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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 153)

Here’s What Happens To Nature When Humans Get Out Of The Way

An irradiated nuclear zone is hardly the most obvious animal sanctuary. But in January, almost a decade after Japan’s Fukushima disaster, scientists using remote cameras in the area around the abandoned power station discovered an abundance of wildlife.

Macaques, raccoon dogs (a relative of the fox), wild boar, pheasants ― over 20 species in all were found to be thriving in the absence of people.

It’s the latest piece of research to show that nature bounces back when humans are out of the way. And fortunately, this doesn’t require a nuclear disaster. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e456467230000300019a0c7 Here’s What Happens To Nature When Humans Get Out Of The Way

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images Nature is taking over buildings inside the radiation contamination exclusion zone around the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan.

In 1995, faced with severely depleted fish stocks, the Mexican village of Cabo Pulmo decided to abandon its nets and campaign to establish a “no-take” marine reserve. Decades of overfishing had all but emptied the once-thriving coral reef of the colorful shoals the Sea of Cortez was renowned for, and the community feared for the future. 

Fifteen years later, its waters were again teeming with life. A 2009 study found fish biomass had increased by 463%, to a level similar to that of reefs that have never been fished. 

“The results were completely amazing,” said Octavio Aburto, the study’s author and director of the Gulf of California Marine Program, adding that top predators like bull sharks have returned to the once-depleted habitat. Those at the top of the food chain, often called “keystone species,” are critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems because they keep populations of smaller animals in check.

Such cases add fuel to a growing call for a more radical approach to conservation ― one that would ultimately give protected status to half the planet, putting existing wilderness off-limits and rewilding developed areas. Proponents argue that such action is vital to stem species extinctions and avert climate breakdown.

Westlake Legal Group 5e46b75a1e00002d00989694 Here’s What Happens To Nature When Humans Get Out Of The Way

Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images) A King Angelfish swims in the Cabo Pulmo Marine National Park in Mexico.

“We know from many studies all around the world that when we give space to nature, she comes back spectacularly,” said Enric Sala, explorer in residence at National Geographic. “And we know that when nature comes back, all the services that nature provides for us come back too.”

Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson proposed setting aside 50% of the planet for nature in his 2016 book, “Half Earth.” The idea was given fresh impetus in April 2019 when Sala and a group of fellow scientists published a paper calling for a target of preserving 30% of Earth in its natural state by 2030, in what they framed as a Global Deal for Nature. 

Almost three million people around the world have since signed a petition backing the call, while a coalition of countries ― including Costa Rica, France and Senegal ― has pledged to push for a global commitment to the 30% target this year. In January, the figure was included in a draft text to be negotiated at a key United Nations meeting in October. The “30 by 30” goal is intended to be as important for nature as the Paris agreement is for climate change.

Sala said he is now confident that countries can reach an ambitious agreement, thanks in part to growing awareness of the critical role of natural habitats in tackling climate change. “Even if [our energy system] went 100% renewable, we still need forests and wetlands and healthy ecosystems to help us absorb all the CO2 we’ve put in the atmosphere,” he said. “The realization there is no solution to climate without biodiversity and vice versa has been key.”

The stakes could hardly be higher. U.N. scientists have said one million species now face extinction. A recent paper from the World Economic Forum named major biodiversity loss as one of the top five risks of the next decade and warned of the dire consequences to food and medical supplies if we fail to act. 

But is protecting a third ― let alone half ― of the planet doable? 

Today, the most generous estimates put currently protected areas at 15% of the Earth’s land and 7% of the oceans. Meanwhile, deforestation rates, for example, have accelerated in the past five years. 

Success in habitat protection will depend on governments looking beyond the “easy metric” of area to the harder one of effective management, said Sarah Hameed, the California-based director of the Blue Parks Program at the Marine Conservation Institute, which gives out awards to exemplary marine reserves. 

