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YouPorn Released New Feature ‘Search By Emoji’

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YouPorn Released New Feature 'Search By Emoji'

YouPorn has launched a new feature that’ll let viewers search through its archive of dirty videos with a range of 75 different emoji.

According to the site, the update is to make browsing its wares more fun for smartphone users.
Although the emoji search will be available on desktop, the company says it’s in response to a large increase in mobile traffic.

To find the kind of video they want, all they have to do is enter an emoji into the search bar and the site will spit out a video that matches the illustration.

YouPorn Released New Feature 'Search By Emoji'

YouPorn Released New Feature ‘Search By Emoji’

Here’s basically how YouPorn sees the world of emoji:

  1. High-heeled shoe – “fetish”
  2. Man Magician – “beard”
  3. Star-Struck Face – “verified amateurs”
  4. Eggplant – “big penis”
  5. Female Judge – “masturbation instructions”
  6. We’ll leave you to guess what the sweat droplets are code for.
  7. ‘The ability to search by emoji is our latest technological advancement and we are thrilled to bring this option to our loyal user base, offering specific content that suits what our users are looking for at the exact time they are looking for it,’ said YouPorn vice president Charlie Hughes.

Emoji search has arrived on a porn site (Image: YouPorn)Porn sites continue to be among the most visited in the world. In 2016, there were 23 billion visits to PornHub – which is owned by the same company as YouPorn. In 2017, this increased by 23.9% to 28.5 billion visits.

YouPorn Released New Feature 'Search By Emoji'

YouPorn Released New Feature ‘Search By Emoji’

About YouPorn:

Founded in 2006, YouPorn has been at the forefront of technology in the adult entertainment space. Constantly evolving, YouPorn continue to support and encourage the future of porn, by actively diversifying the industry and pointing the conversation toward content discovery. YouPorn prides itself on providing a clean, inclusive and personalized experience for all users, partners, and advertisers. For more information please visit www.youporn.com/world/

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Avalanche all-college line features three natural centers, plenty of potential

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Avalanche all-college line features three natural centers, plenty of potential

Call it the Education Line.

Center Alex Newhook is fresh off a two-year stint at Boston College. Left winger Tyson Jost played one season at North Dakota. Right winger J.T. Compher played three years at Michigan.

Three proud hockey players from three perennial national powers, now linemates for what is considered the Avalanche’s third line.

“We’re always beaking at each other and whatnot,” Jost said of college rivalries on Saturday after Day 3 of on-ice training camp at Family Sports Center. “It’s fun. It’s cool to see three college guys on a line and all three of us are pretty close friends, too.”

Former NCAA players make up roughly 33% of the NHL, according to College Hockey Inc., with the rest coming from major junior or Europe.

Avs coach Jared Bednar formed the Education Line for Thursday’s first day of camp, putting three natural centers together. He said Jost, 23, or Compher, 26, could move to center, which has added defensive responsibilities, but chose to begin with the rookie, Newhook, 20, for development reasons.

Newhook, who was Colorado’s second 2019 first-round draft pick (16th overall), signed with the Avs on March 31 after his sophomore year at BC. He played six regular-season games for the Avs and eight in the playoffs in burning the first year of his entry-level contract.

“I want to give him the opportunity to play the position where he was drafted and see how he handles it,” Bednar said of Newhook. “If he could play up the lineup as a winger, opposed to down in the lineup as a center, I’d probably lean that way. So those are all things we have to see. I haven’t seen him play enough hockey at this level to make that decision.”

Not long ago, Jost and Compher were in Newhook’s shoes as a heralded collegian trying to fit into the NHL.

“Comph and I are there to help him, for sure,” Jost said. “I remember being in his position four years ago. It’s exciting. We have a good line. We’re fast out there. We’re not the biggest guys ever but we can all skate and it’s fun when we’re playing that way.”

Bednar and his staff want to see more offense from Jost and Compher this season to help replace the combined 32 goals lost from the departures of Brandon Saad and Joonas Donskoi. Saad, who was lost to St. Louis in free agency, had 15 goals in just 44 games. Donskoi, who was selected by Seattle in the expansion draft, had 17 in 51.

Compher and Jost combined for just 17 goals.

“It’s wanted pressure, for sure,” Jost said of increased offense. “I want that responsibility.”

