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Biden lights the National Christmas Tree, taking his turn to bring holiday spirit to Washington


WASHINGTON (AP) — It was President Joe Biden ‘s turn to bring some holiday spirit to the U.S. capital.

The president and his wife, Jill, participated Thursday in the annual tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse, an area known as President’s Park, on the south side of the White House.

“Merry Christmas, everyone,” Biden said after he counted down from five and the towering tree lit up in a burst of holiday color.

Biden said the White House holiday theme of “wonder, magic and joy” captures the essence of Christmas, which he said is about rediscovering simple joys like familiar songs and favorite recipes, performing acts of kindness, and strengthening bonds with family and friends as well as with one’s faith.

The holidays are also about remembering that “we’re a great nation because we’re a good people. That’s what I see all across America, including tonight,” he said.

“Let’s remember how blessed we are as Americans for the gift that is our nation,” Biden concluded.

This year’s tree is a 40-foot (12-meter) Norway spruce from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest.

There was a moment’s doubt earlier this week about whether the 101-year-old tradition would go ahead as planned after the tree was felled by strong gusty winds Tuesday. But the tree was upright again within hours after a cable securing it was replaced, according to the National Park Service.

The tree lighting ceremony is an annual White House holiday tradition with a countdown and musical performances. The Norway spruce was planted about two weeks ago, replacing an older tree that the park service said had developed a fungal disease that caused its needles to turn brown and fall off.

None of the 58 smaller trees surrounding the National Christmas Tree was damaged. About 20 ornaments fell from the tree but did not break. The NPS announced Wednesday that crews are “installing concrete blocks and additional cables to further secure the tree.”

Country singer Mickey Guyton was the ceremony’s host, with musical performances by Dionne Warwick, St. Vincent, Joe Walsh, Darren Criss and others. CBS will broadcast the program on Dec. 15.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also attended.

On Monday, the first lady helped open Washington’s holiday season by unveiling the White House holiday decorations. On Wednesday, she opened a holiday ice rink on the South Lawn for children to skate and play hockey throughout December.

___

Associated Press writer Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report.


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Audio Posts In Russian

Жителю Забайкалья вручили награду сына, который находится на СВО


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Медаль за отвагу получил вместо своего сына житель забайкальского поселка Ясная Иван Божедомов. Сам герой – Сергей Божедомов – сейчас находится в зоне специальной военной операции, сообщили в пресс-службе правительства края.


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Audio Posts In Russian

Пожар на вещевом рынке в Ростове ликвидирован


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В Ростов-на-Дону, где накануне вечером произошел сильный пожар на оптовом вещевом рынке, заявили о ликвидации возгорания в 6.02 пятницы. Об этом сообщили в региональном управлении МЧС.


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В Новосибирске самолет с 89 пассажирами вернулся в аэропорт вылета из-за неисправности


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“Суперджет 100” авиакомпании “ИрАэро” вернулся в новосибирский аэропорт Толмачево после вылета около восьми утра первого декабря. Воздушное судно отстранено от полетов.


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Врачи назвали еду, где самое полезное заменили вредным: Хуже свинины для сосудов


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Учитывая набирающее обороты стремление многих людей правильно питаться, вести здоровый образ жизни, врачи призывают лишний раз не верить рекламе и внимательно читать состав продуктов на этикетке.


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Политолог Карасев: ВСУ не станут наступать на Крым даже по приказу политиков


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ВСУ не смогут захватить Крым даже по приказу властей Украины. Об этом заявил директор украинского Института глобальных стратегий Вадим Карасев в интервью Youtube-каналу Politeka.


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Negotiate to lower your rent now: Apartment List


(NewsNation) — Nationwide median rent fell .9% in November, and rents are down $32, or 2.4% from this summer’s peak, according to the Apartment List’s December rent report.

Rents fluctuate up and down, depending on the season, but November is usually when rents fall the fasted, Apartment List analysts say.

Vacancies are the hardest to fill during the winter holiday months, so now is the time when renters should negotiate, Apartment List analysts encourage.

