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Missouri Sen. McCaskill faces a strong GOP challenger and Trump

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He had just $1.2 million in the bank at the end of the year, compared to $9.1 million for McCaskill, who has a fundraiser featuring former President Barack Obama scheduled in Beverly Hills next month.

On top of that, Hawley’s been skipping county parties’ Lincoln Day dinners to avoid being on the same stage with Greitens — he doesn’t think it’s appropriate when he’s investigating the governor, but other Republicans say it’s a mistake to miss out on opportunities to energize his base before the election.

“His heart is not into the campaign the way it was two years ago,” lamented one fellow Republican elected official who asked to remain anonymous because he supports Hawley.

Missouri McCaskill, Washington McCaskill

For the 64-year-old McCaskill to win, political experts here say, she’ll have to run up the score with Democratic base voters in two vote-rich Democratic areas — St. Louis and Kansas City — swing working-class whites in their suburbs back into the Democratic column, and hold down Hawley’s margins in the rest of the state.

That’s a tall order for two reasons: Republicans in Missouri’s suburbs didn’t abandon Trump the way their counterparts did in some other areas of the country in 2016. And McCaskill has been hearing rumblings from the state’s African-American leaders that she hasn’t done enough for the black community.

“I’m going to vote for Claire, but Claire is going to have to bring her ass to St. Louis,” state Rep. Bruce Franks, an African-American lawmaker who gained attention as an activist during the Ferguson police shooting protests, said at a February town hall.

Even in a year in which anti-Trump sentiment is expected to drive Democratic voters to the polls in droves, McCaskill can ill-afford to lose any available votes in a state where her party has been hemorrhaging them for years. In 2008, Obama lost Missouri by less than two-tenths of a percentage point while racking up more than 1.4 million votes. Four years later, he got about 220,000 fewer votes. And Hillary Clinton, running in 2016, tallied about 371,000 fewer votes than Obama had in 2008.

Other than McCaskill in 2006, the last Democrat to win a midterm Senate election in Missouri was Tom Eagleton in 1974.

McCaskill’s other potential problem centers around her voting record, particularly her propensity to toe the Democratic line and vote against top Trump priorities.

Overall, the website FiveThirtyEight reports, McCaskill has voted with Trump 46.3 percent of the time. That ranks her sixth-highest among Senate Democrats.

But her score is far below the 83.8 percent of the time the website says McCaskill would be expected to back his position given his margin of victory in her state. Three other Democratic senators in tough races — Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana — register at more than 55 percent support for Trump.

McCaskill has always campaigned as a politician who has been independent from her party and has sought bipartisan solutions. An aide noted that she has sponsored, cosponsored or worked behind the scenes on more than 20 bills that Trump has signed into law. And she’s taken the lead on some high-profile legislative efforts, including a recent anti-sex-trafficking law she worked on with Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

But Hawley said McCaskill’s reports of cross-aisle work in the Senate don’t match up to reality.

“There are unfortunately two different Claire McCaskills,” Hawley said in an interview with NBC News. “The real Claire McCaskill is the D.C. Claire McCaskill.”

The Trump Effect

The president remains popular in Missouri. A recent Morning Consult poll showed that 50 percent of registered voters in the state approve of him, while 45 percent don’t.

Trump endorsed Hawley last year, and during a speech to Hawley donors in St. Louis last month, Trump called Hawley “a wonderful guy…who knows what it’s all about,” according to an audio recording of the president’s remarks obtained by NBC News.

Trump got involved in the race early, taunting McCaskill in one Tweet delivered among an unrelated series about hurricane relief last August.

The combination of McCaskill’s efforts to demonstrate when she’s agreed with him and Hawley’s unwillingness to distance himself from the president suggest both sides understand the power of Trump’s appeal here.

For example, in an interview, Hawley declined to say whether he supports Trump’s new tariffs, which threaten to directly or indirectly hurt businesses like Anheuser-Busch and Boeing in St. Louis and the state’s many farmers.

“One of my top concerns is to ensure there is no retaliation against our agricultural community — including Missouri farmers — and that we are not punishing trade partners who do follow the rules in the process,” Hawley said. “Trade is good for Missouri workers and farmers when our trade partners follow the same rules we do.”

Hawley also declined to offer support for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a favorite target of Trump’s wrath, saying that the decision on whether the nation’s top law enforcement officer should keep his job is “up to the president.”

