Virginia’s First Lady Apologizes for Handing COTTON to Black Students!

H10 va pamela and ralph northam

The incident came as Governor Ralph Northam, a Democrat, continues to resist mounting calls from within his own party to step down after claims he posed for a racist photo seen in his 1984 medical school yearbook page depicting a man wearing blackface next to a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam has denied that he is in the photo, but he did admit to wearing blackface on another occasion that same year and apologized.

After the latest incident, Leah Dozier Walker, the mother of one of the students handed cotton by first lady Pam Northam, said in a statement, “The governor and Mrs. Northam have asked the residents of the commonwealth to forgive them for their racially insensitive past actions. But the actions of Mrs. Northam, just last week, do not lead me to believe that this governor’s office has taken seriously the harm and hurt they have caused African Americans in Virginia or that they are deserving of our forgiveness.”

North Carolina Orders New Congressional Election Due to GOP Voting Fraud

FEB 22, 2019

H1 nc new elections

The North Carolina State Board of Elections has thrown out the results of November’s congressional race in the 9th District and ordered a new election, after more evidence came to light of a Republican effort to tamper with absentee ballots. The race had pitted Republican Mark Harris against Democrat Dan McCready. Harris initially appeared to be the narrow winner, but the race was never certified. For months Harris, who is a Baptist preacher, had insisted his campaign did nothing illegal, but on Thursday he called for a new election. This came a day after Harris’s own son—Assistant U.S. Attorney John Harris—testified that he had warned his father about hiring a longtime political operative who had a record of illegally collecting absentee ballots and in some cases filling them out in favor of Republican candidates. North Carolina’s Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper praised the board’s decision, saying it “sends a strong message that election fraud must not be tolerated.” President Trump—who has repeatedly warned about Democrats stealing elections—has yet to comment about the latest news from North Carolina.

Escobares, Texas: Life in the poorest city in the US

In the tiny city of Escobares, Texas, 62% of residents live below the poverty line.

That’s the highest rate of any US city with more than 1,000 people, according to the 2016 US Census Bureau survey.

Directly on the US-Mexico border, the city struggles with crime and unemployment.

But local officials say they’re trying hard to lift Escobares out of the cycle of poverty.

Video produced by: Cecilia Barria and Mohamed Madi



Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion clinic regulations

Chief Justice Roberts joins court’s four liberals to block Louisiana from enforcing law, pending full review of the case

Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC during the 2018 March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]
Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC during the 2018 March for Life [Susan Walsh/AP Photo]

A divided Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics in a test of the conservative court’s views on abortionrights.

The justices said in a 5-4 decision late Thursday that they will not allow the state to put into effect a law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case.

President Donald Trump‘s two Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, were among the four conservative members of the court who would have allowed the law to take effect.

Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion in which he said the court’s action was premature because the state had made clear it would allow abortion providers an additional 45 days to obtain admitting privileges before it started enforcing the law.

If the doctors succeed, they can continue performing abortions, he said. If they fail, they could return to court, Kavanaugh said.

The law is very similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down three years ago. Roberts dissented in that case.


American women’s right to choose is in danger

Ashley Andreou,Alexander Urry
by Ashley Andreou,Alexander Urry

But the composition of the court has changed since then, with Kavanaugh replacing Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted to strike down the Texas law.

Restrictions would close clinics, providers say

Louisiana abortion providers and a district judge who initially heard the case said one or maybe two of the state’s three abortion clinics would have to close under the new law. There would be at most two doctors who could meet its requirements, they said.

But the federal appeals court in New Orleans rejected those claims, doubting that any clinics would have to close and said the doctors had not tried hard enough to establish relationships with local hospitals.

In January, the full appeals court voted 9-6 not to get involved in the case, setting up the Supreme Court appeal.

The law had been scheduled to take effect Monday, but Justice Samuel Alito delayed the effective date at least through Thursday to give the justices more time.

The justices could decide this spring whether to add the case, June Medical Services v Gee, to their calendar for the term that begins in October.

‘Pro-life’ justices

Trump had pledged during the campaign to appoint “pro-life” justices – judges who are opposed to abortion rights – and abortion opponents are hoping the more conservative bench will be more open to upholding abortion restrictions.


Under Trump, states step up effort to restrict abortion access

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Trump called for legislation to limit what he and anti-abortion rights activists describe as “late-term abortion”.

While such legislation at the federal level is unlikely, research at the Guttmacher Institute shows that about 20 states already have laws in place that restricts abortion after about 20 weeks post-fertilisation.

Since Trump came to power, a number of states have also introduced measures that seek to restrict abortion access.

Other states, including New York, have passed laws to ensure that abortion access would still be protected if the Supreme Court were to overturn parts or all of Roe v Wade, a 1973 decision that blocks states from prohibiting abortion.

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Virginia governor’s deputy Justin Fairfax denies assault claims

Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax

Amid calls for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam to resign over a racist photo, now his potential replacement is battling an allegation of sex assault.

Lt Governor Justin Fairfax, 39, has denied assaulting a woman in 2004 at a Democratic political convention.

Mr Fairfax said the “uncorroborated smear” was meant to derail his career.

