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Don’t buy into Kim Jong Un’s warm-and-cuddly routine, analysts say

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North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wept at a military parade and repeatedly apologized for his people’s suffering from a string of typhoons and COVID-19.

But the portly dictator isn’t channeling his Mister Rogers, analysts told The Post. He’s desperate.

Kim is pulling a “man-of-the-people” routine because North Koreans are coming to find out that just how bad life could get — from information being smuggled in via thumb drives and illegal radios, said Greg Scarlatoiu, executive director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea.

The people are learning about a food shortage — brought on by US-backed sanctions, the global pandemic and natural disasters — that could match a famine that took at least 2.5 million lives in the 1990s, when Kim’s father ruled.

Already, many families can’t afford two meals a day, some may even be starving and some are homeless, an independent expert told the United Nations this week.

The expert laid the blame at Kim’s feet for not providing financial support or giving out food, and for the fast-growing number of street children, which is “an indicator of a deteriorating economic situation.”

Kim has stepped in to house the kids in government centers, but they’re so miserable that the kids are running away. And when they do escape, the expert told the UN, they get hauled back inside so they can’t spread the coronavirus.

“His people are going through tremendous hardship, and it could get much worse,” David Maxwell, a North Korea specialist at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told the Post. “Their suffering, of course, is a direct result of Kim’s policies. All the money is spent on missiles and weaponry, nothing for the people.”


Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un

Kim’s warm-and-cuddly act is borrowed from the family playbook to keep citizens from turning on him, analysts told The Post.

His grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who founded North Korea and presided when the country was in its heyday, had the same cheesy grin and was known for warmly greeting the public, especially children. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was a somber, badly-dressed recluse.

“Kim Il Sung was the George Washington of North Korea. He is beloved. Even escapees still remember him with love,” Maxwell said. “Invoking the image of Kim Il Sung is a way to lift their morale.”

Kim’s extra padding isn’t by chance, either.

“He and his grandfather were chubby on purpose,” Sean King, an Asian expert at Park Strategies, told the Post. “It gives them a softer, more parental look. They’ve always talked about the “warm bosom” of the Dear Leader. Corpulence is seen as strategic. So are the crocodile tears and apologies.”

But King and Scarlatoiu aren’t buying the facade.

“This is somebody who killed his own uncle and half-brother,” King said. “Everything the Kim family does is to hold on to power.”

And Scarlatoiu is convinced Kim would never look vulnerable if he really was.

“The Kims are very shrewd, very cunning and very intelligent,” he said. “Kim is hoping that emulating his grandfather will keep the people on his side.”


Source: nypost.com

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Comedy clubs sue NYC, NY state over COVID-19 shut downs

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Comedy clubs sue NYC, NY state over COVID-19 shut downs

A group of city comedy clubs and small theaters have sued Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo for coronavirus restrictions that have caused their venues to remain shut while other businesses have reopened in recent weeks.

In the Manhattan federal court suit, clubs including The SoHo Playhouse, Triad, The Players Theater and the New York Comedy Club, accuse the state and city of imposing lockdown restrictions arbitrarily.

“The state continues to govern impartially and arbitrarily by allowing malls, casinos, churches, movie theaters, restaurants, gyms … bowling alleys, ‘Saturday Night Live’, schools and colleges in the state to open, yet small venue theaters in Manhattan continue to be shut down,” the suit states.

The clubs argue the coronavirus infection rate in Manhattan has remained under 1 percent for months, but despite the flattened curve they’re unable to earn a living by operating their clubs because of the restrictions.

“Whatever latitude for constitutionally questionable orders may have existed when the pandemic was new, there is no longer legal justification for prohibiting people from earning a living if they work in or own what a governor deems a non-essential business,” the suit states.

The clubs are seeking a judge to strike down executive orders barring them from holding shows and unspecified damages.

A spokesperson for the City Law Department referred The Post to New York State officials, who did not immediately respond.

In a statement to the New York Times, Cuomo spokesperson Rich Azzopardi said he’s lost track of “frivolous suits filed against us” for actions taken to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We are moving heaven and earth to contain this virus and we know some people are unhappy, but New York continues to have one of the lowest infection rates in the nation, and better to be unhappy than sick or worse,” he said.


Source: nypost.com

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Green Leader Annamie Paul says her byelection result should serve as a warning to the Liberals

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‘They can’t take any riding for granted,’ Paul says after strong showing in Toronto Centre

Having lost her recent bid to enter the House of Commons, Green Party Leader Annamie Paul says she will consult with her caucus before deciding where to run next while working to grow her party’s profile nationally.

