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Free Press staff, wire reports

Stories by Free Press staff, wire

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Serena ties the knot!

Glitter and glamour were served up at the fairy tale-inspired nuptials last week of tennis star Serena Williams and her new husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

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Rev. Jesse Jackson diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease

The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. disclosed publicly on Friday that he has been seeking outpatient care for two years for Parkinson’s disease and plans to “dedicate” himself to physical therapy to slow the progress of the disease.

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Salacious FBI file on Dr. King shows extent to which agency tried to discredit him

A newly released secret FBI dossier on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alleges that the noted civil rights leader was “a slow thinker” who had ties to the Community Party, used the Southern Christian Leadership Council as “a tax dodge,” and engaged in a string of extramarital affairs and sex orgies that produced a love child.

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Obamas choose 2 African-American artists for official presidential portraits

Artist Kehinde Wiley, known for his large, edgy paintings of top music and hip-hop performers such as Michael Jackson, LL Cool J, Notorious B.I.G., Ice T and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, has been commissioned to paint the official presidential portrait of former President Obama for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

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Indicted

Former Trump campaign chairman and deputy face conspiracy, money laundering charges

President Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and his former deputy, Rick Gates of Richmond, were indicted in federal court on Monday in a sharp escalation of U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s five-month-old investigation into alleged Russian efforts to tilt the 2016 election in President Trump’s favor and into potential collusion by his aides.

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Tragedy in Vegas

Sunday’s bloody mass shooting outside casino is the worst massacre in recent U.S. history

The mystery and motive behind mass killer Stephen Paddock — gambler, accountant, auditor and real estate investor — continues to baffle federal authorities and law enforcement officials in Las Vegas who were working on Wednesday to discover what drove the 64-year-old to commit the worst mass murder in modern U.S. history.

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Trump scraps program protecting young undocumented immigrants

President Trump on Tuesday scrapped an Obama era program that protects from deportation immigrants brought illegally into the United States as children, delaying implementation until March and giving a gridlocked Congress six months to decide the fate of almost 800,000 young people.

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Former FBI director James Comey at Howard University

James Comey, the FBI director fired by President Trump in May, has a new job. He will lead and conduct a series of lectures at Howard University and be the keynote speaker at the university’s opening convocation Friday, Sept. 22.

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Independent review slated of Charlottesville events

More than 200 clergy, activists and citizens began a 10-day march this week from Emancipation Park in Charlottesville to Washington in a public show of resistance to the white supremacists who brought violence and death to the city earlier this month.

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Confederate statues go black in Charlottesville

Workers in Charlottesville draped giant black tarps over two statues of Confederate generals on Wednesday to symbolize the city’s mourning for Heather Heyer, the 32-year-old paralegal who was killed while protesting a white nationalist rally. The work began around 1 p.m. in Emancipation Park, where a towering monument of Robert E. Lee on horseback stands. Workers gathered around the monument with a large black covering. Some stood in cherry-pickers and others used ropes and poles to cover the statue as onlookers took photos and video.

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Tensions high over North Korea

Are we facing a nuclear war with North Korea? Amid all the issues people are facing in Richmond and elsewhere, President Trump pushed that question front and center this week.

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Personality: Julie Anderson

Spotlight on 2017 Star of Life Award winner

Growing up as the child of a paramedic and a firefighter, Julie Anderson says she never worried about her parents’ safety, even after her father was burned and hurt his back in two separate incidents

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Faith group opposes Trump on voting data request

A national network of progressive faith organizations is rallying support for officials in Virginia and 43 other states and the District of Columbia who have rebuffed a Trump administration effort to collect detailed personal information on voters as part of a probe of alleged voter fraud.

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KKK in Charlottesville outnumbered

Klan rally draws more than 1,000 counterprotesters

More than 1,000 people turned out to shout down a group of Ku Klux Klan members last Saturday at a Charlottesville park where a few dozen hate group members and supporters waving Confederate flags and signs with anti-Semitic messages held a rally.

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Morehouse College grad named new interim president

Harold Martin Jr., a 2002 Morehouse College graduate and secretary of its Board of Trustees, has been named interim president of the all-male institution that is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The board announced the selection of Mr. Martin on June 26. He replaces William J. “Bill” Taggart, who died in June from an aneurysm.

