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Activist Lewis honored decades after civil rights arrest

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Longtime U.S. Rep. John Lewis of Georgia is one of five people who are going to be honored for their work to advance civil rights.

The recognition will take place during a celebration of the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson.

Organizers have planned a gala for Friday and a symposium for Saturday.

Lewis was scheduled to speak at the museum’s opening in December but canceled his appearance because Republican Gov. Phil Bryant invited President Donald Trump.

Lewis said Thursday that he’s never met Trump, but couldn’t be at an event with him because of the “unbelievable things” the president had said about African-Americans and Latinos.

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Denver plane engine fire consistent with metal fatigue, investigators say | UK News

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Metal fatigue may have caused an engine explosion during a United Airlines flight over Denver on Saturday, investigators say.

The Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engine caught fire shortly after take-off and debris rained down on a residential area below.

A total of 231 passengers and 10 crew were on board the Boeing-777 aircraft, which was bound for Honolulu, but nobody was hurt and the plane landed safely.

The engine of United Airlines Flight 328 is on fire after after experiencing "a right-engine failure" shortly after takeoff from Denver International Airport, Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Denver, Colo. The Boeing 777 landed safely and none of the passengers or crew onboard were hurt. (Chad Schnell via AP)
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The plane’s engine caught fire shortly after take-off from Denver International Airport

United Airlines, Egyptair and operators in Japan and South Korea, have all since said they will not fly some of their Boeing planes until further inspection.

Boeing has also recommended that airlines suspend use of the planes while the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) identifies an appropriate inspection protocol.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) revealed last night that a preliminary assessment showed two fan blades on the Denver plane’s engine had broken.

One blade had signs of metal fatigue, while investigators believe the other was chipped when the first broke off.

According to NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt, the blades are being sent to the Pratt & Whitney laboratory for review under the supervision of NTSB inspectors.

“Our mission is to find out what happened and why it happened, so we can keep it from happening again,” he said.

Pic: Broomfield Police
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Debris from the plane was scattered in the front gardens of a number of homes debris. Pic: Broomfield Police

The Denver explosion is being linked to another serious engine failure, which occurred on a United Airlines flight from San Francisco in 2018. Then, the right engine broke shortly before the plane landed in Honolulu.

Like the incident on Saturday, an investigation by the NTSB found the failure was caused by a full-length fan blade fracture.

The FAA has said it plans to issue an emergency airworthiness directive soon that will require stepped-up inspections of the fan blades for fatigue.

Pratt & Whitney did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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Gerard Depardieu: French actor charged with rape and sexual assault after dropped investigation is revived | World News

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French actor Gerard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault after authorities revived a 2018 investigation that was dropped, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

The office said Depardieu was not detained when he was handed the preliminary charges on 16 December last year.

The Paris prosecutor’s office has addressed the charges after the case was leaked to French media.

Reports in the country say the charges relate to allegations made by an actress in her 20s that date back to 2018.

An initial inquiry against the movie star was dropped in 2019 because of lack of evidence, but was later revived.

French newspaper Le Parisien and BFM TV said the actress and dancer alleged Depardieu assaulted her in August 2018 at his Paris home.

The actress, who has not been named, first filed a complaint with details of alleged rape and assault in August 2018 in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.

The probe was take over by Paris investigators, but was soon dropped.

Depardieu’s lawyer Herve Temime was not immediately available for comment, but he has previously said that the actor “absolutely denies any rape, any sexual assault, any crime”.

Depardieu is one of the few French actors to have become successful in Hollywood
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Depardieu is one of the few French actors to have become successful in Hollywood

Depardieu is among France’s most well-known stars.

He has appeared in 200 films over six decades and is among a few French actors who have made a name for themselves in Hollywood.

He won a Golden Globe for his performance in Green Card, a 1990 English-language romantic comedy.

His first big hit in France was Les Valseuses (Going Places), Bertrand Blier’s classic farce about two wandering thugs.

Before crossing the Atlantic, Depardieu played an array of roles ranging from Jean Valjean, the thief-turned-saint in Les Miserables, to Christopher Columbus.