Paul ran in Monday night’s by election in Toronto Centre, hoping to secure a seat in the riding where she grew up. The seat became available when former finance minister Bill Morneau resigned earlier this year.

The Green leader finished second to the Liberals’ Marci Ien, securing almost 33 per cent of the vote to Ien’s 42 per cent — a great improvement over Paul’s last run in the riding in 2019, when she took just over seven per cent of the vote.

“I feel encouraged because we’ve done historic things twice in one month. This is the best result we’ve ever seen in Ontario for a Green Party [candidate] and, of course, electing me [as party leader] was history as well,” Paul told CBC News.

While Paul did improve her party’s performance in a Liberal stronghold, observers are cautious about what that improved performance means.

“In terms of greater political trends, byelections are … the worst yardstick you can use, because they are very specific to one riding and they are very specific to the dynamics on the ground,” Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, told CBC News. 

Kurl pointed out that voter turnout is typically low in byelections — 25,203 people cast a vote yesterday in Toronto Centre, up slightly from the 54,512 who turned in a ballot in 2019 — and that can deliver results that are difficult to analyze.

Green Party members may have been more motivated to vote, said Kurl, because they were casting a ballot for a newly elected party leader — while Liberal Party supporters were being asked to come out and vote in the middle of a pandemic to support an ordinary candidate. 

Liberals can’t take anything for granted: Paul

Paul is unwilling to attribute her byelection performance to the pandemic’s effect on voter turnout. 

“The fact that the Green Party and our campaign was able to come within nine points of taking that riding, with all the constraints of running in a pandemic … should tell [the Liberals] first that the Greens are here. We’re going to be a very competitive option in the next election and they can’t take any riding for granted,” Paul said.

Elizabeth May, former party leader and the current leader of the Greens in the House of Commons, said she was inspired by Paul’s byelection campaign. She said she does not anticipate Paul will be asking her to give up her seat in Saanich-Gulf Islands so that the new leader can run there.

“I certainly wouldn’t say no if Annamie were to ask me, but I think I think the voters of Saanich-Gulf Islands would find it inconsistent with everything I’ve ever said about my job as their MP, to think I could lend the seat to Annamie and then maybe come back later and take it again,” May said. “I mean, there’s something about that that … really doesn’t fit with our approach to democracy.”

Paul said she has no intention of asking May to step back from the riding.

“If we were able to get one in three people to vote for us in a riding that the Liberals have held since 1993, and eat into their vote there and eat into the NDP vote, then it means we can run competitively in a lot of places that we weren’t able to in the last election,” Paul said.

“We’re not looking to substitute seats. We’re looking to gain seats.”

Paul said she will discuss where she should run next for a seat with her caucus and party colleagues.

“We haven’t made any decisions, we’re not prejudging any of that, we’re going to look at every single riding and think about where it makes the most sense for me to run,” she said. “Nothing has been ruled out and nothing has been ruled in at this point.”


Source: cbc.ca

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Gov. Cuomo adds California to New York’s COVID-19 travel quarantine list

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Gov. Cuomo adds California to New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo added California to New York’s COVID-19 travel advisory, requiring travelers from the Golden State to quarantine for 14 days.

The average number of daily new cases in California is rising, the state’s data shows.

Over the past two weeks, California has reported an average of about 3,699 new cases per day as of Monday.

New York’s travel advisory applies to any state where the rate of positive tests is higher than 10 per 100,000 residents, based on a seven-day average.

New York’s quarantine rules now apply to 39 states, Guam and Puerto Rico remain on the list.

Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania also qualify for the advisory, Cuomo said, but a “quarantine on these states is not practically viable.”

“We know COVID is spreading at increased rates in other states and New York State is not in a hermetically sealed bubble,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We cannot let our guard down and risk going backwards in New York. It’s going to take the work of all of us to remain vigilant.”

COVID-19 cases are rising in New York state. Cuomo’s office noted that the number of people currently hospitalized in New York with Covid-19 rose to 1,083, up 24 in a day.

The percent of positive tests in New York City alone rose to 1.7% on Monday, up from 1.4% on Sunday.

“The numbers are a reminder that COVID is still here and continues to spread in communities across the state, particularly when people choose not to follow the safety protocols in place to control the virus,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We continue to see outbreaks linked to mass gatherings at houses of worship, at weddings and funerals, and other events where the virus can quickly spread.”


