Roanoke Passes Firearms Ban

The Roanoke City Council passed a firearms and ammunition ban for its buildings and parks in a six-to-one vote on Monday night. Council Member Stephanie Moon Reynolds voted against the ordinance, objecting to the portion that bans firearms in parks.

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Commentary: There’s No Mandate for Democrats to Nuke the Filibuster

Democrats by no measure have a clear mandate in Washington. But they sure do act like it.

Senate Democrats know that they don’t have support for many items on their radical agenda, more of which Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to force votes on in the coming weeks. That’s why talks are recirculating in the Senate to end the filibuster once and for all.

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Rep. Ilhan Omar Urges Biden Admin to End Contracts Between ICE and Prisons, Calling Treatment of Immigrants ‘Systemic Abuse’

Rep. Ilhan Omar urged President Joe Biden’s administration in a letter Monday to end Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) contracts with prisons and jails.

The letter calls for Biden to issue an executive order to end ICE’s contracts with state, county and local jails due to the treatment of the detained immigrants and the facilities’ conditions. The Minnesota Democrat called the conditions of the facilities “systemic abuse.”

“Conditions in the municipal, county, and state jails and prisons contracting with ICE to detain immigrants mirror the systemic abuses in privately operated immigration detention facilities, including mental neglect, long term use of solitary confinement, sexual assault, and lack of access to legal counsel,” Omar wrote in the letter.

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Vatican: Catholic Church Cannot Bless Gay Unions Because God ‘Cannot Bless Sin’

The Catholic Church cannot bless gay unions since Catholic teaching holds that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered” and marriage is intended for the sake of creating new life, the Vatican re-emphasized Monday.

In a formal response issued Monday, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded to a question on whether Catholic clergy can bless gay unions with the answer: “Negative.”

The Vatican’s response noted that God “does not and cannot bless sin.”

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CNN and The Washington Post Issue Corrections After Misquoting Trump in Phone Call with Georgia Election Official

CNN and the Washington Post issued corrections on Monday, revealing that they “misquoted” some of former President  Trump’s comments in a December phone call with Frances Watson, Georgia’s top election investigator.

In their original reports, CNN and the Post claimed Trump ordered Watson to “find the fraud,” and if she succeeded, she would be a “national hero.”

The media outlets were forced to issue mea culpas after the Georgia secretary of state released an audio recording of the December 23 phone call, laying bare what was actually said versus what their anonymous sources claimed was said.

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Thousands of Immigrant Teenagers to Be Held in Texas Convention Center

Thousands of immigrant teenagers will be held at a convention center in Dallas, Texas, as an increasing number of unaccompanied migrant children occupy available facilities, the Associated Press reported Monday.

Up to 3,000 boys aged 15 to 17 will be held at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas possibly beginning this week, the AP reported. The convention center will be used by federal agencies for up to 90 days as a “decompression center,” according to a memo obtained by the AP.

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Commentary: The History of How Saint Patrick’s Day Played a Key Role in Irish Nationhood

Traditionally, March 17 was a day to remember St Patrick, who ministered Christianity in Ireland during the 5th century. But over time, the day has evolved to represent a celebration of Irish culture more generally. Today, as with Halloween and Christmas, the true meaning of the celebration has been watered down even further. Now, it is just as likely to be marked by non-Irish people who use it as an excuse to consume large quantities of alcohol and dress as leprechauns.

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Emails Show Scientists Scrubbed Early Warning of Potential Lab Origin of COVID-19

Emails obtained through an open records request show that several top scientists declined in an early statement about the origins of SARS-Cov-2 to acknowledge the possibility that the virus had escaped from a lab, a scenario that many disease experts still consider highly plausible.

In February of 2020, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directed the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to “rapidly examine the information and data needed to help determine the origins of the novel coronavirus that is causing a global outbreak of respiratory illness.”

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U.S. Nonprofit with Ties to Wuhan Lab Violated Federal Law by Failing to Disclose Taxpayer Funding, Complaint Alleges

A U.S. nonprofit with close ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology violated federal law by failing to disclose that taxpayer funds supported its work, according to a complaint a taxpayer watchdog group filed Monday.

EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) diverted $600,000 in taxpayer funds to the WIV in the form of National Institutes of Health subgrants between 2014 and 2019 as part of a research project studying coronaviruses from Chinese bats. But press releases from EHA describing the project failed to disclose that the project was backed by federal dollars, an omission that, according to the White Coat Waste Project, is a violation of a federal law known as the Stevens Amendment.

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Mayorkas: Southern Border Crossings on Pace to Hit 20-Year High

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday that the number of migrants apprehended at the United States’ southern border is on track to hit a two-decade high.

“We are on pace to encounter more individuals on the southwest border than we have in the last 20 years,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “We are expelling most single adults and families. We are not expelling unaccompanied children.”

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Commentary: Capitol Investigation Seeks to Criminalize Political Dissent

In the early hours of March 12, FBI agents in southwestern Florida barricaded a neighborhood to prepare to raid the home of one resident. Christopher Worrell of Cape Coral was arrested and charged with several counts related to the January 6 Capitol melee. Even though Worrell had been cooperating with the FBI for two months, the agency nonetheless unleashed a massive, and no doubt costly, display of force to take him into custody.

Law enforcement agents, according to one neighbor who spoke with a reporter, wore “whole outfits . . . like military and it was crazy. There was like six or seven . . . big black vehicles. They busted down the front door.” The raid included “armed men with helmets and a tanker truck” and was partially executed by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Worrell never entered the Capitol building on January 6; he isn’t accused of committing a violent crime. But a D.C. judge overturned a Florida judge’s ruling to release Worrell pending further review of his case. He remains in jail.

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China Blocks Use of Private Messaging App

Users trying to access the secure messaging app Signal from mainland China reportedly had to use a virtual private network to get around what seems to be a government block, according to the Associated Press Tuesday.

The Chinese government maintains censorship of websites, services and apps through a “Great Firewall” which can be bypassed using a virtual private network (VPN), according to the AP. Signal is one of the few messaging apps that allows for encrypted communications between users in China.

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Georgia Secretary of State Official Who Sourced False WAPO Story About Donald Trump Explains Her Actions

The Georgia Secretary of State investigator who was the anonymous source for a Washington Post story about former U.S. President Donald Trump — that people now discredit — said Tuesday the paper got the story correct. This, aside from a few minor mistakes, said Georgia Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs, the anonymous source.

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Senate Confirms Deb Haaland of New Mexico as Interior Secretary

Former U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico, who opposes fracking and oil drilling on federal lands, was confirmed as President Joe Biden’s new Interior secretary Monday in a narrow, 52-40, vote.

Haaland, who will become the first cabinet secretary of Native American descent, was criticized by many Republicans and supporters of the U.S. oil and gas industry as being extreme on climate change.

“America’s energy workers will be disappointed, but this close vote is hardly a ringing endorsement for Deb Haaland and the Biden anti-energy agenda,” Power The Future’s Western States Director Larry Behrens said in a statement. “With 40 Senators voting against her confirmation, it’s clear many across the country don’t trust Deb Haaland to run a critical federal agency.”

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Virginia Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates Face off in Debate

Four of the five Democratic candidates for Governor discussed legal reform, racial justice, environmental justice, and good government in a debate hosted by The Virginia People’s Debates. Delegate Lee Carter (D-Manassas), Jennifer Carrol Foy, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond), and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax participated; front-runner Terry McAuliffe was absent.

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Virginia Takes Restaurant to Court After Owner Doesn’t Obey Mask Requirements

Gourmeltz 90’s Music Bar & Drafthouse, based in Spotsylvania, has had its health certification suspended after owner Matt Strickland refused to enforce bar closures and mask restrictions. Strickland refused to close after the certification was suspended, and the attorney general is now seeking an injunction against Strickland that will force Gourmeltz to close, according to Fox5. Strickland had a court hearing on Friday, and is now waiting for a decision from the judge.

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