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U.S. Supreme Court decisions change church-state separation, allow partial Muslim ban

The First Amendment guarantee of religious freedom has barred the government from meddling with or taxing churches and other faith-based institutions. In exchange, religious institutions generally have not been entitled to receive taxpayer funding. No more.

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No fear of KKK

Charlottesville leaders, including clergy and NAACP, plan positive activities for Saturday in response to Klan protest

Charlottesville residents refuse to buckle under fear in the face of a Ku Klux Klan rally planned for Saturday in a public park.

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Teenage shooter involved in infamous D.C. Sniper Case to get new sentencing hearing

A federal judge tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia’s most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

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Basquiat work sells for record $110.5M

A little-seen painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat that sold for $19,000 in 1984 soared to an astounding $110.5 million at Sotheby’s auction of contemporary art last week.

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Cornell Brooks out as head of national NAACP

“We’ll continue to move forward, we’ll continue to organize and we’ll continue to seek to recruit young people to carry on the work, ” said James E. “J.J.” Minor III president of the Richmond Branch NAACP.

Trump’s budget plan raises hackles, skepticism with deep cuts to social programs

Angry Democrats and skeptical Republicans are fighting back against attempts by administrative officials to defend President Trump’s proposed $4.1 trillion budget that slashes safety net programs for the poor, targeting food stamps, Medicaid and student loan forgiveness, while relying on rosy projections about the nation’s economic growth to balance the budget within 10 years.

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Russian roulette

Feds pull out big gun to oversee Trump investigation

Did President Trump fire FBI Director James Comey for refusing to shut down a criminal investigation against the president’s crony, retired Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who briefly served as national security adviser?

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Charlottesville City Council votes to sell Lee statue

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has taken one more step toward leaving the city of Charlottesville. Despite a pending court case, the Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 Monday to sell the city’s statue of the Confederate general which now stands in the center of the city.

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Obamacare lives; Trumpcare DOA

Obamacare lives! That was the jubilant cry last week as President Trump’s attempt to roll back health insurance for millions of Americans suffered a stunning defeat.

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Va. redistricting cases winding through state, federal courts

In a slap at Virginia’s Republican-led majority in the General Assembly, the U.S. Supreme Court has directed a lower federal court to reassess whether lawmakers unlawfully tried to dilute the clout of African-American voters when it drew a series of state legislative districts six years ago.

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Sessions seeks to revive federal anti-crime program that targeted African-Americans

New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed to revive 1990s law-and-order strategies that pumped up the nation’s prison population to the highest level in the world to fight the recent surge in urban violence.

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Report forecasts millions would lose health insurance under Trumpcare

Fears that the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, would wipe out health insurance for millions of mostly low-income people appear to be highly accurate.

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‘Trumpcare’ health plan would strip insurance from millions

Impressed by President Trump’s campaign promises to make health care more affordable, Mavis Reivis crossed her fingers and voted for him.

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Out like Flynn

Concerns grow amid reports that Trump campaign aides were in frequent contact with Russian officials before Nov. 8 election

President Trump is facing a deepening crisis over the relationship between his aides and Russia, with senior Republicans vowing on Wednesday to get to the bottom of the matter and Democrats demanding an independent probe.

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Charlottesville votes to remove Lee statue

A divided Charlottesville City Council voted this week to move a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the city’s Downtown and to rename Lee Square where it stands.

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Trump inaugurated amid hail of protests

Republican Donald J. Trump launched his presidency with a blunt inaugural address, a fist pump and promises to give power to the people and put “America first.”

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House Democrats set to boycott Trump inauguration on Friday

Donald Trump made his name with opulent hotels and a dramatic reality TV show. But his inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20, as the nation’s 45th president is shaping up as a more understated affair, with big names in entertainment staying away. Also staying away are more than 50 Congressional Democrats who plan to boycott in protest of the New York

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Civil rights coalition to hold pre-inaugural march in D.C. on MLK weekend

The Rev. Al Sharpton, head of the National Action Network, has announced that a coalition of civil rights and advocacy organizations will lead a march and rally at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 14 — less than a week before the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

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Progress marked some results in Nov. 8 elections

While Hillary Clinton didn’t break the glass ceiling last week to become the nation’s first female president, other barriers were broken in races around the country.

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‘They kilt us, but they ain’t whupped us yet’

Democrat Hillary Clinton defeated in one of nation’s most stunning political upsets in history

Emboldened Republicans claimed a mandate Wednesday for Donald Trump after his stunning election as the 45th president of the United States.

