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    U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional delegation Tuesday to the Auschwitz memorial site in Poland ahead of the 75th anniversary of the day Soviet troops liberated the sprawling World War II German Nazi death and concentration camp complex where an estimated 1.1 million people died. At the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial, Pelosi laid a wreath at the reconstructed wall where several thousand prisoners were executed, most of them members of the Polish resistance. She also placed a memorial light at the monument to all of the camp's victims, the majority of whom were European Jews. Elzbieta Witek, the speaker of the lower house of Poland's parliament, or Sejm, and Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki, accompanied their American peer. Pelosi and Grodzki were later to hold talks. In a statement ahead of the trip, Pelosi said the purpose of her visit the Holocaust memorial site was to “reaffirm America's enduring commitment, our sacred pledge: Never again.” “We must honor the memories of those murdered in this incomprehensible horror by maintaining constant vigilance against hatred and persecution today,' said the statement. From Poland, Pelosi and the six-member bipartisan delegation plan to go to Israel to attend a conference marking the anniversary of the death camp's liberation. From 1940-45, some 1.1 million people, mostly Jews from across Europe, but also Poles, Roma and Russian prisoners of war, were shot to death, killed in gas chambers, and died of starvation or other mistreatment at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The Red Army liberated the camp on Jan. 27, 1945, an event now observed annually as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. by the Red Army.
  • Twelve tigers and five lions have been relocated to a sanctuary in South Africa after being rescued from circuses in Guatemala following years of abuse and confinement. The animals, both cubs and adults, are among 200 that have been rescued from the circus industry in Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia and Colombia since 2018. The countries have banned the use of animals in circuses. Enforcement of the law in Guatemala has been a challenge, so the government has partnered with animal rights groups such as the London-based Animal Defenders International to help. 'These animals have suffered a lifetime of deprivation and abuse,' ADI president Jan Creamer said in a statement. The group runs the South Africa sanctuary, which is already home to 26 rescued lions. The lions and tigers were sedated and transported with chartered aircraft to South Africa, arriving Tuesday morning. They were then transported to the sanctuary in large trucks. According to the ADI, the animals were kept in confinement at a vehicle scrapyard in Guatemala for years and physically abused to make them submissive. All have needed veterinary treatment for health issues due to inbreeding, and some needed dental surgery to repair smashed teeth. Some had had their claws and teeth removed. Some have scars from the abuse. Because of the rough treatment and confinement, the animals will not be released into the wild. “South Africa obviously has the perfect climate for the lions, and it's an advanced country in that it has good infrastructure, airports and roads so it helps us to manage the animals and to bring them here,” Creamer said.
  • A court in eastern Germany indicated Tuesday that it will likely reject a Jewish man’s bid to force the removal of an ugly remnant of centuries of anti-Semitism from a church where Martin Luther once preached. The Naumburg court's senate said, at a hearing, that “it will maybe reject the appeal,” court spokesman Henning Haberland told reporters. “The senate could not follow the plaintiff's opinion that the defamatory sculpture can be seen as an expression of disregard in its current presentation,” Haberland said. The verdict will be announced on February 4. The so-called “Judensau,” or “Jew pig,” sculpture on the Town Church in Wittenberg dates back to around 1300. It is perhaps the best-known of more than 20 such anti-Semitic relics from the Middle Ages that still adorn churches across Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Located 4 meters (13 feet) above the ground on a corner of the church, it depicts Jews suckling on the teats of a sow, while a rabbi lifts the animal’s tail. In 1570, after the Protestant Reformation, an inscription referring to an anti-Jewish tract by Luther was added. Judaism considers pigs impure and no one disputes that the sculpture is deliberately offensive. But there is strong disagreement about what to do with the relief. Tuesday's hearing was the second round in the legal dispute, which comes at a time of mounting concern about anti-Semitism in Germany. In May, a court ruled against plaintiff Michael Duellmann, who wants the relief to be taken off the church and put in the nearby Luther House museum. Judges in Dessau rejected arguments that he has a right to have the sculpture removed because it formally constitutes slander and the parish is legally responsible. The relief “is a terrible falsification of Judaism ... a defamation of and insult to the Jewish people,” Duellmann says, arguing that it has “a terrible effect up to this day.” When the church was renovated in the early 1980s, the parish decided to leave the sandstone sculpture in place, and it was also restored. In 1988, a memorial was built on the ground underneath it, referring to the persecution of Jews and the killing of 6 million in the Nazi Holocaust. Pastor Johannes Block from the Town Church says the church also considers the sculpture unacceptably insulting. However, he argues it “no longer speaks for itself as a solitary piece, but is embedded in a culture of remembrance” thanks to the memorial. “We don’t want to hide or abolish history, but take the path of reconciliation with and through history,” he says. In Berlin, the federal commissioner for Jewish life in Germany told reporters he favored putting the relief down into a museum. “This would be a good contribution by the church to overcome anti-Semitism,” Felix Klein told reporters ahead of the court hearing.
