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Western Aid: Syrian “White Helmets” fly to Jordan with Israeli



Western Aid: Syrian "White Helmets" fly to Jordan with Israeli

Numerous rescue workers from Syria “White Helmet” and also their households ran away ahead with federal government pressures and also went across Jordan throughout the boundary making use of Israeli soldiers and also Western powers, authorities stated.

Israeli Head Of State Benjamin Netanyahu stated in a quick video clip declaration on Sunday that he had actually aided discharge at the demand people Head of state Donald Trump and also various other leaders– and also there was worry that the employees’ lives went to threat.

The team, formally referred to as Syria Civil Protection, has actually rated to the West and also attributed with conserving hundreds of individuals in defiant locations throughout the year of battle assaults from Damascus and also its allies.

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Its participants, recognized for their white safety helmets, claim they are neutral. Yet Syrian Head of state Bashar al-Assad and also his backers, consisting of Russia, have actually disregarded them as Western funded publicity items and also proxies of Islamist led uprisings. There was no prompt reply from Damascus on Sunday.

A Jordanian federal government resource stated that 422 individuals were drawn from Syria, throughout the Israeli busy Golan Levels boundary and also right into Jordan, below a number of 800 formerly revealed by the Foreign Ministry in Amman.

Evacuas will certainly be kept in a “shut” location in Jordan and also went back to Britain, Germany and also Canada within 3 months, states the resource.

One more non-Jordanian resource acquainted with the arrangement stated the initial strategy had actually been to leave 800 individuals, however just 422 made it clear due to the fact that the procedures were obstructed by state control factors and also the development of Islamic state in the location.

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Jordanian Foreign Preacher Ayman al Safadi was estimated in a Foreign Ministry stating he had actually reviewed in a telephone discussion with Russia’s Foreign Preacher Sergei Lavrov the information of the goal to obtain the rescue employees to Jordan.

Syria and also its Russian allies have actually introduced an offensive on revolt in the delicate southwest boundary.

Netanyahu stated that Trump, Canadian Head Of State Justin Trudeau and also others that had actually talked with him lately requested assistance in drawing out white safety helmets. “The lives of these individuals that have actually conserved lives were currently at risk, so I accepted the transfer through Israel to various other nations as an essential altruistic motion,” Netanyahu stated.

Trump did not discuss the procedure throughout a collection of tweets on Sunday.

The United States Division of State stated in a declaration that it invited the procedure and also restored its require “Assad and also Russia to follow their dedications, finish the physical violence and also secure all Syrian private citizens.”

In the UN’s very first public declaration, the UNHCR validated that it had actually obtained 422 acids looking for asylum in Canada, Germany and also the UK at the demand of these nations. The UN evacuee company applauded Jordan’s moving to provide short-lived shelter.

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” In Jordan, UNHCR in close teamwork with the engaged federal governments sustain their short-lived remain in expectancy of forwarding to 3rd nations, “stated the declaration.

Britain praised the discharge and also stated it and also others A Allies had actually requested it.

” Fantastic information that we– Britain and also buddies– have actually guaranteed the discharge of white safety helmets and also their households– say thanks to Israel and also Jordan for acting so rapidly at our demand,” tweeted British Foreign Preacher Jeremy Search. German once a week publication Photo, which damaged information concerning discharge and also released photos of buses utilized to transfer the acids over Golan, stated 50 of them would certainly obtain asylum from Berlin.

” Male determines that much of these take on emergency treatment ought to currently discover sanctuary and also sanctuary, a few of them in Germany,” prices quote German Foreign Preacher Heiko Maas as stated.

A spokesperson for the German Inside Ministry stated Berlin woul d absorb 8 white safety helmets plus their households. It was not quickly clear if it totaled up to the very same 50 individuals.

A Canadian Foreign Ministry’s declaration on Saturday stated the white safety helmets had actually “seen bad ruthlessness dedicated by the Assassin program and also its back individuals.” It included: “We really feel deep ethical obligation for these take on and also generous individuals.”