Hawley has said that Trump is welcome to visit the state any time, and Republicans here hope that the president will rally voters in the southern part of the state in the campaign’s home stretch.

“She’s always the underdog,” state Rep. Michael Butler, a Democrat who represents a St. Louis district, said of McCaskill. “But she thrives as the underdog.”



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Netherlands: Thief jailed for stealing van Gogh and Frans Hals paintings worth millions of pounds from museums | World News

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A man has been convicted of stealing a painting by Vincent van Gogh worth several million pounds from a museum in the Netherlands.

The 59-year-old was also found guilty of snatching a Frans Hals piece from another museum in the country, again worth millions of pounds, and neither of the works have been recovered.

Described as an “incorrigible and calculating criminal”, he was sentenced to a maximum of eight years in prison.

The man, whose identity has been kept anonymous under Dutch privacy laws, was found guilty of taking Van Gogh’s “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884” from the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam.

He later stole the 17th century Frans Hals’ “Two Laughing Boys” from the Museum Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in Leerdam, 60km (35 miles) south of the Dutch capital.

The Central Netherlands Court said the Hans painting was valued at €16m (£13.7m), but did not give a value for Van Gogh’s painting.

Both were stolen by a man who broke into the museums at night and fled on a scooter driven by an accomplice.

The Vincent van Gogh painting was stolen from the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam. Pic AP
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The Vincent van Gogh painting was stolen from the Singer Laren museum near Amsterdam. Pic AP

The defendant, who has a previous conviction for a similar heist, denied any involvement.

“The court doesn’t believe this,” the court said in a statement. “His DNA was found at both crime scenes, and the man can’t explain how that is possible.”

The paintings were described as “part of the national cultural heritage, they are important for present and future generations”.

“That is why and given the criminal record of the suspect who is, according to the court, an incorrigible and calculating criminal, the court considers the maximum sentence to be appropriate,” the court added.

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La Palma volcano: What caused it to explode and how long could the eruption last? | World News

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A volcano that erupted on the Spanish island of La Palma in the Canary Islands is continuing to explode and spew out lava five days after it erupted.

Unstoppable lava flows have destroyed nearly 400 buildings on the western side of the volcanic island of 85,000 people and the authorities have warned of new dangers including toxic gases, volcanic ash and acid rain.

Where is the volcano in La Palma?

A map shows the location of the Cumbre Vieja eruption and the flow of lava
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A map shows the location of the Cumbre Vieja eruption and the flow of lava
LA PALMA Canary Islands  MAP
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A map of the volcanic activity on La Palma. Credit: Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

The volcano erupted along the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge in La Palma, one of eight volcanic islands in Spain’s Canary Islands archipelago, which sit off the northwestern coast of Africa.

The Canary Islands are popular with European tourists and the nearby island of Tenerife has one of the world’s tallest volcanoes, Mount Teide.

La Palma island itself is made up of two main volcanic complexes: a large one to the north and a smaller one to the south, which erupted on Sunday. The island last saw an eruption in 1971.

How did scientists know the eruption was coming?

More on La Palma Volcano Eruption

Scientists had been monitoring a build-up of underground magma beneath La Palma for a week before the eruption and were able to warn of a possible eruption, allowing nearly 7,000 people to evacuate.

They had detected more than 20,000 earthquakes in an “earthquake swarm” which can indicate a coming eruption.

What caused the volcano to erupt?

Copernicus Sentinel-2 image shows the eruption of a volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park, on the Canary Island of La Palma
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Copernicus Sentinel-2 image shows the eruption of the volcano in the Cumbre Vieja national park
Lava spews from the Cumbre Vieja volcano in La Palma, Spain
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Lava spews from the Cumbre Vieja volcano

Three days before the volcano erupted, the Canary Islands Volcanology Institute reported that 11 million cubic metres (388 million cubic feet) of molten rock had been pushed into the volcano.

Professor David Pyle, a volcanologist at the University of Oxford, told Sky News: “Magma is generated within Earth’s mantle and below La Palma that magma is probably being generated continuously at depths of 100km or so. Every now and then those magmas will collect and break through, pushing up into the shallow parts of the Earth’s crust.

“When the latest swarm of earthquakes started a week before the eruption began, scientists recognised they were happening at a shallower depth than they had seen in previous years.

“They were able to look at satellite images which showed deformation of the surface and they were very confident that from these they could recognise the movement of magma towards the surface.”

