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Trump ‘statue of liberty’ burned in Slovenian town

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Slovenian Trump Statue of Liberty (AFP)

Suspected vandals on Thursday burned a wooden statue of US President Donald Trump built last year by a group of villagers to criticize populist politics, local authorities said.

The eight-meter-high (26 feet) statue of Trump complete with his trademark mane, blue suit, white shirt and red tie was built last August. It was named “statue of liberty” by architect Tomaz Schlegl who wanted it to serve as a criticism of populist politics.

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Initially installed in the Sela pri Kamniku village, 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the capital Ljubljana, the statue was moved in December to the nearby town of Moravce after protests by villagers annoyed at the increase of tourists wanting to see it.

But shortly after its arrival to Moravce, vandals damaged the statue by drawing a moustache on its face in a clear reference to Adolf Hitler.

Early Thursday, firefighters rushed to extinguish the blaze that completely destroyed the statue. Police are expected to launch an investigation, according to Moravce mayor Milan Balazic.

“This is an attack against art and tolerance … against Europe’s fundamental values,” Balazic told AFP, adding many tourists had come to see the statue since it was installed last month.

Balazic had paid 1,500 euros ($1,700) for moving the statue to Moravce, seeing it as an opportunity to promote his small town.

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Architect Schlegl said he saw the suspected arson as an act against Trump given recent escalation of tensions after the US ordered a deadly strike against an Iranian general.

“I believe these attacks are understandable bearing in mind what’s happening in the world,” Schlegl told AFP.

Slovenia, a member of NATO since 2004, announced Wednesday that it was evacuating its six soldiers deployed in Iraq as part of the alliance’s training mission following Iran’s retaliatory attacks against US troops.

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Balazic said he planned to install a new sculpture, calling it the “tolerance statue” though this time it would be made of more durable material — rather than wood — and it would not depict the US president.


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Things are so bad for Republicans the GOP had to send money to Texas

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In 2016, then-anti-Trump Republican Sen. Linsey Graham proclaimed, "If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it." It seems his prediction is coming closer to fruition.

Financial reporting reveals that the Republican Party was forced to send $1.3 million to ruby-red Texas as the election nears.

It was something spotted by ProPublica developer and ex-reporter Derek Willis Sunday.

"That's never happened before," he tweeted.

He noted that the Texas GOP raised $3.3 million in August, but nearly half of that came from their national parents.

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What the London ‘Blitz’ reveals about how much pain and tragedy people can handle in 2020

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It's hard to imagine how 2020 could possibly get worse. "If we lose Betty White," a friend said on a drive to the Supreme Court to lay flowers.

So many Americans have lost friends or family members to COVID-19. Thousands of Americans survived the virus only to desperately needed organ transplants and forever will struggle to breathe the way they once did. Others are still suffering without smell or taste even three months after having the virus. Millions of Americans are out of work. Debt is stacking up for those trying to survive in the COVID economy. A lack of health insurance can mean hospitalizations from the virus are putting people into bankruptcy.

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Stop trying to convince people you’re right — it will never persuade anyone: expert

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MSNBC host Joshua Johnson noted that this year has been full of strife, with Americans having a lot to stand up about. Whether the slaying of unarmed Black men and police brutality, or healthcare, and the coronavirus, Americans are lining up to protest.

Johnson asked if people try to start tough conversations, how do they keep it productive, and when it's time to give up. In her book, We Need to Talk, Celest Headlee explains tools that people can use to have productive conversations about tough issues that help move the needle.

"Keep in mind that a protest isn't a conversation, right?" she first began. "That's a different kind of communication. The first thing is that our goal in conversations is not always a productive one. In other words, oftentimes, we go into these conversations hoping to change somebody's mind or convince them that they are wrong. You're just never going to accomplish that. There's no evidence. We haven't been able to -- through years and years of research we haven't been able to find evidence that over a conversation somebody said, 'You're right, I was completely wrong.' You've convinced me. So, we have to stop trying to do that. We have to find a new purpose for those conversations."

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