ATLANTA — The leader of a private paramilitary group that provided security for Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said he has formed alliances with other far-right groups to advocate for Georgia’s secession from the union, following the arrests of participants in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. “The way patriots are now being hunted down and arrested by fellow men and women who have taken the same oath has disheartened any faith I had in the redemption or reformation of the USA as one entity,” Justin Thayer, head of the Georgia III% Martyrs, said in a text exchange with The Atlanta Jour...
Muslims around the world began marking a sombre Eid al-Fitr on Thursday amid rising hostilities between Israel and Palestinians, in the second celebration in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
The three-day festival, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, is traditionally celebrated with mosque prayers, family feasts and shopping for new clothes, gifts and sweets.
But casting a pall on the festival, already subdued due to the raging pandemic, was deadly violence between Israel and Palestinians, with fears growing that it could spiral into full-blown conflict.
Tensions have soared over Israel's planned eviction of Palestinians from a district in annexed east Jerusalem, which the Jewish state sees as part of its eternal capital but is considered occupied by the United Nations.
Israel on Thursday scrambled to quell riots between Arabs and Jews on its own streets after days of exchanging deadly fire with Palestinian militants in Gaza.
In Gaza, 83 people have been killed so far -- including 17 children -- and more than 480 wounded in days of relentless Israeli air strikes on the crowded coastal enclave.
Echoing the mood in much of the Muslim world, Saudi Arabia's King Salman voiced scathing criticism of Israel in a phone call Wednesday with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on the occasion of Eid.
The king "stressed Saudi Arabia's strong condemnation of the Israeli measures in Jerusalem and the acts of violence carried out by Israel... (and) affirmed that the kingdom stands by the Palestinian people," the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
- Prayers and hope -
State media broadcast images of King Salman, 85, performing Eid prayers in the planned megacity of NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia.
Mask-clad worshippers entered the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca along socially distanced paths to pray before the Kaaba -- a cube-shaped structure sacred to Muslims.
The scene was in contrast to Eid last year, when mosques in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, were largely devoid of worshippers and sermons were banned due to strict coronavirus curbs.
The Prophet's Mosque in the holy city of Medina separately announced its "complete readiness" to receive worshippers for Eid prayers, state media reported.
In Afghanistan, a three-day Eid ceasefire agreed by the warring Taliban and government came into force, offering a glimmer of hope to war-weary Afghans after weeks of deadly violence.
Fighting has intensified since the United States missed a May 1 deadline, agreed with the Taliban last year, to withdraw all of its troops.
"I feel so relaxed and peaceful today because it is Eid and there is no fighting," said Mirajuddin, who was visiting Kabul zoo with his five children, all dressed in new clothes.
In Iran, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was set to pardon or commute the jail sentences of more than 2,000 convicted prisoners for Eid, according to his website.
Eid al-Fitr starts later this week in Iran.
But tragedy befell Bangladesh, where five people died Wednesday on an overcrowded ferry carrying more than a thousand passengers, officials said.
The South Asian nation has seen a dangerous rush of people in recent days as they defy a coronavirus lockdown to head home for Eid.
© 2021 AFP
Law enforcement officials in Donald Trump's new hometown are preparing for the possibility of the former president getting indicted.
Officials in Palm Beach County, Florida, have taken part in planning sessions in case Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance secures an indictment against Trump while he's at his Mar-A-Lago residence -- and working out what might happen if Gov. Ron DeSantis invokes an obscure state law to protect his fellow Republican, two high-ranking county officials told Politico Playbook.
"The statute leaves room for interpretation that the governor has the power to order a review and potentially not comply with the extradition notice," said Joe Abruzzo, circuit court clerk for Palm Beach County.
A clause in Florida's interstate extradition gives DeSantis the power to investigate whether an indicted person -- in this case, Trump -- must be surrendered to law enforcement officials from another state, but the twice-impeached one-term president is planning to relocate soon to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort as Mar-A-Lago closes for the summer.
New Jersey's extradition statute is similar to Florida's, but Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is far less likely to intervene on Trump's behalf.
Trump's attorneys could potentially negotiate terms of surrender if he was indicted, which would cut out local law enforcement, but the former president's allies could try to make a big deal out of Abruzzo's past association with President Joe Biden's younger brother, Frank, although the county clerk says his friendship would play no role in this case.
"The full extent of the law will be followed and carried out appropriately, without bias," Abruzzo told Playbook.
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is not backing down from her fight with former President Donald Trump and is now encouraging the United States Department of Justice to conduct a criminal investigation into the former president.
In an interview with NBC News, Cheney said it was necessary for the DOJ to uncover the full truth about the events leading up to the deadly January 6th riots at the Capitol, even if that meant charging the former president with crimes.
"I think the American people have to know," she said. "And certainly any president who did what we know this former president did has got to be investigated criminally."
Cheney dodged when she asked whether she would run for president herself in 2024, but she insisted that Trump "must not ever again be anywhere close to the Oval Office."
Cheney was ousted from her leadership position this week by her fellow House Republicans over her refusal to stop criticizing Trump for his continued lies about the results of the 2020 presidential election.
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