Source: nypost.com

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Keith Raniere, NXIVM Leader and ‘The Vow’ Subject, Gets 120 Years in Prison

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Keith Raniere, the NXIVM cult leader featured in The Vow and Seducedhas been sentenced to 120 years in prison, the New York Times reports. Raniere’s sentencing comes after he was first convicted on seven charges in 2019, including racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child and human trafficking.

Raniere was sentenced today in Brooklyn, where 15 of his victims provided testimony over the course of multiple hours. One victim testified that she was only 15 years old in 2005 when Raniere, then 45 years old, began having sex with her. “I want to move on, but he has damaged me in so many ways,” she said.

Another statement during the sentencing came from India Oxenberg, who said Raniere tried to turn her against her mother, Catherine Oxenberg. India said Raniere encouraged her to maintain a dangerously thin weight and expected her to wait for him, naked. “You are a sexual predator, and you raped me,” she said. “When you touched me, I recoiled.”

Barbara Bouchey and Toni Natalie also shared statements, and NXIVM whistleblowers Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson appeared at the sentencing via video.

Raniere, who held onto some loyal supporters despite his trial and conviction, has not expressed any regret for his actions, and was silent after today’s conviction. In an interview with NBC News last week, per Entertainment Tonight, he maintained his innocence. “Although it is, this is a horrible tragedy with many, many people being hurt, I think the main thrust of this has been the oppression but really a different issue, which is hard for me to express,” he said. “There is a horrible injustice here. And whether you think I’m the devil or not, the justice process has to be examined.”

Last month, NXIVM member Clare Bronfman was also sentenced. The Seagram’s heiress and Raniere benefactor received 81 months for her role in the sex cult that branded women, but still maintained her support for the cult leader. In a letter to the court this summer, Bronfman insisted she “never meant to hurt anyone, however I have and for this I am deeply sorry.” She added, “Nxivm and Keith greatly changed my life for the better.”

Where to watch The Vow 

Where to watch Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult


Source: nypost.com

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Washington, DC Revel rider dies after police chase ends in tragedy

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Washington, DC Revel rider dies after police chase ends in tragedy

A Revel moped rider in Washington, D.C. was fatally struck while being chased by police for riding without a helmet on the sidewalk, according to reports.

Karon Hylton, 20, died Monday, three days after the Friday night police pursuit, which ended in him “colliding” with a passenger vehicle, NBC4 Washington reported.

The chase began just after 10 p.m. when officers caught Hylton riding helmetless on the sidewalk on Kennedy Street in the Northwest Washington neighborhood of Brightwood Park.

When cops attempted a traffic stop, Hilton zipped through a nearby alley, turned back onto Kennedy Street and “collided with a passenger vehicle,” the Metropolitan Police Department said.

His loved ones blamed police for his death.

“It’s mind-boggling. This was so unnecessary,” Hylton’s girlfriend Amaala Jones-Bey told NBC4.

A protest has been planned for Wednesday night, the outlet said.

Hylton is the first Revel rider ever killed in D.C., but the company’s fourth fatality this year.

The other three fatal collisions occurred in New York City in the the span of 10 days in July, spurring the company to shutter its New York City operation for a month.

CEO Frank Reig expressed condolences for Hylton’s death.

“Our sympathies are with Mr. Hylton’s family,” Reig said in a statement to NBC4.

“As this incident is under investigation, we’re awaiting more details at this time.”


Source: nypost.com

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Skull that sat on fireplace mantel for years linked to missing person: authorities

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Skull that sat on fireplace mantel for years linked to missing person: authorities

A sunglasses-wearing human skull that had been used for years to decorate a Tennessee fireplace mantel actually belonged to a man who had been missing since 2012, local authorities said.

An unidentified person found the skull near the town of Gobey and put it on the mantel — where it sat for more than a year with sunglasses on, according to local District Attorney Russell Johnson.

Someone eventually told the local sheriff’s office about the skull, and investigators pulled a DNA sample from it, Johnson said in a statement.

The office matched DNA from the skull to family members of Junior Willie McCann, who disappeared in 2012, according to the statement.

Local authorities believe McCann may have been killed by a family member who is now also dead, but are asking anyone with information to contact the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.