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The Russian Consular Office in the Netherlands invited the separation of White Headgear. “There will absolutely be much less possibilities for brand-new supposed #CW assaults (chemical tools) in Syria after the obsession of the cumulative west of the notorious #WhiteHelmets,” tweeted. ”

Damascus and also its allies have actually implicated rebels and also their fans of situations chemical assaults in an effort to strike the federal government. The western powers have actually implicated Syria of assaulting rebel-held locations with prohibited chemical tools.

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Ask Amy: Insecure wife blames herself for insecurity



Ask Amy: Woman should leave abusive relationship

Dear Amy: I have been with my husband for 13 years. I have always been very insecure.

It makes me paranoid when he texts other women, even if it’s just friendly.

I check his phone and see that he has deleted texts. This really bothers me, but he says he does it because it bothers me when he texts other women, even when there is nothing bad in the texts. That’s true.

I have made a very bad situation in my marriage. My husband is exasperated by my behavior. I don’t know how to help my insecurities. They are irrational. I know that but it gets in my head to check his phone.

I did stop checking for a while when I got into a good spot in my head. But recently I did it again. I feel like I am fighting a battle with myself and I don’t know how to win. Why do I get this urge? How do I stop it?

And how do I fix the damage I have done to my marriage?

— My Own Worst Enemy

Dear MOWE: You and your husband are in a loop. Marriage counseling would be a great idea for both of you.

However, you take full responsibility, and it seems to me that your husband definitely plays his part.

The common and often suggested solution when there is suspicion in a relationship is for full transparency.

You wouldn’t be triggered into your unhealthy phone-checking if your husband simply shared these conversations with you: “Sharon said the funniest thing about a movie she just saw. It’s hilarious. Check it out…”

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Giant California sequoias saved from wildfire, others may not be so lucky



Giant California sequoias saved from wildfire, others may not be so lucky

THREE RIVERS, Calif. — Four famous giant sequoias were not harmed by a wildfire that reached the edge of Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park, authorities said.

The Four Guardsmen, a group of trees that form a natural entryway on the road to the forest, were successfully protected from the KNP Complex fire by the removal of nearby vegetation and by wrapping fire-resistant material around the bases of the trees, the firefighting management team said in a statement Sunday.

The KNP Complex began as two lightning-sparked fires that eventually merged and has scorched more than 37 square miles in the heart of sequoia country on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

There was no immediate word, however, on the full extent of damage in several other sequoia groves reached by a separate blaze, the Windy Fire, in the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of Sequoia National Forest and the Tule River Indian Reservation.

The Windy Fire has burned through the Peyrone and Red Hill groves, as well as a portion of the Long Meadow Grove along the Trail of 100 Giants.

Firefighters battle the Windy Fire as it burns in the Trail of 100 Giants grove of Sequoia National Forest, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

A portion of one giant sequoia along the trail was confirmed to have burned, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the fire command.

Fire crews with hoses and water-dropping helicopters were working to limit damage to the giant sequoias in the groves, where there are also other types of trees.

Sequoias have adapted to fire and can benefit if the flames are low intensity.

The Windy Fire has scorched more than 39 square miles (101 square kilometers) and was just 4% contained.

The KNP Complex forced the evacuation of Sequoia National Park last week, and on Sunday much of adjacent Kings Canyon National Park was closed. Visitors to areas that were still open were warned of hazardous air quality due to smoke.

A large area of Northern California was under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger Monday due to dry offshore winds that can raise fire danger.

The warning did not extend into Southern California, but forecasters said there would be weak Santa Ana winds and significant warming — elevating the risk of wildfires.

Historic drought tied to climate change is making wildfires harder to fight. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

More than 7,000 wildfires in California this year have damaged or destroyed more than 3,000 homes and other buildings and torched well over 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers) of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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Warren County COVID update for Sept. 20



Warren County finds new school COVID cases in Sept. 14 update

Posted: Updated:

Warren County

WARREN COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Warren County Health Services confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, as well as 30 recoveries.

As of Monday, the county was monitoring 204 active coronavirus cases, included nine hospitalized cases. That’s down by one from Sunday.

Warren County COVID update for Sept 20

One case was tied to a school district, as the new 2021-22 school year enters another week. The case was connected to someone at Queensbury Union Free School District.

Recent cases have stemmed from a combination of household and work exposures, out-of-state travel and youth sports.