  • One of the five contenders to lead Britain’s main opposition Labour Party dropped out of the race on Tuesday after struggling to build momentum behind her campaign. Lawmaker Jess Phillips said in a video message that the party needed “a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement - the union movement, the members, the elected representatives.” Phillips, who has been a member of Parliament since 2010, added that “at this time, that person isn’t me.” Four contenders remain in the race to lead the left-of-center party as as it tries to rebuild support and regain power after last month's electoral drubbing. Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry are vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down after Labour suffered its worst election result since 1935 in Britain's Dec. 12 election. Labour is one of Britain’s two dominant political parties, but hasn’t won a national election since Tony Blair's third consecutive victory in 2005. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won 365 of the 650 House of Commons seats in the Dec. 12 election, while Labour took 203, its worst total since 1935. The party is enmeshed in a blame game for the defeat, with some members accusing the socialist Corbyn of veering too far to the left and making lavish spending promises that voters regarded as unrealistic. Labour is also agonizing over its Brexit stance — which tried unsuccessfully to satisfy voters who wanted to leave the European Union as well as those who wished to remain — and continuing claims of anti-Semitism in party ranks. Candidates must secure support from fellow lawmakers, local Labour associations and trade unions. Starmer is the current front-runner after securing backing from almost 90 legislators and endorsement by key unions. Those who make the cut will be put to a postal vote of the party’s half-million members and registered supporters between Feb. 21 and April 2. The winner will be announced on April 4. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • Poland has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to refrain from using World War II and Holocaust victims for current political goals and pointed to wartime documents in which the Polish government called on the Allies to save Jews. Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek made the appeal Tuesday before a conference in Israel this week to mark 75 years since Soviet troops liberated the German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Putin, who will be one of the key speakers, recently alleged that Poland bears some blame for the war and accused Poland's government of the time of anti-Semitism. Poland's president decided to boycott the conference, saying he wasn't offered a chance to speak. Szynkowski vel Sek said that if distortions and untrue allegations are repeated at the conference, Poland will point to historic documents and facts to counter them. He named efforts by Poland's resistance and the government-in-exile in London to gather and share with world leaders the facts about the mass extermination of Jews by occupying Nazi Germany. One such document is Poland's report on the extermination of Jews that various government leaders received in 1942, when Auschwitz-Birkenau was operating. From 1940-45, around 1.1 million people, mostly Jews from across Europe, were killed at the camp. The war began in 1939 with Nazi Germany's military invasion of Poland, followed two weeks later by the Soviet invasion.
  • A humble stone fountain, overgrown scrubs and flowers and white sheets drying on a line met Chanel's curious guests, including Pharrell Williams, on Tuesday inside the Grand Palais in Paris. The set was a recreation of the childhood landscape of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, the late fashion house's founder, whose father sent her to an orphanage in an abbey as a girl after her mother died. If such a lowly — and sad — setting seemed like an unusual choice to showcase high-priced and normally joyous haute couture, it was an intentional move by designer Virginie Viard to demonstrate how Chanel mixed high and low in her fashion. Here are some highlights of Tuesday's 2020 couture shows in the French capital. CHANEL DELVES INTO FOUNDER'S ORPHANAGE CHILDHOOD Chanel, Viard discovered, had been profoundly inspired in all her designs by the ancient Cistercian abbey of Aubazine, in the French region of Corrèze — with its flowers, uniforms and stained-glass artistry. The theme made for a more haunting collection than normal — a mood emphasized by loud, spooky music and models that slowly crisscrossed the courtyard like they were in a trance. A take on a convent schoolgirl uniform opened the show as a signature Chanel tweed skirt-suit. It was cut sharply, with a round ecclesiastical white collar and baggy white preppy ankle socks. Mosaic patterns in panels evoking stained glass appeared on an equally strict jacket in pastel blue and sand. Apart from the occasional flash of color, most of the designs came in black and white. “What interested me in this (abbey) was the paradox between the sophistication of haute couture and the simplicity of this place,' Viard said. “The strict suits of the pupils rub shoulders with structured dresses of an ethereal finesse.” Viard has a stricter aesthetic take than the flamboyant Karl Lagerfeld, her predecessor who died last year. And this more austere theme gave the talented French designer a platform to design more naturally with her own voice. ALEXIS MABILLE TEESES HIS GUESTS Burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese opened the show for Alexis Mabille in a black tuxedo with sensual decollete that dripped down the leg with brooding black sequins. The French couturier this season used Von Teese — and her styles — as the touchstone for a collection that explored corsetry, lingerie and seductive undressing. A white satin bustier was covered gently by a see-through lace chemise. A white floor-length gown had a bold dropped shoulder in which the segments seemed to fall off the bust, as if the model were in the process of undressing. Mabille also used his signature bow theme to produce a gargantuan abstract neck bow whose proportions drowned the model. It was highly inventive.