MacDermids. New Avs defenseman/enforcer Kurtis MacDermid was born in Quebec City when his father, Paul MacDermid, played for the Nordiques in 1993-94 and 1994-95 — the club’s last two seasons before it moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche.

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Severity of COVID-19 illness may depend on levels of one protein

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Severity of COVID-19 illness may depend on levels of one protein

Coronavirus delta variant. (File/Getty)

(StudyFinds) – One protein which scientists say sends out the “do not eat me” signal to the human immune system may be responsible for people having more severe cases of COVID-19.

Researchers from the University of Kent have discovered that higher levels of this protein on the surface of infected cells may be blocking the immune system from doing its job.

Although many patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 will only develop mild symptoms, others will experience severe and life-threatening reactions. COVID-19 is already responsible for nearly 700,000 deaths in the United States. The new findings reveal that the protein CD47 may play a major role in these deaths.

The ‘do not eat me’ signal tricks the immune system

CD47 sends out a signal that prevents the immune system’s defenses from accidentally destroying healthy cells. However, researchers found that when SARS-CoV-2 infects human cells, more CD47 appears on the cell surface.

The team adds this is likely keeping the immune system from recognizing the infected cells as a threat. Without the immune system attacks these cells, the virus can continue to replicate and lead to more severe symptoms.

Study authors add that specific risk factors for severe COVID-19 infections — like old age and pre-existing conditions such as diabetes — also show a link to higher CD47 protein levels. High CD47 levels contribute to high blood pressure as well — another risk factor for severe COVID complications.

Researchers note that therapeutics which target CD47 are already in development. Their findings may help to improve their effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is exciting. We may have identified a major factor associated with severe COVID-19. This is a huge step in combatting the disease and we can now look forward to further progress in the design of therapeutics,” says Professor Martin Michaelis in the media release.

“These additional insights into the disease processes underlying COVID-19 may help us to design better therapies, as well as an appreciation for the importance of the breadth of research being conducted. Through this avenue, we have achieved a major breakthrough and exemplified that the fight against the disease continues,” adds Professor Jindrich Cinatl from Goethe University-Frankfurt.

The study appears in the journal Current Issues in Molecular Biology.

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Kiszla: If Courtland Sutton and Von Miller go to Pro Bowl, Broncos will follow them into NFL playoffs

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Courtland Sutton’s return-to-form game is career-best and helps Broncos beat Jaguars, move to 2-0

Denver is a Broncos town. While football doesn’t define a great city, nothing brings Denver a greater sense of community than football. So on this Sunday, on a stadium off Federal Blvd., when 75,000 fans are reunited in orange with the team for the first time since COVID-19 forced us apart, how great is it going to feel?

“It’s going to be cool. We love Broncos country, Broncos Country loves us. It’s going to be great arriving there 2-0. I know the fans can appreciate that. We’re just going to keep trying to ride the wave,” linebacker Von Miller said.

During the pandemic, we’ve all made sacrifices, all experienced loss, all felt isolated, all wondered when going to a big party would happen again.

For the Broncos and everyone that loves them in this football-crazy town, that time has arrived.

Denver vs. the hapless New York Jets, slated to start for a few ticks of the clock past 2 p.m. Go ahead. Get a little crazy. When was the last time the Broncos, five long years without a playoff appearance, were double-digit favorites against any foe?

How joy is defined at the home opener of the 2021 NFL season can be as unique as each one of 75,000 fans and the 11 Denver players that take the field for the opening kickoff, as Empower Field at Mile High rocks and rolls, riding an orange wave of emotion.

Maybe that joy can be defined by something as simple as a fist bump exchanged in the South Stands between fans that haven’t seen each other since before the coronavirus drove a wedge between us. Or maybe it’s the return of hope that big things are again possible in Broncos Country, a sense of hope that new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has instilled with back-to-back road victories.

But what will make me smile will be the sight of every No. 14 and No. 58 jersey worn proudly throughout the stadium, welcoming back Courtland Sutton and Von Miller from injuries that crushed the team’s chances of success in 2020.

“You talk about ‘Court,’ how he’s worked, the sacrifice he’s made to get back to this point,” Bridgewater said.