Mr Northam, meanwhile, still denies he is either of two people – one in blackface, the other in Ku Klux Klan robes – pictured on his yearbook page.

The governor and lieutenant governor are both Democrats.

A statement from Mr Fairfax’s office said on Monday: “Only now, at a time of intense media attention surrounding Virginia politics, has this false claim been raised again.

“He has never assaulted anyone – ever – in any way, shape or form.”

The statement added that Mr Fairfax will “take appropriate legal action” regarding “this defamatory and false allegation”.

The lieutenant governor told reporters it was a “totally fabricated story, out of the blue, that’s meant to attack me because of where I am in politics”.

Mr Fairfax would make history as one of the few African Americans ever to become a US governor if Mr Northam were to resign over his racist photo controversy.

Big League Politics, the conservative outlet which published the claims against Mr Northam and Mr Fairfax, noted it had not spoken to the woman accusing Mr Fairfax.

The website shared what it said was a screenshot of the woman’s private Facebook post about the alleged assault.

Mr Fairfax is not named in the post, which refers to a Democratic holder of statewide office who is in line for a “very big promotion”.

The BBC is not identifying the woman, but has contacted her and is awaiting a response.

What is Lt Gov Fairfax accused of?

In the rotunda of the state capitol in Richmond on Monday, Mr Fairfax described the encounter as “100% consensual”.

He said the woman had been “very interested” in him and “was very much into the consensual encounter”.

He told reporters the woman maintained contact with him in the months that followed their interaction.

The BBC contacted Mr Fairfax for comment, but did not receive an immediate reply.

The Washington Post said it had investigated the woman’s claims in 2017, but did not publish a story because statements by the woman and Mr Fairfax could not be corroborated.

On Monday, the Post detailed the allegations and also noted that there had been no red flags or inconsistencies in the story, as Mr Fairfax’s statement asserted.

The woman reportedly told the Post she had met Mr Fairfax in 2004 at the Democratic national convention.

After they realised they had a mutual friend, they began talking and Mr Fairfax asked her to walk back to his hotel room to retrieve some papers, according to the Post.

The woman reportedly told the paper that their encounter in the hotel room began consensually, but claimed that Mr Fairfax then held her down and assaulted her.

What’s the latest with Ralph Northam?

Virginia’s governor is fighting for his political life in a racism row.

Mr Northam denies he was in a photo of a man in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes that appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook page.

He first apologised on Friday and said he was one of the two people, before changing his story a day later.

Virginia governor says sorry for racist photo

He has admitted separately blackening his face to impersonate singer Michael Jackson at an event the same year, while he was at Eastern Virginia Medical School.

On Monday, the beleaguered governor met his cabinet members and reportedly implored them to give him a chance to prove he was not the person in the photo.

According to CNN, Mr Northam told the meeting he is afraid of being labelled “racist for life”.

Meanwhile, a few dozen protesters gathered at the state capitol to demand the governor step down.

Former Vice-President Joe Biden has led Democratic calls for Mr Northam to resign, saying he has lost all moral authority.

African-American politicians in Virginia called the photo “disgusting”, and Republicans have also urged him to resign.

Mr Fairfax has not explicitly echoed those calls, instead saying the governor should make a decision that is in Virginia’s best interests.

Texas: Police charge Eric Black Jr with the murder of seven-year old Jazmine Barnes

Jazmine BarnesJazmine Barnes was shot in the head and died at the scene

US police have charged a man in connection with the drive-by shooting of a seven-year-old girl in Texas.

Jazmine Barnes was shot dead while in her family’s car near Houston last month.

Eric Black Jr, 20, has admitted involvement in the shooting and been charged with murder, Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

Investigators believe the attack on Jazmine’s family could have been the result of mistaken identity.

Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington, was also shot and injured. Three other children were in the car at the time.

A composite sketch of the suspect released last week showed a white male believed to be in his 30s or 40s. Eric Black is black, but police say other suspects could be involved.

Campaigners had feared the shooting, on an African-American family, may have been racially motivated.

What do police say?

The statement from Harris County Sheriff’s Office said Eric Black had been arrested as the result of a tip-off.

Picture of Eric Black JrEric Black Jr admitted taking part in the shootingWhite space

Investigators were continuing to “pursue evidence that could possibly lead to other suspects being charged”, the statement said.

“At this time, investigators do not believe Jazmine’s family was the intended target of the shooting, and that they were possibly shot as a result of mistaken identity.”

Jazmine’s funeral is due to take place on Tuesday.

How did the shooting happen?

Police said Ms Washington, Jazmine and her three sisters were in the car near a Houston-area Walmart store on 30 December when a red pick-up truck pulled alongside them and a man inside opened fire.

Jazmine was struck in the head by a bullet and died at the scene.

The case caused widespread outrage and celebrities joined an appeal to find Jazmine’s killer using the hashtag #JusticeForJazmine. A rally in Houston on Saturday attracted about 1,000 people.

A composite sketch of suspected gunman
A photofit based on witnesses’ descriptions showed the gunman as whitePresentational white space

Ms Washington, who was shot in the arm, tearfully recounted the attack from her hospital bed and urged the gunman to give himself up.

A $100,000 (£79,300) reward for finding Jazmine’s killer was also offered by civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt and activist Shaun King.