“We have had a number of cases recently where people went to work or school while ill with COVID-19,” said Warren County Health Services Director Ginelle Jones. “If you have as much as a sniffle, please stay home and make arrangements for a COVID test.”

Three of Monday’s cases were among those already fully vaccinated for coronavirus. To date, 370 of Warren County’s 42,973 fully vaccinated residents have contracted the virus.

Warren County Health Services is waiting for state guidance to begin booster clinics for the general population ages 65 and older, following clinics held for the immunocompromised in recent weeks.

The county is holding vaccine clinics from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Monday at Pregis LLC in Glens Falls; 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28 at Warren County Municipal Center; and 3-4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 23 at Johnsburg Central School in North Creek.

Warren County also updated its maps dividing cases and vaccinations by zip code.

1632220114 831 Warren County COVID update for Sept 20
1632220114 431 Warren County COVID update for Sept 20

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SLU director of Forensic Science weighs in on search for Gabby Petito



SLU director of Forensic Science weighs in on search for Gabby Petito

ST. LOUIS – The FBI searched the Florida home of Brian Laundrie and his parents Monday. Authorities were heard telling the Laundries they were in a “crime scene” and escorted them out of the home temporarily while evidence was collected and taken out of their home. Laundrie’s mustang was also towed away.

“It is definitely a case that has captivated the nation,” said Erik Hall, director of SLU’s Forensic Science Program and assistant founder of Hall Forensic Consulting. “I think it’s probably her social media presence, this cross-country trip that she is documenting step-by-step all along the way, and I think that a lot of younger people can relate.”

Hall said the investigation from a forensics mindset and standpoint, ramps up as soon as a body is found. Which authorities believe they likely found Gabby Petito’s body in Wyoming Sunday. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to begin the confirmation process.

Hall said now the determination needs to be made on how Petito died if this is, in fact, her body that was found Sunday.

“How did she die? Is this a homicide, which I think is the presumption at this point? But was it an accident? was it natural?” Hall said.

Hall said they will also be looking at DNA, performing toxicology reports and they may not have positive confirmation of the identity right away.

“Human remains were discovered consistent with the description of Gabriel “Gabby” Petito. Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery,” Chris Jones with the FBI said in a news conference Sunday after the remains were found.

Hall said the forensic investigation will likely focus on the human remains found.

“The body is the best piece of evidence they have, you can potentially pull DNA off of the body, is there clothing there, could the clothing be looked at for trace amounts of DNA,” he said. “They still may be combing through the area looking for evidence sort of tracing the steps of where they think the body may have come into the area.”

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Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for kids ages 5 to 11



Pfizer says its coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective for kids ages 5 to 11

As pediatric coronavirus cases spike in the U.S. amid the surging delta variant, Pfizer on Monday announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids ages 5 to 11.

The vaccine trial results — the first from any COVID-19 vax in children under 12 — showed that the vax at a lower dose was “safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses,” Pfizer said in its announcement.

The pharma megagiant now plans to submit its trial results to the Food and Drug Administration “as soon as possible” in the hopes of receiving emergency use authorization to get kids vaccinated ahead of the winter.

Hundreds of millions of people 12-plus from around the world have received Pfizer’s coronavirus vax this year.

“We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population, subject to regulatory authorization, especially as we track the spread of the delta variant and the substantial threat it poses to children,” Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a statement.

“Since July, pediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240% in the U.S. — underscoring the public health need for vaccination,” he added. “These trial results provide a strong foundation for seeking authorization of our vaccine for children 5 to 11 years old, and we plan to submit them to the FDA and other regulators with urgency.”

As of last week, more than 5 million U.S. children have tested positive for the virus since the start of the pandemic.

Child cases have increased significantly since the summer, with nearly 500,000 reported cases in the past two weeks.

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When can your elementary school kid get vaccinated? Here’s what we know



When can your elementary school kid get vaccinated? Here’s what we know

(NEXSTAR) – Fall has brought anxiety for parents and students across the country as children return to the classroom without the protections of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the option to get children as young as five fully vaccinated may not be far away.

On Monday, Pfizer said it’s prepared to seek emergency authorization for children ages 5 to 12. That’s the same clearance that allowed millions of adult Americans to opt for injections in the winter and spring.

