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Jerusalem’s Church of Holy Sepulchre shuts as Israel ups anti-virus measures

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Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed by Christians to house Christ’s tomb, was shut Wednesday, as Israel tightened movement restrictions and the Palestinians announced their first novel coronavirus death.

The church, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, was closed shortly after 5:00 p.m. (1500 GMT), as Israel applied a series of new restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus, including shutting down places of worship.

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“We have been informed of the closure. Our understanding is that it is for one week. We hope (the church) will reopen as soon as possible,” said Wadie Abunassar, a spokesperson for the local clergy.

The new restrictions in Israel, announced in a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, prohibited leaving one’s home except to buy essentials, such as food and medicine, or to seek medical treatment.

“Individuals aged 60 and over, especially the elderly and at-risk groups, must remain at home and avoid risking themselves by going out,” the statement said.

“Violating the prohibitions will constitute a criminal offense” it added, noting that police were tasked with enforcing the orders, which will be in place for seven days.

The church’s closure, a short time before Easter celebrations, comes days after Muslim authorities closed the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site.

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The number of Israelis who have tested positive for the COVID-19 disease reached 2,369 on Wednesday evening. Five people have died in recent days after contracting the virus.

Palestinian authorities in the occupied West Bank reported the territory’s first death from the virus on Wednesday, with 60 cases recorded so far.

The Palestinian Authority on Sunday banned all non-essential movements for 14 days to curb the spread of the virus.

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Photo: Adeeb Joudeh, the custodian in charge of the ancient key to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, closed the entrance to the site on March 25, 2020 as part of efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (Ahmad GHARABLI AFP)


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Trump threatened to disown Don Jr if he joined the military: report

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On MSNBC Tuesday, Rachel Maddow reported that Mary Trump's upcoming tell-all book claims that President Donald Trump threatened to disown his eldest son if he joined the military.

"Our Uncle Rob, Robert Trump, the president's younger brother, told us, quote, 'any of them could be disowned at any time,'" said Maddow. "'Donny' — meaning Donald Trump Jr. — 'was going to join the Army or some bullsh*t like that, and Donald and Ivana told him if he did, they'd disown him in a second.'"

"The president threatening to disown his son if he joined the military," added Maddow. "Casts a shadow, looms a little bit over what we understand about his bizarre relationship with the military and his perception of their — their role in his administration."

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2020 Election

‘As bad as it gets’: GOP consultants have a secret admission about Trump — and a have a word of warning to ‘Lincoln Project’ Republicans

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Fox News and AM talk radio are full of GOP strategists and consultants who are happy to go on the air and recite pro-Trump talking points, but it’s often the anonymous quotes in outlets outside the right-wing bubble that offer insights on what Republicans are really thinking about President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign. Never Trump conservative Tim Miller interviewed nine different GOP consultants for a Rolling Stone article published this week, and they candidly discussed Trump’s chances of winning a second term.

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper exposes Trump’s lies on COVID deaths: He ‘doesn’t want you to know the whole story’

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On CNN Tuesday, anchor Anderson Cooper laid into President Donald Trump for his false narratives about the coronavirus pandemic.

"New modeling from the University of Washington today forecasts 208,000 people in this country may be dead of COVID-19 by Election Day," said Cooper. "Which the president still does not seem to think is all that bad. Because he is still repeating the same falsehoods as ever about testing and mortality, which fell for a while, but is once again sadly, sickeningly, ticking up."

"We have more cases because we're doing more testing," said Trump in the clip. "We have more cases. If we did half the testing, we'd have far fewer cases but people don't view it that way. What they have to view, though, is if you look at the chart, and maybe Mike has it, but we looked at it before, if you look at the chart of deaths, deaths are way down. What we want to do is get our schools open. We want to get them open quickly, beautifully in the fall."

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