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Palestinian farmer discovers rare ancient treasure in Gaza

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Palestinian Farmer Discovers Rare Ancient Treasure In Gaza
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BUREIJ, Gaza Strip (AP) — Last spring, a Palestinian farmer was planting a new olive tree when his shovel hit a hard object. He called his son, and for three months the couple slowly excavated an ornate Byzantine-era mosaic that experts say is one of the greatest archaeological treasures ever found in Gaza.

The find has sparked excitement among archaeologists, and Hamas leaders in the territory are planning a major announcement in the coming days.

But it also draws calls for better protection of Gaza’s antiquities, a fragile set of sites threatened by a lack of awareness and resources as well as the constant risk of conflict between Israel and local Palestinian activists.

The mosaic was discovered just one kilometer (half a mile) from the Israeli border. The floor, decorated with 17 iconographies of animals and birds, is well preserved and its colors are vivid.

“These are the most beautiful mosaic floors discovered in Gaza, both in terms of the quality of the graphic representation and the complexity of the geometry,” said René Elter, archaeologist of the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.

“Never have mosaic floors of this finesse, such precision in graphics and richness of color been discovered in the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Elter says the mosaic pavement dates back to a time between the 5th and 7th centuries. But he said proper excavation must be carried out to determine when exactly it was built and whether it was part of a religious or secular complex.

Elter, who has conducted research in Gaza in the past, was unable to visit the site but viewed a series of photos and videos taken by local research partners.

The Gaza Strip, a Palestinian coastal enclave sandwiched between Israel and Egypt, was a bustling trade route between Egypt and the Levant in ancient times. The coastal strip is full of remains of ancient civilizations, from the Bronze Age to the Islamic and Ottoman eras.

However, treasures are rarely protected. In the past they were looted. In recent years, some have been damaged or destroyed by development projects or fighting with Israel. An Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after the militant group Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007 has ravaged the economy, leaving few resources for the protection of antiquities.

Hamas itself pays little attention to the preservation of sites as it struggles to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population. More than 2.3 million people are stuck in the strip’s 300 square kilometers (115 square miles). In 2017, Hamas bulldozers destroyed large parts of a site containing the remains of a 4,500-year-old Bronze Age settlement to make housing projects for its employees.

Earlier this year, bulldozers digging for an Egyptian-funded housing project in northern Gaza unearthed a Roman-era tomb.

Among the few preserved sites in Gaza are the Monastery of St. Hilarion, which spans from the late Roman Empire to the Islamic Umayyad period, and the site of a Byzantine church that has been restored by organizations of international aid and open this year in the northern Gaza Strip. .

Although these sites also have mosaics, Elter said the latest discovery, in the central Gaza town of Bureij, is “exceptional”.

The Hamas-run Department of Antiquities described the mosaic as “a great archaeological find” but declined to comment further, saying there would be an official announcement later.

The owner of the land, who declined to be identified before the official announcement, covered the unearthed part of the mosaic floor with tin foil. He said he hopes to receive compensation for protecting the unique find on his property.

The plot of land containing the mosaic measures approximately 500 square meters (5,400 square feet) and three excavated spots reveal glimpses of the mosaic.

The largest of the holes in the floor, approximately 2 meters by 3 meters (6 feet by 9 feet), contains the 17 animal designs. The other two show intricate tile patterns. The roots of an old olive tree have damaged parts of the mosaic, which appears to have a total area of ​​around 23 square meters (250 square feet).

Elter said the discovery is in “immediate danger” because it is so close to the Israeli separation barrier.

These areas along the fence are often the scene of intermittent clashes or Israeli incursions. Last month, Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza fought a fierce three-day battle that included Israeli shelling of militant posts and the landing of a few failed Palestinian rockets in the area.

Elter is also concerned that excavations by inexperienced people will damage the site. His hope is that a professional team can properly dig, restore and protect the mosaic.

“It is imperative to organize an emergency relief response quickly,” Elter said.

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The NRA’s highest-rated Republicans are also mostly election deniers

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The Nra'S Highest-Rated Republicans Are Also Mostly Election Deniers
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In the abstract, it makes sense that candidates who are strong supporters of gun rights are also more likely to reject the 2020 election results. The guideline is partisanship. Vigorous adherence to positions like those advocated by the National Rifle Association is expected of Republican candidates in most places, and most Republicans still think the 2020 election was stolen — which, of course, doesn’t. was not.

In practical terms, however, the overlap between gun ownership and voter denial is bewildering. Many of the strongest proponents of freely available firearms center their views on the idea that guns are necessary to fight an oppressive federal government. If this government is seen as also illegitimate, the risk of violence would necessarily seem to increase.