This means sufficient investment in surveillance and enforcement, she said, but above all in community engagement. Without buy-in from local people, you’re “very likely to see poaching problems,” Hameed said, noting that many of the habitats most in need of protection, like mangrove forests, are found on populated coastlines.

Part of the answer, Aburto argues, lies in mass-scale replication of the transformation of Cabo Pulmo, where locals now make more money from ecotourism than they ever did from fishing. He has co-authored a white paper calling for a worldwide map of similar communities and envisages a global network of small protected areas, led by local people and receiving government funding.

“The only thing we need is to invest in this model, rather than governments investing in subsidies for fishing or massive scale tourism development that only bring more extraction of natural resources,” he said. 

But even in Cabo Pulmo, the tussle between nature and society is complex. Success has brought exploding visitor numbers and concerns those tourists could damage fragile corals, as well as growing interest from major hotel developers. While Aburto suggested that diving companies could stem the flow of tourists by raising their prices, he acknowledged this would likely be criticized as a “very capitalist approach.”

Westlake Legal Group 5e4567682500008602080d25 Here’s What Happens To Nature When Humans Get Out Of The Way

Reinhard Dirscherl/Ullstein Bild via Getty Images A view of the coastline in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park.

While Cabo Pulmo demonstrates that habitat protection can benefit both wildlife and local residents, some human rights activists have deep worries about how an ambitious, top-down conservation goal could affect people, especially in already vulnerable communities. Stephen Corry, director of the indigenous rights group Survival International, said at least 10 million people have been displaced by protected areas to date and described the push to create more as “deeply anti-people.”

A BuzzFeed investigation last year revealed that in the fight against poachers, the World Wildlife Fund had funded paramilitary groups who ended up being accused of atrocities ― including torture, murder and sexual assault ― against indigenous people who had been displaced in the name of conservation. 

The whole notion of pristine nature as something separate from humans is a fabrication, Corry argues, pointing out that people like the Baka in Congo, whom plans for a new national park threaten to displace, have been managing the forest sustainably for thousands of years. 

“It’s nonsense and of course it detracts from the real issue, which is overconsumption by the West,” he said. It is not indigenous people who are destroying habitats, said Corry, but rich countries’ insatiable desire for more stuff, which drives the ever-increasing thirst for land for industries like agriculture, timber and mining. 

Sala said we can protect indigenous rights and tackle the drivers of climate change at the same time. Both goals require us to take on destructive fossil fuel lobbies and extractive industries ― those he described as wanting “to make money in the casino of the Titanic after hitting the iceberg.”

These industries hold big sway. In the U.S., for example, the Trump administration has been working to open up new lands for drilling and fracking and to roll back existing protections, from pollution regulations to the Endangered Species Act.

“Politically the environment in which we’re doing this work very much puts us on defense,” said Jenny Binstock, senior campaigner at the Sierra Club. Her team is currently rallying to protect a hard-won deal to balance conservation needs with renewable energy development and other land use requirements across 10.5 million acres of California desert, which the Trump administration has signaled it intends to roll back.

But Binstock remains optimistic about achieving the “30 by 30” goal, arguing that President Donald Trump’s “all-out assault on nature” has prompted a stronger national conversation about strategies to protect public lands and their potential to mitigate climate change.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4576b9250000fd02080d37 Here’s What Happens To Nature When Humans Get Out Of The Way

Andrew Cullen/Reuters Ruins of ancestral Pueblo cliff dwellings at Butler Wash in Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument. President Donald Trump has cut the size of the protected monument by 85% and plans to open it up to mining interests.

She also pointed to a recent letter from a group of institutional investors urging energy, timber and mining firms not to take advantage of newly weakened regulations, as a sign that key sectors regard Trump’s wrecking ball as temporary. “I think there’s acknowledgment that these are not necessarily durable changes in a post-Trump America and so they’re not reliable investments,” she said.

Ultimately, conservation is never simple, Binstock said. “You’re constantly needing to negotiate amongst folks who use the land in many, many different ways. It’s not easy work at all, but it’s the work that we have to do together.”