After playing only 31 snaps in 2020 before tearing his ACL while attempting to make a tackle after an interception, Sutton made a bold statement in Week 2 at Jacksonville, catching nine passes for 159  yards almost a year to the day from his injury.

“There’s nothing like having success in the game, for the mental. Mentally, you can say: “I’m back, I can do it,’ ” said Miller, who missed all of last season with a freak injury suffered on the turf of the team’s indoor facility, where the Broncos were practicing during a freak September snowstorm.

While the influence of Bridgewater on the team’s 2-0 start can’t be overestimated, what could make even a bigger impact on the Broncos going forward is the return of Sutton and Miller to their Pro Bowl form.

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4 accused of plotting school attack on Columbine anniversary

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4 accused of plotting school attack on Columbine anniversary

DUNMORE, Pa. — Four teenagers have been charged with a plot to attack a Pennsylvania high school in 2024, on the 25th anniversary of the massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School, authorities said.

A 15-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy are charged as adults and two other teenagers face juvenile charges in the plan to attack Dunmore High School, outside Scranton, on April 20, 2024, authorities said. Investigators said the girl’s mother told police that her daughter was “obsessed with Columbine,” The Times-Tribune reported Friday.

“While the investigation is ongoing, I want to assure the parents, students and staff at Dunmore High School that we do not believe there is any active threat at this time,” District Attorney Mark Powell said in a statement. “We are relieved that this plot was uncovered before anyone was hurt and urge anyone who has information about potential threats of school violence to contact police immediately.”

A Molotov cocktail, components for bombs, writings on how to make bombs, and handwritten lists of guns, ammunition and tactical gear complete with prices were found at the girl’s home, investigators said in a criminal complaint.

The Times-Tribune reported that the girl’s mother and defense attorney Corey Eagen declined to comment, while the other teen charged as an adult had no lawyer during Friday’s arraignment. Powell declined to comment on the juvenile charges.

The mother of one of the teens charged as a juvenile discovered text messages on her child’s cellphone July 6 in which a group discussed plans to “shoot up the school,” investigators said in the complaint. The teen told investigators that he thought it was bluster until he saw 20 to 30 Molotov cocktails under the girl’s porch.

Dunmore schools Superintendent John Marichak told the newspaper he was appalled but relieved by the arrests. A statement on the district’s website said authorities had assured officials that there was “no current danger to students or staff.”

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Do I have fall allergies or COVID?

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Do I have fall allergies or COVID?

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DENVER (KDVR/WATE/NEWS10) – From coughing to sneezing, and even that scratchy throat, how can you tell the difference between your allergies and COVID?

“Most people who have allergies know what their allergies feel like and when they tend to peak,” said Dr. Flavia Hoyte, an allergist with National Jewish Health,

The answer might not be as simple as it seems per the CDC definitions of symptomatic reportable illness so that you can also be sick with COVID-19 and not have a fever.

A fever does not accompany allergies, so if you have one it could be the first sign that you may want to get tested for COVID-19.

Allergies generally will not affect the lungs but can trigger asthma in people with allergic asthma. Allergies also typically do not cause a fever or extreme fatigue Dr. Hoyte said, some allergy symptoms, like nasal congestion or runny nose, also can be symptoms of viral infections such as a cold or COVID-19. 

‘Almost identical’ symptoms

As we enter the fall, parents bracing themselves for the usual cold and flu threats now have to be on the lookout for COVID-19 and spiking RSV cases in parts of the country.

“It’s really challenging for parents to tell the difference between seasonal allergies, common colds, and potentially the COVID virus and how it’s affecting kids,” East Tennessee Children’s Hospitals Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joe Childs, told WATE. “Symptoms between RSV and other viruses, even COVID, are almost identical.

Common Symptoms of allergies

  • Itchy, watery and/or red eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Sneezing
  • Itching of the skin

Some allergy symptoms, like nasal congestion or runny nose, also can be symptoms of viral infections such as a cold or COVID-19.

Allergies generally will not affect the lungs but can trigger asthma in people with allergic asthma. Allergies also typically do not cause a fever or extreme fatigue, according to the National Jewish Health.