Pfizer decided to make the move after testing a lower dose vaccine – about a third of the standard dose given to adults – on elementary school children, according to the Associated Press. After their second dose, children ages 5 to 11 developed coronavirus-fighting antibody levels just as strong as teenagers and young adults, Dr. Bill Gruber, a Pfizer senior vice president, told the AP.

Gruber said Pfizer and German partner BioNTech aim to apply to the Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month for emergency use in this age group, followed shortly afterward with applications to European and British regulators.

So what happens now? While there is no set timeline for the emergency use authorization approval, we do know that the initial EUA for adults was submitted in November of 2020 and approved for Americans 16 and older on December 11th. Additional studies allowed the companies to request a drop in the age threshold to 12 in early April of this year. That approval was granted a month later.

“For an EUA to be issued for a vaccine, for which there is adequate manufacturing information to ensure quality and consistency, FDA must determine that the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine,” the FDA says of the emergency use vetting process.

If the companies do submit within the month, a similar approval timeline could allow vaccinations for elementary school children in time for the holidays.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the lone vaccine to move past the EUA and earn full approval from the FDA. The two-shot Moderna and single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccines remain under emergency use authorization for older age groups. Moderna is also studying its shots in elementary school-aged children.

It remains to be seen how quickly parents will rush to get their children vaccinated once the lower dose injections are approved. As of last week, 54% of eligible children between the ages of 12 and 17 had received at least one vaccine dose, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Rare instances of heart inflamation have been reported with mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer’s, but the AP reports that the company’s lower dose study of 2,268 kindergartners and elementary school-aged kids isn’t large enough to detect such extremely rare side effects.

As of September 9th, 5.3 million children had tested positive for coronavirus, according to the AAP. The Washington Post reports 20,000 child hospitalizations and 460 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Lester wins 200th, Cards down Brewers for ninth straight win



Lester wins 200th, Cards down Brewers for ninth straight win

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jon Lester notched his 200th career win, Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 for their ninth consecutive win.

The Cardinals have won nine straight for the first time since 2004 to solidify their grip on the second NL wild card.

They entered the night three games ahead of Cincinnati and Philadelphia for the final postseason spot. The longest winning streak in franchise history is 14 games, set in 1935.

Milwaukee’s magic number over the Cardinals to clinch the division title remained at three.

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UN climate talks: Faint progress on money, none on pollution



UN climate talks: Faint progress on money, none on pollution

Opening pocketbooks wider to fight climate change? That’s looking slightly more doable. Closing more smokestacks for the same goal? Not yet sold.

World leaders made “faint signs of progress” on the financial end of fighting climate change in a special United Nations feet-to-the-fire meeting Monday, but they didn’t commit to more crucial cuts in emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause global warming. So after two high-level meetings in four days, frustrated leaders are still pointing to tomorrow — or next month — for key climate-change fighting promises.

“If countries were private entities, all leaders would be fired, as we are not on track. Things remain the same,” Costa Rican President Carlos Quesada said after a closed-door session of more than two dozen world leaders at the United Nations. “It is absurd.”

Leaders said they had hope for promised “good news” coming Tuesday from U.S. President Joe Biden when he speaks at the U.N. Biden is expected to talk about America helping poorer countries develop cleaner energy and cope with climate change’s worsening harms. Other leaders are hoping rich nations will finally reach a long-promised $100 billion a year package to help poorer nations switch to cleaner energy and cope with climate change’s worst impacts.

The focus on climate change this week comes at the end of another summer of disasters related to extreme weather, including devastating wildfires in the western United States, deadly flooding in the U.S., China and Europe, a drumbeat of killer tropical cyclones worldwide and unprecedented heat waves everywhere.

After what was supposed to be the big push to get more commitments before huge climate negotiations in six weeks to ratchet up the 2015 Paris agreement, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said an end-of-October meeting of top economies “will be absolutely essential to guarantee the success” of climate talks. The G-20 meeting is one day before the start of U.N..-sponsored climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We need decisive action now to avert climate catastrophe. And for that we need solidarity,” Guterres said Monday after the private leaders’ meeting.

