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US state sacks prison guard trainees for Nazi salute

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Thirty apprentice prison officers in the eastern United States will be fired for making a Nazi salute in a group photo, the state governor said on Monday.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice condemned the photo “in the strongest possible terms” and in a statement said: “This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of state government.”

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His announcement coincided with rising concern over anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, where a machete-waving intruder wounded five people on the weekend at a New York Hanukkah celebration.

US media in early December published the photo of the apprentice prison officers, which was taken after several weeks of training.

It depicts about 30 apprentices in uniform making a Nazi salute under the legend “Hail Byrd!” a reference to their trainer, Kassie Byrd.

According to a report from the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, a member of the prison administration expressed her concerns to Byrd after receiving the photo.

Byrd replied, “There is nothing wrong with it. We have people of all colors and backgrounds in the picture and every one of them are participating.”

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She explained the caption by saying, “They do that because I’m a hard-ass like Hitler.”

The investigation concluded that the gesture was motivated by “ignorance” and an “appalling lack of judgment,” but nonetheless “damaged the reputation” of the prison administration and was “the antithesis of the values we strive to attain.”

The Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety recommended the dismissal of all the apprentices involved, along with a staff member who did not report the photo to his superiors. Two trainers had already been dismissed.

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Authorities on Monday laid federal hate crimes charges against the suspect in the New York Hanukkah attacks.

Grafton Thomas, 37, had expressed anti-Semitic views, referred to “Nazi culture” and drew swastikas in handwritten journals, according to a criminal complaint filed with a United States court.

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Trump’s narcissism ensures he’ll never have the ‘best people’ advising him as coronavirus spirals out of control: op-ed

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Writing in the New York Times this Monday, Jennifer Senior argues that controversial warnings from mental health experts about President Trump's fitness for office are now proving to be true, as his "pathology" is endangering American lives and institutions in the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

"Let’s start with the basics," Senior writes. "First: Narcissistic personalities like Trump harbor skyscraping delusions about their own capabilities. They exaggerate their accomplishments, focus obsessively on projecting power, and wish desperately to win."

Secondly, Trump's narcissism ensures that he'll never have the "best people" advising him, since his ego will never allow him to be upstaged.

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Hospital threatens staff with termination if they speak out about COVID-19 conditions in leaked memo

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A leaked memo from HCA Healthcare revealed that they aren't afraid of firing nurses, doctors or techs even in the era of a coronavirus outbreak.

Business Insider acquired a leaked memo from the largest hospital system in the country, HCA Healthcare, reminding employees that they aren't allowed to speak out on social media or talk to the media about anything. Jhonna Porter, a nurse in Los Angeles has already been suspended for "violating the social media policy in a post in a private Facebook group."

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NYC comptroller speaks after mother dies of COVID-19: ‘Donald Trump has my mom’s blood on his hands’

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New York City comptroller Scott Stringer on Monday blamed President Donald Trump after his mother died from coronavirus complications.

"She believed in government and she raised us to believe in government," Stringer told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "She's got a great story and I'm going to tell it for the rest of my life."

"I've got to tell you, Donald Trump has blood on his hands and he has my mom's blood on his hands," the NYC official added. "And he sent us that hospital [ship] that's right here in New York harbor and no one can get on that hospital, which is something that is just outrageous."

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