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Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization that lobbies for new legislation aimed at combating gun violence, decided to assess the extent of the overlap between the aforementioned viewpoints for one particular group of Republicans: those who seek to get elected. They looked at the letter grades the NRA uses to measure candidates’ support for gun rights and overlapped the findings with FiveThirtyEight’s examination of the prevalence of denial about the loss of Donald Trump in 2020.

A total of 397 candidates for House or state-level office (Senate, governor, executive offices) had both NRA rank and a publicly expressed position on the election. Of those, 138 were both given an A or A+ rating by the NRA and were classified as having “totally denied” the election by FiveThirtyEight. In other words: 52% of all A/A+ grade recipients were complete election deniers and 73% of complete election deniers had an A or A+.

Add to those who were rated A- or Aq (an A qualified by the lack of a voting record) and 186 of the 397 candidates had an A and were complete election deniers.

If we overlap the 2020 vote in the jurisdiction each candidate hopes to represent, an interesting pattern emerges. Those most likely to deny the election results and get the highest NRA ratings are also very likely to represent/seek to represent the places Trump won in 2020. Most others – especially those whose opinions on the FiveThirtyEight election could not determine – hope to represent the places President Biden won. It is safe to assume that some of those who held back from sharing their opinions did so because they recognized that an embrace of voter denial would not play well with their potential voters.

There is also the flip side of this overlapping voting history to consider. The fact that most of these jurisdictions are places where Trump won means that the Republican candidates included in this analysis are also more likely to win. There are 115 Grade A/A+ NRA recipients who have completely denied the election results and hope to represent places that were red in 2020.

More than 100 of them are candidates for the House.

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At least 15 dead after 2 migrant boats sink in Greek waters

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At Least 15 Dead After 2 Migrant Boats Sink In Greek Waters
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ATHENS, Greece — At least 15 people died when two boats carrying migrants sank in Greek waters on Wednesday night, and rescuers were searching for dozens of people still missing, authorities said Thursday.

The Coast Guard said 15 bodies were found near the eastern island of Lesvos after a dinghy carrying around 40 people sank. Five people were rescued and three had been located on a rocky outcrop near the sinking site. A second rescue effort was launched several hundred kilometers to the west, near the island of Kythera, where a sailboat carrying around 100 migrants struck rocks and sank on Wednesday evening.

Officials said 30 people were rescued after the boat hit rocks off the harbor in the village of Diakofti in the east of the island. Winds in the area were up to 45 mph.

“We could see the boat crashing against the rocks and people climbing over those rocks to try to save themselves. It was an amazing sight,” local resident Martha Stathaki told The Associated Press. “All the locals here have come down to the port to try to help.”

Fire rescuers lowered ropes to help migrants scale cliffs on the seafront. Local officials said a school in the area would be open to provide shelter for those rescued. Navy divers were also due to arrive on Thursday.

Most migrants arriving in Greece travel from neighboring Turkey, but smugglers have changed routes in recent months to avoid the heavily patrolled waters around the Greek islands near the Turkish coast.

Kythira is about 250 miles west of Turkey and on a route often used by smugglers to bypass Greece and head straight for Italy.

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Bidenomics pushes US national debt past $31 billion for first time

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The Biden administration’s relentless reliance on borrowing pushed the gross national debt to over $31 trillion for the first time amid record inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession imminent.

U.S. government debt closed at $31.1 trillion on Monday, according to Treasury Department data released Tuesday.

The step comes as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tackle the highest inflation in 40 years, and the government borrows money to fund tax cuts even as it sends billions of overseas taxpayer dollars to Ukraine in aid.

“Many of the concerns we’ve had about the trajectory of our growing debt are starting to play out as we increase both our debt and our interest rates,” said Michael Peterson, chief executive of the Foundation. Peterson, who promotes deficit reduction.

“Too many people were happy with our debt trajectory, in part because rates were so low.”

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a US federal agency that provides Congress with economic and fiscal analysis, has warned of growing US debt under the Biden administration, warning that investors could lose confidence in the government’s ability to repay what it owes, as Breitbart News reported.

Those worries, the budget office said, could lead to “a sharp rise in interest rates and spiraling inflation.”

The $31 trillion threshold poses a political problem for President Biden, who has pledged to seek a more sustainable fiscal trajectory and reduce federal budget deficits by $1 trillion over a decade.

It also directly contradicts Biden’s assertion in September 2021 that his $3.5 trillion spending program actually costs “zero dollars” due to his safe and capable handling of taxpayers’ money.

“My build back better program costs nothing,” read a post from Biden’s Twitter account.