Common Symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Other less common symptoms are:

  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Nasal congestion,
  • Conjunctivitis (also known as red eyes)
  • Sore throat,
  • Headache,
  • Muscle or joint pain,
  • Different types of skin rash,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Chills or dizziness.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Attention immediately

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include:

  • Irritability,
  • Confusion,
  • Reduced consciousness (sometimes associated with seizures),
  • Anxiety,
  • Depression,
  • Sleep disorders,
  • More severe and rare neurological complications such as strokes, brain inflammation, delirium and nerve damage.

Although this list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or which concern you.

The easiest way to determine the difference is by getting a COVID-19 test.

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Aerial Powers possesses the scoring prowess Lynx will need to make potential playoff run

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Aerial Powers possesses the scoring prowess Lynx will need to make potential playoff run

Walk down to the offensive end of the floor and call out a play, and you’ll likely wonder if you’re in some kind of echo chamber.

Because the second you make a play call, the defense is calling it out, too. Your opponent knows exactly what’s coming.

Welcome to the playoffs.

“Everybody knows everybody’s plays,” Lynx forward Natalie Achonwa said. “So (it’s about) fine-tuning details and how we can challenge ourselves to just play basketball. When you get to that level and get to this time of year, it’s how can you steal possessions, how can you break a play to make a play?”

For some teams that’s a real challenge. Take away Option or Plan A and they don’t have a B. The Lynx seemed to run into that in some way in last year’s WNBA semifinals against Seattle. The Storm gameplanned Crystal Dangerfield largely out of the equation, and Minnesota, largely as a byproduct of its roster at the time, didn’t have many other answers.

The 2021 Lynx have no such issues. Minnesota opens its WNBA playoffs with a one-and-done quarterfinal game against Chicago on Sunday at Target Center. It does so with a full arsenal of offensive weapons: Sylvia Fowles, Napheesa Collier, Layshia Clarendon, Kayla McBride and Aerial Powers are top of mind on that list. The latter is perhaps the most important.

Because Powers is a true game breaker. Brought in last offseason via free agency, Powers is the type of player who can turn a game, or even a series, on its head with an offensive spurt. She’s also not a player who can be relegated to bystander by virtue of a defensive scheme.

“Aerial can score in many different ways,” Achonwa said. “She’s gritty, she’s feisty, she can get to the rim, she can shoot the pull-up. So her really feeling comfortable and getting in a flow really helps us.”

That impact was felt down the stretch run of the regular season. Much of Powers’ 2021 campaign was hampered by injuries. She barely played in the first half of the season, and even when she did, she was playing catchup without the benefit of ample practice reps.

“There was no quality work, quality time. It was more just kind of surviving. It was not the place you want to be in … but that’s where we were,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Just never got any rhythm with that.”

But the saving grace for Minnesota was time. By the time Powers was healed up from her latest ailment, a thumb injury, there were still 10 games remaining in the Lynx’s regular season — a byproduct of the Olympic break that wiped out a month of action. That allowed not only for Powers to return in time for the stretch run, but for Minnesota to have time to ease her in at the appropriate pace.

Powers didn’t crack the 20-minute mark until five games into her return. That night, she scored 20 points in a win over Washington. She was off to the races from there. Powers scored 17-plus points in five of Minnesota’s final six contests. With every game she felt herself progressing in so many areas, from her thumb comfort to her conditioning to her chemistry with teammates.

Powers now feels good when it matters most.

“I feel like I’m progressing at the right time,” Powers said. “I think our whole team is.”

The 27-year-old scoring guard may be the key to unlocking the Lynx’s championship puzzle. Minnesota is so solid across the board, but solid might not be enough to take down the League’s titans one after another. But special is.

Powers is special with the ball in her hands. Take one thing away, and she’ll divert the plan to something else that you left open. In the regular season finale against Washington, in which Powers scored 27 points, Reeve noted the Mystics applied pressure on the perimeter. Powers beat the pressure and drew fouls.

There is no easy solution to slowing a player with that skill set. It’s what makes Powers such a threat come playoff time.

“Teams want this. Teams want a player that can score in a variety of ways,” Reeve said. “Just really gifted. She plays with instinct and whatever is there.”

Powers thinks that ability to react on the fly and deviate from the game plan when necessary is the “Detroit ballplayer” in her.

“When they do take away something,” Powers said. “I’m able to create for me and my teammates.”

The Lynx, Reeve noted, have to trust that ability.