  • Regional officials in Ethiopia on Tuesday confirmed 10 deaths and 250 people injured after a wooden platform collapsed during a religious event the day before. Thousands of people attended the colorful Epiphany celebration known as Timkat in the northern city of Gondar. “Ten people have lost their lives,” the Ethiopian Press Agency quoted the city's police chief, Ayalew Teklu, as saying. “Thirteen people have sustained serious injuries, including four members of the security services.” Ashenafi Tazebew with Gondar University Hospital said more than 250 people had received medical care. Some 80 people remained at the hospital, Ashenafi said. The collapse occurred inside the Emperor Fasilides Bath in the city where several thousand Ethiopians and tourists attended the celebration commemorating the baptism of Jesus. The Ethiopian News Agency reported that more than 15,000 foreigners attended the event in Gondar. UNESCO late last year added Ethiopia's Epiphany festivities to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which attracted more attendees.
  • Spain’s new government declared a national climate emergency on Tuesday, taking a formal first step toward enacting ambitious measures to fight climate change. The declaration approved by the Cabinet says the left-of-center Socialist government will send to parliament within 100 days its proposed climate legislation. The targets coincide with those of the European Union, including a reduction of net carbon emissions to zero by 2050. Spain's coalition government wants up to 95% of the Mediterranean country’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2040. The plan also foresees eliminating pollution by buses and trucks and making farming carbon neutral. Details of the plan are to be made public when the proposed legislation is sent to parliament for approval. More than two dozen countries and scores of local and regional authorities have declared a climate emergency in recent years. Scientists say the decade that just ended was by far the hottest ever measured on Earth, capped off by the second-warmest year on record. Also Tuesday, young climate activists including Greta Thunberg told the elites gathered at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland they are not doing enough to deal with the climate emergency and warned them that time was running out. ___ Follow AP's full coverage of climate change issues at https://www.apnews.com/Climate
  • Opening another front in their battle against the French government, protesting workers cut power to thousands of Parisians on Tuesday, plunging homes into darkness and shutting down trains to one of the capital's main airports. The deliberate outage lasted around two hours. It hit users in the southern suburbs of Paris, which include the Orly international airport and the massive Rungis market that supplies food to the Paris region. Franck Jouanno, a local leader of the leftist CGT union, said power grid workers targeted the area because it is one of “the economic lungs of Europe.” “It's symbolic,” Jouanno said of the power cut, speaking in a telephone interview. “It made a buzz and that's what everyone wants.” The CGT is pushing for a complete withdrawal of the French government's plans to overhaul the country's pension system. The planned reforms have triggered six weeks of protests and crippling transport strikes. But with many striking transport workers now returning to work, and train services largely restored in Paris and nationwide, hardcore protesters are looking for other methods to keep up the pressure on President Emmanuel Macron and his centrist government. Jouanno described the Paris households that lost power when families were starting their day as “collateral damage.” “It bothers me, but unfortunately there is always an impact and a power cut isn't the end of the world,' he told broadcaster BFM-TV Power was cut to the automated shuttle train that serves Orly airport. The shuttle's operator, the RATP, said thousands of users were impacted and that it “firmly condemns this act of malice.” Buses were used to transport passengers instead. Power supplier Enedis said the cut affected 35,000 of its customers. At the Rungis food market, generators took over and maintained power during the outage. Julien Denormandie, a deputy minister, condemned the union action as “scandalous, irresponsible.” Macron, who is trying to blend scores of separate pension systems and rules into a universal French pension, says his plan will be fairer to all French workers and will be sustainable as the country ages. But workers in sectors who can now sometimes retire earlier than the official age of 62 don't want to lose their special privileges. Some power grid workers can retire as young as 57, Jouanno said. Other workers who can retire before their sixties includes Paris Metro and train drivers and Paris Opera workers. French workers in general don't want the retirement age raised. The government had proposed raising the eligibility age for full pensions from 62 to 64. But it suspended that plan as it sought to tamp down opposition to the pension overhaul. That government compromise has split union opposition to the reform plan, and union representatives have started squabbling among themselves. On Monday, about 15 union workers from the CGT invaded the Paris headquarters of moderate CFDT union and briefly cut off power in the building. The CGT and other unions have called for more protests on Friday, when Macron's government will present the pension reform bill to the Cabinet ahead of debate in parliament next month.