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HuffPost’s “This New World” series is funded by Partners for a New Economy and the Kendeda Fund. All content is editorially independent, with no influence or input from the foundations. If you have an idea or tip for the editorial series, send an email to thisnewworld@huffpost.com.

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Hulu’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reimagines Black Girl Angst

Westlake Legal Group 5e45c62a2500008203080dbb Hulu’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reimagines Black Girl Angst

The art of the remake is delicate and finite. Sticking to the source material too closely can elicit criticism, but so can veering too far off. “High Fidelity,” a new 10-episode series from Hulu that premiered on Feb. 14, toes that line.

With Zoë Kravitz as its lead, this “High Fidelity” is a remake of the beloved 2000 romantic comedy-drama of the same name, which starred John Cusack as Rob, the misanthropic, obsessive owner of a Chicago record shop dealing with a recent heartbreak. The TV show and the film are adaptations of a 1995 British novel by Nick Hornby. (The story was also turned into a Broadway musical in 2006.) Hulu’s version, with its Brooklyn setting and its hipster-cool-girl protagonist, is the biggest leap imaginable from the source material. 

That’s probably a good thing. 

Twenty years ago, Kravitz’s mother, Lisa Bonet, played Marie DeSalle in the “High Fidelity” movie. She was Rob’s earthy, impossibly cool, stunningly beautiful, singer-songwriter love interest. She was enigmatic, soulful, intimidating and definitely exotified, held in the self-absorbed gaze of Rob’s man pain as everything he thought he wanted in a lover. (They don’t end up together, obviously.) 

Now, in this iteration of the story, Kravitz, though at certain moments eerily identical to her mother, plays against that type. With her tattoos and effortlessly cool wardrobe, she may look the part that her mother played so well, but here, all the neuroses, insecurities and ugly elements of the so-called cool girl come to the fore. Going beyond the seemingly pristine but inwardly embattled Bonnie she played on “Big Little Lies” ― and despite the Hulu series’ unevenness ― “High Fidelity” is perhaps the first time we’ve seen Kravitz transcend her it-girl vibe. 

Kravitz’s Rob, short for Robin, is nursing a yearlong heartache after her fiance Mac abruptly broke off their engagement to move to London. Now he’s back and engaged to some woman named Lily, and a spiraling Rob tries to figure out why she is doomed to be rejected by every person she’s ever fallen in love with. The series follows the main conceit of the movie for the first few episodes — Rob tracking down her Top 5 heartbreaks and asking them why they left her — before veering off into new, messy territory. 

Regularly breaking the fourth wall, she takes us through her world of Brooklyn bars and concert halls, as well as her charming Bedford Avenue record store with her two eccentric employees/best friends Simon and Cherise, played by David Holmes and Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Some of the best scenes in the show take place in the shop, where Cherise, channeling the kinetic energy of Jack Black’s movie performance in the same role, delights with a chaotic, obnoxious spirit that breaks up the angst. (In one scene, when Rob tells Cherise to stop “talking smack,” she responds, “Oooh, talking smack, Robin. I bet you feel extra Black today!”)

Most of the show, though, deals with Rob’s angst, loneliness and messiness. There’s a sense, even as we root for her, even as she gives us a front-row seat to her darkest moments (rejection by a cornball rock star 10 years her junior; an awkward double-date with her nice-guy love interest, her ex-boyfriend and his new fiancée; a dismal 30th birthday party that she spends alone watching “The Sopranos”) that she’s holding something back. She is — and the moment we finally find that out, it feels like the show is less of an ambitious gimmick and more something with actual potential.

If you wanted to be pat about it, you could describe this show as “Insecure” for alternative Black girls, but it is, of course, a little more complex than that. Where “Insecure” is about the protagonist Issa ultimately stepping firmly into who she is outside of her romantic relationships, “High Fidelity” is more about understanding the people we become when we are in a relationship. Also, Issa is likable. 