In the meeting, vulnerable countries such as the Marshall Islands and the Maldives that are “staring down the barrel” of climate change were “pleading with the developed world to step up to the plate” to provide needed money for them to cope with warming’s impacts, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the meeting with Guterres.

The meeting was “very frank and outspoken — not polite,” said Jochen Flasbarth, Germany’s deputy environment minister.

Instead of 35 to 40 leaders attending as expected, only 21 heads of state participated. The top leaders of the four largest carbon polluting countries — China, the United States, India and Russia — all sent emissaries.

Guterres said he has three goals out of the Glasgow negotiations: emission reductions of about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030; $100 billion in annual financial help from rich to poor countries; and half of that money going to help poor nations adapt to warming’s worst impacts.

The rich nations made “faint signs of progress” on the money end, Johnson said. “Let us see what the president of the United States has to say tomorrow.”

American representatives at the meeting told other leaders that “good news was imminent” on the U.S. share of the $100 billion a year, said a senior U.N. official who briefed reporters, on condition of anonymity, about what went on in the closed-door session. Special U.S. climate envoy John Kerry represented the United States at the meeting instead of Biden, according to the United Nations.

But there was “not as much progress,” in getting countries to commit to deeper cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases, the U.N. official said.

The official said several countries that have not updated emissions-cutting goals said they were in the process of doing that, offering some hope. He wouldn’t say which countries those are, but both the No. 1 and No. 3 carbon polluters, China and India, fall in that category.

“Unless we collectively change course, there is a high risk of failure” at huge climate negotiations in six weeks, Guterres said in a news conference after the session. The upcoming climate negotiations in Scotland this fall are designed to be the next step after the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Guterres told CNN that Kerry’s negotiation efforts “have largely failed” because of China’s reluctance to cooperate with the United States. Earlier, in a weekend interview with The Associated Press, he characterized himself as “not desperate, but I’m tremendously worried.”

“We all agree that ‘something must be done’,” Johnson told the leaders, according to a statement released by his office. “Yet I confess, I’m increasingly frustrated that ‘something’ to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough. It is the biggest economies in the world that are causing the problem, while the smallest suffer the worst consequences.”

Johnson said the leaders should “rid the world of coal-fired power and internal combustion engines” and stop deforestation, while rich nations need to live up to their commitment to spend $100 billion a year to help poorer nations deal with climate change.

“It is the developing world that is bearing the brunt of catastrophic climate change,” Johnson said Monday. “We’re the guys that created the problem. … I understand the feelings of injustice in the developing world and the passionate appeals we just heard from Costa Rica, the Maldives and other countries.”

If all the planned coal power plants are built, Gutteres said, “the Paris targets would go up in smoke.”

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Boston dilapidated staircase near MBTA station where BU professor fell to his death has been removed



Boston dilapidated staircase near MBTA station where BU professor fell to his death has been removed

The decrepit staircase near the Dorchester MBTA station where a Boston University professor plunged to his death on Sept. 11 has now been removed.

The rusted-out stairs near the JFK/UMass stop had been closed for nearly two years, but Milton’s David Jones, 40, somehow accessed them while out on a run and fell through the staircase.

In the wake of the BU professor’s death on Sept. 11, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation first further secured the site. Then, a weekend later, crews removed the dilapidated staircase.

“MassDOT demolished the staircase over the weekend after checking with investigatory authorities,” the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said in a statement Monday evening.

In January 2020 — about 20 months ago — the “structure was fenced in, a cement barricade was installed, and a sign was installed by the MBTA stating that the stairs would be closed,” MassDOT said last week.

The state Department of Transportation added last week, “MassDOT mobilized an emergency contract to further secure the site overnight last night.”

Massachusetts State Police have not specified how Jones was able to access the stairs.

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Trudy Rubin: Liberty Medal shines a needed light on embattled dissidents abroad, as US influence wanes



Trudy Rubin: Liberty Medal shines a needed light on embattled dissidents abroad, as US influence wanes

Many people ask me how the United States can claim to promote human rights after its abandonment of Afghan women — and its inability to move China on rights violations in Xinjiang or Hong Kong.

Indeed, as autocrats seize power or grow bolder, those who believe in freedom of speech and peaceful dissent are increasingly silenced. The United States seems to have less and less leverage to mitigate this repression.