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Lava from the volcano is destroying and burying homes, leaving thousands devastated

A 4.2-magnitude earthquake was recorded before the eruption, which saw two fissures open up and bright red magma bubble up into the air.

How has the eruption developed?

Earthquakes have continued and a new fissure opened on Monday following a 3.8-magnitude quake. Scientists have warned that new lava vents and cracks could emerge, putting new areas at risk.

Lava covers more than 180 hectares on the island of La Palma and destroys 390 buildings
PIC:AP
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Lava erupts from the Cumbre Vieja volcanic ridge. Pic: AP

Prof Pyle said scientists will now be measuring the amount of gas escaping from the volcano, checking whether the composition of magma changes over time and measuring the quantity of material that is being expelled to see how quickly the volcano is erupting.

“With these they will be forming an expert judgement in terms of what the trajectory is looking like in terms of the eruption, whether it is waxing or waning,” he said.

“In this crisis they are deploying all the tools they can to try and work out what is changing during the eruption. And that will give them the clues in terms of whether or not to expect the activity to last for days, or weeks, or months.”

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Scientists say the volcanic eruption could continue until December

Officials in La Palma have recorded 1,130 tremors in the area over the past week as the volcano blasted molten lava into the air.

The explosions have propelled ash almost 15,000ft into the air, according to the Guardia Civil police force. Two rivers of lava have flowed slowly down the hillside, consuming houses, banana farms and infrastructure.

How long could the eruption last?

Residents look from a hill as the lava from a volcano eruption flows on the island of La Palma in the Canaries, Spain
PIC:AP
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Residents look on from a hill as lava from the volcano flows. Pic: AP

Scientists are unclear about how long the eruption could last, with estimates ranging between weeks and even months.

The previous eruption in 1971 lasted for just over three weeks. The last eruption in the Canary Islands happened underwater off the coast of El Hierro island in 2011 and lasted for five months.

Professor Mike Burton, a volcanologist at the University of Manchester, told Sky News that while scientists were able to predict the eruption, knowing how long it could last was “the tricky bit”.

Lava from a volcano eruption flows in El Paso, on the Canary Island of La Palma, Spain, September 23, 2021.
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Lava has surrounded houses in El Paso

“It’s great that we can see when something like this is coming, but once it has started it is quite hard to be clear about how it is going to evolve.

“I think the best thing we can do is watch and look for signs of waxing and waning, increasing and decreasing activity.

“The last eruption went on for about three months, but every eruption is different. This one appears to have started with a higher lava eruption rate than the 1971 eruption, so already it seems to be more powerfully supplied.

“That might mean it goes on much longer, but you have to be cautious about making any deterministic predictions. We really need to wait and see what nature does.”

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Elon Musk and Grimes split up after three years together but ‘remain on great terms’ | Ents & Arts News

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Elon Musk and Grimes have split up after three years together, according to reports.

Musk, who is the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, confirmed to Page Six that he and the Canadian singer are semi-separate but on good terms.

The 50-year-old added that they will continue to co-parent their one-year-old son, X Æ A-Xii Musk.

Elon Musk and his newborn. Pic: @elonmusk/Twitter
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Elon Musk and Grimes welcomed their first child in May 2020. Pic: @elonmusk/Twitter

“We are semi-separated but still love each other, see each other frequently and are on great terms,” Musk told Page Six.

“It’s mostly that my work at SpaceX and Tesla requires me to be primarily in Texas or travelling overseas, and her work is primarily in LA. She’s staying with me now, and Baby X is in the adjacent room.”

The pair started dated in May 2018 and welcomed their first son two years later.

They were last seen together at the Met Gala on 13 September, when Grimes, 33, walked on the red carpet alone and Musk joined her inside.

Grimes joined Musk at a Met Gala after-party, which he was hosting, and the duo were seen leaving New York together the next day.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala - Met Gala - In America: A Lexicon of Fashion - Arrivals - New York City, U.S. - September 13, 2021. Grimes. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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Grimes walked on the red carpet alone at the Met Gala on 13 September but was joined by Elon Musk inside

Musk was previously married to author Justine Wilson, with whom he has five sons – 17-year-old twins Griffin and Xavier, and triplets Damian, Saxon and Kai, aged 15.

He has also been married twice to Westworld actress Talulah Riley, and dated Amber Heard for a year.

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