Much like the white male protagonist her character is based on, Rob is ultimately an asshole. We root for her, but halfway through the series we begin to realize that for all her relatable navel-gazing angst, she’s kind of the worst. It’s interesting that this one detail, connecting this show to all the previous iterations, is also, in a way, the most fascinating departure from the spirit of the original film. 

Reboots and remakes only work if the new version does something with the source material other than regurgitating it with slight differences. A good remake, at the very least, provides context and commentary on where we were when the source material came out and where we are now. White male Rob could only ever see the women he fell in love with as “types.” In the new “High Fidelity,” Rob, for all her flaws, is a person, not just the idea of one. 

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Germany’s Economy Stagnates as Consumers Begin to Worry

Westlake Legal Group 14europecon-facebookJumbo Germany’s Economy Stagnates as Consumers Begin to Worry Renault SA Germany France Economic Conditions and Trends Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China Automobiles

Growth in Germany came to a halt in the last quarter of 2019 as consumers became more cautious about spending, leaving the economy vulnerable as it begins to feel the effects of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Economic growth in Germany was zero from October through December, the Federal Statistics Office said on Friday, down from 0.2 percent growth in the previous quarter. The chances that Germany will bounce back during the current quarter are slim because of the coronavirus outbreak in China, which has hobbled one of Germany’s most important customers and suppliers.

Still, the economic performance was better than some economists had expected. A steep decline in orders for German industrial goods had led to predictions of a recession. Overall growth for 2019 was 0.6 percent, compared with 1.5 percent in 2018.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 10, 2020

    • What is a Coronavirus?
      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • How contagious is the virus?
      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • How worried should I be?
      While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?
      World Health Organization officials have praised China’s aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.

Until recently, spending by German consumers had helped compensate for a slump in manufacturing. But consumers became more cautious at the end of the year, perhaps unsettled by headlines about major job losses at German automakers.

Companies like Daimler, which reported a quarterly loss this week, have been cutting jobs because of slack demand and the cost of developing new technology they need to remain competitive.

Problems in the car industry are not limited to Germany. Renault said on Friday that profit practically evaporated in 2019. The French carmaker acknowledged that it had been “a troubled year.”

Net profit in 2019 plunged to 19 million euros, or about $21 million, from €3.5 billion in 2018, Renault said.

Renault also warned that its goal of keeping sales steady at €56 billion during 2020 could be endangered by “the possible impacts related to the coronavirus health crisis.”

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Seth Meyers Baits Trump Over His ‘Dumbest’ Obsession Yet

Westlake Legal Group 5e4671d72100005300581a82 Seth Meyers Baits Trump Over His ‘Dumbest’ Obsession Yet

Seth Meyers on Thursday poked fun at Donald Trump over what he believes is “one of the strangest, dumbest things” to emerge about the president yet — his reported obsession with badgers.

Trump’s alleged fascination with the animal is documented in a new book by The Daily Beast reporters Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng, titled “Sinking in the Swamp,” Meyers, host of “Late Night,” noted.

Trump would pepper former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus with questions about badgers “even in situations where it wasn’t appropriate,” the journalists reported, because Priebus was raised in Wisconsin, aka The Badger State.

“The president of the United States has shown more genuine curiosity about badgers and how they work than literally any other subject in his portfolio,” quipped Meyers. “He is 70 going on 7.”

Check out the full clip above.

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Barr attack on Trump ‘is a carefully staged’ ruse, former Republican leader says

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Hulu’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reimagines Black Girl Angst

Westlake Legal Group 5e45c62a2500008203080dbb Hulu’s ‘High Fidelity’ Reimagines Black Girl Angst

The art of the remake is delicate and finite. Sticking to the source material too closely can elicit criticism, but so can veering too far off. “High Fidelity,” a new 10-episode series from Hulu that premiered on Feb. 14, toes that line.