“Because she is going to do things that you didn’t know were going to be available, because she’s that dynamic,” Reeve said. “Every team wants that, and we’re thankful that we have that, because this team absolutely needs a player like that.”

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Vikings sign running back Ameer Abdullah off practice squad, waive tackle Blake Brandel

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Vikings sign running back Ameer Abdullah off practice squad, waive tackle Blake Brandel

The Vikings on Saturday signed running back Ameer Abdullah off the practice squad and waived tackle Blake Brandel.

The team also elevated guard Dakota Dozier and cornerback Parry Nickerson off the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday’s game against Seattle at U.S. Bank Stadium.

Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook is listed as questionable for Sunday with an ankle injury. A source had said before the Vikings announced roster moves Saturday that they were considering elevating running back A.J. Rose Jr. off the practice squad, so perhaps it was a sign that Cook is expected to play when that move wasn’t made.

In addition to Cook, other running backs on the active roster are Alexander Mattison and now Abdullah. Abdullah started the season on the practice squad, was elevated for a Week 1 game at Cincinnati, was signed to the active roster on Sept. 18 and played against Arizona in Week 2, and then was released last Tuesday and signed to the practice squad.

With Brandel waived and Christian Darrisaw having been ruled out Friday due to a groin injury, the Vikings on Sunday won’t dress out any players with a listed position of tackle other than starters Brian O’Neill and Rashod Hill. However, starting guards Oli Udoh and Ezra Cleveland and Dozier all also can play tackle.

With Harrison Hand (hamstring) out, Vikings co-defensive coordinator Adam Zimmer was asked Thursday who the backup nickelback is behind Mackensie Alexander, and he declined to say. However, it should be noted that Nickerson has ample experience in playing the nickel.

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Big-favorite Gophers shocked in a 14-10 loss to Bowling Green

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Big-favorite Gophers shocked in a 14-10 loss to Bowling Green

Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck said Monday the players’ job on homecoming week is to not be distracted by events surrounding Saturday’s game against Bowling Green.

“Leave it up to somebody else to decorate the gym and pick out what punch we’re going to drink, whatever it is,” Fleck said.  “For us, our job is to go out there and put a great product on the field.”

But the football program didn’t do its one job, losing 14-10 at Huntington Bank Stadium. When trailing 7-3 at half, U players and coaches ran off to a smattering of boos.

Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck told the team in the locker room after the game: “Whatever you felt like could be some of the worst football we could have played, we just put it out there.”

Two long streaks were snapped: Minnesota’s 21 straight nonconference wins and Bowling Green’s 10 consecutive losses to FBS teams dating back to November 2019.

Last week, roughly 10,000 Gopher fans traveled to Colorado and were treated to a fun-loving 30-0 shutout of the Buffaloes in Boulder. With that convincing win, it looked like Minnesota could go on a winning streak well into restart of Big Ten play next week.

Not anymore.

“(We) couldn’t have played any worse,” Fleck said on the radio postgame.

The Gophers put Bowling Green on its schedule back in November 2017, and they will pay the Mid-American Conference school $1.45 million for the trip. Given the Falcons recent struggles, the U’s organizers did their part putting the expected cupcake up as its homecoming opponent.

But the U stuck up the joint Saturday. Minnesota had three turnovers, allowed four sacks and suffered seven penalties, some coming at the worst times. They were also bailed out at time by Bowling Green, which has 70 players that graduated in 2020 or 2021, but the breaks stopped coming.

Minnesota had only 94 yards of total offense in the first half and lost its top receiver Chris Autman-Bell to an ankle injury on the first drive. They finished with a paltry 241 yards, and the passing offense dragged them down.

Veteran QB Tanner Morgan completed only 5 of 13 passes for 59 yards. Morgan fumbled after a 18-yard gain in the first half and had two interceptions in the second half. The offensive line struggled with blitzes and stunts, forcing Morgan into four sacks and getting hit while throwing his second pick.

Bowling Green scored its first-half touchdown after Minnesota’s offense failed to convert on fourth-and-1 from its own 29. The line was beat and Trey Potts had to eat a 5-yard loss.

The U responded early in the third quarter with backup quarterback Cole Kramer coming in for a play and rushing for a 18-yard score, the first of his career. It gave Minnesota a 10-7 lead.