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Checkpoint shooting investigation raises questions over Israeli authorities’ version of events | World News

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An investigation into the fatal shooting of a Palestinian man whose car hit a checkpoint has raised questions about the Israeli authorities’ version of events and put renewed focus on Israel’s tactics and procedures in the occupied West Bank.

Ahmad Erekat, 26, a cousin of Palestinian diplomat and negotiator Saeb Erekat, was shot by border police seconds after his car hit an Israeli checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on 23 June 2020.

Security camera footage, released at the time by the Israeli authorities, showed his car approaching the checkpoint before veering abruptly to the right. It hit a group of police officers. Remarkably, only one officer was lightly wounded.

The video showed him exiting the car and walking backwards with his arms raised as he is shot several times.

Ahmad Erekat's distance to nearest Israeli officer. Source: Twitter Israeli Police, 23 June 2020. (Forensic Architecture, 2021)
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Ahmad Erekat’s distance to nearest Israeli officer. Pic: Forensic Architecture

The investigation by Forensic Architecture, a London-based research agency specialising in human rights violations, has concluded that Mr Erekat:

  • Was shot while posing no immediate threat
  • Was not given any first aid treatment by the Israeli authorities after the shooting despite showing clear signs of life
  • Was treated in an “inhumane, degrading manner”
  • Did not accelerate towards the police officers but showed signs of braking before impact
  • Did not approach the police officers as the military claims

To date, the Israeli authorities have not handed over Mr Erekat’s body for burial and have not released details of their own investigation.

The car's speed did not exceed 15 km/hr, according to the probe.
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The car’s speed did not exceed 15 km/hr, according to the probe. Pic: Forensic Architecture

Mr Erekat’s family have always insisted he was running errands ahead of his sister’s wedding that was to take place later the same day and that he lost control of the car.

The authorities say the incident was an intentional ramming attack which are quite regular at checkpoints across the West Bank.

Just one CCTV video of the incident was released, but investigators at Forensic Architecture gathered numerous other videos from witnesses.

With the help of a forensic collision expert, they concluded that, contrary to the authorities’ assertion the vehicle accelerated into the checkpoint, it maintained a constant speed until just before the impact.

Their video analysis from different camera angles showed evidence suggesting that Mr Erekat might have braked at the last moment.

The 65-year-old had been a spokesman for the Palestinians for more than three decades
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Ahmad Erekat was the cousin of Palestinian diplomat and negotiator Saeb Erekat (pictured)

Mr Erekat was shot after he exited the car and backed away with his hands in the air. The military maintains the context of regular ramming attacks and his behaviour as he exited the car gave the border police reason to believe they were in immediate life threatening danger.

Through further video analysis, the investigators were able to conclude that no first aid was provided to Mr Erekat despite clear signs that he was still alive.

A Palestinian ambulance which arrived at the scene was denied access.

An hour-and-a-half after he was shot, Mr Erekat’s body, which had been stripped naked, was removed by the authorities.

The investigators said: “His body was treated in an inhuman and degrading manner and later seized by the army to deny him a proper burial-an act of collective punishment. To date, the Israeli army has not opened an investigation into Erekat’s crash and continues to withhold most of the evidence.”

Mr Erekat’s body is one of more than 50 currently being held by the Israeli authorities. All are Palestinians killed over recent years while allegedly committing acts of terror.

Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, led a very public call for the release of his cousin’s body until his own death from coronavirus in November.

The Forensic Architecture investigation was supported by Al Haq, a Palestinian Human Rights group. Israel claims that its director, Shawan Jabarin, has links to the PFLP, internationally recognised as terrorist organisation.

Sky News put the conclusions of the Forensic Architecture investigation to the Israeli authorities.

In a joint statement, the Israeli Defence Forces and the police said: “From the evidence collected, it was established beyond doubt that those present at the scene were certain that they were in immediate life-threatening danger, and that this was an assailant who had carried out a deliberate attack.”

“Contrary to allegations, Erekat was examined at the scene of the incident by medical personnel a few minutes following the attack, and was found to have no pulse or breathing, and therefore no resuscitation procedures were performed on the spot, and his death was pronounced accordingly. During the entire incident there was no degrading treatment or infringement of the dignity of the deceased.”

“The issue of holding the terrorist’s body is in legal proceedings in the High Court, so we will not be able to elaborate further at this time.”

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