With Zoë Kravitz as its lead, this “High Fidelity” is a remake of the beloved 2000 romantic comedy-drama of the same name, which starred John Cusack as Rob, the misanthropic, obsessive owner of a Chicago record shop dealing with a recent heartbreak. The TV show and the film are adaptations of a 1995 British novel by Nick Hornby. (The story was also turned into a Broadway musical in 2006.) Hulu’s version, with its Brooklyn setting and its hipster-cool-girl protagonist, is the biggest leap imaginable from the source material. 

That’s probably a good thing. 

Twenty years ago, Kravitz’s mother, Lisa Bonet, played Marie DeSalle in the “High Fidelity” movie. She was Rob’s earthy, impossibly cool, stunningly beautiful, singer-songwriter love interest. She was enigmatic, soulful, intimidating and definitely exotified, held in the self-absorbed gaze of Rob’s man pain as everything he thought he wanted in a lover. (They don’t end up together, obviously.) 

Now, in this iteration of the story, Kravitz, though at certain moments eerily identical to her mother, plays against that type. With her tattoos and effortlessly cool wardrobe, she may look the part that her mother played so well, but here, all the neuroses, insecurities and ugly elements of the so-called cool girl come to the fore. Going beyond the seemingly pristine but inwardly embattled Bonnie she played on “Big Little Lies” ― and despite the Hulu series’ unevenness ― “High Fidelity” is perhaps the first time we’ve seen Kravitz transcend her it-girl vibe. 

Kravitz’s Rob, short for Robin, is nursing a yearlong heartache after her fiance Mac abruptly broke off their engagement to move to London. Now he’s back and engaged to some woman named Lily, and a spiraling Rob tries to figure out why she is doomed to be rejected by every person she’s ever fallen in love with. The series follows the main conceit of the movie for the first few episodes — Rob tracking down her Top 5 heartbreaks and asking them why they left her — before veering off into new, messy territory. 

Regularly breaking the fourth wall, she takes us through her world of Brooklyn bars and concert halls, as well as her charming Bedford Avenue record store with her two eccentric employees/best friends Simon and Cherise, played by David Holmes and Da’Vine Joy Randolph. Some of the best scenes in the show take place in the shop, where Cherise, channeling the kinetic energy of Jack Black’s movie performance in the same role, delights with a chaotic, obnoxious spirit that breaks up the angst. (In one scene, when Rob tells Cherise to stop “talking smack,” she responds, “Oooh, talking smack, Robin. I bet you feel extra Black today!”)

Most of the show, though, deals with Rob’s angst, loneliness and messiness. There’s a sense, even as we root for her, even as she gives us a front-row seat to her darkest moments (rejection by a cornball rock star 10 years her junior; an awkward double-date with her nice-guy love interest, her ex-boyfriend and his new fiancée; a dismal 30th birthday party that she spends alone watching “The Sopranos”) that she’s holding something back. She is — and the moment we finally find that out, it feels like the show is less of an ambitious gimmick and more something with actual potential.

If you wanted to be pat about it, you could describe this show as “Insecure” for alternative Black girls, but it is, of course, a little more complex than that. Where “Insecure” is about the protagonist Issa ultimately stepping firmly into who she is outside of her romantic relationships, “High Fidelity” is more about understanding the people we become when we are in a relationship. Also, Issa is likable. 

Much like the white male protagonist her character is based on, Rob is ultimately an asshole. We root for her, but halfway through the series we begin to realize that for all her relatable navel-gazing angst, she’s kind of the worst. It’s interesting that this one detail, connecting this show to all the previous iterations, is also, in a way, the most fascinating departure from the spirit of the original film. 

Reboots and remakes only work if the new version does something with the source material other than regurgitating it with slight differences. A good remake, at the very least, provides context and commentary on where we were when the source material came out and where we are now. White male Rob could only ever see the women he fell in love with as “types.” In the new “High Fidelity,” Rob, for all her flaws, is a person, not just the idea of one. 