But Bowling Green retook the lead at 14-10. To set up the score, the Falcons converted on 4th and 1 with Matt McDonald breaking free for an 18-yard gain on a naked bootleg. McDonald then scored on a 3-yard draw.

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Other voices: Biden needs to start taking some tough questions

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Biden doubles US global donation of COVID-19 vaccine shots

Britain’s rumpled Prime Minister Boris Johnson has plenty of reasons to fear the press.

He was fatally slow to respond in the early weeks of the COVID-19 crisis. His former aide, Dominic Cummings, has already offered up a Shakespearean level of vitriol in his revelatory tome about the shortcomings of his boss. There is that fight with the French. Lots of criticism on Afghanistan. Gas bills. Brexit fallout. Cabinet reshuffling chaos.

And there is even the pressing matter as to just how many children have the right to call Johnson dad. Six, Johnson only recently confirmed, as jaws dropped all over Britain.

Plenty of reason, then to hide in the corner. But there was a relaxed Johnson at the White House, looking like he was having a great time in one of his favorite countries, calling on British reporters to ask questions and engaging in the time-honored democratic practice of riposte and retort with the assigned representatives of his bosses, otherwise known as the electorate.

President Joe Biden has problems, too, beginning with the chaos at the border involving overwhelmed border guards, thousands of impoverished Haitian migrants and an immigration strategy so riven by internal disagreement within the administration that it cannot seem to make a single clear decision about anything.

There’s the fight over COVID-19 booster shots; the administration’s reversals and waverings on vaccine mandates and COVID policy in general; looming inflation from, in part, too much federal largesse; and the legacy of the indefensibly chaotic U.S. exit from Afghanistan, not least of which is the Aug. 29 drone strike in that pained nation.

Conservatives often say that reporters have treated Biden with kid gloves compared with the prior administration and any rational, nonpartisan thinker can see they have a point.

Johnson took care of his nation’s media as he should. But when U.S. reporters tried to question their own leader, Biden’s communications team, in this instance better understood as a non-communications team, basically drowned out their own boss and hustled reporters out of the room with all the condescending customer service skills of ambitious Soviet apparatchiks.

At that point, the Biden administration’s lack of transparency and the president’s unwillingness to hold a news conference became too much even for sympathetic reporters. All over New York and Washington, the righteous indignation of a trained journalist trying to do a job crucial to American democracy kicked into gear. The memory of Biden not taking questions after major addresses on Aug. 16, Aug. 18, Aug. 31, and Sept. 9 started to smart, and many reporters took to Twitter to say, in essence, why the heck is this administration so afraid of questions?

We’re amplifying those observations here: Why indeed?

In fact, the Biden communications team’s hustle served only to make their boss look worse, to play into any negative perceptions about his acuity and leadership. No chief executive should let himself be hustled out of a room like that for any reason other than a security concern.

Biden is an old hand at speaking to the press. He is skilled at the art of frank oratory and in paying attention to the emotional engagement of the listener. He is perfectly capable of defending himself. As he has an obligation to do exactly that.

Americans are smart enough to know the difference between a prepared speech on a teleprompter followed by no questions whatsoever, and a frank interview with a professional reporter representing the interests of the American citizenry.

One must not be allowed to replace the other. Especially when the problems of an administration compound.

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Canadians, Chinese executive return home in prisoner swap

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Canadians, Chinese executive return home in prisoner swap

By ROB GILLIES

TORONTO (AP) — China, the U.S. and Canada completed a high-stakes prisoner swap with joyous homecomings for two Canadians held by China and for an executive of Chinese global communications giant Huawei Technologies charged with fraud, potentially bringing closure to a 3-year feud that embroiled the three countries.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugged diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on the tarmac after they landed in Calgary, Alberta early Saturday. The men were detained in China in Dec. 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies’ chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, on a U.S. extradition request.

Many countries labeled China’s action “hostage politics,” while China accused Ottawa of arbitrary detention. The two Canadians were jailed for more than 1,000 days.

“It’s fantastic to be back home in Canada and I am immensely grateful to everybody who worked hard to bring both of us back home,” a noticeably thinner Kovrig said after a Canadian government plane landed in Toronto and he was greeted by his wife and sister.

“I’m feeling fantastic,” Kovrig said.