So it is especially appropriate that Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center has chosen to award its 33rd annual Liberty Medal on Sept. 21 to two prominent rights advocates, Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai and Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. The award will be presented virtually because Lai sits in prison, while Hathloul is under house arrest after prison and torture.

“They put a human face on the courage of dissidents around the world,” the Constitution Center’s president, Jeffrey Rosen, told me. “We thought it was very important to recognize men and women of conviction who are in prison because of their advocacy for international human rights.”

Indeed, in these grim times it is increasingly vital for private nonprofits and human rights organizations to spotlight those who fight for human rights in their homelands. It reassures them they aren’t forgotten. And it helps keep them alive.

The choice of Lai and Hathloul is particularly symbolic, in a Liberty Medal tradition that has included the youthful fighter for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai (2014), Mikhail Gorbachev (2008), Czech leader Vaclav Havel (1994) and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela (1993).

Those heroes may have been more famous, but this year’s winners exemplify the struggles of our times.

Today’s world is growing less receptive to the concept of universal human rights, an idea reviled by China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. America can still push back, but Beijing and Moscow are more resistant and inspire other autocrats.

Yet courageous human rights advocates continue to struggle against increasingly daunting odds.

Self-made clothing tycoon Jimmy Lai could have sat back and enjoyed his riches. Instead, he founded the widely read and scrappy Apple Daily, which constantly campaigned for expanded voting rights in Hong Kong.

When I interviewed Lai in November 2019, in his airy home on a Hong Kong hillside, his paper was openly supporting the pro-democracy protests that exploded over Beijing’s efforts to limit Hong Kong’s legal independence.

“Rule of law is a basic Western value,” Lai said firmly. “But Beijing looks at this through the prism of very different values.” He knew the risk but kept up Apple Daily’s crusade for the right to demonstrate peacefully and enjoy free elections. “You don’t get universal suffrage without long-term resistance,” he told me.

In June, Beijing shut down Apple Daily as part of its severe crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists. It slapped Lai in jail on multiple charges.

“Jimmy Lai symbolizes press freedom,” says Human Rights Watch’s China director, Sophie Richardson. “Apple Daily was unbelievably important for people to have skeptical reporting about what people in power were up to. He stayed firm in the face of all kinds of pressure in a world full of propaganda.

“The Constitution Center is saying to the universe that this person’s work is important,” Richardson added. “We applaud efforts to hold powerful states accountable. This (award) reminds everybody what we should be striving for.”

For her part, Loujain Hathloul exemplifies the bravery it takes to struggle for women’s rights in societies that crush females. (She is a particularly poignant example at a time when educated Afghan women are being cast back to the Taliban dark ages.)

Hathloul became the face of the campaign for Saudi women’s right to drive when she drove from the United Arab Emirates toward Saudi Arabia in 2014 and livestreamed her journey.

She was arrested at the Saudi border and released after 73 days. But in 2018 she was kidnapped in Abu Dhabi and forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia, then jailed and branded a “traitor.” According to her sister she was beaten, waterboarded, given electric shocks and threatened with rape.

All this under the aegis of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS), who allegedly authorized the gruesome murder of Saudi opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi. MBS later permitted women’s driving but wanted no female activist to get credit. Released from prison in February, Hathloul remains silenced and forbidden to leave the country.

Lai’s and Hathloul’s powerful stories are directly linked to the principles of the U.S. Constitution that the nonpartisan Constitution Center was founded to promote.

The framers believed that human rights were universal, belonging to all human beings, inherent in all of us (even though they violated those ideals when it came to slavery). That enlightenment value system is now under challenge globally. “It is important in a politicized world for private nonprofits to stand up for individual liberty and freedom,” says Rosen, “and to recognize the courage of freedom fighters in exercising rights of conscience.”

In other words, Loujain al-Hathloul and Jimmy Lai are fighting for universal rights that matter to all of us, and we should support their struggle. Which is why this year’s Liberty Medal awardees are a key addition to the pantheon of heroes who have received it before.

Trudy Rubin is a columnist and editorial-board member for the Philadelphia Inquirer, P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. Her email address is [email protected]

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