  • Britain officially leaves the European Union on Jan. 31 after a debilitating political period that has bitterly divided the nation since the 2016 Brexit referendum. Difficult negotiations setting out the new relationship between Britain and its European neighbors will continue throughout 2020. This series of stories chronicles Britain’s tortured relationship with Europe from the post-World War II years to the present. —- Winston Churchill’s call in 1946 for a “United States of Europe or whatever name or form it may take” started taking shape swiftly. In 1952, the European Coal and Steel Community was founded. Its intention was to integrate the coal and steel industries of Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and what was then West Germany. For Britain, imperial considerations still reigned supreme. It would stay out of the subsequent formation five years later of the European Economic Community, the precursor of the European Union, in 1957. The Treaty of Rome, which created the EEC, had grander ambitions, the establishment of a customs union and a single market for capital, goods, labor and services as part of a grand plan to rid Europe of war. With the British empire in its death throes and the British economy ailing — certainly when compared to the postwar boom taking place in large parts of the EEC, particularly in West Germany — it wasn’t long before a consensus emerged within political circles in London that Britain had “missed the bus.” The Conservative government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan pushed for British membership in the EEC, but his ambition was thwarted by French President Charles de Gaulle. After de Gaulle vetoed Britain’s first bid to join in 1963, Macmillan was so distraught he confided in his diary that “all our policies at home and abroad are in ruins.” De Gaulle said “non” again in 1967, this time to Britain's Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. De Gaulle, who spent much of World War II in London when France was under occupation, warned his five EEC partners that Britain had a “deep-seated hostility” to European integration that could bring about the end of what was then referred to as the “common market.” He also worried that in crunch times, Britain would always side with the United States over its continental neighbours. De Gaulle's comments certainly proved true decades later during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, when Britain did side with the U.S. over its EU partners France and Germany. It was only after de Gaulle had left the scene that Britain could finally take its place at the European top table. De Gaulle’s successor, French President Georges Pompidou, was far more amenable to British membership and by 1973 Britain finally joined the group, with all of its the main political parties in favor of the move. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at: https://www.apnews.com/Brexit

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  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.
  • Officials have euthanized a mountain lion that attacked a toddler on a trail at a California park, Orange County officials said. According to CNN and the Desert Sun, the attack happened after 4 p.m. local time Monday as a family visited Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. “The mountain lion came out of somewhere and grabbed the 3-year-old by the neck and dragged him a short distance,” Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority told the Desert Sun. The child’s father then sprang into action, hurling a backpack at the mountain lion, Bommarito said. The animal set the boy free and went for the backpack before climbing a tree, the outlets reported. After the family fled to safety, the boy was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Orange County deputies said the boy is “OK,” the Desert Sun reported. Officials euthanized the cougar with permission from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A man has been arrested for causing a crash that killed a local father in September 2018.  Florida Highway Patrol and Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 32-year-old Brian Holtkamp on Friday.  Troopers posted a photo of Holtkamp as he was put into a the back of a patrol car.  He’s charged with DUI manslaughter. FHP says Holtkamp was driving north on U.S. 17 north of Bruney Road in Yulee, when he drove into the other lane and collided head-on with another vehicle.The passenger in that car, 37-year-old Justin Cribb, died. He left behind a 13-year-old son.  Cribb’s mother told Action News Jax his family misses him terribly.  The driver was seriously hurt in the crash.   According to FHP, Holtkamp tested positive for drugs, including meth. Action News Jax confirmed that he has prior arrests for charges including driving under the influence, burglary and grand theft.
  • With chilly temperatures this morning in the 30’s, inland communities are under a freeze warning until 10 am.   Action News Jax Meteorologist Corey Simma says temperatures this afternoon only climb to the upper 40's to near 50 degrees. And it will be breezy so it feels colder. Expect a widespread freeze on Wednesday morning, and a hard freeze well inland, with another day in the 50's. Then a gradual warming trend will arrive to end the week.  Friday’s high temperature will be in the low 70’s but with widely scattered afternoon showers.

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