His message argued that the money was currently being “wasted” on “tax breaks, loopholes and tax evasion” and should be redistributed to working Americans as directed by his office.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that Biden’s debt addiction has added nearly $5 trillion to deficits since he took office.

This projection includes Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, a variety of new spending initiatives approved by Congress, and a student debt cancellation plan that is expected to cost taxpayers nearly $400. billion dollars over 30 years.

Sung Won Sohn, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University, told AP “it took this nation 200 years to rack up its first trillion dollars in national debt, and since the pandemic we’ve been adding more at the rate of 1 trillion almost every quarter.”

Predicting high inflation for the “foreseeable future,” he said, “when you increase government spending and the money supply, you will pay the price later.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or by e-mail to: [email protected]

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Merced family kidnapping update: 4 family members, including baby, found dead, sheriff says

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Merced Family Kidnapping Update: 4 Family Members, Including Baby, Found Dead, Sheriff Says
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MERCED COUNTY, Calif. — The four family members who were abducted from a Merced County business have been found dead, the sheriff announced Wednesday night.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said the bodies were found in an orchard near Indiana and Hutchinson roads.

“Our worst fears have been confirmed,” the sheriff said. “We have found the four people from the abduction and they are in fact deceased.”

“There are no words at this time to describe the anger I feel and the senselessness of this incident,” he added. “I said earlier, there’s a special place in Hell for this guy.”

Authorities at a press conference on Wednesday showed surveillance video of a man abducting the baby, Aroohi Dheri; the child’s mother, Jasleen Kaur, 27; father Jasdeep Singh, 36; and uncle Amandeep Singh, 39, from their business.

The suspect, Jesus Salgado, is in custody but remains sedated in a hospital after attempting suicide.

DEVELOPMENT: We will add more details to this report as they become available.

California Family Kidnapping: Chilling New Video Shows Suspect Takes 2 Zippered Family Members, Mother and Baby

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Jerry Vainisi, general manager of Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX championship team, dies at 80 – The Denver Post

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Jerry Vainisi, General Manager Of Chicago Bears Super Bowl Xx Championship Team, Dies At 80 - The Denver Post
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Former Chicago Bears manager Jerry Vainisi, general manager when the team won Super Bowl XX in January 1986, died Tuesday at age 80.

Vainisi served as the Bears’ general manager for four seasons, promoted to that position by franchise founder and owner George Halas in the summer of 1983. The team confirmed Vainisi’s death Wednesday night.

Vainisi remained in that role throughout the 1986 season, and during that time, under coach Mike Ditka, the Bears won 47 games and three NFC Central championships and had an iconic season in 1985. They went 15-1 during the regular season. season, then crushed three playoff opponents by a combined score of 91-10 en route to their only Super Bowl title and their first NFL championship since 1963.

“I will always appreciate the few years I spent with Jerry and will be eternally grateful to him for his decision to hire me as Bears controller in 1983, which started my 40-year career with the Bears.” , Bears president Ted Phillips said Wednesday. . “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his entire family.”

Vainisi’s exit from Halas Hall with two years remaining on his contract came after the Bears suffered a 27-13 home loss to the Washington Redskins in their postseason opener after the 1986 season. a 14-2 regular season, the Bears started Doug Flutie at quarterback in the playoff game. This became a burning issue at Halas Hall and was partly behind then-president Michael McCaskey’s efforts to replace Vainisi.

Flutie, who the team traded for just 12 weeks earlier, had started just one game for the Bears before that playoff game and went 11 for 31 for 134 yards with a touchdown pass and two interceptions in the season-ending loss to the Redskins. .

In an emotional statement after the firing, Ditka choked up when he called Vainisi “my best friend”, and when he found out that McCaskey had called for Vainisi’s resignation, Ditka was so upset he cried. He threatened to quit and tried to talk McCaskey out of letting Vainisi go.

“I was completely surprised and was very, very hurt,” Ditka said.

Vainisi joined the Bears as a controller in 1972 after leaving accounting firm Arthur Andersen. He also served as the club’s treasurer and lawyer before being appointed general manager. He replaced Jim Finks, who had resigned.

Finks is widely considered the primary architect of the Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl team roster.

After leaving the Bears, Vainisi spent three seasons as vice president of player personnel for the Detroit Lions before working in operations for what started as the World League of American Football and was later renamed NFL Europe. . Vainisi was with the Lions in 1989 when they used the No. 3 pick to sign Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders.

Vainisi, a Chicago native, worked as a ball boy in the 1950s at the Green Bay Packers’ summer camp. After earning an accounting degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Kent College in Chicago, Vainisi was a sportscaster in Monmouth, west-central Illinois.

