing extremist groups

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Two North Carolina towns are canceling their annual Christmas celebration parades “amid fears of violence due to Confederate groups’ participation in the events,” The Daily Beast reports.

Citing a “potential for violence,” for the first time in over 70 years the town of Wake Forest, North Carolina says it will have no Christmas parade. Garner, NC, has also canceled its Christmas parade.

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The Daily Beast cites “reports that Garner had plans to include a float sponsored by a chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans but said social-media posts led town officials to believe ‘the event could be targeted for disruption.'”

“Wake Forest officials said they had received credible information that ‘extremist’ groups on both sides of the issue were making plans online to attend the parade,” The Daily Beast adds. No supposed “extremist” groups from the left were identified.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans erects memorials to traitors who fought against the United States in the Civil War, and promotes Confederate Memorial Day. The front page of the organization’s website says “Make Dixie Great Again,” and includes a quote that begins: “To you, Sons of Confederate Veterans, we will commit the vindication of the cause for which we fought.”

It also claims, “The preservation of liberty and freedom was the motivating factor in the South’s decision to fight the Second American Revolution,” which is false. The preservation of slavery was.

Among a list of Sons of Confederate Veterans’ past or present members are white supremacists, racists, and/or bigots including George Wallace, Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee, Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, and Strom Thurmond.

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Other notables on the list include Clint Eastwood and Harry S. Truman.


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The lost boys of Ukraine: How the war abroad attracted American white supremacists

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As President Trump goes through an impeachment trial in the US Senate for pressuring Ukraine to produce dirt on his political rival, the war in that country is exporting extremism back to the United States.

In early 2014, violent street protests in Kyiv forced the resignation of the pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Within four months, Russia had annexed Crimea and was backing separatists in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine.

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Five things to watch for at the Grammys

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Music's glitterati will sparkle on the red carpet at this Sunday's Grammy awards, which honors the top hits and artists of the year.

Scandal at the Recording Academy, which puts on the show, has overwhelmed the lead-up to the glam event, but there are still plenty of musical moments to watch for.

Here is our quick guide to the event, which will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles:

- Women poised to lead -

Women dominated at last year's gala and are leading the pack this year as well, with the twerking flautist Lizzo and the teenage goth-pop phenomenon Billie Eilish expected to battle for the top awards.

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Mexican children take up arms in fight against drug gangs

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With baseball caps and scarves covering their faces, only their serious eyes are visible as a dozen children stand to attention, rifles by their side.

In the heart of the violence-plagued Mexican state of Guerrero, learning to use weapons starts at an early age.

In the village of Ayahualtempa, at the foot of a wooded hill, the basketball court serves as a training ground for these youths, aged between five and 15.

The children practice with rifles and handguns or makeshift weapons in various drill positions for a few hours every week.

"Position three!" yells instructor Bernardino Sanchez, a member of the militia responsible for the security of 16 villages in the Guerrero area, which goes by the name of Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities (CRAC-PF).

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