The sharpest rent declines over the past year are happening in California markets like Oakland, San Francisco, and Long Beach, where apartment demand remains sluggish.

Renters in Austin TX, Atlanta GA, and much of the Bay Area can find new leases for less than 5% compared to if they signed over the summer.

Apartment List analysts predict that monthly rent declines will persist throughout the remainder of the year before they rebound in early 2024.


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A New ‘Policy of Containment’: Ukraine Counteroffensive Update for Dec. 1 (Europe Edition)


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At least five dead in Russian strikes; Lavrov invokes ghost of Kennan after OSCE members file out of meeting; Dutch pledge €2.5 billion for Ukraine; Kyiv’s spies behind Siberian railway fire


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Is this about to be Donald Trump’s fifth criminal trial?


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The New York civil case, the Fulton County case, and the Federal cases have been getting the most attention, but there’s been movement in other jurisdictions as well over Orange Former Guy (OFG)’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election. For example, prosecutors in both Michigan, New Mexico, and Arizona have been looking into efforts to manipulate the electoral votes from in their respective states and have been going after fake electors.

In some more bad legal news for OFG, Kenneth Chesebro agreed to meet with Nevada investigators in the hopes he can avoid criminal prosecution. Arizona also wants to talk to Chesebro but it’s not certain yet if he’s cut any cooperation deals with them.




As has been pointed out before, the way prosecutors take down criminal figures like OFG is to get their underlings to flip in the hopes of developing testimony to take down the big fish. That appears to be the case here as multiple states are looking into the criminal behavior of OFG’s flunkies to see if they have good cases against OFG or not. Hopefully, between all the states and the DOJ, some jurisdiction will hold that SOB to account for all his misdeeds.

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The post Is this about to be Donald Trump’s fifth criminal trial? appeared first on Palmer Report.


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House Passes Resolution to Block Iran’s Access to $6 Billion From Prisoner Swap 


The House passed a bipartisan measure Thursday that would block Iran from accessing the $6 billion transferred by the U.S. in a prisoner swap, a step Republicans pushed in response to the nation’s alleged role in the deadly attacks last month by Hamas on Israel. 

The measure — titled the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act — passed 307-119 as Republicans sought to hold the Biden administration accountable for what they call its complicity in funding Iranian-backed terrorism in the Middle East. 

“With such instability in the region, the last thing we need to do is to give access to $6 billion to be diverted to more Iranian-sponsored terrorism,” Representative Michael McCaul, the Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said during a debate. 

Administration officials have rebuffed this criticism, noting that none of the funds has been made available to Iran and insisting that when it is, it can be used only for humanitarian needs. 

Republican critics like McCaul say that despite the money being restricted to aid, it is fungible and could free up other funds for Tehran to provide support to Hamas. 

The U.S. and Iran reached the tentative agreement in August that eventually saw the release of five detained Americans in Tehran and an unknown number of Iranians imprisoned in the U.S. after billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets were transferred from banks in South Korea to Qatar. But days after the October 7 attack by Hamas, the U.S. and Qatar agreed that Iran would not be able to access the money in the meantime, with officials stopping short of a full refreezing of the funds. 

The GOP-backed resolution, which now goes to the Senate where it is unlikely to be supported by the Democratic majority, would impose new sanctions on the funds to prevent the transfer of any monies to Iran. It also threatens to sanction any government or individual involved in processing the transfer of the funds. 

Several Democrats who opposed the measure defended the Biden administration’s decision to transfer the money in exchange for American hostages, especially in light of the American hostages now being kept by Hamas in Gaza. 

“Iran, of course, as Hamas, is a murderous and corrupt regime. They’re not pleasant. And this isn’t easy,” Representative Gregory Meeks, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said during the floor debate. “But thanks to this agreement, five American families are now home again.” 

He added, “And Iran has lost the leverage of holding these American hostages.” 

High-ranking U.S. officials have sought to defend the decision to negotiate with Iran despite its track record of supporting terrorism against the U.S. and its allies. But officials have also conceded that Iran’s influence over the various militant groups is undeniable.