In 2010, Vainisi was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, he became chairman and sole owner of Forest Park Bank and also served as its chairman and chief executive.

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Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell makes his new team debut, and it was just ‘a little bit different’

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Cleveland Cavaliers Star Donovan Mitchell Makes His New Team Debut, And It Was Just 'A Little Bit Different'
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PHILADELPHIA — Less than five weeks after being acquired by the Cleveland Cavaliers in a stunning blockbuster of a trade to cap a frenzied NBA offseason, Donovan Mitchell made his debut for the Cavaliers on Wednesday in the preseason opener. of Cleveland.

And, after finishing with 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, to go with five assists in 19 minutes in a 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center, Mitchell admitted that the idea of ​​donning a different jersey than the Utah Jazz he wore the first five years of his career will take some getting used to.

“One hundred percent,” Mitchell said with a smile, when asked if it felt weird wearing a different jersey for the first time. “It just didn’t feel real to me…it still hasn’t hit me yet.”

Mitchell said he spent Monday looking out the window of the Four Seasons above downtown Philadelphia, and it was only then that he really realized that he was about to officially play for another team for the first time.

“Today I just sat there and had one of those moments where you sit there and look outside and see everything and it’s like, ‘Wow. It’s really here,’” a- he declared.

“Then once you’re on the court, basketball is still basketball. But all the little things, it’s definitely weird. A little different. But I’m excited. It’s going the way I thought it would, in the good meaning.”

Mitchell’s arrival in Cleveland to augment a burgeoning young core with All-Stars Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen and finalist for last season’s Rookie of the Year award in Evan Mobley has the Cavaliers hoping this season will mark a rise in fortune to places the franchise hasn’t seen in decades when LeBron James was out of town.

When was the last time Cleveland made the playoffs without James? The 1997-98 season. When was the last time the Cavaliers won a playoff series without him? Thirty seasons ago, during the 1992-93 campaign, when Cleveland were swept by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in four games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

But to do those things — especially in what is arguably the deepest version of the Eastern Conference the NBA has seen in a generation or more — Cleveland will first need to get its two dominant guards, Mitchell and Garland, on the same page.

Ahead of Wednesday night’s game, Cavaliers coach JB Bickerstaff laid out the criteria that will show the process taking hold, saying the focus was on avoiding playing basketball “your turn.” , my turn”.

Afterwards, he, Garland and Mitchell were all happy with how things went in their first dry run against another team.

“I thought it was pretty seamless,” Bickerstaff said. “The way they played together, the way the ball moved, everyone got involved… as long as we play in the same style that we want to play, where it’s not just one guy based, but on the team, I think it will go well for us.”

And, for the most part, it did Wednesday night. Mitchell’s first mark as a Cavalier – a 3-pointer from right wing – came with an assist from Garland, who finished with 12 points and four assists on a 4-for-7 shot in 15 minutes, and was sandwiched between setting Mitchell down to Kevin Love for a pair of triples himself.

“I think we did a lot of things right,” Mitchell said. “You walk up the floor and it’s like, ‘He got it.’ But it’s not like, ‘He isolated him.’ It’s like, he made it, made a play, created… I said in the locker room, we didn’t call a lot of plays in the first half. It speaks to our ball movement.

After Cleveland relied almost solely on Garland to create an offense for himself and his teammates last season, he was thrilled with his first look at life playing alongside Mitchell – even within the meaningless confines of the first. half of Cleveland’s preseason opener, largely because of how it’s going to take the pressure off him to do everything offensively.

“I think it was the spacing, for me,” Garland said, when asked what he noticed the most while playing alongside Mitchell. “Just out of the pick and roll, there are so many threats on the other side, and it’s just a lot easier…you can just pick your poison. You have to live with it.

“It was just fun there, to be honest with you.”

As Cleveland waits to get Evan Mobley back on the court after spraining his ankle over the weekend, the Cavaliers also have another decision to make between now and opening night: who will start at small forward alongside Garland, Mitchell, Mobley and Allen.

There are a few possible options, including Caris LeVert, who started Wednesday’s game, Dean Wade, who hit 3 triples off the bench, and Isaac Okoro, the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Bickerstaff said his ultimate decision on who to plug in there will be determined by how well they can help unlock the best attributes of the four stars around them.

“It’s really going to be about fit, and it’s going to be who makes these four guys better,” he said. “Who helps them on the attacking side of the pitch? Who helps them on the defensive side of the pitch? Who can defensively protect the guys in certain situations? How does that help our matchups? Offensively, how does that help us space the floor? Those are all things we take into consideration.”

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