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Delta Air Lines snubs black women physicians

When Tamika Cross tried to help another passenger in distress on a recent Delta Air Lines flight, she said she was dismissed by a flight attendant who doubted that the black woman was actually a physician. Dr. Cross, an OB-GYN based in Houston, chronicled the incident on Facebook on Oct. 9. The post has since gone viral, with more than 15,000 comments, and sparked the Twitter hashtag #whatadoctorlookslike.

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Howard University renames school for Cathy Hughes

Howard University has renamed its School of Communications the Cathy Hughes School of Communications, after the founder of Radio One Inc., the largest African-American owned multimedia company in the United States. Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, announced in early October a multimillion-dollar gift to the communications school from the Catherine L. Hughes and Alfred C. Liggins III Foundation.

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Japan’s ‘bolt’ turns heads, wins silver

Japan’s 4x100 relay team brought a “bolt” of it’s own to the 2016 Olympics in the form of “Aska” Cambridge.

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Crusading journalist George E. Curry dies at 69

George E. Curry, a pioneering journalist and publisher whose civil rights advocacy helped free a Henrico County woman from federal prison while calling national attention to the disparity in federal drug sentences for African-Americans, died Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, at a Takoma Park, Md., hospital.

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Family dispute over Dr. King’s Bible, Nobel Prize medal ends

A Fulton County, Ga., judge has signed an order ending an ownership dispute over Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s traveling Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal that had pitted the slain civil rights leader’s two sons against their sister. The consent order signed Aug. 15 by Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney says the items are to be released to Martin Luther King III as chairman of the board of his father’s estate, but does not indicate what will happen to them after that.

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Romance in Rio

Richmond’s Queen Harrison says ‘yes’ to silver medalist at Olympics

Queen Harrison of Richmond didn’t qualify for the 100-meter hurdles in the Olympics, but she’s bringing back bling from Rio — an engagement ring.

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Scathing DOJ report finds discriminatory, unconstitutional police practices in Baltimore

African-American residents in Baltimore are routinely subjected to unconstitutional stops, arrests and excessive force by the Baltimore Police Department, a scathing federal report released on Wednesday states. The 163-page U.S. Justice Department report details an investigation launched after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray last year that found the Baltimore Police Department engages in a pattern of conduct that violates the Constitution and federal law.

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Recent court rulings strike down discriminatory voting laws in several states

In a heated election year, federal and state courts are rejecting Republican-backed voting restrictions after finding their sole purpose is to limit voting by African-Americans, Latinos, the poor and other minority groups that lean Democratic. In rulings last Friday that could pave the way for bigger turnouts on Election Day, courts struck down such laws in the key election states of North Carolina, Kansas and Wisconsin.

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Kaine’s history readies him for VP role

He has been Richmond’s mayor, Virginia’s governor and a U.S. senator. Now Sen. Timothy Michael Kaine — whom everyone calls “Tim” — has leaped to the national stage as Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate.

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That’s the ticket

Hillary Clinton shatters glass ceiling with historic presidential nod

Hillary Rodham Clinton swept into history Tuesday as Democrats, eager to present a face of unity to a national television audience, chose her to be the party’s standard-bearer in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

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Anguish of a nation

From memorial services to protests, numerous questions arise after senseless killings

“Can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible …?” The late Rodney King spoke those memorable words as he called for calm in 1992 after the acquittal of four white police officers who were videotaped savagely beating him triggered riots in Los Angeles.

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Decision removes guns from domestic abusers convicted of misdemeanors

The U.S. Supreme Court expanded protection for victims of domestic violence Monday by ruling that every misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence triggers the loss of gun ownership rights. The justices, in a 6-2 ruling issued amid fierce debate about reducing firearms violence in America, rejected arguments that a federal gun ownership prohibition should apply only to knowing or intentional conduct, but not to impulsive or reckless conduct.

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No jail

U.S. Supreme Court overturns corruption convictions of former Gov. McDonnell

Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell insisted that he never sold his office in exchange for the $177,000 in loans and gifts that a businessman seeking to promote a dietary product showered on him and his family.

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House sit-in

Scores of Democratic lawmakers, led by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, refuse to leave the U.S. House of Representatives until gun control measures are passed

Democratic lawmakers, using 1960s tactics to press their point, staged an surprise sit-in on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday, demanding the chamber remain in session until the Republican leadership agrees to a vote on gun control legislation.

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