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‘I Call Bulls**t’: People Aren’t Buying William Barr’s Rebuke Of Donald Trump; Lawmakers, legal experts, cable news hosts and more highly doubt the attorney general’s apparent pushback at the president.

Westlake Legal Group kZS8hiRh231vCnxn5OjUHoZF6VAgMzZa9VUGU1s4P_k ‘I Call Bulls**t’: People Aren’t Buying William Barr’s Rebuke Of Donald Trump; Lawmakers, legal experts, cable news hosts and more highly doubt the attorney general’s apparent pushback at the president. r/politics

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Charles ‘Chuckie’ O’Brien, Jimmy Hoffa associate portrayed in ‘The Irishman,’ dies at 86

Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien, an associate of the late Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa who is portrayed in the 2019 movie “The Irishman,” died Thursday in Boca Raton, Fla., according to reports. He was 86.

The cause of death was believed to be a heart attack, according to O’Brien’s stepson, Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor, writing on a blog called “Lawfare.”

EXCLUSIVE: FBI WANTS TO TALK TO SUBJECTS OF FOX NATION’S JIMMY HOFFA INVESTIGATION

During Hoffa’s heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, O’Brien often referred to himself as Hoffa’s foster son – but investigators have long suspected he played a role in Hoffa’s 1975 disappearance, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Hoffa vanished in July 1975 amid a tumultuous career as a union leader, one that included clashes with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and other Washington figures, as well as union rivals and reputed mobsters. Various theories have emerged about what happened to him but the case remains a mystery.

In his blog post, Goldsmith shares some insights into the life of his stepfather, who was born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1933.

“Chuckie was most famous for two things. In the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s, he was the closest aide and near-constant companion of Jimmy Hoffa, the infamous and influential leader of the Teamsters Union.

“And following Hoffa’s disappearance on July 30, 1975, Chuckie became a leading suspect when the government publicly accused him of picking up Hoffa and driving him to his death. The latter charge is, I believe, untrue. But practically everyone believed it. This accusation was repeated in story after story and book after book and, most recently, in the movie “The Irishman.” Chuckie lived the last 44 years of his life under that shadow.”

The 2019 Martin Scorsese-directed movie “The Irishman” examines events surrounding the Hoffa disappearance, through the eyes of Frank Sheeran, a Hoffa underling (played by Robert De Niro) who died in 2003.

Westlake Legal Group hoffa01_reuters Charles ‘Chuckie’ O’Brien, Jimmy Hoffa associate portrayed in 'The Irishman,' dies at 86 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 7b146018-1187-504a-bbac-aa44abc5c155

U.S. labor leader Jimmy Hoffa is photographed at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania, April 12, 1971. (Reuters)

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In the film, the part of O’Brien is played by actor Jesse Plemons.

According to Goldsmith, O’Brien is survived by his wife Brenda, daughter Josephine, son Chuckie, stepsons Jack, Brett and Steven, and by “numerous grandchildren.”

Westlake Legal Group hoffa01_reuters Charles ‘Chuckie’ O’Brien, Jimmy Hoffa associate portrayed in 'The Irishman,' dies at 86 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 7b146018-1187-504a-bbac-aa44abc5c155   Westlake Legal Group hoffa01_reuters Charles ‘Chuckie’ O’Brien, Jimmy Hoffa associate portrayed in 'The Irishman,' dies at 86 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/events/obituary fox news fnc/us fnc Dom Calicchio article 7b146018-1187-504a-bbac-aa44abc5c155

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Barr attack on Trump ‘is a carefully staged’ ruse, former Republican leader says

Westlake Legal Group pGBsCQr-EjHclSS6UzoRsneY2k7QhqzXdDa3AkePzfk Barr attack on Trump ‘is a carefully staged’ ruse, former Republican leader says r/politics

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Barr attack on Trump ‘is a carefully staged’ ruse, former Republican leader says

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