Source: nypost.com

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NYC adding hours to early voting sites amid hours-long lines

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NYC adding hours to early voting sites amid hours-long lines

The embattled city Board of Elections will increase the hours for in-person voting at its 88 early voting sites beginning Friday after being swamped by a tidal wave of Big Apple residents who waited in lines for hours to exercise their right to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

Even Mayor Bill de Blasio waited for hours at a polling site in Brooklyn’s Park Slope Tuesday afternoon.

The board voted to add a total of nine hours of voting from Friday through Sunday — the final three days of early voting before Nov. 3’s Election Day.

On Friday, two hours of voting will be added. The hours will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Four hours will be added on Saturday — with poll sites open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Sunday, the hours will be expanded from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. instead of starting at 10 a.m.

The state Board of Elections bars waiting times of more than 30 minutes at early voting sites, and requires local election officials to take action to reduce waiting times to comply with the rule.

“The NYC BOE did not have much of a back-up plan” to handle the crush of voters, said Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the state Board of Elections.

“The city did not provide sufficient capacity at these large polling sites and didn’t deploy its personnel in a uniform and efficient manner,” he said.

During a BOE meeting on Tuesday, Executive Director Michael Ryan acknowledged that some of its 88 polling sites were unprepared for the massive turnout.

“We had sites where there was a line of voters three or four hours before the opening of sites,” Ryan said. “We are aware that there’s unprecedented volume that needs to be addressed.”

As of Tuesday morning, 349,124 city residents had cast their ballots during early voting. Meanwhile, 1.15 million voters requested absentee ballots. About 2.76 million city residents voted in the 2016 presidential election.

Ryan said additional voting machines and other equipment were added at crowded poll sites and new “line managers” were assigned to handle the flow of voters.

He said changes are limited by the design of the sites, noting, “We don’t own the sites,” which include such large venues as Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.

Ryan also said any changes have to be done “safely” to comply with COVID-safety protocols.

Voters will be allowed to vote as long as they’re on line before the polls close.


Source: nypost.com

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Texas county sued in death of black man repeatedly tased during ‘Live PD’ filming

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Texas county sued in death of black man repeatedly tased during

Relatives of a black man who died after being tased by deputies accompanied by a reality TV film crew is suing a Texas county for wrongful death.

The family of Javier Ambler — who died in March 2019 after a car chase — filed a federal lawsuit Sunday alleging Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody “encouraged” officers to be entertaining while filming A&E’s “Live PD,” because it helps with recruitment, CNN reported.

“Chody encouraged his officers to engage in dangerous, high-risk police tactics because it made for more entertaining television in service to Live PD,” the 29-page complaint reads.

Ambler, a 40-year-old former postal worker, died after deputies tased him several times while he begged “I can’t breathe” and said he had congestive heart failure, according to the complaint.

The fatal encounter began when Ambler allegedly failed to dim his headlights as a Williamson County deputy with a “Live PD” crew in the car drove past him in the opposite direction. An ensuing chase lasted over 20 minutes, the lawsuit claims.

Ambler, who was roughly 400 pounds, stopped breathing as he was being handcuffed and was later pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the complaint.

A death-in-custody report showed the former postal worker never tried to assault the deputies or make any threats toward them, the Austin American-Statesman reported in June.

An attorney for Chody, who has been charged with evidence tampering in a probe into Ambler’s death, declined to comment when reached by CNN. Court records show he’s accused of destroying or concealing records with “intent to impair their ability as evidence” in the investigation.

Chody, who faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the third-degree felony, has denied the allegations, CNN reported.

The lawsuit also claims that video of Ambler’s death, which never aired on the reality show, later “disappeared,” according to CNN.

The show’s former host, Dan Abrams, told CNN in June that the footage — which is normally destroyed after a certain period of time — was retained for three months at the request of Williamson County. Investigators then told “Live PD” the probe was over a year ago, Abrams said.

“That was the last time anyone from ‘Live PD’ had heard about the video,” Abrams said.

“Live PD” was canceled in June following weeks of protests surrounding the police-custody death of George Floyd and reports of Ambler’s death as a reality TV crew followed the Texas deputies.

Ambler’s parents told NBC News that Sunday’s filing — which alleges a violation of the state’s Wrongful Death Act — is the first step toward getting justice for their son. Neither A&E nor the show’s production company were named in the lawsuit.

“He was my first born, you know,” said Javier Ambler, Sr. “And I’m here to tell you they took him away … they took him away too early from me.”

Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore said a grand jury will hear evidence in connection to Ambler’s death starting next year, NBC News reported.


Source: nypost.com

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