Meng’s return to China later Saturday was carried live on state TV, underscoring the degree to which Beijing has linked her case with Chinese nationalism and its rise as a global economic and political power.

Wearing a red dress matching the color of China’s flag, Meng thanked the ruling Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping for supporting her through more than 1,000 days in house arrest in Vancouver, where she owns two multimillion dollar mansions.

“I have finally returned to the warm embrace of the motherland,” Meng said. “As an ordinary Chinese citizen going through this difficult time, I always felt the warmth and concern of the party, the nation and the people.”

The chain of events involving the global powers brought an abrupt end to legal and geopolitical wrangling that has roiled relations between Washington, Beijing and Ottawa. The three-way deal enabled China and Canada to each bring home their own detained citizens while the U.S. wrapped up a criminal case against Meng that for months had been mired in an extradition fight.

“These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that,” Trudeau said of the two Canadians.

The first activity came Friday afternoon when Meng, 49, reached an agreement with federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year and allowed for her to return to China immediately. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company’s business dealings in Iran.

The deal was reached as President Joe Biden and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping have sought to tamp down signs of public tension — even as the world’s two dominant economies are at odds on issues as diverse as cybersecurity, climate change, human rights and trade and tariffs. Biden said in an address before the U.N. General Assembly earlier this week that he had no intention of starting a “new Cold War,” while Xi told world leaders that disputes among countries “need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation.”

“The U.S. Government stands with the international community in welcoming the decision by People’s Republic of China authorities to release Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig after more than two-and-a-half years of arbitrary detention. We are pleased that they are returning home to Canada,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

As part of the deal with Meng, the Justice Department agreed to dismiss the fraud charges against her in December 2022 — exactly four years after her arrest — provided that she complies with certain conditions, including not contesting any of the government’s factual allegations. The Justice Department also agreed to drop its request that Meng be extradited to the U.S., which she had vigorously challenged.

After appearing via videoconference for her New York hearing, Meng made a brief court appearance in Vancouver, where she’d been out on bail living in a multimillion-dollar mansion while the two Canadians were held in Chinese prison cells where the lights were kept on 24 hours a day.

Outside the courtroom, Meng thanked the Canadian government for upholding the rule of law, expressed gratitude to the Canadian people and apologized “for the inconvenience I caused.”

“Over the last three years my life has been turned upside down,” she said. “It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, a wife and as a company executive. But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life. I will never forget all the good wishes I received.”

Shortly afterward, Meng left on an Air China flight for Shenzhen, China, the location of Huawei’s headquarters.

Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. It has been a symbol of China’s progress in becoming a technological world power — and a subject of U.S. security and law enforcement concerns. Some analysts say Chinese companies have flouted international rules and norms and stolen technology.

The case against Meng stems from a January 2019 indictment from the Trump administration Justice Department that accused Huawei of stealing trade secrets and using a Hong Kong shell company called Skycom to sell equipment to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. The indictment also charged Meng herself with committing fraud by misleading the HSBC bank about the company’s business dealings in Iran.

The indictment came amid a broader Trump administration crackdown against Huawei over U.S. government concerns that the company’s products could facilitate Chinese spying. The administration cut off Huawei’s access to U.S. components and technology, including Google’s music and other smartphone services, and later barred vendors worldwide from using U.S. technology to produce components for Huawei.

The Biden White House, meanwhile, has kept up a hard line on Huawei and other Chinese corporations whose technology is thought to pose national security risks. Huawei has repeatedly denied the U.S. government’s allegations and security concerns about its products.

Former Canadian ambassador to China, Guy Saint-Jacques, Kovrig’s former boss, said he was elated the two Canadians are home.

“Clearly, the Chinese were so eager to get Meng back that they jettisoned all pretensions that the two Michaels had been arrested for good reasons. They must acknowledge that their reputation has been severely tarnished,” Saint-Jacques said. “There is grumbling in the Communist party of China, people saying, ‘In which direction are we going, Xi Jinping? We are creating too many enemies. Why are we enemies with countries like Canada and Australia?’”

Saint-Jacques said he thinks China will think twice before using “hostage diplomacy” again.

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Eric Tucker in Washington, Jim Mustian in New York and Jim Morris in Vancouver, Canada, contributed to this report.

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